Friday, February 27, 2009

long friday, smash and grab

I've kind of fallen off the wagon - the 40-day wagon - the last few days have been a little out of control. Tuesday we discovered that someone had broken into our garage, smashed our car window and stolen my neurology bag, so I've been borrowing stethoscopes and tuning forks from the residents and med students this week. Grr. The thief could have simply opened the driver's side door, which was unlocked, but I guess that's not as fun as breaking a window. The police said that there were no signs of forced entry, and we confirmed that our garage door was definitely closed, so the theory is that people drive around with different garage door openers/scanners and randomly find ones that work. That's not a comforting thought. We are now using our electronic lock on the garage door. Hope that works. I also will not leave stuff in the car anymore, even with the garage door closed.

As far as our 40 days, yesterday we were supposed to clean out a closet or drawer that had been bugging us, but I just didn't have the energy. I did find the motivation to go online and start ordering stuff to replace what was lost. That was kind of fun. I decided to get a burgundy stethoscope (replacing my old forest green one), a black medical bag and the same German-made titanium reflex hammer I had before. It's the center one in the picture. It's my favorite neurology tool. :-)

Today we are supposed to clean out our closets and donate clothes we don't wear. I'm not sure that will happen today, but if it doesn't, that's OK. Today I saw lots of neurology patients and completed at least 23 patient notes. I'm glad tomorrow is my last day on wards, and looking forward to returning to my normal schedule.

On the bright side, next week is supposed to be beautiful spring-like weather - sunny and highs in the upper 50's! Yayyyyyy!!! :-)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

things I love about my family

Today, day 30 of our 40 days, Tammy and I are listing 40 things we love about our family. This one should be fun. :-)

I love:

1. that Bryan is a frequent vacuumer :-)
2. the way Sam wakes up so happy and cheerful in the morning
3. Alex's new penchant for drawing little stick people on sticky notes and leaving them around the house
4. Bryan's way with the kids - he is firm with his discipline, but also very nurturing and playful
5. the way Alex is learning to guide and help Sam, defend him, and play with him
6. that every day Sam says, "First John, four, eight.!" (I admit, he says it to get candy, but it's very cute)
7. the imagination of Alex as she names her animals (latest one is her dog, "Pull")
8. Bryan's helpfulness in getting up to get the kids ready early every Tuesday morning. That is true selfless love, directed towards me, as he is not a morning person.
9. Alex's sharp eyes and ears. She does not miss one thing!
10. the conversations Sam has with his toys. Recently overheard, a "dialogue" between two trucks: "OK. Wuv you!" followed by, "Wuv you TOO!"
11. My dad's undiminished thirst for adventure as at age 70-plus, he is traveling the world and having new experiences and learning new things
12. My mom's dedication to shop year-round so that she is always ready with a box of wrapped presents (birthday, Christmas, Valentine's, Easter...) for each child, daughter- or son-in-law, and grandchild. Impressive! and thoughtful!
13. Buzz's sense of humor, and willingness to wear bizarre Korean t-shirts (Kim Jong Il:"Do you fear me now?")
14. Cameo's cooking skills, blogging skills, photo skills, and overall mommy skills - I don't know if she knows how much I've learned from her!
15. Mary's art of phone conversations. We can talk for hours and have such a good time, until our ears are too sore to continue!
16. Tim and Tammy's enthusiasm for games, Skype, and fun. Funny, I love the way both of them laugh!
17. Laura's crooked smile which you can trace all the way back to her baby pictures
18. memories of Dan on our trip to Glacier Park when I was nine; he carried my pack for me, practiced his "trumpet" with just the mouthpiece in the tent, and stood nose-to-nose with a huge bighorn sheep while Dad yelled, "Get away from that thing!"
19. that Peter always has silly jokes for me, and collects jokes to tell his patients in the OR
20. Chip's fearlessness (as a kid) in biking, skiing, skateboarding - I was always in awe and amazed at how brave he was when he wiped out!
21. Suzie's willingness to give me a ride to school on the moped in high school, even though she wasn't supposed to
22. Rosie's creative brilliance, and the fact that we are both "sinister" (lefties! - the only 2 out of 12!)
23. Jenny's fearlessness regarding her own hair: not only did she dye it many colors (I liked the blue!) but she even buzzed it in high school - now that is brave!
24. Robin's flair for home decoration and general style sense - something I lack completely.
25. the way Bryan always likes me to cook, and eats whatever I cook even when it's a new recipe that isn't great
26. the way Bryan never "expects" me to cook and doesn't care if we eat peanut butter and jelly or macaroni and cheese for dinner
27. that Bryan always remembers to take out the trash on Tuesdays
28. that Bryan is always willing to change a diaper
29. that Bryan's mom (Nana) is so good with little kids and so willing to come and help out with them every year. What a great grandma she is.
30. that my grandma, mom's mom, was a gifted poet
31. the way Sam and Alex cuddle on my lap (actually they fight over it) for "story time"
32. Sam's abundant, good-natured energy - who needs caffeine when you have Sam?
33. the way Alex makes up songs and sings her way around the house
34. Sam's love of dressing up as a princess with the girls
35. how Alex loves to make cards "for people in jail" or people who are poor, and offers to give her toys to "the poor kids"
36. that Sam will put his stuffed dog in time out when the doggie "hits people"
37. the way both kids have such a joyful time in the bathtub
38. Bryan's perceptiveness with people. He notices things that go right over my head
39. the sound of Alex's belly laugh
40. Sam's face when he cries - it sounds mean to say I love that, but he has the most adorable scrunched up nose...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

a prayer

Today, day 29 of our 40 days, Tammy and I are looking for new prayers or revisiting old prayers. Sunday at our church was "Preschool Sunday" (there is a preschool associated with the church). At first I wasn't too thrilled with this, since at my house every day is "preschool day" and I thought it might be some trite little "chicken soup for the preschooler's soul" or something. Well, actually it turned out to be a pretty nice service. One of the teachers read this poem, which toward the end brought tears to my eyes. I think being an adoptive mom makes me more aware, and more sad over, all the kids who are growing up without love. Or else I am just sentimental and the references to kids dragging blankets (Sam) and who want to be carried (Alex) reminded me of my own kids and how glad I am to be their mom.

Anyway, here is the prayer, or maybe it's a poem: (from

We Pray for Children . . .
Ina J. Hughs


We pray for children
who sneak popsicles before supper,
who erase holes in math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes.

And we pray, for those
who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who can't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
who never "counted potatoes,"
who are born in places where we wouldn't be caught dead,
who never go to the circus,
who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children
who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.

And we pray for those
who never get dessert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who can't find any bread to steal,
who don't have any rooms to clean up,
whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,
whose monsters are real.

We pray for children
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed,
and never rinse out the tub,
who get visits from the tooth fairy,
who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at
and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those
whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything,
who have never seen a dentist,
who aren't spoiled by anybody,
who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children
who want to be carried and for those who must,
for those we never give up on
and for those who don't get a second chance.
For those we smother . . .
and for those who will grab the hand of anybody
kind enough to offer it.

Please offer your hands to them so that no child is left behind
because we did not act.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

library fun

Today Tammy and I spent some time at the downtown SLC library (pictured here at night - isn't it cool?). We browsed the books on sale, and I picked up a used "Collector's Library" edition of the Phantom of the Opera, for $4. Big spender am I.

We also looked at the Salt Lake Tribune from March 8 of the years we were born - pretty entertaining. A London Fog "Maincoat" was $40 to $47, and there were ads for spring dresses in good 60's styles. We got a kick out of the ads for the TVs, too - "automatic color" was the hot new thing, with "no more green and purple faces, no more jumping up and down to adjust the color!" The headline for my birthday was about the "Spider" - a lunar lander that two Apollo 9 astronauts flew successfully in preparation for a moon landing. In addition, there were some entertaining ads, including an ad for an X-rated movie (The Ramrodder!) on the same page as ads for the upcoming Mahler Symphony No. 9 concert with Maurice Abravenel conducting at the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

Speaking of the Utah Symphony, yesterday was another day of music for our 40 days. Tammy got to go hear them live, but since I was on call, I just listened at home - Brahms Symphony #1 and Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto #1. I hadn't heard them in full in a long time, and that was quite nice. We had originally scheduled a massage for that day, but I think I was just as happy with the massage for my brain.

Tomorrow we are going to watch a Verdi opera. This 40 day plan is definitely getting me out of my rut - I have done so many things I would never have done otherwise, and I'm really glad for that!

Friday, February 20, 2009

a poem: My Treasure

A little poem I wrote today.

My Treasure

He threw his toothbrush in the john
He wipes his nose just anywhere
Our leather sofa's colored on
That's peanut butter in his hair

Lawn fertilizer, Oxy-Clean
Virginia creeper leaves
A Christmas ornament from the tree
He's eaten all of these

At night he likes to get undressed
And pee where he should not
The potty leaves him unimpressed
He likes to see a spot

You ask me why I love him so
I don't know what to say,
Except that he's my treasure
And I love him more each day.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

busy day at the VA

I'm currently working full time as a plain old neurologist, not informaticist, at the Salt Lake VA, overseeing the inpatient and consult services, as well as fielding ER calls and clinic patients. The last couple days have been busier than usual. Without going into too much detail, here are some observations:

- When we admit a patient, whether for stroke or MS or whatever, it seems we spend almost as much time, energy and effort preventing complications of hospitalization as we do treating the main problem. And this is, unfortunately, necessary. Complications are what drives up costs and make for poor outcomes. I dread and loathe complications.

- There is an epidemic of sleep apnea going on. Sometimes it seems like half our patients have it, and the other half just haven't been diagnosed yet. Of those that have it, I would estimate 90% or more don't treat it because they can't stand the mask. I know it's not easy, but I am tired of hearing "Fix my headaches" and "I can't stand the mask" in the same breath. Maybe your headaches are trying to tell you something: your brain wants more oxygen at night!

- Since I graduated from residency 7 years ago, aside from the sleep apnea prevalence, not much else has changed. Everyone has hypertension, obesity, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, COPD and depression, but what they most want to talk about is prostatic hypertrophy and can they get some of that Viagra? ;-)

- Really, despite the above, I like being at the VA and treating veterans. I feel like we do a lot of good things here. It is hard, though, to see people who are close to the end of their lives and to see and hear their suffering, and that of their families, close up. Especially on neurology, we see a fair number of people who just don't know what's happening to them and can't comprehend where they are, who is in their room, why they can't get out of bed and why they can't go home. :-( Sometimes there's just not a lot we can do.

And on that cheery note, it's time to go!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

no words necessary

Someone sent me this picture today, and I just love it.

The Song of Hiawatha

Today Tammy and I are looking at poems.

I've been thinking about "Hiawatha" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on and off for a while. My dad had to memorize some part of it in school, and I remember his quoting this stanza to us when we were kids:

By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis,
Daughter of the Moon, Nokomis.
Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Rose the firs with cones upon them;
Bright before it beat the water,
Beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.

Little did I know, this poem is something like 200 pages long! I would like to read the whole thing sometime. I began reading the first few pages and even when not heard aloud, I can feel how hypnotic it is. Here's a link to the the whole shebang:

From an Editor's Preface by Wallace Rice:

"HIAWATHA," rightly regarded as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's greatest, most characteristic, and most original poem, has for Americans the marked merit of being entirely concerned with tales of the aboriginal inhabitants of the North American continent. It is, from beginning to end, a metrical version of legends originating with the Algonquin family of Indians, of which the Ojibways or Chippewas were the most prominent tribe. Yet Hiawatha himself was not of this family, but was an authentic historical person, neither a myth nor a demigod, who was a great chief among the Onondagas in the fifteenth century, not only the framer of a code of laws by which they were long bound but also the successful negotiator of the remarkable treaty by which the Five Nations, afterwards the Six Nations, were confederated; best known to us as the Iroquois.


"Hiawatha" was begun on June 25, 1854, and its 5,314 lines were concluded March 29, 1855; nine months later. Its meter, derived from that of the great Finnish epic, the Kalevala, consists of eight-syllabled lines, with stresses falling on the first, third, fifth and seventh syllables. Octosyllabic verse, whether trochaic, as here, or iambic, as in Scott's "Lays of the Last Minstrel," is by far the easiest of all measures to write; and the fact that "Hiawatha" is unrhymed made the American's task greatly easier than that of the Scotchman....

Yet there can be no doubt of the suitability of the measure to the subject matter here, as in the Kalevala. It is just the sing-song that would be used by a teller of tales about the campfire, with each verse about the duration of a breath, lacking in rhyme so that little particularity in memorization is demanded of the narrator, repetitive so that he can go back from time to time and collect his thoughts, and so easy of composition that a line may be made up on the spot to replace one lost to the mind. It would be no serious task to anybody to he compelled to speak in these octosyllabics for a day, or even a week, as a slight test will prove.

It is an excellent rule in literary composition to use the commonplace as the vehicle for the conveyance of unusual thoughts and a foreign atmosphere. In this, Longfellow's instinct was far surer than that of the critics who considered his work adversely at the time of its publication, on November 10, 1855. The mere fact that "Hiawatha" was so readily memorized-and that lapses in memory could be so easily covered up-brought it into a favor which it could never have attained were it rhymed, or were its measure that of English heroic verse. Its fluent vehicle bore successfully the burden of the feelings, the habits, the ideas of the American savage, all strange and exotic to English ears. It has done more than all the writings in the world combined to give the Caucasian mind an understanding of and sympathy with that of the North American Indian.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

donation to a cause

Today, day 22, Tammy and I are donating to a cause of our choice.

I chose Holt International's Special Needs Adoption Fund. Because...every child deserves a home. We adopted Alex via Holt (via WACAP) and I love the story of how Holt originated.

You can learn more about Holt and their adoption programs and other activities here.

a whole new level of chocolate

Yesterday was day 21 of our 40 days, and Tammy and I set ourselves the task of trying some new gourmet chocolates. Having always been too cheap to spend much on chocolate, I did not know what I was missing! Tammy got 8 different high-quality kinds of dark chocolate from Tony Caputo's. The beans were from Africa or South America, but the various chocolates were made in Germany, Italy, and other places including right here in Utah.

My favorite flavored chocolate was a tie between the Lindt Intense Orange and the Ritter strawberry yogurt. My favorite dark was the Scharffen Berger, made in California from Venezuelan beans, I think.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Day 20: Cliff Spa

Today is Day 20 - we are halfway through our 40 days. Tammy and I went to the Snowbird ski resort's Cliff Spa. Tammy has more pictures here.

It was a beautiful day of sun and snow. I was just a little bit wistful watching the skiers and snowboarders gliding down the mountain. I was never a great skier, but since the kids came along we have hardly gone at all - maybe once? I hope in the future we can take the kids and go as a family. I don't enjoy very many sports, but skiing is definitely one of my favorites. I miss it.

Still, I can't complain. An afternoon spent pampering myself in the spa was most welcome. $10 included: a gym with amazing alpine views, pool and hot tub, robes and sandals (returned at the end), green tea and lemongrass shampoo/conditioner/body lotion, hot tea and a quiet solarium with more amazing alpine views. Ahhhh....

But we weren't done. Before going home, Tammy shared her fabulous and decadent chocolate mousse cake. Wow! You know, I could get used to Sundays like this!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day 19 - Taxes, Valentines and the Pontiac Firebird TransAm

Today I spent most of a snowy Valentine's day working on our taxes. Not very romantic. But it feels good to have it mainly done, and we had the evening to ourselves, thanks to a nice babysitting offer by the church where Alex goes to Awana. The bubble bath was very welcoming after a long day.

Today is day 19 of our 40 days. Almost halfway over?! Tammy and I were supposed to go to the library today and look at newspapers from the day we were born. I confess, I did not want to go out in the snowstorm and was feeling pressured to get the tax stuff finished. So I cheated and tried to look online, but all I found was the fact that the Pontiac Firebird TransAm was unveiled on the day I was born. Pretty nice, actually.

Hope everyone had a lovely day.

Friday, February 13, 2009

personality test

Today, for fun, Tammy and I are re-taking our personality tests and comparing them to our results in college. I took this (or a similar version) as a freshman in college, at age 18. My result at that time described me as "INFJ." Here is a description from

INFJ: "Author". Strong drive and enjoyment to help others. Complex personality. 1% of the total population. These are serious students and workers who really want to contribute. They are private and easily hurt. They make good spouses, but tend to be physically reserved. People often think they are psychic. They make good therapists, general practitioners, ministers, and so on.
The agreeable nature and quiet personality of INFJs makes them particularly vulnerable to hurt feelings. Distress within close relationships can shatter the INFJ. Like all NFs under stress, INFJs feel fragmented and lost — as if they are acting out a part rather than simply being themselves. This disassociation can be related to physical symptoms for the INFJ, whether real or imagined. Feeling split off from their physical natures, INFJs may become virtually immobilized by repressed feelings.

Today, I took the test online at the above website (who knows its true validity?) and got a different result: ISFJ.

ISFJ: "Conservator". These people are service and work oriented - very loyal. They may suffer from fatigue and tend to be attracted to troublemakers. They are good nurses, teachers, secretaries, general practitioners, librarians, middle managers, and housekeepers. 6% of the total population.
ISFJs respect established authority and they tend to accept others’ opinions and desires as their own. In work situations, they provide a stable and standardized service. Disorderly situations and constantly changing rules can cause them undue stress. At these times ISFJs need to be more assertive and direct because, owing to their kindheartedness and sensitivity, ISFJs can be taken for granted and even taken advantage of. This can cause them to feel resentment and anger — feelings that the ISFJ has a tendency to deny. If the situation worsens and uncomfortable feelings build up, the ISFJ will begin to feel insecure about their status. Worrying that they are not secure or protected enough, they may become overprotective and excessively nervous about foreboding events. This can cause others to feel resistant or defiant which then contributes to the disorder of the situation.

Interestingly, Tammy was an ISFJ in college. If she is still the same, it probably explains why we get along so well - exact same personality type!

I have a theory about why my personality "changed." I think there were a few questions that asked, essentially, do you trust your experiences more, or do you rely more on theoretical alternatives? I think my answer in college was that I didn't rely much on experience but now that I have almost 40 years of it, I tend to trust it more. The above is pure conjecture - I have not taken the time to delve into the deep meaning of "N" versus "S."

Part of me is sad at no longer testing as the complex "author" type, and only 1% of the population, but I am confident that I know myself much better than I did at 18. C'est la vie!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

quote of the day

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."
— Dr. Seuss

Today Tammy and I are sharing favorite quotes. I recently ran across this one, and shared it with Bryan who also gave his approval. Dr. Seuss (pictured above) was a pretty cool guy! There is more about him on - you'll find him under the "quotes" link.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

song of the day

Today Tammy and I are going back in time to find an old song. Here is my pick:

I distinctly remember this song playing on the radio as I rode the bus home after skiing all day with the Junior Ski program, probably when I was in 4th or 5th grade. (It came out in 1978.)I didn't have any friends in the program with me, so I always sat alone on the bus. It didn't bother me; I liked looking at the scenery. Picture gorgeous views of the Sierras at dusk, with tall pines and deep white snow against a darkening blue sky. I remember thinking God could be singing this song to me. Every time I hear it, I still think of cold mountain air, pine trees, and a deep feeling of well-being.

Monday, February 9, 2009

40 things I'm thankful for

Today Tammy and I are reflecting on all we have to be grateful for. There is so much I could go on and on. Good thing we are limited to only 40! A disclaimer - these are in no particular order.

1. Bryan - I got lucky. :-)
2. Alex - ditto.
3. Sam - lucky again!
4. my parents, who dared to raise 12 kids and lived to tell about it. Along with this, I'm grateful to have been raised in an intact family.
5. all of my siblings, in-laws and nieces and nephews. I am truly rich in extended family connections.
6. friends near and far
7. books! I love books. I can't imagine life without them.
8. music and especially the experience of having played in so many orchestras and groups.
9. my piano, even though it's not "real."
10. our church community
11. a great job that I truly like, most of the time
12. a warm and comfortable home
13. views of incredible mountainous beauty around me all the time!
14. contact lenses. Without them my eyes would disappear behind very thick glasses
15. having family here in Utah for the last 4 years. Truly the BEST experience, and I still marvel at God's impeccable timing.
16. Costco :-)I really like a lot of their stuff.
17. health and the energy to work out and be active with my kids. Truly priceless. I wonder if I would be alive today if not for antibiotics?
18. really good in-laws. I got lucky again!
19. family vacation every summer at the beach or the mountains
20. chocolate
21. variety and availability of so many kinds of good food. In the history of the world this is truly remarkable. Of course, I'm sad about certain aspects of the agriculture industry...but that is a subject for another post!
22. our used Toyota Prius
23. the Salt Lake City and County libraries. So much great free stuff!
24. our fireplace which warms up the downstairs and makes it so cozy
25. freedom - religion, the press, speech - not that our country is perfect, but when I look around at the rest of the world I realize there are a number of things we do right.
26. the feeling of total body well-being I have after working out
27. sleeping all night (most of the time now). After residency and 2 babies this is a treasured gift.
28. the smell of freshly brewing coffee in the morning
29. Barnes & Noble, which I wish wasn't a chain, but it has introduced me to legitimate blessings - like my church and my good friend Nancy
30. Mazza!
31. the Book of Common Prayer
32. N.T. Wright
33. genetic luckiness in terms of being able to eat a moderate amount of junk food and not gain weight, as long as I work out.
34. being finished with school forever, especially residency, and with tests except for written boards every 10 years
35. the feeling of being very alive and growing spiritually these days
36. a bit of exposure to foreign languages - Spanish, German, French, Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Korean - not that I can speak any of them, but it makes me feel richer to hear them and know a few words
37. birds at our birdfeeders - chickadees, bluejays, woodpeckers, finches. Oh yes, and the two finches who reside over our front door all winter.
38. the ability to know so much (which is still so little) about the universe - it is wondrous - galaxies and black holes and red dwarfs and so much we can't even fathom. It beats thinking the world is flat and the sun is rotating around us.
39. medical school. I bear the scars, but it enriched me and opened up doors for me.
40. fluoride toothpaste and Fantastic Sam's shampoo and conditioner.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Tammy and I went snowshoeing today. It was snowing, but beautiful and felt good to be out. It was fun to be hiking at the level of the top of the road signs.

Thanks Tammy for taking these pictures.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Florida photos

Tammy and I are on day 12 of the 40 days leading up to our birthday. Today we're supposed to list 20 things we like about ourselves and 20 things we'd like to change. I am realizing that I don't think I can come up with 20 things of each, and in any case I don't want to post it here. (Hey, that's one thing I like about myself. I have become much more relaxed in regards to rules and regulations as I get older!)

So... instead I will post some pictures from Madeira Beach. :-) They were taken with my phone camera, not optimal, but you can get the idea.

My favorite discovery of the day was Winecream. Ice cream made with wine. I had a Key Lime made with a savignon blanc and a Pina Colada made with a Cisa (a sweet white) with pineapple, banana, mango and guava flavors. The taste of the wine was subtle (if present at all, maybe I only imagined it) but it was really good. I was able to spend about an hour wandering the shops and another 30 minutes on the beach. It warmed up to 64 degrees, which felt great! Added to the fact of being able to sleep in and eat a leisurely breakfast all by myself...Ahhhhh.

Friday, February 6, 2009

40 random memories

There has been a "25 random things" epidemic on Facebook, which I haven't done. But today Tammy and I are going back in time to reminisce. The goal is to list a memory from each year of life. We were supposed to ask relatives what they remember about us in childhood, but I have forgotten. So, here is what I can think up.

Anyone reading this is invited to comment here with memories you have of me. :-)

Age 0: We have a picture of me sitting in a bucket, carried by my dad. I got the nickname "Mouse" for being very quiet and watching everything with big eyes.

Age 1: Mom says I could sing before I could talk. I used to sing the tune that our clock chimed. According to her I used to cry to be let IN to the playpen. I probably was trying to have some peace and quiet away from my four older siblings!

Age 2: I had a stuffed rabbit that played a tune if you wound up the key - I used to carry it to my mom saying "wee-dee-op, wee-dee-op" (wind it up).

Age 3: I remember chasing my sister Rosie down the hall, and laughing at the way her ponytails bounced up and down as she ran.

Age 4: I hopped on the scale one day and announced, "I weigh thirty-two sweet pounds!"

Age 5: I got lost walking home after my first day of kindergarten. (I walked there with my older brothers and sisters; you'd think I would remember the way back, but I've always been directionally challenged.) I wandered the streets crying until my mom happened to drive up looking for me.

Age 6: First grade at Jessie Beck elementary school. The only grade of which I seem to have no traumatic memories. I loved my teacher, Mrs. Segerstrom, whom the boys called Mrs. Sexystrom.

Age 7: Second grade. My best friend Becky Cook and I got in trouble for twirling around with our jump ropes flying in a circle. We had to write "Jump ropes are for jumping" 100 times.

Age 8: Third grade. I pointed out to my teacher, in front of the whole class, that she had misspelled a word on the board. A girl named Kelly punched me in the stomach at recess and my friend Becky defended me by punching her back.

Age 9: I went backpacking with my dad and my brother Dan for 2 weeks in Glacier National Park. We had a blast. I embarrassed them profoundly when I read a brochure about bear safety in a restaurant and asked what menstruation was. (Really, the brochure mentioned something about bears and menstruating women, but I don't remember what.)

Age 10: Fifth grade. A boy named Kirk Wagner asked me if I wanted to "go steady." I did not know what that meant but I said yes. We did not interact at all after that.

Age 11: Took the train with mom and about 7 or 8 siblings (?) from Reno to Iowa, where my cousin Margaret was living. I remember a whole day - or two - of seeing nothing but cornfields.

Age 12: Each kid in our family got a "twelve year old trip." Dad took me and my sister Mary to the Oregon and Washington coast for camping and exploring the Olympia rainforest.

Age 13: Our 8th grade "Honor Society" took a field trip to Yosemite. Four boys decided to burn incense in their cabin and it went up in flames. The next night our social studies teacher got very drunk and invited my girl classmates to sit on his lap while he told stories.

Age 14: Ninth grade. I had a crush on Jason Marsh, the best violinist in the orchestra.

Age 15: Tenth grade. I thought I would try out for the Flag Team (my sister Suzie was on Drill Team and I thought she was fabulous). I discovered I was hopelessly incoordinated and gave up.

Age 16: Junior year. I won a trip to Germany by squeaking out the lowest possible qualifying score on the National German Test. My parents had to sign a form for me to go, but they were stuck in a snowstorm at Donner Pass. My brother Chip kindly forged their signature for me. I had the time of my life in Germany, drank beer, attended a German high school where I had no idea what was going on except in music class (we sang "Way Down Upon the Swanee River") and visited East Berlin when the wall was still there. I told my German hosts that their food was "nicht schlect" and they laughed and laughed.

Age 17: Senior year. Matt Jones became my first and only boyfriend in high school, and the first guy I ever kissed. He was especially cute when playing the cello. :-)

Age 18: Wheaton College. I left home with 2 suitcases, a trunk and a new typewriter.
Now that really shows my age!

Age 19: I was madly in love with Bryan and he did not know. The Wheaton Orchestra toured the west coast and

Age 20: Camping trip in the great Smokies with college friends. My friend Kim made me a birthday cake in a pot. Bryan and I connected!

I'm only halfway done? What a long life I have lived already!

Age 21: Went to Bolivia for a summer with South America Mission. Learned to sing several songs in Spanish, ate turtle and chicken hearts and part of a cow's udder.

Age 22: Married my best friend at my hometown church in Reno, NV. I really have very little memory of the whole wedding, except that our pastor did not read our vows the way we wanted them. I have lots of happy memories of our honeymoon in Vail and our drive across the country to Johnson City, Tennessee. At one point in Utah we hit a rabbit and only realized miles later (in Arches NP) that the rabbit was still with us, wrapped around the axle. :-( We also stayed up all night at Bryan's sister's house playing Speed Racer.

Age 23: I got a job in a futon store and also saw Bryan get baptized that year. All his life he thought he had been baptized as a baby, only to find out he hadn't. So he was baptized at Grace Community Bible Church in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Age 24: I worked full time (for $11,000 annually) as executive secretary for Rainbow Homes, Inc., a nonprofit providing housing for mentally ill adults. In my spare time I took pre-med classes, went rock climbing and caving, and tutored math students at East Tennessee State University in exchange for tuition. And played violin in the Johnson City Symphony. Oh, and did research on rat heart atrial cells.

Age 25: Said farewells to our beloved friends and one-bedroom apartment (with view of cornfield and cows for $195/month!) in Johnson City, and moved to Salt Lake. When we went to the post office to get a box, the guy behind the counter gave us a big grin and said, "Welcome to Zion!"

Age 26: Medical school. Bryan was in residency. I learned the difference between a "steakhouse" and a "stake house." It's a Utah thing. I took a job at the Utah Eye Bank, harvesting corneas from recently deceased people for transplants. I've been in almost every hospital mortuary in the Salt Lake valley.

Age 27: Med school, second year. I was not good at drawing blood. Otherwise, school was fine. I discovered Goblin Valley and the Courthouse Wash hike in Arches national park. We went camping with Pete and Grace and I left the back of their truck open in the rain, which caused their sleeping bags to get soaked. They left and went home early. Oops...I'm still very sorry about that.

Age 28: Third year med school. The hardest year - I thought about dropping out, but I already owed a lot of money. I learned to suture wounds, "drive" the camera inside of tummies for cholecystectomies, and staple scalp lacerations. I hated the feeling of being incompetent for every new rotation.

Age 29: Graduated from medical school. Not sure what years, but a couple of times we had friends come for trips to Lake Powell where we stayed on a houseboat. Those were really good times. Another time we went to Yellowstone with Kim and Mike Houghton. Between med school and residency, (or maybe this was before med school?)Bryan and I went to Yosemite with my dad and Becky Cook. We were going to backpack for a week. It was September and the first day, it snowed. We were FREEZING. The camping food (powdered spaghetti) gave us all the most amazing, disgusting gas which pretty much colored the air in the tent all night. The next day after hiking two hours in the snow we gave up and went home. The only wildlife we saw was a wolf, in the parking lot.

Age 30: The day I turned thirty, I tripped in our driveway and fell, tearing my good work pants and my rotator cuff.

Age 31: 2000, the new millenium. I was bummed at being stuck working in the hospital while my whole family partied at Tahoe for the New Year. I have no memory of what I was doing. Neurology residency had good moments, but mostly I did not enjoy it. I met a medical student who told me he was planning to go into Medical Informatics. I also met my friend Tammy about this time, and her husband was in the informatics program. I started checking into the fellowship.

Age 32: (not sure what year this really was) Went snowmobiling for the first time, and also snow camping. Climbed Mount Olympus and Mount Timpanogos. I love living in the mountains.

Age 33: I was SOOOOO happy to finish residency and start the informatics fellowship. I heard people complaining about having to come to class at 8 a.m., and just thought that was very funny.

Age 34: Bryan got pneumonia and was hospitalized for an entire week at Cottonwood Hospital. I was very happy for antibiotics and modern medicine. While he was sick it snowed a TON and I had to shovel our gravel driveway myself. Grump grump grump. His mom gave us an X-box though, so while Bryan recovered we got to play Gauntlet and Simpsons Road Rage.

Age 35: Finished my master's in Informatics and started working for the VA. My other full time job was doing adoption paperwork. At least 20 of my friends and family got pregnant and we couldn't. That sucked. In retrospect I realize I didn't have to wait overly long for Alex, but it seemed long enough at the time.

Age 36: Went to Korea and brought Alex home. It was total baby love, better than I had even dared to dream. I didn't even remember to eat for the first couple days. One day, I let Alex play with my car keys while I was loading groceries into the car and she locked me out of the car (in the snow). Luckily she unlocked it before I had to go call the police! We also went to my grandma's 100th birthday party that year.

Age 37: Sam joined our family and I was overjoyed to have both of my babies home. I feel so lucky!

Age 38: Christmas in Little Rock, Arkansas with Bryan's side of the family. We went to a Christmas Eve service at their church, but there was no nursery so Bryan and I spent it in the lobby of the church trying to keep the kids from pulling over the Christmas tree. It was still fun.

Age 39: Went to Madiera Beach, Florida for a week for work - and got the coldest weather of the winter - until the last day (today) when it was 64 degrees and sunny and beautiful! Walked the beach, soaked up the sun and thoroughly enjoyed my rare opportunity for solitude. I also discovered "winecream" - key lime ice cream made with savignon blanc (Cisa) and pina colada ice cream made with cavia, a sweet white with pineapple, banana, guava and mango.

What a life I have led! And I'm still only about halfway done!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

key west crepes

An exquisite Florida breakfast this morning, courtesy of Patty. I have got to find the kiwi syrup so I can make these!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

deep freeze

For the second time this winter, Florida is having cold enough temps to issue a "deep freeze" warning.

So much for the week on the beach. My work buddies had planned a kayak trip with a bonfire on the beach and sangria, but we canceled when we saw it was going to be 35 degrees.

Ok, I'll stop whining. I have fallen behind on reporting on our "40 days." On Super Bowl Sunday, Tammy and I assigned ourselves the task of drinking a new wine. We randomly had a bottle of Sonoma red. (Picture above.) Monday we started reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Published in 1969. :-) Tuesday we wrote a letter of appreciation to someone and sent it snail mail - mine went out from the Bay Pines VA Field Office yesterday. Wednesday we decided to pray for 5 people we don't normally pray for. I started with good intentions, but fell asleep after praying for only 3 I need to finish the other 2 today. :-)

The picture of the boats is the view out of my hotel window. The other picture, of Berryism, is where Patty took me for frozen yogurt after book club. MMMMMM! It is not your average frozen yogurt - delicious and fat free - we need to get one of these shops in Salt Lake!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

hello from madeira bay

Well, my employer kindly flew me to Florida (gulf coast, near Tampa) for a week in February, but we have hit a cold spell that is supposed to last until the day I leave. Bummer. I walked on the beach anyway, last night and tonight, in the cold and dark with some work friends.

I have been meaning to take pictures, but there is not enough daylight. I have to leave for work before it's quite light out, and by the time I return I have to race to catch the sunset. I will have to figure out the timing before I leave.

The waves are mesmerizing, even in the cold. There are sea birds and green plants and actual flowers blooming outside.

Tammy and I are reading "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou, published in 1969 (of course!). We can't really assign it to one day but I read a good bit of it on the plane yesterday. It's good, though disturbing, and especially interesting in light of having just read An Interrupted Life which was written at the same time - but what an entirely different world. Yet both women were "caged birds" in their way.

For today, we are writing a note of appreciation to someone we love and sending it snail mail. I had to beg paper and an envelope from the hotel desk, but my note to Bryan is written and now I need to find a stamp - mailing it from Florida would be way cooler than from home. Even if it is almost as cold here as in Salt Lake!