Monday, March 30, 2009

Disney magic

It was a joyful and wonder-filled day at Disneyland. The pictures aren't the best, but they do bring back fun memories - and isn't that the point?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Match Day

Today my brother John matched for his residency in Kansas City, MO (his first choice - woohoo!). I managed to be there for the occasion, which was fun - brought back memories of my own match day 11 years ago (hard to believe that - I had to double check the number!). It was a nicer occasion for Buzz, with a nice brunch for all the students and their families and even a ribbon-cutting ceremony. When I matched, we just went to a hospital classroom, got our envelopes and stood around in the hallways talking and taking pictures. The energy was the same though - lots of excitement and anticipation.

I'm genuinely happy for BuzzmeovanaXX (Buzz, Cameo, kids and mystery baby!) but bummed for us personally. Our family has been so lucky and blessed to live near these guys for the past almost 4 years. When I think of my sweet nieces growing up without me there, I start to cry...not to mention not having Buzzmeo around to play games with, stay up too late with, trade babysitting overnights, and hang out with. I've been tearing up on and off today. But I know it is the best place for them to be, and am glad they will have Tim and Tammy there, especially to ease the transition with a new baby coming. Good thing for facebook - I think it will help us all stay connected.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

poem for the day

Recently I've been reading some of Rainer Maria Rilke's poems from his Book of Hours. I first read Rilke in a German class in college, but hadn't revisited him until recently, after reading Etty Hillesum's Diaries and Letters from Westerbork (another highly recommended read). Here is one I like (title is in German, the rest is translated by Barrows and Macy):

Du bist die Zukunft, grosses Morgenrot

You are the future,
the red sky before sunrise
over the fields of time.

You are the cock's crow when night is done,
you are the dew and the bells of matins,
maiden, stranger, mother, death.

You create yourself in ever-changing shapes
that rise from the stuff of our days--
unsung, unmourned, undescribed,
like a forest we never knew.

You are the deep innerness of all things,
the last word that can never be spoken.
To each of us you reveal yourself differently:
to the ship as coastline, to the shore as a ship.


If anyone knows of a really good English-German edition of the Book of Hours, with both languages present, by a really good translator, I would love to own one. I've read some reviews on Amazon of this translation and they're mixed. I'd like to see what else is out there.

Monday, March 16, 2009

industrial agribusiness rant

OK, this isn't really going to be a rant. However, I've been taking a course through our church entitled "Menu for the Future" which is very thought-provoking. We've been discussing a collection of articles and book excerpts that deal with the issues surrounding our agricultural practices, food production and distribution, ecology, sustainability, and health. I got interested in this after reading Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma.

Taking an in-depth tour of our food supply business is a little like taking "the red pill" in the movie The Matrix. You can take the blue pill and go on enjoying your food in blissful ignorance, or take the red pill and see what is truly going on but your food innocence is then ruined. I love all kinds of food, and it saddens me to find out that often I am enjoying it at the expense of all kinds of wrongs being done - to other human beings, to animals, to the planet, to my own health. At the same time, without our current system, would we be able to feed our growing population at all? I've heard it argued that if we only practiced organic, non-genetically modified, sustainable etc. agriculture, much of the world's population would starve. Not convinced this is true, because the counterargument is that we are using some 50-80% of the world's farmland to feed livestock, not people. Who knows what to think? Anyway...

So in today's New York Times I saw this article pointing out the practice of routine antibiotic administration to animals - and the results of that. He points out that 70% of all antibiotics in the US go to healthy livestock.

"Yet the central problem here isn’t pigs, it’s humans. Unlike Europe and even South Korea, the United States still bows to agribusiness interests by permitting the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in animal feed. That’s unconscionable.

The peer-reviewed Medical Clinics of North America concluded last year that antibiotics in livestock feed were “a major component” in the rise in antibiotic resistance. The article said that more antibiotics were fed to animals in North Carolina alone than were administered to the nation’s entire human population."

The article goes on to describe the rise of MRSA, not only in our hospitals but now in our food supply. Sheesh. I know the issues are complex here - and this is just one issue among many - but I hope that articles like this will continue to raise awareness and public support to press our leaders to make some positive changes. I have hope that Obama's administration will be more open to changes like this, but the business interests at stake are large and powerful. We'll see.

And now let's go off to eat some healthy fruits, grains, and vegetables! (The above article kinda makes you lose your appetite for pork, doesn't it?)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"My Grain is Damaged"

Quote of the day:

We have all been fighting a cold at our house. Today at dinner, Alex came up to me and said, "I'm pretty sick. I think it's because I don't say 'please,' or maybe it's because my grain is damaged." :-)

Also, this past week we have made plans to go to my niece's wedding in LA, and the following day I am going to take Alex to Disneyland. Woo-hoo! Bryan and Sam are staying home -Bryan couldn't leave work on such short notice - but I'm sure they will have fun doing boy stuff at home. :-) Alex is REALLY excited. When we told her she was going to Disneyland, she said, "Oh! I've been wanting to go to Disneyland for HOURS and HOURS and HOURS!" :-)

In reality she has been asking us to take her to Disneyland for about the past 2-3 months. She is four and a half and I think we will have a lot of fun.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

belated birthday post, misc news

My 40th birthday was cold and clear with snow-capped peaks against crystal blue skies. Tammy and I wound up our 40-day journey with a fabulous home-cooked dinner: grass-fed, free-range steak, asparagus with hollandaise sauce, spring mix salad with sunflower seeds and dried cranberries, and mashed potatoes. It was just us and the men - no kids. After dinner we went to see Bobby McFerrin - definitely entertaining and unique! He incorporated musicians and dancers (university students) and did a lot of improv, which impresses me as I am totally non-improvisational. He uses his voice and body like an instrument - or a whole set of instruments. You kind of have to see it to believe what he can do. My favorite part was the audience singing Gounod's Ave Maria while Bobby sang the entire Bach prelude that goes with it. That, and his one-man re-enactment of the Wizard of Oz - amazing!

Afterwards we went back to Tammy's house for delicious peanut butter cake and presents. Tammy gave me a Harvard Dictionary of Music, which I've been wanting, and overall it was a very happy day. I highly recommend the 40 day celebration - if you're turning 40, this is the way to do it. :-) Over the weekend, Bryan and I had a luxurious overnight away from the kids (thanks to Buzzmeo) and I got to go out to breakfast twice, once with Bryan and once with Tammy and kids. Tammy introduced me to Finn's, which is now possibly my favorite breakfast place - they have incredible Norwegian waffles with lingonberries and sour cream!! Also on Sunday we went to pizza with Buzzmeo and kids. Yup, I milked this birthday for all it was worth - hey, you only turn 40 once!

In related birthday news, my favorite birthday present was a new Acer netbook that Bryan got for me. It's really light and portable, it gives me internet access anywhere, has a webcam for Skype, and I will like having my own machine that is off limits to the kids. :-) The only problem is I stay up too late using it!

In non-birthday news, we had two very happy events: first, I was informed by the Draper police that they have recovered all my neurology stuff! This was good, but I had already bought some replacements that were personalized so I can't return them - so I will have some duplicates. Oh well, the best part is that they have the thief and he is not going anywhere anytime soon. Hooray.

The other event is that my niece, Sarah, is getting married March 26 in LA, and after some discussion, Bryan and I decided that I should go and take Alex to Disneyland the day after the wedding. Wheeeee! I don't know who is more excited, me or Alex, but last night she was dancing in circles singing, "I'm going to Disneyland!" When we told her the news, she said, "I've been wanting to go to Disneyland for HOURS and HOURS and HOURS!" Oh, I can't wait. :-)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

breaking news

Big news today. I was just about to sit down and relax after getting the kids down for naps when my pager went off. "This better be good," I thought, and it was. The Draper police apprehended the guy who smashed our car window and they were able to trace him to me because he had my name stamp, which was in the bag he took. For a minute I got very excited because I thought they were going to say they had all my stuff, but that was the only thing of mine that they found. They did find a whole bunch of other people's stuff, especially keys, garage door openers, and tools. I was sad not to get anything back except my name stamp, but I was so happy they actually caught the guy that it put me in a good mood the rest of the day. I took the kids to the police station and identified my property, and Alex and Sam got Junior Police Officer badges. It was especially nice to be able to show Alex that the police caught the bad guy. She had been asking about the broken window and you could see her little 4-year-old mind was working on the whole situation. I hope she is less anxious now - I know I certainly am.

Other "breaking news" of the day:

- I shut my finger in the car door. Ouch! It is OK but sore.

- the odometer on the Prius turned over from 99999 to 100000 miles

- I renewed my driver's license online just before it expired. We hadn't received any notification because our address had changed since we last renewed. It was really good I didn't show up at the police station to claim stolen property and then give them an expired license!!!

What can I say, God is being pretty good to me. :-)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Today, day 36, Tammy and I are donating to a charity of each other's choice. She told me about Kiva, a nonprofit that lets you make loans (microloans) to small businesses and entrepreneurs around the world. I made a loan to a couple who runs a hamburger and taco stand in Mexico. One thing I like is that it shows you when your loan is repaid, and when it is, you can loan it out to another person. Pretty cool!

a little night music

Last night Tammy and I played music together, for day 35 of our 40 days. The photo is not the best of me (my outfit would qualify for a What Not To Wear show - Bryan's old sweatshirt over a t-shirt), but hey, I was wanting to relax. I had just completed a workout and rushed through a shower, and was dealing with two grumpy and whiny kids - so I literally grabbed the first clean thing I saw and headed for the door.

It's a real pleasure to play with Tammy - she is a gifted musician. Even though I was terribly rusty after many months of not picking up my violin at all, it was fun to cajole those tiny hand muscles and recruit those long-dormant brain areas into making music again.

I've been practicing piano more lately, too. I am enjoying music somewhat differently as I revisit it now after many intervening years. Playing music that I haven't heard or played since my teens, it's like talking to an old friend and yet at the same time discovering something new. It's a new insight to me about music appreciation - that what we bring to the music is at least as important as what it brings to us.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


This weekend was day 32 and 33 of our 40 days. Tammy and I went together to get a massage on Saturday, and that was really nice. :-) Today we watched the movie Oliver!, which won Academy Award for Best Picture in 1969. We had seen the stage play long ago but had not watched the movie. I liked it, but I think it's probably better when you see it live.

Not much else tonight...I'm tired. I'm glad to be finished with my full-time hospital schedule. I'm also looking forward to the weather this week - it's supposed to be nice. For once, March is coming in like a lamb instead of a lion.