Saturday, December 8, 2007
It's funny looking at these pics. I think they convey a lot, but without some text, I think they are probably totally misleading. Like if I didn't tell you so, you may never guess that the telescope Keith seems to be expertly gazing through has actually been collecting dust since our first Christmas together when I bought it for him. It is only now, two years later, that it has finally had its debut. I would have been wise to listen to his mother who suggested buying the least expensive model out there, since Keith actually likes lying on his back to gaze at the stars much more than he likes fiddling to focus a high powered telescope on distant planetary features. Still, the moon did look really cool that night.
I think these pictures capture the joy of playing in the snow with the puppies and maybe even the relaxed warmth of the fire. What they can never convey is the stench that exudes from those cute pups' coats as the snow melts away from their filthy puppy skin.
Even though I have been yet unsuccessful in getting tall pictures to come into my blog upright, I still wanted to put in our "Christmas photo". What you are missing here, but could easily guess if you ever met our dogs, is that it took us about 15 harried minutes of corralling our indoor livestock to get this perfectly posed pic. And if Keith smile looks strained, I think it probably is.
Hope everyone is having a good holiday. We certainly are.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
I've never even heard of this place, but perusing the catalog taught me a lot about what I can only assume is Tibet. Like, it's warm enough to sit in your tent fashioned from designer sheets and quilts wearing your underwear, but not quite warm enough to do it without a hat.
Also, the hip thing is to wear your child's winter mitten/hat ensemble over your disco minidress when you're off to do heavy manual labor in your work boots. Tibet must be a fascinating place. (Okay, I do realize that it's run by the same people that run my beloved Anthro, but I can still make fun).
Uberinformed husband of mine found this service you can supposedly use to stop the mailings. So far we've requested to stop Anthropologie, Athleta, Sundance, Garnet Hill and many, many more. In actuality I'm not sure we've stopped anything. We still get like 6 Victoria Secret catalogs weekly (two copies of each issue). The problem is that they're smarter than we are. The other day I returned an ill-fitting pair of shorts to Athleta only to have the replacement pair come with two more catalogs from that company. Also, even iron-willed Keith is not strong enough to overcome the temptation of the beautiful catalogs. As I opened the browser to start this blog, this is what I saw. What can you do?
Sunday, October 21, 2007
When it comes to yard work, Keith may be a little out of his element, but Lucy turned out to be a decent hauler awayer of branches (of course she takes as many out of the pile as she brings to it -- we're working on it).
Unfortunately our compost pile was quickly overrun with what can only be termed a shit ton of leaves. And you don't even see the huge piles that were hauled off to the dump.
You'll have to trust me that our yard was pristine, because here's what our yard looked like the very next day. As you can see that tree is magic and produces an endless supply of fresh autumn leaves daily!
Keith's dad was kind enough to contribute to the beautification with some flowers. Is it just me or are these guys looking a little tired? Especially that little blob up front. I'm not even sure you can recognize it as a living plant in this pic. I'm sure T.G. knows what he's doing.
Monday, October 8, 2007
I'm not sure the photo does justice to the sheer mass of spaghetti on that plate, but believe me, it's impressive.
And half a loaf of bread too.
Look at him go!
The puppies are enjoying making a mockery of our pricey new fence by ramming it with all their body weight until the slats pop out allowing them their freedom. Such ingenious puppies!
Monday, September 17, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
You may have already seen this on Keith's blog, but here's our latest addtion.
Then there's these.
(The last ones are gifts from a fellow Anthro addict.)
If I don't get to working soon, our house will so be chalked full of sunbursts, lava swirls and other colorful, contemporary mish-mashes, it'll make your head spin.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Also, the weather's nice here, so we had a little barbeque.
A very little barbeque. Keith is shaping up to be a fine grill master. Maybe next year we'll promote him to a more appropriately sized grill.
T minus 8 days until mountain biking vacation part deux. Colorado here I come... back.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
The other day I was listening to Terry Gross interview Sekou Sundiata (he died recently, so the interview was re-aired). Sekou Sundiata does spoken word poetry, and he has this rich, deep voice to complement his great poetry. While I really enjoyed his readings, what piqued my interest was part of the interview where he told Terry about coming home for a family reunion. During the reunion a story about his great grandfather emerged. His relatives described his defiant great grandfather who had escaped cruel slave owners only to be turned in later by his fearful family. It was a story Sekou had never heard. He found it terribly interesting in its own right , but it also held special interest to him because it was about one of his ancestors. He wondered how his relatives could have kept such a great story from him, and what other treasures they may hold in their memories.
When Keith and I were in New Zealand we heard the native Maori speak about their Whakapapa (Fa’-Ka-Pa-Pa). It is the word they use to describe their tradition of passing on oral heritage. Even in a modern age of television and internet, the oral tradition was still alive and well and talked about with regularity. A ski area we went to even bore the name Whakapapa.
I’ve thought about this some with regards to my family. I think it’s relatively rare that we get much oral tradition around my house. I think part of it is cultural, but part of it no doubt is because a lot of the memories are so painful. Nevertheless, when I do hear my parents recount the story of how they sold all of their material possessions for silver coins and bought a burro to ride to California, or about how they lived on cantaloupes from their garden and home brewed root beer for almost an entire year, I get that same sense of interest and joy that I think Sekou Sundiata was describing. I wonder what other stories my parents have that they haven't thought to share. Even if some of it is as horrible as a southern lynching, along with the stories come threads of bravery, humor and everything else, and it’s all worth passing along.
Does this mean I have to stop wearing baseball caps, flip-flops and yesterday’s jean shorts to run errands? I certainly hope not. I also hope people don’t wonder why I’m married to a guy that looks about 19.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Here's a picture from one of my other favorite dining experiences here:
You've probably already read about it on Keith's blog. What really made it a great experience wasn't the food so much (semi-raw chicken can never really be great), but the live music performed by the owner was supremely entertaining.
Last night we ate Mexican food. Sort of. This was actually the first Mexican restaurant we had seen. The menu included a glossary of terms such as "taco" and "enchilada". Very exotic. The menu also included seviche and sangria and there was a picture of a matador on the wall. I ordered a lemonade to go with my meal. The waitress/owner/Indian lady politely brought me a Sprite. "Oh, I ordered lemonade" I said. "Uh huh", she replied and walked away. The delicious "lemonade" complemented my not-very-Mexican chicken nicely.
Today we happened upon a Korean place. From the outside it looked like it was a quick, cheap eat, but once we got inside we realized the place was actually quite big, crowded for being 2 o'clock, and there was a giant projection screen t.v. showing Asian pop videos. We ordered two simple stir fries, which turned out to include like ten separate dishes of mysterious food-like items. Even after we were finished eating I could only identify two of the objects from the tiny bowls.
Thrice sweetened mystery beverage, bonus!
The ordering process in restaurants is as varied as the type of cuisine available. Sometimes a waitress does all the things you expect a waitress to do, but other times you're expected to get up and order at the bar. You may pay as you order or you may pay at the end. Maybe you get sat with menus, but you still have to go and place your order. Or maybe the food is sitting there in a glass case and you just go and grab it for yourself. One thing that doesn't vary is that you always have to get up to pay your tab, and you never need to tip.
*This is a notable drawback of dining in NZ in the winter time. Everybody has to have their damn door open. I know it's a temperate climate and all, but I would argue that if it's cold enough to have your log fire burning, then it's clearly too cold to have the doors agape.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I am the furthest thing from a history scholar. I would definitely lose to any fifth grader in a battle of American or any other history. In fact I have always dreaded history so much that in college, in order to fulfill my history requirements, I took a class called Philosophy of Religion. The class basically focused on various philosophers arguments for or against the existence of god. It was my favorite college course, but I still have no idea why it counted as a history credit. The upside to being ignorant, however, is that now when I read history I am constantly surprised, sometimes shocked and always entertained.
Today I finished Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose. Keith refuses to read anything by Stephen Ambrose because of some plagiarism claims. I don't know anything about that. I do know that the author's writings tend to drip with American patriotism and are from a traditional white, male perspective. Nevertheless I find his writing well organized and entertaining. The book focuses on the life of Meriwether Lewis including the expedition he and Wiliam Clark's led across the American west in 1804.
One thing I found interesting is both Lewis and Clark's complete inability to spell. This is something I struggle with as well, but their spelling is so poor that after a while I started to wonder if looking at all those misspelled words would somehow confuse me further and cause my spelling to become even worse (alas, I have spell check, so I'm alright). Here's an example of a passage from Clark's journal:
"The men has to haul with all their Strength wate & art, maney times every man all catching the grass & knobes & Stones with their hands to give them more force in drawing on the Canoes & Loads, and notwithstanding the Coolness of the air in high presperation and every halt [the men] are asleep in a moment, maney limping from the Soreness of their feet Some become fant for a fiew moments, but no man Complains all go Chearfully on -- to State the fatigues of this party would take up more of the journal than other notes which I find Scercely time to Set down."
It's not just the spelling. I mean, what's with all those random capital letters? Despite this peculiarity, the book is undeniably interesting as a look into the thoughts and character of Meriwether Lewis. The title is appropriate. Lewis and Clark have an extraordinary amount of courage, and I would say sometimes stupidly so. They were so confident in their mission and in their men that they managed all sorts of seemingly impossible feats, such as taking heavy canoes down class V rapids, confidently parading through hostile native American territories, and surviving wild (usually provoked) Grizzly bear attacks. Also, for those of us who only know of the story at an elementary level, the book has a "surprise ending" which was tragic, but also one that provided insight into Meriwether Lewis that I would not have otherwise surmised.
I guess an unintended positive side effect of renting a van to tour New Zealand is that, sans internet and television, you may learn some history.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
I can further justify the purchase because my permanent residence is currently in a place where shoe shops are next to non-existent, and internet shopping for boots is all but impossible. I mean, even if you figure out your size in a certain brand, what are the chances that the boots will fit you right in the arch, ankle and calf? Not only that, but you really have to feel the leather and inspect the seams up close to make sure you've got yourself a quality product.
What this all means, is that Keith and I have to eat day old muffins and cook Top Ramen in the rain in order to get back on budget, but it's totally worth it.
Monday, August 6, 2007
We're in Rotarua now, and for the past couple of days we've been exploring the Whakarewarewa national forest single track. I knew NZ was world famous for mtn biking, and I think now I know why. First of all everywhere you go it's totally beautiful, even a day like today which was basically overcast and drizzly, was still sort of mystically beautiful. But really I think the great thing is that places like Rotarura cater to mtn bikers. There are tons of trails designated for mtn bikers only. That means no slowing down for hikers and no negotiating horsie doo doo and hoof prints. Also the trails are well managed with signage and directionality. This translates to safer, faster riding. We happen to be here in the winter time, and in Seattle that would mean closed trails. Here nobody seems to care how deeply rutted and muddy the trail gets -- it never closes. Finally, the mountain biking opportunities are ubiquitous as are the mountain bikers. That is why the past two days have constituted the most X-TREME mountain biking.
Today's ride consisted of about an hour of grueling uphill road climb (on legs dead from yesterday) to get to the top where we could cruise down a mix of trails. The first was a class 4 meaning tough but just short of the crazy suicide jumps and stuff that would make it class 5 (the most X-TREME class). This trail was loaded with deep mud that had seen enough fat tires that some of the ruts were so deep and narrow that you really didn't have enough clearance to pedal. It reminded me of high school softball practice where a rainy day meant dedicated sliding practice and head to toe mud from sliding into home plate. In other worlds it was a slip-slidy, verging on out of control fun-fest. The remainder of the trails got more dangerous and less fun as my skinny little legs ran out of steam to power the bike, and my arms and hands turned to jello making the down hill trek all the more unsteady. Still, it was a great time and any mountain biking adventure that ends with no permanent damage to either of our reproductive organs is a success in my book.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Keith and Trav
Our Skipper (aka aunt Leslie)
Other stuff we've been up to:
Grueling bike ride
Hopefully next week will be cooler.
Monday, July 9, 2007
That's what had been their shiny new (to them) RV. It took all of 30 minutes for it to burn to the ground. The forest rangers commended my dad for not driving onto the side of this remote road where a huge forest fire would have certainly ensued. In their haste to vacate the vehicle (they were driving it when the fire started under the hood), they lost some valuable items. The most notable was a laptop containing the only copy of a book Kim had been working hard on. I think it's natural to want to find meaning in something like this. I'm not a spiritual person, so I am not sure there is meaning here, but one thing's for sure: this event reminds us all what is really important in life. They may have lost a lot of possessions, but we are all so happy that Kim, Dad, Gaby and Vron are all safe at home!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
That was two days ago. We're still not even close to being done unpacking. But we have decided that our new house is most excellent. We love it! I painted the bathroom yesterday.
Maybe a little more cool-minty then I had planned, but it's o.k.
The fence guys put the posts up for our new doggie sanctuary today, and we took an evening stroll up to the pond where Lucy enjoyed a nice swim. Broken Bow definitely has puppy approval.
Here's us taking a break at Emily's Soda Fountain.
More pics forthcoming as we continue to explore Valspar's color palate.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
"This is Karen at the Hospital. I have a 58 year old woman here who stubbed her toe at 7 pm, and now she wants it looked at."
I rarely swear around my coworkers, but on this occasion it seemed called for. "You have got to be ***** kidding me." Why in the world didn't she come in during the day time?" I got dressed as slowly as possible in order to let myself cool off. I took care not to tidy my hair or rub the sleep from my eyes so that the patient would hopefully notice this was a human they were disturbing for their "emergency" -- a human who has to work a full day tomorrow. As it turned out, the patient was a very sweet lady whom I had met several times in clinic before. She has had the most terrible of luck and has suffered through both a bone marrow and a kidney transplant. The prednisone she has to take daily has thinned her bones to the point that she actually broke her ankle when she stubbed her toe. She was trying to tough it out at home, but the pain was too much. so she finally called a friend to bring her in. Maybe it could have waited until the morning, but I couldn't help but feel like a jerk for being angry at her.
The rest of the night and the next day went downhill from there. I saw one non-emergent emergency after another. Each time I finished seeing a patient I would lie down just long enough to think maybe I would get a few precious hours of sleep only to be awoken by another phone call. Eventually the sun came up, the puppies started stirring, and it was time for a new day. I faced my clinic without a badly needed shower, behind before I started, and still trying to catch up from last night's workload.
I started my clinic day with an elderly patient's son informing me that he didn't agree with my assessment and care of his mother's ankle fracture. I had shown him the x-rays, and because of his extensive carpentry experience he was certain that he knew how things should line up. He felt that the radiologist and I were both wrong in our assesment of the fracture and its healing progress. I tried my best to be empathic and to explain to him that the disagreement about the x-ray read was really moot, and it wasn't going to have any impact on her fracture healing or management. He told me that the more I talked the more he distrusted me, and what's more, he thinks I should have had her moving her ankle sooner. Moving her ankle sooner? Did he learn that through carpentry too? Outwardly I nodded and offered a referral for a second opinion. Inwardly I could not fathom how he ever got so confident with reading x-rays, here I thought you had to go to medical school for that.
I walked out of that patient's room to find one of my partners waiting for me to ask if I could see one of his patients for him. Today was his day off, and the family was very anxious for an appointment. Sure, no problem, I said. As it turns out the patient was quite complex. I spent over an hour with his wife and strongly opinionated daughter about his not one, but two cancers as we tried to come to an agreement about the best care plan for him. The family had been through a lot trying to get his bladder cancer worked up. They had waited over a month to see a specialist in town, only to have that specialist cancel his visit. They then found a specialist over 3 hours away. They packed up their confused, agitated and frail loved one and toted him all the way to Fort Collins. When they got there the doctor told them he would not see the patient because he had not received his records and CT scan reports from our clinic. They turned around and came home. I ended up hospitalizing the patient as much for the family's comfort as for the patient's, all the while knowing that I would later have to fight with the social worker and insurance company to justify the admission.
After finishing up with this patient I hurried to the next room where a heavy set man greeted me like this:
"I've been sitting here 30 minutes already. A man could be dead by now!"
He had walked into the clinic without an appointment because his back was hurting. He thought he may be having a heart attack. It turned out he just strained his lumbar spine. I carefully examined him and offered my opinion and advice for care. He huffed off, never thanking me.
Another patient left without a word before I ever got to see her. I had gotten terribly behind, and she was simply tired of waiting I guess. She came back over the lunch hour, and I saw her then instead of eating a proper lunch.
I went home tired. I fell asleep on the couch at 6pm and didn't wake up until 5:30 this morning.
I started today by seeing my Alzheimer's patient in the hospital. I had more information back from the various lab tests, and I was better able to treat him and to give the family a more accurate prognosis. The respiratory treatments and antibiotics we put him on had helped him breath more comfortably, and he was eating again. The family agreed to have him go to the nursing home with hospice care. They smiled and laughed and seemed so much more comfortable with everything. His wife thanked me over and over for being compassionate and for explaining everything to them so well. She had tears in her eyes when she told me she was so glad that she had met me. I did almost nothing except just listen.
I finished my clinic. It would be my last here in Wray. Some of my patients told me they were sorry to see me leave and they shook my hand and thanked me for their care. I went downtown for lunch and a lady stopped me to thank me for taking care of her neck and arm pain. The physical therapy was working. She felt like I listened to her better than anyone had before.
It doesn't take long in medicine to realize what a roller coaster ride it can be. There are too many days when people are ungrateful, frustrated, distrustful or simply a challenge because their diagnosis is elusive. When I do get thanks and praise, my initial reaction is to shake my head, because I know I am only doing what anyone in my position would do, and because I know how truly limited I am in most cases. At the same time though, I also force myself to soak it in, because those are the reactions that I need in order to feel like my work has meaning, and those are the reactions that I need to let me know that maybe now and then I do have a positive impact on people's lives. Those are the reactions that make the 12:30 am phone calls worth while.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
My dad told me this week that when he read my first blog post his initial reaction was that of protective concern that my new husband may be cruel or controlling, because why else would he cancel our t.v subscription without my input? And I completely agree! Kidding of course. I tend to give Keith a hard time a lot about this and that. In actuality he is a great husband. He doesn't know I think this. He only knows that I think he never takes the trash out or cleans the bathroom in a timely fashion, and that I wish we would synchronize our bedtimes to maximize cuddle time.
Today is not our monthiversary. Our monthiversary falls on the second of each month (marking our first date and our first kiss). We never celebrate our monthiversary, because we always forget. This despite it being on Keith's Google calender. The following is the kind of thing I would write about Keith on our monthiversary if I could ever remember it was coming.
One of the things that first attracted me to Keith is his rare intellect. You would be surprised how hard it is to find a really smart guy who isn't a total weirdo, and you'd be crazy to hold out for a smart, well-adjusted, cute, athletic AND nice guy, but that's what I've got. The thing that impresses me about his intellect isn't just that he is always up on current events, or that he knows who directed every film that was ever made, or that his knowledge of computers and gadgetry rivals Bill Gates. Those things do continually impress me, but it's his broad understanding about the world, its events and its people that I really admire. It is impossible to take him by surprise with news of some outlandish action by a government official, or some crazy bit of world politics, because it all seems to make sense to him.
Another thing I noticed right off was his hard work ethic and his eagerness to help his classmates. Keith always wants the people around him to be happy and comfortable. Unlike so many people in medicine, it is not hubris that drives him. He truly cares for his peers and patients.
Keith is a great basketball player, but when he plays against me he always plays just hard enough to make it fun and challenging, and he doesn't have the male ego issue going on if I do end up winning.
I don't think Keith realizes how much I look forward to 5 o'clock when he will be coming home, or how much I hate to have to sleep without him for even one night. He also may not know that on those occasions that I am upset at him, I am never able to sustain the anger because the second I look up into his sweet face and eyes, I can't help but see how truly kind he is, and then I get to thinking that maybe it's me that's a bit crazy for getting mad in the first place.
Keith gives me absolute freedom to live my life any way I choose. He'll let me be as active or as lazy as I want to be. He puts up with my protean moods and decisions without so much as an eye roll. He would support me working 80 hours a week or no hours a week. He let me get the most destructive dogs on the planet without a hint of dissent despite never really wanting a dog of his own. His concern is only that I am happy.
So, dad, you needn't worry. I am in the best of hands.
Okay, that's poo about two hours after the dogs consumed an entire bag of rice and a half bag of split peas. There are about six of these in my yard. It proves my theory that the dogs don't actually ever absorb anything they eat, which in turn explains their insatiability and my going broke on designer dog food.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Living like this is the downside of being prepared.
This photo actually illustrates another weakness of mine, which is my lack of patience. I'm trying to be good, but I couldn't resist the planters on sale at Crate and Barrel (I blame Kat for this, because I would never have stumbled upon C&B's outlet site without her blog). I also have a huge area rug and a hand painted drum table on the way (what sense does it make to move furniture in only to move it back out in order to place a rug under it?). Nevertheless, I am cutting myself off from internet shopping. Instead I'm focusing my time on virtually moving in:
Most of the stuff in this sketch, we don't even own yet, but it's going to look fantastic!
In more exciting news of preparation, we have booked are trips to Seattle and New Zealand!!! We'll be in Seattle July 3rd through July 25th. I think the trip to New Zealand may be the coolest vacation ever. I hope Keith agrees.
This is how we will be getting around. We're planning lots of mountain biking and hiking, so I hope the showers in these things are somewhat effective. We'll be hanging out with the kiwi-heads for almost five weeks before we have to start work on October 1st.
The puppies will be in good hands with Keith's dad. He can't say we didn't warn him!
Thursday, June 7, 2007
So now she's famous not only for the rich girl, show your drunken nakedness on Youtube stuff, but also because she's a criminal. This is where I start to get interested. Not the criminal part, lots of celebs are criminals and drug addicts, and what have you. It's the part about her serving FIVE days of her 45 day sentence that piqued my interest. Not only that, but she was in some special celebrity part of the jail for those five days. AND, she's finishing out her sentence in a mansion. Jail time in a mansion. I hate to break it to the courts, but I don't think that's punishment. Somehow I doubt your typical, average income drunk driver who breaks parole (twice) would ever get such a leniant sentence. (Jeffrey can correct me here if I'm wrong -- or at least he can in a year or two).
Okay, here's an idea. The California jails are overcrowded right? So how 'bout we send Paris home as planned, and to actually make it a punishment for her, we could send, say, 15-20 other inmates with her. Based on the way Paris interacts with her dog I think this would truly be severe punishment for everyone involved.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
We had a good time with the Gautreaux clan.
The Thunderbirds were impressive.
Now onto our segment on home makeovers. Keith and I went to B.B. (that's how I'll be referring to it henceforth) this weekend. We wanted to get a jump start on moving in. The puppies loved the gigantic yard, and I loved all the trees and bushes which are just Northwesty enough to make me feel at home.
Our major undertaking this weekend was to paint the master bedroom. Finally, my chance to put all those hours of HGTV viewing into action! We did have a couple of issues with the taping process (takes a long time, paint pealed off with the tape), but overall things went well. We love the color of our new room, and it compliments our new duvet perfectly. (btw, we learned that it is actually easier to just skip the whole taping process since the paint would just wipe off the wood trim anyway, or apparently a simple denatured alcohol solution will remove paint from wood without damaging the finish if the paint is stubborn).
Not nearly as glamorous as HGTV either.