Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hot Chocolate

We've been traveling, and had breakfast with friends in Chicago yesterday at our favorite place for such things: Tweets. It's a diner, more or less, but a very hip one that has vegetarian fare displayed prominently on their menu. Three of us had a round of coffee; Hilary asked for a hot chocolate. She was not quite expecting to get this:

Good thing B is staying with grandparents this weekend: she would be quite eager to "share" (i.e., chug) that with Mama.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cold Water

We've got our first triathlon of the season - King Pine - coming up on Sunday, and we're gettin' jittery about the water temperatures. It was a cold winter and, although we've had some nice days so far this spring, it hasn't been exactly hot. The last few days has been heavily overcast, chilly for May, and rainy across all of NH, with a forecast for more of the same through the remainder of the week. The Concord Monitor recently had a piece on canoeing Purity Lake, which is more or less the body of water we will be swimming in for the King Pine. The article mentioned stubborn patches of ice. Ice!

Not long afterwards, I did get word from the race director that the lake is, in fact, ice-free. Which only means it is some unknown number of degrees above freezing. Larger bodies of water to the southwest (Winnipesaukee and Newfound Lakes) are registering in the low 50s Fahrenheit. That's do-able with a wetsuit, but makes for a very chilly 10-15 minutes. The first year we did King Pine the water was somewhere around 60 F, and it definitely caused Hilary some trouble. She's a much stronger and more experienced swimmer and triathlete now, but even so... although we both put ourselves through all this training and all, we're not actually masochists.

We're hoping somehow, somewhere, to get in some open water swimming between now and Sunday. Even just a quick splash and a hundred yards would be enough to remind the body after being out of the water for the last eight months. We've done plenty of pool time in the off-season, but it is a very different experience being out in the open water. Stay tuned!

UPDATE 2011-05-19: Yesterday I did dash out from work a touch early and headed off to Clough State Park, which happens to be the venue for a triathlon I did last September. On a warm day people come down to the beach and swim. But in 50-degree weather with light rain in May, with ~50-degree water, it was completely deserted. There was no one else there; no cars parked up on the road. On with the wetsuit, on with the goggles, wade out to my waist and... my feet start aching with the cold. Normally I'd just dunk myself an get it over with, but somehow it seemed better today to draw it out. After about 5 minutes I was up to my chin, quivering at the continual stream of cold water entering my wetsuit from the zipper up my spine. I struck out for about 50 yards paralleling the shore. The cold on my face was unpleasant. It became hard to work my hands. Everything inside the wetsuit felt fine, but the exposed bits weren't loving it. Water in my ear gave me a low-grade ice cream headache. After another 75 yards I got used to it, and ended up doing another 100-200 yards before calling it quits. It should be alright on Sunday, but I'm glad that I took this chance to try it out and wrap my head around it. Transitioning onto the bike with more-or-less numb feet should be a whole lot of fun.

But, on the plus side, it looks like we might actually see the sun that day.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Springtime Photos

We've been spending a lot of time outside recently, as the weather has gotten warmer and the days have gotten longer.

Here's B playing on the train at the ice cream shop:

And Alex and B at the playground:

With the tortoise near the "coffee store" yesterday morning:
The best way to describe Brynna these days is "always in motion!"

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Our existing mailbox is functional, but not ideal. It is large enough for normal letters, and even a folded-up magazine. However, on those days when we get three or four magazines, a stack of letters, and the odd Netflix envelope, our mailbox really isn't up to the job. It's purple, too, which is just odd. Plus, I've had a hankerin' for a new woodworking project, so a new mailbox is on the way.

The plan was for a horizontal, house-mounted mailbox large enough for the big bundle of mail I just described. I strove for a design that was not perfectly rectilinear ('cause what fun is that?). After a little doodling, this is what I came up with:

As it turns out, this can be made from two 4' lengths of 1/2" x 6" lumber, with just a little scrap left over. The back face and the lid need to be built up from smaller pieces, being about 7" wide. I intended to paint it a dark forest green, so that it matches out new porch, so I decided to make it from poplar, which is a bit nicer and more durable than pine, but less expensive than a natural-finish wood like maple or oak.

The project made good use of my table saw, both for cutting the pieces to size, but also for mitering where the angled pieces come together.

It was also an excellent first project for my brand new router table (many thanks to my generous benefactors!), which I used for the rabbit joints at the top and bottom, the joints on the left and right sides, and a round-over on the edges of the lid.

In just a few hours on a Saturday, despite occasional thunderstorms, I was able to get all the carpentry done.

Up next: painting.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Gettin' on in years

I had a birthday a while back. Not long ago, I received a birthday card with this message:

Hi Alex,
I forgot your Birthday. See? That's what is means to get older.

Oh goodie.

As it turns out, the message was more or less accurate. Just last week there was a birthday party for our day-care provider's son. B and I were late - partly because B's nap ran long, but also because I clean forgot about it until, by chance, iChatting with my parents after B awoke brought it back to mind. My next thought was, of course, "oh crap, I meant to buy something two weeks ago!" The local bookstore was closed on a Sunday (???!!!), and we were already almost two hours late, so we also showed up empty handed. Yup, I'm gettin' on in years.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

We're Still Here!

Am in the midst of 3 overnight calls in 7 days. Thus far have done two of them and have slept a total of one hour in the hospital. It would have been two hours, except the alarm clock in the call room across from mine went off at 5:30 this morning, and despite the incredibly annoying beeping, my knocking on the door, AND my eventual call to security to come down and turn off the alarm in what I thought had to be a vacant room...nope, there was a doctor in there, sleeping through the racket.

I just gave up, got up, and went and rounded on my patients. But I did come back later to make sure that guy was alive. He was. (Maybe I won't refer people to him anymore. Will my patients accept "made me lose an hour of sleep" as a reason to see a different specialist?)

Must go read about disorders of the esophagus for conference tomorrow, and then go to bed. Eventually we'll emerge from the haze and start posting regularly again...

Here's a teaser: we're almost done with diapers!