Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Never-ending Questions

Here is a conversation from our walk to the park today:

B: when we get to the park, we all play together?
Me: well, Daddy will meet us at the park after his run, and then I'll go for my run.
B: you switch?
Me: right, I'll go for my run and you'll play with Daddy.
B: then you switch again?
Me: no, then we'll all meet up at home and be together.
B: Why?
Me: to eat supper and then go to bed.
B: Why?
Me: because it's suppertime and then bedtime.
B: Why?
Me: because it's nighttime.
B: Why?
Me: I don't know how to answer that question.
B: Maybe it's just because!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Midwestern Swing

A month ago (yeah, lots of call and not much blogging recently...) Alex and I had a fantastic Memorial Day weekend trip. Brynna had a lovely long weekend with M and Deen, and we grown-ups headed for the upper midwest to meet Steve and Lucy's new baby and to attend Todd and Ellen's wedding.

We started in Chicago with lots of baby-snuggling. Check out the beautiful Miss M!

Yeah, I really miss this part:

Look! Alex and I are in the same place! At the same time! Awake! Having breakfast at the fabulous Tweet.

Then Lucy and Steve were kind enough to let us take their car to Michigan for the wedding. It was our first expedition in a hybrid, and our first time with a GPS.

So, we had to get used to hitting a power button rather than turning a key, which was a little odd:

The GPS came in really handy, especially in the city.

We didn't take any pictures at the wedding party, because we were too busy having fun! Yummy food, lots of games, a joyous occasion all round.

Now, if we could only persuade our midwestern friends to move to New Hampshire...

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Here's the first product of this year's garden: garlic scapes. These are the immature flowering stalks of a garlic plant. Snipping these off before they are more fully formed encourages the plant to put its energy into developing the bulb. Plus, they make for an interesting cooking ingredient. The most adventurous can use them as a 1:1 replacement for asparagus or green beans in some dishes.

I chopped these and used them in place of most of the garlic in the sofrito base for a cuban black bean soup earlier this week.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Scope of Practice

Today I...

intubated a newborn to suck meconium out of her windpipe, then finished resuscitating her into a breathing, alert, checking-out-the-world-around-her baby...

visited a nursing home patient in her 90s...

admitted a pregnant patient to the hospital for induction of labor...

admitted a hospice patient to the hospital for a palliative procedure...

discussed abnormal genetic testing results, pregnancy ultrasounds, and amniocentesis (with LOTS of help from a great interpreter) with a family that doesn't speak any English yet...

taught some interns...

learned some pediatrics...

didn't eat anything until 2 PM...

almost threw my pagers out a window because they wouldn't stop going off...

gained a little confidence...

was profusely thanked by a couple of patients...

and was almost kicked by a demented patient in a nursing home.

Why family medicine? Because I can't imagine anything more satisfying.

(Though I could do with breakfast next time.)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mailbox, part 2

I finished the new mailbox for the house last weekend. What took so long, when the carpentry was knocked out in a single day weeks ago? Some bad experience with paints is what happened. I'll start with the good:

Yes, it looks rather nice if I do say so myself. My better than what it replaced, certainly. Roomy enough even for one of those occasional 5-magazines, 2-netflix, and a pile of solicitations mail days.

The reason it took so long to finish off was due to a serious disagreement with the paint. I had wanted the paint to match the shade of green used for the woodwork of the new porch. It is, more or less, a dark, foresty green. So, at the local hardware store, I perused the color cards, decided on "Billiard Green," and had a quart mixed up. However, after two coats, it was pretty clear that the color wasn't even close. Instead of a sort of forest green that showed on the card, I got something more like the bright new leaves on our maple tree out front, or the green felt of a vegas table under the harshest light. Photography doesn't quite do it justice in terms of lighting and exposure, but even in this crude shot you can see it just doesn't match up:

Plus, after the two coats and a few days' drying time, the paint was still tacky to the touch. WTF?! So I too it back, along with the painted lid, and was able to swap it out for a new batch of a darker shade: Black Spruce. I thought about stripping the mailbox down to bare wood and starting over, but decided to take my chances with just painting over the first two coats (the alternative was many evening spend scraping away the old paint - it would have been faster and easier to just make a new box!) This was closer to what I was aiming for, and more closely matched the color swatch, but didn't quite match.

Somewhat defeated and very ready to move on, I deemed it "close enough" after two coats.

But a few days later, I discovered that this paint, too, was still tacky to the touch. I did a little digging and discovered why: many water-based latex paints, particularly thick exterior grades, are forever tacky even after fully curing. Something about the paint being flexible enough to expand with the wood. Many DIY pages warn specifically against latex paints for bookshelves and the like because of it. To which I respond: why the hell would you put a whole class of paint on the market that never actually dries? An oil-based paint would have yielded better results, I'm told, but I really didn't want to deal with fumes from the paint and mineral spirits, especially since I was doing this work in my basement. Plus, painting oil-based over layers of water-based latex is a recipe for disaster.

In the end I opted to put a clear-coat acrylic over top of the now four layers of green paint and hope for the best. This dried tack-free and, in this first week of use, seems to be doing alright. Another coat to the interior surfaces that those glossy magazines contact may yet be in order.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Good Times Ahead (and a few today)

Work is busy, busy, busy. My class is running a bit short-handed at the moment (no one's fault, just happenstance), so despite being off on Monday, I still worked 88 hours last week. Ick! This has not been great for family time, sleep time, or workout time.

However, I got a boost of energy at the end of the workday today, because I printed out the call schedules for July, August, and September, right after I magically become a third year resident. I'm doing several overnight calls in July, but there are very few otherwise. Woohoo! There may be a chance for an actual life!

So, with inspiration from the-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel, we decided to get in a triathlon workout. We packed up the car with toddler, dog, and lots of gear, and Brynna, Jasper and I set off driving for the local state park, with Alex zooming along behind on his bike. B and I paused about halfway there to rescue a turtle trying to cross the road. She was a bit alarmed at first and didn't want to get too close, but once I had carefully carried it across the road and put it down on the grassy verge, she was very interested in checking it out. We watched it poke its head out, look around, and eventually walk away (luckily, further into the woods). After a few more minutes of turtle-stalking, Alex came whizzing up, having made spectacular time on his bike.

Once at the park, I wetsuited up and then went for a short swim. It was a gorgeous, 80-degree day and the local lakes and ponds are warming up accordingly. Other than the nice "refreshing" feeling of the water creeping up my spine inside my suit, it was actually quite pleasant. No trouble at all with the swim, though I still get a bit anxious in open water. Since I was swimming alone, I paralleled the shore so I could just stand up if I needed to. Alex, Brynna (in her own little wetsuit) and Jasper frolicked at the water's edge. That dog sure loves the water! I'm hoping to get in several more open-water practice sessions before our next tri two weeks from now.

Then I switched into bike clothes and biked back home, while Alex/Brynna/Jasper drove. It was a late night for little B--we didn't get home until 8:45 and she still needed to eat and have a shower--but much fun was had by all. (A note to parental types who are reading this and worrying: it was still quite light out at that hour, and I had all of my bike lights on (front and rear) and a bright yellow shirt to boot. Alex would like to point out that he saw my tail light blinking from more than half a mile away.)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Egregious Packaging

World Kitchen, the online distributor of all things Pyrex, has just landed themselves on my shit-list for Egregious and Wasteful Packaging. We have, over the last few years, gradually moved away from using conventional tupperware, and now pack most of our leftovers in these Pyrex storage bowls with plastic lids. We purchased some knock-offs second hand a while back, too. We've yet to break any, and have probably gotten a few dozen uses from each, with every intention of a few hundred more. As a bonus, they don't turn yellow when I store curries in them.

Problem is, even though the bowls are immutable glass, the lids from the knock-offs haven't fared as well. They are made of flimsier plastic, and almost all have developed a split along the edge, which means they have started to leak. It seems ridiculous to retire a perfectly good glass bowl just because the plastic lid has gone bad. After some searching, I determined you can buy replacement Pyrex lids onesey-twosey from World Kitchen.

The lids arrived today, packaged thus:

A cardboard box 6" x 6" x 15", filled with bubble wrap, all for six discs of plastic. Were they afraid the lids would shatter from the rigors of the journey? Would an envelope have been too much trouble?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Spring Planting

We got some pepper plant seedlings a little while back, and have only just now gotten them into the ground. They did alright sitting on the back steps, but really need some space to grow. They look small next to the enormous spreading leaves of our garlic, but they should catch up before long. B enjoyed helping:

This weekend is the first of the season for the Concord Farmer's market. We hope to score some nice tomato seedlings to put in alongside.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ice Cream

As the weather has turned warmer, we've found ourselves drawn inexorably to the ice cream stand in the neighborhood. We don't make a frequent habit of it, but some days it just seems like the right thing to do. Our first outing of the year was about a month ago, when it was all of 55 degrees:

Mint chocolate chip - just like Mama. Good thing we went for the "baby" size - small is twice as big!