29 June 2009

The Country Club Set, Or How to See Free Fireworks

We have one of the benefits of belonging to a country club without having to pay the membership fee. I am not much of a joiner in general, and I don't get the concept of paying umpteen thousands of dollars to join a country club. I don't play golf or tennis. I am not good at regular small talk (although I can do SF or medical small talk). I like swimming in swimming pools, but my county has several public outdoor public pools and two indoor ones that are quite nice.

However, many country clubs have big fireworks displays for the 4th of July. That's what some of the membership goes to, I guess. Well, we have the benefit of the fireworks without the insane joining and yearly membership fees. There is a country club on the other side of the field behind my house. Their yearly July 4th fireworks display is always the Sunday before the 4th, which (this year) was last night. Now, it took us about 4 or 5 years of living in the house before we figured out that the fireworks were the Sunday before the 4th.

Neurondoc: What was that?
TheHusband: Fireworks, I think.
ND: Oooh, fireworks! But it's not July 4th.
TH: Those are definitely fireworks. Let's go see.
ND: Okay.

(That exchange happened several years running.)

As we've done the last 2 years, we let ThePinkThing stay up late, took some plastic chairs out into the backyard at about 9:15, and watched some free fireworks. The view is obstructed, because we don't get to see the low-flying fireworks, but the high ones are beautifully visible. It was as nice as previous years, and TheHusband and I hummed "Stars and Stripes Forever" to go along with the fireworks. No trudging to the car and waiting in line afterwards.

The worst part about it is the mosquitos. I wised up this year and wore long pants and a long sleeve shirt to prevent bug bites. But they still got me -- I have 3 bug bites on my hands. Grrr.

28 June 2009

In CO, now UT, now NV...

Here is yet another update from my-brother-the-biker. He is now in Nevada, soon to be in California.

He has finally had an injury. I received a phone call on Thursday afternoon from him. He has mentioned the fierce winds in his blog posts and assured me that he wasn't exaggerating for the sake of attention. In between Baker and Ely (Nevada), the wind was so bad that it blew his bike over and down into a ditch, gashing his leg in the process. Unfortunately, he was basically at the midpoint between the two towns, and there was nothing for 30 miles either direction (30 miles back to Baker or 30 forward to Ely). So he opted to go forward, after cleaning and bandaging it as best he could. When he finally arrived in Ely, he called me for advice. It had stopped bleeding (thankfully) long since. He had a first aid kit and was able to use some of the contents to clean and dress the wound appropriately. Annoyingly, there would be no cell phone service for the next two days. Great, I thought, he's going to develop a serious wound infection and not be able to call. Well, he didn't, thank goodness. He texted me last night to tell me that it is healing well. Good long-distance doctoring. Easier than the time I diagnosed his appendicitis over the phone from 3000+ miles away...

Wed 6/17 -- Blanding, UT (82 mi)
Thur 6/18 -- Hanksville, UT (127 mi)
Fri 6/19 -- Boulder, UT (84 mi)
Sat 6/20 -- Tropic, UT (66 mi)
Sun 6/21 -- Bryce Canyon, UT (rest day, but 11 mi)
Mon 6/22 -- Cedar City, UT (78 mi)
Tues 6/23 -- Milford, UT (56 mi)
Wed 6/24 -- Baker, NV (85 mi)
Thur 6/25 -- Ely, NV (63 mi)
Fri 6/26 -- Eureka, NV (78 mi)
Sat 6/27 -- Austin, NV (71 mi)
Sun 6/28-- I don't know

If all goes well, he should reach the Golden Gate Bridge on Thursday afternoon!

27 June 2009

My new toy

My main computer, which is a 2.5 year-old Dell laptop, hasn't been acting quite itself lately. Sometimes when I boot it up, I get nothing. Nothing, you ask? Well, almost nothing. You can kind of see ghostly icons that are fractured and liney, but nothing works. It has always had video problems. For a while, everything had a bizarre greenish blue tinge, which was especially disconcerting when we were watching Shrek. And then it really began to act up when we got home from Ohio on Sunday. I now approach it with extreme caution. Will it boot up? Will it crap out in the middle of something? Will I throw it out the window? I have an old Macbook that someone gave to TH, but it has a dead battery, and it is pretty slow. Plus, I am out of Mac-practice, since the last time I owned a (working) Mac was about 11 years ago.

We decided to replace the Dell with a desktop -- speedier, cheaper, sturdier, and the innards can be swapped out as needed (easily, TH says). TH will even build it for me. Yay!

On Tuesday night, we went to the local MicroCenter. We like MicroCenter. They have all sorts of fun stuff in there. TPT likes the aisle where they have the black light thingamabobs that real geeks put in their computers to tart them up. She came over to tell me excitedly that her white shirt turned purple in there.

Anyway we bought a case (boring black), a bunch of innards, and a new keyboard. But the best thing of all is my new toy. TH had a $70 rebate for any HP product but it had to be used by 6/26. Since we were going to be retiring the laptop, we needed a travel computer of some sort. So we bought a netbook. I've been lusting after one of these for months, and with the rebate, it became ridiculously affordable. We bought a HP Mini 1137NR, and it is so cute. TH is not particularly impressed ("it is a cheap slow laptop"), but it is feather-light and connects to the web much more reliably than the Dell ever did. I am typing on it now, as we speak.

Here you see all of my currently working computers (plus a bonus cell phone), including my old monitor which is just waiting for the desktop to be hooked up to it. The new toy is the cute one in the front.

26 June 2009

Kicked off the top of the news

Mark Sanford must be beyond happy that Michael Jackson died yesterday. Sort of like I imagine Lisa Nowak felt when Anna Nichole Smith died during the height of the astronaut-in-a-diaper news coverage.

Occasionally a song speaks to me

I am not a music lover. As I have said before, I am tone-deaf, and I just don't get music. When ThePinkThing is an adolescent and cranking up her music, I will surely be the mother who is shrieking "Turn that crap down! You're going to make yourself (and me) DEAF!" And, having grown up in the NY metro area, I certainly hadn't a clue about country music. All of the country music I ever heard as a kid was a sort of musical wailing complaint -- constantly sad and depressing. I always thought, "who the heck likes this stuff?" If there was a local country music radio station, it was well-hidden.

Then in my 30's I met TheHusband. He likes music. And he's from the Midwest, where lots of people like country music. I resisted as hard as I could. He even took me to the Grand Ole Opry a few years back. I literally was in culture shock -- all those old guys wearing tight sequinned suits up on the stage singing songs I'd never even heard before. I did enjoy it though, and I realized that though I might not like the country music of my childhood (TH calls it "old" country), I do like traditional bluegrass music, mostly because of the banjo picking. Yes, yes, yes, I know, a suburban mid-Atlantic gal likes bluegrass because of the banjo?

Over time, I have grown to like some "new" country -- the type of country music that has happier tunes and less depressing lyrics. I like a whole bunch of songs from a variety of artists, but one really stands out, because of the subject matter. It is "the 19 Something" song by Mark Wills. The singer (and songwriter?) is a few years younger than I am, but he hit my childhood and adolescent decades right on the nose, even though it is from a boy's perspective. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a video to embed, so I am providing a link instead. As it happens, I didn't see Star Wars in the theater 8 times, but I did see it twice...

25 June 2009

I gots me some pumpkins. (Well, eventually...)

Yes, I am still playing Farm Town. TheHusband is impressed that it has kept my attention for so long. What he doesn't realize is that I had a goal. A goal of pumpkins. I've seen them on friends' farms -- so alluring, bright, and autumnal. They are the last type of seed that unlocks on FT. For me, they were like a fat, orange Holy Grail at the bottom of the seed catalogue. But last night I finally hit Level 25 and unlocked the pumpkins. Yay! Then I planted them in all of my open, available fields. Right now the fields are still brown and dirt-like, but soon they will be happy and orange. (Why yes, I know I'm weird.)

Next up -- the bigger house or a barn? But then, there's also a windmill...

24 June 2009

I always got in more trouble if I lied about it...

I learned early not to lie, if I got caught doing something bad as a kid. I would get in double trouble. Trouble x 1 for whatever the transgression was. Trouble x 3 for lying about it. And rightfully so I think, now that I am a grown-up. However, that kind of punishment or retribution or whatever never happened to Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina when he was a kid. Or he would have either come up with a better story, not lied in the first place, or best of all kept his wanker in his pants. Before yesterday, I didn't know a thing about this guy, except that he didn't want to accept any of that dirty government bailout money, but, come on, a "quick trip" to Argentina? What could you possibly think we were going to think? Eric had an interesting take on this situation this morning. I now await his eventual update with bated breath...

What is it with Republican "lawmakers" and extramarital affairs? So many R's seem to be having a bit on the side. Fergoshsakes, two of them exposed in one week? Are they that much more attractive to women? Or are they worse liars than the Dems and just get caught more often? Are they getting for free what Dem lawmakers have to pay for? (yes, yes, a gratuitous snark...) Then again, there's John Edwards. Why must this activity be so bipartisan?

A part of me thinks "So what? He's got a bit of muslin on the side. That's between him and his wife. They'll have to work it out." But in reality, it appears that Gov. Sanford lied to his staffers about his whereabouts, which majorly compounds the issue. The top executive of a state leaves for a long weekend, lies to his staffers about where he was going, and leaves no clear way to contact him (as far as we know) in the case of an emergency. Such irresponsibility is very concerning in someone with a job like that. A doctor would be fried over open coals if he or she did that to his or her practice.

I do feel bad for Gov. Sanford's kids. It must suck for them to have to deal with kind of stuff in public.

******H/T to The Washington Post.******

I'm a grown-up now!

In reality, I still want to sit at the kids' table.

However, since I am over 40, work for a living, and have a kid of my own, I guess I'm stuck being an adult. But now I know that I've grown up. You see, I bought a dining room set. TheHusband and I have been using my uncle's mother's old dining room set since shortly after we bought our house (almost 9 years now). It is a generic set from the early 50's with mustard colored velvety upholstery on the seats. And it is rickety. TH has tightened the screws to the bursting point, but the table still is rickety, and its instability has caused drinks to spill. For it to be functional, it would need to be reglued, and the table is not worth it. So we decided to buy a new set. Actually, I decided I wanted a new set and (somehow) convinced TheHusband that he did, too. (I'm still not sure how I managed that. Wish I did, because I'd use those secret powers to get me an iPhone, I'm telling you!)

My aunt and uncle had bought a dining table, chairs, buffet, and a bedroom set from an Amish furniture maker in central Ohio, had it delivered to NJ, and were extremely happy with the products. So (after I looked their stuff over and was duly impressed) we decided to go to the same place. Mind you, this furniture-maker is ~450 miles from our house, so it wasn't a quick jaunt to check out his stuff. It so happened that his workshop/showroom is about 1 hour from my mother-in-law's house, hence the other reason for our trip to OH (as if the baby wasn't alluring enough).

We ordered a dining table, 8 chairs, a hutch, a buffet, a new coffee table (to replace the one that is about to lose a leg), and a hall table (for mail and other stuff, right inside the front door, to replace the rickety one we found in the coat closet when we moved into the house). I did have to compromise on the choice of wood and stain color with TheHusband. Why can't he be a good husband and not have an opinion? We are also considering replacing our kitchen chairs. And we are paying about half what we would pay if we bought the same pieces here in suburban DC. W00t! One of my coworkers may order a bed and tag along in our shipment, thereby reducing some of the shipping cost. Anyone else in the DC area want to order some hand-made wood furniture to be delivered in late August?

Are you sure this makes me all grown-up?

23 June 2009

My long weekend in OH and WV

We went to visit relatives in Ohio this weekend. TheHusband is from the Cleveland area, and all of his family still lives in OH. My cousin, L, met a nice boy from the Cleveland area when they were both living here in DC, moved to Ohio, and got married. So I have my very own set of Ohio relatives (well, I share them with the rest of the family, but you know what I mean). So there was double reason to go to Ohio for a visit.

L had a baby almost 8 months ago, and up until this past weekend, I still hadn't met him. I finally got to meet him on Saturday. He is an adorable, active, busy, drooly 7 month-old boy. One of the most charming things was watching him get so excited when either of his parents came into the room, even after only being away for a few minutes. That arm-waving, big-grinning, drooling, whole-body moving happiness that only babies of a certain age have. Much as I love the fact that I can have a conversation with ThePinkThing now, he made me long for that particular age.

We spent an enjoyable day with my cousins. We had planned to arrive around 10:30, and actually were almost on time. TPT was complaining about visiting L, J, and E, because she wanted to hang with Grammy. (Do you want some cheese with that whine, kid?) After E awoke from his nap, we went out to lunch at a nice place called Yours Truly, which is a local Cleveland chain, I understand. J had to take E on a few walks around the restaurant (remember, I said he is active) and even outside. E discovering his mother sitting on the other side of the glass was rather amusing. That and the baby fingerprints he left on the window... :-) Then we went to a local park, where TPT climbed some giant play structure (mostly out of my line of sight [thank goodness] while being supervised by TH and J) and made friends with some random age-matched girl there attending some other kid's birthday party. I am surprised that TPT didn't attach herself to that party. We all went back to my cousins' house and hung out for a time, then I sent TH and TPT back to Grammy's house.

Little Cousin, meet Big Cousin...

Come on and play...

That generated more whines, because now she didn't want to go back to Grammy's, she wanted to stay at E's house to play with him. But I shuffled them off. After bedtime for baby, the remaining 3 adults ate Turkish food. YUM! And I got a few extra hours of hang-out time with my cousin and her husband -- lucky me.

Sunday was a very busy day with multiple timelines. We got up, gave TH his Father's Day present (the 1st season of Hogan's Heroes) and his cards, including a really annoying Homer Simpson talking one (hee-hee). Then we met my SiL at a Bob Evans in New Philadelphia OH, which was sort of on our way home.

The next stop was one I had been looking forward to for weeks. I got to meet up with Random Michelle, at her house in Morgantown WV. Her place is literally on our way home. She, her husband and her Grandmom were wonderfully welcoming to 3 tired travellers. Michelle fed us homemade pizza and oreos, let TPT stick her nose in various flowers (she had a yellow-stained face even this morning), showed me her book collection (ooooh!) and the cobalt blue KitchenAid mixer that has been a recent topic of conversation. But the best part was the talking. First time meet-ups with "virtual" friends can sometimes not work out, but I never thought that would happen. We yapped and yakked and talked.

I am the Pizza Assistant, says TPT

The Visitors and The Hostess

And began planning the Trollopalooza, which will be happening in September. Yay -- I am looking forward to that meeting even more now. And Michelle has invited us over for pie on our way back from OH post-Thanksgiving. Double yay (as long as I don't have to eat the pumpkin pie...)!

Tomorrow I'll tell you about the other reason we schlepped out to Ohio this past weekend...

22 June 2009

The AC guy is here -- could the heavens open and angels start to sing?

The AC repairman arrived about 10-15 minutes ago. He turned on the AC from the thermostat (we turned it off last night). The damn thing started right up and began to blow cold air. I could have kicked it. But thankfully he stuck around to make sure it kept running. While he was outside looking at the outside unit, the inside part crapped out (it took about 5 minutes). Now he is in there making grumpy, sighing sorts of noises.

I am in hopes that it will be fixed today.
Updated 2:45 pm

It works, it works!!! Forget the repairman singing -- I'm singing. This time it was a capacitor or a thingamajig or a hooziwhatsis. At this point, I don't care, because it works.

21 June 2009

Tonight I'm Gonna Sleep in the Basement

I was in Ohio this past weekend. More on that in a later post, because we did a lot of stuff, most of which was really fun. Unfortunately the one thing that sucked was that my mother-in-law's air-conditioning unit was out. And of course the room we were sleeping in was the warmest room in the house (although it did have a computer with internet access on the desk and a bathroom attached). I have the hardest time sleeping when I'm hot, and then I'm miserable the next day. That's been going on since Friday evening. I literally have been dreaming about coming home to sleep since Friday night, when it was over 80 degrees in the bedroom. And what do you think I came home to about 30 minutes ago? No air-conditioning. In the DC area. In late June. Two freaking weeks after it crapped out and was then fixed. WTF? I am literally so mad that I am seeing red. It doesn't seem to be the outside compressor unit now. This time, the inside furnace part doesn't sound right.

As an additional bonus, I wrecked my external hard drive. After looking in the furnace room to see if there was anything out of order (as if I would really have a clue) and obviously finding nothing, I closed the door a bit more firmly than usual. I heard a loud metal-ly/plastic sounding crash. I opened the door to see what looked very much like my external hard drive on the floor. With the cover half off the innards. I looked over at TheHusband's desk to see if my external drive happened to be sitting there. Maybe that's an extra one or something, I thought. Nope. No little black My Book sitting on the desk. SHIT! That's my drive. The one with every last photo and video that I've taken since 2001. All of my emails. All of the documents of various sorts. But just in case, I trudged upstairs and asked TheHusband if my drive was in the furnace room. He replied yes, why? Because it fell off of whatever it had been on and is now in pieces. Silence. Note that TheHusband kindly put it there so that the cleaning ladies wouldn't knock it off the desk while they were cleaning up. Thankfully, TheHusband is a computer hardware kind of guy. He has "undressed" it (i.e., removed the hard drive from the protective case), and has connected it to his computer and is dumping everything onto another external hard drive that he recently bought. Hopefully, the impact didn't ruin anything. It should take about 3 hours to transfer the data. And to add insult to injury, the video card on my laptop (which is my main computer, mind you), has finally crapped out.

TheHusband says, "Time for a new motherboard."
Neurondoc replies, "$!^%$@#$%^. Forget a new motherboard. I want a desktop."

Beware of any laptops for sale on eBay in the DC area with "slight video issues".

Back to the title of this post. We have an old beat up sofa in the basement. It is not the most comfy place to sleep (especially with a herniated lumber disc). But it is literally 15 degrees cooler down here. So I am going to sleep in the basement. TheHusband can sleep in the fires of Hell upstairs.

Oh, and please shoot me.

20 June 2009

You know you live in the DC area when...

... a six year-old makes political statements at the dinner table.

TheHusband joined ThePinkThing and me for our weekly sushi jaunt last week. This is part of the conversation we had:

(President Obama was on the TV, and TPT pointed him out)
Neurondoc: ...And your mother also loves Obama. How cool is that?
TheHusband: Yup, she voted for him and all.
ND: So did my mom.
TPT (all of 6 years old and trying to figure out the US electoral process): Did Gramps and Eepa vote for Obama?
ND: No, they voted for McCain. So did Papa Tony.
TPT (in tones of absolute shock): Why?
ND: Because they thought he'd do a better job than Obama.
TPT (sounding very matter-of-fact): Not with that Sarah Palin around.

Clearly TPT's been listening to the conversations in our house, and it has been rubbing off on her. Good.

18 June 2009

I'll get you for that...

It's time for another story from my med school days. This one, although funny, is just not as good as The Toe Story. In this case, I was a 3rd year medical student, in my 3rd rotation of the year -- Internal Medicine. I did part of my Internal Medicine rotation at a community teaching hospital about 65 miles away from my medical school. It was a very valuable experience, because everything was so different from what I was (sort of) used to. The patient population, the nurses, the hospital situation (my med school is in the heart of one of the larger East Coast US cities), and even the medical equipment were different. However, grumpiness and crabbiness will occur in any hospital patient population and did so there, although to a lesser degree than I was used to. However, one patient really stands out in my mind.

This story takes place when I was about halfway done with my 6 weeks at the community hospital. The patient was a man in his late 40's at the time. He was admitted for something potentially bad (Hepatitis C, it turned out to be). But he really didn't want to be hospitalized at all. He, however, did understand that he needed to be in hospital and thus did not try to sign out AMA (against medical advice). But he was a total crabapple and took his seriously bad mood out on the staff, especially the nursing staff. I dreaded going in there everyday to ask how he was feeling ("Crappy. It was crappy yesterday, crappy today, and will be crappy tomorrow.") and check his heart, lungs and all the rest. But apparently I didn't annoy him too badly -- I probably appeared suitably scared out of my wits and so was left alone.

One day I happened to arrive for my dreaded visit at the same time that the nurse was in the room to check his vital signs. She checked his pulse ("stop bothering me, nurse") and his blood pressure ("Ow, ow, ow. That's too tight! Why do you come in and torture me every freaking minute?") and his temperature. By the time she had pulled out the thermometer, he had had enough. Now, this hospital still used glass mercury thermometers to check rectal or oral temps. In this guy's case, he needed his temperature checked orally, so it really wasn't that big a deal. But some medical personnel had to stay in his room while his temperature was taken, because he'd been caught putting his thermometer in his cup of coffee ("just to see if anyone was paying attention."). So the nurse said (in the chipper way that many nurses do) "Now Mr. X, let's open our mouth and put in the thermometer." He clearly didn't like the Royal We, and said he didn't want his temperature taken "again". Without missing a beat, she popped the thermometer in his mouth, while he was complaining. Then she asked if I could stick around until it was done, record his temp and bring the thermometer back to the nurse's station. I said fine and thought "Great. Now I'm stuck in here with Mr Crabapple for 5 more minutes. Grrr."

He glared at her as she left and then got this I'll get you look on his face. Immediately after she was no longer visible, he bit down on that thermometer, breaking it in half, and swallowed the half that was in his mouth, as well as the mercury inside it. I think my eyes bulged out of my head (not literally, but close to it) at that very second. He had a satisfied look on his face, as if to say See what you made me do. Not surprisingly, I thought "Oh shit, now what do I do?" I grabbed the half of the thermometer that had fallen on his blanket and ran out of his room to the nurse's station. When I told the nurse, she didn't believe me -- she thought I had dropped the thermometer and was trying to blame the patient, somehow. As if I would have (or even could have) made that story up. I called up the attending physician and in between hyperventilating and having a cow, I managed to tell him what happened. He came on over and calmly ordered an xray. The patient, not surprisingly, was not apologetic and seemed actually quite proud of himself.

We sent him for daily x-rays over the next couple of days and watched the thermometer's passage through the GI tract. And yes, it all came out the other end. The amount of mercury that he swallowed didn't kill (or even harm) him. Oddly the amount he swallowed might have caused problems if absorbed through the skin...

Here is a picture found out on the Intarweebs of a woman who purposefully swallowed a mercury thermometer. It gives you an idea of what we saw.

17 June 2009

More Brother Biking Info (because you can't get enough)

The most recent biking information from my brother (who should arrive in Utah at some point today).

Tues 6/9 -- Tribune, KS (47 mi)
Wed 6/10 -- Ordway, CO (119 mi)
Thu 6/11 -- Pueblo, CO (55 mi)
Fri 6/12 -- Pueblo (rest day; he saw Star Trek)
Sat 6/13 -- Howard, CO (94 mi)
Sun 6/14 -- Gunnison, CO (76 mi)
Mon 6/15 -- Placerville, CO (117 mi)
Tue 6/16 -- Dolores, CO (71 mi)

After the mountains, now the desert...

Check out his blog. I uploaded some nice pictures for him last night.

16 June 2009

Virtual Farming

Nobody would ever accuse me of having a green thumb. Basically any plant that I have ever bought or been given has died under my tender loving care. I try, I really do. But I either over-water or under-water or something. They die. So I no longer have any plants in the house. And our gardening (if you wish to call it that) consists of some flowering bushes (azaleas, hydrangeas, forsythia, and roses) and some purple thingies that are perennials (but I haven't a clue what they are called.

Even given my complete lack of a green thumb, I got sucked into Farm Town. TheHusband is amused and bemused as I tend to my crops daily, hire others to harvest my crops, and hire out as a sharecropper on my friends' farms. I really like this game. It is sort of like SimCity a few versions ago, but without all of the under-structure necessary to run a city. (I don't care about the electricity and water pipes, dammit! Just let me build the buildings...)

I like the social aspect of it -- I visit my friends' farms and they visit mine. My farm has been Grand Central Station (4 people were there at one time!) and also the source of crickets. My best friend is currently living in Germany, and I told her (during one of our Farm Town chats) that I was jealous of our avatars -- they were in the same place chatting, while we are separated by about a zillion real miles.

Janiece and I had a hilarious chat that ranged from tattoos to things that are kosher to Jim being an asshole. I saved it, but then accidentally erased it. Trust me, it was pretty funny. Since I can't reproduce the conversation, I'll show you the picture of us chatting This was just after I basically mowed down a boatload of her crops).

Janiece's farm is very well-organized. I like that. Mine is definitely not organized, and that mirrors my house...

I like how the fields change as the crops grow. And I like to make designs and spell words.

15 June 2009

Pie in the Sky

I'm with Eric, this is one of my absolute favorite kinds of pie. Especially without meringue. Yum.

find your inner PIE @ quizmeme.com

14 June 2009

Overheard in my house (Updated)

As I noted in an earlier post, ThePinkThing likes Bugs Bunny. Tonight she and TheHusband are sampling a variety of Looney Tunes episodes that are available on youtube. They just finished watching one of the Marvin the Martian cartoons and are about to start a Yosemite Sam one.

ThePinkThing: He's the grumpy one, right, Daddy?
TheHusband: Oh yes, he's always grumpy.
TPT: Always grumpy? Never nice?
TH: Nope, not ever nice, especially to Bugs Bunny.
TPT: Oh. (pause) Is he nice in real life?
TH: He's not real; he's only a cartoon character.
TPT: Ah. Not like Marvin Fudd, right Daddy?
TH: That's Elmer Fudd, baby...

Now they're watching an Elmer Fudd one...
Updated 6/16

I just bought a 4 disc DVD set of classic Looney Tunes. It will make our upcoming drive to Ohio go much more quickly...

13 June 2009

Husband's heart

Today my husband is wearing a t-shirt that says "My belongs to a Neurologist". I wonder who bought him that shirt.

12 June 2009

The doctor who wields the needle

I have a date with a long spinal needle in a few weeks. Between my schedule and NeedleDoc's schedule, I can't have my epidural injection until July 2. TheHusband will come and get to watch. I suspect that he'll be much more interested in what is on the screen (the procedure is done under fluoroscopy) than in holding my hand. I am not looking forward to it, but at least I'll be all drugged up. :-) And the doc has done about 40,000 of these things.

Stupid back.

11 June 2009

Hate is still with us

I am not a student of political science. I don't have a deep understanding of how the American government works ("I'm a doctor, Jim, not a poli sci professor"). I love my country, though, in a non-worshipping, pragmatic kind of way. I am thankful that I have grown up here, that I was given many opportunities to succeed, that I am able to work and raise a family in relative peace. But given my upbringing/background, I have always felt that it could be taken away. You see, I have family members that survived the Holocaust. Not close family members, and I have never heard their stories, but they are there in the background of my life, reminders of how truly evil people can be. And I believe that this sort of evilness can happen anywhere, even here in the US. It is the kind of evilness that begins insidiously, infects a few people, then more and more, until it is epidemic. I also believe that most people can get caught up in that kind of situation. Mob reaction, crowd psychology, call it whatever you want. People can incite each other to perform actions and do things that they may not otherwise have done alone. To me, this sort of behavior manifests by targeting a smaller group, a different group, and making them a scapegoat or a sacrifice. That group is isolated, their difference is magnified, and then once a group is "different" enough, then it is just a small step to violence.

I am sure you know what prompted this post -- the shooting at the Holocaust Museum yesterday. It really bothers me. "Bother" is too weak a word, actually. It makes me afraid. To me, the purpose of the Holocaust Museum is to teach those who have no connection to it and to remind people that this can happen and does happen. And to have such a person perform such an action (for whatever reason might have crossed his mind) at that place upsets me almost beyond words. For you see, I am a member of a religious minority group. I live in a country where 76% of the population identifies themselves as Christian. I have worked with people who literally didn't understand that when the US is referred to as a "Christian Nation", it makes me uncomfortable and uneasy. My daughter has been proselytized while at her after-school program.

Please don't read this post as being anti-Christian. It is not, and I am not. I am not a believer, but I am not the type to judge what other people believe, as long as they don't try to convince me that their beliefs are the "right" beliefs. I am not anti-German, not by a long shot. My best friend is German; I have been there several times and found the people to be just like anywhere else. (And the scenery where my friend lives is much nicer than mine...).

But it can happen here. It can happen anywhere. There are people who hate others because of the god they worship, the color of their skin, their country of origin. It shouldn't happen here. We shouldn't let it.

10 June 2009

Talent Show

Last Friday night was the end of the year Talent Show and Potluck Dinner at ThePinkThing's after-school program. ThePinkThing and her BFF (N) sang a song (DonGato) and also did some hula hooping. TPT is an amazing hula hooper (is that a word?). She can hula hoop for 2 straight minutes (and if you think that's not hard, try it yourself). She must've gotten those genes from TheHusband's side of the family. I can't hula hoop at all and never could. My sister-in-law, on the other hand, hula hoops for exercise. She exercises with a 5 lb hula hoop every day for 30 minutes. It's insane. But TPT and N were really cute as they were doing it. They didn't care if they messed up. They were just having fun.

A couple of acts later they got on the stage and sang Don Gato, which is a song TheHusband remembers learning in kindergarten. I hadn't ever heard it before TPT came home singing it, but now I know the words. And, yes, it gets stuck in my head. But aren't they cute? (TPT is the one with the ponytails.)

And it was ThePinkThing's idea to wear matching outfits. Maybe I should have called her TheGreenThing instead...

09 June 2009

Another Brother Biking Update (Updated)

My brother hit the 2000 mile mark today, somewhere in Kansas. He is booking along. I guess he needs to make up some time before he hits western Colorado, where he will have a lot of vertical miles, as well as horizontal ones.

Here is a picture (as he had promised TheHusband) of Alexander, KS (pop'n 75).

I don't think that I have ever been in a town that small. How totally mind-blowing for this person who has never lived anywhere besides the East Coast of the US.

Sun 5/31 -- middle of nowhere, MO (84 miles)
Mon 6/1 -- Houston, MO (101 mi)
Tues, 6/2 -- Houston, MO (rest day)
Wed 6/3 -- Fair Grove, MO (81 mi)
Thu 6/4 -- Pittsburg, KS (102 mi)
Fri 6/5 -- Toronto, KS (102 mi)
Sat 6/6 -- Newton, KS (97 mi)
Sun 6/7 -- Larned, KS (108 mi)
Mon 6/8 -- Scott City, KS (121 mi!!!)
Updated 6/9, 12:38 pm (EDT)

Mountain Time! He's made it to Mountain Time. He's in Greeley Co, KS.

08 June 2009

Careful what you wish for...

"Break a leg"? That's the advice which has been given to actors for like a zillion years. Well, don't say it to judges, because they may take you seriously.

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor fell at LaGuardia Airport, when she was on her way to DC for visits with more Senators. She apparently was seen and treated within 2 hours and made it to DC in time for a 2 pm meeting with Senator Grassley. Why doesn't that ever happen when I go to the ER?

H/T to the Washington Post

07 June 2009

I'm so hot AGAIN

We replaced our furnace and central AC unit a little over 3 years ago. The ones we replaced were 27 (!) and 19 years old, respectively. The new AC unit died last year right around this time, when it was 90+ degrees. Apparently some freaking bug got fried on the "coil", which is a crucial AC unit innard. So we sweltered.

Today, I turned the AC on for the first time in a few days, when the inside temp in the main level of the house hit 78. Eventually, I figured out that the house really wasn't cooling off. Being relatively smart, I opened the back door to listen for the compressor and heard... ... ... nothing, of course. The outside AC compressor unit has crapped out again. So we turned off the AC at the thermostat, waited 10 minutes and turned it back on. No dice. TheHusband flipped the fuses just in case (although they were both in the "on" position). Nope.

ThePinkThing came downstairs saying that she couldn't sleep because she's too hot (duh, it's 85 degrees up there...). So we went around the upstairs opening every window, because (thankfully) it is at least 15 degrees cooler outside than inside. We also put a fan in TPT's room and turned it on. I am in hopes that she will fall asleep, and not decide to stick something in the fan "to see what happens".

Why are modern products so damn crappy? This is a Carrier unit, which is supposed to be good, but it has crapped out twice now in 3 years. Granted, I don't know how long the prior AC unit went between breakdowns, but it never broke down once in the almost 6 years we used it. We only replaced it, because I wanted a more energy efficient unit (hah, an energy efficient central AC unit; I must be smoking something), and the furnace had given up the ghost. So we decided to replace the AC unit at the same time. I totally regret it now.

I'm hot.

04 June 2009

It's all Anne's fault

So I had planned a major renovation, redecoration, whatever-you-want-to-call-it of my farm tonight. But Farm Town is down. :-( And my distress is all Anne's fault for getting me hooked on it. ;-)

Phooey. I guess I'll have to go read a book. Or go to bed at a reasonable hour. Chances are I'll read a book.

03 June 2009

Was I Calvin?

My brother and I anthropomorphized many things when we were kids, especially stuffed animals. As he notes in his recent blog post, our stuffed animals had very rich "internal" lives, supplied by our imaginations. They had names (first, last and occasionally middle), family trees, personalities (sometimes too much), and even grade point averages. They lived in their own country and had their own language that we thought our parents couldn't understand (they could, we were wrong about that). Some were nice, some were mischievous, and some were plain old bad. We loved some of the animals literally to bits.

I was so excited to "play" stuffed animals with my daughter, expecting her to glom on to them in the same way Dan and I did. But she didn't. And she really doesn't care about them. She will interact with them -- usually with me providing the voice of one, two, or even three animals, while she is only herself. Occasionally she takes on the role of one of the animals, but she gets frustrated when she isn't being obnoxious in just the right way. I sometimes wonder if her disdain for stuffed animals is due to a lack of imagination, a lack of interest, or simply a lack of siblings.

But my predisposition to anthropomorphizing has made it very easy to get her to eat vegetables. You see, the vegetables on her plate complain. Loudly. They don't want to be eaten (understandably so). And they inform ThePinkThing of that. A green bean on her fork will shriek and carry on and suggest that she eat a different one. The broccoli or cucumber victims are always willing to throw a different one to wolves, per se. She gleefully eats them. Punishment, perhaps, for complaining. Whatever. She eats her vegetables. And I get to have fun while she does it...

So you see why I wonder if Sam Waterston lived in my head, or he modeled Calvin after me (without the hyperactivity). I think it is time to introduce ThePinkThing to Calvin and Hobbes, don't you?

(I found this somewhere online. It apparently wasn't done by Sam Waterston, though I think it's brilliant)

02 June 2009



I like comedy, and I am as funny as the next geeky, SF-loving, brain doctor. But there are some things I just don't find funny. TheHusband likes them, of course, and is influencing ThePinkThing in ways of which I don't approve.

Such as:



I hate that fucking frog with a purple passion, but ThePinkThing thinks it is hilarious (and a little naughty). I just want to turn the damn thing into cuisses de grenouille.

Or (God forbid):

Now, I don't want you to think that I hate everything ThePinkThing finds funny...

We both adore:

And who doesn't like this:

And from one of my favorite movies:

But someday I will punish TheHusband for introducing her to The Three Stooges before her brain was fully myelinated and her tastes fully formed...

01 June 2009

Brother Biking Update

Got a text from Daniel on Saturday night with more recent locations and mileage. He also sent me some photos to put on his blog, which I have done. TheHusband and I told my brother that we would drop everything or anything to come to his aid east of the Mississippi. Last night, we relinquished that responsibility to Donny, although in reality, I would still drop everything and run... That's what big sisters are for, right? TheHusband is considering meeting him somewhere in Kansas, just because.

Here is the full list of his stops and the mileage. Some of the mileage is exact (i.e., what his bike computer said), and some is estimated (i.e., from his map). I don't know exactly where he stayed last night, though. :-(

Tue, 5/12 -- Occoquan, VA (???)
Wed, 5/13 -- Fredericksburg, VA (55 mi)
Thu, 5/14 -- Powhatan, VA (93 mi)
Fri, 5/15 -- Charlottesville, VA (70 mi)
Sat, 5/16 -- Lexington, VA (88 mi)
Sun, 5/17 -- Catawba, VA (66 mi)
Mon, 5/18 -- Blacksburg, VA (25 mi)
Tue, 5/219 -- Blacksburg, VA (rest day)
Wed, 5/20 -- Sugar Grove, VA (91 mi)
Thu, 5/21 -- Council, VA (83 mi)
Fri, 5/22 -- Hindman, KY (96 mi)
Sat, 5/23 -- Booneville, KY (65 mi)
Sun, 5/24 -- Berea, KY (???)
Mon, 5/25 -- Bardstown KY (98.5 mi)
Tue, 5/26 -- Bardstown, KY (off)
Wed, 5/27 -- Falls of Rough, KY (93 mi)
Thu, 5/28 -- Sebree, KY (74 mi)
Fri, 5/29 -- Eddyville, IL (90 mi)
Sat, 5/30 -- Chester, IL (105 mi)
Sun, 5/31 -- Somewhere in MO (???)

I used Google Maps "Walking" directions option to generate the maps below, so they are not entirely accurate. However, they do show how freaking far he has gone... Click on each to enlarge.

Bethesda, MD to Blacksburg, VA

Blacksburg, VA to Bardstown, KY

Bardstown, KY to Chester, IL

The whole trip (so far) on a topographical map. Virginia is one hilly place.