Saturday, July 3, 2010

New House!

We haven't said anything about it yet, because at first the negotiations weren't any fun, and then we have been busy getting ready for packing, but we wanted to briefly share how excited we are about moving into our new house! A Gallery is here, but here is one of our favorites:

From House

It has 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, a 2-car garage, and as you'll see, a pool. Scott is excited about the office, which is perfect for a new professor in that it has room for a whiteboard. It's more space than we need right now, but we hope to stay here for a long time, and grow into it over the coming years. We have plenty of room for guests, so please let us know if you are in the area!

(Note: the stuff in the house isn't ours; these were taken prior to closing)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Residency Graduation

I know many of you have probably given up hope that we would ever post another blog, but take heart, I have finally found something that I feel is blog-worthy.

Yesterday morning was my residency graduation. Now, this is a little bit like kindergarten graduation because there is no new degree awarded. There are no caps or gowns, (which perhaps puts it even lower than kindergarten graduation). But like all graduations, it marks the completion of one phase of life and career, and the proverbial green light to go forward with the next phase. I was proud to watch as each of the residents and fellows with whom I have taken this journey walked up to the stage. I was also honored to have my husband, without whom I could not have done this, sitting in the audience to support me once again.

I have attached a video that Scott took as it was my turn to go forward and accept my diploma. Dr. Orfanos, our program director, said a few words about each of us, our future plans, our character, then chose a celebrity that he felt represented us. Everyone from Bono to President Obama was represented.

For me, this graduation is yet another reminder that our time here in Boston is fast coming to a close, which is bittersweet to say the least. As much as I want to hang on to this place and to the dear friends we have made here, I know that we have done what we came here to do, and to stay longer would be like stealing time away from what God has called us to next. Luckily, even though our move and the responsibilities of homeownership are fast approaching, I will still have some time when we get to Dallas before the real responsibilities of being an attending set in.

"What will you do with all your free time?" you might ask. We'll actually, graduation is not only a momentous occasion, but also a slightly anticlimactic one, because I still have to go to work next week, and possibly the week after. Oh well, the good news is that I only have two more clinic sessions until I never again have to have outpatient responsibilities. That's not to say that something may not change in the future, but for now, the inpatient setting is where I thrive.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pie crust making tip

(close-up, small-depth-of-field photo not available)

I love any food that comes in a pie crust -- pie of course, but also quiche and pasties. I'm always disappointed in the quality/price ratio of store-bought crusts, but I've also never been good at making them myself. They take a lot of planning, I never get the consistency right, and I can never get them rolled and transferred to the pan without making a big mess (and, usually, ruining the crust). But the other day I discovered a great trick that makes pie crusts much simpler and forgiving: plastic wrap.

You always read about rolling out the dough between waxed paper or parchment paper, but I've found that even these have a tendency to stick to the dough and ruin it when you try to take them off. But plastic wrap is flimsy and hydrophobic, a combination which allows it to peel off with ease. So it makes the rolling/trasfering part easy -- just roll the dough out on a sheet of wrap (or between two sheets), and then use a peel or some other large/flat thing to flip it into the pan (you can place the pan upside down on the dough/peel and then flip the whole thing). Form it to the right shape, and off comes the wrap!

However, there is another benefit -- since the rolling/transferring process will now be so easy, you have a little bit of leeway when it comes to the water content of your dough. If you get your dough a little too wet, then the layers of wrap keep it from sticking to the pan or the work surface. And if you get your dough a little too dry, then the wrap provides some structural support during the transfer, which reduces the chances of it crumbling!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lobsterman Triathlon 2009

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Morning and pre-race

Race day! We woke up early at 6:00, after a somewhat fitful night of sleep (due more to a thrashing toddler than to nerves). The weather was great -- high of 64, not a cloud in sight, and a bit windy (hey, you can't have everything). We threw on some clothes, put a pajama-clad Audrey into the car, and left our campsite. We ate breakfast at a small local place called the "Sunshine Diner," where Tara and I both had biscuits and gravy with eggs. After picking up my friend, colleague, and co-racer colleague Tobias from his hotel, we headed to the park where the race was being held. Even at 7:15 there was a line forming at the entrance, but we got in with little delay and found parking.

Having registered the night before, we were able to go straight to "Body Marking" -- a curious tradition where cheerful volunteers color numbers all over you in permanent marker. I couldn't help thinking that it must help them to identify body parts if one gets eaten by a shark, but it turns out the main reason is so that the timing crew can identify you as you leave the water. After body marking, I dropped off my bike in the transition area and laid out all of my gear on a towel. Then there was nothing to do for a while, so we watched the tide finish flowing in, changing our swim course from a muddy wasteland into ... well, something wetter. As the start time approached, we made a last-minute restroom stop, then put on wet suits and headed to the start location.

After a brief pre-race announcement program, the race was on! Well ... for the professionals, anyway. With 800 participants, people must be sent out in waves. First are the "elite" athletes -- those considered most likely to win. After the elites were the collegiate teams. Then men under 34. Then women under 34. Men under 42. Women under 42. Then highly-trained animals, and so on. I stopped keeping track somewhere in the middle, as the nerves kicked in at full throttle and caused the nearby porta-Johns to look suddenly appealing again. Wandering back to the start location, about 15 minutes after the start, I watched the fastest swimmers begin to complete the swim, and wondered if the race would be over before we started. Finally, however, it was time for the novice wave, and we headed out into the water with our blue swim caps screaming "newbies!"

Swim 1500m

Before today, I had never participated in an organized swim event. But as doing a triathlon has been at least a "pipe dream" for some time, I've practiced swimming on and off over the last five years, and could make it for a mile relatively early in my training. Still, since the swim is the only event in which drowning is a potential hazard, it was the event I was most concerned about initially. But a month or so ago I bought a wetsuit, and upon learning that I could essentially nap in that thing without sinking, my fears abated.

The triathlon had a water start, which means you swim a few meters out to the starting buoy before your wave gets sent off. It was during this swim to the buoy that I experienced the major technical glitch of the event -- my goggles were not working. With a sickening feeling, I remembered how Audrey had taken the strap off of the lenses several days earlier. I apparently re-attached it incorrectly, and it would no longer stay tight! With just seconds to go before the send off, I frantically tried to tie the straps into knots to keep them from slipping (as if I wasn't nervous enough!). But it was to no avail. The race started, and within five strokes I couldn't see. So I had to stop and work on them some more before I really started -- not the ideal start! (But Audrey, if you read this in the future, I promise that I wasn't mad, and I love you!)

The rest of the swim was less eventful by comparison, but still very challenging. I had trained on open water, in Walden Pond. This is a great place to train -- almost exactly a mile round-trip, and I had done it four or five times already. But Walden is warm, calm, and fresh. In contrast, the water on the coast of Maine in September is *cold* -- much colder than I expected. In addition, the wind made the water fairly choppy, and so we were really getting rocked around on the waves. As a consequence, so every so often you'd swallow a bunch of salt water, which is much worse than lake water. Because of these challenges, I never really found anywhere near a smooth rhythm, and felt like I wasted a lot of energy thrashing around the whole time. Still, I made it back to the shore without too much panic, which alone seemed like a victory.

Swim time: 32:32.


Getting out of the water I could barely walk in a straight line, but I could hear Tara's voice calling my name, so I staggered up the hill toward the transition area. Wetsuits are hard to get off, and I eventually had to lay on the ground to facilitate the process. Then, being wet and still disoriented, I had a hard time putting on my biking clothes (socks on wet feet -- ugh!). Just before I finished up, Tara and Audrey came over to give hugs and encouragement, which was worth an extra 0:30.

T1 time: 6:38.

Bike 40k

The bike was the event I was least worried about -- I am no racer, but have done a fair bit of biking, including five week-long tours across Minnesota with my Dad. I had done a fair number of training rides, including several longer than 40k, and also a little bit of hill training. So even when I learned that the course had a few hills, I was never worried about finishing, and I thought the bike would be my strongest event. Overall it went well. I knew that a 10k run loomed, and so I was continually reminding myself to "save it for the run." In particular, I tried to rest a bit on the downhills, which meant I had some energy for the uphills and windy sections. My bike chain fell off twice (!), which cost me a few minutes, but otherwise there were no complications. So overall I really enjoyed the bike, and it went by quickly. Tara and Audrey just missed me at the bike finish because Audrey chose that moment to practice her potty-training. What can you do?

Bike time: 1:34:09.


This transition seemed much smoother -- it's amazing what being dry and having a working sense of balance will do! Plus there was no wetsuit to make things complicated -- just drop off the bike, change from biking shoes into running shoes, and go. Still, I wasn't particularly fast here. I suppose, in retrospect, it was silly to spend two minutes changing socks. Also, that minute spent digging for my phone to send a text to Tara probably wasn't advisable. And by this time the gatorade consumed on the bike had worked through my system, and so one last stop at the porta-John was required. But I was having fun, my family was there to send me off, and I just wasn't in a hurry!

T2 time: 5:37.

Run 10k

The run was the part I ended up being most worried about. Although I ran track in middle school (an increasingly long time ago), I have always had problems with shin splints. For my run training this time around, I was armed with a bit more knowledge, and so I successfully avoided the majority of the shin pain with easy running and slow increases in distance. Even so, this time I had problems with my calves, which would remain sore for many days after the longer training runs. Consequently, I never even made it up to 10k during training, and I had resigned myself to probably having to walk a bit. However, I was thrilled to be able to limit the walking to the vicinity of rest stops, which were placed each mile. I would slow to a walk to grab and drink a cup of Gatorade (and thank the wonderful volunteers!), but was able to tun the entire rest of the course. And while my knees were by this time getting a bit stiff (they were already tired from the bike), I didn't have any problems with my calves. So I was very grateful, and although I was tired, I still felt good throughout the whole run. By the end, I knew I would be able to finish, and was able to just enjoy the experience of completing my first triathlon. By the time I finished, things were already winding down, but Tara and Audrey were there, which was more important than anything else.

Run time: 1:04:10.

Post-race analysis and Reflections

My total time was 3:23:04, for an overall men's rank of 309/333. As a first-timer, I was really, really happy with this result. Being most comfortable on the bike, I used the bike split as a reference point, and I was relatively happy with my time here, which worked out to an average of 16mph. This is not at all fast in absolute terms, but for me, on a somewhat hilly course, trying to save energy for the run, I was pleased. So I was quite surprised to find out that I had ranked lowest (308th) with my bike split! I ranked higher (291st) with my run -- which I had despaired of even finishing -- with a per-mile time of 10:16. And despite the goggle fiasco, and the challenging conditions, I ranked highest of all (255th) on the swim! So it was a huge encouragement to do well in two events that are relatively new to me. As for the sum of my transition times (330th), well, one can work on this. No more texting.

As we enjoyed free beers and not-so-free lobsters after the race, I tried to soak in all the new memories and the experience of the post-race celebrations. It was great fun to do the race, and the benefits of the training will be the best reward if I stick with it. I may be tired with sore knees today, but I'm still wearing my little "finisher's medal" with pride, and am already excited to starting thinking about an indoor training schedule for the winter!


Night Before Carbo Load




Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Tara had a 3-day weekend this past weekend thanks to a colleague who needed to trade an ER shift. Plans for Mom and Keith to come visit fell through, but we still wanted to take advantage of this rare gift of extended time off. We thought this would be a great opportunity to explore some of what New England has to offer. Unfortunately, Scott had fallen victim to one of the usual plagues that Audrey brings home from daycare, so he wasn't of much use in the planning process. As Tara wracked her brain and the internet for ideas, she remembered a place that some friends had mentioned, a must-see place for toddlers ... Storyland!

We drove up on Saturday early afternoon. We arrived at our B&B at about 5pm, after what was in theory a little over a 3 hr drive became almost 5 hrs with traffic and the lunch stop. The place we stayed was called the Cranmore Mountain Lodge. It was a charming little inn run by a French Canadian couple. There was a pool, which we took advantage of a couple of times, and a family room with lots of toys and kid videos. Our last-minute booking got us a room on the 3rd floor with no air conditioning, but we survived with the help of a couple of fans.

Storyland is an amusement park designed for children ages 2-12. It is hidden in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The rides and other attractions are based on a nursery rhyme/fairy tale theme. For instance, Humpty Dumpty is kind of the main guy, the engineer of Storyland if you will. They have Cinderella's castle (along with the glass slipper and the fairy godmother's wand), teacups ala Alice in Wonderland, and live animals representing such rhymes as Baa Baa Black Sheep, and the Three Little Pigs. There were also smaller things to explore and play with, like a visual representation of 1, 2, buckle my shoe, and the old woman who lived in shoe (complete with actual old woman handing out stickers).

Audrey had an amazing time! Perhaps the highlight for her was seeing Humpty Dumpty in a live show. Included in the admission fee are several different little 15 or 20 minute shows. While you wait in line for the rides, there is a TV playing clips from each show, and Audrey caught a glimpse of one with Humpty Dumpty. From then on, all she could talk about was Humpty Dumpty. Unfortunately, the next show was not for another 3 1/2 hours or so. We filled the time with lunch, other rides, and a nap in her stroller (praise God!), until finally it was time to go see “Humpty Dumpty in a show.” The show was the kind of thing that I'm sure other parents can relate to as being a little painful to sit through for those of us over 5 years old. But Audrey was in heaven as she watched Humpty dance and sing and help out his friends Little Bo Peep and Jack and Jill!

Another highlight was Cinderella's castle, and meeting the real Cinderella! As soon as we got to the castle, she wanted to know where was the fairy godmother. We decided to defer that question to Cinderella, who simply said “she's not here right now, but she left her wand for you to see.” With that one settled, she then asked where the Prince was, and the best that Mommy could come up with was that he was at work, or perhaps at a battle. What do princes do all day anyway?

After a long day at Storyland, we a nice dinner of Wiener schnitzel at a German hotel/restaurant. Upon arriving home soon afterward, we all crashed. After we got Audrey down at about 8:30, Scott and I laid on the bed, only to wake up about midnight to realize we had fallen asleep still fully dressed! The next day we spent some time at the outlet malls, and drove home through the White Mountains National Forest on the scenic Kancamagus highway. Along the way we also stopped for a short “hike,” which I put in quotes because we have learned that you are lucky if you make it more than 100yards down the trail hiking with a 2 year-old. There are so many interesting things to see and an endless supply of rocks, sticks, and “cones” (pinecones) to pick up. It was nice nonetheless, and tired her out for a nice nap on the drive home.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I just signed up for my first triathlon! The Lobsterman Triathlon is in Freeport, Maine, on Sept. 19. It's an olympic-distance triathlon, which consists of a 1500m swim, 40km bike, and 10km run. Right now I'm doing about half those distances with some regularity, with about 9.5 weeks to train, so I've got some work to do. However, I have no aspirations of getting a good time, and am just looking forward to the exercise, the camping trip we'll make of it, and the lobster bake at the end.

Plus, it's a good excuse to take Audrey out in her bike carriage:

Sunday, June 28, 2009

5 Years

Friday was our fifth anniversary, and we did some fun things! In the afternoon, after Audrey's nap, we decided to go berry-picking at Land's Sake Farm, as strawberries are in season and neither of us had been in a long time. It was Audrey's first berry-picking experience, she really enjoying hunting for and picking the berries. There were many cries of "look Mommy!" and "I found one!"

Then in the evening, with a good friend watching Audrey, we went out to an anniversary dinner at Top of the Hub, a restaurant on top of the Prudential building in downtown Boston. The views were amazing:

The restaurant itself was nice, too. It was nice and quiet, with tasteful decor. The service was efficient and the food we had was really good. It all made for a very nice conversational dinner. On our menu choices were

-- Caesar Salad (boring, but all Scott will eat)
-- NE Clam Chowder (more delicate than Legal's)
-- Rosemary Chicken and a "Purple Rain" (Tara)
-- Shank of Lamb and a Cabernet (Scott)

For dessert, the options on top of the Hub were a bit too "foodie" for us, so we also made a quick visit to the Cheesecake Factory down in the main mall. A bit noisier than our romantic evening above, but hey, procuring chocolate in sufficient quantities is sometimes important.

(With a two-year old, we get out so infrequently that we always document the occasion)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The day we arrived back from Wichita we saw a rainbow surrounding the sun, with extra bright spots on each side almost as bright as the sun itself. These are awful pictures (taken in a moving car), and you can barely make out the bright spots in the sky, but they at least document the effect. It turns out we were seeing sundogs, a really cool optical phenomena. It would be worth five minutes to look at some pictures and videos.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New Pictures in the 2-year album

We were inspired by friends over our recent vacation to Wichita, and will try to update this a bit more often. In the meantime, there are a bunch of new pictures up at picasaweb, and we'll continue to add more over the weekend.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Tonight Audrey had a few memorable moments in a row. Tara has a bedside lamp with a pull cord, and Audrey enjoys turning the light on and off. So I left her in the bedroom playing with the light while I prepared dinner.

However, I hurried to the bedroom when Audrey started to cry in alarm. I found that she had climbed onto the bed (by herself, which is no mean feat), and was crying and pointing to the opposite wall in alarm. It was only her shadow, of course, and we learned about shadows in the fall (tears then as well), but this one was on the wall, and quite big. I said, "It's only your shadow, Audrey," but she was convinced otherwise and said, without prompting,

"No, dinosaur."