Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas/Happy New Year



We spent a pleasant Christmas with Rowdy's parents. I had to work the day after Christmas, and they had the chance to fly here for free, so it all worked out. Part of our Christmas Day was spent walking on the beach. It rained a bit, and it was a little chilly, but we didn't care.

My favorite present is a tie between a lovely Kate Spade purse from Rowdy and a satellite radio set-up from my sisters. Both will be in use for a long, long time. We also gave ourselves Sonicare toothbrushes. The first couple of times we used them were pure comedy. It tickles, and it made me slobber. Our teeth are much cleaner, though.

As nice as my presents were, they could never beat what the Silly Witch and Warlock got for Christmas--a lovely new baby daughter! Congratulations!

There definitely needs to be more "serving others" in my Christmases, but I'll just have to work on that all year round.


Johnny the Carpenter comes tomorrow to start on our new shelves, and Adam the Painter is coming to finalize the painting schedule. We will have a lovelier home in just a few weeks. Hopefully, we'll be able to enjoy it for a little while before we have to rent it out.

2009 is going to be a year full of changes. I feel like I'm standing on the high dive. I'm scared to death, but I know that once I start running to the end of the board, things will be okay. I just have to remember to keep my feet under me and not belly-flop, and everything will be okay. It's just getting up the courage to start running....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Boot Camp Wrap-Up

My first boot camp experience came to a close yesterday with our final weigh-in of the six weeks. I gained two pounds--apparently all of it muscle, and lost 1% of body fat. I expect that I'll lose more the more I do it. What I really gained was stamina and strength. This was very helpful, since I let the rainstorms of the last week keep me from doing my half-marathon training. I was able to run eight miles today without having done anything but three days of boot camp during the week. (Not that I recommend this or am planning on using that as my training strategy.)

It was really hard to get up at 5:30 three mornings a week, but once I was working out I felt great. We did circuit training on Tuesdays and Thursdays and shadow boxing on Wednesdays. Our circuit training this last week was a killer--lots of pushups, plyometrics and tough upper body things. Rowdy came with me the last two Thursdays, and even he thought it was a tough workout.

Date Night

For our date night last night, we went to an art gallery in North Park for a showing by artist Eliot Greenwald. Neither of us had heard of him, and we didn't love, love, love his work, but we had the chance to meet and talk to Eliot. He's a young guy, probably 25, and he explained to us the progression of the works on exhibit. We were able to appreciate his art more because of it. If you want to see his work, go to www.thewhitepencil.com.

We walked around the neighborhood a little, and came upon The Linkery, which is well-known in San Diego for its no-tipping policy. Well, more precisely, they automatically add an 18% gratuity to the bill. It's supposed to make the dining experience friendlier and the restaurant staff happier. But anyway, we were very happy, because it was DELICIOUS!!

We really do love going to small neighborhood restaurants that serve well-prepared food. My parents are like that, too, and we always have some wonderful places to check out when we are in Austin.

The Linkery, as you may imagine, features hand-made sausages. But more than that, they are into local foods, served in season. So I had a delicious pork chop with mashed potatoes and roasted beets and carrots, and Rowdy had a charcroute with a sausage, sauerkraut with melted cheese and nice, crusty bread. Our starter was grilled green beans with in ginger soy. And for dessert, I had a chocolate volcano cake and Rowdy had Mexican hot chocolate with homemade cinnamon marshmallows. They serve sage-infused water instead of tap water, which is so wonderful. I also had a delicious glass of iced hibiscus herb tea.

Rowdy took a drink of his hot chocolate and then one of sage water and said, "It's like drinking the outdoors. And by that I mean, it's like drinking in the very best day." How many times have you been able to say that??

It was great to be out with my sweetheart, and so much fun to do something a little different from our norm. We loved The Linkery so much that we're taking Rowdy's parents there for Christmas Eve dinner.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Home Matters

Rowdy and I have lived in our little house for almost three years now. We've had ideas about how we wanted to improve things, but neither of us are particularly design-oriented. We know what we like and what looks good, but we couldn't put it into practice.

We had our living room and stairs carpet removed and lovely maple floors put down last spring.



Then we hired an interior designer. We found Christine online, believe it or not, and we've been very happy with her. She's helping us unify things--colors, furniture, etc. Right now, we just have hodgepodge. And our walls, as you can see from the floor picture, are white, white, white.

We chose some colors yesterday. The living room is mainly going to be "barely beige" (the lighter color on the left), but around the fireplace will be a faux finish (the sample square in the second photo). The painter is also going to paint the "tile" around the opening of the fireplace to look like the travertine in our kitchen/family room.






We're having shelves put into the alcoves in the family room (where the ill-placed bookcase and entertainment center are), and painting the wall behind them and over the fireplace chocolate brown. The most of the rest of the upstairs is going to be a color called "Ladyfinger", that's a little darker than "Barely Beige".


Finally, our barely-visible hutch area is going to be painted "Tucson Red", to show off the white cabinets.

Johnny the Carpenter will do the built-ins sometime in the next couple of weeks, and Andy the Painter will be able to paint the last two weeks of January. We'll finish it off for now with new window coverings.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rainy Day

It really doesn't rain much in sunny San Diego, so the storm that has lasted almost all day is a nice diversion. I love rain, anyway.

Today's definitely the kind of day that lends itself to staying indoors by the fire and not leaving the house, even for errands. Therefore, dinner was cobbled-together from what we could find in the fridge and pantry:

broiled salmon
canned green beans
Uncle Ben's whole grain medley
celery sticks
1/3 of a tomato
pomegranate soda

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's That Time of Year


We put up our outdoor Christmas lights on Sunday afternoon. We just can't bring ourselves to buy a tree just yet!

The hold music at work switched to holiday music the day after Thanksgiving. I have never heard such an ill-conceived medley of Christmas or quasi-holiday songs. During one long wait for someone, I heard a traditional arrangement of a carol, followed by something techno that maybe, if you listened carefully, had something to do with some kind of holiday. I've also heard Britney Spears followed by Mannheim Steamroller. It's nearly vomit-inducing.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!



Even in these trying times, we all have so much to be grateful for.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Three Years of Non-Stop Joy



Here are just a few thoughts about my love in honor of our third anniversary:

R is for riotous. He makes me laugh every day.

O is for outspoken. If you want to know what he thinks or how he feels about something, just ask him. He'll tell you without pulling any punches.

W is for well-versed in all things related to international relations. Ask him about any conflict in the last 30 years, and he can give you detailed information and analysis.

D is for devoted dad and husband. He loves his kids and does the best he can to stay connected to them. He's my hero, support and cheerleader as well.

Y is for youthful. But don't confuse that with naivete or ignorance. He may look like a kid (so much so that the neighbor kids come over to ask if he can play), and he plays like a kid, but he's a grown man.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Self-Portrait Tuesday/My New Haircut

My long hair had gotten on my last nerve. I needed something new, more professional, and easier-to-care-for. So, I visited my hairdresser, Morgan, today.

For those of you who have known me since way back when, this is not a new cut. It's my med school cut, the one I got when I was sick of cadaver spooge getting in my hair (which happened pretty quickly).

Not only did I get a new style, I colored my hair darker, just because. I'm kind of plus/minus about that part, but I like the cut. Unfortunately, Rowdy's and my paths will not cross until later tonight, so he hasn't seen it yet. (I'm not much of a self-portraitist. I think it looks better in person.)



The funniest thing is that, when I returned to work after the hairdresser's, one of the vascular surgeons--an old, crusty sort--said, "What happened to you? Were you on "What Not To Wear?".

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Boot Camp--It's No Joke

Whenever he'd have me do something new and difficult, Raul, my NYC trainer, would say, "It's no joke!"

I started a boot camp workout class last Tuesday. For six weeks, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 6:15 am, ex-Marine Jeanette will be whipping me into shape.

Now, I'm no stranger to working out and working out hard. Crossfit, having a personal trainer, I've done it. This is totally kicking my butt, though! Good thing there are four days to recover.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

100 Things

Copy and paste it into your blog and then just bold the things you've done!



1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band (does jr. high marching band count?)

4. Visited Hawaii


5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland

8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train


21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a marathon


28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David


41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London

77. Broken a bone

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican


82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one


94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

100. Totally copied a post from someone else's blog to your own

Major Weight Loss

The weight of the world, actually. I passed the Certificate of Added Qualifications exam! Interventional, neuro and pediatric radiology all have an extra oral examination in addition to the diagnostic radiology boards. This demonstrates particular proficiency in a subspecialty.

Now I feel like I can move forward professionally.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

How to Make Rowdy Laugh Really Hard

About the last thing I ever thought would crack Rowdy up so hard that he would be reduced to tears is http://icanhascheezburger.com. But it actually does that. He and Jordan spent one afternoon IMing each other and sharing posts back and forth. Now he's gotten me hooked on it. Not like there's anything wrong with that.

Here's one that made me laugh the other day:

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

The Bluest Skies I've Ever Seen Are In Seattle



Well, not the weekend I was there, but Seattle still is beautiful. The rainy weather and beautiful landscape were balm to this Pacific Northwest girl's soul.

I was there for an interventional radiology conference put on by the good people at UW. I learned alot, met some good people, and had an overall good time.

One of the real perks of being in Seattle was being able to go Trick-or-Treating with Shark Boy and Peacock Girl. Peacock Girl is definitely paparazzi-shy. I tried to take a picture of her, and she screamed and stuck her arm out as if to say, "No pictures, PLEASE!!" Here's a little video of them from last year. They're a little bit larger this year, but the costumes still fit. They also can walk and talk.



The last month, I've had the delight of being able to visit so many old friends who I don't get to see often. It's a joy to be able to see how their lives have gone forward, and how I and so many of them are enjoying blessings we once just dreamed about and thought might never be fulfilled.

The Benefit of My Experience


My friend, Cindy Halibut, and I were once talking about how we were looking forward to working with the Young Women someday. We had so much to tell them! We wanted them to benefit from our years of experience!

Cindy's first calling after she was married was in the YW. One day she called me and said, "They don't want to listen to anything I have to say!"

So, fast forward to a few weeks ago. Our ward's fantastic YW president, Shiny Penny, asked me to give a short talk at Evening of Excellence about how my experience in YW influenced me in my educational pursuits. Which elicited from me an, "Uh...er...uhhhh".

The thing is, what I remember about YW is being the world's biggest ugly duckling, and a major weirdo for acutally having educational goals. So, I decided to ask some of my friends about their experiences in YW. Here are a couple of responses:

Super Mom--"I learned how to cook and sew."
Community Activist Mom--"I learned how to make a quilted cover for my Personal Progress book."

I think that YW is better about strengthening the girls spiritually these days.

Anyway, I had two or three weeks to think about what I was going to say, but unfortunately, I had a lot of things going on around the same time. One thing I knew that I needed to say was that the girls needed to know that they really are daughters of God, he really knows them and cares about them. That's something that I didn't really internalize until I was much, much older, and knowing it and living like I knew it would have changed some of the path of my life.

My role models when it comes to giving a talk are Susan Tanner, Shari Dew, Sharon Larsen and Jennifer Carter. (You may not know Jennifer Carter. She was in the Manhattan First Ward, and totally rocked talks.) I felt like my little Eve of Ex talk fell short of that. There was so much that I wanted to say, but couldn't really put together in the way in which I had hoped. It was also a little distracting to give my talk in the middle of a dinner, but the other speaker, Magnificent Melody, gave a terrific talk that seemed to go over perfectly.

And then the Primary Program--I have to say that it went fine, because I have really wonderful Primary children and board. For the first time in three years, all of my children did their lines gladly. Even my Sunbeams spoke! I think they could've sung a little louder and done the unison parts better, but overall, it was successful. I hope that I don't have to do another one for a long time.

The Retiring Sort



My mom finally retired as of October 31. She worked for Guaranty Federal for ages, rising to the rank of Assistant Vice President. She has always been an example to me of how to work hard and do your best at whatever you do. Mama is tenacious and feisty. If you tell her she can't do something, then she'll find a way to stuff those words down your throat and rip your heart out and show it to you when she's done doing whatever it is you told her she wasn't going to be able to do. And she makes a mean cinnamon roll.

Now she and Dad are going to have a lot more time to enjoy each other's company and all of the fun things that Austin has to offer.

I love you, Mama!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

So Much to Blog About!

From my mom finally retiring on Friday, to my Seattle trip, to the Primary program to my talk for the Young Women, to LOLcats and their impact on my family, I have a lot of material to blog about. Hopefully, I'll be able to sit down and write something about each of those subjects once I get home this afternoon.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Good Finish to the SF Trip

The UCSF conference was very informative. I'm looking forward to going back to work and using the information I gained.



On Friday afternoon, Rowdy and I drove down to Monterey to visit our friends The Weatherman, SuperMom, PorterPan and Aftonbell. We took a little bike ride along Cannery Row and then had Mexican food. Saturday morning, we had SuperMom's patented breakfast sandwiches, then hiked at Point Lobos.




Monterey is so lovely! All of our photos look like we have a painted backdrop. The Cheerys' view out their front window is of the ocean, and you can hear sea lions barking in the distance. Pretty idyllic in many ways.

Now we're home and(phew!)the Primary program is over for another year. I also have my talk for Evening of Excellence outlined. Now I just have to concentrate on last-minute studying for the CAQs.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gettin' Crabby

My sister, Karen, used to live in San Francisco. She had many favorite restaurants, but one that has since become one of Rowdy's and my favorites it Thanh Long. They make the most astoundingly delicious roasted crab you will ever eat. So, tonight was Thanh Long night, with roasted crab, the obligatory and delicious garlic noodles and crab puff appetizer. I didn't bring my camera to take any pictures, because I know that it would be too painful for Karen to see. Also, no one wants to see us covered in garlic butter and pepper.

Earlier in the day, Rowdy and I met up with Steph H. in Davis at a little locovorian restaurant, The Farmer's Kitchen. Very delicious, very fresh. Who knew that gluten-free brownies could be so delicious? It was so worth it to visit with Stephanie, even if it only was for a short period of time.

There will be lots of exercise tomorrow to make up for this day.

We also went to the Oakland Temple, mainly because we needed to go to the distribution center and Rowdy couldn't remember how to get there. They are presenting an exhibit of sculptures of Christ at the visitors' center. They were quite moving. One in particular really touched me. It was Christ walking on the water to his disciples. The caption had a blurb about faith and fear being opposed. I have something coming up in a couple of weeks that I've been fearful of, but looking at the expression on Christ's face and the strength in his hands reminded me that I can get through it with His help. I really don't have anything to fear.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Just the Perfect Blendship

So, here we are at the end of Day 1 of our trip to SF. The drive up was good. Rowdy and I listened to "The Pirate Coast" on audiobook. It's about the Barbary Coast in the early 19th century.

This morning's review course was informative. UCSF always puts on a quality movie.

We met Nettie, Curtis and Spencer Atkisson at Crepes o Chocolat for lunch. It was so fun to see them again. Nettie always inspires me to raise my sights and be my very best. It was just a short visit, but a lot of joy was packed into it. After talking with her, I have a better idea of what I'm going to say to the Young Women at Evening of Excellence next week--but that's another story.

Rowdy and I were thinking about going to the movies tonight. We walked up to the theater, but we had at least an hour to kill. As we walked back to our hotel, we realized that we would be walking through The Tenderloin at 10 pm if we went to the movie. We're not wimps, but that place is Sketcherville. So, we changed our plan and watched Baby Mama on PPV in our quite gorgeous hotel room.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Classic

Go Bricco!!

Our awesome SIL, Amy, won her age group and 82nd overall at the Kansas City Marathon today. She's an amazing runner, on top of being a great wife, mom of three adorable children and a Primary president.

On to Boston!

Russian Dinner in San Diego

My lovely nurse and friend, Bella (seen here with her husband, Albert), organized a Russian dinner for a bunch of us Kaiserians. Like all good Russian dinners, there was food, food and more food. Some people were overwhelmed and couldn't hang with the rest of us. They left early, no doubt in shame. In between courses, there was live music, complete with disco lights. Rowdy and I, being fun people who like to dance, got down to the Slavic sounds of Arkady. It was so much fun!! I sometimes think that I was born the wrong ethnicity. A Scandinavian/English girl like me shouldn't be dancing like a gypsy. (But I did anyway.)
video

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Love to See the Temple--ASL



Our Primary is signing and singing "I Love to See the Temple" in our Sacrament Meeting program in two weeks. One of our teachers is an ASL translator, and she kindly agreed to let me film her as a reference while we're practicing. Unfortunately...I'm not much of a videographer and I included 13 seconds of Rowdy eating breakfast.

Monday, October 13, 2008

New Element

I've added a new element on my sidebar, the Heard In Passing wall. When I was in college, living at good ol' Belmont Apartments, we had a piece of poster board on our front closet door where we recorded funny comments we'd "heard in passing" from roomies and visitors. Acutally, we borrowed the idea from our friends' apartment. Jenny, Cindy and I carried on the tradition in our post-college apartment.

Rowdy comes up with funny one-liners at least 20 times a day, so I feel the need to record them for posterity. Sometimes I will provide background, but most of the time, I'll just post them as they are.

Today's line:

It doesn't matter if you're the slowest cheetah--you're still a cheetah!

Remember that.

What a Sweet Husband!!

Today was an amazingly annoying day. It was made significantly nicer by my sweet Rowdy, who came down to the hospital and left me the car so that I wouldn't have to ride my bike home. Believe me, I really wasn't looking forward to that ride.

Thanks, HoneyBunny! I love you!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Some Saturdays Are Better Than Others

I'll let you decide which way this one went...

1) Help clean the church.
2) Run 4.5 miles. Podcasts certainly make it go faster. A coyote crossed my path, one block from my home. I told it to go kill the gophers in my front yard.
3) Go to the Martial Arts Expo at the Fairgrounds and watch jiu-jitsu matches for four hours. Thank goodness Rowdy knows fun ways to pass the time. Too bad he didn't fight. There were only two guys in his weight class at the beginner level.
4) Retail therapy. Why can't I ever find exactly what I'm looking for?
5) Run to Kinko's to print the October, November and December scripture posters for Primary.
6) Watch The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2005 version).

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Saturday Happenings

I have been very busy on call this week, and today was no exception. I was at the hospital from 10 until 3. Granted, it's not the 12+ hours that I'd usually spend at work when I was on call as a fellow, but it's a busy day as an attending in what amounts to a community hospital. This is following an 11 hour day at work yesterday, being home for an hour and then having to go back for another case. A couple of hours of that 11 was spent doing a particularly tricky embolization with the help of my section chief. It turned out very well, and was part of the ongoing evidence that Heavenly Father loves His children and gives us guidance and direction when we ask for it.

Rowdy and I started the morning at the Ursula Rains 5K. Pictures courtesy of our buddy G-Ride to follow. I was well-back of the pack, finishing last in my age group by a wide margin. But, no big deal. It was still fun and a good beginning to my day.

I missed all of General Conference, but I was able to watch nearly all of the morning session online while Rowdy was at the Priesthood session. Having lived in Kansas City, I was excited to hear about the KC temple, but the thing that literally made me shout for joy and brought tears to my eyes was the announcement of the Rome, Italy temple. Rome in particular and Italy in general have a very special place in my heart. I'm sure that the Saints in Italy are just thrilled.

If I had to choose a favorite talk from the morning, it would be Elder Neil L. Andersen's. Two quotes that will stay with me: "You don't know everything, but you know enough" and "Faith is not only a feeling, it is a decision." We know enough to keep the commandments, and we move forward from there. We have to choose to act on our faith.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Shake Shack Attack and NYC Trip Wrap-Up


You know how sometimes, you hear about a restaurant that everyone lines up to eat at, but once you actually get the chance to eat there, the food is less-than-stellar? Well, Shake Shack is not one of those places. It was absolutely fantastic!! It tasted just like my mom's homemade hamburgers. Karen shared her cheese fries with me. They were fine, but I would choose to have them plain if I ever have the great good fortune to eat there again.

I walked from Madison Square Park to Grand Central in beautiful, early-fall weather to catch a ride on the New Haven Line to see the SWELL gang. It was so fun to just hang out with Liz, talk to her about whatever, play around with the kids a little and enjoy the afternoon. Check out this picture of the result of the youngest's encounter with Mr. Softee:



I made my plane home on Saturday morning with very little time to spare. I loved my visit with family and friends, but it was so wonderful to come home to my sweetheart. I missed him!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Improving Invalid

Kiki is really improving by leaps and bounds. She went with me to Chinatown and even negotiated the stairs up and down at the subway station without any problems. It's quite impressive.

Rowdy went home this morning. I think that we could have done some things that would have made his stay more enjoyable, had he stayed longer, but he's not an East Coast boy at all.

Peggy J., Sharon F. and I had dinner tonight at Mercer Kitchen. It was so wonderful to see them and catch up. They are always lively conversationalists, intelligent and fun. Mercer Kitchen's food was delicious, especially their molten chocolate cake with toffee ice cream.

This morning, I ran across the Brooklyn Bridge. I'll have to do it again tomorrow and Saturday, because we're going to Shake Shack for lunch tomorrow. Then I'm off to New Roc City to see the SWELL gang. Can't wait!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Culinary Successes and Failure

Gray's Papaya Hot Dog


Here's your slice, Julie! Onions, mushrooms, olives and sausage. Yummy!!



Rowdy did not really enjoy the Tour de Upper West and East Sides. Hmmm...guess I really didn't think that through very well. I just wanted to show him where I lived and worked, but for him it was just walking by buildings. I was so excited to find that there was a Magnolia Bakery on Columbus, so I ran in for a cupcake. After all, it should taste like a Buttercup Bake Shop cupcake, right? Well, no. The frosting tasted like whipped shortening, and the red velvet cupcake tasted like sawdust. Rats!




The evening turned out better. Dinner was great, and then we ate ice cream at Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. We all said that we weren't going to have any, but then I caved, then Kiki, then Rowdy.

We did have a celebrity sighting today--Mary Louise Parker was sitting a table over from us at Grimaldi's.

Big Apple Adventures




My sister, Kiki, had some surgery last week, so Rowdy and I are staying with her in Brooklyn for a few days. I'm not sure how much we're really helping her out, other than entertaining her. She's doing quite well, actually.

Rowdy has never really pined to see New York. He only really was interested in seeing the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero. That was easily accomplished yesterday. Then I made him walk over the Brooklyn Bridge back to Kiki's house. We are going to Grimaldi's for pizza tonight, Julie. We can't wait!

Today, I'm dragging Rowd uptown to see my old stomping grounds. It's going to be weird, knowing that so many of my friends from back in the day have moved away. I am also hoping for a celebrity sighting or two. I have to admit that I have missed them.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Some People Know How to Deal With Their Fans, Some Don't

Rowdy is talking with one of his motorcycle racing heroes, Kevin Schwantz, right now. Mr. Schwantz was totally gracious and nice, willing to chitchat and sign an autograph without being all "I'm one of the greatest motorcycle racers ever. I'm Valentino Rossi's hero. Don't bug me."

Contrast that with Nicky Hayden, who was a big jerk to my friend, Ally, over the weekend. I'm looking forward to hearing that story in its entirety.

Addendum:

Well, according to our friends, Kevin Schwantz got punched last night by a friend of theirs because he wouldn't stop hitting on a girl that works for him. So, he's really good with fans, but maybe you don't want to leave him alone with your sister.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thanks for the awesome b-day present, Rowdy!


Every day should start with a Diet Coke break

Warm and dry, enjoying the Red Bull Rookies race and the 125cc race.

Hurricane Ike wanted to see the race, too.

Literally wringing wet.

The MotoGP race today was awesome! My boy, Valentino Rossi, put on a great show in horrible weather, biding his time and finally passing Nicky Hayden about halfway through. By the time they called the race at lap 20, he had opened up a commanding lead. Did he know it was my birthday?

The day started off a little cloudy, then there were some sprinkles, then a downpour with 40 mph winds. We stayed put, because I didn't want to go back to the hotel and find out that they actually ran the race after all.

Per Strong Bad, every trip needs a catch phrase, like "jumbo-large", or "the expenseeviest". Our "JL" of the trip so far is "Shamwow!" When the track crew was trying to dry the track out for the GP race, some drunk dude behind us yelled, "Shamwow!!!"

We Don't Like Ike

I hope that the Witch, Warlock, Pippi, Bardo and the nipper-to-be are all okay down in Houston.

Our experience with the remnants of Ike in the next post.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

88 Lines About 44 Years

1964 I was born a middle-class white child in a smallish Idaho city. Mom, Dad, Dayna and I live in a little house on Highland.
1965 My sister, Dayna, and I were totally spoiled by our parental grandparents. I think I got a new Barbie every week.
1966 I learn that bumblebees don't want to be petted. Did you know that?
1967 Daddy takes a teaching job in a small Oregon logging town. DeeDee and I dance in the Scandinavian Festival.
1968 My favorite books are A Little Old Man and Hop On Pop. I can still remember how it felt when the letters on the page suddenly had meaning.
1969 Mom takes me to kindergarten on the back of her bicycle. Our class went on a field trip to a dairy, where we had Oreos and chocolate milk--the only time I've ever liked chocolate milk.
1970 First grade lasts all of two weeks. I cried every day of second grade.
1971 Our family is complete with the arrival of Kiki. She is instantly the star of the family.
1972 Thanks, Olga Korbut, for getting me interested in gymnastics. I attend the Oregon Academy of Artistic Gymnastics. I am the 8-and under City Backstroke Champ.
1973 I am not very good at math.
1974 For some reason, I was very interested in the Patty Hearst saga, and pray for her every night. The Vietnam War was also the cause of much concern.
1975 Back to Idaho, and starting jr. high. If you want to know what I looked like, find a picture of Christian Soriano. Tragic.
1976 Bicentennial festivities.
1977 Cristy Greenwood is my next-door neighbor and best friend. Why do I always have to be Donny when we sing the farewell song from the Donny and Marie show as we get off the bus?
1978 I had a crush on Bart Naylor for the longest time, but he grew up to be fat and live in Boise. Let that be a lesson to young women everywhere.
1979 DeeDee graduated from high school. I discover punk music, and I like it.
1980 My first boyfriend was Randy Potter. He was a stud.
1981 High school graduation and leaving Boise for the bright lights of...Provo. "At least I'm out of Boise," is my motto.
1982 I am so lucky to have Cristy, Jenny, Stephanie, Linda and Carrie as roommates and truly BFF. They helped me become the woman I am today.
1983 My most unusual job--artists' model. I refused to do conventional things like food service.
1984 Cindy Kay and Sharon are added to my BFF list, and I meet my future ex-husband. What if that's the way he had been introduced to me?
1985 Would you believe I graduated with a degree in Physical Education? Pfft!!
1986 Grad school and BYU Theatre Ballet Corps de Ballet. I love dancing.
1987 Graduated with a Master's in Health Promotion, and get a job in...banking. It was an education, to be sure.
1988 My gallbladder and I part company acrimoniously. It gives me compassion for the people I later treat.
1989 It seemed like a good idea at the time. I did get some terrific in-laws out of it.
1990 Kansas City isn't such a bad place to live. And I made my first trip to Europe.
1991 Columbia, South Carolina is also nice. It is here that I learn to tap dance.
1992 Munich works its way into my heart. I performed in community theater and with the local ballet company.
1993 It occurs to me that I actually do have what it takes to go to medical school. Fortunately, I have a supportive husband.
1994 I'm on the President's Honor Roll at the University of South Carolina. The road to med school begins.
1995 I was so blessed to be able to go to med school. I honestly loved every day of it.
1996 I love anatomy, and was the lead TA for the PA/PT anatomy course. Actually, I had three jobs and went to school.
1997 Charleston is a beautiful city. The most beautiful smell is the tea olive plant; the worst is the horses.
1998 My first exposure to living in NYC. I flirt briefly with the idea of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
1999 It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
2000 I never knew I could hurt so badly, but Heavenly Father blessed me to have a very strong support network.
2001 My testimony grows by leaps and bounds by service to others, really studying the scriptures, and knowing some exceptional people.
2002 Turns out that I really do like Interventional Radiology as much as I thought I would. Diane gets her groove back with the rainforest zip line tour guide.
2003 I probably dated more men this year than in six years of college, and I still find time to run a marathon.
2004 Finishing residency, passing the boards, and starting fellowship. The NYC Temple is dedicated, and I live right next door.
2005 Rowdy--what can I say My Love?? You were so worth the wait.
2006 More adventure, love and joy than I ever dreamed possible. I lucked out a second time with the in-laws. Also, would anyone have ever guessed that I'd be Primary President?
2007 J, K,and M learn that their mom and dad will always find each other. Gelato Two-a-Days are mandatory when travelling in Italy.
2008 I don't know how to express how much I love my sweet, strong, thoughtful and supportive husband. What does the future hold? Surely more adventures!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Biggest Small Town


While running at Mission Trails on Friday morning, we crossed paths with an older gentleman wearing a hat with the initials "MD" on it. I was wearing my med school t-shirt. We crossed the same man's path when we were done with our run. He came up to me and said, "Excuse me, but I couldn't help but notice your MUSC shirt. When did you graduate?" It turns out that he is a retired MD from Columbia, SC, who is also an alumnus of my med school. He is good friends with the surgeons I used to work with when I was a tech.

Tonight was our good friends' wedding. We looked across the aisle and saw another good friend's ex-girlfriend, with whom we have gone on several double dates. Her date was a guy that Rowdy occasionally works with who has come over and played on our climbing wall. He's a high school friend of the groom.

At dinner, we were seated next to a couple who are the parents of a friend of the groom. They were visiting from Florida. At some point in the conversation, the husband asked us what we did for a living. It turns out that he is a recently-retired Kaiser ER physician, who knows all of the "old-timers" in my department.

It just goes to show that, as our friend Marlo (the bride) says, "San Diego is just a big small town."

Monday, September 1, 2008

Another Awesome Weekend at the Briccos


My big sis, Dayna, and her friend (and ours!), Kate, came to visit us for the weekend. I was on call and was at the hospital for seven hours on Saturday and an hour yesterday, but I was able to spend the whole day today with the girls. We went to the Zoo all morning. It's so fun to go when it's early, there aren't too many people out, and the animals are out doing things. After that, we went to Coronado for lunch. It was a very nice day.

DeeDee and Shrina will not authorize the use of their photos on this site, so I have to post pictures of MY AWESOME VALENTINO ROSSI HAT!! We know someone who knows someone who knows Valentino Rossi, the best motorcycle racer ever. Somehow, I scored an autographed hat! A hat that Vale actually touched and autographed for me!! I think that I might sleep with it under my pillow tonight.

I will never wash this hat.



Check this out:

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Saturday Night with Mr. Mellow


Rowdy and I saw Jack Johnson in concert tonight. His opening acts were Culver City Dub Collective and Rogue Wave. It was good. Jack didn't sing "our" wedding song, which was sad.


Funnel cakes--a Rowdy favorite.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Date Night


Rowdy and I decided that we needed a date night after what has seemed like a long month of me feeling swamped by life. We went to Taste of Thai in Hillcrest for a nice dinner, then headed south for a double feature at the drive-in.

San Diego is fortunate to have not one, but two drive-in theaters. (I'm counting Santee as San Diego). South Bay Drive-In is way south, south of Chula Vista even, which is close to the border. It's been called "San Diego's biggest entertainment value", and it is. For $7 per person, we watched a double feature from the comfort of our own car, with our own snacks.

When I was a little girl, we went to the drive-in all the time. We would pop a big pot full of popcorn and put it in a grocery sack and bring our own Cokes. Dayna and I would put on our jammies, then Mom, Dad, and us girls would jump into the Red Dragon and head off to the movies. We used to live in the same town as my grandparents, and it was always surprising to me how they just happened to show up at the drive-in about the same time as us. Of course we would beg our parents to let us sit in Grandpa and Grandma's car. Grudgingly, it seemed, Mom and Dad would let us go. It wasn't until I was much older that I caught onto my parents' subtle plan. Very wily, Mom and Dad!

Dear reader, at this point you may be wondering exactly how much of the movie Rowdy and I actually saw. Well, from the very first movie Rowdy and I saw together, he has made it clear that he goes to the movies to watch the movie. No making out at the movies allowed! After three years, he has gotten to the point where it's okay if I snuggle up to him a little, but no funny business! This dictum even extends to the drive-in, and even if the movie isn't so hot.

So, yeah, I actually had to watch the very lame Stepbrothers in its entirety. I did like Pineapple Express, though.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Allergic!

Yesterday, I went to the allergist for the first time. I am the worst about putting off going to the doctor. It's because I'm busy being the doctor for other people.

Anyway, I have become very tired of my nose running all of the time, so I went to the allergist, Dr. Schatz (no lie, that's his name--Dr. Shots). The nurse started me out with the scratch test. She poked my forearms with solutions of various allergens--dust mites, cat dander, dog dander, roach, feathers, molds, pollens. Within seconds, I had a big wheal at the "cat" spot, followed closely by dog, dust mites and pollens. The cat allergy is no suprise to me, but I was surprised at how quickly and strongly I reacted to dog and dust mites. It was very, very uncomfortable, and my upper lip started to tingle and swell. She gave me 60 mg of Allegra, which made me feel a little better.

Then I went into the exam room with Dr. Schatz, and as we chitchatted, my lips began to feel tingly again, my throat was a little bit tight, and my chest was a little tight. That resulted in a very painful shot of epinephrine in my left deltoid. Can I just say that getting epi is very unpleasant? It's very unpleasant. I spent the next 10 minutes or so of the appointment lying on the exam table. To compound this discomfort, I was starving, having gone to my appointment straight from work with no lunch.

I am feeling much better now. I will definitely take Flonase and Claritin as directed from now on.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Seems Reasonable

Not that I'm a Tony Robbins fan by any stretch of the imagination, but the Quote of the Day on gmail was from him:

"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten."

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Another Weekend, Another Adventure


This weekend, we're in Salt Lake. I discovered that Lezlie and I cannot go to the mall together if we want happy husbands and money in our bank accounts. But I did find the perfect dress and shoes at Dillard's to wear at Marlo and Ty's wedding.

We took the kids up to Donut Falls for a short hike. In all the years I lived in Salt Lake, I really didn't take advantage of the beautiful hiking trails. It was wonderful to smell the pines and feel the coolness of the stream as we hiked. Sadly, I did not climb all the way up to the falls. That was a mistake I will not make again!


After the hike, it was good to get into the pool and play around. I won the cannonball contest.




Dinner was at a little Mediterranean restaurant on 33rd South, Cafe Med. It was delicious. As part of our ongoing efforts to teach our kids that there are foods out there much more delicious than taquitos from Costco and Lipton noodle soup, we had everyone try hummus, kabobs and baklava. These are foods that I first tried when I was in grade school, but for a moment, you'd think that we were asking them to eat pickled eyeballs or monkey brains. Once they got up the courage to try it, they were pleasantly surprised. Thank you so much, Mom and Dad for having us try a wide range of foods throughout our lives, and especially Mom for being such a great cook and encouraging us to eat healthily.

It's been hard to really figure out my role as "mom" in J, K and M's lives. I'm coming into it when they're at the developmental stage when kids are starting to pull away from parents. I had a different upbringing and different opportunities than their other parents, so there are things that I would like to give them the opportunity to do, or encourage them to have the desire to do.

I look back on my life and see how I limited myself (and sometimes still limit myself) by my fears, lack of understanding of the world and others, and a lack of faith and testimony. My parents did all they could, but there were things about me that they couldn't change. I had to grow and want to change them myself. It bugs me when I see the kids being timid, and I worry that they are limiting themselves and missing out on really feeling joy in their lives.

We are hoping that we can make some changes within the next year that will bring us closer to the kids, physically and in my case, emotionally. I need to be around them more and get to understand and love them for who they are, not for who I think they should be.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Anacapa Adventure

No pictures yet, but I had to update for those who were wondering if we survived our camping/kayaking trip last weekend.

Overall, it was a good time. I loved being with Rowdy, the Bachs and the Wiggers. Eighteen-month-old Katelyn Bach was a really good camper. I was quite impressed. Of course, it's always good to stretch oneself and try new things. Kayaking had its not-so-fun moments, but exploring the caves and tunnels was cool. We also saw some seals and sea lions in the water with us when we were paddling. And thank goodness for the scopolamine patch! I was only seasick on one kayaking excursion, and not enough to make me boot.

Anacapa itself, well...when the boys took their mancation there a couple of years ago, it was mid-to-late September. Right now, it's the end of the breeding season for seagulls. The boys didn't remember having any bird issues on their trip, but this last weekend, there were literally thousands of seagulls on this little island with us. You better believe it was stinky, poopy and noisy. We were the only campers who stuck it out for the whole weekend.

A good thing about being the only campers was making friends with the ranger. He took us on a tour of the lighthouse, which is usually off-limits. The guys remember the lighthouse's signal going off every 20 seconds as being the big drawback to their trip last time. This time, the gulls drowned it out, and we barely ever were aware of the signal.

So, yeah, we're home now--sunburned, tired, sore from kayaking and carring our gear all over and happy to be sleeping in our own bed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shake-n-Bake



I was sitting at my desk at work today, thinking about packing up and going home, when suddenly, the floor started to wobble. And then my chair wobbled. And my computer monitor wobbled. It stopped several seconds later, then there was a smallish aftershock.

Knowing the kids were at home without an adult, I called to see how they were.

Max: Hello?
Me: Hi, Max! Did you guys just feel that earthquake?
Max: Nooooo...there was an earthquake? When?

It was a 5.4 earthquake, but not one photo had fallen from the wall, nor had any books fallen out of the bookcases.

The kids were making some home movies--Jaws 5, The Two Burritos, a James Bond installment, a remake of Little Shop of Horrors, and Robin in the Hood. When we put it on youtube, I'll post a link. They're pretty hilarious and clever, especially Jaws 5.

Also today, I introduced Jordan to the joys of the Nordstrom personal shopper. We got her some darling things for school, and I bought something to wear to the upcoming wedding of our friends Marlo and Ty.

Which brings me to the "bake" part--"steamed" is more apt. Can't anyone make modest but attractive cocktail-type dresses? The other thing that I'm burned up about is my stupid laptop. I'm getting ready to take it into the repair shop for the third time in two weeks. It lasted all of thirty minutes after I picked it up today. Dadgumit!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fun Friday Night

We were invited to a barbecue last night at the Ocean Beach home of Brian and Nicole. How Brian reached male adulthood without knowing how to grill is a mystery, but his first effort turned out very well. I met a fellow IR, and was once-again reminded that I don't eat, sleep and breathe my career. I like it and all, but there's more to life than reading journals.

The was followed by a bonfire at Fiesta Island with Tyler, Christy, Jen, Jeff, Andy and Tracy (and Jerome the Pug). Tyler and Christy needed to get rid of their old bedroom suite. Who knew pressboard could burn so brightly? It was so fun to sit with everyone and talk about whatever.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lingua Pater


Last week, I started taking Swedish lessons. It's pronounced completely differently than I had ever imagined. Take for instance "i", which means "in". Take your tongue and put it against the inner aspect of your teeth. Open your lips slightly and then stretch them widely to the side. Now make an "l" sound. And then there's the word for 7, "sju". It's pronounced something like "whew!". "Tjugo" or 20? Shoo-go. Which is not to say that I'm not having fun taking the class, it's just much different from taking Spanish.



Saturday, July 5, 2008

Memory Tag

1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you. If you don't want to play on your blog, or if you don't have a blog, I'll leave my memory of you in my comments.


Thanks, Jen Young!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Recommended Reading


Before I leave for work today, I have to post this link:

UTAH VISIT THRILLS RUSSIAN ORPHANS
Thousands of miles from their hometown, five orphans and two of their teachers oohed and ahhed at the architecture in Utah's Capitol.
FULL STORY: http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,700238789,00.html

(Sorry, you'll have to cut-and-paste it. For some reason, I can't get it to link.)

My friend, Stephanie Haynes, visited this orphanage with her mother in 2004. This short visit made a huge impression on her. Much like Greg Mortenson and his drive to help the people of Pakistan, Stephanie has been driven to help the children of Sovietsk have opportunities for education, growth and personal happiness and peace in their lives.

In 2005, I was able to go with Stephanie and her mother, Eva-Maria, to Sovietsk. We taught the kids to knit, played volleyball, sang songs, danced and went for walks in the woods with them. Though I don't speak Russian, and they didn't speak English, we were able to build friendships and enjoy each other's company. These children deserve the opportunity to grow beyond the limits that are placed on them by their situation, and I'm so glad that this group of girls and their teachers were able to come to the US and see what possibilities the world holds for them.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ain't No Party Like a Snoop Dogg Party 'Cuz a Snoop Dogg Party Don't Stop

We had a fun time tonight at Snoop/311. Funny thing--we were sitting there thinking that probably someone or some people we knew had to be at the concert. Would it be Jenny and Aaron or some other motorcycle friends? Someone from work? Between Snoop and 311, we realized that we were sitting next to a girl who works at the temple with us. Uh, small world!

Things like this are fun to go to with Rowdy, and kind of eye-opening to see some of the real wild child side of him, the remnants of a misspent youth and young adulthood. Rowdy knows the words to all the Snoop Dogg songs from back in the day. I knew some of the 311 lyrics. It was, like, gee, this is a song from med school!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Where I Am; Where I'm Going

Today started a month of having a medical student with me at work. I love teaching, love radiology, love encouraging the rising generation. But having been in her shoes, I realize that it's incredibly boring to sit next to someone while they're reading CTs, plain films, ultrasound.... Hopefully, I can slow down enough to teach her something useful and sway her to the best. specialty. ever.

Rowdy and I have been taking Spanish for the last six weeks. I am hoping someday to be able to communicate in a meaningful way with my Spanish-speaking patients. Usually, I understand enough to know if my translator is telling the patient what I want them to know and to understand the patient's answers. It just makes a huge difference to be able to speak to someone in their own language. I'm going to keep taking classes for as long as necessary to become at least facile with the language. Oh, and I'm also hoping to take a beginning Swedish class this next term, too.

I'm still working on running, but I took what amounted to at least a month off in April/May. Ugh. Just keep moving!!

Music, music, music! We're going to Snoop Dogg/311 on Friday night, and Jack Johnson in August. We saw Snoop a couple of years ago at Street Scene. Dude puts on a good show. I expect that, at both concerts, we will be the only people not smoking out. Contact high is a myth.

J, K and M are visiting us for a week in July. As they get older, their schedules get more and more packed. J is working, K is at high-adventure camp this week, M has camp in August. I'm glad that we were able to have them for a whole month two years ago. Those days will probably never come again.

R has entered a jiujitsu tournament which is coming up in July (the kids will be able to go, too). It's fun to see him get so fit so fast, after being in the hospital for two whole weeks just four months ago. He went from scrawny to ripped in, like, a month.

On September 7, 2008, I will officially be a partner in my group. Most likely. It's about time, because exactly one week later, I'll be FORTY-FOUR YEARS OLD. Sheesh. Am I a late bloomer or what?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Veggie Tales


Rowdy and I read In Defense of Food while we were on vacation and became intrigued by community sponsored agriculture. In CSA, the consumer buys a share in a local farm, receiving a weekly delivery of produce as a dividend. Becoming a part of CSA is not for the budget-conscious. It would be much cheaper just to buy our produce at the local grocery store, be we feel good supporting a local farm.

So, last Thursday, we got our first delivery from Seabreeze Farm. We received a beautiful bouquet of flowers, zucchini, cucumbers, radishes, green onions, tatsoi (a dark leafy green), a mixed salad with edible flowers, red potatoes, grapes, fuji apples, a grapefruit, an avocado, oranges, peaches, mulberries, and four farm-fresh eggs. By and large, the produce is delicious. Sadly, the peaches weren't good, but the oranges were lovely, all juicy and sweet. I took radishes to work as a snack. They weren't too bitter and were very refreshing. We had dinner plans Thursday and tonight, but on Friday, I made chicken salad with grapes and apples, then put it in a wrap with tatsoi. Tomorrow, we're having mulberries on waffles for breakfast, salad and red potatoes at lunch, and more salad, zucchini and chicken for dinner.


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Friday, June 13, 2008

Sisterly Pride

Check out my link to Big Picture Big Sound. My sister, Karen, is a movie critic for them now, most recently reviewing The Incredible Hulk. She's a great writer! Of course, all of her reviews are well-reasoned and insightful.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Western Adventure--Hill Country Edition

WARNING! YOU WILL BECOME INCREDIBLY HUNGRY WHILE READING THIS POST!

We ended our trip in Austin, TX, with my mom and dad and sister, Dayna. Any trip to Mom and Dad's includes great food. We had sandwiches at Texas French Bread. Try the chicken salad. Dinner out the first night was at Eastside Cafe. They have their own garden, so the ingredients are amazingly fresh and flavorful. Their chicken, artichoke and mushroom soup is to die for! My mom bought me their soup cookbook, so I can try to reproduce it at home.

We spent time on Saturday in Fredricksburg, just walking through the shops. The Texas Hill Country is quite picturesque. We drove through what seemed like quite a bit of it on our way to a fantastic trattoria.



About 25 miles outside of Austin is Trattoria Lisina.

Yum, yum, yum!!!


Look at these happy faces!
You must go there and to Eastside Cafe. Take my car.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Mt. Western Adventure

What's cuter than a box of puppies? A pen of bear cubs at Babyland in Bear Country, USA! Bear Country is a drive-through wildlife park in the Black Hills of South Dakota, on the way to Mt. Rushmore.
video

Mt. Rushmore is just as majestic as I had imagined it would be.



We had weather extremes there, from overcast to thunderstorms to hail to sunny and warm to a downpour within one hour.

Rapid City, well, no offense but it's not the most happening city I've ever been to. We noticed a weird quirk in waiters and waitresses there. Several times during meals at two different restaurants, the waiter or waitress asked us, "How's your dinner? Is the food still okay?" Is there something about Rapid City that causes food to suddenly go bad in the middle of a meal? We didn't experience that, but it seemed to be such a concern that we wondered.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Close Encounters of the Western Adventure Kind

It's just a four-hour drive along picturesque byways from Cheyenne to Devil's Tower. I'm surprised at how many people have never heard of Devil's Tower National Monument and haven't seen or don't remember Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Anyway, it's a fascinating natural formation that possibly was the center of a volcano. It looks like someone dropped a cylinder of clay in the forest and then ran a fork down its sides. The air was fresh and clean and piney. It was definitely worth the detour on our way to Mt. Rushmore. We did not eat here.
video
My Rad Life!