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October 31, 2009

A Photoblog Halloween

We spent our Halloween weekend capitalizing on some of our favorite autumnal traditions with our family ...


Adelaide and Marmee making little ghost cookies,


Joel puzzling,


Hal playing,


The gang (Marmee, Adelaide, Kelli, Owen, Charles) crafting more cookies,


Marmee and Adelaide sample their finished cookie creation,


Big D and Joel root for the Hawks,


And of course, trick o' treating! Andrew (chick magnet), Erin (Eskimo), Kelli (Charlie Brown in his too-many-holes ghost costume), Owen (Charlie Brown), Charles (The Great Pumpkin), Me (Fairy/Green Bay Packer fan), Marmee (Witch), and Adelaide (Little Red Riding Hood).

Not pictured: pumpkin carving, boutique shopping, meeting-and-greeting with area pathologists, Vikings v. Packers, Freeze Tag, Buffy watching, Pandemic gaming!

October 27, 2009



Joel took both sets of car keys to work today, so I'm hanging on to the threads of my plans for today with a firm grip as I mother two robust, high energy kids.



At least this one is napping. As of right now ...

October 23, 2009

Halloween: A Trial Run


A funny, friendly face, right?

Not so, if you're Adelaide.

Well, shoot. Our family has been debating about this year's Halloween costumes for, well, about a year now ... We'd discussed dressing as Fairy Princesses, a pack of dogs, and then Snoopy and Woodstock, and then maybe Alice in Wonderland, and witches, ghosts, and zombies. This last month, however, we'd settled on Little Red Riding Hood. Great! A character everybody can get into: Adelaide, Little Red (of course); Henry, The Woodsman; Joel, the Big Bad Wolf; Me, Granny (a role I'm pretty familiar with). Adelaide was happy with her kickin' red cape that I made. Joel was pleased to be assigned to be the scary character. Henry would be warm and cozy and cute in his blaze orange. I'd be warm and cozy and comfy in my p.j.s. Perfect!

Tonight, we had a Halloween warm-up with the annual IC Halloween carnival. After a quick supper, we all dashed to our rooms to don our costumes. Joel labored a good 20 minutes on his make-up (using our old Ben Nye theatre make-up, of course), and then presented himself to Adelaide and me.

Adelaide freaked out. Apparently, the above guise is only a face a mother can love. Adelaide sobbed hysterically for a half hour, hid in her closet, and said "Give Papa a towel! Give Papa a towel!" (Presumeably, to wipe off his face paint.)

Well, Papa complied and we went to the carnival as Little Red, a Lumberjack (Henry), Sexy Mama (I had put on lipstick), and Schlub Papa.

We had a good time, though.


Me, H. and A. in the Pin-the-Leaf-on-the-Pumpkin game line.


A. and some of her chums from school.


J. and A. carefully decorate a cookie.

October 16, 2009

Cooking for a Crowd

On Saturday, we're hosting a harvest gathering for about 20-30 pathology residents and their families here at our house. We've done a great deal of hosting here in our new digs, but this gathering will be the biggest.

And perhaps the coldest.

We'd always planned to have this gathering mostly outside, but lately temperatures here in Iowa City have hovered between the 30s and 60s. Saturday's forecast is partly cloudy with a high in the 40s.

In an effort to stave off Jack Frost's bone chilling temperatures and still manage to have a fun party out-of-doors, we've decided to make chili, sip cider, and roast marshmallows. The cider and marshmallows would essentially prepare themselves, but I needed to tackle the chili. After calculating the appropriate amount of chili to feed 20-30 people with my mom (she's good at math), I set to work this morning during Henry's nap.


Chop. Chop. Chop. Saute. Press. Sprinkle. Open. Dump. Stir. Pour. Repeat.


40 cups of chili are safely stowed in the garage fridge, awaiting the warm crock pot tomorrow. Yum!

October 15, 2009

Pumpkin Carving By Night


It was a dark, rainy night when the pumpkin carvers appeared in our garage. Wielding a dull chef's knife and an azure Crayola marker, they worked their magic on our pumpkins ... Well, almost all of our pumpkins. We bought three standard Halloween/pie pumpkins at the Farmer's Market a couple of weeks ago, and one amazingly giant, strange-looking, flat-faced that the carvers could barely sink their knives into. We decided to butcher Flat Face later and freeze him for Thanksgiving pie, but all of the others made successful jack o' lanterns.


Henry looked on with bemused interest at our pumpkin carving antics, and was thankful to chalk up another safe year of carving.

I meant to have a photo of us lighting our jack o' lanterns, eating our apple crisp, and reciting not-too scary stories, but after the evening's excitement in garage, one of us kind of had a wee bit of a meltdown and I thought it kind of scary to capture that on camera. So, we just went to bed.

October 10, 2009

First Snow


Saturday morning I was on the phone with my sister in Minnesota and both of us were topping each other with reports of cold weather and an overnight frost when I glanced out our dining room window and saw big, fat white snowflakes filling the view. I hung up with my sister, dashed upstairs, woke Henry, dressed us both in winter weather clothes, and tromped outside to join up with Adelaide and Joel who were already frolicking in the wind and snow.


We took an impromptu walk to the park to marvel at the early October snowfall. I don't know what the rest of Iowa City thought about the wind and weather, but it was a beautiful, fun morning. Still, we were a bit underdressed and found ourselves shivering soon enough. About twenty minutes into our snow tromp, we hustled toward home, freshly baked chocolate-chip banana bread and hot cocoa.


October 9, 2009

Jogging Boss

The other weekend, I was biking in to work when I saw one of my bosses jogging along. At least, I thought they were jogging. I entertained the possibility that they may have been suffering a series of seizures that happened to be propelling them down the block. Their form was a little ragged. During one flailing stride they directed their gaze toward me, and I immediately thought, "Oh no!"

Oh no, because if they saw me, then when next we met I would have to acknowledge that I saw them jogging. I would have to find some way of having a totally neutral conversation about them jogging. Why neutral, you ask? Well, let's try out some statements that dare to express an opinion on the matter:

"Hey, I saw you jogging! Had you run a really long way?" Subtext: You must be in incredibly poor shape, because it looked like you were about to barf up a lung.

"Hey, I saw you jogging! Good for you." Subtext: Good for you, because between the two of us, there's enough BMI for a string trio.

"Hey, I saw you jogging! Do you jog much?" Subtext: Because I can't tell from your physique.

"Hey I saw you jogging! Nice... shoes." Subtext: I have a thing about shoes. I am a creep.

The core of the problem is that acknowledging that my boss jogs acknowledges that they have a body. Bodies have no place in the workplace. Setting aside the question of sexual politics, there's the more straightforward notion that I am young and they are old, my body is fit (ish) and theirs is... startlingly not so. Admitting that difference undermines the master-apprentice relationship that we all find works so well for pathology training.

I suppose in the old days, the apprentice being more physically capable was okay. The apprentice would chop wood and carry water, and in exchange for these physical tasks the master would deign to instruct them in the basics of wizardry.

But in these times of ours it is a shameful thing for anyone to be unfit, regardless of their age or knowledge of the Pathologic Arts. And so we apprentices pretend that our masters are bodiless, mobile towers of raw force that continually bellow forth the morphological criteria of fibroblastic meningiomas, fibroepitheliomas of Pinkus, and the large cell variant of small cell carcinomas, pausing only to mete out judgment upon the slow-witted.

When next I met this particular boss, they forced the issue, "Ah, Joel. I saw you biking in on Saturday. Were you able to get to the hospital with all the tailgaters?" (The hospital is next to the football stadium and the Hawkeyes were playing at home.)

I paused, stammered, then replied, "Uh, yes, it's no problem on a bike. Wasn't it a lovely day to be outside?"

Ah, the weather. Traditional conversational neutral ground.

October 5, 2009

HCM at Six


Henry's half-anniversary today prompts us to offer you a six months old synopsis, in bullet point form ...

  • Smiles, smiles, smiles ... But no teeth yet!
  • Bananas: Yuck! Brown rice cereal: Okay. Applesauce: Yum! (Tomorrow we'll try pumpkin! How festive!)
  • Sleeping pretty much through the night (knock wood) from about 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Sitting up in tripod-style ... sometimes.
  • These are a few of his favorite things ...

  • Bathtime,

  • Beat Box,

  • Jump-jump-jumperoo,

  • Barnyard Dance

  • Pulling Adelaide's hair,

  • Five Little Pumpkins,

  • Scratching the back of his head,

  • and Pacirah
  • It's good to be six months old!