December 10, 2007


So I'm not a good blogger, I admit it.  Fortunately, Veep has finally decided to start her own blog and, like many new bloggers, is excited and ready to post away.  So click on the link to your right to see what she (and the rest of us) is/are up to. 

So, now that Veep has a blog going about her exploits, and the family, maybe I'll feel free to blog about more random things (including radiology?).  We'll see.

August 14, 2007

What's up?

So here's what's up.  Our house is almost finished being framed and we're starting to make lots of decisions about this and that and the other.  It's kind of getting crazy.  Anyway, the big decision we made was to go with a geothermal heating and cooling system.  It sounds really crazy but it is actually pretty simple.  Basically it is a heat pump, but instead of an air to air heat pump, it actually works with hundreds of feet of pipe buried below the frost line.  The basic idea is that the temperature of the ground deeper than about 5 feet is pretty much constant throughout the year.  Fluid in the pipe is heated by the ground in the winter, cooled in the summer.  the fluid then runs through a compressor and heat exchanger where air is heated and pumped throughout the house.  It is a good bit more expensive to install, but the savings over time are extraordinary.  It is touted to have a 300 to 400% efficiency, meaning that for every one unit of energy that is put in, 4-5 units are produced.  Amazing.  It's basically a giant refrigerator that heats and cools your house.  Plus it is super clean, there's no burning of anything, no natural gas or anything else.  Anyway, obviously I'm excited enough about this to actually blog about it, so I guess it's a big deal to me.  But alas, probably not very interesting to anyone else.

So between house decisions and work, things have been pretty busy lately.  Tonight I am watching "Night at the Museum" with the girls.  Schmoopie is feeling a little sick so it's a good night to take it easy.  The girls have gotten used to very late nights now that it is summer, so we'll have to get them back on track soon.  Sal is doing well too.  Last weekend we took the kids down to the big city park and let them play in the big new fountain they have for kids, ate shaved ice, and picked a bowl full of blackberries from a bush along the river side (enough to make a few quarts of jam).  Picking blackberries is a strange sort of pain.  While you are constantly geting poked by the prickers and thorns, you can't stop picking.  Your hands turn purple from the over ripe berries that squish, but you still don't stop.  For me it's the thought of more jam, for Schmoopie it's the thought of a pie.  For Veep it's just eating more fresh berries.  We definitely need to plant blackberries and raspberries at our new house. 

So I was supposed to work in Seattle next week at a new women's imaging center, but there were some delays with the opening so now I'm not.  We had planned to go to Victoria and then the San Juans for the following week.  We're still going to go to the San Juans, and may still go to Victoria, but it may be too much for one trip.  I'm not trying to brag, but there is something really magical about summer in the northwest.  85 degrees, sunny, trees, islands.  It should be a good trip.  I'm planning on bringing my road bike.  Apparently there are pleinty of nice rides on the island.

The girls are still constantly playing with their friend who lives across the street, so we seldom see them apart.  Sal gets really frustrated when they go to her house because he wants to go too but can't.  His latest thing is rolling his matchbox cars down a ramp on the back steps made each morning with a scrap of plastic corrugated roofing from the side yard.  He has spent literally hours rolling car after car.

Well, Boofis is telling me it is time for bed.  Wow, not even 10pm and she's asking to go to bed.  Well, that's what's up for now.

July 24, 2007

0720071836Time to blog again.  Since I last visited my blog a lot has happened, however nothing too unexpected.  I finished my job in Portland, finally graduating from school/training.  To my surprise, when I got home from work Veep and the kids had made on of those fun signs where you use candy as different words is a message (a secret talent I have seen her unsheath in the past).  Sal had a hard time leaving the box of Nerds alone.  Anyway, it was one of those "last day of school" feelings which is still lingering even though I've already started my first real job.  I actually started a week ago and have actually been impressed with how much less stressful my day is.  People in academics think they have a great deal with "academic time" and a supposed lighter workload.  They portray private practice as a money grubbing sweat shop doing second rate work.  While I have definitely seen that there is a bottom line in private practice (after all it's my money now, not the hospital's) the workday isn't quite as stressful and is much more under my control.  I guess working so hard this past year has prepared me well for the real world.  Anyway, so I am happy with my job so far but have a little stress re-learning mammography since I've been busy studying orthopedics for the past year (my time is split between the two in my new job, they're short handed in mammography).  But learning is always good, and I'm still used to studying and reading.  I do enjoy learning and researching questions and am glad my job will require it for the rest of my life.
    In other news, I've included an updated picture of our house.  The framing has been progressing nicely and is still on time.  Sorry about the photo quality, it's a cell phone picture as Veep is out of town and took the good camera with her.
    Speaking of which, Veep and the kids are in Utah visiting their cousins and aunts while I get to sit home, work, ride my bike, and watch three hours of the Tour de France every night.  I can't decide if I want Rasmussen to stay on top or the youngster Contador to win.  I tend to root for the good climbers, the real men, and not for the glamorous sprinters (except Robie MacEwen).
    So Sal had to get his second front tooth pulled a week ago.  He chipped one of his teeth when he was 18 months old, which got infected and had to be pulled.  A chronic, low level infection spread to the second tooth which became devitalized and occasionally drained pus.  So both front teeth are gone.  The dentist assured us it won't become a huge orthodontic problem.
    The girls have been keeping busy with their friend across the street.  They've had plenty of sleepovers and have been an inseparable trio since we got into town.  We're renting a house literally around the corner from our old house.  So the girls will be back in their old school, amongst their old friends.
    Well, I think that's a pretty good update for now.  I'm sure there is more to tell but can't remember anything else.  I suppose I will just have to post more frequently.

May 8, 2007



So as you can see, ground has been broken on our house in Spokane.  I think you can get a sense of how many trees there are on the lot.  The home site is sort of on the edge of a natural clearing so, while they did have to cut some trees down, it wasn't too many.  These photos were emailed to me from the builder, so I haven't been on site yet.  Last time I was in Spokane (last week) it was just a bunch of stakes in the ground marking the foot print of the house.  The guys in the photo are standing in what will be the basement family room, right under the great room.  They are facing the back of the house.  Behind the house there is a clearing for a good sized yard.  For me it has been hard to appreciate the reality of this house.  Just having photos is a great help, very exciting.

April 30, 2007

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So the big news is that this weekend Emmy learned to ride a bike.  This is my first attempt at embedding video so if it doesn't work I'll try again.

April 8, 2007


So I'm on a roll.  Here are some photos from our Easter Sunday morning and walk.

Here are the kids with their Easter haul.


We took a walk along the muddy trails next to our house and spent some time at the playground.  Can you tell Schmoopie is getting too old for some things (and she does NOT want her picture taken).

Meanwhile. Sal and Boofis are still willing to smile for the camera.

And here is the token Veep nature photo.

April 5, 2007

My Monthly Post

I look at everyone else's blog and wonder how they are able to post every day or two and I can't even manage to post something once a month.  Tonight I was supposed to go and work at the VA down the hill but while I was gone last week they updated their computer software and my login wouldn't work.  So now I'm back at home and have some unexpected time to kill.

So here are the biggest news items since I last posted. 

I had the week off last week and we drove out to Utah for spring break.  Veep and I spent three days at Snowbird skiing during one of the few snowstorms this season.  The trip was marred by a newfound kidney problem.  I had a sore throat a few weeks before (strep throat, it turns out) and didn't take the time to get an antibiotic and ended up with something called post streptococcal glomerulonephritis.  At least that's the working diagnosis.  In short, halfway through the week I found myself twenty pounds heavier with calves larger than my thighs.  I kind of figured that this was related to the aforementioned diagnosis and went to the ER in Provo at the end of the week.  The guy there told me it was probably just the change in altitude and gave me a diuretic.  But when we got home Monday night there was a message on the phone from the Provo hospital saying that my strep culture was positive.  So basically now I have to follow up with a nephrologist (kidney doctor) to make sure that this thing resolves as it can rarely progress.  At this point I've lost most of the water weight with the diuretic and feel fine.  Veep jokingly made the point that I will probably get hit by a truck now that I am finally nearing the end of my training.

The other big news, which is more interesting news, is that we visited Spokane on our way back to Portland and signed a contract with a builder to build a house on a ten acre lot just south of town.  Veep and I are both very excited about this.  The lot is full of trees, which we like, and we will have plenty of room for the kids as well as privacy.  Oh, and the house will be nice too.  We are going to build a house that is a timber frame hybrid, meaning that the great room (or living room) will have big timber frames that are actually structural and weight bearing, not just decorative.  And the rest of the house will be conventional framing.  The kids will each get their own room and we will have a nice main floor master suite.  Some of the other great things, in my opinion, is the three car garage and the proximity to a local favorite road biking route.  We will also have a daylight basement that we are going to leave unfinished for the time being, but will probably finish sooner than later.  At this point we are just waiting for all the financing/appraisal stuff to be in place and the builder is securing the permits.  They will probably break ground in early May.  So maybe when I write another post in two months I'll have some photos to share.Mypicture

So, because I have no fancy Italian food, Easter crafts, or serene landscapes to photograph, I will round out this post with a photo of Sal.  It makes me tired listening to him breathe, I think I may be nodding off. Zzzzzz.

February 12, 2007

Back on the blogosphere

So writing on my blog every day was not one of my new years resolutions. 

Schmoopie had her 9th birthday last week.  One of her wishes for her birthday was to stay home from school.  Ironically, only a few hours into the morning she came down with a cough and fever and ended up missing the next three days of school.  She still had a pretty good day despite it all, complete with Barbie faries and books and legos.  These days Schmoopie likes to be at home and chose to stay home for her birthday dinner.  French fries, roasted chicken, and cream puffs for dessert.

It's hard to believe that she is 9.  So now Veep and I don't only have our own birthdays to remind us we're getting old, but our kids' as well.

Shmoopie's other birthday wish was to go to Spokane and visit her friends.  So, under the guise of going to Spokane over President's weekend to start looking at houses, she is getting her wish. 

In other news, we are all now officially ready to move back to Spokane.  Last Sunday our neighbor complained to our landlady that we are too loud, that it is driving her crazy and she may need to move out.  As a result we now feel a little stressed about being at home and are hyper aware of any move the kids make.  We can't wait to buy a new home with more square footage and maybe a little acreage so thay we can enjoy our space, privacy, and allow our kids to actually act like kids.

We've also made plans to visit Utah over spring break.  I'm going to make the trip as well and Veep and I are going to spend 3 days up at Snowbird.  Hopefully they'll get a little snow between now and then as it has been a low snow year.

A few weeks ago I awoke from a dream where I was buying skateboards for Sal and I.  So, inspired by this vision, I found a vintage skateboard shop in downtown Portland, just blocks from the legendary Burnside skatepark, and took Sal down to get outfitted.  Sal was excited to get a mini board with a black helmet and black skull skate shirt.  So far, however, he has mostly ridden the board on his belly, only standing on the board when anchored on the carpet.  He'll get the hang of it soon enough and, at this point, it's enough just to see him excited to put the helmet on and have him ask for his skate shirt.

Well, that's good for now.  I've got more to tell but will update later.  Plus I've got more music reviews to put up.

January 4, 2007

Back to business

So the holidays have finally died down and it's back to work.  Work came early for me, starting the day after Christmas, with call over the New Year's weekend.  So actually, I've worked every day since Christmas.  I'm thinking I should just head back to Bend and stay.

The crew (ie. kids) had a pretty good haul over Christmas.  It's amazing though, after spending a decent amount of money on gifts, I can't say that I see them playing with them so much.  Oh well, since I do most of the Christmas shopping I can make sure they are toys that at least I'll like.  So, needless to say, I've already logged a few hours playing Tony Hawk on Schmoopie's new game boy and could spend more time playing with Sal's Hot Wheels race track.

I am now officially half way through my fellowship here.  Passing this mark has got me daydreaming about life six months from now.  I like what I do here, but look forward to having more control over my working conditions back in Spokane.  Here I end up answering a barrage of phone calls and taking care of little annoying administrative problems that interrupt my workflow again and again and again and again... Plus I like the easy living in Spokane.  No traffic, cheaper cost of living, closer skiing, owning a house again.

With the new year I also thought I'd create a list of resolutions of sorts, actually more a list of things I hope to do this year.  Ill wok on that and post it later.

This Saturday I head up to Mt. Hood for a two day Avalanche awareness course--one day of class, and one day in the snow digging snow pits and playing around.  I'm looking forward to it.  I hope to eventually do some ski touring and backcountry skiing.  In fact, every time I see the snow around my brother's house I think about making some turns in his back yard.

Well, that's enough of an update for now.  If you haven't already, check out the new photos from Mt. Bachelor on the left.

Hey, has anyone out there checked out my music reviews?  Anyone found anything they like?