Heather visits and the Deanna Rose Farmstead

Linda and Heather have been best friends since high school.  Unfortunately, she moved to the east coast several years ago and we don’t get to see her and her children near enough.  However, lucky for us, she decided to load the car with her 3 kids and road-trip back to Kansas a couple weeks ago.

There were quite a few visits back and forth between Kansas City and Lawrence.  Of the many visits, I was only able to attend one (thanks to the many days I got to work in the ER this month).  We met up at the Deanna Rose Farmstead before the heat could claim any victims.

We walked around and saw the many animals available to view and feed.  We fed just about every baby goat available, using up a third of the quarters in Johnson County.  There is an American-Indian settlement replica built with educational artifacts; tee-pees are erected also.

There is a replica of an old-town bank on the site, providing us with a bit of respite from the heat with some air-conditioning.  What a relief that was!

My absolute favorite picture of the day is all of the kids at the water pump.  This was where Anna and Emily would love to play when they were younger.

You may remember this old post that was a Blast From the Past.

Nikita and the Sunset Safari

As members of the Friends of the Zoo, we get access to the zoo after-hours once a month for the Sunset Safari at the Kansas City Zoo.  Certain sections of the zoo are open and there are special educational presentations that help us get to know the animals better.  Linda and the girls are fans of the zoo and could go weekly.

One of the newest acquisitions at the zoo is a polar bear, Nikita.  We got to sit in an air-conditioned area and watch him chase after frozen treats that were thrown into the water.  He’d retrieve the treat and then climb back up on a rock and then shake the water off.  It made for wonderful picture opportunities.

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Just to show just how much Linda and the girls love the zoo, Linda donated last year to Nikita’s exhibit in the name of Anna and Emily. Notice in the picture the free snow cones (and the obligatory cell phone being carried).

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Wilhelm Reunion 2011

My mother-in-law is one of 5 children (including being the twin of one of her siblings).  Every two years, one of the siblings hosts a reunion for all of the cousins to come see how much older everyone is.

This year, we met at Lake Shawnee in Topeka.  Fried chicken, beans, potato salad, and lots of other side dishes and desserts kept us quite full.  Unfortunately, Grace couldn’t be with us during the reunion.

Considering we only see most of the younger cousins ever 2 years, it is amazing how much older all of the kids get…

Four of the five siblings.
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Annie Haverkamp and family:
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Dorothy Klamm and family:
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Carlene Maag and family:
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Carl Wilhelm and family:
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To view more of the photos, you can visit my Flickr page here:

Steinway of Vladimir Horowitz

Today we took a trip to our favorite piano store, Schmitt Music, to see the concert Steinway of Vladimir Horowitz (1903-1989).  The piano (CD #503) was given to him in at the time of his marriage to Wanda Toscanini, the daughter of Arturo Toscanini.  He took this piano with him on his concert tours in a custom waterproof case.

Schmitt Music is where Linda holds her piano recitals and also where we purchased our own pianos.  As a piano teacher, Linda is well known to the staff and we were quickly welcomed in to view the Steinway.  After talking a bit and taking pictures, Linda sat down to play on the very piano played by Vladimir Horowitz.  What a sound.

Following is a clip of Linda playing, however she will quickly point out she was merely testing out the sound of the piano.

What a stretch

One of the reasons I chose emergency medicine as my field of work is that I work shifts and can have a pretty good home life.  I work hard at work, but then I get to leave it behind.  A lot of primary physicians work 10-12 hours for 5 or 6 or even 7 days a week; they even take call that may have them receiving phone calls during all hours of the day.  How they do it, I don’t know.

My typical schedule is very untypical – no pattern at all, working both day shifts and night shifts.  However, I usually only work 3 or 4 shifts a week.  Additionally, as the medical director for our group, I have several meetings per month that I need to attend.  Compared to my primary care colleagues, my life is pretty good.

These past two weeks, conversely, have been absolutely brutal.  Having a partner on an extended vacation while already being short a physician made for a very long stretch of shifts:

The good news is that I’ve got some days off coming up and I intend to have some good quality time with Linda and the girls.  I envision a lot of biking and a lot of movies.  I might also get some time in the Doctors’s Lounge.  We’ve got family coming to town for a family reunion.  These next two weeks are going to be a lot better than the last two.

Pushing a rock

I’ve been thinking a lot about a post I recently read at Fallible Blogma.  I wanted to share it with my family and friends.

A man was sleeping at night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and God appeared. The Lord told the man he had work for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. The Lord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.

This the man did, day after day. For many years he toiled from sun up to sun down, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of the unmoving rock, pushing it with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore, and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.

Noticing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, the devil decided to enter the picture by placing thoughts into the man’s weary mind. “You have been pushing against this rock for a long time, and it hasn’t budged. Why kill yourself over this? You are never going to move it.” Thus giving the man the impression that the task was impossible and that he was a failure. These troubling thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man. “Why kill myself over this?” Maybe I should just put in my time, giving just the minimum effort and that will be good enough.

He prayed, saying “Lord, I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even been able to budge that rock. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”

The Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, When I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so?”

“Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in my wisdom. This you have done. I, my friend, will now move the rock.”

I think of the instruction that God has given to us to pray unceasingly (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  I pray, but not as much as I would like.  In fact, I sometimes become discouraged in my prayer because it occasionally seems fruitless; I’m not seeing the results of the prayer.  Is my prayer is effective?  Am I doing it right?  Have I not learned the right formula?

This story spoke to me – God doesn’t command us to make the changes with our prayer.  He just said, “Pray!”  Push the rock.