Always in moderation

Boulevard Tank 7 is a great way to enjoy a day off

Anyone that follows my Facebook or Twitter accounts will tell you that I regularly take pictures of my libations and cigars.  In fact, the nurses I work with find it quite odd that my pictures are a combination of beer, wine, cigars, and biking.  My answer to the oddity – all in moderation.

I enjoy taking pictures of the different beer, wine, and cigars because it gives me a record of what I’ve tried.  I also enjoy some of the artistry and beauty in some of the pictures.  Instagram has helped me take it to the next level with the ability to process the pictures in such an artistic manner.  But in the end, I just like the way it looks and it gives me something to remember what was consumed.

Those that know me can tell you I don’t do anything half way; I dive in headfirst and enjoy each of my hobbies to the fullest.  Linda playfully teases me about all of my addictions, but it’s all in moderation – always in moderation.

At the Movies – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

This past weekend, the four of us were among the millions that attended the opening weekend of the new movie, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”.

The trailer above will give you an idea what the movie is about, but it only gives a peak into the whole story.  The movie, based on a 2005 novel, follows the journey of Oskar Schell after his father dies in the collapse of the World Trade Center.  My initial thoughts about having the 9/11 tragedy as a movie plot was “it’s too soon”, but I am quickly reminded that it’s been over 10 years.  In addition, the movie isn’t so much preoccupied with the events of 9/11 as it is with Oskar struggling to keep the memory of his father alive.  Finding a key that belonged to his father gives him a mission to search out more information about his father.  Along the journey, we are introduced to numerous colorful characters (my favorite being The Renter).  I couldn’t begin to count how many times I alternated between smiling and tearing throughout the 2 hour movie.

The acting of Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Max von Sydow and others are amazing.  However, the performance by the young Thomas Horn was fabulous.  I anticipate seeing more from this new actor.

This was the first time that we’ve taken the girls with us dramatic movie.  There were moments I was concerned that it might have been too much drama for them.  However, I was proven wrong because they were riveted throughout and loved the story and the movie.  We had long discussions afterwards about our experiences the day of 9/11 and what it would be like to lose a parent.

If you haven’t seen the movie, please go.  If you have seen it, let me know what you thought about it.

Yo-Yo Ma and the Kansas City Symphony

When the new Kauffman Performing Arts Center was being built here in Kansas City, we knew that we wanted to be counted among the first season ticket holders in the new building.  We were even willing to shell out a little extra money to have really nice seats.  Turns out we weren’t the only ones with the same idea.  We got our season tickets – on the 4th from last row at the top of the auditorium (our view of the stage is that of the picture above).  However, despite it’s distance from the stage, the seats are awesome.  There has been a lot said about the new concert space and it’s all true – there’s not a bad seat in the whole place.  The spoken voice from the stage can be heard without microphones.

Another reason we wanted to be sure we had season tickets was because Yo-Yo Ma was scheduled to perform with the Symphony.  These were not tickets that one would likely be able to get without being a season ticket holder.  We deliberated about how many of us in the family would get season tickets, but it was quickly decided that if all of could go to KSU football games, we could all go to the Symphony.  Thus, all four of us have tickets to see each of the classical concerts.

Photo from KC Star at kansascity.com

Yo-Yo Ma came to town this past weekend and played the Dvorák Concerto in B Minor for Cello and Orchestra.  This is arguably the quintessential cello concerto – and how beautiful it was.  Yo-Yo Ma was such a fabulous performer and so gracious to the orchestra, conductor, and even the audience.  It seemed as though he were uncomfortable with the accolades that were rightly his.  I was so happy that Anna and Emily were able to have this experience.

Hear what Michael Stern (Music Director) has to say about the concert:

What to write about

Well, it’s Sunday night and I’d been thinking over the last week about the fact that I’ve neglected posting to the blog –  once again!  There are so many things I want to write about – family events, work stories, musings that are bouncing around in my head. However, I’m never really sure what to write about.

Most of what we do as a family is the same stuff that every other family does; it seems to me that it’d be quite boring to read about these mundane things.  However, maybe I should write about it just to document the happenings of our family.  Documenting these things may be something worth reading years from now.  But now?

I often wish I could write about things that happen at work.  As an emergency physician, I meet a lot of really neat people with a lot of interesting stories.  I have really cool patients; and I have patients that aren’t so cool.  Unfortunately for you (and fortunately for me), I’ve decided not to write about work; it protects my patients, my employer, and ultimately me!

Like most of you, I’m regularly thinking about a lot of things (religion, politics, family, work, friends, hobbies).  However, I usually figure you wouldn’t want to read about whatever I’m thinking.  Maybe you do, but I usually talk myself out of putting down in writing.  So, I’m often at a standstill when it comes to creating a blog post.

I like to take pictures and I share them.  In fact, I often posted blog entries around a photo.  However, I recently upgraded the WordPress software which was supposed to make for easier photo uploads.  Unfortunately, I can’t get it to work at all since the upgrade.  I’ve had to load photos to Flickr and then link to those photos.  Despite being a little more work, it works.  Nonetheless, if I ever delete a photo from Flickr, the photo will disappear from the blog post.  It’d be better if I could just load the photo directly into the post (as I used to do).  Persistent research as to why it won’t work for me has not resulted in any solutions.  .  But, the blog hasn’t been a very friendly way for me to do it lately.

Speaking of pictures, let me tell you that I’ve recently fallen in love with Instagram and am posting many of my pictures via that app.  If you’re an Instagram user, you can find me as “erdoc”.  Instagram is a photo sharing social network, kind of like Facebook or Twitter but with photos.  Most importantly, I love how the photos are published in a square format and the photo-editing options are very cool, resulting in a very awesome final product.  You can see examples of my Instagram photos here at my Flickr page.

Anyways, I just wanted to check in and let you know that I’ve not forgotten about the blog.  I think about it daily.  Now – just to think a little harder about what to post.

Sally’s Christmas Letter

Every year our Christmas cards, like many others, include a letter updating all our friends and family about the happenings over the past year.  However, our letter is unique because it is written by Sally.  Sarah, our first Bassett Hound, had that duty since she arrived at our house back in 1995.  Since Sally came 2 years ago, she has happily taken over the task of relaying our most recent chapter of our family story.  What’s best is that she’s usually pretty cute about it.

For those that somehow didn’t get a card from us this year, here’s Sally’s letter:

WOOF and Merry Christmas to all this great year of 2011.

Everyone here finds themselves in good health and good spirits.  Anna is now 14 and starting to drive.  Emily is 12-1/2 and has thrived at middle school.  I am 3 and was born to be the baby of the family.

I continue to love when the family travels and I get to go to doggy day care.  Spring break sent everyone on a Caribbean cruise to enjoy the sun and surf.  The girls tell me they loved the teen club on board.  In June, Mom & Dad biked 500 miles across Kansas (from the Colorado to the Missouri border) along with 800 others in 9 days.  The experienced several beautiful days of biking and one day that was absolutely terrible.  Along the way, they were able to meet up with old friends and made new ones.  That led to introduction to a whole new biking group in the area that they ride with regularly.  By the time you read this, they will have collectively logged 8000 miles for the year.  Someday I’ll make them pull me along in a baby trailer – I practice for this by sitting behind them while they ride on their trainers in the basement.  In August, everyone took a long weekend to Colorado to watch a professional biking race.  In addition to viewing the race, Mom and the girls were able to get autographs and photos of many pro cyclists that race in the Tour de France.

Both Anna and Emily are in middle school this year.  I’m responsible for walking them to the bus stop daily.  I want to make sure they know how much I will miss them, so I occasionally will throw myself to the sidewalk and refuse to move until after the bus has left, followed by crying and moaning.  Anna and Emily still are very busy with music, both still play piano and Anna also plays violin and Emily plays flute.  I stay very busy practicing with them.  Additionally, they are still dancing tap and pointe.  I don’t get to do much with those activities, except I can usually convince Mom to take me in the car.  The girls really are my best friends.

After a spring and summer of Dad working way more than wanted, he has moved to a new hospital that is only a mile from our house.  We love his new schedule and he loves the new commute.  Life at Overland Park Regional Medical Center is wonderful.  I love to sit with Dad while he enjoys the occasional cigar in our new sunroom that was put on the house back in March (“The Doctor’s Lounge).

Mom continues to teach piano, is active in her state and local music organizations, and leads Girl Scouts.  She and I like to curl up with a good book any chance we get.  Mom continues to be the master scheduler but still refuses to enter the 21st century – she won’t abandon that paper calendar!

I stay busy being the world’s greatest cuddler.  I firmly believe that if you are going to sit with someone, you should sit squarely on their lap (or chest, or shoulders).  I am the neighborhood greeter and bark hello to everyone and everything I see when I’m out for a walk.  I have trained the family to know that when I sit on the kitchen rug I want a treat.  I am also in charge of quality control for all couches and beds in the house.  I’m a real cutie.

Merry Christmas,

Sally

Cotton Bowl Loss

Well, this just wasn’t our year.  Despite a valiant effort, the Cats just couldn’t pull out a win.  In fact, they didn’t even have it within a touchdown (as they have for 9 games this year).  They lost 29-16, but they fought hard.  Several dropped balls and costly penalties made a difference.  Arkansas played much better and deserved the win.

My brother-in-law, Lee, is an Arkansas grad and is surely smiling.  Congrats to the Razorbacks on a good game.  More importantly, congrats to the Wildcats on an awesome season at 10-3.  A second-place finish in the Big XII is excellent (especially considering we were picked to finish 8th out of 10 teams).  Here’s to next year!

Go CATS!  EMAW!

Wildcat Grill (Cotton Bowl 2012)

This is a great song for the upcoming Cotton Bowl tonight. Enjoy. Click on the link and you can listen to song.  Read the lyrics below.

Wildcat Grill (Cotton Bowl 2012) by Dave Parks.

Lyrics (by Dave Parks):

Gonna put a little apple in a razorbacks mouth
Then we’re gonna roast him up and send him back south
You saw Alabama and you saw LSU
But we saw that 9 to 6 and we ain’t scared of you

Chorus:
Get some pig Snyderized
A little slaw on the side
Come on in get your fill
Friday night at the Wildcat grill

Stopped a Hurricane on a fourth and goal
Showed RG3 who was in control
Now a couple times we may have stubbed our toe
But we’re eatin’ high on the hog in the Cotton Bowl

Chorus:
Get some pig Collin Kleined
A little slaw on the side
Come on in get your fill
Friday night at the Wildcat grill

You can wear your pig hats and scream sooie
But we own all of Texas and we own Big D
While Willie’s doin’ pushups thanks to Mr. Bill
We’ll be cookin’ up some bacon at the Wildcat Grill

Chorus:
Get some pig Purple Pride
A little slaw on the side
Come on in get your fill
Friday night at the Wildcat grill

Cotton Bowl and Bike Riding

Today is the Cotton Bowl and Kansas State (#8) will be playing the University of Arkansas (#6). Both teams are 10-2 and are looking for a big win. Here’s hoping Kansas State can get it done.

We discussed traveling to Dallas for the bowl game, but $250 per ticket for the 4 of us and hotel and food expenses helped make the decision to stay home. However, a big screen TV with food, beverages, and friends should make for an enjoyable evening.

Yesterday was such a beautiful day that Linda and I were able to enjoy our bike ride in just our shorts and jerseys. 63 degrees on January 5 is awesome.  Hoping for some more biking today before the game.

January 5 Bike Ride

Christmas with the whole family

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012 was held at our house this year.  We had the majority of our immediate family.  We were missing one of my sisters and her husband plus Linda’s sister and her family.  Otherwise, both sets of parents and the Lynette’s family spent the holiday with us.

I worked the ER for the 3 days leading up to Christmas and was pretty much spent by the time I came home to enjoy time with the family.  However, we enjoyed hours of conversation each night.

Christmas morning was originally going to have the Catholic side at Mass and the Baptist side at one of the local Baptist churches.  However, with Linda playing organ, me singing, and both girls playing flute or violin, the Baptists arrived like a Christmas miracle and filed into the pew with Linda’s parents.  I couldn’t think of a more beautiful way to spend Christmas morning at church – looking out at my whole family in one pew while I was leading all of the Christmas hymns and singing Panis Angelicus was priceless.

After Mass, the kids could wait no longer and we then opened gifts.  What a wonderful time that was.

Dinner was prepared by Linda with some dishes provided by both mothers and Lynette.  The food was fabulous and the cookie extravaganza was over-the-top.  How Linda outdoes herself each year with cookies, we’ll never know.

Maags at Christmas

The day finally ended with a visit from my childhood best friend, Lynn, with his wife and two kids. What a great visit that was – as it’s been nearly 4 years since we last saw each other.  What a wonderful Christmas with family and friends.  God truly blesses us!

Lynn at Christmas