Monday, April 30, 2007

cliff's sunday

sophie being silly

gus' school had a fundraiser/spring fiesta at cliff's amusement park yesterday--it was a tremendous and monumental day in gus' kidhood because he rode a ROLLER COASTER for the first time! he also rode pretty much everything else there and amazingly didn't throw up once--they all look like vertigo- or nausea-inducing rides to me. gus' friend randy went with him on most of the rides, as did randy's mom, tammie. she is like ├╝bermom. anyway, enjoy the pictures!

*creepy clown warning:* if clowns scare you (stephanie) you should probably skip this post!

the fam

gus and rich on the scrambler

scrambled boy

"please don't notice i'm only 53" tall. please don't notice i'm only 53" tall."

they noticed--and gus almost didn't qualify for the kiddie bumper cars, either (max. height: 54" tall)

but he had fun, anyway

gus getting rescrambled with randy and cole

and flung around on a ferris wheel, twice

and slowly clicking up the rails on the new mexico rattler! (enlarge the image and you can see a big tuft of white blonde hair in the middle--gus!)

"mom? is that you?" post-rattler daze

gus, randy (hanging on for dear life) and tammie on a giant circular spinning thing

this one looks harmless enough--it is a giant platform that just goes around in a circle...

...but the weight of the machine...

...and the height it reached was really unsettling for everyone (no one looked well when they got off!)

in order to recover from the previous ride, gus decided to tackle the tilt-a-whirl, and of course got the one that spun more than any others

creepy clown, rich and sophie

another creepy clown--why is this at cliff's?

post-cliff's bath

Thursday, April 26, 2007

coming soon to an art-o-mat near you:

50 "untitled" works from one of the cherry blossom images. it is a 15 by 15 inch image, rectangularized and chopped up to make 50 new works of art. the resulting pieces are individually glued onto seperate pieces of wood (each the same dimension as a pack of cigarettes), wrapped in acetate, and dispensed for $5.00 each. so, someone could feasibly stand there and spend $250.00 to buy the entire image, but let's hope not. it's a concept thing more than an image/object thing.

art-o-mat is a fantastic notion: after it became illegal to sell cigarettes via vending machine, there was a plethora of unused machines piling up in north carolina. a very clever man, clark whittington, retrofitted them to dispense art rather than smokes. and, i am one of their newest artists! i love the idea of affordable art for everyone--the machines are found mainly in museums and galleries so the placement is stellar. it is a great intro to collecting art. for more info about art-o-mat click here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

absolutely crazy exchange about PANDAS...

...with someone trying to make a joke about an unfunny topic. i posted a rather terse and pissed off comment on a blog entitled, "over my med body" which is written by a third year medical student at stanford. it appears he does not recognize the difference between "humor" (which he tagged the post as) and "irony" (which is what the acronym PANDAS is as a pediatric disorder). it kinda got out of hand, and i probably overreacted, but this guy absolutely pissed me off because of his attitude--he seems to be quite compassionless already and he is only a med student. it is disheartening to see how glib a soon-to-be medical professional can be about a pediatric disorder, a thing which is by definition tragic. i'm not saying the manifestation of gus' disorder is tragic--however it could have been--but that pediatric diseases in general are about the worst thing imaginable. i think i got so pissed at this guy because he just cannot possibly understand what he is saying. what does this say for the future generation of physicians? i am thinking about PANDAS again because gus had a strep test last week and has to have another one on friday.

feel free to skip the dialogue below (if you haven't already stopped reading this!)--he, interestingly, removed it from his blog and qualified his original post with a throwaway sentence.

(from over my med body blog, april 10, 2007--now removed)
PANDAS Syndrome

While reviewing infections of the neck and complications of strep throat, I read about PANDAS, which stands for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections.

I hereby decree that all new Pediatric Syndromes must have similarly-cutesy acronyms. Like BUBBLEGUM or DUCKY or KITE or BINKY or BUNNY. Alternative spellings, like ELEFUNT, are acceptable.

March 29th, 2007. Humor, Pediatrics

iskandar m i basal:
The other pediatric condition that is related to Strep infections is the Sydenham Chorea where the antibodies attack cells of the basal ganglia (striatum) where MRI studies has shown abnormalities. The mechanism should be I think that of the antigen mimicry. I guess where the Antibodies has attacked in the cases of PANDAS.

parent of a pandas kid:
can i tell you how unfunny or cutesy it is to have a kid that has this? can you imagine waking up with a completely different child one day and having them spend months asking you if someone accidentally put needles in their food, or if they are going to die from mesothelioma over and over and over and over again? or perhaps they develop sydenham’s chorea or tourrette’s? no need to publish this comment, however if you are to be a successful clinician in the future you might want to consider having a tad more compassion for your “potential” patients. let’s hope you’re not going into immunology or pediatrics and be thankful your views are not published along with your name because i SO would not go to you for medical treatment.

Never found the syndrome funny or cutesy, parent–in fact, have a classmate with probable PANDAS with tics. Pride myself on my compassion, actually. Sorry you misinterpreted my comment!

parent of a pandas kid:
PANDAS is by definition a pediatric disorder–do your homework.

It develops in childhood, yes–but my understanding is that some of the sequalae (Tourette’s, OCD, tics, etc) often last for life. In fact, now that I think back to it, I did a short presentation on the all the possible sequelae of group A strep.

parent of a pandas kid:
good for you for doing some research; you are still mistaken. the sequelae (you misspelled it in your response–sequalae is the singular form) have not been proven to last a lifetime; i challenge you to send me citations from peer-reviewed journals stating definitively that this is the case.
i don’t wish to spend my limited time in this dialogue with you, but i am going to tell you one thing about myself and two valuable things i have learned: i have spent my entire adulthood to date around people in academic medicine. and these are not people who are barely getting by in the field, but medical scientists, exceptional clinicians and educators, who have done exceedingly well in their professions and are highly respected members of the medical community. they are the people who will someday be administering your board exams or readers/editors for the journals you submit articles to, if you get that far in your field. the main thing i have learned from being around them is that those who become very successful and who become excellent clinicians NEVER lose their respect for either the disease or the patient, no matter what the circumstances may be. they certainly aren’t spending their time writing clever witticisms on a blog about serious illnesses.
the second thing i have learned comes more from being a parent but also applies in this instance: pediatric disorders are NEVER funny. they are tragic. they are unnatural. they are devastating. that does not mean you have to have a bleeding heart for every sick kid you treat–in fact allowing yourself some distance from it may keep you sane–but it does mean you do not take it lightly. ever. that was why i emailed you in the first place–your callous attitude towards PANDAS speaks volumes about the type of physician you are on the path to becoming. i don’t know you personally and i have no idea what your goals in life are, but i can guarantee that you will not rise to the top of your field with the attitude displayed throughout your blog. i am guessing that since you are at stanford success means a great deal to you. you should step back a bit and listen to yourself.
good luck.

okay, i fully admit that i do sound crazy, but within the craziness there are some kernels of truth.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

backyard star wars

i love that when i look out my desk window this is what i see. star wars rules every day in the backyard!

Monday, April 23, 2007

teething troubles

three out of the four members of our family are having major dental issues right now--sophie is trying to cut three at once along the top, gus keeps losing his, and one of mine had to be replaced with a crown + root canal. it has sucked around here, tooth-wise, for everyone but rich (of course). i always thought teeth followed a set pattern that they came in or fell out, and both sophie and gus are just getting them/losing them however they feel like it: sophie got her bottom two front incisors first (and they look so cute--kinda like a reverse woodchuck), but then she cut her second front incisor (like a baby vampire). gus lost his bottom two front teeth then one of his top ones, but the next one to go was a second bottom incisor and then HIS FATHER pulled a second top incisor while i was at the grocery store!!! rich said it was mocking him. rich needs help. the other second bottom incisor fell out a couple of days later.

dental craziness.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

mixed messages

me, at the isotopes game, trying to buy a mighty big beer.

vendor: "can i see your i.d.? (i hand it to her.) you're 38? wow--you look a lot younger." (maybe she was trying to improve her tip.)


me, at smith's grocery store, yesterday.

unknown, middle-aged woman (to me): "does your daughter work?"

me: "excuse me?" (work? work as what? a model for huggies? a dust mop? a finder of minutiae on the floor?)

her: "does your daughter work (gestures towards sophie)?"

me (still not getting it): "no..."

her: "is it your son's baby?"

mmmm, bochox judges me not.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

virgina tech

what the hell is going on? what a senseless tragedy. i can't even imagine what the parents of virginia tech students are going through right now. at iowa we had a fellowship named for a woman who was shot and killed by a deranged recent graduate called the anne cleary award. the guy received his ph.d. and then shortly thereafter hunted down and killed his dissertation committee and an associate vice president (cleary) of the university. an article about the iowa shootings is here.

my dad also has a really creepy rememberance of charles whitman, who sat behind him in an engineering class during summer school and one day failed to show up...

Monday, April 16, 2007

yesterday: excellent day for music; terrible day for bunnies

how sophie often sees her brother

i saw one of my all time favorite performers last night: neko case! she is easily the most gifted singer i have ever had the good fortune to see live--it is criminal that this woman isn't more well-known. she played at the sunshine theatre here in downtown albuquerque with jon rauhouse, kelly hogan, and a host of other phenomenal alt-country musicians. along with her incredible voice she has a mane of just-curly-enough long, bright red hair that makes those of us with board straight hair twinge with jealousy. tracy went with me and we both agreed that we would be willing to give up a lot to be neko for a day...i just love her! so, yesterday was a very good day for music.

conversely, it was a very bad day for bunnies, as i killed not one but two while mowing the lawn. it was horrifying and i still feel like absolute crap because of it. ten years ago, when we lived in iowa the first time, rich ran over a warren while mowing the lawn and he was so traumatized by it that not only did he never mow the lawn again but he never even worked outside again save raking the leaves once or twice. it was very sad. poor bunnies. stupid lawnmower. i am going outside in a little bit to cut the rest of the grass over where the double bunnicide occurred with some grass shears.

these are pictures from a typical saturday at the allen house:

little does gus know...

...that he is about to get in really big trouble...


rich's competitiveness is just a wee bit strong

even when holding sophie

just can't quite let gus win...

sophie gets smart and runs away

obi wan/gus

Saturday, April 14, 2007

germans have great taste in music cover art...

...because they ("they" being a major label, ahem, *cough* sony/BMG *cough*) licensed not one but two of my iowa spring images for a classical music series! this is the first CD (h.i.f. biber's "harmonia artificiosa-arios"); the second one (a collection of flute solos) should come out soon.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

what is going on here?

here is proof that occasionally, when forced, i will wear makeup. and those are some mighty long nails close to my eyes...more to come.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

'topes almost win!

max, gus and rich

one of the things i absolutely love about albuquerque is that it is a city that so does not take itself too seriously. for example, our local baseball team is called the albuquerque isotopes (they are a triple-A team that feeds into the florida marlins). sound familiar, like maybe from an episode of "the simpsons?" it is--in one episode homer discovers a plot to move the beloved springfield isotopes to albuquerque and goes on a hunger strike to try and prevent the move. not long after that episode aired, the albuquerque dukes up and left town for portland, and the duke city was looking for a new name for the calgary cannons team that had relocated here to fill the void. the city population picked the isotopes, in a most touching homage to matt groening--he even designed the team's logo. and that is your minor league baseball history for the day.

the whole family + one of gus' friends (max) went out to the ballpark last night and we all had so much fun. even sophie got into the game--she mimicked the crowd's noises at the right times, clapped her hands, tried to throw my empty beer cup at the umpire, etc. the field is just gorgeous--beautiful views of the sandia mountains in the background. and the isotopes even played the iowa cubs (from des moines--we used to watch the cedar rapids kernels when we were in iowa), but they didn't quite win...we all still loved being there.

me and sophie

isn't this view gorgeous?

we even got to see a fight between the manager and the ump...such a good game!

Monday, April 9, 2007

eminem invades our bedtime ritual

why is daddy laughing so much?

everytime rich sees sophie wearing her formerly footie pajamas, now footie-less (because i cut them off), he starts singing, "two trailer park girls go round the outside, round the outside, round the outside..." and then he laughs himself silly. sophie can't help it if a) her legs are growing faster than the rest of her or b) her mother is too cheap (thrifty? economical? resourceful?) to spend $150 at baby gap for a week's worth of new sleepers! am i the only person who does this?

the offending footie-less-ness

Sunday, April 8, 2007

happy easter!

¿que es eso?

gus has always been very verbally adept, but recently he has developed a real talent for expressing precisely what he wants. for example, last night before he went to bed he told me directly, "mommy, i really, really, really want a chocolate easter bunny tomorrow. and i don't want a hollow bunny, i want a solid chocolate one. you should know that i have one every year and it is important to me." indeed. of course i had to make a mad dash to walgreen's at 9:00 at night, but i got the damn bunny. rich also expects a solid chocolate bunny, but he doesn't communicate took me a few years to figure that one out. the checker at walgreen's was hilarious--i got up there to pay for my stuff ($60!!) and he looked at me and said (in a really heavy new mexico accent), "yeah, my mom used to wait until the last minute to get our stuff, too, then instead of bunnies or chicks we'd get like action figures because wal-mart would be all sold out. she'd also buy all the guilt candy, like snickers, reese's, all the good stuff because all the cheap stuff'd be gone. kinda like you." i had legos, star wars playing cards, reese's, cadbury creme eggs...all mighty primo stuff. and of course the flippin' SOLID chocolate bunnies for rich and gus.

the actual easter bunny found our house early this afternoon--gus and i were at a friend's house this morning (where the easter bunny had already visited) so gus got to hunt eggs twice. sophie wasn't feeling well and rich had to work, so they missed out...but we had fun later on. gus hunted for cascarones, which are confetti-filled eggs, and then he completely abused his father with them. sophie found a couple of eggs as well. enjoy!

gus is already thinking enough with the pictures, and the hunt hasn't even begun

sophie found an egg!

you see this egg? i'm gonna get you, old man. don't try and hide behind the kid.

look at that explosion! (click to enlarge)

i think it hurt a little more than he expected

my basket needs grass

ewww, dirt

look mom! i got sophie's egg! and she didn't even see me!

me and sophie bunny

mmm, confetti and eggshells