Thursday, June 30, 2011


gus' is clearly rockin' his camp experience. he's about halfway through...i do miss him but i love seeing how much fun he's having!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

i'd say gus is having a good time at camp

oh my god...i'm so not ready for this. gus looks altogether tooooo happy. hmm. maybe next year he'd like single-sex military camp instead.

Monday, June 20, 2011

turkey vulture festival

click here to read the article! rich, sophie and i learned as much as we could about the much-maligned and misunderstood turkey vulture on saturday, and someone from the daily iowan shot this lovely little picture of sophie bunny getting a tattoo...of a vulture...on her face. let's hope it's not a gateway tattoo there.

did you know turkey vulture poop is almost 100% bacteria-free because of all the stomach acid it requires to process its diet of carrion/roadkill/whatever it can find to eat that doesn't eat him first? now you do.

Friday, June 17, 2011

summertime in the triangle

gus brings down thor's hammer on an unsuspecting astrid

oh insomnia, how i loathe thee...but at least it gives me a chance to sit down and write about everything that's going on in the early days of summer vacation. my brain feels like it is swimming in a pool of caramel to make a complete thought, so forgiveness for the ramblings. actually that simile pretty much sums up my summer thus far; fortunately there isn't much mental heavy lifting involved during the days at the moment.

mr. gus' previous two weeks since school let out has had him playing with his friends, swimming at the pool, flying by himself to texas, and receiving an xbox from his grandparents who are hoping to keep him out of the triple-digit heat. again with the extreme weather tour: iowa winters and texas summers. gus (and sophie and i) are living within an environment of 130 actual (not including wind chill/heat index) degree temperature shifts year round; gus gets to experience the high end of that without air conditioning for three weeks. overall, gus seems satisfied with his summer.

sophie bunny has had a bit of a different path this summer: she's also playing with gus' friends, she's also swimming at the pool, but she's going to gymnastics camp where, on the first day, she collided with another kid on the trampoline, split her lip and tried to knock out her front teeth. an emergency trip to pediatric dentistry later told us that one of her front incisors was indeed going to be coming out sooner rather than later, and that she didn't do any permanent damage otherwise. she seems about as happy as gus with his new xbox, oddly.

rich has been working, working, working, which is normal. he's gotten two tons of papers out and reviewed some thesii on top of the usual retinue of surgery, clinic, whipping residents into shape--all that good stuff. and, he had a birthday! i think it was a happy one.

i've been diligently working on the swamp, whenever this god awful weather will allow it (it's been raining a bit). over the past 18 months, i managed to convince my neighbors to the east and the south to sell me some sections of the wet woodland adjacent to our original property, and i've been trying to catalogue exactly what needs to be done. it is so much frickin' work, most of which is of the type that usually convinces people they should study harder and go to graduate school so they don't have to do shit like what i'm doing all day for a living...but i digress. the point is that we are now proud owners of almost an acre of wet woodlands that is desperately in need of rehabilitation after decades of neglect. we included a clause in the sales contracts that would prohibit future owners of this house from subdividing the property for the purposes of an additional residential structure, i.e. someone couldn't buy our house to sell off the land to a developer. i'm fairly proud of that, although rehabbing this area may kill me. i did try and give myself heat stroke today. i also won a poker tournament (technically i was a co-winner, as the other finalist and i agreed to just split the pot), had a scabies scare (GROSS--and no, i didn't have it--they were weird bug bites from being in the swamp), and got a speeding ticket driving back from taking gus to catch that plane to texas...which will take care of the poker earnings. i've also emptied out a couple dozen dead chipmunks from the rat zappers, which isn't even making a dent in the overall population. see? no mental heavy lifting.

soon sophie and i are to leave iowa and head to texas for about a month, leaving rich and paco to fend for themselves. it'll be weeks on end for him of one bottle of beer and half a digiorno pizza for dinner every night...the recycling pile never lies...whereas i'll be eating fish tacos every chance i get. yum. sophie just wants to see the ocean again as she's still thinking about florida. actually i'm right there with her. gus'll be at camp before we get there, which makes me sad. i miss my boy!

here's hoping your summer is revving up as well!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

indy 500, baby!

all of us at the 100th anniversary of the indianapolis 500

this past memorial day weekend, i had the great, great pleasure of fulfilling a lifelong dream (since i was 7 years old) of going to the indy 500! it was everything i'd hope it would be: LOUD, busy, packed with people, overwhelming. i loved it. rich's dear partner, keith, has had tickets in his family for decades and this year he couldn't make it (as he was repairing eyes in nepal) we were the lucky recipients of four excellent tickets in the paddock penthouse, just up from the finish line. it was unbelievable. and while i entertain no illusions of ever being able to do it again--at least not as well as we did--i am certain i will never forget it.

after this experience i am positive that i am a frustrated race car driver at heart--bring on the speeding tickets!

the day before the race was the parade through downtown indianapolis, and of course it's not a parade without a huge pile of spun sugar!

gus never misses an opportunity for cotton candy, either

motorcycle cops! these guys were definitely cool, and would be definitely intimidating when pulling you over for said speeding tickets

giant race car!

and sophie's favorite: giant panda!

giant, 4-time-indy-winning racing star! (a. j. foyt)

and giant hat guy!

race day!!! gus shot this picture of the three of us just inside the gates--how cool is it that the speedway lets you bring in your own beer? i love this place!

p-p-p-pagoda, peoples.

sweet rich and the kiddos

sophie with her race car--she acquired a danica patrick and a helio castroneves car during the race and ran them around the seats, too

the view, just to my right, from the seats--the cars are lining up and getting ready to go!

this is the starting lap, and as you can see we were just across from the andrettis, danica and helio's pit stops

cars in a line, under a yellow

preview of what's to come: dan wheldon in the william rast car crossing the bricks

and, yes, he won! his second indy win--he actually won it under a yellow, as the guy who was winning crashed into the wall on the LAST turn--he literally drove 499.5 miles just right and was about to win, then crashed and ended up gliding over the finish line into second. it was an amazing end!

dan wheldon, guzzling milk

the kids did great throughout the whole race--sophie completely crashed during the 2-mile walk to the car, but managed to stay awake for the 2 hours of gridlocked traffic back to the hotel. we had such an amazing time!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

rich's favorite traumatic brain injury patient gives him some advice

rich currently sees a patient who suffered a hell of an injury when someone tried, and failed, to beat him to death. he ended up not losing his life but rather most of his cranium (which has yet to be replaced) and any type of verbal filter when speaking to others. i get the impression he didn't have many inhibitions before the injury: he has a target tattooed on the side of his head and a giant jesus tattooed under his jaw, stretching down to his chest, which drives rich nuts because it's off-center and not in an artistic way. it sounds like this guy's seen quite a lot in his 20 years.

the first time rich met him he (rich) had a female medical student working with him...who got completely freaked out by this guy's very open opinion of her. they were just getting to know him then; today he was back in the clinic, wearing his usual matching official NBA hat and shorts with the holographic tags still attached, and giving rich some much needed direction in life that was relayed to me this evening:

patient: hey, hey, what kinda car do you drive?

rich: a toyota.

patient: what, like one of those high-end toyotas?

rich: no, a prius.

patient: a prius? psssht. why are you driving a prius? look, i'll tell you what we'll do: we'll put some 20-inch rims on it, get a TV for the front dash, get some speakers in the back, and then i'll ride with you in the front and the police will see me with all these tattoos on my neck and pull you over and you'll go HA! i'm a doctor, bitch!

rich: (pause) that sounds good.

patient: do you know gucci mane? i love gucci mane! he's got a tattoo on the side of his head of an ice cream cone.

rich: (pause) like the purse?

patient: no, not like the purse! gucci--G-U-C-C-I. gucci mane. we need to get you hooked up. get rid of that wedding ring! white women don't like that. we'll get you a pinky ring, some chains for your wrist, some stuff for around your neck, and you need a hat. you gotta wear a hat! we'll get you some white women.

rich: (pause, noting the patient is quite white himself) i have a white woman at home.

patient: no, some white women.

rich: (pause) okay.

patient: shit, we'll get you straightened out.

even the brain-injured sense that rich needs all the help he can get.