Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mick finished up day two of his NBDE II test! I'm trying to schedule him a massage for tomorrow. For now, I think he's going to shoot for dinner in the city with a dental school friend tonight -- since the kids are at their pals' house and I'm with Anne Lamott and Elizabeth Gilbert. :)
Eat, Pray, Love -- with the book club

Tonight my friend Arlene from book club has made dinner reservations for 6 pm, followed by a night out at the Marin Civic Center for me and two more of our fellow book clubbers, Elizabeth and Merrill (she's new). Anne Lamott and Elizabeth Gilbert will be speaking to a sold out crowd. I'm so excited. Both authors are top-notch; I'm also honored to be invited by Arlene.

I've been in this book club for two and a half years, meeting monthly at my little Marin City library. I've often lovingly referred to my friends there as my 60-something (gal) pals -- although recently we were joined by a 40-something man, Stephen -- and these women have always inspired and intrigued me.

Arlene reads voraciously (five books a week? that might be a conservative estimate) and she travels once or twice a year to Egypt to soak up the culture there. She keeps her gray hair cut short and dyed red, and has bronze skin, different colored fingernails -- or flowered -- depending on the week's manicure, and likes shiny gold jewelry. Elizabeth (yes, I've mentioned Elizabeth before!) is my favorite librarian ever, a former lawyer, '60s war protester, general call-it-like-she-sees-it lady. She comes to book club fully armed with historical and biographical information for us. Barbara (not coming tonight) is a high school teacher, retiring this year, who was born and raised in Whatcom County -- Ferndale, to be exact. She's thin and wears these gorgeous fitted suits, leans over a little bit like she's cold, and speaks warmly with the voice of a long-time smoker. In retirement, she just might start writing -- I'm crossing my fingers on that one. There's also Joy, who arrives weekly in her motorized wheelchair from across the street, who's suffered from MS for years. She likes to talk about stories from her life that the books remind her of -- even if she hasn't finished the book -- and recounts her tales in this great Bronx accent.

That's the core group. Maybe I'll think of another person later. I'm getting a little sad thinking of saying goodbye to them in June (or whenever). I won't dwell on that right now, though. Instead, I'll show you what we've read since we started the club when I moved here.

Nov - Wicked, Gregory McGuire
Dec - Moo, Jane Smiley

Jan - Middlemarch, George Eliot
Feb - July's People, Nadine Gordimer
Mar - The Professor and the Madman, Simon Winchester
Apr - Ghostwritten, David Mitchell
May - Journal of a Solitude, May Sarton
June - In the Time of the Butterflies, Julia Alvarez
July - Walking the Bible, Bruce Feiler
Aug - Attack, Yasmina Khadra
Sept - My Story As Told By Water, David James Duncan
Oct - Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, Llosa Vargas
Nov - Will in the World, Stephen Greenblatt
Dec - The News from Paraguay, Lily Tuck

Jan - The Orientalist, Tom Reiss
Feb - Talk, Talk, T.C. Boyle
Mar - Daughter of Fortune, Isabelle Allende
Apr - Sex, Time, and Power, Leonard Shlain
May - The Afghan Campaign, Stephen Pressfield
June - Rain or Shine, Cyra McFadden
July - The Forest Lover, Susan Vreeland
Aug - The Untouchable, John Banville
Sept - Amsterdam, Ian McEwan
Oct - The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde
Nov - Our Man in Havana, Graham Greene
Dec - The Enormous Room - e.e. cummings

Jan - The Moon By Whale Light, Diane Ackerman
Feb - Crossing To Safety, Wallace Stegner
Mar - The Dissident, Nell Freudenberger

Apr - A Hatred for Tulips, Richard Lourie
May - The Glass Castle, Jeannette Wells
June - Saving Fish from Drowning, Amy Tan

(Note to self: Take book club group picture.)

Friday, March 28, 2008


At 8 a.m. today Mick starts day one of his two-day test. This is his second set of National Boards and he's been studying for them off and on for the last six months, and has particularly intensified his efforts this week during his Spring Break.

Tomorrow he tests from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Yesterday he registered for the third set of boards called the WREBs (Western Regional Boards), which he'll take at the end of May. That's the test that's on an actual patient -- where you have to make sure you've set yourself up with a patient who has the right kind of cavity, and then you're tested on how well you treat it.

He's got that nice pit-in-the-stomach feeling, but I have to report he's taking this all like a champ. He'll know the results of part II in a few weeks, but let's just say most people come out of them feeling crappy but have somehow managed to pass.

Go Mick!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What is this? you might ask. Well, it's a pile of Dane and Aubrey's friends at stuffed animal camp, each with their own single strand crocheted scarf to keep them warm and show which team they're on. (Shelby? Remind you of anyone we know?)

And what is this? you might ask, although it's probably obvious. This is Aubrey's ice skater.

MATCHING JAMMIES BY MEMAAubrey actually TRIES to smile like this for photos.
She thinks it's pretty.
And what is there to say about Surfer Dude Dane?
FINAL Finals?

Rumor has it that today Mick just took his last finals for dental school.

Could it be that after quarter #11 he no longer takes finals? Instead, he takes National Boards III late in quarter #12? Sounds good to me.

For the record, he takes National Boards II next Friday and Saturday (the 28th and 29th) -- at the tail end of his Spring Break.

Betcha can't guess what Mick's going to be doing for his Spring Break...
I haven't checked the facts on this one, but it's tantalizing info if it's true.

Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20). This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar.

Here's the interesting info. This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives. And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier. Here are the facts:
1) The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you're 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that).
2) The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year!

Fascinating little tidbit copied and pasted by the writer who isn't writing much these days.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A surprise visit to our favorite valentine, MickLovin'.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Little House in the Power Outage

We spent a rather wholesome evening reading and drawing by candlelight back in January during our 36-hour power outage. We were pretty proud of ourselves that first night, feeling that old pioneer spirit, hand-cranking the emergency radio and eating cold stuff from a can.

Turns out we're not as tough as we'd hoped, though, and by the end of day two we missed light switches and music and cold refrigerator food and internet access. Yeah, we know -- lame! But, hey, it didn't help that we'd returned from a ten-day trip the night before and we hadn't had the chance to unpack. All our luggage was splayed open throughout the house as we searched for stuff in the dark.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Late Summer Afternoon

Sycamores In Love

My friend Grace's mother painted these.
(Grace is Aubrey's friend Gia's mom.)
To see more of her work, check out:
Whether you're a tree geek or not, these are stunning.