Wednesday, December 17, 2008


So I lasted on skis for a day and a half.  At that point, Erica and I were really skiing well on the top of the mountain blues.  There was a ton of powder from overnight Monday, so that made it more strenuous.  I was wearing out, though.  My shins felt like they were being stood upon by a 300 pound football player.  We made it down to the base, and I promptly turned in the skis.  I don't know if it's an improper fit, bad technique, or just my gimpy anatomy, but ski boots are hell. 

Wisest decision of the trip: trade for a snowboard.  Beginning anew isn't easy, but it was so much more fun.  I took yesterday afternoon off, then spent some time wandering around the base area.  Which was lucky because I found the best restaurant.  It is Cafe Diva; we both thought it was the best meal we have ever eaten.  It's fun when everything comes together and congeals into a perfect evening.

Today was a full day of school for me.  It was so much fun!  I didn't get as frustrated as I thought I would.  I feel like I did learn the basics and could progress to the next level if, miraculously, we awoke to 14 feet of snow and couldn't leave tomorrow.   I'm grateful there were no video cameras.

After school and during the early evening, I drank 32 ounces of Gatorade, 8 ounces of water, and 16 ounces of milk.  I think it was a dehydrated day.  I was shedding layers throughout my little school time.  Learning is hard work!

We stayed in tonight so that we could rest and pack.  Erica tore up her hip on a fall due to nasty patch of ice.  She is hobbling around.  I am going to get her a little bell to ring.  Injury will make for a fun travel day!  

All in all, a successful trip despite a few disasters.  We are missing the boy and our little home life.  I'm sure he is having a blast, but it's time to hug our little man!

Monday, December 15, 2008


We are on our ski vacation, which means we're away from Ross for four nights!  Erica has called to check several times, the explanation for which (we all know) goes way beyond her shared genetics to include her and my personalities.  

So this is one of the most gorgeous places in the world, and I have taken a total of zero pictures.  It's also the land of single digits, ergo my refusal to remove gloves unless E's life depended on it.  I can fold and unfold a trail map with my gloves on.  I don't think I can manage the little shutter release on her tiny camera.  And I would most likely drop said camera, as I have done the ski poles, ChapStick, and trail map.  

The two of us are kind of a comedy of errors.  [Interruption - the Wheel of Fortune answer just came across as "beginner and intermediate ski slopes."]  With these long sticks firmly attached to our feet, which themselves are made completely immobile with bindings, I mean ski boots, it is nearly impossible to ski the long one-degree uphill grade that comprises the lift line.  Seriously, when very few people are skiing, can't they just make the line chutes obsolete?  Those of us who are weak and novice have a hard time cross country skiing to the start of the non-existent line.  E has fallen in such situations several times.

Take a step back: we have already spilled a full Starbucks coffee at the Little Rock airport, lost and next-day found a credit card, and lost my skis.  How do you lose skis?  Well, we're riding up the gondola this morning when I look out at the skis in the little holder.  There are two professional pairs for the guys who are serious and wearing helmets, there's a pair that is labeled "E Braswell," and there's a pair that looks just like mine labeled "JT."  So we ride the gondola back down and walk over to the scene of the crime.  I replace JT's skis, but mine are long gone.  They are EXACTLY the same skis and poles.  We probably even wear the same shoe size, because this person didn't return these after a couple of hours of us watching for them.  So we go to the rental place and they tell me to walk back down to pick up JT's which can be refitted for my boots.  Each step in this process equals 1-2 flights of stairs in ski boots.

So the good stuff.  We are staying at the Steamboat Grand, which is appropriately named.  It is at the base of the mountain and super close to the lifts.  Our room is two rooms in one: a large king hotel room with gas logs and awesome bathroom, and a big sitting room with gas logs, a full kitchen, couches, window seats, huge dining room table, and its own full bath.  Two flat screens.  I mean, the Duggars couldn't stay here, but a lot of Frances could.  I don't know how I made the mistake of booking this place!  I am way too cheap.  

We had a routine flight to Denver, where we then sat on the concrete for almost 2 hours.  But we made the connection to Hayden/Steamboat airport and had a quick flight to the mountain.  Our shuttle took about 30 minutes.  We walked around a little last night and ate at the Gondola Pub and Grille, but it was 0 degrees and dark.  Fairly early night.

Today, we had breakfast in the lodge (included, for those of your keeping track of my travel agent skills).  We came up to the room and put 7 layers on.  Okay, not quite, but a lot.  We started with a couple of green runs - we got off the lift at a half-way point that says "BEGINNERS - EXIT."  That was smart as it turned out.  Anyway, after that we rode the gondola and did some longer greens.  The snow is awesome, and this mountain is gorgeous.  I haven't been anywhere like this.  Very spread out, wide runs, but tons of trees.  I think it was then that we took a break and then chose the wrong skis.  That realization led to lunch.  The next time, we rode the gondola again but then kept catching lifts up higher and higher on the way down the runs.  We ended up at the top of the mountain - 10,384 feet at Sunshine Peak.  From there, we got to experience some perfectly rolling blues with fresh powder.  We went to the top twice, and then it took two more lifts and series of runs to get to the front side of the mountain and home.  Whew.  

One more debacle - I busted on a shortcut walkway to the grocery store.  Oh well, we were able to make dinner and relax in our condo.  Tomorrow is more skiing and pick a restaurant day.  We are sore.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

True love

The main change recently is that Mae has moved to a farm.  This is a good thing.  She is reportedly happy, and we are definitely happy.  Things are more peaceful, Dory is like a new woman, and we now have a daily reminder of what true love between a boy and his dog is.  

Our new nanny is a lifesaver.  We have all kinds of names for her, but the bottom line is that we are better off.  We are less stressed, better fed, and more organized.  Tennille and Ross make a great team.  She is really on board with our parenting goals and philosophies.  All of which is very good, especially given that we will be taking a break from Parent's Day Out for the previously mentioned reasons.

I have to take a break to tell you that Ross has gotten his second wind tonight, which includes running all around, not minding, pulling Dory's ears, and stating, "I NEED CANDY."  Now he is jumping on the couch.  This usually means it is bedtime.  For some reason, it happens most nights.  He had a dose of Benadryl about an hour ago.  Maybe this is a paradoxical reaction.  That would be so bad, because we often rely on pharmaceutical help with bedtime.  Now he is saying "READY! JUMP" from the couch.  He said, "Be careful take a big jump so high."  Erica is about to pass out from nervousness.

He thinks there is a monster in our house.  It is silly, not scary, and alternates between being yellow and brown.  Why would such a young kid think there's a monster hiding in our house?Where did he get that?

Work is good.  I did a month-long rotation on pediatric interventional radiology and loved it.  That is comforting given that I want to dedicate my career to this field.  It would have been pretty weird to have hated it.

We want to sell our house.  We are the most indecisive people.  Maybe we have bad luck.  Or chronically inadequate expectations about what it will be like once we've lived in a house for a year.  Anyway, we would love to find a way out at this point.  For lots of reasons, not the least of which is that this one if breaking the bank.  

Okay, it's clear I need to study.  Why else would I be such a good blogger?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Here's an excerpt from the seven-paragraph (SEVEN!) email that was in my inbox when Ross was picked up from school.  

I'm not including the paragraphs that suggested we get professional help.  Or the one that said an occupational therapist might be able to prescribe a "sensory diet."  Names have been changed to protect the innocent.  

[K**** said he did try to bite A**** on the finger today, but it didn’t leave a mark.  She didn’t write it up, and I’m not going to count it as one of his three “chances”.  I have let her know that if he bites at school, he has to be picked up, and after three occurrences, he won’t be able to come back.  I really hope it doesn’t get that far.  You know I really love Ross; we all do.  It seems to me like a very severe consequence, but I have to make sure the other children are safe.  I can’t put the church in a position of liability.


We remain open to any other suggestions you might have to help Ross get through this difficult time.  He is a smart, sweet boy, and we will do anything we can to help him (and you two).]

Did that say July???

I just logged in and saw that my last post was July 28th.  Is that possible?  Are they going to kick me off for never attempting to entertain a few readers?  Would I deserve it?  Probably so.

I blame Facebook.  It's my new way to keep in touch, and given its ubiquity on the phone, I barely ever check or update blogs.  How's that for Arkansas grammar?  "barely ever"  "hardly ever"  sheesh.

Anyway, we are of course busy.  We are of course good.  Life is good.  Erica has finished boards, I am starting to study for mine, we have a super sweet President elect, and Ross is an amazing kid.  Other than continually biting anything that breathes at his once-a-week parents' day out, he is the most genuine, intelligent, lovable thing on the face of the planet.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Holy smokes

I am a Facebook victim.  That thing is ridiculous.  I thought reading books could while away the time.  Geez.

Meanwhile, we're doing fine, if Erica could ever get my head out of the laptop these last couple of days.  Her mom has been diagnosed with a large chest mass - long story short, the biopsy is benign and she sees a surgeon tomorrow to get it taken out sometime soon.  The big family beach plan is somewhat on hold.

Ross is a maniac, jumping and climbing and wanting no help on the diving board!  He calls us both "Eah" because the twins always called me that growing up.  It has been a struggle to try to teach him "E-Momma."  And he's now getting a little more personality while playing with other kids, i.e. knocking them over and pulling hair.  That's what happens when you have a 9-year-old boy for a cousin.  He says "cheese" whenever he sees a camera.  He can't stop jabbering.  When he wants something, he says "eah" over and over and over again until we pay attention!  It is kind of cute.

I have also discovered for list-keeping.  It is like coming home again for anyone with OCD such as myself.

Now I just need to add to the list: figure out how to make my blog more techno-savvy.  It has been neglected.  I don't even have all my links on the side.  Love my blogs.  And don't even mention pictures and videos.  

Off to FB for more chatting with the long-losts.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


It's been another whirlwind weekend.  Say that five times fast.

I got back into town last Wednesday, which was a day late due to the current state of travel affairs.  My little cute family picked me up at the airport, and we spent the day together.  Of course since I am a slacker blogger I don't have a freaking clue what we did that day, but I'm sure it was fun.  You'll have to check out Erica's blog to get a real sense of our goings-on.  Oh, and she'll also explain the pictures above.

Work was fairly calm on Thursday and Friday.  Our PACS (that's the computer system that we use to do EVERY BIT of our jobs in radiology world) was acting up, but what can you do but be patient?  We went to the game Thursday and Dam Goode Pies on Friday.  Saturday was jam packed with errands and such.  I am dying for a Vespa scooter, so we went and looked at those.  Did you know that they hold 2.3 Gallons of gas?  That they get over 80 mpg?  That that means I could drive 184 miles for about 9 dollars?  Did I multiply correctly (it's late)?

Alas, I have credit cards to pay off, a tree that needs cutting down, insulation that needs to be put in my attic, three holes in my entry way sheetrock, and the desire for more STUFF, including a dining room table and 2 new Macs?  Not to mention the prospect of a new nanny.  I'm sure I'm forgetting a ton of stuff.  Oh well, W will be sending me a check soon, and I'm sure that will make it all better.

We did interview a nanny hopeful.  She is young but totally taken with the boy.  He loved her.  We're going to give it a shot. Sunday was church, lunch with Bebbie and Erin, and then work day for me.  I sat my behind in the office chair and sorted.  I got a ton of stuff done, but there is a lot more to do.  

The other big pressing issue is finding a home for Mae.  Our Aussie is born to herd and born to pester toddlers.  We are having territory issues.  No one has been injured in the making of this blog, but I'm afraid that's just a matter of time.  We will be printing flyers, talking with the vet, and all-out begging.

Ross has had another explosion of change in the last week.  Maybe his haircut prompted it.  He is putting words together, pointing at things in his books, playing hide and seek, and gesturing.  The new favorite game is "On your mark, get set, go!"  He played with a turtle today and smeared pear juice in his hair yesterday.  He is a nut.  Favorite names:  Rossy-man, gooberhead, angel baby boy.

I'm off to sleep to regenerate muscle fibers.  I've overdone it with starting out running (again) this weekend.  Ouch

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dear Boston

Dear Boston,
Thank you for hosting the 17th International Workshop on Vascular Anomalies.  I am thrilled to be here.  I will always remember this meeting as the jumping off place for what will hopefully define my career as a pediatric interventional radiologist.  Thank you for investing in the Charles Street Jail and transforming it into a boutique hotel to which I will gladly return.  The Liberty Hotel has been a wonderful home base in Beacon Hill.  Every staff member calls me "Doctor Braswell," the toiletries are delightful in the granite-tiled shower, and the mini-bar is well stocked (well, it was).  The flat screen doesn't hurt, either.

Dear Boston,
Thank you for the sailboats and wind surfers on the Charles River, the gaslights and cobblestones on Charles St., the swan boats at the Public Gardens, and the infinite rows of brownstones.  Thank you for selling me my first (first!) copy of the Oxford American today so that I would not have to stare into space while eating alone a slice of whole wheat crust Daily Special pizza at the Upper Crust.  Who would have thought I would have to come here to buy Arkansas literature? Thank you for my long walks and sore calves.  

Dear Boston,
You hosted me a couple of times before.  When I was a little kid in the eighties, you probably thought I was barefoot and straight out of Walker Percy's Mississippi.  You weren't completely wrong.  You told me "We don't carry Dr. Pepper in these pahts" without a hint of irony.  You showed me for the first time what real wind and cold are.  I didn't forget.  When I was a college student tagging along with my roommate and her family for the MIT family weekend, you laid the Freedom Trail out before my feet, and I loved knowing why history matters and stays and doesn't fundamentally change.

Dear Boston,
Thank you for hosting the St. Louis Cardinals during the weekend I am in town.  What luck!  I am very interested in your sports culture and have read all the Globe's coverage of the Celtics championships last week.  A city that loves their teams is a place I can love.  I took great pains to plan a potential outing at the country's oldest ball field.  I scouted internet bargains, asked questions, and walked to Fenway to see for myself.  The Cards were trouncing your Sox and it was well into the game, so I knew my scalper was going to be easy to find and ready to sell.  I couldn't find him or anyone else, though, so I walked and loitered outside the bars and caught TV snippets and shopped for baseball caps.  I turned back.  On my way, the only guy left selling tickets gave me a deal.  I retraced my steps again and found the gate, made small talk with the attendant, smelled the hot dogs, felt the roar of the crowd.  

Dear Boston,
Your ticket man robbed me and sold me a bogus ticket.

Dear Boston,
I will never forget that.  I might never forgive it.  Please find your crumpled ticket in the green trash receptacle on Newbury Street amongst the coffee-stained newspapers.  Thanks for nothing.  When I bring my son to your ball park, I will not let him know that such things happen in the name of the greatest game on earth.  Let's just keep it a secret, shall we?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Set list

indigo girls
Little Rock's Robinson Center Music Hall
June 10th, 2008 8PM

pendulum swinger
fill it up again
heartache for everyone
power of two
hope alone*
world falls*
get out the map
sugar time?
fleet of hope?
three hits
hammer & nail
last tears*
another new song?
prince of darkness
shame on you
"don't think twice it's all right"?*
kid fears*
closer to fine**
tried to be true*
rock and roll heaven's gate**

Legend:  * = brandi carlile joined, **= brandi and her band, ?=new songs I don't know the names to very well

It was a really great show.  But the whole story would take pages and pages, because the night was screwed up by melancholy and fighting and breakdown.  I have some work to do.  We have some work to do.  My whole life has been on hold since that night, and I have experienced the full range of human emotions.  Let's just say there are three mental health appointments for me in the next 48 hours as I attend to myself.  It happens.  I am not immune to my humanity.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Ross has a fever bug.  It was up to 104.1 this evening, which is not fun.  Imagine two doctors sitting around scratching their heads wondering what to do next.  And then we snap back into reality and realize that there are medicines for these things, and we give them to kids, and then we put the kid in the bath, and then we repeat.  The only thing worse than feeling miserable is feeling miserable in some emergency room or hospital.  We know these truths to be self-evident.

He also has asthma, which we realized on the two preceding days.  Wheezing is not fun, either, but we are blessed to have a set of bronchioles that responds to updrafts.  Whew.  We cleaned the house this weekend, which stirred up dust, which mixed with the pollen, which made for asthma exacerbation.

At least the downstairs is clean.  Now if I could just get up in the mornings to get back into a workout routine.  Fat chance - I leave for DC for another week on Saturday.  I have a busy week remaining; there is a visiting professor in our department, which always means extra time for lectures.  I'm also going to dinner tomorrow night with some of the dept., and that will be a drawn-out event.  

Monday, March 31, 2008


E and I have been talking a lot lately about building our dream house someday.  We want 5 acres with woods, mountain view, big house, pool, lots of garage space, etc.  The works.  It is so much fun to plan and discuss.  We have been doing this as long as we have known each other.  When we were in medical school, we bought architecture plan magazines and pored over our favorites.  Now we live in a 30-year-old house that has some creaks and cracks.  It is one thing after another.  

But the dreams are in a lot of ways already realized.  It's fun to do the journey, but we've got it all.  It's amazing to know we will make "real" money when residency is finished, but we've got it all.  I have to remind myself.  

Ross is all over the place.  We find him up on the kitchen table, standing and clapping.  He climbs the stairs by himself.  He climbs the ladder for the slide, as above.  He wants to carry his backpack or any other bag.  He is starting to make intelligible noises for words like "duck" and "backpack."  Just yesterday, he started pointing to each item I mentioned in his favorite book.

I like the picture of him in his skunk hat.  He wore the heck out of that one and the puppy dog one this winter.  And he loved that red jacket with a fire truck on it.  Now he is into plaid shorts and navy Crocks.  We also bought Merrels when he outgrew the last pair of shoes.  We were smart this time - no shoestrings for the whole summer, unless he wears white when dressing up.

I went to Rogers this weekend for a friend's wedding.  It was a true England, AR, event.  I grew up in a town of 3000 people, but to me it was a universe of safety net.  It was the whole world, and nothing could really go wrong.  What a good time to be around the core group of people who truly raised me and now watch me raise a boy.  I will forever believe that there are no finer people on the planet than these.

Work is work.  I look forward to another trip to DC for a meeting in a few weeks, then a meeting in June in Boston.  E and I are planning some vacation time the first week of May.  Hopefully some nights in a tent, and some time in St. Louis, and some wins against the Cubbies.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


I had written a long stinking blog update yesterday.  Stupid thing went to offline error or some other bloggerese notion, and the "save now" draft function obviously worked at about 0% effectiveness.

I had posted lots of random crap about my current state of affairs, about which you are now clueless.  Nothing was earth-shattering, but it was good - dammit.

Ross is Ross, which is to say perfect.  He is climbing and jabbering and loving and all those perfect toddler things.  He is such a ham.

Being home from DC is also great, but there are times that I miss being there.  We went to a wedding last night and headed downtown a few minutes early for a drink.  I told Erica to pull out the iPhone to get an address, and it made me miss the daily adventure that was living in a new place.  So I had a Hendrick's and tonic to make up for my missing DC; I will associate those two forever.

I can't remember what the rest of the post was about.  Stupid brain.  Probably something to do with the snow, which is now gone.

Still (still!!!) reading Atlas Shrugged, which is worth it.  Now starting Trail of Crumbs, which has an interesting provenance and an interesting connection for me personally; will fill you in later.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Wake up and nurse hangover
Metro to The Breadline for lunch

Walking tour:
Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian
Lafayette Square
White House (watch cavalcade arrival)
Views of Old Ebbitt Grill and Treasury Building
Washington Monument from the outside, with views of the Lincoln and Jefferson (*with plans to return)
Hirshhorn Museum (contemporary)
Home for dinner and Democratic debate

There is no way to accomplish all the things we want to do.  What a frustration.

More trip notes

What can I say?  It is great to be here.  DC is gorgeous, even when it is cold outside.  I am liking the city much more than I expected to, but I have no explanation for why that is true.  I am enjoying seeing all the government buildings, the museums, the parks, the monuments, and the people.  I hadn't anticipated being interested in the government stuff at all, but it is really exciting to think that this is where it all happens.  

Oh, and the bars are fantastic.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


I'm now sitting in my DC townhouse, happy to finally be here.  It was a two-day trip and well worth the wait!  The drive was not too bad, and we got here about 4 in the afternoon.  The place is totally spacious and will suit us all very well.  It is cold, it is gorgeous, it is pretty exciting to be in a new place with tons of stuff to do and things to see.  

Mollie and I stayed in Bristol, TN, where there was a cheap La Quinta Inn.  We got up and went to Starbucks, where they were OUT OF sugar in the raw.  I made a joking statement that there was NO way our day could go well.  Not five minutes (okay, maybe 20) later, I had a speeding ticket for doing 80 in a 65.  The guy got a kick out of telling me that 81 would have been reckless driving.  Ha.  The rest of the day went pretty well despite these omens, but we left dinner tonight in search of beer and gas and found neither.  I'm blaming it on raw sugar.

Of course I miss the boy and the wife.  It is not the same without them.  Ross is now making the frog sign of sticking out his tongue all the time.  He makes a "woof" noise and makes the sign for bath.  The rest of the signs haven't really taken hold.  Oh well.  He is brilliant anyway.

I am actually surprised that Barak got S.C.  I'm for the smart bitchy girl.

Monday, January 07, 2008


Erica is working tonight in the ER at Children's for extra dinero.  It's a 5-12 shift, which means I am solely responsible for all evening activities with Ross.  This is a shocker, I know, because E tends to be the primary caregiver when I am working all the time.  It was a lot of fun.  He played in the den before dinner, then watched me cook macaroni, peas, and open the can of mandarin oranges.  He is about orange-d out lately, so those were mostly reserved for me.  Anyway, dinner was followed by a bath and lots of book reading, during which he almost crashed as he turned the pages.  As a function of his tiredness, Ross had the Best Attention Span Ever.  Then he really did crash at an early bedtime of around 7:45.

Why so tired?  Today was his first day of Parent's Day Out at our church.  Erica was so anxious about it, which was quite endearing actually.  She made a long list of things to gather.  She reminded herself to label everything adequately.  She agonized over leaving him.  She didn't call to check, as well as I am aware.  PDO, as it is affectionately known, was a big success.  Our child has the hugest ego (so do we) when it comes to that nursery.  He is Loved in that place.  They go nuts over him.

Anyway, we had a great night.  I am headed to D.C. in a few weeks for a month of training for residency.  I don't think it has hit me yet that I will be gone from the fam.  On the other hand, I am thrilled and excited.  I will be going with friends.  We will study, we will play, we will explore, we will go out, and we will be ready to come home.  I thought about the upcoming separation often tonight during our one-on-one time.

Friday, January 04, 2008


The new year seems a little anti-climactic this year, which is strange for me because I usually get really into recharging batteries and making semi-resolutions.  I don't make resolutions because then I would feel guilty about not keeping them.  But I do usually have a lot of good intentions.  Anyway, this year I just want to work out, clean the house, read lots of books, stay organized, not get behind on reading medical journals, run the 1/2 marathon, spend quality outdoor time with Ross, go to lots of baseball games, camp out, and get involved at church.  That's all.

I went back and read lots of old entries the other day.  I almost didn't recognize myself.  There were some posts that just didn't ring true to me.  Like when I was being whiny and bitchy - especially those.  But even some of the hunky-dory ones just didn't seem right to me.  I think there are lots of reasons for this.  There were times that I just wasn't being genuine.  But honestly, I think I have just changed THAT MUCH.  I am a real mom, a real wife, and a real doctor.  A lot of aging has occurred in the past few years; it has been one of the most transformative periods in my life.  It's really interesting to think about how different things are.   I turn 30 next year, and I have noticed similar changes in lots of my friends.  We are (for the most part) fairly settled in at this stage.  For those of us who are residents, the only big thing that will change from here on out is our jobs.  Once we are out of residency, married, parented, and mortgaged, there aren't many surprises in life.  This was how EBJ put it to me recently.  My friend, Erin, and I have been having this discussion (albeit virtually, in cyberspace).  We're chewing on it.

Here are a few pictures from Christmas.  I just realized this week that ALL of my pictures since before Halloween were taken in some kind of low-quality setting.  It is so frustrating.  They are 1/10th the digital file size that they're supposed to be.  Aaagggghh.