Thursday, May 31, 2012

life with a scientist

The other morning I got out of bed before Y, leaving him and Ike to spoon for a few more minutes. Soon after, I heard Y's groggy voice coming from the bedroom. 

I've just proven a theory. 
Yawning is, in fact, contagious between species.

He's come a long way in his early morning musings. I guess med school was good for something

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

one more holland post: herring

I get asked a lot of questions through this blog (what's it like being married to a medical student, whether or not I know Minnesota gets cold...) but by far the question I am asked the most is what do you look like while eating raw herring?

Well, I finally have an answer for you.

Obviously I wasn't impressed. I did, however, have several delicious meals while in Amsterdam. If you need recommendations, hit up Liz. She is consistent. Our favorites from her list:

And here's a video...set to a breakup song. But at least it's an upbeat breakup song that mentions Amsterdam!


In Amsterdam, we took a self-guided walking tour of the Red Light District. Maybe because I have an idealized view of Europe--and everything is just so much older over there-- I was kind of expecting the prostitutes to look like they stepped out of Moulin Rouge, wearing corsets and bright red lipstick.

Instead, the girls looked plucked directly out of Tigerland (a collection of slightly trashy bars off of LSU's campus) and looked bored. They sat on stools, staring off into space and eating sandwiches or distractedly texting on their smartphones. Needless to say, It wasn't quite as glamorous as I expected.

But that 30 minute walk was the only disappointing part of Amsterdam ( and to be honest, it wasn't that disappointing... I had an amazing waffle with nutella and banana).  


Monday, May 28, 2012

Weekend lessons v. 4

01. If you put in enough time as the significant other of a medical student, they let you graduate, too. (Okay not really... I got my own master's degree. But I should have at least gotten a certificate for my roleplaying skills.)

02. Y thinks very highly of himself. In the days leading up to graduation, he kept trying to whistle Pomp and Circumstance...but what came out was the Presidential March.

03. The beginning of your birthday month is the worst time to move. I just realized I'm going to miss all of the gift cards that stores send out during your birthday month. As I've gotten older, that has come to be one of the few perks of birthdays. 

04. There is this video... from The Mickey Mouse Club... that involved Ryan Gosling, JC Chasez, and Justin Timberlake doing some kind of body roll. I had never seen it before, but at least 2 members of my book club remembered this dance move as something that made their elementary school hearts beat a little faster. Do you remember it?

05. I had a really important idea for an invention this weekend: a parental control-like feature that doesn't protect users from inappropriate adult content... it protects users from SAD STORIES ABOUT ANIMALS. They're EVERYWHERE. I can't do it anymore. But I can't not click when I see Baby Rhinoceros Cuts Off Tusk to Save Dying Sloth or whatever Huffington Post is reporting on at the moment. 

06. Becoming a doctor doesn't change a person too much, apparently. Y has spent his first few days of doctor-dom watching 30 Rock reruns and coming up with a code name for the walkie-talkies we have for our 16 hour drive to Minneapolis. He's trying to choose between Tin Sparrow and Bronze Viper. I think I like Bronze Viper....M.D., obviously. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I'll be back with some more Holland pictures next week, but I wanted to brag about a really mature decision I made.

Y got a list of his new co-workers last week, complete with pictures. The people he'll be spending approximately 112% of his time with. 

And I've decided that I am not going to Facebook stalk them. 

I know, right? Some major restraint on my part.

I just couldn't take Ike's judgmental eyes anymore. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Holland 3: Keukenhof

Really popular tourist attractions always seem like a great idea until you remember that they're really popular tourist attractions.

In Holland, the most popular tourist attraction (outside of Amsterdam, I guess) is Keukenhof. Keukenhof, the world's largest flower garden (my sources tell me seven million flower bulbs are planted there each year) (my sources are Wikipedia), is only open for two months of the year and the best place to see famous Holland tulips. It's also home to the largest collection of foreign tourists in Holland, boasting approximately 20 loud tour buses per day. Its fanny pack exhibit rivals that of Disney World's. And the organ... the organ is in a class of its own.

When we walked in, this authentic Dutch organ was playing mood music. After a few seconds of careful listening, I turned to Y. 

"Is that..." I paused, trying to think of the name of the song. Was it something I remembered from childhood? Maybe a traditional Dutch folk song? The lyrics came to me as the organ started playing the chorus. 

"Tell me more, tell me more, did you get very far?"

Y looked at me in horror. He hates cheesy touristy things, and although I had warned him that Keukenhof might be full of tourists, he was not prepared for an organ playing a song from Grease.

Scratch that, friends. The organ was not playing a song from Grease, we soon found out. The organ was playing the entire Grease megamix. The same medley you might hear at a Bar Mitzvah party just after the chicken dance.

It was silly, and we would have rather stumbled across a field of tulips on our own than paid 20ish euro to walk around Tulip Disneyland. But we didn't let that stop us from enjoying Keukenhof, which really was beautiful. We just made sure to do the hand jive the entire time. 

Y's favorite part was talking to this Keukenhof worker about windmills. This guy was legit: not only was he wearing clogs, his mother was born in a windmill and I'm pretty sure he had a "van der" in his last name. 


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Holland 2: biking

In Holland I, the four year old, was our official family translator. Apparently, playing with Dutch children at preschool all day is a really great way to learn Dutch quickly. (I don't know if I would recommend this if you're over the age of, say, 6.)  By the time we left Holland, I was fluent. But when we got back to the States, I think it took me approximately one Texas summer to ditch dank je vel  for thanks, y'all. Suddenly, I was no longer bilingual. 

I was hoping that when we landed in Amsterdam, all of my forgotten Dutch would come rushing back to me. But it turns out I remembered only four phrases:

dank je vell (thank you)
alst u blieft (please/you're welcome)
bent u klaar (are you ready)
zet 'm op slak (hurry up, snails*)

Let's rewind to four years ago, when Y and I visited New York for the first time. We were there for about four days, and were so frustrated with our inability to understand the Subway system that we gave up and walked for our entire trip. Subway maps, need I remind you, are in English.

It took us about 5 minutes to understand the public transportation in The Hague and Amsterdam, written entirely in Dutch. It was slightly trickier to figure out the country-wide biking maps, but we did it with only 1 wrong turn that deposited us in front of castle ruins. 

 And "hurry up snails" was not part of the directions. 

I don't really know what my point is here. Maybe my pride was bruised in New York when I, a self proclaimed whiz with directions, couldn't navigate the public transportation. Maybe I just needed to prove to anyone who might have seen me angry in a Subway station that I've still got it, okay?

Now that that's out of the way...

A bike rack at the Leiden train station. (The one in Amsterdam was three stories and about 10 times as big as this one.) 

From Leiden we rode through some picturesque countryside villages, complete with windmills and what was left of the tulips.  

*My favorite game as a kid:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Holland 1: The Hague

When I was three, my family moved to The Hague, which is the capital of The Netherlands. We lived there for three years, and for about 12 glorious years after we moved back to the States, I had some really great material for the "fun fact" every person should carry around in their back pocket: I lived in Holland and have been to almost every country in Western Europe. 

Eventually I got lapped. My friends started doing foreign exchange programs. Month long backpacking trips across Europe. Biking tours of South America. Teaching English in China. Basically, I had to get a new fact. Good thing I'm left handed and Jewish.

The first leg of our Holland trip was spent in The Hague. We explored the city by bike and visited my former house, which is on the same street as my preschool and across the street from gorgeous dunes that border the beach and the North Sea. 

{1: the beach, 2: the dunes, 3: my street}

I remember a lot of things about my neighborhood: leaving empty wooden shoes out on Christmas Eve for Sinter Klaas to fill with presents (apparently he doesn't discriminate), getting stung by a bee in our back alley, the fact that you turned right to get from my house to preschool. But I cannot for the life of me remember there being a beach. I don't particularly love the beach now... apparently it's never impressed me. 

Some other pictures from the Hague:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

weekend (and vacation) lessons v.3

01. When you're enjoying a picnic in the middle of the Dutch countryside and a teenager rides her bike up to you and says, "I have just one question for you. You have secret for me?" here's a hint. She is not, as I initially assumed, just a Dutch youth partaking in a midday scavenger hunt and asking if you have a clue for her. She's actually asking you if you have a CEEG-a-rette. It's a mistake anyone could have made. 

02. We got rid of our cable a few months ago, and it's only on trips to the gym that I get to experience the important lessons channels like E! and Bravo can teach us. Lessons like, How dare I bemoan my life when poor, sweet Kendall Jenner is left in a bind because both Drake and Lil Wayne are on tour and unable to perform at her sweet 16??

03. When we got the Sunday New York Times, I saved 6 months worth of issues to use for packing breakables. Next time, I won't save the 9/11 anniversary issue. I just had a really depressing afternoon of wrapping plates. 

04. Y has officially been watching too many TV dramas (Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Fringe) to enjoy a comedy. We're catching up on New Girl, and in one episode Jess has an older boyfriend who is playing a drinking game that involves standing on a chair. Y, in his serious plot prediction voice, said "Ah. He's going to fall and die." Because that's the kind of thing that happens in Fox comedies. 

05. The morning you forget to brush your teeth will OBVIOUSLY be the morning that four dentists surprise you with a going away brunch. 

Now go read Joy's weekend lessons. Prepare to be insanely jealous of where she lives! If you made a list, leave me a link in the comments so I can see!

If you follow me on twitter and/or instagram (werejustdandy), you may have noticed that Y and I just got back from Holland! We had a great time (I'm ready to turn around and go back) and I'll share more about our trip soon.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

culottes for mom

I remember my mom loved culottes. She bought them for me, for herself, and she probably would have bought them for my dad if he would have let her. 

I think she would be happy to know that culottes are back, and that I own two pairs. 

I can't promise that I'll jump on board when her next favorite 90s trend, puff painted t-shirts, come back in style. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Recently, I started a wellness campaign at work to encourage employees to take the stairs. It's been great, but I've learned a few lessons along the way and thought you should know them... just in case you ever decide to embark on a similar adventure.

1. You will talk about stairs. A lot.

Since the beginning of my campaign, I've become a sounding board for people who want to talk about stairs. Which is apparently a lot of people. The most common topic of stair-related conversation? 6 degrees of stair climbing, eg: "Remember my friend Ellen? Her husband's co-worker climbed down 3 flights of stairs recently!" Spoiler alert: It's not as fun as 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon.

2. You will accumulate garbage.

Somewhere along the line, I started feeling ownership of the stairs. If I saw litter in the stairwell, you better believe I was picking it up and sticking it in my purse. And that is how, three weeks later, I became the crazy empty Milky Way wrapper lady.

3. You will succumb to peer pressure.

Once people started to realize that I was behind the stairs thing, it was not safe for me on the elevator anymore. I got plenty of evil eyes, and I was just waiting for someone to ask me how I could promote the stairs when I was clearly an elevator-rider myself. I hate making small talk in the elevator to begin with, much less small talk that involves me defending myself. So, I started taking the stairs. Every. single. time. I walked down 6 flights of stairs at least twice a day. It cannot be a coincidence that around this time I woke up at 2 am screaming bloody murder with my first ever charlie horse. Take it from me, people. The stairs are dangerous.

4. People really like the title "Step it Up" or, simply, "Take the Stairs".

The name of my campaign was Stairs 2012 -- like a presidential campaign. The name was everywhere; on every sign, sticker, banner, flyer. Yet people still came up to me and said things like, "Great job with Step it Up!" or "I saw Take the Stairs on the news last night!" 

5. You will become afraid of the stairs. 

I became convinced that I was going to die in the stairwell. I have this theory that if something will make a really great headline, it will happen. For instance, if I was on any mode of transportation and both Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves happened to be aboard it as well, that boat/plane/train would sink/crash/derail. The headline would just be too amazing for it not to happen. Anyway, Stair Advocate Murdered in Stairwell is just begging to be published.

Monday, May 7, 2012

hi dee ho, neighborette

Just a little housekeeping announcement:

Here in Y's hometown, in a medical community he grew up in, we are comfortable enough to assume that nothing I say on this little blog will get him in trouble. In Minnesota however, we don't know anyone. And not that I think I'm particularly controversial, but you know how curmudgeonly those doctor types can be.  I don't want anything I say to make anyone mad. (Curmudgeonly is obviously a compliment.)

So effective immediately, Y will be taking on a Wilson-like persona on this blog, meaning he will appear occasionally to offer wisdom, but never show his face. JTT will also be moving in next door.

They'll never figure us out. 

weekend lessons 2

01. All you need is love, a tandem bicycle, and a wedding ceremony full of people singing "all you need is love".

02. There is absolutely no point of spending any time on your hair when you're in South Louisiana. None.

03. Five wedding cakes are better than one.

04. The Carols might be camping this year, our greatest adventure to date.

05. The super moon is best seen out a moonroof while listening to nineties rap. 

My new friend Joy and I both happened to write "weekend lessons" posts last week. We're pretty sure it should be A Thing. Did you learn anything good this weekend?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I'll miss you, neighborhood

Every time Ike and I take a walk, three little kids on my street stop climbing trees/riding bikes/riding scooters to come say hi. I'll let you soak that in for a second. Kids... are playing outside. I didn't realize they did that these days.

Anyway, the kids' excitement over seeing Ike never wavers. They scream his name, tell him to sit, ask him for kisses, and then say, "Well, we should probably let Ike finish his walk." or  "It's always good to see Ike!"

With no sarcasm whatsoever, I can say I'll miss those kids. 

Our neighborhood is interesting. If you head in one direction, you're 2 blocks away from some of the nicest houses in the city. Another direction and you're a block away from a snooty tennis court. But in the other direction? Let's just say you don't want to go there.

A few other things I will, rather sarcastically, miss:

  • 7 pm phone calls to a friend/neighbor  to ask if she thought that noise was a gunshot or a car backfiring.
  • Finding the 3 B's of sketchiness on the sidewalk while walking: bullet casings, brass knuckles, and boobs. Yes, I once found porn on the sidewalk. What, you never have? Where do you live, Pleasantville? Agrestic?
  • Neighbors stopping by to let us know that a man with a chainsaw was spotted on our street at night.
  • Domestic screaming matches at 4 am. Bonus: if they end with a man leaving the house at 6 am, shirtless and double fisting Bud Light.
  • My car getting broken into. Although it did force me to clean it out, so... thank you, person wearing Y's TJ Maxx coat and wondering why that GPS you stole won't work (HINT: you forgot the charger).
  • Getting stopped on a leisurely Sunday walk around the neighborhood by a driver asking us if we've found Jesus. I guess we looked lost.
  • Domestic screaming matches at 4 am at a different house. This dispute was apparently solved, because the next day I saw the couple shaving themselves together on their front porch. Which is a sure sign of reconciliation.