Risk, how I hate thee: let me count the ways

Thanks to my friend Heidi’s prayer in our family room last week, I announced that before we had a single minute more screen time in our house, we were going to play every single game on our game shelves.

For the record, Heidi has since apologized to the children.

Sam thought he was exempt from this rule and tried to sneak in a little screen time while he was stretching, but I put the kabosh on that.

Instead of interpreting it as a punishment, the children seem to see it as a challenge.


So we’ve been playing.  Candyland. Dixit. Timeline. Stratego. Battleship. Checkers. Chess. Mancala.  Life (happily the children offered to play that one without me). Then we came to Risk.  Man, I hate that game.

My brother loved Risk, and I have (too) many memories of waiting and waiting and waiting my turn.  There’s a new version with more complicated plastic army figures, but as far as I can tell, the essentials of the game are still the same.


Roll dice and watch your armies get wiped out.  It’s like Yahtzee, only not any fun.

After conquering Europe on my first turn and then watching my children roll dice for twenty minutes before my turn came around again, I remembered the strategy that I used as a kid: try to get wiped out.  Use your two-man army in Scandinavia to attack countries with lots of armies.  Like Russia.

Finally, I bribed Moriah to attack Jonah in Asia from her stronghold in Indonesia and Australia.  I gave her 10 minutes of staying up past bedtime for each region she conquered.  Mercifully, she also came to Europe and knocked me out.

And what did we do with her up-past-bedtime time?

We played Scrabble, of course.  Now that’s a game I can get into.


In the Garden of Gethsemane

Lately I’ve been wondering why I’m in medicine. Rather, I’ve been wondering how to get out of medicine. I have two young boys who need me home so much, and the challenge of juggling their needs, my husband’s needs, and my needs with my patients’ need to have a physician available to them twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, is truly impossible. At any given time, I am letting somebody – often several people­­ – down. But more than that, I find medicine exhausting. I’m not talking about the fights with the HMOs, or the hours, or the fear of being sued. I’m talking about the suffering. 

I’m writing over at The Well today. Will you read the rest here?

Book Review: The Rosie Project and Bellwether

What a blast! The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion captured me from page one. The protagonist’s voice is distinctive and thoroughly consistent with his personality. Don, a professor of genetics, is looking for a wife. He has a bad first date, so he designs a pre-date questionnaire designed to eliminate all potential conflicts. Then, he meets Rosie, who eliminates herself from contention as a possible life partner by Question #1. Their friendship grows slowly through Rosie’s own project, the Father Project.

While Rosie and Don are the focus of the story, I loved that the secondary characters grew and changed. In the end, this was a satisfying, funny novel that I couldn’t put down.

If you like The Rosie Project, don’t miss Connie Willis’s Bellwether. Bellwether shares the quirky humor and science of The Rosie Project. Of course, Bellwether has the added bonus of taking place in my hometown. Willis pokes fun at everything from the intelligence of sheep and scientific grants to food fads. I liked this book so much I read it to my friend on a road trip for 8 hours. (Last book I did that with: The Princess Bride.)


{phfr}: gray

Pretty: This is our peach tree.  It didn’t like the frost that morning, but it sure was pretty against the snow.  Some new blooms have come out post-snow, so there’s a chance we may have peaches this year.
Happy: Sand in the sandbox!  Our yard is coming together.  The girls could hardly wait to get out into the sand– it was still pretty cold when they headed out this morning.

A second happy (is that cheating?)– I cut off all my hair. Since all my gray is by my hairline, I guess I am proportionately more gray than I was before…

Funny: With all the snow we had Thursday, the ground was really, really muddy when our friends brought our table.  Can you see how deep my boots sank in the mud?  I was actually stuck– Sam had to come from the patio to balance the table while I pulled my feet out of the mud.
Real:  Last week Sam was down with his back.   (Maybe that’s a part of going gray?)  Anyway, the kids were so excited that he was home they totally mobbed him all day.
For more {p,h,f,r}, go check out Like Mother, Like Daughter!

Daybook: April

Out my window: SUN!!  Also, enormous quantities of mulch.

In the kitchen: I’m participating in a four-family frozen meal swap soon, so there’s ground beef thawing.  I’m trying to imagine four batches of chili simultaneously, but it’s such a production it may have to be two double-batch jobs. Followed by two double-batch pot pies and enchiladas… It will be worth it in the end, I’m sure.



The animals came to the science fair. They didn’t ask a lot of questions.


In the school room: this is science fair week, so we’ve been making our posters and practicing “defending” them.  Thank goodness we did– we found a huge error in Moriah’s results table, which happily was fixed before the fair.  Also, Jonah had to dissect a crayfish.  Moriah was fascinated, so she sat there next to him asking questions.  I was set to call her back to “her” work when I realized (just in time) how much they were both getting out of the experience.


Who cares if her grammar assignment is delayed by a day?

Around the house: Our house blessing was such a… well, a blessing.  Our friends’ prayers and presence gave me great  joy.  An added bonus: we cleaned before it, so I’ve been enjoying that, too.



On my mind: I just read How She Does It by Anne Bogel.  It’s part inspiration, part how-to for thinking creatively about how to give the most to both family and work.  There’s been a pattern in my reading lately–fiction, alternated with how-to-fit-it-all-in books.  Fiction, for when I’m feeling overwhelmed.  How-to when I’m ready to tackle the too-much.


Dance break! Photo by SweetP


Grateful: for Saturday’s house blessing and all the lovely people who blessed us there.  For flowers in the house, even if especially since there aren’t any outside in my garden year.  Dance breaks.  Afternoon soccer and volleyball.  Sunday’s long run.


What the children do during read-aloud time

Praying for: Mandy.  Jeremy & Amy.  Sam’s back. Clare. Deb.  Our youth group’s 30-hour famine (coming up soon!).  To see my work- all the different parts of it- life less like puzzle pieces and more as a ministry of presence.


Book review: A Song in the Night by Bob Massie

This memoir from Bob Massie is powerful, moving, and told without sentimentality. He has lived a remarkable life, and much of it—both his life in the world and his internal life—is recorded here. In his five decades he has done remarkable things, including working for the end of apartheid in South Africa.

Massie is concerned about justice. He has degrees in history, business and divinity. Justice and economics are intimately connected to his faith. So frequently, we separate the two. Working through this separation in my own life slowed down my reading of this book, but I am grateful for the perspective I’ve gained from reading it. Now I have to go put that into action.

Sam had the opportunity to hear Mr. Massie speak at a medical conference, and though Massie’s story has medical aspects to it, the primary narrative is one of hope. Of the power of the individual. Of persistence.

I don’t want to spoil any of it for you, because it’s worth the read.

{pretty, happy, funny, real}: signs of spring

Pretty: bulbs that popped up near the ice cream place.  Well, I’m sure someone planted them.  Some landscaper.  But I’m grateful for them nonetheless.
Happy: This is our self-pollinating peach tree, planted yesterday. Hooray! It even has buds on it. I’m saying a little prayer they still bloom after the snow.
Funny: And about that snow… we can add another item to the list of actions which leach to snow.

Washing your car. (not guilty)
Washing the snow pants. (not guilty)
Putting away the snow boots. (not guilty)
Planting trees in your yard. (guilty)

Real:  Can you see those bare footprints?  It must be spring if it’s warm enough to play outside in bare feet with sidewalk chalk…
For more {p,h,f,r}, go check out Like Mother, Like Daughter!

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