Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Putting the Me in Ski

True confession: ever since I can remember, I always envied those skiing families. Shiny freaks with blindingly white teeth, veritably glowing with a smug mixture of fitness and affluence - I knew I should disdain them, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Needless to say, mine was not a skiing type of family. We did not glow.

My dad, who was both European and in possession of at least a theoretical appreciation of leisure pursuits, bought me skis at a yard sale. I had no idea how to ski, and he had no particular inclination to teach me. I did manage to go on a few ski trips in my youth, always with disastrous results. Pulverized and frostbitten (there was no waterproof clothing to go with those skis), I returned home over and over again with my tail between my legs. The actual experience of skiing went a long way towards helping me work up the disdain that I knew those shiny ski people so richly deserved.

Years went by. Snowboarding was invented, and those guys not only managed amazing triumphs over gravity - they also had awesome clothes. Needless to say, this was the snow sport for me. It had edge, attitude, style - and big pants! For my 27th birthday, my dear friend Scott bought me a learn to board package at Whitetail, and I was ecstatic! I blew off a day of med school, and we headed to the slopes. After getting geared up, we hit the snow and met up with the rest of our class - a flock of 11 year old boys who mocked us loudly and relentlessly. Why the hell weren't they in school, anyway? Of course, they had plenty to mock. Neither of us managed more than six consecutive seconds in an upright position, and the only air we caught was when we were tumbling down the mountain flailing helplessly. If there was ever an occasion for bailing, this was it.

My tail firmly back between my legs where apparently nature intended it to be, I stumped back to the lodge, ready to turn my back on the snow forever. Until Scott - the bastard - asked if I wanted to ski instead. Of COURSE I didn't want to ski - skiing is for stupid shiny people, and all my bones were already broken, thank you very much. But this is not what you say when your dear friend has bailed on his job, driven you two hours to Whitetail, and spent a load of money so you can have fun. Damn it, you have fun - even if it kills you.

This is the amazing part. Where dozens had failed before him, Scott somehow managed to succeed in getting me down the mountain upright and intact. Maybe I needed to kill the snowboarding neurons in my brain to make room for the skiing neurons to fully develop. Maybe I was just so grateful that no snotfaced tween was calling me a fat loser that I couldn't fail. All I know is that for the first time in my life, I was skiing!

When Scott moved to Maine a few years later, I lost my only real ski buddy. I had never gotten good enough to hang with real ski people (plus I still don't glow), and he was the only person who had ever made skiing fun for me - he was patient and kind no matter how slow and lame I proved to be, and never once betrayed the secret that he could ski circles around me blindfolded. So I stopped skiing, and honestly I didn't miss it.

But when the twins came along, my old awe for shiny ski families returned. Maybe we could BE a shiny ski family! I hauled poor Leslie - who it should be clear never once expressed even the vaguest interest in skiing - off to Roundtop for lessons, and he has truly been a stalwart soldier on the slopes. On Monday, J&Z made their ski debut, and contrary to any rational genetic prediction, they were AWESOME. And it turns out that despite more than ten years later, I still remember how to ski, and I was kind of awesome too - in a slow, plodding way.

So this one's dedicated to my burgeoning shiny ski family. And to Scott, who made it all possible.

Photos here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pinned Up

Well, since the wayback machine seems stalled in 2010 anyway, let's rewind to that fateful day during the summer when I had brunch with several of the lovely ladies of Team Atomic. "You know what would be awesome?" I asked them. "If we took off our clothes, or most of them anyway, and did a sexy bike-themed pinup calendar to raise money for Moveable Feast!"

Now, your average group of women would have laughed this off and gone on about their business. They would have raised the standard objections - I know, because I thought of them all. I'm married! I'm a mom! I'm a doctor - I have my professional reputation to consider! I'm too fat, too self-conscious, too lame, too old! I'm over 40, for god's sake!!! Average women would have asked themselves the entirely reasonable question, "Who the hell would pay to look at me in my underwear?"

Fortunately, these are no average women. These are the women of Team Atomic: they are badassed athletes, they have ten times their fair share of attitude and style, they are drop-dead gorgeous, and they will do damned near anything to help their fellow man. So the remainder of the year turned into a frenzy of hunting for photographers, recruiting sponsors and retailers, researching classic pinup poses and fashion, and (best of all) maxing out our credit cards at Frederick's of Hollywood.

We recruited the amazingly talented Mike Lee to shoot our photos. Nikki Veredicchia (NV Salon Collective) gave us stunning hair, and Julia McCabe and Heather Henninger (Kiss-n-Makeup) used makeup to transport us back to the heyday of glamour. We sweet-talked MF staffers Damon and Mike, teammate Bryon, and longtime supporter Benn (Atomic Books) into posing with us, and all we had left to do was strap on our garter belts before we were off to the races!

The shoot took place at MF headquarters, in one aggressively organized yet somehow also aggressively madcap day. Afterwards we spent months selling the damned things, and raised over $5000 in the process. Final results: hundreds of people spent the year ogling us, Team Atomic captain Becky has sworn off all non-garter hosiery, and I am the proud owner of two corsets and five inch stiletto peeptoes. And oh - by the way - several Moveable Feast clients got three nutritious meals per day in 2011. I'd say it was a smashing success!

This is for all my fellow Atomic Bombshells - you are truly the greatest people in the world. You inspire and humble me, and I am honored to be your teammate and friend.

Check out our sassy selves here.

I Have a Dream

Happy MLK Day, friends!! Today is the day we celebrate the life of one of the greatest humanitarian leaders of all time, relish the victories he won for mankind, and solemnly reflect on the ideals for which he fought and died. Or we sleep late, go out for brunch, and spend the afternoon skiing. One or the other.

I actually am skiing today, but before I enjoy my day off, I wanted to take a few moments to remember why today is a holiday. I may share my ski lift today with someone from another race. Just 50 years ago, this would have been inconceivable - and what a miraculous victory for all of humanity that today it's perfectly normal!

Of course, from a statistical standpoint, it is unlikely that my lift buddy will actually be black or hispanic or otherwise nonwhite. We've made monumental strides towards legal equality for all, and stamped the red badge of shame on racial prejudice, even if we haven't eradicated it. But when it comes to economic equality - well, let's just say we needn't shout our victories from the mountaintop just yet.

I spend every day in the Emergency Department with my hands plunged (sometimes literally) up to the elbows in the fruits of economic injustice. In the world's richest nation, I routinely see elderly people who have to choose between food and medicine. I see able-bodied adults on welfare because of lack of education or job skills. And I see teenagers pumped full of bullets after running afoul of the drug trade - a career path they choose because they think it's their only ticket out of poverty. And after every shift, I come home to my beautiful house and hug my beautiful children, and think about how one day I will have to explain to them why the world is so profoundly unfair.

I can't fix the world, and you can't either. We can't all be Martin Luther King. But what we can all do is have a dream. We won't sound as good talking about our dreams as MLK did, but we can still envison a world that is kinder, safer, greener, or more just. And we can all do at least one thing to bring our dreams just a little bit closer to reality. It doesn't have to be today (did I mention that I'm going skiing?), and it doesn't have to be a grand sweeping gesture. Just One Small Thing that makes the world a better place - we all have that much within our power.

Anyone who's spent more than 37 consecutive seconds with me most likely knows what my One Small Thing is. 2012 will mark my seventh year as an organizer and participant in Ride for the Feast, a 140-mile charity bike ride to raise funds and awareness for Moveable Feast - an amazing organization in Baltimore that provides food assistance and social support for people in Maryland living with HIV/AIDS or breast cancer. Along with my incredible teammates on Team Atomic, I have pedaled thousands of miles, and done anything and everything to raise money, up to and including taking off my clothes. And it doesn't matter about how exhausted it all makes me, how sore and chafed I become, how far behind I am in my work, or how big the laundry pile gets. Because I know that someone who would otherwise go hungry will now be able to eat. And yes, you can help.

A few weeks ago, I had the immense honor of hearing Martin Luther King III speak at an award ceremony at Hopkins. He talked about his undergraduate education at Antioch College in Ohio, where there was a statue of Horace Mann inscribed with the words "Be ashamed to die until you have won a victory for humanity." MLK clearly won his victory for humanity, but we don't all have to be MLK. We don't have to abolish segregation or lead 250,000 people in a march on Washington. We just have to do our One Small Thing. And indeed, we should truly be ashamed if we don't.

What's yours?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How Will This Blow My Mind?

In rifling the photographic miscellany today, I came across this photo of the twins' first science experiment. It the first experiment from a science kit given to them last Christmas by a founding member of the Legion of Honorary Grandparents - Lisa's dad Roland. When he's not too busy being an all around awesome guy, Roland is a science teacher. Or was - he recently retired, to the great loss of future generations of students.

When Zoe opened the package, she asked me to read the writing on the box: Mind-Blowing Science! Naturally this prompted her to ask the timeless question pondered by generations of young investigators: "How with this blow my mind, Mama?"

Roland made me promise that we would actually do the experiments with the kids. True to our word, every night we gathered around the kitchen with our pipettes and test tubes, making things bubble and fizz, change colors, grow, shrink, and occasionally disappear. I'm not sure whether any minds were actually blown, but they were fascinated by the idea that stuff could be combined with other stuff to Make Things Happen. They challenged my allegedly scientific brain to explain concepts like osmosis, carbonation, and acid/base reactions in kid-friendly terms, and demonstrated a curiosity about the physical world that surprised and delighted me.

You know what? Science is awesome! Mad props to you, Roland.

Also, more miscellany - now we've moved on to a new set for 2011!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

More to love

If I didn't give you enough reasons to love Baltimore yesterday, let me point out that it is a city where sometimes you drive down the street and see a whole herd of mall Santas.

Also, the aerial sharks!

More randomania here.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Why I Love Baltimore

I love Baltimore because it's where my house and stuff is.

I love Baltimore because of all my amazing friends and colleagues who live here, with whom I am so happy and proud to share this city.

I love Baltimore because I know all the drunks, and sometimes they hug me on the street, to the great alarm of my friends.

I love Baltimore because during the marathon there is a guy with a megaphone who hangs out in front of Lexington Market and provides color commentary on all the booty running by. Mine, I will note, received an excellent review.

I love Baltimore because the ladies in the housing project on Monument St. made me tea and brought me blankets when my car got squished by a Ford Explorer during a night shift, and I was stranded and cold. And I love it even more because they called me "Boo."

But most of all, I love Baltimore because of all the random-assed stuff that people do all over this city, just because they can, and because they know it will make Baltimore even more awesome. Case in point: the Robot Nativity on 34th St. Domo arigato, Baltimore!

Also some Lisa/Bob post-wedding tidbits here.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pretty and Witty and Wise

Behold the loveliest bride ever, bearing accessories tenderly handknit by her dearest friends, in the shop of the most fabulous dress ladies in the world! And we were all drunk on champagne. It occurred on 12/1/2010, and it was AWESOME!!

Photos here

Thursday, January 5, 2012

More miscellany

Apparently I took a few more shots with the Hipstamatic, as well as some grainy but adorable photos of beautiful ladies in tiny hats at Lisa's bachelorette party. They've been added to the miscellany set.

Forgive all the crappy iPhone photos, but they seem to be what's next on the dance card. I promise things can only get more legit from here. And once I recover from my cold and the shock of returning to work after the holidays, maybe I'll actually even write something!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Some Miscellany

A mopey girl, an almost life-sized lighthouse cake, and first (also last) day out with the Hipstamatic app. Felled by a nasty cold, it's all I could manage.

Check it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Chewbaccarama 2010

And for today's blast from the past, we have Halloween 2010! I would like to emphasize that these photos were taken with an iPhone camera (iPhone 3 no less - an unfrozen prehistoric camera from 2009), indoors, and are therefore not representative of the "awesome" photos previously promised. While they may not be "awesome," they are in fact awesome.

This is the first year since the twins were born that Leslie and I went out in public with fellow adults for Halloween. We celebrated this occasion by dressing as a lion tamer and a lion. Or a lion tamer and Chewbacca - you be the judge.

This event was made extra spectacular by a special guest appearance from the greatly loved and missed Dr. Mr. Kim, in town for a veterinary pathology conference. After a day of learning about novel snake tumors and the many and varied dangers of puffball mushrooms, she slapped on her Richard Nixon mask for a night on the town.

Of course, for this photo set, we hadn't actually made it to the town. We hadn't even left Lisa & Bob's living room. Watch this space for the shocking conclusion! It really does get shocking. Or at least creepy.

For the rest of the living room shots:

Monday, January 2, 2012

Through the Past, Darkly

So guess what - I didn't keep my 2011 New Year's resolution about blogging! Of course, my dear 23 followers, you knew that, thanks to the blissful silence you've enjoyed on the Mamadoc front since last June. But it's a bold new year, and a perfect time for bold new action.

This year's resolution is about photos. Specifically, it's about the thousands of photos I've taken through the years that you've never seen. I have seen these photos, and many of them are fairly awesome. Why then are they hidden away from my adoring public? Sheer unadulterated laziness. But it's a new year! So my promise to you? Ten photos per day, every day. Starting now, working my way back to my first digitial camera in 2004 (yes, yes, I know - I was a late adopter). If I have time and inspiration, I will try to blog a bit about them too.

For our first brief test drive in the wayback machine, follow me through the mists of time to last week, when the Jung-Copes visited Ohio for Christmas. Marvel at Jack's latest invention, the Twin Tennis Raquet (so twins can play tennis together). See Don Lee, live and in person, modeling novelty headgear! Admire the family pajamas! And relish the rare sight of Cope women not making horrible faces for the camera, and the even rarer sight of a smiling Dad...