Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Birthday Kate! (Part 1)

Way back in April Kate celebrated her 25th birthday and her upcoming graduation from Med School with a trip to Europe.  First stop was the Keukenhof.  We had a cool spring so she was about a week too early for the peak blooms, but it was still beautiful.

Just two hours off of the transatlantic flight -- I think she looks pretty good.  

Flower fields of Holland

Strawberry ice cream from Luicano's in Wassenaar.  It's delicious.  

This is the first of several birthday cakes that you will see.  Kate had to bake this one herself.  It has Guinness in it to bring out the chocolate flavor.  It was delicious.  

The birthday/graduation celebration was highlighted by a weeklong trip to France to cruise on a barge in the canals of Burgundy.  There were a total of 8 of us that converged in Paris for a day before heading out to board the barge.  

Sechlers, Kate & I took the high speed train from Amsterdam to Paris.

The controls of our washing machine.  Grant stayed alone during the week we were in France, so I left him with fully illustrated instructions on how to do laundry.  Needless to say, no laundry was done during the week.  

The crowd gathered for Kate's birthday dinner.  

We held Kate's birthday dinner at Alain Ducasse's restaurant, Aux Lyonnais.  The signature dish is quenelles. creamed chicken with bread crumbs and egg, then poached.  The sauce is creamy crawfish.  So good, but so filling.  

Birthday cake number two.

The Paris Opera House

The stained glass windows of Saint Chapelle
Kate and Claire, friends for almost 20 years.  

Sunday morning we traveled to Montmarte, the highest point in Paris.  At the top of the top is Sacre'-Coeur.  We climbed to the top of the dome.  

Views from the top of Sacre'-Coeur.  The wonders of zoom lenses on small cameras.  Here is the Eiffel Tower in normal view.  

Now, zoomed in from the same place.  The top of the Eiffel is the only place higher than the top of Sacre'-Coeur. 

A very ornate downspout.  

From the crypt at Sacre'-Coeur.  

Also in Montemarte there was a large open air market.  

These are au gratin potatoes, each with a different type of French cheese.  

Fresh roasted nuts

These guys dressed as Canadians to sell maple syrup.  

There used to be 14 windmills in Paris.  Now there are only two.  

Actually, there are three windmills remaining if you count this one, Moulin Rouge.  I don't think it counts as a working windmill  

Street art

Friday, June 12, 2015

World Champions

Grant's high school baseball team played their conference tournament at ASH last month.  They had almost 10 of his Junior classmates returning from last season so that gave them some good experience.  They lost their first game of the tournament, then won three in a row to come out as champions.  Both of the last two games were come from behind victories; those are always tough on parents.  It was a great season; the only downside is that with the championship they now move up to the first division.  Hopefully all those juniors will come back next year.
Grant taking a cut

Grant throws it in after the catch.  
Baseball is a little different over here.  The teams come from a wide area.  His tournament consisted of Frankfurt, Cairo, Israel, Vienna and one of the London schools.  To keep the travel costs down the kids stay with host families in our area.  We had two boys from London staying with us, which is one of the teams that we came from behind to beat.  Luckily it's not too competitive so it wasn't awkward eating dinner with them that night at our house.  

Another thing that would never happen in America.  One of the London boys said their coach had made a mistake and bought a batting cage for cricket instead of baseball.  Evidently it's narrower so the balls ricochet back at the batter and konk them in the head.  Oops  

At the end of the tournament all the teams sit around the infield for the awards.  

It was rainy and cold on Friday, but on Saturday the weather turned out great.  I thought it would be nice to capture the beautiful Dutch sky.  Actually, this is just another example of me hitting the wrong button on the camera.  

One of the boys was using a radar gun to clock the speed of our pitchers ( I assume he stole it from the physics lab because ASH is not serious enough to have a radar gun for athletics).  One of the parents asked him how fast our pitcher was throwing.  "90" he replied.   We were all very impressed since 90 miles per hour is major league fast.  Then the kid came back "kilometers".  (which is about 55 mph -- still fast, but not major league).

 Other Spring activities include Grant's voice concert.  His quartet sang two numbers.  You can watch/listen at

Somehow Graber cut his paw and had to wear a sock for a week.  

Grant's class visited the Shell Technology Center in Amsterdam.  Here the two future engineers are geared up and ready for work.  

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Call her...Dr. Woodburn

On May 18 Kate -- along with 120 or so of her classmates -- graduated from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine and officially became a doctor.  But before we talk about that, let's back up a bit to March.  

Lori and Kate before leaving for the Match Day Ceremony.  
March 20 was Match Day, where med students across the nation learned where they would be spending the next 3-4 years of their life as residents.  It's a little like sorority rush, where the students submit their top school choices and the schools submit their top student choices.   All that data is loaded into a huge algorithm and out pops the answers.  I'm sure this generates all kinds of questions in your mind, such as "what happens if a student doesn't match?" or ""do all students get into a residency program?".  If you want the answers to those and other questions, talk to Kate.  

The letter in hand.  But she had to wait for all the students to open their letter at the same time.  
She looks a lot calmer than I would be.  
And the answer was.......Cleveland Clinic.  She was (and still is) thrilled.  
Kate and her friend, Jess, at Match Day.  Jess boarded foster cats during med school, providing Kate with a great distraction from her studies.  

Everyone always takes "first day of school" pictures.  This is Kate on her last day of school...ever!  No wonder she looks so happy.   She went to school for 20 years.  Bill Clinton was half way through his first term when she began kindergarten.  Movie of the year -- Forrest Gump.  

The week before graduation Kate received an award from the Ob/Gyn faculty.  They jumped the gun and put "M.D." after her name.  

Got it!

At the graduation ceremony the students are "hooded".  No, they don't become dementors.  The hood is the shawl-like cloth that is draped over their shoulders as part of the ceremony.  Rutgers graduates wore the normal mortar board hats.  Kate was hoping she'd get to wear the floppy hats.

The night before graduation we all went to dinner at our favorite New Brunswick restaurant.  

Kate had lots of fans to help her celebrate -- Joan, Ray & Carol, Doug's parents Dave & Debbie and us.  

Kate and Grant four years earlier at her White Coat Ceremony.  

Are those the same flowers from the White Coat Ceremony?