Summer greetings! We're starting the Fourth of July weekend and it's been a busy week for the Raffs.
Gil just returned yesterday from a week in Hong Kong where he was moderating a panel on cardiac imaging for Seimens. He added a day of sightseeing and is now back home adjusting to the 12-hour time difference. His summer schedule includes a trip to Denver this month for the annual Scientific Meeting of the SCCT (Society for Cardiovascular Computerized Tomography.)
Marika got home from Santa Barbara after spending 10 days in Honduras with the Global Medical Brigades. I will ask her to post photos and give a summary of her trip since most of us will not have the opportunity to travel there where she and her fellow volunteers set up daily clinics for the local villagers.
She just completed her first week of horse showing for the summer. We drove back from Waterloo last night (about a 40 minute drive from here and just west of Ann Arbor) where she competed as a rider with Fox Meadow riding facility in Temperance, MI. She has her "old touch" because she won (almost) every class she entered -- from Adult Equitation to the HJAM (Hunter Jumper Association of Michigan) Medal classes. Additionally, she was Champion and Reserve Champion in her Adult Division. Most of you won't know what that means but it's all GOOD! All this on a horse she had only ridden for two days prior to the competition and having not ridden but a few times in her four years at college!
She came home from Waterloo for a short 48-hour turnaround before heading up north for the next show of the season. She's spending today washing "horse show clothes" laundry and repacking for her upcoming four weeks in Traverse City. She will be staying with her friend, Lindey, in a camper in Traverse City and the girls always have a great time together. Marika is lucky in many ways: she is riding a horse which is extremely capable and kind, she is being trained by some of the best trainers at a well-run facility in the region, and she is getting to "decompress" from the past four years of intense preparation for medical school admission (grades, MCAT preparation, clinical extracurricular activities, etc.)
She will be starting her biomedical research position for the next year at U-M when she returns at the end of July. By then, she will have gotten tan, gained muscle mass and lost weight (How can you NOT lose weight when you are riding those 2,000 pound beasts?)
Adam and Evan started their fourth year of medical school early in the summer. They worked hard during their third year training and were each rewarded with receiving "Honors" in 5/6 of their clinical rotations. That designation will help them toward getting the residencies they are applying for after medical school graduation.
I am having a wonderful summer of gardening. My tomato garden from last year was an overwhelming mess of too-tall-plants and out-of-control tomato production. So I am growing them in containers -- the pots are on wheels and I wheel them around the driveway catching the sun as it moves around the house. My raised-bed tomato garden which was created for me two years ago has become an herb and lettuce garden and it's much more manageable. And filled with garden art.
I'm also spending time with our dogs -- taking them on outings as I do errands and walking them along the Milford Bike Trail. I'm also doing a lot of cooking and using the fresh produce from our farmers' markets. Tonight it's Asparagus Soup.
I also go to watch Marika at the horse shows and will spend the last week of July with her in Traverse City.
My favorite mom is turning 80 in two weeks. My brother and I are meeting in Louisville to take her and other family members out to dinner to celebrate.
No wedding pictures yet. Will put them on the blog when we get them.
Summer's lazy days
Cold gazpacho. Iced coffee.
Hammock time for all.