My sister’s graduation went very well. If you except the speaker’s plane being overbooked, and the airline trying to bump him onto a flight that would arrive a few hours after the graduation. And the pianos in the hall being padlocked – for our family’s third graduation in a row, after careful arrangements with the secretary – which led to my brother going on a wild trip around trying to find someone with keys. Meanwhile some friends had mistaken the time, and arrived half an hour early, and very kindly helped set up the reception outside. My sister played beautifully. She did the first movement of the Bruch violin concerto, which is quite thrilling. I had never heard it all the way through, and besides, that morning she whipped through the chords without any squeaking or false notes, better than any practice for the previous week. Very very impressive. On one of the piano pieces, a Brahms Rhapsody, she insists that she accidentally transposed from E major to E minor for the first several bars, but I didn’t notice anything. She must be a true musician, if her instinctive response to a missed note is to transpose everything to match! Her other major piece was the first movement of a Mozart piano concerto, accompanied by my mother on the other piano.

Lots of friends from church and the homeschool group had come, and stayed for a while afterwards chatting. I was trying to serve punch. Since our family hates pop, our punch is made from fruit juice and sparkling water. Apparently when you open a large bottle of sparkling water suddenly, it spurts all over the place. Yes. Some friends helped dry off the floor, and we pretended that the cookies didn’t get wet.

Some friends and family stayed here over Sunday. We introduced my aunts to P.G. Wodehouse. They were slightly astonished. These are the same aunts who are quite rabid environmentalist liberals. We managed to keep within civil bounds during their visit, although the children’s restraint was severely taxed by one dinnertime conversation. The elder aunt remarked that she was quite astonished by our cousins, who have four and eight children per family. She couldn’t understand why people would do that. (The five of us began to poke each other under the table.) She, for her part, had been persuaded by Ehrlich’s book about the population explosion, in the ’70s, and had had only one child. She explained that she felt it was much better to adopt, rather than bring yet more children into the world. (She did in fact adopt a biracial baby, which was horribly unpopular back then, for which I do admire her tremendously. In fact I think he’s one of the nicest cousins on that side.) If she could say things like that in front of the five of us and our parents, there wasn’t really much to be said by way of crushing replies, so I told her it was a splendid idea, and one of the families from church, which has five children already, is going to adopt a baby from Africa. (But perhaps it was just fair play for her to say all that, because we had been talking about how the families at church usually have 4-7 children. And about the elder who likes to wear a tie with a battle scene and a Confederate flag to church. So perhaps we all horrified each other equivalently. At least we didn’t play for her the CD that elder had given one of us that morning, with “Songs from the ’60s” – 1860s. Lines like “We’re the men who rode circles round McClellan, circles round McClellan, circles round McClellan. If you want to see a fight, join the cavalry. If you want to spell hell, join the cavalry. . .”)

Yesterday in clinic I figured out that 90% of the kids who complain of ear pain are going to have findings on looking at their ears; so if I guess that they do, I will be correct more often than if I guess that they don’t. (Don’t be alarmed, I don’t just make things up; but previously I had been thinking that just being red wouldn’t count as infected, and I couldn’t really recognize a bulging eardrum. To the vast frustration of my preceptor, and myself.) Also someone finally came in with ringworm which looked like ringworm, so I could recognize it.

In the afternoon I was at the pulmonology specialty clinic. At the end of the clinic, the doctor commented on my “little feet” lapel pin. I was astonished that he recognized it. I got it years ago from Right to Life. The feet are maybe a centimeter long, and represent an 8-week fetus, to make the point that by the time a woman is aware of her pregnancy, and decides to have an abortion, the baby already has recognizably human feet. He was the first person to ask me about it this year. So we had a nice conversation. He expressed his surprise that more of the staff at the children’s hospital aren’t pro-life.

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