Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

I'm writing this before midnight, but the neighbors across the street threw a New Year's party for the neighborhood kids and we rang in the new year at 8:30pm, so I'm already an hour 28 minutes into 2008 right now. The party was fun, and e-baby had the time of her life, until she started to cry uncontrollably, grasping at her pants. I took her home and changed her and found that the fettucine alfredo she had for lunch did not agree with her. Poor kid must have felt like she had fireants in her diaper. We gave her a bath, she fell asleep before 8, and SNG watched football while I headed back to the neighbor's party to eat the best cannolis outside of Angelo Brocato's. Poor e-baby. I hope she feels better in the morning.

Christmas was SO much fun. We had my parents, SNG's parents, Dianaverse, and our friend Kiltman here for Christmas dinner. We'll be dining on leftovers until 2009. SNG and I gave each other matching iPods, which are great except then we realized that they won't show our home movies. So what's the point of a video iPod if you can't watch your videos on it? E-baby got lots of toys, including another bike which will probably fit her by summertime, a red wagon she can pull around, a singing kitchen, a book that meows/chirps/barks, a lovely pink handmade scarf, and countless other toys, books, and clothes. In spite of the riches bestowed upon her, e-baby's favorite toy of all was the $1.99 bathtub xylophone from a Walgreen's in San Francisco.

Last weekend we drove to New Bern to visit SNG's parents. E-baby terrorized their cat and played their harpsichord. We also toured Tryon Palace while we were there. And all of us slept well, which as far as I'm concerned, is all that's really required to make it a good weekend.

I guess that's all. One more holiday before returning to work. I can't believe the twelve days are almost over.

BTW, to see pictures from Christmas day, they are here.
Other pictures from December, including Christmas eve and a couple of shots from the neighbor's New Year's party, are here.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Blog Post

The latest I've slept since the holidays started is 6:30. On a work day, I barely drag myself out of bed by 6:40 and on vacation, I'm up at 5:30 or 6 most days. How is this normal? At least with my parents in town, I have some pre-dawn company. Dad is usually up by 5.

I did all the Christmas grocery shopping yesterday at 6am, at the 24-hour Teeter, with a bunch of stockers and one other shopper, probably an off-duty stalker, in the store. No lines. No open registers, even. One of the stockers (not the stalker) opened a register when I was finished. Registers On Demand: the way grocery shopping should always be.

I emerged from the store into the the usually crowded parking lot, with its half-dozen cars scattered across three acres of pavement. The sun was just rising and it was a little bit foggy-- mist enbough to muffle sounds but not enough to block out the streetlights. A few scavenging doves cooed and bobbed around the cars, and the soon-to-be-busy roadway nearby was completely silent. The feeling took me back to a moment in my late teenage years when we had pulled an all-nighter in the French Quarter. We wandered the streets as the bartenders were starting to wash the sidewalks and made our way to Jackson Square. Immediately in front of the cathedral, which ordinarily would be a riot of tourists, street performers, pastel portrait artists, fortunetellers, and the occasional churchgoer, it was misty and silent. Beneath a bum sleeping on a bench a little flock of doves searched for a rogue Lucky Dog bun.

They say that a smell can take you back to a powerful memory more than any other sense. I don't think I want to relive the smell of Jackson Square after a Saturday night. The smell of the beignets we ate a few minutes later would be OK. But a blanket of fog and the silence of pre-dawn, sprinkled with the busy bopping of a few doves, can put you at one with the universe for a brief moment.

I'll live with a bit of insomnia if it'll make me one with everything. I feel like a Lucky Dog.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

(One Day Belated) Birthday Boy

Friday was SNG's birthday. I don't think I turned on the computer except once to look up his Christmas wish list, so I didn't post until now. Happy Birthday, SNG!! You're the best husband and friend I could ever wish for and the perfect "daddy" complement to my "mommy" secret identity. I'll love you just as much when you're 99 and crunchy around the edges, but for now you're still pretty spry. And tall, dark, handsome, etc.

Someone tell me. Is this irony, or just a bummer?: Friday was SNG's birthday and I took the day off. He wasn't able to because it was his boss' last day and he wanted to help send her off in style with a surprise party. Not that I'mn complaining-- I'd have done the same thing in his situation-- but it is funny that for SNG's bday I stayed home.

I look forward to 12 days off, but e-baby has had a couple extra days of vacation. My parents arrived in town on Tuesday and kept her home with them Wednesday and Thursday. When they arrived, e-baby took about five minutes to process the paperwork on my dad, and when it came back clean, she was his best buddy. He will be known as "The Cool One Who Takes Me Outside Even Though It's Cold" and "The Cool One Who Entertains Me While Someone Changes My Diaper." From my perspective, he's doing all the hard stuff, but I think he's having a blast.

That's about all for now. I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays. I'll drop updates from time to time this week since I have a lot more time to do so.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Motherhood Means Never Having to Pee Alone... one of the things that my mom used to say which I have recently realized is true. She had a different way of saying it than that (she insisted that children and dogs had a 6th sense about when she put a toilet seat into use, and they would come from miles away to sit and play on the floor at her feet). Unfortunately, if you prefer to pee alone, then the only way this will happen is to leave town. I had nearly two weeks of delightful privacy. With no trips until mid-January, and 12 days off for Christmas holidays, it's back to, "Why don't you show mommy how you can throw that tissue into the trash can? Very good! No, you don't have to unroll any more, thank yoooou!" for awhile.

The funniest thing is saying (and signing) thank you to e-baby-- she signs thank you back (and says "ta-too."). She thanks herself for throwing something away without being told to.

I got home from DC Friday night and on Saturday we finished unpacking the upstairs den from when we moved. That's pathetic, but I challenge anyone to claim that every item from their last move, if it was in the last 10 years, has been put away where it belongs. Somehow there's always something that you wait to do until later, and later becomes a few months, and the thing creeps into a closet or a corner and a few months becomes almost 4 years. The motivation to finish unpacking (framed pictures and prints, office supplies, electronics cables and old computer hardware) was the idea of Christmas at my house: my parents, SNG's parents, Dianaverse, SNG, me, and a 15-month-and-one-day-old e-baby. It will be quite enough to keep her from unwrapping everyone else's gifts without stopping her using an extension cord as a neck scarf or banging together my diplomas (which cost a car payment to have framed) like cymbals.

With the last gasp of putting away 2004 detritus, we are really ready for the holidays. It's such a contrast to last year when we could hardly juggle the 3-month-old and sign 10 Christmas cards for my coworkers, so forget about getting anything into the post. This year we had Santa and his flamingos in the front yard the day after Thanksgiving (e-baby initially called Santa "Pa-Pa" which is her name for SNG's dad, but now she calls Santa "danda-dah"). We did all of our shopping and even sent cards and ornaments to everyone in the Texas crew. We got gifts out to our babies all over the US. Tomorrow I'm dropping off gifts for e-baby's teachers, and I brought in cookies for my coworkers on the one day I was in the office last week. It makes me wonder, if SNG and I did everything while not only going to work every day, but also having me out of town and SNG playing single parent most of the last 2 weeks, what the heck are we going to do with 12 days off? Bake a dozen pies and ten loaves of bread? Make 60 jars of jam? Sew baby clothes? Clear out the backyard snake habitat to make a happier place for little feet? Build a house? Restore a car?

I suppose I could get a head start on next year's Christmas list. The malls probably open early on the 26th. SNG better get going on the backyard snake thing.


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Home Intermission

The San Francisco trip was a mix of great fun and ridiculously bad luck. The "lucky" streak began on Saturday night, when I was up at 3am chucking up all the day's lunch and dinner. The flight to New York on Sunday was on time, but the flight from NY to SFO, which should have been 6hr 20min was 8 hours. We left on time, but the pilot mentioned something about wanting to see the a big fiberglass duck and the hotel shaped like a turkey along the way, so we took a few detours. (Thursday Trivia-- PIC has been to the Gobbler. She has the pictures to prove it.)

I stayed at San Francisco's first "Green" hotel (ladeda), which as far as I can tell only means that you can shut down all the electricity to your room with a cardkey, and had to be assigned three different rooms before one could actually be opened by the electronic cardkey system. By this time I was starving and half asleep, but sleep won over hunger.

The class was terrific- smart, inquisitive students, kept me on my toes. Monday night I shopped and had dinner at a good asian fusion place near union square. Tuesday I woke up at 5:00.

My left eye was crudded shut.

Pink. Eye. I caught it from SNG, who probably caught it from e-baby.

Three hours of phone calls back home to my doctor, one CLOSED "24-hour" urgent care clinic, and one "24-hour" pharmacy that opened at 8am later, I had a prescription for eye drops and four tubes of (priced-to-be-disposable) mascara. For every crud there's a creamy center, though, and Tuesday night I had dinner with a dear friend and his dear wife at a wonderful vegan restaurant in Oakland. The best thing about travel for a living is getting to visit good friends that I'd probably never get to see otherwise.

Wednesday night I took a train to a train to visit my aunt in Menlo Park, where we had a dinner at an Italian place near the train station. The time just flies by when I visit with her, and before I knew it, it was time to catch my train back to the city. We had a wonderful time, except I left my backpack and my iPod at the restaurant, and had to get my aunt to go back and get it for me. Oooooops.

This morning I woke up at 4 to catch a train to the airport and .... I have a cold. Hopefully this is the last crud-thing that will happen this week. Right now I am blogging from the Admiral's club at DFW (in Terminal A-- the one with the EGG CHAIRS in the music room-- I Luuuurve the EGG CHAIRS). Today's creamy center will be getting to rock e-baby to sleep after her bath tonight.

Boarding in 10 minutes.