rivka: (chalice)
I never mentioned this because it happened during my hiatus from LJ, but I've been appointed to the SUUSI Board of Trustees. My only Board activity so far has been attending the wrap-up meeting on the last day of SUUSI as a non-voting member-elect, but all of that's about to change! This Friday I'm getting on a plane and flying to Greensboro, NC for a joint meeting of the Board and the Core Staff. SUUSI will be paying for my ticket, picking me up at the airport, and feeding and housing me for the weekend.

When I'm talking to people who don't know anything about SUUSI, I say, "I'm on the Board of a volunteer organization, and I'm flying down for a Board meeting this weekend," with a secret grin because that sounds like something from a life that is so much more impressive and accomplished than mine. Except, you know, I am really doing it. Somebody cares enough about what I have to say to spend several hundred dollars' worth of SUUSI registration fees to hear me say it. That's so exciting! And a little daunting.

Yaaay!

Apr. 24th, 2010 04:38 pm
rivka: (travel)
I just made us reservations to go to Chincoteague Island for a weekend in May.

Chincoteague is on the eastern shore of Chesapeake Bay, south of Ocean City Maryland. It's just across a short bridge from Assateague Island, a protected wildland with herds of wild ponies and beautiful Atlantic beaches.

Alex has never seen the ocean.

Because it's the off season, we were able to rent a 2-bedroom townhouse for $85/night. The townhouse complex has an indoor heated pool and hot tub. That'll be nice if we run into bad weather.

It will surely be too cold to swim in the ocean, but honestly since I'm the only one in the family who is a good swimmer that's probably just as well. I think we'll have a great time wandering on the beach, looking for seashells, and watching wildlife.

Yay.
rivka: (Christmas hat me)
We got home from Memphis last night. I'm in the office - the only day I'm coming in this week - and I must admit I'm kind of enjoying the peace and quiet.

I finally snapped at Michael's stepmother. As we were packing up to go she kept very persistently trying to get me to take Michael's bronzed baby shoes. I smiled and said nice things the first several times. "Oh, we'll definitely want them eventually, but I don't want to take them away from Bill." "Yes, but I really think Bill likes to have a reminder of Michael's babyhood around." She kept insisting: "Oh, don't worry about that. We've got plenty of reminders of Michael around." (Like the picture she hung back behind a cabinet, I guess.)

So finally I just looked at her without smiling and said flatly: "Betty, if you want them out of the house, then yes, we will take them."

So of course she backpedalled. And had the nerve to try this one out: "You just insulted me, saying that I want them out of the house." Uh huh.

Michael's father came in to talk with us about it. He said that he wouldn't take any amount of money for those baby shoes, but that we could have them if we wanted them. Although he would worry about them getting broken in transit. Anyway, he just wanted to make sure that we understood that they weren't trying to get rid of them. I felt bad because I really try not to put him in the middle, but.

Our flights home were beautifully uneventful. There didn't seem to be any increase in security at the main screening lines, and when I got pulled for secondary screening (I always do, because my artificial hip sets of the metal detector) the TSA who screened me seemed perfectly relaxed and easygoing. They had a TSA at the gate pulling some people aside for random pat-downs, but it was the most ludicrous security theater imaginable: he only stopped men, didn't stop anyone who had a ton of stuff to carry (presumably so he wouldn't inconvenience them too much), and only patted them down above the waist. He would've found someone carrying a gun in a shoulder holster, but that's about it.

Our kids are beautiful travelers. When I see other people dealing with screaming tantrums on a plane, I feel very lucky.

I did learn an important lesson about Colin and traveling, though. (Did I know this when Alex was his age and then I forgot it? Maybe so.) Yesterday I gave him solid food for breakfast at my in-laws' house, and then I nursed him throughout the day as we traveled home. He got frantically unhappy in the car on the way home from the airport; I nursed him again and he cheered up, so I decided to give him some solids even though it was already 8pm. And that boy ate: a full slice of deli cheese, three handfuls of Cheerios, a jar of baby food (chicken-apple compote, one of the higher-calorie options), and at least a quarter-cup of mango bits. He was starving. I think of solids as being kind of optional to his diet, replaceable by nursing, but it's now obvious to me that at this point they really aren't.

I have a big important meeting in an hour and a half, and I am nervous. To give you an idea of how important a meeting it is, I am wearing a blazer to work - something I do about twice a year. Some of you will be coming along in the form of a silver otter pin which you chipped in to give me at alt.polycon 12, so, thanks. It's nice to feel like my friends will be with me.

Now that I have a webcam on my work computer, I can show you what I look like when I'm trying to appear professional! Here I am:

me@work
rivka: (travel)
Another awesome day in the historical area, this time with no freezing rain. Read more... )
rivka: (travel)
We're spending Thanksgiving at Colonial Williamsburg again this year, because last year was so great. This time [livejournal.com profile] bosssio and her family (but alas, not [livejournal.com profile] chargirlgenius and hers) came along.

Lessons we learned: it doesn't matter how tired you are Wednesday night. Pack then, and leave early Thursday morning. We didn't leave until a little after ten, and we had horrible traffic from just after we crossed the Wilson bridge until we were almost in Richmond. Also, we put Colin into the car sleepy, thinking that he'd drop off once we hit the highway, and it didn't really work out that way. It was a looooong drive. We stopped to nurse and stopped for lunch and all told it took five hours to get to Williamsburg.

We're in a different hotel this year, the Quality Suites. It's an older hotel and kind of basic in its decor, but the rooms are awesome. We've got two full rooms - a living room with a fridge, sink, microwave, table and chairs, couch, and armchair, and a bedroom fully separated by a door that shuts. And we are paying the princely sum of $79.99 a night. [livejournal.com profile] bosssio and family are right across the hall.

We got in around three this afternoon, took a dip in the pool, and watched the kids run around being excited about each other until our 5pm Thanksgiving dinner. Once again we went to the Williamsburg Hospitality House. I can see signs of the economic downturn in the lavishness of the buffet - the cold seafood platter, in particular, was much reduced - but we had a fabulous meal all the same. Steamed shrimp, smoked salmon, salads, potatoes au gratin with smoked gouda, roast turkey, prime rib, penne pasta with cheese and bits of bacon (labeled "grown up mac and cheese), fruits, cheeses, breads, pumpkin pie, gingerbread pudding... even Colin made a great meal: canteloupe, provolone cheese, and sweet potatoes, with a nibble of pumpkin pie for dessert.

I could really get used to this thing where holiday meals require no cooking and no cleanup.

Came back to the hotel, settled the kids to watch a movie, got Colin to sleep, chatted. Now I'm waiting for Alex to settle down in the bedroom and be quiet so that I can actually put Colin to bed, and we can invite [livejournal.com profile] bosssio and Andy in to our living room to hang out.

Tomorrow, of course, the historic area. On our short list: the hedge maze at the governor's palace, the dressmaker's, the plantation. Yay.
rivka: (travel)
We spent most of last Saturday packing for SUUSI. Things got seriously derailed when I LOST MY PACKING LIST, which still hasn't resurfaced, and spent too long looking for it instead of just starting over with a new list. But eventually we got the car loaded up with stuff and kids and headed out around 8:15.

Our entertainment for the first part of the drive was driving through downtown Baltimore right past the Otakon hotel. (Alex: "When I grow up, I want to be an Otakon person.") Then we drove off into the sunset, west around DC and out I-66. The kids dropped off somewhere around Fairfax. My hope had been that they'd sleep solidly until we got to Radford, but instead they took turns waking a little and whimpering. I discovered that I can actually nurse Colin in the carseat without taking off my seatbelt, but it's not what you would call "comfortable."

By the time we hit Roanoke, just before 1am, we figured we'd gone as far as was practical. We checked into a Days Inn. Of course once the car stopped both kids woke up and cried in earnest, but they settled down quickly once we were in the motel room. In the morning we drove the rest of the way to SUUSI, arriving at 10:30. Wow is check-in simpler when you get there that early. We flew on through, paid the balance of our bill, got our pictures taken for the Mugbook, signed in with youth programming and the childcare co-op, and managed not to notice the workshop leaders' sign-in table. Oops. We unloaded the car and got our room put to rights fairly quickly, had a really bad dining hall lunch because they hadn't switched over to their SUUSI menus yet, and just hung out with the kids and our friends, being mellow. Laura, Michael's birthmother, showed up in midafternoon and Michael helped her get settled in.

This year, for the first time, Alex was really old enough to run with the pack of SUUSI kids. Any time we were in our room she wanted to go out in the hall or outside in the quad, where she'd run around and play with a big mob of other 3- to 7-year-olds. Several times, she and her friends even established "kids' tables" in the dining hall where they ate separately from us. It was really fun to see her dive into a peer group like that, with no shyness or drama.

We went to dinner with Laura (an official SUUSI meal, so the quality was 1000% improved) and then got our banner for Ingathering. Laura made herself a "First Unitarian Church of Oakland" sign on posterboard. The banner parade was organized to loop around the campus in an inefficient pattern, I guess so that there would be more of a march. It was tiring. As always, I loved the part where, after everyone was seated in the auditorium, the banner carriers paraded in accompanied by drums. I ditched Ingathering early because Alex got tired and cranky and Colin kept startling every time there was applause, so I can't really comment on the program content.

Afterward came Opening Circle. The thousand-odd SUUSIgoers formed two giant rings, facing each other. The circles were broken at one place and the inner and outer rings joined at the break, so that as we circled around we passed from the outer to the inner ring and came face-to-face with every other attendee. It was fun to see folks we hadn't seen in a year.

Then I took the kids back to the dorm for bedtime. It was late, and when we'd gotten our room together beforehand we hadn't fixed the beds. (Radford has unnaturally high beds, and I wanted my mattress on the floor so that I could co-sleep with Colin, which meant putting my bedframe on top of Michael's bedframe to get it out of the way.) I waited and waited for Michael to come back to the room. It turns out that a person who has never raised kids or had much to do with them (i.e., Laura) has very little idea of the powder-keg nature of a delayed bedtime; she had recruited Michael to do some stuff for her, and it took a long time. Fortunately, once he returned, he and the Wild Women had our beds set up properly in about ten seconds.

The best thing about parenting at SUUSI this year is that Alex never protested being put to bed. She stayed up very late looking at books most of the nights, but she didn't come out of our room and rarely called us, so I didn't mind. Michael and I just hung out on camp chairs in the hallway, drinking wine and chatting with our friends. Colin nursed like a nursing thing, got passed around for admiration, and eventually fell asleep in my lap.

All in all, the first day at SUUSI was much, much more pleasant than it usually is. I think we're going to try to drive the night before from now on.
rivka: (travel)
Boy, you wouldn't believe what a vast amount of stuff is required to sustain a baby, a preschooler, and two adults for a week's vacation. My master packing list is terrifying.

We are planning to leave tonight, around the kids' bedtime. This is either the best idea we've ever had or the worst disaster we've ever delivered ourselves into; I don't think there's any middle ground on the question.

Still to do before we leave: Colin needs to be bathed. (Michael is finishing up with Alex's hair right now, I can tell by the screams.) Michael needs a nap. The non-clothes part of the packing needs to happen. And we need to hit the cash machine, plus the wine store for some tasty carry-along treats.

Sometimes Colin wakes in the 5 hours after bedtime and sometimes he doesn't. I am considering pumping a couple of ounces to take along in a bottle, in case he does. I don't mind stopping to nurse for its own sake, but I mind the idea of a crying baby waking up Alex at 11pm while Michael tries to find a safe place to pull off the road.

Just in time for a week of classes, worship, and Theme Talks, he has discovered the joys of happy screeching. I may be less able to cart him around than I had hoped.
rivka: (I love the world)
[Poll #1422136]

"The Factory Tour Capital of the World" is York, PA. Unfortunately Alex and Colin are too young to tour the Harley-Davidson plant, but we're thinking of touring the Wolfgang Candy Company, the dairy, and perhaps the Utz potato chip plant. I think it will be fun.

Is there something wrong with me?
rivka: (travel)
We got back from Montreal Sunday night, dirty and exhausted but reasonably pleased. It was a good trip.

As far as the ostensible reason for our trip, the Society of Behavioral Medicine conference, the thing that will pay for my plane ticket and the hotel room and a fair bit of the food: it went surprisingly well. My talk was well-attended and well-received; there were more questions during the question period than I had time to answer, and some people stayed to ask me questions afterward or even approached me later in the exhibit hall. I think I did a good job writing the talk and delivering it, especially considering the circumstances.

Last year I didn't enjoy the SBM program very much. This year, I managed to make it to several great program items. It seemed like there were more interesting options and better HIV representation. I particularly enjoyed a symposium on novel strategies for accessing populations of ethnic-minority men ("So it turns out, in our part of North Carolina, you reach African-American men through the churches, but Latino men, no. And then we found out about the soccer league!"), and a keynote address on using marketing and mass communications to disseminate valid scientific information.

The only thing that's bugging me about SBM right now is that it seems like every year there is more and more of an "obesity epidemic" focus. I was never interested in that topic era to begin with, but now that I've read so much that debunks dieting and obesity panic, I find it irritating. I'm fine with the program items about increasing activity level and consumption of healthy foods, because I think those things have independent health benefits, but I kind of want to go to the weight loss intervention panels and ask politely what the follow-up data looks like five years out.

I managed to see three-quarters of most of the sessions I attended. They were mostly scheduled to be 90 minutes long, and somewhere around the 70-minute mark Colin would start to wake up or make sounds. I was hypersensitive to every noise he made, because at a professional conference Colin is not part of the community and has no independent right to be there. So at the second coo or gurgle we were out the door. We got nothing but friendly looks, though.

The non-conference portions of the trip were just excellent. [livejournal.com profile] papersky always provides visitors with quality entertainment. One major highlight was a free-flying butterflies exhibit at the botanical gardens. Picture a big plant-filled atrium with thousands and thousands of butterflies swarming about - not just common ones, either, but massive South American specimens. I mean, just walking along you'd find yourself flinching away from the most spectacular butterfly you'd ever seen, trying to keep it from flying right into your face. (Also at the Jardin Botanique, a really neat greenhouse filled with "economic" tropical plants - foods, dyes, etc. I never knew what a black pepper plant looked like. Or the source of the ubiquitous xanthan gum. Alex loved that room.)

The other big highlight was a picnic on an island, on the unexpectedly warm and lovely Saturday. We spread blankets under some pines for the shade and found ourselves in the center of an active flock of red-winged blackbirds. A woodchuck ambled back and forth, sometimes as little as twenty feet away. After a delicious lunch, we went into the Biosphere (not to be confused with the Biodome) - a small museum housed in the frame of a giant geodesic dome. The only great exhibit was a water activity room, but that one was really great, so that was just fine. Plus admission was free for Earth Day. Alex had a wonderful time making rivers and pools and channels and sailing boats and walking across water on pontoons and otherwise getting very damp indeed.

Of course, as is the case any time one visits [livejournal.com profile] papersky, we had excellent food. Highlights for me were a Chinese feast the first night, an incredible dim sum spread on Sunday morning, and - oddly enough - the shish kebob dinners we ordered delivered to our hotel room the night that [livejournal.com profile] papersky and [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel had a dinner party to attend. But really, there was only one meal I thought was just so-so, and that time it was clear that I had ordered the wrong thing.

So that was our trip. I think I'll probably write another post about traveling with both kids later.
rivka: (chalice)
I just registered our family for SUUSI.

This year I am taking:
The Joy of Thrifting (two sessions of field trips to thrift stores)
Chocolates Around the World (a tasting session)
Mountain Lake Biological Station (natural history trip with a little easy hiking)

And of course, I am teaching a workshop too: Parenting in the 21st Century, with the brilliant [livejournal.com profile] bosssio.

Michael is playing in the poker tournament, touring the control tour at the Roanoke Airport, and doing a men's drop-in singing event. He's also taking Alex on a tour of Dixie Caverns.

Alex is doing the Dixie Caverns trip with Michael and taking PJ Yoga for Kids M-Th night at bedtime.

Colin is planning to nurse a lot, sleep, and chew on rattles. We won't be using the SUUSI childcare for him. He's eligible - they'll take babies of any age - but I just think he's too young. It'll make for a very different kind of SUUSI, to have a 5-month-old with us, but I think we'll have fun anyway.
rivka: (talk about me)
The "favorites" edition...

[livejournal.com profile] vom_marlowe: We're due a snowstorm here. I was thinking of that time we went to the ski cabin, and had a Finnish sauna. Do you remember that? That was sooooo much fun. It's one of my favorite memories.

What's a favorite memory of back then?


I do remember that. All my ski cabin memories are really happy. I wonder if the ski cabin is still like it always was, and if they still keep it unlocked so that I could go there if I wanted to. (I remember the directions.)

I really loved the Reed formals. I loved the way everyone got so dressed up, by whatever definition they personally had for "dressed up," and the way the majority of the clothes were obviously from secondhand stores. I had a perfectly amazing formal dress, rich black velvet with a wide band of dangling jet beads at the neckline. It made me feel gorgeous. The formals I remember best had fantastic swing/jazz music. I love dancing to that. And at formals I always felt like I could walk up to people and ask them to dance. (That was probably all those bottles of vodka they kept stashed under the tables so that the bars could clearly be seen to be serving just juices and sodas.)

[livejournal.com profile] fairoriana: Which other countries in the world do you feel the most association to? Why?

I don't really feel personal connections to other countries, although I have fond memories of Scotland (where Michael and I honeymooned) and Wales (where I went with my sister), because in both places I had a wonderful time and the locals were incredibly nice to us. I have a little faint intellectual interest in where my ancestors came from, but it doesn't make me feel connected to those places. I'm an assimilated American, the third generation born in the U.S.; the "old country" doesn't have much meaning for me.

There are plenty of countries that I'm interested in and would like to visit, but I think that's a different question.

[livejournal.com profile] marykaykare: What's your favorite piece of jewelry? What do you look for/attracts you most about pieces you buy?

I wear very little jewelry. I have a couple of Elise Matthesen necklaces - I couldn't say what drew me to them, because they just reached out and grabbed me in a process that was entirely emotional; it bypassed my reasoning mind.

I will say, however, that I'm coming up on ten years of marriage and I have still never seen a ring prettier than my engagement ring.

[livejournal.com profile] patgreene: What's your all-time favorite movie, and why?

Casablanca. Because it's so beautifully filmed, and because it's such an incredible cornerstone of our culture, and because it's so well-acted that even when I should be rolling my eyes, I don't.

[livejournal.com profile] guruwench: If you've watched any of the Muppets, who's your favourite, and why?

I like Beaker best. Doesn't everyone?

[livejournal.com profile] chargirlgenius: What's your favorite section of the Walters? What kind of art really speaks to you?

My favorite section is the Chamber of Wonders, the recreation of a 17th century nobleman's private house museum. I love the way art and natural history pieces and artifacts are jumbled together. Plus it reminds me of a very strange book I enjoyed, Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder.

I am pretty ignorant about art. My personal tastes run towards outsider art, the kind of thing that's exhibited at the American Visionary Art Museum. And I saw a truly amazing exhibit of trompe l'oeil paintings at the National Gallery a few years ago, which I still remember vividly. But for the most part I would rather go to a history, science, or natural history museum than an art museum.
rivka: (talk about me)
Here's the "If I could..." edition. You guys ask good questions.

[livejournal.com profile] kazoogrrl: If you worked at Colonial Williamsburg, you would be what kind of historical reenactor, and why?

If we are fantasizing that I would have any skills I might need to obtain such a position, I'd like to be in the dressmakers'/milliners' shop, preferably focusing on fine embroidery. When we were there in November, there was a woman sitting in a sunny window embroidering the most stunning piece of white-on-white lace. I really enjoy fine needlework, but I don't have much time (okay, any time) to work on it. It would be pleasant to have a lot of time to develop those skills and share them with others, in a mellow and conversational setting.

If we're thinking about positions I might legitimately be qualified for, I'd probably wind up doing historical dance performance. Which is funny, because I'm about the least athletic or graceful person ever, under ordinary circumstances. But I've done quite a bit of English Country Dancing, and I love it, and I'm good at it.

[livejournal.com profile] pameladean: What are three things you'd do to your house if you could?

0. Buy it. I would love to own this house instead of renting it. But I know that's not what you meant, so I'm making it #0.

1. Put decking on the porch outside our bedroom, so that it can be walked on without damaging the roof surface. I understand why our landlord never did that - that short short railing would create a massive liability risk, and you couldn't put a real, safe-height railing in because the historical preservation people would throw a fit.

2. Insulate the kitchen and the pantry. They're just kind of hanging off the back of the house, with nothing underneath them and nothing around them, and they get so cold in the winter that for a while the olive oil congealed.

3. Rip out the 70's-era paneling and dropped ceiling in the third floor guest room. Then, eventually, we could convert it to our bedroom and turn our gorgeous current bedroom, with its floor-to-ceiling built-in bookshelves, into a study for the whole family. Right now our desks are crammed into the dining room instead.

[livejournal.com profile] moobabe: If you could do anything (job/hobby/etc) that you can't or don't do right now, what would it be?

Homeschool. This is in the works for a year and a half from now, when Alex is scheduled to start kindergarten. Michael and I hope to both work part-time and both share in the homeschooling. I'd kind of like to get started sooner, although I recognize that the older Colin is when we start the easier things will be. (Oops, here I am bringing in kids/parenting again, and violating the purpose of the meme.)

[livejournal.com profile] duanekc: If you had unlimited time and budget, would you travel? Where, and why? With or without family? Are there places you would like to see just by yourself, or is traveling without family unthinkable?

Oh, gosh. I haven't traveled that much, and I have a long list of places I'd like to go. I would love to go on safari in Africa. I'd like to see Egypt and Petra. I would like to do a rain forest/beach/snorkeling trip in central America. I would like to go on a cruise. I would like to cross the US and Canada by transcontinental rail. I would like to visit Vietnam. I would like to take the kids to Disneyworld.

I don't like to leave my kids for longer than a few days - at least, I can't imagine doing that until they're much older. So although I see definite advantages to familyless travel that'd be pretty far in my future. I think it will start being feasible for us to do significant travel when Colin is about the age that Alex is now. I have this family adventure travel site bookmarked, and it is a frequent stop for fantasizing.

[livejournal.com profile] castiron: What craft skill (where craft could be anything from sewing to blacksmithing to origami to small engine repair) would you most like to learn?

Quilting.

[livejournal.com profile] johnpalmer: Is there any one thing that you wish you had blogged about, but even if you were blogging, it's been *way* too long, so you can't blog about it now... but oh, it was *important*, and you really wanted to say something about it!

What was it? What did you want to say?


I wish I had finished my series on physician-assisted suicide, because it's a topic that I think many, many smart and ethical and well-meaning people are misguided about. I may be getting back to doing some writing on that in the near future.
rivka: (Rivka & kids)
Colin update: We had him weighed yesterday, because our pediatrician likes to check breastfed babies' weights at one month. (Colin is five weeks old, but I figured the neurosurgery appointment was all the medical care we could stand for last week.)

If he had continued to gain about an ounce a day, he would've tipped the scales at 9 pounds, 8 ounces yesterday. Instead? TEN POUNDS. Over the last month, the boy has increased his weight by 25%.

I declare an official and permanent end to me being neurotic about whether nursing is working.

Also? Social smiles have appeared, and man are they awesome. All three of us have gotten big happy smiles from him in the last couple of days.

Alex update: Her behavior is pretty typical for a displaced formerly only child, which is to say that she's acting up a lot. Last night's festivities included the wholesale removal of books from her bedroom after she decided to throw them all to make a point about not wanting to go to bed. (How did "you can have a few paperbacks in bed to look at by nightlight" lead to the pile of twenty-three books she had next to her pillow and ready to throw? Because she's our child, that's how. Oh well, twenty-two of them are gone now. Pandora is just lucky that there was one under the blanket that she didn't notice when she was throwing them.)

On the other hand, she really floored me yesterday with a surprising bit of thoughtfulness. She's been invited to a birthday party on Sunday, and when we opened the invitation she told me "You can just drop me off." This is starting to be the age of drop-off playdates, and the party invitation specified that drop-offs were okay, so I figured maybe the birthday girl had mentioned this special big-kid possibility to Alex.

Then, in the car on our way home from buying a present, she told me: "Clara has a cat, Mom. That's why I planned for you to drop me off."

Aww. "Thank you, sweetie, but I'd be okay at the party as long as I don't touch the cat. So if you want me to stay, I can."

"You're allergic to cats, Mom," she said with finality. "That's why I planned for you to drop me off."

I am just amazed that she put that together. I've known plenty of adults who aren't that capable of forseeing problems that might exist for other people.

Rivka update: I pretty much rest and feed the baby, and watch TV. I am not very interesting right now. But! I am excited that the SUUSI catalog is out. It lets me dream of having a more interesting life months down the road.

And I'm looking forward to our trip to Montreal next month, which is really going to happen now because we have plane tickets and a hotel reservation and all of us now have passports in the works. (Mine had expired. Michael's was going to expire while we were in Montreal. The kids didn't have them. Getting our passports was an exciting and colorful experience which I hope never to repeat, although now I know an awesome way of getting passport photos for a newborn.)
rivka: (travel)
So, on Christmas afternoon we flew to Memphis to spend the long weekend with Michael's father. That had always been in the plan. Somehow what didn't make it into my mental picture of the plan was that we would have essentially zero time on Christmas to do anything other than family presents and then making the trip happen. Like, for example, answering people's e-mails, or warning anyone that we were going to be away and out of contact, or any of those kinds of things. So: sorry that we dropped off the face of the earth like that.

It was a pretty hard visit. Michael's stepmother was in the hospital when we arrived, with diverticulitis, and wasn't released until Saturday. Michael's father isn't doing very well either, although I suppose he's doing better than one might expect given all that happened last August, when we thought Michael was potentially rushing to a deathbed. He's very weak and tired. His blood count keeps dropping inexplicably; he had a transfusion of two units of blood the week before Christmas, and told us that was the only thing keeping him on his feet.

I cooked some monster Southern-style breakfasts and tried, mostly fruitlessly, to keep Michael's father (and his stepmother, when she got home) from exerting themselves on household responsibilities. I tried to create and protect opportunities for Michael and his dad to be together. Alex was much more open and friendly with her Poppy than she has been before, which was nice to see, and I did what I could to promote that. I did a lot of playing with Alex's Christmas toys. I did get a fair amount of rest, at least. Michael's father and stepfather typically went to bed at the same time as Alex, so our evenings were very quiet and relaxed.

I tried to make more allowances than usual for Michael's stepmother, because she was ill and tired and in pain. But really she just seemed like her typically unpleasant self. For the record, in case anyone around here is unclear: it is not okay to predict that a pregnant woman is about to go into labor prematurely. It is even less okay to harp on it to the extent that it begins to prey on the pregnant woman's hormonally-fragile peace of mind even though she knows that she shouldn't pay any attention to you. And when you know that the pregnant woman's last pregnancy ended in disaster? It is really absolutely even less okay, if that's possible.

I'm just saying.

So we're home, later than expected because of some baggage snarls at the airport. The house is a disaster area because we didn't have time to pick up before we left. Alex didn't get to bed until almost 11 - who knows when she'll be up tomorrow. And I got home to a stack of increasingly upset e-mails and phone messages from Lydia, who apparently forgot that (a) I was going to be out of town until Monday, and (b) she had previously expressed no problems with my travel plans and, indeed, had not seemed particularly concerned about whether I was going to be in this week at all.

So, you know, I think tomorrow's going to be a bit of a mess. But it's going to be okay. We have great plans for later in the week, including friend-visiting and dinner-date-with-babysitting and, potentially, couch-buying.
rivka: (travel)
This was our last day of vacation. Tomorrow morning we'll drive home, visiting [livejournal.com profile] bosssio and family on the way. Which is probably just as well, because tomorrow's supposed to be chilly and rainy. Today was cold enough - in the upper 40s most of the day, and windy. But we had a good time anyway. Read more... )
rivka: (travel)
I think I made a tactical error and started writing up today's travel too late. I'm very tired. We had an awful time getting Alex to sleep last night, and then I woke a lot during the night. I hate forced-air heat - it always leaves me parched. I am spoiled by our radiators at home.

The day went well, though. Read more... )
rivka: (travel)
Having a wonderful time. Read more... )

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