Good Listen: The Taj


It's rare these days that I get to listen to any radio story altogether at once*, but this one was worth going back to the NPR website for a listen: Heroes of Mumbai's Taj Hotel, detailing the heroic altruism of the staff of Mumbai's Taj Hotel during the terror attacks of 2003.It rung very true from our stay at the hotel, where service was extraordinary. And this story reflects that it was an enduring trait, even in their worst crisis. The story also tells you about how business and branding matter.

*I realize now that this story is only nine minutes long, which tells you what life with an infant is like in terms of attention span and personal time!

Let There Be Light Longer

I am waiting for the blanket of clouds that will cover Chicago for the next three months to arrive. The day will get grey and I will wonder why we can't just keep the Christmas lights up until April. December seems to early to put them up and January too soon to take them down. I will need some cheeriness and blinking display on my walks home in late February.

Like Peanut Butter Cups

Like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, or Oreo ice cream, the Smithsonian's First Ladies' Exhibit combines two things I love, fashion and history. No trip to D.C. is necessary thanks to their Flickr stream. I'd argue that the Flickr stream offers details you'd otherwise be pressing your nose up against the glass to discern.

Grateful

A few of my friends have been taking to Facebook with 30 days of gratitude, since I only realized that halfway through November, and they were a little sporadic in their posts, I thought I might catch up with them in a lightening round. We'll see how many I can think up before Calvin wakes up this Thanksgiving morning...

I am grateful for:

1. Family: (I know, that's at the top of everyone's list, especially when you are sitting at the Thanksgiving table with all of them and they are looking at you expectantly for an answer to what you are grateful for.) But seriously, I am particularly grateful this year to call ourselves a "family" with the addition of Calvin. I am grateful for how he's brought us closer to the family we have.

2. Friends: (another usual one) but living away from family makes me treasure our tribe of friends even more.

3. The new baby in our lives: ...the relatively easy pregnancy and labor that got him here, the husband that unquestioningly slept in a recliner by my side at the hospital, the nurses and doctor that encouraged me through the labor and the first nights.

4. Comfort: Having a warm home on a cold day; cozy, soft blankets; socks.

5. Knowing people who aren't like me: My friends teach me how life is lived differently, whether in India, Italy, or just the suburbs. I am glad to know them and share their families and traditions.

6. Road safety: Remembering the car accident I had about two years ago, I am grateful that it was only my car that was hurt. I am grateful that there's so much consideration put into my baby's car seat, our seatbelts, and the design of everything from the tires to the steering wheel. Let's make it safer by not talking on our cell phones while driving, even hands-free. Any distraction creates a risk.

7. Abundance: The fact that Jason and I are truly challenged to come up with Christmas gift ideas for both ourselves and Calvin tells me that we have a lot. We are very lucky. The best I could manage yesterday was a handheld vacuum...only because schlepping the one we have up and down the stairs is a chore, so maybe it'd be nice to have two!

8. Books: For how much I can learn from them (baby sleep tips now a popular pursuit) and how they can offer a quick escape. You can never read too much.

And now our #1 is awake, so more later...

...And we are back:

9. Animals: Pets specifically, are pretty terrific to have in your life. The funny things they do that make us laugh, the way they need us (like the rarely-affectionate Piper curling up in my arms at the vet's office), the warm spot they leave on the bed after jumping down, their inscrutable personalities. Ok, maybe the hard-to-read personality disorder is specific to cats; dogs seem easier to read.

10. My job: Funny what this economy can make you grateful for, but in tough and changing economic times, I want to work as hard as I can to keep my job. I have been grateful also to have best friends at work. They say having a close friend at work is one of the highest contributors to job satisfaction, though I am still reconciling to the fact that two of my "besties" moved away, to Maine and Atlanta respectively. I'm now in the slightly awkward place of deciding if my new closest buds are either my boss, or my direct report. Probably neither one is without its complications. But let's just be grateful that this is one of my biggest problems.

11. Music: While I am not a classical music smarty pants, and even struggle to name a favorite, contemporary artist, I can't imagine life without music. The right melody can elevate a moment or a memory to a special space, just like the soundtrack on a movie or fitting background music in a restaurant. I should listen to more music.

12. Seasons: Telling us that time is moving forward, the changing of the leaves and growing chill in the air is something I am grateful for, even if I won't like the perma-frost of snow and ice that comes next. The longer, sunnier days and first walk outside that doesn't require a jacket will cheer me up again.

13. Chocolate, ice cream, chocolate and peanut butter together, pies, cake with white frosting, cake with chocolate frosting.

14. Finding the perfect gift for someone: Though it can't happen everytime, it's so satisfying to see the look in someone's eye when they open the unexpected, perfect gift. First there is the obligatory, expected look of "how wonderful, thank you!" but with the really perfect gifts there is that second wave of realization and delight. I like that the best. I saw it when I found my sister's favorite childhood book, Spectacles, and gave it to her. She had never owned it, but took it out as much as the Frankford branch of the Philadelphia Library would let her.

15. Photographs: I am grateful for photographs that can help us remember the details we will forget, the people we want to remember, the places we've traveled and celebrations of our lives.

16. Fresh vegetables and juicy fruits: An answer to #13. I am also grateful for a plate that includes the colors of fresh produce. Nectarines, peaches, grapes, butternut squash, carrots.

17. "This too shall pass": I am grateful for the wisdom to know that if there are bad times, that they can't last forever. I also try to remember that the same goes for the good times, so enjoy them while they last.

More later...

Two days later and there's been no time to be grateful for more. I forgot to mention health, that's important and proves that this list was by no means in order of priority, or complete.

Abbreviated

I feel like I keep apologizing for the intermittent blogging, though by now you know exactly why the posts have been spotty. On the other hand, friends have commented that they are enjoying my more chatty presence on Facebook. I can much easier punch out a sentence or two on Facebook, than the reflection that it takes for a blog post.

For those that aren't on Facebook, here are some of those abbreviated thoughts, with some elaboration now that Calvin is napping:

1. I bought a tube of lipstick at Walgreens the other day that I later realized is pretty much my natural lip color. No wonder I thought it looked right with my skin, however it's completely redundant. In future "describe yourself" moments I can now say, "brown hair, hazel eyes, toffee tango lips." A friend pointed out that this is also a lovely name for house paint. The upside is that I can probably safely put on this lipstick without really paying much attention, since it's definitely the "natural look."

2. No more proof is really needed to know that Mr. Rogers was perhaps the most honest soul in our midst, but 15 more reasons are here. After reading this article, I thought to myself about the need to ask myself, "What would Mr. Rogers do?" more often when dealing with traffic, friend drama, or burnt toast. Make it a snappy new day.3. My camera broke. Perfect timing, Canon! A newborn is in the house looking cuter by the minute and all you can say is "memory card error"??!! (Ok, that is not a very Mr. Rogers reaction.)

4. Not on Facebook yet, but I love Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.
"Guess why I smile a lot. Uh, 'cause it's worth it,"
Maybe I should also try to live more like Marcel.

Salute Peace

In honor of both the Marine Corps birthday (today) and Veteran's Day (tomorrow) these Peace Cord bracelets seem appropriate. Made by Afghan women out of military-grade parachute cords, and accented with military buttons, funds from the bracelets "create jobs for impoverished Afghan women, deliver access to education and healthcare, and provide funds to U.S. troops for humanitarian projects to supply necessities like shoes, food and school books to isolated Afghan communities."

While I am far from a eagle (edit: oops, I mean "hawk." I guess eagle seemed more patriotic?) on military matters, I like how these bracelets recognize that much of our military's role is peace-keeping, relationship- and community building. Helping the countries we enter, rather than hurting them. (Although this is not to minimize the damage that fighting and conflict can create.)

It was a epiphany watching a news report on the 10-year anniversary of 9-11 showing a reporter taking pictures of the burning Twin Towers to Afghans in rural parts of the country, and few recognized the image most of us will never get out of our heads. In fact, in a survey of 1,000 rural Afghans, only 8% knew what the pictures depicted. It follows that they would understandably be confused as to why the U.S. military now patrols their villages. The report made me realize how far apart the global issues can be from individual understanding. I like how these bracelets not only symbolize, but truly actualize, helping individual women and honoring the members of the military who serve.

Now the question is, do I get Marine Corps to recognize Jason's service in the reserves? (pictured at top) Navy to remember Dad's civilian scientific work? Or Army for his official service? Coast Guard for Jason's grandfather? Airforce for Uncle Paul? I suppose a have a number of personal family reasons to wear these bracelets too.

Hello, Old Friend

Hello old friend, My Blog. I know, I've fallen out of touch lately.

Those newborns, they are a handful! But yes, pretty adorable, especially now that the little guy is smiling and kind of laughing. Although sometimes I can't tell, is that just a coincidental string of grunts?

Like you, the house is also left to wonder what's happened to my usual attentiveness. I look around sometimes and just sigh, "this place is a mess." But I find I care less and less. My threshold for acceptable household litter has been redefined. I wonder if empty nesters look around and have an epiphany as to how cluttered their house has become over 18 years. In my retirement, I plan to clean.

My Kindle is dormant, except for the book on baby sleep patterns. (Entirely ineffective, by the way. The relaxing infant massage lotion must contain caffeine.)

The cats are also wondering where their usual affection has gone. Of all parties, the cats were the ones I thought would be happiest to be left alone. However, Teedie has taken to sleeping on the bed at night, which suggests he might even miss me! Or he's just jealous. Likewise, my lips may have wondered what's happened to lipstick...or even a moisturizing gloss! My ears remember earrings with nostalgia. (I do manage a shower most every day and put on make-up for my own morale.) Of all body parts, my feet are likely the happiest. They spend most days in socks, or a sneaker if outdoor adventures are on the schedule. But they probably deserve the pleasure, since they suffered the most during the final swollen months of pregnancy.

Babies, they do become your everything. Hope you understand, dear blog. I do fall asleep some nights thinking of good content, but by the weary morning I've usually forgotten.

Knowing When to Let Go

I recently had to say goodbye to one member of our family, and another should probably be allowed its demise as well.

Houseplants, don't get too sad or sentimental.

I'm not sure why, but I realize that I coddle plants until there's just one little leaf hanging on for dear life. Despite years of hardy endurance, every plant meets its end eventually.

I won't see their gradual decline, until one day I glance at the windowsill and sort of see the plant for the first time and realize, "Wow, that guy looks really sad!" At best I could say it's maybe poetic in a simple, bonsai kind of way??

One of my favorite quotes is "a houseguest will see in 30 seconds what you won't see in 30 years." This usually refers to the dust on the bookshelves or the crooked closet door, but I have to imagine all of our guests this month have wondered why this plant is still here.

Let's say goobye, and plan to get another jade plant next time I find myself at Home Depot or Lowes.

Perspective

Ah, motherhood and the new perspective that it gives you.

That spending money on a good nanny will probably be far more satisfying than buying shoes.

A mere shower can make the day.

I can carry enough various things in my hands that I could apply for honorary octopus status.

That "baby" is now the third most frequent tag on my blog.

Hand wash only clothes are the divas of the closet. Really? The delicate cycle in a lingerie bag will have to do for you!

And the hour at the gym that used to seem like a tedious, dreaded chore, is now a joyful time to escape and repair the distortions wrought by pregnancy. I had to laugh at (and commiserate with) the comparison made by Girl Gone Child blogger, Rebecca Woolf, of her pre- and post-partum fit.

BEFOREAFTER
That last photo captures the chaos just right too. Calvin attempts to catch onto my hair sometimes with a tenacious grip!

The Blustery Day

As much as I really like beautiful, sunny, warm days I confess to taking equally great pleasure in the cloudy, rainy days.

On the good days, I spend time conflicted about whether to rest and take a nap or get out for a walk.

On the miserable days, the decision is made! We are staying in, napping, snuggling, watching tv and working on little home projects.

Today was one of those days. Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day perfectly captures the gloomy, calamitous whirlwind of a stormy day, like the one we had today. I'll be holding onto Calvin tight so he doesn't blow right away like Piglet. And adding this book to the Amazon list, since its an essential lesson in meteorology for our son.

(UPDATE: It appears A.A. Milne had nothing to do with the Blustery Day as it was conceived as an animated feature by Disney, so there's no book! But we an watch it on YouTube.)

THIS IS HILARIOUS AND ADORABLE

Animals Talking in All Caps... I mean, ANIMALS TALKING IN ALL CAPS is a hilarious website I stumbled upon recently and it's just the thing to prompt a laugh. Each post is offered in a bite-sized piece appropriate for those of us only getting up to three hours of sleep at a time. (I try to stay sharp and read the NY Times online while nursing, but I often fade quickly after the lede.) SHHHHHHHHHHH. THEY’RE LISTENING.
PRETEND TO BE BREAD. NOBODY NOTICES BREAD.

GARY! ARE YOU HOME? I CAN’T FIND MY SHOES, AND SOMEONE MOVED THE DOORKNOB! IS THIS EVEN YOUR HOUSE? GARY!
… GARY!
EVERYTHING SMELLS LIKE VODKA AND I WANT MY SHOES!
GARY WHERE IS YOUR DOORKNOB!
ALLIGAAAAAAAAAATOR TEEEEEEEEEEAAAARRRRRS.

OH, I’VE BEEN ‘RANDOMLY SELECTED’ FOR AN AIRPORT SECURITY SCREENING?
THAT’S RICH. THAT’S COMEDY GOLD RIGHT THERE, OFFICER.

I don't know why, but imagining animals talking, and either drunk, conniving, or in histrionics is something I enjoy. A lot.

Go get more here!!

Let's Hear it for the the (Room &) Board!

This is the kind of customer service that makes for life-long customers. Of course, we also tell our friends about positive experiences. (Link here in case my Deniece Williams "Let's Hear it for the Boy" reference escapes you, or you're feeling nostalgic with the remake of Footloose.)

An odd thing happened to our Room & Board dresser (coincidentally named Calvin) where one day there was a hole in one of the drawer faces. On the floor was a tiny pile of saw dust. We were perplexed and, as you'd suspect, perturbed. Was it an accidental drill hole that had been filled in? Some vulnerability in the wood, like a knot hole that fell out?Since this furniture was above and beyond our usual IKEA spend, and something I had considered an investment, I emailed Room & Board to ask if we could fix this. I was willing to buy a new drawer if they'd sell me one.They did even better. Within maybe two days of my email, Room & Board called us to ask when they could bring us a replacement. Not a replacement drawer, but a whole new dresser! It was delivered a week later! (And by the way, Room & Board has the most considerate, clean, and efficient delivery guys. They shuck off their shoes, while holding the dresser up in their arms, to enter in their stocking feet and keep your floors clean.)

Customer Service diagnosed the problem as a beetle that was trapped in the wood. We were advised that all the wood they use is kiln-dried which usually kills any bugs, but we had a virulent little guy who, two years later, apparently worked his way out.

...Of course now I can't help but wonder where in our house this dura-beetle went.

Thank you, R&B. p.s. I love your pillows.

Red Carnations!

Thank you, Jason for surprising me with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, with red roses and red carnations. Since I'm home all day, it's something to look at and enjoy.

What Are They Thinking?

Tell me, pet owners, that these are not hilarious and endearing: Tiny Confessions animal prints. It seems like they'd be funny in a small powder room, since that space lends itself to confessionals, or maybe a vet's office.

You know it's true with the disdainful look that your cat gives the television every weekend (ok, every day.)For Jason's mom's dog,Hank:Oh, me too somedays. Me too. Especially when I was 7+ months pregnant.And this too.

Bundle Up, Baby

Just in time for me to go back to work after maternity leave, a weather pattern is predicted that will surely drive me right back home as soon as possible: another very bad winter for Chicago!



"Meteorologists at AccuWeather.com predict that Chicago will get between 50 and 58 inches of snow this winter..."

"Chicago has seen at least 50 inches of snow in each of the last four winters, according to the National Weather Service, dating to a whopping 60.3 inches during the winter of 2007-08. "

And lucky us, we've lived in Chicago for the last five winters, including that '07-'08 year. For long-time readers, you may remember that, and the playlist I made to go along with the many dreary months.


Photo via the Chicago Tribune.

I Carry Your Heart

One of the aspects of pregnancy which absorbed me more than anything else was the idea that for nine months I had two heartbeats. My own, and the fast gallop of Calvin's heart that I had the chance to eavesdrop on at every doctor's appointment. Thinking of this in bed last night, and then looking over to the heart that now beats outside of me, in his little swing, this e.e. cummings poem came to mind.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)


- e. e. cummings ~

I have a feeling that I will always carry Calvin's heart in me still.

Photo by Elliot Erwin.

The Humble Carnation

The humble carnation, sold in hastily packaged plastic packages on roadsides and in supermarkets.

Garishly green for St. Patrick's Day.

In ninth and tenth grade, Valentine's Day brought on the carnations to send to your friends and beaus, white = friendship, pink = a crush, red = love. I secretly always wished I'd get pink, or someday red, but if anything it was usually a handful of white carnations. Regardless, I loved the smell of them and spent most of the day holding the flower up to my nose.

I am pleased, therefore, to see the carnation coming into popularity. Maybe I see a bit of myself in its eventual blossoming, like the girl in high school who didn't get many flowers on Valentine's Day, but now finds herself happily married and loved.

An lovely ode to the carnation, "nature's pom pom", via Besotted Blog and Making it Lovely. Martha Stewart has quite a few tips for putting together these hardy blossoms. As they last so long, it's likely the only flower that's actually worth all of Martha's required effort.

Seems Like This Should Have Come Sooner

Let's face it, going to IKEA is really a two-person job. Unless, you are content to shop only in the marketplace and pick up just the things that can be carried by one person, like meatballs and sheets.

Jason does not list IKEA trips as among his most favorite shared activities. I think most husbands agree, which is why I've eagerly volunteered myself to be an "IKEA buddy" to any woman I meet who might have the same concern. Even acquaintances at cocktail parties, if she mentions loving IKEA I'll immediately jump in with, "Me too! We should go! Call me whenever!!" It sounds a little desperate, I know.

But those clever Swedes are thinking and I just hope that they bring this idea to the Schaumburg IKEA soon: MANLAND.
Drop husband off at the "man nursery" filled with video games, televisions, and activities, shop away, and then call him when you need him in aisle J28 to get the EXGRET (or similarly funny-named IKEA item) off the shelf and onto the cart. Happy everyone.

A Few Thoughts From the Sleep Deprived

Without being able to schedule activities that last more than 1 hour for fear that Calvin will show up with other plans, blogging has been a bit of challenge. However, it hasn't meant that I haven't had a few thoughts to share.

Here are a few musings from the sleep deprived:

- Jason and I have realized that we have a new weathervane for our relationship. The last two arguments we've had were initiated by one screaming baby. We later look at him lying small and innocent in his pack n' play and wonder how someone who's less than 20 days old has such power. - I don't understand why baby monitors are sold with multiple cameras, but just one monitor for the parent. I know these are modern times, with single parents being quite common, but for the two-parent household I have to wonder if this isn't just perpetuating a gender stereotype that mom is going to be primary? (Ok, maybe if it were pink I'd have more of a case.) Or is it a safety thing: if both parents have a monitor will baby suffer from the "bystander effect" where we each think the other person is addressing the crying?

- Seriously, babies go through a lot of diapers. This a primary impetus for my finally calling the bank to refinance our mortgage to a lower rate. Not kidding.

- For any new parent, I share the recommendation from my friend Maya to watch, and watch again, The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD. The 5 S's being key to getting an unhappy baby to calm down. I am so grateful for our baby swing, bouncy chair (which we call the rumble seat), and white noise CD.

- But I understand the humor of "Go the F*% to Sleep,." However, right now I am more often in the desperate pleading stages, "please, please, please go to sleep."

-Everyone's said to savor every moment, and it is kind of crazy to see that Calvin already looks bigger than when he arrived, with a pot belly and jowly, chubby cheeks.

And he has actually been a pretty good sleeper at night. Though I wake up a million times every night worrying: 1. is he breathing? 2. did I remember to feed him? and 3. did I put him back to bed, or did I fall asleep and forget him somewhere?

Every time he's just here.

Strong Leadership Skills, Idiosyncracies

My first job, though titled "recruitment advertising" was essentially writing help wanted ads. Polishing the job descriptions our clients sent us to inspire someone to be flattered to believe that this was exact them. They had the strong communication skills, attention-to-detail and track record of sales success to be the right candidate for the job.

Thinking about the headlines in the other sections of the papers these days, it seems like to be a successful world leader you not only need to be self-confident and able to give direction, but also have to have some crazy personality traits, untempered by the honest feedback of others, to go with it.

Vladimir Putin: he arm wrestles, he dives for hidden treasures, he snuggles St. Bernards. The Atlantic Monthly's recap of his campaign photo set suggests that Vlad is truly the "most interesting man in the world." Moammar Gadhafi: kept a photo album of his "darling" U.S. Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice, discovered by rebels when the got into one of his compounds. Even a State Department spokesperson, someone whose job it is to be polite and diplomatic, described this as "bizarre and creepy." Are these just small quirks and hobbies that we all have, just gone amuck because no one has the temerity to tell Putin that he looks ridiculous riding shirtless on that horse? Or that Condaleeza would really never go for Gadhafi, no matter how endearing his scrapbook?

And probably no one wanted to tell Imelda that she had far too many shoes. 2,700 specifically.

What would your out-of-control quirk be if you got the job of world leader?

Chasing Rainbows

Since we may remember the frustration I experienced trying to get my hands on Liberty of London for Target merch, I have tried to turn away from all the Missoni for Target ads. No need to get myself disappointed again.

I do know how to crochet now, so maybe there's a chance to make my own Missoni-inspired baby blanket, via OhDeeDoh. (Someday, when I get sleep again..?)

I won't go so far as L.A. stylist, Rachel Zoe, who is pushing her newborn around in a Missoni stroller. The base of this stroller costs $880 via Neiman Marcus. Seems like some people have too much money to spend responsibly, doesn't it? I already have what I call my "sofa blanket," a rainbow blanket knit from yarn scraps, which we can say is Missoni-inspired. (Seen here keeping Aunt Courtney warm while she snuggles Calvin.) I call it a sofa blanket because it's long and narrow, perfect for couch-lying. I pretend this was intentional, but really I intended a square blanket, but just got a little tired of knitting.
Viola: sofa blanket!
And it was free.

Follow Calvin


The link from my last post has been updated, clearly I was working on too few hours of sleep before. Fortunately Night 2 was better, thanks to some of the secrets from the Happiest Baby on the Block.

Follow Calvin here for updates on how we're all doing.

He's Here

Calvin Wright was born Wednesday morning at 6:44 am, weighing in at 6 lbs 10 oz, 19 1/2 inches long.

His first night home I got only about 1-2 hours of sleep, so I think it's safe to safe blogging will be taking a hiatus. Recaps of decorating our condo would be replaced by the summary of watching it fall to pieces in a mess around us, overtaken by baby gear, swaddle clothes and half-drank beverages.

Since my attentions will be diverted (monopolized) for a while, here's where I recommend checking in: Follow Calvin.

Everybody's Waiting Through the Weekend

With our "found weekend" here's what Jason and I have been doing for these past three days, besides Jason calling his mom frequently to announce "It's a boy!" even though said boy is still considering his arrival.

On Saturday, a trip to Sephora to make use of a girlfriend's baby gift... a gift card to help keep a new mom feeling pampered and pretty. So thoughtful, since most of the attention has been focused on baby and I've been getting weary of being pregnant. And what luck, it was also time for my Sephora birthday rewards gift! Sunday was grocery shopping, since the food we'd stocked up in anticipation of baby's arrival is already starting to dwindle. With the heat, I was so tired that I took a nice nap on the couch afterwards. Why not?

Then assembly of the stroller and taking the car seat out to the garage to get it fitted in. Not sure how much more we can do to be ready at this point, besides maybe starting to request college catalogs for baby?

Hearing many of the wives' tales about bringing on labor (walking, red raspberry tea, climbing stairs) we thought it might be a good excuse for a date night and some spicy food. Doubly spicy at Vermillion restaurant, an Indian-Latin fusion restaurant downtown. Jason went for the tapas menu with duck vindaloo on cornbread, blue corn crusted scallops (below), and lamb chops, all served very stylishly with flourishes of sauces and sides of brightly colored chopped fruits or veggies. I started with tomatillo gazpacho and then onto a hearty steak. Only here would you ever find Indian tandoori skirt steak (sacred cows being less sacred on the Latin side of the world.) Even with an extra dash of cayenne pepper on the side which I took full advantage of, it didn't seem to do much more than just make the baby kick up his heels a little bit more.

Monday, a stop at the park to visit with the Lennon family visiting from Maine, and then home to make some pesto with the basil that's been growing on the balcony all summer. (I plan on freezing half for future meals.) We also caught Piper doing her own "gardening." She somehow realized that buried beneath the cat grass I'd planted as a treat, there are little rocks that she enjoys pushing around the wooden floor. Our little archeologist. I cleaned up this mess twice before we just gave up and put the grass outside on the balcony again.

Missed Calls

With my official due date pending, I'm bracing for a weekend hurricane of phone calls, "Is the baby here yet?!"

All week long pretty much every voice mail from a colleague has been accompanied by the comment, "You could be having the baby right now (ha-ha-ha), so no need to call back if that's the case!" No, I was just on the other line.

Just ignoring emails or phone calls for even 12 hours could be a wicked way to get friends and family hyped up.

But just so you know, it appears that baby is quite happy with the status quo and shows no signs of an imminent departure. He appears to have failed to mark his own birthday in his planner!An eviction notice may be pending for extended double occupancy in a single occupancy rental dwelling.

I was feeling discouraged when the phrase "possible need to induce" came into the conversation with my doctor this week. Jason tried to cheer me up by saying, "We have to remember, that this is a blessing." I thought he was reflecting on the miracle of new life and parenthood, but he clarified, "No, I mean we get one last long weekend to ourselves, to do whatever we want!"

Every parent I've talked to agrees.

Busy, Busy, Crochet, Crochet

When they told us in childbirth class that nesting and a burst of organizing, tidying and preparatory energy was a sign of childbirth I was worried. Oh no, that's me. This was two weeks ago and I was not at all ready.

But then I remembered, that's kind of always me. I think the medical veracity of the nesting and tidying as a sign of labor may be a little questionable, or just coincidental. You know the due date is imminent, so you hustle to finish up the nursery and clean the house. And at the same time the baby arrives, because your due date is imminent.

Regardless, it's been a little hard remember to stay still and rest when there are a bunch of things on my "to do" list. While I thought that signing up for a crochet class was really insane so close to my due date, it has actually worked out quite well. I have to sit on the couch and put my feet up to do my weekly crochet homework. (Though it seems like I can't really get my feet nearly high enough, long enough, to alleviate their swelling. I have meatloaves attached to my ankles.)

But here's some of the outputs of my resting (not nesting) moments: 2 scarves!One a granny square* style and the other a ruffle that's still in progress. When that one is done I also have another bag of yarn waiting...for another scarf. Good thing Chicago is so cold. And that baby seems to be in no hurry to arrive early, no matter how much I clean and tidy.

*Crocheting on the train ride home, one of my wise-ass friends thought to comment, "You know Claire, you could have stopped at becoming a mom... you didn't have to go all the way to Grandma."
 

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