Monday, November 29, 2010

Sleeping turkey and snuggly turkey

Sam and Pete on the way to Thanksgiving in Seattle.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holding hands.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


While Sam and Elise got to go sledding in Cheney, WA, I was stuck back in D.C. to oversee the pack-out.

The actual pack-out day was pretty anticlimatic. I had spent all day Saturday and Sunday tearing apart our apartment in preparation for today, organizing and pre-packing as much as I could. I would say my hard work paid out as I got the movers in and out and under 4 hours, so quickly the traveler of Pike Place roast I had hauled back from Bucky's hadn't even gotten cold yet.

Nothing will quite compare to our first pack-out from Florida. Before the movers arrived I wondered if there would be a character equal to the woman from our original move who tore packing tape with her teeth or, Carl, the charismatic truck driver from Long Island or New Jersey, I don't exactly remember which. There was a rough woman, but she had no teeth, and there was no Carl, just Jose, Orlando, Mary and another Jose.

I made sure to provide donuts and coffee, but I ended up drinking most of the coffee and eating 3 donuts. The highlight of the move was that I waaaaaay underestimated how much 700 lbs was for our air freight, so as one Jose was packing and weighing and tallying the air frieght, I was racing the other Jose who was packing our other stuff, pulling it out to add to the items that would come faster, i.e. more clothes and a lot of the goodies we bought at Costco that are either unavailable or exorbiantly expensive in Brazil like pancake mix, peanut butter, ziploc baggies, DIAPERS.

I like to travel, but I don't like to pack. I hope it becomes one of the things I am good at despite myself.

Monday, November 22, 2010


"I am younger each year at the first snow. When I see it, suddenly, in the air, all little and white and moving; then I am in love again and very young and I believe everything."

Anne Sexton

Sunday, November 21, 2010

thing # 564736253637282 i love about being home:

I say "homemade soup sure does sound good," and my mom has homemade soup on the table for lunch.

I strive to be that kind of mom.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Just Another Day in the Pacific NW...

Cabella's, Post Falls, Idaho

Friday, November 19, 2010

Travel Writing

I just finished Paul Theroux's 'Ghost Train to the Eastern Star', my first foray into travel reading. It took me mostly every moment of my eight months in D.C. to finish the book, reading a few paragraphs here and a few lines there, almost always in bed right before falling asleep and almost always as 'Project Runway' or 'The Next Food Network Star' was murmuring in the background.

The book found me by accident. Elise's aunt and uncle were having a garage sale right before their move from Maryland and, lacking anything to read, I saved the book from a pile of similar travelogues destined for fates unknown. Perhaps, it might have found a reader more appreciative than I. Who knows? (We also saved a Nintendo Wii and a doilies that used to belong to Elise's grandmother.)

I wasn't reading anything and hadn't for awhile. My time to read for pleasure is so minute, as I mentioned, literally but a few minutes every night, that I can never decide what to fill that time with. When I go to the book store, I can never decide what to read because it is such a huge commitment. Knowing I am going to be reading this book for...say, the next eight months...means that it better be pretty good.
I put so much weight on the decision, I usually end up not getting anything at all and returning home empty-handed.

When I started the book, I found it incredibly self-indulgent (much like blog-writing!) I had the impression that the author was saying, "Look at all these wonderful places I get to go, while you have to stay home and just read about it." My impression changed as I became legitimately interested in the places he was travelling through: the 'Stans, India, Vietnam. I was drawn in. Only to be spit back out soon thereafter, a vile taste in my mouth.

See, when talking about a place, the author's needle seemed to start in a place already tainted and muddled. That was how he was introduced to a place, seeing everything that was wrong with it first. If his needle moved off the negative, it was only after he met and talked with the people whose everyday lives occupied the
place. I never want to be introduced to a new place coming from a place of negativity. Of course I realize there is poverty and strife and overcrowding in our world and that we may very well be on a path of slow decay, but I never want to lose the wonder of seeing new places and meeting new people or lose the sense that
the slow decay can be slowed or stopped. I think if you come to a new place with your needle stuck on the negative, you've already lost because it is so much easier to find what is wrong with a thing that what is right with it.

He even concludes the book on a somber note: "It's true that travel is the saddest of pleasures, the long-distance overland blues. But I also thought that what I'd kept fretting about throughout my trip, like a mantra of vexation building in my head, words I never wrote. Most people on earth are poor. Most places are blighted and nothing will stop the blight from getting worse. Travel gives you glimpses of the past and of the future, your own and other people's....But there are too many people and an enormous number of them spend their hungry days thinking about America as the Mother Ship....Most of the world is worsening, shrinking to a ball of bungled desolation. Only the old can really see how gracelessly the world is aging and all that we have lost. Politicians are always inferior to their citizens. No one on earth is well governed. Is there hope? Yes. Most people I'd met, in chance encounters, were strangers who helped me on my way...."

Seriously? If travel is the saddest of pleasures, stay home. No one made you take a train from England, through Eastern Europe, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, fly to India, fly to Sri Lanka, train again through Burma, Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Japan, finding yourself depressed, hungry and cold on the Trans-Siberian Express. And who frets on a trip? Besides my dad? Evidently, this guy. Many places are blighted but there IS something that we can do about it.

I think this analysis is appropriate given where we are in our lives, on the precipice of beginning our own travels. We have the additional benefit of getting to live in a place, not just whizz through it on rail, seeing little through the grimy portal or much beyond the immediate neighborhood of the station. There will always be something wrong. These things will be easy to find. This is part of my new job. To move mountains pebble by pebble. But there will also be things that are very right. These things will be much more elusive, but when found, that much more rewarding, like a four-leaf clover, like a beautiful pair of peep-toe wedges in the Nordstrom shoe department, deeply discounted.

There is a picture on this blog of Sam's expression the first time he saw snow at his grandparents' house. It is, arguably, the best picture on a blog that is going into its fourth year. Sam is in a transitional point in his life (when won't he be?), a point where is emotional exuberance and intellectual restraint collide, then meld, forging the young man he will become. We're all kind of here, too, I think.
Even--or especially--Pete who is just happy to be along for the ride. For us all, it will be important to never forget this expression and what it means. It is unfortunate that Mr. Theroux has lost this sense of wonder, though his loss can be our gain.

All this being said, I think I'm going to go back to reading things more along the lines of Harry Potter.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Goodbye Ballston

*first snow*

Monday, November 15, 2010

Future Shoe Salesman

We were in Nordstrom yesterday buying Pete his first pair of shoes when I spotted Sam on the floor helping this customer. I never found out at what point--if ever--he figured out Sam really didn't work there. He seemed happy with the sizing.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Urban Delight

On an outing to the mall this afternoon to gather a few final items for our 'South American Tour' we hit up one of our all-time faves, Urban Outfitters. Paul, chick magnet that he is, was about to walk out of the store alone after making his final purchase (I was still shopping with Sam) when I spied two giggling girls heading toward he and Pete* with a small box in their hand saying "you should get this!" It was the figurine below. Naturally, I thought he should get it, too. I mean how many people have a bobble head created in their awesome father/son likeness**?!

Paul & I found this much more amusing than Peter did

*I did not fasten Peter into the carrier this way. One arm in, one arm out. Paul has his own 'unique' style of using our baby gear, pushing it to its creative limits. Including, but not limited to, twisting the straps in a matrix-like configuration and still getting it on and off and putting Peter's legs through the same hole. Kidding...or am I?

**the 'four consecutive days off beard' was key in this doppelganger incident

Friday, November 12, 2010

Fall in Virginia

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Peter! (the amazing folding baby)

(a silent film)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rethinking my take on Monday mornings...

The boys snuggle together just after Pete's morning nap while Sam finishes up watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Words from the mouths of babes

Today as I grumbled aloud to myself about having schlepped everyone down to the parking garage without Pete's pacifier once again, Sam piped up from the back seat,

"Mom, no pacifiers in car, none in diaper bag, none in purse, only upstairs!"

"I know, I know Sam, thank you for the belated reminder."

"Mom we talked about this!"

I think I might be in trouble, and I mean more than just having forgotten the pacifier again. This one is like mini me and that is terrifying and exciting, but mostly terrifying.