Thursday, December 22, 2005

solstice party

Our sort-of-kind-of-annual kids' solstice party was a lot of fun, despite (or perhaps because of, since our guest list was a bit too large) several last-minute cancellations due to illnesses and getting lost. We disappointed several children by not having our outside-fire as advertised (Dan had it all set, but we were happier socializing inside), but we let them play in the yard in the dark and that seemed to appease them. Most of our participants decorated a blank puzzle piece (thanks for donating them Mom!) with a wintery/ solsticey theme, and we ate excessively. We were glad that we set up luminarias, that I chipped a path through the ice to the door even though it took forever, and that Dan dragged up our garment rack from the basement so we had enough space to hang coats.

The kids were hilarious. A, who in the past hasn't been terribly thrilled at parties and started out the evening less-than-happy, ended up having a great time playing with the other babies and kids, and was adorable in her new solstice outfit (thanks Mom!) C ran around so much and ate so many cookies in the first part of the night that he was completely exhausted by the time our second round of guests arrived at 8 (which is also his normal bedtime). Some of the kids had specifically come for his sake, since he had been to several parties at their house and wanted them to come to one at his for a change, and it was funny to see him rallying his energy to be a good host for them.

Friends from Arizona were visiting and they commented that we had a lot of different social circles coming together (folks from Roots & Shoots, peace groups, parenting groups, neighbors, etc.) I told them that we HAD to seek out in all directions after all of our original friends moved away....

We have tons of leftovers, and made good use of the veggies, dip, and hummous for dinner tomight. (Thanks Mom!) We're making good use of the leftover desserts every time we walk through the kitchen.

(Now back to work. I need to finish making a castle and renovating C's Playmobil pirate ship tonight!)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

little pink houses for you and me Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Our weekends just fly by. Yesterday I worked at the co-op in the morning and we all headed to the library when I got home. We needed to go to the library to check on C's art exhibit (he has photos and drawings up for the whole month- check 'em out!) and to attend a "Christmas Around the World" extravaganza, which had displays and, most important to C, COOKIES from a dozen or so countries. (I don't know where they found all the people to put together group- based on their accents, virtually all of them were manned by people actually FROM the respective countries.)

We ran into yet another set of college classmates- the third we've encountered by chance in the last six months. Post-graduation benefits of going to a small school include (a) you recognize many of your former campus-mates even if you didn't really know each other, and (b) you have more of a sense of comraderie than I assume SUNY Albany graduates share.

Today Dan played the try-to-fix-the-sink-and-break-it-more-and-buy-more-parts-that-don't-fit game, which was even less fun than it was when he began the game about a month ago. (We sooo wish the previous owners had installed the plumbing in at least a sort-of standard way.) Then it was time to go to the orchestra and find that our exit ramp was closed AFTER it was too late to avoid crossing the river and doing a circle back into Albany and not remember exactly how to get to the Palace or where to park and all that. Luckily there were still balcony seats open when we got there.

We all enjoyed the program except for A; originally she was content as long as they were playing, but eventually Dan had to take her into the back and let her roam around to keep her from screaming as loudly. Other than the inevitable interminable selection from the Nutcracker, the music was great. (I can not listen to the Nutcracker without falling asleep. When I was maybe 8, I went with my Girl Scout troop to see the ballet at the Egg. It was a late night and we all drifted off at some point during Act III. I don't know if that imprinted a permanent sleep association on my brain or if Tchaikovsky just isn't for me. When I try to listen to the music objectively, it's not especially lulling, but I just.. cant.. keep.. my.. eyes.. open.) There were ballerinas dancing today, which C loved, but he said he's not interested in taking ballet classes. (He said that maybe he would when he was a grown-up and moved out of our house. Maybe he figures he'll have more time on his hands then.)

When we arrived home, a Putrid Stench greeted us at the door along with Paco. While we initially suspected him, it turned out that poor Paco was not the cause of the Horrendous Stench- it was coming from the raw sewage flowing into our basement. We called the town, because they're in charge of our sewers, but we didn't expect much; a neighbor with the same problem called them out two weeks ago and they claimed the sewers were clear. Well, this time they must have actually checked, because they found several "root balls" (which I originally assumed to be a euphemism for something REALLY disgusting, but it does in fact apparently mean a ball of roots- hurray for the sewer lines having so many cracks that roots can invade!) They cleared them out, pushing more sewer gas and effluent into our basement, but apparently we got off easy- our next door neighbor's toilet flew open and shot sewage down their hall while the work was being done.

We think our lives are kind of pitiful because tonight, instead of being saddened by the sewage we need to clean in our basement, we're happy that we don't have to spend thousands of dollars replacing a sewer pipe.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I slammed my fourth toe into a radiator this afternoon, and now it's black and swollen to double its normal size. I started to read about broken toe symptoms/ treatment but it made me queasy and I stopped. (I have no idea whether or not its broken, just that it hurts. A lot.)

Guess I'll just have to lie around and whine and look pitiful. (Its only been five years since THAT was effective....)

No posts in a while since Dan was supposed to write about his visit to kindergarten and our weekend at the Four Corners Holiday Open House (a.k.a. "when the woman working at Island Inkjet congratulated me on my pregnancy"- I didn't think I looked THAT bad). But apparently he's not.

C must not be a pariah at kindergarten, because we ran into two of his classmates over the weekend and they both talked to him. One invited him to sit at her table to eat his cookies, and the other (whom C spied through the window of the Chinese restaurant; her parents must own the place) gave him a fortune cookie. (He now keeps the fortune hidden under his napkin at the table, and has told us NOT to look under there or replace his dirty napkin because he thinks it's a secret.)

A walks all the time now; it's sad to realize that we'll never have a crawly little baby again. She's trying to talk, and does use specific sounds for specific things, but all her sounds are so similar we can only decipher them according to context. (Examples: she makes a "ca" sound for car, "caw" for the sound a crow makes, "qua" for squirrel, and "cuh" for Paco. And she refuses to enunciate.) She's taken to saying "dah-dah" for random things that she wants or likes; while I told him to take it as a compliment, Dan isn't too happy with his name being generalized so.

A few months after C was born, I started to read G.R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. I saw the first book at the library, and its summary said it was the first in a trilogy. Already having spent years eagerly awaiting the conclusion of Philip Pullman's "Dark Materials" trilogy, I didn't want to go through that again, and checked to see if there would be a long wait before the other books were released. Luckily (I believed), Book Three had just been published! (And it had dragons in the title; maybe he would have tips for dealing with our dragon-baby.) So I read them all, and if you're at all familiar with these books you will know that they're each around 1500 pages long and have about 100 characters whose histories are important to know (this is not an exaggeration). Getting into these books is a commitment (a worthwhile one, I feel, but definitely a commitment). About halfway through the third book, I wondered how on earth he was going to finish this up in "only" 800 more pages- and realized that, indeed, the flap summary of "A Game of Thrones" had lied to me. Now he's planning SEVEN books. And he ends them all with multiple cliffhangers.

Only now, FIVE years later, has Book Four been published, after being pushed back several times. I got it from the library and read it this past week, and it was a huge struggle to try to re-remember who ALL these people are and why they're important. (The 40-page lineage appendix wasn't all that helpful either.) Much of the "history" I've forgotten completely, and I can't remember the names of most of the people involved in the events I DO remember. I don't have a prayer of being able to even FOLLOW the next book, probably.

But can I wait another 10 years, hope GRR doesn't die before finishing this series, and then re-read them all and actually understand them? Noooo. He left my favorite character blind and multiple other important characters on the verge of death. (And the next book likely will not include the outcomes of these characters, since it will focus on events happening in a different part of the world; I'll have to wait for #6.) GRR.