Saturday, October 20, 2012

Tidbits: the library and the baby

* Eleanor is talking, talking, talking!  Tonight at the Indian buffet she said, "Please get some more paneer please!"  She is not even two, and she's already saying please (twice in one sentence), saying "extra" words like "some", and enjoying paneer.  Awesome!  I need to have a whole "my baby is awesome" proud parent post up here soon.

* I love the library.  I can put books on hold and request interlibrary loans for myself and E., all from the comfort of my own computer.  (And occasionally the library has bought books for me their collection when they didn't already have them!)  I get emailed when holds are ready, and they're waiting neatly on the shelf for me to place them on the magical checkout pad and be out the door in 2 minutes.  Eleanor likes to grab the receipt when it prints out!

I was just sitting here, check-boxing books to put on hold in the future.  I love that I can check out books for E. and see what she loves before we think about buying them.  And, NEW! I've started taking out magazines so I don't have to subscribe!

I go in cycles on the library storytime for E.  Currently I can't deal with it because it's super-popular and crammed full of people!  It was like that in the beginning (and I was too scared/overwhelmed to go), but then it cooled off and was really fun for many months . . . I hope these crowds of people lose interest so we can go again.  Even E. gets overwhelmed by it when there's 35 grownups and their assorted kids (that's 70+ people in one room) making a racket and just being intense and eager for storytime!  Gaah!

Oh, two things I hate about the new library?  First, the building's design and complete lack of integration with the street/sidewalk/site.  Second, their parking lot.  I'm not going to rant about it right now, but rest assured, I hate that parking lot with the fire of a thousand suns.  And I hate the building design with the sadness of a thousand dropped ice-cream cones.

* I love E's nursery school and the fact that she consistently takes 2-hour naps every day now.  Did I mention this before?? Now that I'm rebuilding my personal life (connected to, but different from, my "mom life"), I'm pondering what things would have been like for all this time before, if I had had more any sanity breaks, and if she was actually taking consistent naps all along.  I've heard other babies do.  I think some other mothers get through the first year . . . and a half . . . without "going crazy" or experiencing debilitating depression.  Sadly, I feel that I was pretty much nuts for most of that time.  OK, well, at least up through about 15 months.  (I am super grateful to be using the past tense here!) Well, I'm done with all that now!  I get to have the best of both worlds: enjoy my kid, AND have time for my own interests and/or just taking a break. (Oh, and I'm done with nursing, too! That is key! 19+ months of nursing was plenty for me and E. We mutually called it off awhile back and now I really am starting to be able to get my body back.)

Another thing on this topic: I think E. is just at an easier age now, too.  She can communicate, understand, listen, move, play, pretend, entertain herself (and me) with toys and books (sometimes tuning me out even if I want to interact!).  She has her own little agenda and is constantly going, going, going.  It's fascinating.  She's just awesome.  Cute, funny, inquisitive, inventive, creative, smart, blah blah blah, brag brag brag, well it's true, she is just so much more fun and pleasant to be around than when she was a mysterious screaming infant.  As we know, I'm not intuitive in the least, so I'm loving her verbal skills!!

* In having all this free time, I'm starting more new ventures!  I'm not going to talk about it in detail here because some little corner of my brain is embarrassed at how much I jump all over the place creatively.  Luckily, the larger creative corner just does the jumping and doesn't care what I think. :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Shoebox of photos: Boston!

It has dawned on me that I am never going to be able to make the massive, on-topic blog posts in my imagination, at least not from this current backlog of photos.  So I will present you with a hodgepodge of pictures in several posts.  Maybe we'll come back to some topics repeatedly, maybe I'll manage to sum something up in one post, but for the sake of my feelings -- that is, my feelings of wanting to "be productive" and "finish what I intend" and "share things in a timely fashion" -- I'm just going to start slapping photos up here!

a.k.a. First Trip Home Sweet Home Since October 2010

Eleanor splashes at the beach by my parents' house!

I really enjoyed going home to Boston.  Well, the "going" was not so enjoyable -- baby's first plane trip was rough on us all -- but being home was great!  I finally felt like I was meshed with society again, not on some frontier prairie edge-of-the-universe alcove.  Boston is a place where things HAPPEN.  It is busy and alive and just makes you feel part of some greater hum of existence.  Here in WA, well, I'm happy and alive and all that, but I totally feel removed from . . . everything.  It's like a different world.  A really nice world, more Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood than even Pittsburgh (his real neighborhood!) was, but in no way do I feel like a part of a whole.  There's no whole, just people-pieces that sometimes come together and socialize or meet on the street, and then float off again, leaving you, for the most part, alone and to your own devices.

Where I grew up! (backyard view)
I have never even met my parents' tenants, but I love their urban garden!
Morning glory climbs the elaborate watering system

I do not miss the cars/traffic of Boston, but I do miss the subway!  And holy mackerel, Boston, I could do without your blazing LED-light lampposts blinding me every 10 feet -- talk about light pollution!  I had to laugh because when we came home one night, the streets were as bright as day (or a ballpark, or something)!  I have come to appreciate night-darkness where I live.  I am pretty much convinced, after this visit, that LED streetlights are evil, though A. says more and more cities are putting them in.  Sad!

Speaking of night, I was going to share this a long time ago: obviously Boston is noisy.  Trains, sirens, weird noises, what-you-hope-aren't-gunshots, etc.  I grew up with it.  Here in Vancouver, it is mostly quiet at night except for on the 4th of July, when people go NUTS setting off their own fireworks (which are illegal in MA if I recall correctly) . . . anyway, this past Fourth, I had the most restful sleep EVER during all that racket.  Is that sad, or what?  Ha ha!

One more night thing: I miss crickets!!!  On this trip, every night had the constant hum of a bazillion chirping crickets, something I associate with summer.  I guess crickets out here only live in the country -- not even suburbia -- because I don't think I've heard a single cricket since we've been living here.  OK, that's probably an exaggeration, but there is nothing like the loud cricket chorus here at all!  Also there are no cicadas.  Pittsburgh had more cicadas than Boston.  Apparently cicadas just don't make it this far west??  Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that there are not many bugs here -- and by bugs I mean mosquitoes -- but I miss the sound effects.

The morning glories were out in all their . . . glory!  Here, one type of them is invasive so I think people mostly stay away.  They were everywhere at home!

I must say, 3 things surprised me this trip.  First, it was fairly "green" back home.  You think of the super urban landscape as being gray and dead and whatnot, but in early September, the greenery was going strong!  A. and I were discussing, it's a different sort of greenery back East, a more middle- and lower-story green instead of towering trees in the distance.  Also more rolling hills to display all the layers.  Something like that.

Second, it wasn't as humid as I feared!  I was completely ready to sweat like a pig and be really uncomfortable, since in my current wussy environs we don't have "real" humidity (except for 100% humidity: rain).  But it wasn't that bad.  Nice ocean breezes . . . shade . . . just . . . niceness.

Third, people in public were way nicer on this trip than I ever recall!!  I don't know whether that's because I have now honed a "I'll be generally friendly and approachable to the public" vibe or what, but people were just . . . nice.  Like not complete jerks as usual.  We were amazed!!

OK, here come some photos from Drumlin Farm!  What better place to bring a little kid??  Eleanor loved it of course!  I remember loving it way on up through elementary school as a little nature retreat for this city girl.

As you can see, it's as lovely as ever!  It was the perfect speed for an 18-month-old.  Actually, it was the perfect speed for me, too.  I am certainly a more relaxed person than in the past, and all I want are pretty flowers and soothing nature sounds and cute sheep!  Baaa!

A. and I had a laugh over this sign.  Welcome to the Public Garden -- except you, bicyclists! (We are not anti-bicyclists, just anti-RUDE-and-STUPID-bicyclists . . . which is most of them.  If you are a polite and attentive cyclist, then we love you!!)

We also went to the Aquarium, which was not a super successful trip, but Eleanor liked seeing all the sea critters.  She loves the fish at the Oregon Zoo (and the fish in the Vancouver BC aquarium -- another trip I need to share here soon), so it came as no surprise!

 Rainy day!  We're used to it.
I never thought about it before, but the New England Aquarium is best suited to older, taller kids -- all the tanks require holding up the little ones!  The BC aquarium was better in that regard; almost all tanks reached down to the floor.
 Hello fish!
Hello, other fish!

The NE Aquarium used to play the first 5 notes of the Sailor's Hornpipe (on wacky synthesizer) over their PA system at the start of all announcements, and I was disappointed that they don't anymore!!  Why can't some things stay the same? (Note: as I'm playing that ukulele clip, Eleanor is doing a super cute dance -- love it!!)

Well, that's all I've got time for now!  See ya next time!