Feb
05
2014

Sleeping In Seattle

 

Hello from Seattle, where it is currently really, really, really cold. No, I mean really cold. Like, think of the coldest thing you can think of right now—a milkshake with ice cubes in it, the Arctic tundra, Paris Hilton's heart—and multiply that by a hundred and four, and that is how cold it is here. I just walked seven blocks back from my office and by the time I pushed open the doors of the hotel lobby, I couldn't feel most of my extremities, and I was wearing gloves, a hat, and a coat that kept me pretty toasty in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In November. I mean, come on. 

On the upside, here is the view from my office, which could not possibly be more beautifully Seattle-ish.

Okay, wait, maybe it could be a tiny bit more beautifully Seattle-ish, but only if it had Frasier Crane somewhere in the left hand of the frame. Holding a cup of coffee. Next to McDreamy. 

(Is McDreamy still a thing? Do people still watch Grey's Anatomy? I remember the last time I visited Seattle, I was obsessed with the show and kept thinking I saw Meredith everywhere, but I must confess that I stopped watching several years ago and now I have no idea what the residents of Seattle Grace are up to anymore. Although presumably the same five people are still getting together and breaking up in various combinations.)

As well as not realizing that it was going to be this cold in Seattle—I mean, it's not like I have a weather app on my phone or anything; it's not like I could have looked it up (I could have looked it up)—I also did not realize that I was going to be arriving in the city on the day of a major parade. Why was there a major parade in Seattle today? Well, if you just asked yourself that question, you're in good company, because I did not know either. This is because the parade was to celebrate the winning of the Superbowl, but because the Superbowl is a sporting event and my brain shuts off at the phrase "sporting event" somewhere around "spor—", I kind of didn't really pay it any attention until the hotel check-in person said "wow, lot of people out there for the parade, huh?" and I said "oh, there's a parade today? For what?" and then I was actually asked to leave the United States of America immediately for unpatriotic conduct and also my husband texted me and asked for a divorce. 

(Whatever. Talk to me when there's a parade for the Oscars. Oh wait, there is! It's Live From the Red Carpet on E! and I have the time and date of it written down in my planner. Look, I'm sorry, we all have our passions. Yours might be football but mine is marveling at what a good job that boob tape is doing at holding everything in.) 

I am going to finish this now because I have one-quarter of The Goldfinch left to read—I have been dragging it out for an entire month because I never want to not be reading it—and also a pack of Skittles to get through. In bed. In this quiet room. Bolstered by the magnificent knowledge that when I turn off the light and drift into sleep tonight, no-one is going to wake me up three hours later and demand to eat. Small pleasures, friends. You can't even imagine. 

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Jan
13
2014

And In The End We All Survived

First of all, thank you so, so, so much for all your kind and compassionate and encouraging comments about my return to work. I read them over and over, and they helped me so much to feel better about it all. I worked from home last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday—the equivalent of inching body-part-by-body-part into the swimming pool, as opposed to just cannonballing in from the diving board; highly recommended if you can swing it—and then today I actually went back to the office for real.

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Jan
06
2014

These Days Are Numbered

I go back to work on Wednesday. Even writing that sentence, my heart simultaneously plummeted and soared, like when you get on an elevator that you think is going down but then the doors close and it starts going up. 

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Dec
31
2013

A Lot Of Words About 2013

Oh hey, remember me? Here I am on the very last day of 2013, squeezing in one last blog post so I can say that I updated eight times since mid-July instead of seven. I mean, I don't know who I think I'd be saying this to—the imaginary blogging police, I can only assume, who presumably monitor this kind of thing?but anyway, there you go.

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Nov
17
2013

I Wrote This Entire Thing Without Taking A Breath Can You Tell

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your wise and helpful comments on my last post. You know, sometimes I feel like I just can't be bothered with blogging anymore—all the sponsored this, Pinterest-fodder that—and I think "eh, I'll just show myself out quietly, there's nothing in this for me anymore," and then you, all you wonderful people, weigh in on a subject with your thoughts and your advice and your experiences and I realize that what I've always valued most of all about writing online

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Nov
11
2013

Party At My Crib

Look, let me just tell you once and for all that when it comes to babies and sleep, things are every bit as terrible as you would imagine. As in, once you have one, you probably won't be getting very much of it at all. 

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Nov
04
2013

There Is No Narrative Construct To This Blog Post But I Hit Publish So I'm Calling It A Victory

Hello! I just got back from a week in a cabin in Northern Michigan—actually, I kept calling it a cabin but it was really just a condo decorated very rusticly and located in a woodsy setting—with a small portion of my family. My parents got lots of grandkid time, my kid got lots of grandparent time, and I got lots of "sleeping til 10am because someone else is looking after the baby" time, so basically it was a win-win for all. 

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Oct
03
2013

You Are Doing Just Fine

One of the things that has surprised me so much about having a baby—and there is so much that does surprise you; leaves you reeling, in fact—is that almost everyone I've spoken to in the last eleven weeks since Hugo was born has asked me how I'm doing. How I'm doing. Once we've ascertained that the baby is thriving and well and sleeping just enough that Sean and I aren't contemplating driving him back to the hospital and asking about their return policy, their attention is turned to me.

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Aug
26
2013

Parents Of Twins, I Salute You

So having a baby is a little time-consuming, turns out. I know! Who'd have guessed! Despite the fact that Hugo has proven, so far, to have inherited his father's mellow, easygoing temperament—as opposed to his mother's, ahem, less mellow, less easygoing one—the basic job of keeping a tiny human being fed, happy, and not rolling around in his own poop all day has been surprisingly all-encompassing.

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Random Flashbacks

Feb
26
2013

The First Eighteen Weeks

Okay, we're about to look at ten pictures of my midsection, and I need to make sure that you're alright with that. You said you didn't mind if we talked about pregnancy-related stuff for a little while, so I thought I'd take you up on it and share with you my ever-expanding girth, which I have been photographing since week 9 like every other elated first-time mother-to-be with a camera and an internet connection. 

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Aug
13
2006

There's No Crying In Youth Hostelling

So you may have noticed that my website just DISAPPEARED FROM THE INTERNET for a few days. My mother certainly did; I received a worried text message from her this afternoon that said "Are you okay? We can't read Nothing But Bonfires! Daddy is getting with withdrawal symptoms. How are you doing?" (My dad, by the way, is this site's biggest fan. He reads every post voraciously while eating his lunch at his office and he has his favorites among my regular commenters, some of whom he likes to discuss over dinner.

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Oct
28
2005

We Will Make Crazy Fun!

The fantastic house I'm currently still house-sitting is a lot more conducive to entertaining than my own apartment is---mostly because there is a dining room! and a dishwasher! and, you know, heat!---so last night two of my friends came over in their pajamas for a ceremonial evening of Thinly-Veiled Bitching About People We Don't Like, spinach pizza, and Prosecco. Which I rather think is one of the world's most excellent combinations, don't you?

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Apr
27
2009

For, Like, Ever

Today my parents arrived in the United States. This in itself wouldn't be anything out of the ordinary if it weren't for the addendum I'm going to add on to that sentence: for good. Today my parents arrived in the United States for good. 

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Sep
05
2010

And Here's To Many More

Today is our first wedding anniversary! This time last year, I was sitting on the living room floor in my parents' house, making my bouquet. Right now I'm sitting in bed, drinking a mimosa and eating a pain au chocolat. It seems insane that a year has gone by, not least because I still haven't made a wedding album, had my dress cleaned (whoops!), framed that rather kind note from our close buddies the Obamas, or done anything with the postcards we had people fill out for our guest book.

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Jun
28
2012

Where The Warm Sun Shines

I've suddenly found that I have all these friends with children. For a long time, we had hardly any friends with children and now we have enough to start a small football team, and I love it. Part of the reason is that hanging out with them is like all the fun bits of babysitting without the awkward bits like the parents arriving home early while you're standing in their kitchen eating their ice cream directly from the carton, but the other part is that now we get to have some really kickass parties. 

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Apr
08
2012

Bad Decision Tuesday: Superfluous Hairclip Edition

Hey, you know what we haven't done for a really long time? Laughed at terribly unflattering pictures of me for sport! I know it's not Tuesday—although, honestly, when was the last time I actually posted a Bad Decision Tuesday on a Tuesday?—but what do you say we take a little trip down memory lane anyway? Come with me, if you will, to a time when boys were boys and girls were people who wore twee little barrettes on one side of their head for no reason, except perhaps that they thought they were Winona Ryder.

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Apr
18
2007

Oh, I've Got More Trash For You Than A Glad Bag On Garbage Day

Well, well, well, here we all are again for Secret Bachelor Wednesday---look, I've just given up on aiming for Secret Bachelor Tuesday, alright? I have a job now---and I've got my large glass of Baileys, and you've got your...well, whatever gets you through. I've also got a very large bar of Symphony chocolate, presented to me by Sean "because you were cranky."

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Dec
21
2007

The Longest Possible Way

"Thank goodness we only have to do this once or twice a year now," I told him, as we were saying goodbye this evening. "Remember how it used to be?"

It's true, we've got so much better at this. Eighteen days apart? We laugh in the face of eighteen days apart, we warriors who've gone thirty, sixty, ninety days without each other. And we've got email now too, and cell phones, and text messages, and Skype, and IMs; even when we're apart, we're hardly apart.

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