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
05
2009

Banff Day Four: View From The Top

It was on our fourth day in Banff that I finally got the layers thing down. Getting the layers thing down, I figured out at last, basically just meant putting on my body every single piece of clothing I'd brought to Canada with me, and then a few of Sean's for good measure. For our final day of skiing---this time at Mt.

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Jan
12
2010

Up In The Aghhhhh

I have decided that I cannot possibly go to the cinema anymore. When you go to the cinema, you see, you are entirely too dependent on the people around you to be reasonable and sane. Most people in the cinema are reasonable and sane, of course, but every now and then you get one bird-brained knucklehead who breaks the social contract---the social contract of, you know public sanity and reasonableness---and ends up ruining it for the rest of us.

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Apr
27
2006

A Happy School For Bright Girls, That's What They Called It

When I was eleven, as I have mentioned, I left my family and my life in Hong Kong to attend an all-girls boarding school in the leafy village of Bramley, England. To this day, if you want to make my mother cry, you can say "hey, remember in 1991 when you sent Holly to school 6,000 miles away? When she was eleven? Because you wanted her to have a better education?" Sometimes I bring it up when I really want something from her. Then I hand her a suitcase and some carry-on luggage and say "Bon voyage! Have a good guilt trip!"

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Apr
18
2006

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

You know how you always get those photocopied letters at Christmas, the sole purpose of which is that Mrs. Neighbor From Two Decades Ago can tell you all about how Totally Creepy Jake just had a cameo in a Robin Williams movie where he met Julia Roberts' younger sister, with whom he is now going steady, and that Antisocial Laura is now not only a renowned neurosurgeon and the new face of L'Oreal BUT IS ALSO STILL IN THE TENTH GRADE?

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Oct
25
2007

Oh, Canada! Oh, Portland!

We're thinking of going away the weekend after next, partly because the travel bug is up to its old tricks and IT ITCHES OH IT ITCHES, and partly because I have a (soon to expire) promotional code to use on a last-minute getaway, and since I always seem to leave things to the last minute anyway, it seems particularly fitting that I'm leaving it to the last minute to take a last-minute vacation. Isn't that irony or something? Alanis?

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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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