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

Oct
02
2006

Down And Out In Chiang Mai

I seem to have some sort of head cold. At least, let's all hope it's a head cold, because when you haven't got Dr. Google on 24-hour standby, you're apt to start flicking through the "Illnesses and Diseases" section of the Lonely Planet Southeast Asia instead and finding that why yes, you do have a sore throat, body aches, and small itchy spots on the inside of your elbow, so quite obviously you have Japenese Encephalitis. And malaria. And dengue fever. And SARS.

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Oct
10
2011

Incentive To Clean Those Kitchen Floors

Right now, my kitchen is a huge mess. I'm not talking about a dirty dishes mess or a whoops-I-spilled-some-orange-juice mess, though I'm pretty sure that both of those messes are going on in there too to some degree. I'm talking about the kind of mess that involves power tools on one's kitchen counters. There's a screwdriver on my cutting board. Some last minute grouting is going on. Two out of three lights have blown. You would hardly think a photographer was coming over on Sunday to shoot it for a national magazine. 

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Oct
27
2008

And We Don't Care About The Young Folks

You will be pleased to know that we made it to and from Monterey this weekend without incident. Well, if "without incident" means that I only drove down a one-way street the wrong way once. And also maybe kind of drove into a dead-end while getting on the freeway in the dark. Apart from those two little mistakes---quickly and easily corrected, both of them---my time behind the wheel was not as bad as I had thought it would be. Turns out driving a car is pretty much like riding a bike: you just remember how to do it, and after that, instinct kicks in.

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Jul
06
2008

Three Lovely Days

This is ridiculous, since I'm not even American, but the Star Spangled Banner always makes me teary. It's something about the pomp and ceremony, the earnestness, the way people take off their hats and put their hands over their hearts and stare straight ahead, and when it's played by a lone violinist flanked by a fully-uniformed representative of each branch of the U.S. armed forces, like it was at the baseball game we went to on the Fourth of July......well, let's just say it's a good thing I was wearing the biggest sunglasses I own.

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Mar
22
2011

Just Trust Me On This

It has to be a splash---just a splash---of bourbon, and it has to be that fresh-pressed apple juice that's all thick and fancy and tastes like an English autumn. Sometimes I get crazy and fill the top of the glass up with ginger ale or (even better) ginger beer. I once had this drink in a very cool bar in New York so now I basically like to pretend that I invented it.

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May
14
2013

Nobody Needs A Wipe Warmer (And Other Things I Hope You'll Tell Me)

A few weekends ago, I sat down to make a baby registry. Wait, let me just rephrase that sentence: a few weekends ago, I sat down to make a baby registry and did not get up. For the entire 48 hours. Call it anxious first-timer nerves, call it "generally unable to purchase anything, eat anywhere, or make any other kind of decision for myself without first reading seven hundred reviews from other people," but I found the idea of making a baby registry more than a little daunting.

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Nov
22
2007

London Calling. Kind Of.

Sometime in the 1950s, when my dad was a little boy, his family got their first TV. Apparently this was quite an avant-garde turn of events in the 1950s and there was a whole lot of hooplah in the neighborhood; you know, kind of like how it is now when the first issue of someone's Us Weekly subscription arrives and it's the really thick one with BRITNEY'S TRAGIC PAST splashed across the front.

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Oct
23
2011

Splendid Thing: Downton Abbey

DowntonAbbey.jpg

It was all Steve Carrell's fault, really. The Office was a repeat on Thursday, and so we were trying to find something else to watch. "I have two ideas," I told Sean. "There's this reality show called The Only Way Is Essex, which is basically like Jersey Shore set in England. Or I've been hearing good things about Downton Abbey, which is a British period drama set right before the First World War."

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