jianantonic: (Seahorse)
It should be illegal in this day and age for a cross-country flight to charge $4/hour for wi-fi and have absolutely NO streaming video or other in-seat entertainment. Bah. I'd be a lot less grumpy if I hadn't been fighting a raging need to relieve myself for the past two hours, as the fasten seatbelt sign has been lit up the WHOLE TIME. Every time someone gets up, the flight attendants get on the PA and get super snippy about it. I don't really feel like telling a whole plane full of people that I'm afraid I'm about to soil myself. :/ I just really hope we get out of the supposed turbulence soon. The only turbulence I'm feeling is in my gut and bladder, but captain knows best, right? This flight is all about the torture.

But let me talk about my trip to New York, which was awesome! I flew in on Thursday. I never really did get a handle on the time change -- I didn't try that hard, knowing it would only be three days, and luckily there was always time for naps. But on Friday morning, Bess and Frankie would have none of my jetlag excuses. I had to wake up "because it's morning!" and because it was absolutely crucial that they tell me all about My Little Ponies right then and there. Sigh. But they eventually had to go off to school, and I was free to curl up and sleep again, which I did for most of the day. I did manage to do a run and several of the training exercises from this fitness app my doctor encouraged me to try. Then I was awake enough to hang out and be Aunt Meg when everyone got home for the evening. Lucy showed up at dinner time, and I also got in touch with my cousin Byron, who has just started his first real-world job in Manhattan. He joined us for dessert and some games at WT's place that evening. It was great to catch up with him.

On Saturday I went for another run, then my whole family went out to Coney Island to have Grimaldi's Pizza. There's actually a Grimaldi's walking distance from their house, but for some reason the Coney Island one was the one to go to. They're both places that have long lines all the time. I guess it's an icon, but...meh. The pizza wasn't that good. I mean it wasn't bad, but it was neither worth $20 per pie nor worth waiting in any line for. But, whatever, I can check off my list that I've done that. The girls rode some rides at Luna Park, but I was nervous about how the Coney adventure was cutting into my nap time -- we had tickets for Wicked on Broadway later that evening, and I was already dragging by 3 o'clock. Frankie's weak stomach to the rescue! After a kiddie coaster, she got ill and we cut the visit short. I was able to nap for about an hour and a half before we had to leave for the show, which was just long enough for me to have enough energy to be engaged throughout the whole thing.

I wasn't really psyched about seeing this play. I know a lot of people who absolutely love it, and it's been a huge success for like a decade now, so I knew it would be good, but I'd read the book a while ago (back when the Broadway show started making waves and everyone was raving about how great it was), and the book SUCKED. It's one of few books I've ever read and truly hated. It was BAD. I kept reading because I figured it would all come together somehow...nope. It was a steamy pile of shit. So it really tempered my expectations for the show.

But the show was amazing. I really did love it. It's got a few of the same characters as the book, but several plot lines (like, more than half of what appears in the book) are removed, and others are changed so that they are more relatable and make more sense. Whereas the book had almost no message at all, the message of the play was super clear. And very well done. Definitely a metaphor for politics and power. Lucy and I had a great talk about that after the show. She asked me why everyone thought Elphaba was evil, when obviously she wasn't. I asked her if she knew what metaphors are, and she said yes, and we talked about how the parts of the play could be compared to government -- and the mistreatment of the public, and certain minorities especially. She really got it. That girl is awesome. I love talking to her about stuff like this. (Tangent: on Friday, her class -- she's in 6th grade -- hosted a school-wide LGBTQ Pride event. She told me about it as if it was just another school event. I don't think she realizes how revolutionary it is.)

Anyway the play was delightful and we talked about it the rest of the weekend.

On Sunday, I had plans to meet up with a couple of NYC-based friends. First was Rez, who I only know from mutual Facebook friends. Seth was the one who said "YOU TWO NEED TO BE FRIENDS," several years ago, and he was spot on. We hit it off immediately, and have been good buddies for years now. But I finally got to meet him yesterday! We took a long walk through Brooklyn Bridge Park and talked about life like friends do. When we separated, I was off to meet Craig for some drinks. I was a little early getting to his neighborhood, so I stopped at a Taqueria in a Mexican part of town -- I was the only gringa in there. I thought briefly about trying to order in Spanish, but was too afraid I'd make an ass of myself, and I was fairly confident they spoke English. So I ordered a simple mushroom quesadilla to tide me over while I passed the time before meeting Craig. Mistake! Turns out an authentically Mexican quesadilla is SPICY AS FUCK. (For the purposes of this paragraph, fuck is very spicy indeed.) I didn't want to be rude and just ditch it, though, and I was hungry, so I did my best to pick out the jabaneros, but my whole body was on fire for several hours after eating that. I know that people are wired differently, because there is no way that spicy foods as I experience them can be enjoyable to anyone. Not even a little bit.

I had a nice time hanging out with Craig for a few hours, then headed back to Downtown Brooklyn for one last family dinner. Lucy had gone back to Philly already, but I had a nice time playing with Frankie and Bess. They still mostly wanted to talk about My Little Ponies, but I did what I could to direct our interaction to other things :) I stayed up late to watch the Blazers-Clippers playoff game 1, but by the middle of the third quarter, it was clear this was not our night, and I let myself doze off before it finished. Hopefully tomorrow's game is better. I hate the Clippers so much...I do like CP3, and I liked Blake Griffin until the whole punching incident...but Doc Rivers can go fuck himself. And I want to beat them SO BADLY. Go Blazers!

This morning, I walked Bess to her preschool class. She kept asking me to play games with her when she got home from school -- she never really did grasp that I'd be leaving. But it was nice to walk with her that whole way, just me and her. That girl is so funny. She kept saying she didn't want to go to school "because it's bowwing" and "I know evwything alweady." But as soon as she got there, she became engaged in classroom activities. I don't think she really finds it boring at all -- I think she's just learned that this is a thing kids sometimes say about school. I got one more nap in before I had to leave for the airport, but I still had plenty of time -- 7pm flight out of Newark, and I arrived at the airport at 3. I walked the entirety of the terminal, determined to find a spa and spend an obscene amount of money on a massage, but no such spa ever materialized in Terminal C, so I guess I saved about $75 or something. I was briefly tempted to buy Toby a really girly I <3 NY shirt, but decided to save that $15, too.

I've been in the air for 4 hours now, and flightaware says we'll be landing in 58 minutes. I hope it passes faster than the first four hours. I'm not tired enough to snooze, just tired enough to be bored and uncomfortable. Meh.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Thanksgiving came and went in a hurry this year. It seems every year, the extended family packs up and heads out earlier -- this year everyone was gone by yesterday afternoon for the most part. I'm still feeling under the weather, so I spent a lot of the past week curled up in bed trying to get the sleep I could never manage at night. So I don't feel like I had a big family experience this year, which is a bummer. My brother was able to come down from NYC for the first time in five or six years, so it was great to have some of my nieces here. A lot of cousins were meeting Bess for the first time, and she's almost 4!

My favorite part of the whole holiday was when my brother's family arrived on Thursday, both girls stormed through the crowd of relatives to give me their first hugs. That made me feel great. Frankie is a cuddlebug as always, and Bess is becoming more and more chill, too. When we went to Jump! (the trampoline gym), Bess insisted that I stay with her the whole time. I love being the favorite.

I went to the UVA-VT game today with my parents. The game was actually pretty unexciting until the 4th quarter, and then it was a real nailbiter to the end. I think the Hoos played better football, but the Hokies managed to wrangle a win anyway, and I was so happy for Frank Beamer at the end of the game that I cried a bit. He's retiring this year, so this was his last regular season game -- and would've been his last game EVER if they hadn't won, because they needed the win to be bowl eligible. I haven't cared about football very much the last few years, but it was nice to be there for this sort of capstone victory. 12 in a row against UVA!

It's quiet in the Massie household now. I'm here until Tuesday, and I'm anxious to get home to Portland. Charlottesville is kind of a triggery place for me, it turns out. I love it here, but. So many memories make being here alone very sad. I cry a lot more when I'm here. Yesterday, Rachel was handing out school pictures of Bess -- which are ADORABLE, btw -- and my mom mentioned that McKenzie had asked for one. I was really touched -- I'm glad he still cares about the girls and considers them family. But I just couldn't stop the waterworks after that. I've been dreaming about McKenzie every night -- for months, actually, but especially more difficult dreams this week. I miss him. I miss what we had and what we could have had. It's still really hard.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I'm going to play bridge in the Charlottesville game later today. After I showered and got dressed, I went downstairs and my mom was horrified by my choice of outfit. It was a maxi dress that I got at Falcon Ridge. Very hippie, but whatever. Mom said it was too revealing and she wouldn't give me the car keys until I changed. Rather than take up the fight on this one, I changed, just like she asked.


Lucy has had some really great misquotes this week. Here are some:

She couldn't get the word "aneurysm" right in her head. The background is that we rode roller coasters all week last week and some of them shake your head pretty roughly -- she complained of potential algorithms, amoebas, and algebra.

She was singing songs from The Sound of Music, including "The Lonely Gopher," which has been stuck in my head continuously. I would welcome an algorithm to get it out.

In the Taylor Swift song "Shake It Off," Lucy thought one of the lines was "bakers gonna bake" rather than "haters gonna hate."

Tonight we have dinner reservations at The Bavarian Chef. Lucy wonders why a fancy restaurant would be called The Barbarian Chef.

Yesterday, Bess noticed my tongue stud.

"Meg, I saw something in your mouth!"
"Oh, this?"
"What is it?"
"It's my tongue stud. My tongue is pierced."
"Oh yeah, I was gonna get one of those."

That kid. Then this:

"Meg, I'm growing!"
"Are you going to grow to be as tall as your mom?"
"No, Mom's not tall enough."

Rachel, WT and I took the kids to Grand Caverns on Tuesday. After the tour, the guide asked if anyone had any questions. Frankie was right in front of the tour group, and shot her hand up. "I don't have a question. I have a comment." I could see WT and Rachel both freeze in terror. What might come out of this 7yo mouth? After stumbling over her thoughts for a moment that felt like an eternity, Frankie says to the tour guide, "You have a really nice speaking voice!" And we all breathed a great sigh of relief.

I almost hope these girls never figure the world out, because their innocence and misunderstandings are just too fucking precious. I'm sure they will find new ways to be adorable as they grow out of these things. But I still want to bottle it up like it is right now.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I'm in Virginia for two weeks with my family. Week one was spent in Williamsburg, and we got to my parents' place in Charlottesville today. I haven't seen the girls since Christmas, and they're really growing up. Bess has so many adorable affectations of being three. She can talk, but her pronunciation is a little wonky, and her syntax is hilarious. The best example of this is her "l's" -- every "l" has a syllable after it. It's not "milk," it's "milik." It's not an "elbow," it's an "ellabow." (She has always loved elbows. She grabs at the skin of any elbow she can reach.) She also doesn't really know the pronoun "she" yet. It's always "her." "Her is tired." "Her is hungry." Etc. My favorite Bessism today was when she mashed a bug in her hand, then gave it to me and said "Meg, this bee got dead." That kid.

She has an imaginary friend, her gramma. She talks about all the things her gramma does with her -- my mom is Nana and her maternal grandmother passed away before she was born. This gramma is entirely fictional. But oh what a life she lives! She doesn't sound very old, either. She does a lot of stuff.

Part of me hopes Bess never grows out of these things she says. With all of my nieces, I always wonder how they could possibly be more adorable as they grow up, and they keep shattering my expectations. I'm sure whatever is next for Bess will be just as cute as her speech is now.

I miss Gwen. She will have learned and grown bored of so many new things in the time I've been away, I'll have missed them completely. But I'm super lucky to be there for most everything. I wish I had that with my east coast nieces, too. After I told them the story of how I'm going to be known as Gwen's Aunt Potty (did I write about that here? -- sign language for "aunt" and "potty" are very close), they decided to adopt the name for me as well. Yay :)
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I ended up staying an extra day in Virginia to get a little more time with family. I believe I have mentioned before that I love my nieces, yes? I really, really love those girls. Frankie tried to block the door as I was leaving today because she didn't want me to go. That girl. <3

Lucy played games with me each day, and Bess squeezed my elbow, which is her thing. She's realized that you can get more skin in the squeeze if the person's arm is extended, so she kept straightening my arm any time I'd bend it. She's really bossy, but because she's the baby of the family, she can get away with it for now. It's just really cute. We went to one of those trampoline places yesterday, and she always insisted on having her own trampoline. If anyone ever came into her area, she would escort them out. But then when I tried to just stand on the border to rest while she jumped, she pushed me back onto my trampoline and yelled "JUMP!" Taskmaster! Love her.

I'm on a plane now and I've been mostly miserable for the entire flight (one hour to go of a 5.5-hour leg) because I have a window seat and I hate the window seat. I almost always get an aisle seat but because I changed my ticket at the last minute, there wasn't one available. And I am just uncomfortable and really have to pee but don't want to bother the nice people who both have laptops and drinks and all manner of things that make it a pain in the ass for me to get out of the row. The last hour of this flight cannot go by fast enough...
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I wish I wasn't tired all the time. It was nice to briefly remedy this, but the combination of winter, depression, and general stress is just too much for a few hits of D to fix right now. I'm trying to be kind to myself and just acknowledge the way I feel and do what I can...I have a bunch of errands to run today, as well as an appointment with Ertan and probably a visit with Gwen if Mary will have me :)

I babysat Sloane for a little while this weekend. She's such a happy baby. I love my friends' kids. I love being Aunt Meg :)

Last week, I called my brother to wish him a happy conception day. He was very pleased to hear from me, and after a little chat, he handed the phone to Frankie to talk to me.

Meg: Are you doing anything special today for your dad's conception day?
Frankie: What's conception?
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I am just born to be an aunt. No doubt. My sister-in-law posted a photo of my 6yo niece riding a two-wheeled bike, and I'm just so proud of that girl. I know it's not a huge deal and no one else has any reason to care, but these little milestones just stir up a lot of emotion in me. I love my girls so much.

I'm cohosting a baby shower for another friend tomorrow, and as I prepare for that, I'm getting really excited. Mary and Josh are good friends and they know how much I love my nieces, but I doubt they really understand how excited I am about their kid, too. I just love my role. There's some jealousy in not being a parent, though. I'm not the most important person to anyone. There's a bit of an unrequited love when it comes to the kids in my life -- most of them do love me, but none of them will ever really understand the way I love them. That's okay. I don't need unhealthy codependence to feel important. There are levels of connection I just won't get without being a mom, and those are definitely things on which I definitely understand I'm missing out -- but not enough to want all the other baggage that comes with parenthood. The point is, I love the kids in my life. I love the parents in my life. I'm really comfortable in my role as Auntie. And I hope my friends are comfortable with my self-installation as their kids' auntie, too. I respect boundaries, I promise!

I'm looking forward to squeezing on Sloane tomorrow, too.

Once recently when I was with Shanon and her kids, we were saying goodbye and I asked Jack for a hug. He said no, and I want to be respectful of that. Not to be alarmist or anything but I do think it's an early seed of rape culture to force kids to be affectionate when they don't want to be, so if a kid says s/he doesn't want a hug, I want them to know that that's okay and I respect that. I told Jack okay, no hug, and I got up and started to walk away. Then he came running after me with his arms open yelling "HEY!!" Little fucker was just trying to play hard to get. Ha. It definitely felt good when he did want a hug after all :) I tell him I love him and he says "I love you" back to me, but I think it's more reflexive to say that than it is an actual feeling right now. Still feels good.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Just because I'm not a parent, that doesn't mean I don't get to post pictures of kids all the time. Here's the first day of school pic of Frankie and Bess -- Frankie starting 1st grade, and Bess starting pre-school.
FirstDaypic
I love these girls very much, even though Frankie wears socks with her KEENs. Bess looks like such a little grownup, too. Earlier today, I was eating grapes, and I had a flashback to a silly little memory from Frankie's 2nd birthday party. She was just getting a handle on language, and she was really into announcing everything she did. It was also right after the song "Jizz in my Pants" came out. This becomes relevent momentarily.

So I'm hanging with Frankie and she goes "Meg! I just ate a grape!" and I couldn't help but sing (in my head) "...and I jizzed in my pants." And today I was eating grapes and it reminded me of that and I know, good story, bro, but the thing is, that memory feels fresh. But it was Frankie's 2nd birthday. That was 4.5 years ago! Bess didn't even exist then! When it feels like a day is just dragging, the weekend will never come, and that thing you've been looking forward to forever is still so far away, think about how quickly babies become kids and kids become teenagers and wow.

I was holding Sloane on Sunday and thinking I couldn't even remember when Jack was that small. But he was, once upon a time. And she won't be for long. Friends who just had babies are somehow posting first day of school pics of their kids, too. Seriously, where did the time go? 
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Lucy: "Who did I give my underwear to?" (But I'd use "whom")

Frankie: "Who should I blow?" (Referring to the game where you blow the paper wrapper off your straw) (And again, "whom")

There are so many more. I should write them down as they come up. I'll try to do that on the cruise.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I've been sitting in the United lounge at Dulles for several hours now, and will be here for several more...I rode up here from Charlottesville with WT and family, and they wanted to be on the road by 9am, so, lalala.

I really wish I had a place to lie down here. The chairs are comfortable for sitting, but I'm sleepy as fuck, and I can't stretch out at all, and the chairs are not comfortable for trying to sleep. Could be worse. But I hope I can sleep on the plane.

It was a great weekend, by and large, but it was also a time of pretty harsh self-loathing for me. I didn't work out nearly as much as I'd intended, I ate poorly, and I trained not at all for the 10K I have less than a week away. I also didn't do any real estate work. In other words, I was a huge fucking slacker and I'm feeling down on myself for that. But I get home tonight, and tomorrow is a day off work -- it'll be my buffer day to get shit back on track. I know that one bad week doesn't undo all the progress I've made. I just, grr.

Riding up here, I sat in the middle seat in the back of the SUV between Bess and Frankie's car seats. Both girls started to nod off, and Frankie wrapped herself around my left arm while Bess held my right hand as she slept. It was so sweet. Then Bess woke up a little, and she picked my hand up and put it on her head. She'd move it from over one side of her face to the other. I giggled about this and Rachel just said, "Oh yeah, she loves to have a hand on her face." Weird kid. After a little while of this, she started putting my fingers into her ears. I have a husband who does this as well.

Just four more hours until my flight! I'll play some more bridge...
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Today's activities included a trip to the community pool/water park place, more Bodo's, picking up Emily's quilt (it's so awesome!), a two-hour nap with Lucy and Bess also napping in my bed with me, one more hour of trying to get a little more sleep while Frankie came up to me every two minutes and asked me if I was ready to wake up yet, playing cards with the whole family, and a firefly hunt. The firefly hunt was pretty hilarious. Five adults and two kids wandering around the front yard on the prowl, failing rather ungracefully as we chased these creatures. My brothers and I each caught one, and Frankie held onto them in a jar for a little while before she decided to free them. Now everyone has gone to bed, and tomorrow morning, I'll leave in the car with WT's family and they'll drive me to Dulles on their way back to Brooklyn. I'll get to the airport well before noon, but my flight back is at 6:15. Since I'm not checking a bag, I should be able to get on an earlier flight if there's space. If not, I guess I'll spend some time in the airport.

It's been a great visit. I love my family.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
The family reunion was fantastic today. I loved seeing everyone and had a wonderful time. My favorite part was the jam session with Allan, Laura, and Priya, at which time Frankie crawled into my lap and decided she wanted me to hold her for the rest of the day. And I did. She just sat in my lap and hugged on me while I talked to various cousins. I love this kid so much.
Very large picture of very large love )
When we got back to Charlottesville, Adrian and I went downtown to ZoCaLo to drop in on Jeremy, as is my tradition when I'm in town. It's always awkward for the first couple of minutes, then we settle into normal conversation and it's really nice to catch up with him. I don't need to be in constant contact or even really be friends, but it's important to me to check in with him from time to time. And it's nice.

It's been a lovely day.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
My brother brought his dog, Slim, down with them for the weekend. He also brought a Ziploc bag of Slim's food, because, you know, he might get hungry. That bag of food is just sitting on the kitchen counter, where Mom usually puts out snacks.

EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THIS FAMILY has reached for that bag of dog food. My dad came closest to actually eating it -- he was on his way to his mouth with it when Mom stopped him and told him what it was. But it kind of looks like little chocolate chips. And that's where the snacks go...so...

Lucy and I were hanging out, looking at old photos on my Facebook account. There are lots of her and her sisters. I pointed one out to her that is the wallpaper on my computer at work, and she said "You really treat us like your own children." I told her it was easy when I'm not financially responsible for them in any way, but of course I love them very much and no one in the world loves being an aunt as much as I do. I'm glad she gets how important she is to me. I hope that everyone I love knows just how much I love them...but I don't suppose that's likely or even possible.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I really do love Charlottesville.

I woke up this morning to the sound of children stomping around in the room below me, so I got up and came down the stairs. As I was walking down, I heard my brother announce to the girls "It sounds like Aunt Meg is up!" They both said "YAY!" which filled my heart with joy, and then as I round the corner to the room where everyone is hanging out, Bess is running to my brother's computer to look for me. D'oh.

There are two explanations for this. One is that I frequently Skype them, so that's how she's used to seeing me. The other is that in their house, being glued to your electronics is known as "Megging out," so she expected to find me where the computer was. Heh. But when she saw the actual me, she ran up and gave me a great big hug, and omg I love that kid.

I spent a little while playing with them this morning, then I went to Bodo's to meet Gail for brunch. She caught me up on all the bridge gossip, we planned her next visit to Portland, and I filled her in on most of my drama. I got back to the house around noon to find it empty again. I think my brother took his kids to the pool, and I'm guessing Adrian joined them there, or is still hanging out with his friend Trevor. I'm trying to talk my brothers into joining me for Body Pump later today, but so far I'm not having much luck. I really think they'd like it, and it would be super fun to do the class with them.

I have no idea when Mom, Dad, and Lucy will arrive, but I hope it's soon. I'm annoyed that I'm here but no one is here hanging out with me! I wanna play with my family!
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Bess is getting decent at talking. She can count a little bit, and she knows some colors. She can identify "boo" and "gyeen," but ask her any other color and they are also going to be boo or gyeen.

It's a shame I was in such a state last weekend when I was with my brother. Those girls mean the world to me and I hate for them to think I'm anything but enthusiastic about spending time with them. Frankie knew I was upset about something, but didn't really know why. One morning when my eyes were swollen nearly shut from crying and my face was red and splotchy (or maybe gyeen and splotchy), she came up to me and gave me a big hug. Then she said "You're beautiful, Meg." Well, goodness.

I had some really good talks with William and Rachel. One thing I'm working on is how to support myself, and generally be a grownup, whether or not I have a husband to bring home the vegetarian bacon. I've been kicking around ideas about real estate for at least ten years now, and I've decided to get my real estate license and give agenting a shot. I'm not quitting my p/t office job...this will just be something else on my plate for a while. I think I'll be really good at it.

I don't know what's going to happen in my marriage. I want it to work out, and there is a nonzero chance that it will, but we've got a lot of work to do to get there. I really, really hope that we will. I love McKenzie entirely and want to be his wife for the rest of our lives. But I'm not equipped for that right now. We'll see.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
My brain is cooking up what I think is a really cool idea. I want to interview my nieces about their lives now, and also about what they want out of life in the future, and what they expect, and save their answers to give to them years down the road. I'll re-interview them every couple of years, and we'll look back and enjoy how the answers change, and amuse ourselves with the results. I came up with this in the car when I was thinking about how I don't know if even 25-year-old Meg would have expected 30-year-old Meg to be living the way I am...and I was thinking about what I want for my nieces, and what they want for themselves, and whether they'll surprise themselves with where they go in life. I'm sure they will.

It's also one of my all-time favorite activities to read over things I wrote as a kid, or things my friends wrote. Especially with Emily, because we've been through it all together, and it's a real riot to look back over earlier times. I also thought about how if you'd asked me when Lucy was a little kid how I thought she'd be when she was an adolescent, I'd have been way off. So I think this will be a fun project. I'm going to put together some interview questions and send them to Lucy and maybe Frankie also. I'm excited about this :)
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
My youngest niece turns 2 on Thursday. 2 is of course very young, but it seems like she's growing up super fast. Here are some reflections from the past year.

Sometime in the past year, your family started calling you "Knucklehead." At first I thought that was a little harsh -- you're just a baby! -- but then I witnessed some incidents that sold me on the nickname. Hey, would you rather be Tooter MacGruter? 'Cause that's me. You'll probably grow out of "Knucklehead" eventually, but I'm 30 years old and your dad and Uncle A STILL call me Grute. So how is it that you're such a knucklehead? Some people would call it persistence, but you have an amazing ability to ignore lessons from times you've hurt yourself. You are my niece most likely to spend time in a full body cast, but for now you just give yourself a lot of bumps and bruises. I have watched you climb up on things, fall off, and climb back up again repeatedly. You don't get discouraged -- maybe your ability to push on through frustrations will lead you to make great scientific discoveries. Or maybe you'll just break every bone in your body. Possibly both of these things. I have faith in you. I have also watched you walk face first right into solid objects. You're fearless, I'll give you that!

My favorite knucklehead moment was when I was visiting you at your house just last month. We were hanging out in your room, and you grabbed a bucket of books and dumped it out, and then dove head first into the bucket. Then you got yourself stuck face down in this bucket with your legs kicking in the air, and you couldn't get yourself upright. I asked you if you were stuck or if you wanted help while I watched you kick at the air, and you insisted that you were not stuck and did not need help. After a couple minutes of flailing, you got yourself back on your feet. Good job, Knucklehead.

I don't have many good pictures of you from this past year because you are always in motion. Every picture I take is blurry because you won't sit still. You do know that you're supposed to say "cheese!" though, and any time I point my phone at you to take a picture, you grin and shout "tseeeezsh!" but you don't really look at the camera or stop moving even a little bit. You take after your older sister Lucy with your hair growing wildly in every direction. You follow your sister Frankie around a lot, and even though she sometimes complains that "BESS IS RUINING IT!" whatever "it" is, she loves you very much.

You're very mobile and adventurous, as we've already covered, and you're getting more vocal every day. One of the cutest things you do is refer to animals by the sounds they make. Monkeys are ee-oo-aah-aahs, and horses are yee-haws. It's precious and I hope you never grow out of this.

One of your more inexplicable traits is your love of elbows. Frankie has her shiny blanket, but you're not one for a security blanket. When you need comfort, you like to grab someone's elbows and squish the elbow skin around in your little hands. Apparently your mom did this when she was a kid, too. When you bonked your head on your dining room table, you cried loudly until your dad presented his elbow to you and told you to "go nuts." You started squeezing his elbow and calmed down almost immediately. It's like elbows put you in a trance. It's bizarre, but really adorable. On my last visit to Brooklyn, you started playing with my elbows, too. It felt like a rite of passage. I've never felt so honored to have someone want to play with my elbows before! I know that sounds silly, but one day you'll understand how great it feels to know that your niece feels safe with you. I love that you're old enough now that you know me a little bit, and you accept me as part of your family. When you're older, it will be a given -- of COURSE we're family, I'm your aunt! But you're too young now to understand exactly how I fit into your life, so it's pretty cool that you let me have my spot in your family, even though you don't get it yet.

UpsidedownBess
This is about as still as you get.

I love you like crazy, Knucklehead. Happy birthday!
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
We are in New York, but heading home tonight if the weather allows. Our flight is at 5pm. It's been snowing all day, but it's kind of amazing how this city just doesn't slow down. Some early flights were canceled, but I'm hoping ours won't be affected.

Yesterday, WT, Z, and I took Lucy to the math museum in Manhattan. It was really awesome -- but toward the end of our trip, I started feeling super shitty. It hit me like a freight train. We made it back to the apartment and I went straight to bed. I had a fever and chills, but I bundled up and slept most of the afternoon. Something smelled horrible, like wet dog, and I just assumed that I'd grabbed one of Slim's blankets to bundle up with, and did my best to ignore it. But then when Z came to check on me, he remarked on the smell, and I realized the whole room was reeking. Eventually we determined that it was our moist clothes in our suitcases. Bermuda was so incredibly humid that everything was just damp...and stanky. We did a couple loads of laundry, but we didn't wash everything and it's still kind of gross, so I guess we'll have to do some serious washing when we get home. Bleh.

I'm feeling better this morning -- not great, but not dizzy and achy like I was all day yesterday. Now I just have a cough and a dull headache. I can live with this. Hopefully it doesn't get worse as we fly back, and then I have one more day off before I have to be at work...should be enough time to recover.

It's been great seeing the girls, even though I was out of commission all day yesterday. McKenzie really stepped up and played with them while I was snoozing. I love that our nieces are bonding with him.

Bess is hilarious. They've been calling her Knucklehead for about a year now, because she has a tendency to repeat foolish actions over and over. Yesterday she walked face first into a table. She cried for a moment, then chilled out, and bonked into a wall a few minutes later. It's like she has no sense of space at all. This morning, I was playing with her in her room, and she dumped out her tub of books, then fell face first into the tub, which is round all the way around, so she got stuck in it, with her legs up in the air and face planted against the tub thingy, rocking around like a turtle on its back (except, face). I asked her if she was stuck and if she needed help, and she insisted she was not stuck, so I let her wiggle her way out on her own, but it took quite a while. Knucklehead :P
jianantonic: (Seahorse)

The artist said the dark "trails" will fade to a light grey as it heals. This hurt like a BITCH. But I love it and I'm very happy. I'll post a new photo after it heals some so you get a better idea of what it will look like long term. The picture makes it look like it's on the inside of my leg because my leg is propped up weirdly on the table, but it is actually on the outside of my left leg/ankle. It took a little over an hour. I cannot understate how painful it was, but I'm all cake vodkaed up now and it's not so bad anymore :)
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I'm back from the cruise, but in Brooklyn for a couple more days. I arrive in Portland on Monday night. I was SUPER bummed that the cruise ended. It was an amazing time, but I'm also looking forward to getting home and seeing people I've been missing, mostly my husband.

I posted pictures and a few quick stories on Facebook. I'm running very low on energy right now, so I'm not going to do a thorough roundup of everything until I have more time. For now it's back to stressing about my writing deadlines. Just three more weeks of that, though.

All three of my nieces are wonderful and each has her own charms, but I'm especially impressed lately by the person Lucy is becoming. She is so incredibly sweet and thoughtful. More than once this week, she brought tears to my eyes with things she said and did that just floored me. And she's funny and fun, too. I love her so much. This week was good for my soul.

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Meg

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