Thursday, March 27, 2008

English class

My students and I composed a message today to another student who recently left our group.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Photos: A memo

In the last years I have repeatedly attempted to backup our favorite photos online. I failed to complete or even start this mission many times. The last time it was actually due to technical difficulties experienced on Webshots.

A few months ago I was dreaming aloud to our Romanian flatmates (who had not yet realized they should run when I start rambling) that I would love to create a web interface in which one could organize his or her life, being able to access diary entries, photos, videos, notes, etc by category or date with the click of a button. One's whole life recorded digitally. Ah.

The next day I realized every tool I wanted was offered by Google and that even though the interface (accounts homepage) is clunky, it would be easier to use their tools than to create my own website or software.

Thus, I direct you to to view my growing photo archive. I've also added some albums to Facebook, for those who partake. This link has replaced former ones in our blog sidebar.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter

It’s been an eventful several weeks here during which we have enjoyed visitors and travels, lost our digital camera (the third we’ve been through in just over a year) and lost our strong free wi-fi connection in the house. I found myself in a position with a lot to say and show but no media through which to do so. Thus, the several posts I make today using a weak wi-fi signal we can obtain by resting the laptop on our bedroom window ledge.

It was Easter yesterday and I felt a nibble of guilt all day knowing we wouldn’t do anything Eastery – no Easter bonnets, hearing the story at church, family gathering, not even a ham. What we did do was stay in most of the day, putting all the mattresses, couch cushions and pillows in the house on the family room floor, creating a massive play area on which we made Play-doh creations, landed our radio-controlled helicopter, raced Crayola snails we decorated ourselves, did somersaults, drove Thomas the Tank Engine, had a picnic and watched recent Lost episodes. More of a name-brand orgy than a religious holiday but at least the Play-doh did come in plastic Easter eggs.

Even though we don’t go to church regularly, I do want to teach Lily the Easter story next year, mostly because it was a part of my childhood that I found meaningful.

I hope all the family gathering at my parents’ house enjoyed the company and the feast. A big kiss from us three. Mwah.

Porté Puymorens

In Spain, the week before Easter and the Monday after are holidays, so during Semana Santa we stayed in a town in France with Oli’s parents, skiing in the Pyrenees there and in Andorra.

Lily spent her first time in daycare/nursery when we skiied in Andorra, and overall it was successful. She only spent two two-hour periods there, but it was a big deal for her parents to know she ultimately liked it. At the end of the day we made the mistake of skiing to the bottom of the mountain to return our gear, thinking we’d take the Telecabina back to the top and collect Lily without the heavy stuff. Unfortunately you couldn’t take the lift back up at this point in the day, so after being reassured that this happened all the time, the attendant called up to the nursery and had a teacher bring her down. She returned to us a bit teary eyed because she hadn’t wanted to leave.

Otherwise, we had a mixture of good and bad ski conditions. On the day we went to Andorra, the sun was shining but the snow was in patches of slush and ice, making things very tricky. Oli and I had an encounter with a red run made of ice that left us both on our bottoms covered in a shower of snow rained upon us from the scrape of our skis or snowboard as we cascaded down what felt like a vertical drop. After finishing the much easier second half of the run, we re-ascended in the lift, watching other skiers on that piste approach the edge, stop, look around, then descend and fall on their asses.

Nana Lisa and Papa Ray got in a lot of good playtime with Lily. Papa Ray shared all the photos on his camera with her and Nana Lisa took her on walks with baby doll and pram. On the day we returned to Barcelona we had a nice meal at a restaurant near our apartment. The staff were warm, the food very good, and the patrons relaxed about Lily wandering around, wrapping her baby in a cloth napkin and sticking her tongue out at herself in a mirror. The relaxed afternoon was made even more ideal when the chef turned the TV to Formula One coverage for us.

Los Hartrichs

Nate and Laura Hartrich visited us, leaving the boys with Nate’s parents who also gifted them the airfare for Christmas. The visit panned out in a way that can only be described as ideal. Laura, a far superior blogger to me, documented this visit rather well in the following posts on her blog Maiasaura Made:
Barcelona, We Are Here.
Barcelona, Day 2.
Barcelona, Day 3.
Barcelona, Day 4.
Barcelona, Day 5.
Day 6, no internets
Barcelona Day 6 -- Stateside Version
Last Day in Spain. Ah, Sitges.

I really enjoyed preparing for their visit, thinking up meals, washing and ironing linens, arranging activities. As we get older we’ve all gotten more into “entertaining,” throwing dinner parties instead of keggers, even going so far as to arrange game nights. There was something nice about preparing for a couple’s visit that you don’t quite get when hosting single male friends.

When we visit the Hartichs in their home I’m always impressed by tactics or routines Laura utilizes with the kids and I think what a dumbass I am for not having thought of them. I, therefore, found it comforting when Laura would comment, “You play with Lily so much! You’re so relaxed! You talk to her so much!” and make looks of inner torment. We moms are all alike, never giving ourselves credit and feeling guilty about most things.

Their visit made us thankful for having interesting friends who are also parents. Having friends and being a parent are difficult to coordinate, so it helps when the areas overlap. Whenever we visit one another, we generally have one day in which to do it and the result is a hurried discussion of our feelings toward life regularly interrupted by our children beating one another, boring one another, dirtying diapers, calling our names repeatedly, performing princess slaughtering puppet shows, and sometimes having fun. Thus, having a week together with four of us and one child put the odds in our favor to have real conversation and relaxation.

We’re looking forward to future holidays together when we can include all the wild children and to a time when we recount the stories of our adventures together.