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Jan. 20th, 2019 @ 07:38 pm Not Writing Hunt This Year (Not Next Year, Either)
Current Mood: tiredtired
Kid bedtime grows ever more intensive and I have a hard time making time to write. Let's see...

Two weeks ago, I had a bad stomach bug on Friday, my sister, Melissa, came to visit on Saturday, Julie left for business travel on Sunday morning, and Eris got super sick fifteen minutes after Julie departed. Melissa was a very helpful guest, but it certainly wasn't as enjoyable a weekend as I'd hoped. Melissa left early that Tuesday, Julie got back Thursday morning, and it's possible I have still yet to recover on the sleep-dep side.

Last weekend... I did laundry?

We had dinner with Carolyn and Bill (acquaintances from Ingress) at their house in Cambridge on last Thursday. That was lovely.

Mystery Hunt was this weekend. Was fun, though I think I was only helpful on a few puzzles. The hunt was a bit long, but not excessively so. (Hunt starts at 1PM on a Friday and I think the sweet spot for a normal-length hunt is that the first team completes it sometime between midnight and sunrise on Sunday. This one went to 6PM Sunday. The excessively-long ones run late into Sunday night or into Monday.) Our team didn't make it all the way to the end, but we solved a lot of great puzzles, and due to the structure of Mystery Hunt, not winning is its own prize.

Eristic improvements: Pretending to be specific characters, improvising songs.

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Jan. 3rd, 2019 @ 11:34 pm Toddlerdom's End
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
NYC trip went well!

We traveled on Christmas Day (a week before last Tuesday). Our flight was a little delayed, but at least it was a two-hour delay on a 2PM flight instead of a seven-hour delay on a 6:30PM flight. We had a wonderful Christmas dinner at Kristin and Jimmy's house. Julie's parents were visiting as well!

Wednesday, we went to the mall and had an early birthday celebration for Erica with extended family.

Thursday, we went to visit my Aunt Ellen and Uncle Mark. We took Erica to a nearby playground. Then we spent a bit of time wandering near Brookfield Place before taking the ferry back to Jersey City. Then another family event, we all went out for a pasta dinner.

Friday morning, we woke up very early to have breakfast with Julie's parents before their trip home. We took the kids to the Krispy Kreme factory store for doughnuts. We took Erica for a swim in the hotel pool. Then Erica went to have a sleepover with her cousin while Julie and I got a date night. We went to see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (which was great!), took the ferry from Hoboken into New York, and went out for a very nice dinner before circling back to the hotel.

Saturday morning, we went out for brunch with Emmett (a friend of mine from high school). Then we took a long walk along the Hudson. Saturday afternoon, we reunited with Erica, spent some time with her in the playroom in Kristin's apartment building, and then we all went out for Indian food at a really good place next door to there.

Sunday, we took Erica ice-skating for the first time, at the Brookfield Place rink. She was really excited about going skating, but when I was getting on the skates I was worried it would be a disaster. She was uncomfortable and it was hard to juggle a crying toddler along with two pairs of skates and shoes while trying to find the right size. The tent for skate rental was super crowded. Fortunately, Julie came to bail me out and get Erica out the door, so we were able to get onto the ice and have a great time. Erica spent most of her time being pushed around on an ice sled, but she did stand up and skate holding onto my hands a bit, and also a bit with a far more talented skater who works at the rink. It had been a really long time since I last went ice skating, and it was fun. Emilia had fun, too, she can skate on her own power now.

Erica was really tired afterwards, especially since the excitement had her successfully fighting off sleep before. We went out to dinner after skating, but Erica had a total meltdown in the food court before falling asleep in my arms. She was cheerful again when she woke up, though. We went for a walk on the boardwalk together at around 10PM, since she was still very awake, then had a good night's rest.

The trip was so very lovely. Kristin and Jimmy were such great hosts, and it was great to spend time with family and friends. Erica especially loved spending time with her cousin Emilia (who she calls "my mee-ya").

Monday, we traveled back to Boston, then celebrated the New Year at the Buttery. Played some games, but punted before midnight. Still got home around 1AM, and then Erica still wanted a bath and eight stories (though she fell asleep close to 2AM in the middle of story three).

Tuesday, we went out for a New Year's Day brunch. Afterwards, Erica was excited about going to the playground, and I'd never seen her fight sleep so hard. We went to the store after brunch because Julie needed to get her computer repaired. Bus timing was good, so we started to walk homewards, with this cycle of her begging to be carried, us suggesting she get in (or trying to put her in) the stroller, her fighting and screaming and insisting she wanted to walk, and then her pressing on at about a mile an hour. And we probably made it about a half-mile in that fashion before she decided stroller was okay after all.

In the afternoon, Julie helped Erica bake a birthday cake. I helped with a lot of the dishes, and spreading the icing.

Yesterday was Erica's birthday. We brought cake to daycare, and afterwards went out for birthday ice cream and sandwiches with some friends. That was great!

The birthday really feels like a significant milestone. I guess Eris is baby Eris no more.

Anyways, I'm back to the grind. The kid has continued to be super late-to-bed. I'm really tired. (Yet here I am staying up late to write rather than never getting around to it.)

My sister is visiting town this coming weekend. And Julie is leaving town early Sunday for more business travel.

Eristic improvements: An obsession with riding the escalator (which she pronounces as a homonym with excavator), a three-a-day Band-Aid habit (that one's not new, but I don't think I'd mentioned that here before).

This entry was originally posted on Dreamwith. comment count unavailable comments are there.
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Dec. 23rd, 2018 @ 12:47 pm MiscellanEris
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
Tags: , ,
I nicked the kid's finger pretty bad while trimming her fingernails last night. Of course it will heal up pretty quick, but I feel bad about hurting her, plus now I'm probably back to square one on getting her to hold still for a nail trimming.

I keep meaning to write down some of the adorable mispronunciations Eris makes. For example:

balloon → bah-boon
spaghetti → pah-sket-ti (this one is common enough to be almost a running joke about how kids mispronounce things)
videos → bee-yohs
beluga (from "Baby Beluga") → bah-boo-gah (though she's recently started pronouncing this correctly)
tyrannosaurus → die-no-sore-us (though maybe that's more confusion than a mispronunciation per se?)

What else? I need to write more. I need to sleep more. I'm stressed out about work. Not that work hasn't been fine, but I've become more aware of difficulty getting on a more-than-fine trajectory. I guess part of it is just that maintaining the "life" part of my work-life balance has been a lot more difficult. Which is predictable! But in 2016 I was totally fine with that, while now I want to be able to push the "work" part a little more. (I'm envy-driven, I don't want to be left behind by my more-talented peers.)

Next week (from Christmas to New Year's Eve) we're going to visit family in New York. Eris has her third birthday soon. Of course every parent gets to hang onto "their baby" forever, but I think that's the line where "a baby" no longer applies. It's already becoming increasingly implausible.

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Dec. 16th, 2018 @ 09:01 am Cute Trouble
Current Mood: awakeawake
More procrastination on writing. Let's see...

Last weekend, we went to visit DJ and Mishy at their new house in Framingham for a Hanukkah party. Their new place seems really nice, and it was great to see everyone.

The week was productive, but very busy.

The weather has gotten cold and there's a ton of construction all around, so it's somewhat unsurprising that we've seen an incursion of our furry friends. Which we were informed of by a mouse parading across our kitchen counter immediately after Wednesday dinner, helping itself to crumbs. Got a few capture traps, and it fell for one of them almost immediately. But then I mistakenly thought the trap had fallen closed empty and opened it carelessly, at which point of course the mouse which was inside did a Wile E. Coyote run out of the trap, fell four feet straight down, and turned into a grey blur darting back under the stove. So back to worse than square one, since it wasn't making the same mistake twice. Pest control came out Friday, did some cleaning and laid some more traps. We did some more cleaning. But yesterday Julie was baking a cake and guess who comes poking their furry nose out from under the toaster. We need to improve the weatherproofing around the garage door and do some more mitigation under the kitchen counter (but that will require taking up the baseboard).

We decided to go out yesterday evening and wound up having some drinks and chips at El Potro, while Eris had a late supper of beans and rice. A mariachi band was playing. It was a lot of fun! I'm a night-owl myself, so I think I'd enjoy spending more time out late with night-owl kid if I wasn't so ground down. If only we could sleep in more! Julie seems even more tired than me in the evenings, and she was way more resistant to sleep-dep than I am. Been pushing herself harder, probably.

Eris wants to read a lot more books. I don't think she's really trying to read the writing quite yet, but she's definitely reciting longer stories and singing more complex songs.

Today, we're going to Liz's house for a holiday party.

Eristic improvements: Demanding infinite bedtime stories, signing along to "Baby Beluga".

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Nov. 30th, 2018 @ 09:55 pm Week Home, Week Back
Current Mood: tiredtired
Thanksgiving break was great. All my siblings made it home for the holiday. Had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, saw some of my Cleveland friends. Went out the night before Thanksgiving for a great Ethiopian meal at Empress Taytu Restaurant (new favorite, definitely need to go back!). Had lunch at the Shaker Square Yours Truly, though found out that's no longer open for dinner. Had a relaxing weekend back in Boston before getting back to work.

This week work has been rolling along.

On Wednesday, we went to one of the Science by the Pint talks at Aeronaut.

Yesterday, we went to a potluck hosted by Trish and Andy, who we met at Sandy Island. Turns out our social circles overlap quite a bit. Was fun, very nice to get out and see people.

Eris continues to be adorable and hard to get to sleep. She wants eight bedtime stories (and it's hard to keep it at that). She jumps on the bed every night. She pretends to be a puppy and licks my face (I'm surely going to get all the diseases, but it's still pretty cute).

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Nov. 16th, 2018 @ 07:19 pm Flying Away
Current Mood: awakeawake
It's been so many weeks.

Julie's trip went well. Eris was reasonably good in her absence, though there were a few major tantrums.

I did some campaign volunteering in NH-1 (for Chris Pappas, who won the House race in that district).

Election day came and went. It's a wave election all right, Trump is clearly not good news for the Republicans, and the Republicans did poorly especially considering all the ways the map favored them. But it was more a bad midterm for Republicans than a large-scale Republican repudiation of Trump and Trumpism. For example, Tech Solidarity's slate of stretch-goal house races almost all lost (most painfully, JD Scholten failed to unseat outright-Nazi Steve King in IA-4). The one exception was Jared Golden in ME-2, the first candidate to win an instant-runoff under Maine's new ranked-choice-voting process.

The day after, we took a trip to Alternburg, Germany, my paternal grandfather's hometown. My first time in Germany. We flew to Berlin via Reykjavik, then took the train via Leipzig. Met my parents and some of the rest of my extended family there. We were visiting at the invitation of Christian Repkewitz, a historian who's written several books on the history of the Jewish community in Altenburg. We attended a commemoration ceremony memorializing Altenburg residents who were victims of the attacks of November 9, 1938 and the previous mass-deportations of Polish Jews from Germany. We also met some family friends who now live in the building where my grandfather grew up, visited Altenburg Castle (which contains a museum about some of the town's art and history), and took Erica to a zoo on an island in the pond (though the pond itself was more of an empty basin with scattered puddles, there's apparently been a prolonged drought). Spent a very little time in Berlin on the way through. The kid was a great traveler, though she got a little homesick towards the end of the trip.

It's a bit of a quiet quarter for me at work, and I've maybe been trying to take it a little easy. Work's been stressful for Julie.

Yesterday, Julie and I went to see SpeakEasy's production of Fun Home (based on the Alison Bechdel graphic-novel memoir). It was really good! Brilliant script and score, and it's a very good adaptation of the book. I was a bit surprised to see the small-box-theater format used for a musical, but it worked really well for this one.

Tomorrow, we head off again for Thanksgiving break.

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Oct. 22nd, 2018 @ 07:52 pm Parenting Solo
Current Mood: tiredtired
The weekend before last, we attended the wedding of some friends, Jill and Baruch. Best wishes to the happy couple! Was a lovely celebration!

I don't even remember what I was up to that Saturday. I think I did some cooking?

The past while has been a bit intense because Julie is half a world away. She left for China Friday morning and gets back Tuesday night.

Eris has been sick and very cranky this week. Friday morning she really wanted to sleep in. She wanted to go back to sleep at daycare (which is rare), they got out the cot, and I heard she slept for an extra three-and-a-half hours. Unsurprisingly, she wasn't much interested in afternoon nap. But there was a real improvement in her mood going forward (though it still hasn't been all smooth sailing).

Friday evening, took the kid to the Elizabeth Warren rally for a bit. Ended up at a nearby music festival and got grilled cheese and strawberry lemonade from the Roxy's Grilled Cheese truck for dinner.

Saturday, we went to the zoo. Sunday, we went to the aquarium, and then I had brunch in the North End while Eris napped in the stroller.

It's started to get cold, so of course our Nest thermostat that now controls heat and AC has decided to stop holding a charge when the heat runs. Live by the smart device, I suppose. Hopefully can get that ironed out before it's even colder.

Tomorrow, I'm going back to Olin as part of campus recruiting again. Should be fun!

Eristic Improvements: Compromising sometimes... maybe?

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Oct. 7th, 2018 @ 08:56 pm Eris Elsewhere
Current Mood: okayokay
Tags: , , , ,
Julie had more last-minute business travel this weekend, once again to the NYC area. But instead of leaving me on solo parenting duty, Julie decided to take the kid on the night train so she could have another visit with her cousin. Which is very generous! Seems the trip went well.

I didn't get as much as I might want to done this weekend, but I did get in some relaxation and some chores. I did a fair amount of cooking, too, which turned out well. It was very odd to have the place so quiet. I think it's been more than a year since I've been home alone.

I visited Xavid and Sarah at their new house on Saturday. The new place is pretty cool! Their property spans Mill Brook and includes an old orchard that they're trying to clean up. I helped a bit with that, then Xavid and I went to a bit of Honk! in Davis Square (a local tradition in this town where approximately 127% of the population is in a brass band). We ran into Tashari throwing a fancy tea party in the Davis Square park.

On Sunday, I went to a bit more of the festival in Harvard Square, but spent most of the time at home relaxing and cooking.

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Oct. 2nd, 2018 @ 08:21 pm Visits, Reunions, and Pizza!
Current Mood: happyhappy
Tags: , , , , , , ,
I see I've been doing an even worse job at getting around to writing than usual. Recap time.

Two weekends ago: Julie was away for business travel late in the week, then I was at Olin on Saturday for Alumni Weekend (10 years!). Was great to see so many of my classmates.

My dad was in town for a conference that weekend, too. Really enjoyed the visit, we went out for dinner at Casa B and Erica enjoyed some time on the playground with grandpa.

Last weekend: Friday was a daycare holiday, so we took the opportunity for a long weekend and went to NYC to visit Kristin and Jimmy and Emilia. Friday night, we went to Lions, Tigers, and Squares for pizza dinner. That restaurant serves Detroit style pizza, which is fairly deep, with crispy thick crust, sauce over cheese, made in rectangular pans (supposedly the style originally made use of repurposed industrial parts trays). I'd heard about that restaurant from this YouTube video about their mustard pizza, their twist on the mustard pizza from Papa's Tomato Pies in Trenton, NJ. I thought it was great, the pizza was a hit with everyone. Afterwards, we went to Magnolia Bakery for some cupcakes and banana pudding.

Erica had her first sleepover with Emilia at their place on Friday night, and she had a really great time!

Julie's dad Scott got into town for a visit on Saturday and Kristin and Jimmy took all of us to Coney Island's Luna Park. Kristin and Scott biked there as a warmup for a bike race they were doing Sunday morning, the rest of us took the train. The cousins had a great time going on some of the smaller rides together. Erica demolished a ripe mango from a vendor on the boardwalk and rode on the carousel, we had hot dogs for dinner, I got on the swings ride and enjoy the view from above. I regret not going on some of the roller coasters a bit, but wasn't feeling up for it. Erica somehow managed to avoid taking any naps and was very cranky by the time we got back to the hotel. She didn't want to go to sleep despite that being the latest she'd gone without a nap in her entire life. But a jaunt to the hotel bar for a late-night glass of milk got everything calmed down and we were able to have a peaceful rest.

On Friday morning, we had a diner breakfast with Jimmy and Emilia before heading back to Boston.

Was a wonderful weekend! We're all very much looking forward to going back, especially Erica.

(And we plan to be back between Christmas and New Year's, so I'll try to coordinate plans with more people next time.)

Eristic improvements: Counting into double digits

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Sep. 13th, 2018 @ 08:37 pm Season of Storms
Current Mood: tiredtired
The Eristic wrath has been keenly felt around the nest lately. A few days ago, the kid had a big meltdown when I made her wash her hands and she wanted that to not have happened. Today, she woke up angry at me for having eaten her bread and wanted me to un-eat it. And I'd done no such thing, she'd just dreamed it! And that was the start of a chain of tantrums where she wanted to get dressed all by herself and also didn't want to get dressed. Just was not ideal, though eventually I was able to iron things out with a carefully-timed offer of Cheerios. Sleep's been irregular, too; last night I had to take her out for a post-midnight walk in the stroller.

Elsewhere: A town not far north of us was hit by a string of gas fires and explosions today, and a major hurricane is arriving at the Atlantic coast. Hope those in the area stay safe.

In political news: Well, it's amazing how much all this crazy news is somehow not news. Like that op-ed. The Republican establishment (where do you think "senior administration officials" come from?) thinks Trump is amoral, stupid, and impulsive, but they're confident they can keep him restrained with bureaucracy and misdirection while they push through their agenda (which is just wildly irresponsible stuff). I mean, is that really a surprise? "Shocking but not surprising".

The Kavanaugh nomination is similar, it's not news, but. Well, it's less galling than Gorsuch for sure, this is more ordinary "Republican president appoints a Republican partisan hack" (though this is just Kennedy retiring, it will surely sting more when it's Ginsberg). But then there's all this stuff about stolen documents, perjury, and kajillion-dollar baseball-ticket (???) debts. Surely just icing on the cake, and whatever happens, he'll be confirmed with the requisite 50-plus-Pence. (Right?)

Eristic improvements: Starting to dress herself some, getting a lot of practice recovering from complete emotional meltdowns.

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Aug. 18th, 2018 @ 08:38 pm Playtime In Union Square
Current Mood: tiredtired
Tags: , , , ,
We've been taking Eris to Play Union a lot recently. It's basically a big rec room full of toys. She loves it, and it's been a nice alternative to the playground for days when the weather is rainy or super hot. Will probably be a good activity in the winter months, too, when 4:30PM is already dark and cold.

On Tuesday, I picked up Eris from daycare and she said, "I want to go to the playground! The playground is dry today!" Which is maybe the most sophisticated thing she's ever said to me so far (there was a downpour the previous day which was over before daycare pickup, but I didn't want to take her to the playground when it was still soaked).

The new part of the playground at Lincoln Park (by the school just down the street from my house) is also really cool. The bit at the school itself was redone a while ago, but the rest of it just reopened recently, except for the soccer field, which is waiting for the new grass to fully grow in next spring. It's going to be even more lovely when that part is done and all of the fencing comes down.

Work is going pretty well this week, but I got super sick on Thursday and spent all day at home asleep. Still not at 100%.

Eristic improvements: Arguments that aren't just pathos, much more detailed representational play.

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Aug. 7th, 2018 @ 08:54 pm Jersey City That Never Sleeps
Current Mood: awakeawake
Last weekend, we went to visit Julie's sister's family (Kristin, Jimmy, and Emilia) at their new place in Jersey City. Julie's mom was visiting, too. Was a very low-key mini-vacation, a NYC trip where we never actually got into NYC. But it was great. We had a hibachi dinner and a homemade brunch, the kids had a swim in the hotel pool. The weather was very hot but the city views were beautiful. Was wonderful to see everyone!

It was a bit odd being on the river so soon after reading New York 2140, that vivid image of "the intertidal".

The only difficult bit was our flight in on Friday. Cascading weather delays and cancellations had it delayed seven hours in small increments, and we weren't confident until the last hour that it would leave at all. We didn't get to the hotel until 4AM, and it took us another hour to get a crib for the hotel room. The kid was a trooper, a really good traveler. She had fun running around the airport until about 10PM, nodded off in the stroller closer to midnight, and slept through the entire flight. She woke up a little on the car ride to the hotel, but just calmly enjoyed the view. She was unsurprisingly quite late-shifted after that. (Weather in the 90s means less playground time, which doesn't help.) The goddess of chaos knows no bedtime, or at least she'd rather not.

(At least, not yesterday. She's maybe on an earlier bedtime track today, through the bedtime routine already. Will see if she actually stays asleep.)

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Jul. 30th, 2018 @ 07:51 pm Cassandra Prime
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Last week was very good! I feel like I'm getting my focus back at work, too.

Mid-week had a team fun offsite in Provincetown, which was great. (The last time my team did that I was somewhat distracted as I was right in the middle of buying a house, so it was nice to just be able to relax this time!) We took a tour of the dunes, which were beautiful, and we had a lovely lunch on the beach!

And this past weekend was very eventful, since the latest Ingress Anomaly was in Boston!

The main competition was Saturday afternoon. The gameplay for those live events keeps getting better and better, so the game was pretty interesting throughout. It was a victory for the green team, too. Though a bit lopsided; I wish more of the blue team could have made it out to Boston! (The teams are pretty evenly matched in the Boston urban area, but the Enlightened seem to be the stronger team in New England currently.)

Still was a great (though hot!) day of downtown wandering and high-level gameplay. Got to spend time with old friends and meet some new teammates. And we're still able to corral Eris into going along, as long as we bring some distractions and snacks. Actually, she seems to be interested in the game now, enough that she wants to play it herself. Even (especially?) when I'm in the middle of some of the trickier mechanics. It's adorable, though. "Ingess!"

The team afterparty was at No Name Restaurant, an old-school seafood restaurant down in the Seaport. I'd wanted to go there for a while, but had not gotten around to it.

On the way back, ended up at Figment, an art and music festival on the lawn at Dewey Square (just across from South Station). Fun times with night owl kid, she was up and dancing until 10, and then still somehow wide awake all the way home.

Played more Ingress on Sunday. Niantic has taken to following the live events with more relaxed "Mission Days", which are more of an individual, at-your-own-pace challenge focusing on the in-game "missions" (which are sort of little structured meanders or tours). I did that with Eris in tow; Julie bowed out to do work. Wandered through downtown, stopped to ride the merry-go-round at the Puerto Rico festival fair at City Hall Plaza, saw some of the festival parade. We had a late lunch with fellow Ingress players at the Bell in Hand, then went to the aquarium (with another merry-go-round ride on the Greenway). After the Aquarium, Eris got in the stroller, fell sound asleep in five seconds, and was out for nearly two hours.

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Jul. 22nd, 2018 @ 07:03 pm Jumping Game
Current Mood: awakeawake
Tags: , , , ,
Google's summer event was this past week, this time an outing to Canobie Lake Park. It's not too far from Boston, but I'd never been before. It was the first visit to an amusement park for Eris, and she had a grand time riding the kids' rides and the junior roller coaster (which spins you around pretty well for a kids' ride). She especially loved that she got to go on so many rides by herself. Even on the roller coaster, she was very insistent that I not put an arm around her. Of course, the real test of emotional fortitude was waiting in line.

I didn't go on any roller coasters this time. Untamed (a Euro-Fighter coaster) seemed potentially fun, but that drop was really intimidating, even if by objective measures it was probably less intense than some of the roller coasters I was on last year (there's only one drop and while it's really steep, it's really short). I thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing rides. The carousel is a historical treasure, built circa 1898 and installed in the park circa 1906, with music provided by a Wurlitzer 153 Band Organ (retrofitted with digital controls). I'm a big fan of that sort of thing.

Otherwise, life is exhausting but generally good. I've been getting in some good cooking. I got a Nintendo Switch at last and started playing Mario Odyssey (which is just gloriously charming and fun; Eris also enjoys playing along with "jumping game"). And I went to see Sorry to Bother You with Julie (Boots Riley's new dystopian satire, equal parts disturbing and hilarious, really great).

Eristic improvements: Helping with everything.

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Jul. 8th, 2018 @ 09:25 pm Beach, Reading
Current Mood: awakeawake
Sandy Island was fun this year. Erica had a wonderful time and slept very well indeed. Making sandcastles on the beach was definitely the highlight of her trip, but there's a lot of outdoor fun to be had. The weather was good, if very hot, but it did cool off sufficiently at night. There was only one rainy morning, and only the last night was chilly. Very nice to spend time with family!

I did manage to get in some reading, too:

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights (finished) - A surreal fantasy novel about a war between the djinni and the strangeness that brings to the world. Entertaining and well-written.

We Were Eight Years in Power - This book is simultaneously a collection of essays Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote for The Atlantic during the Obama Presidency, a memoir by Ta-Nehisi Coates about writing for The Atlantic during the Obama Presidency, and a bit of historical nonfiction that tries to get at the significance of the Obama Presidency in the broader picture of American history. The title is taken from a speech by South Carolina legislator Thomas Miller highlighting the achievements of Reconstruction-era government, unsuccessfully opposing the new state constitution in 1895.

The High Price of Free Parking - If you watch this interesting video and decide what you really need is 700 pages of detailed academic text on the subject, then I definitely recommend this book. I thought it was really interesting, but I've meaning to getting around to reading the detailed version for years.

New York 2140 (started) - 2312 was a sprawling novel with a lot of sprawling set-pieces, perhaps the most down-to-earth of which was a partially-flooded New York City. 2140 focuses on an earlier iteration of that one part of the setting. Definitely the setting and ideas stand out more than the plot and characters, but I really enjoyed 2312, and I'm really enjoying this one as well.

I also got around to watching some of the videos from this year's SGDQ. The race between the top two players of Celeste and the TAS (pre-constructed optimized) playthrough of the same game are both wonders to behold.

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Bookhead (Nagi)
Jun. 28th, 2018 @ 03:37 pm Occasions, Happy and Sad
Current Mood: awakeawake
Work: It's the end of the quarter. This one has been good in some ways and very rough in others.

Friends: Xavid and Sarah got married this past weekend. Was a wonderful occasion, full of love and puzzles (Zan organized an Escape Room outing for the pre-wedding "bachelorx party", and there was a very cool ice-breaker puzzle tied up in the theme and party favors at the reception). Eris had a marvelous time, too. (I asked if she enjoyed the wedding, and her response was a very enthusiastic "princess tea party!")

Family: Julie's grandmother died on Sunday. I'm glad she had the chance to meet some of her great-grandchildren, though I wish her health had allowed her to get more out of it. Julie braved a last-minute trip home with the kid to spend some extra time with family. There's nothing that can make this sort of thing less sad. It's a real reminder that time together is a precious thing in life.

Leisure: This week, my parents are in town, and we'll be heading up to Sandy Island next week. Hopefully will be a good chance for reading and relaxation. I expect Eris will get a lot out of it this year. (She's still too young for the children's program, though. Little Red School House next year!)

Eristic improvements: Singing whole songs from memory, running longer, more imaginative narrative play (favorite subjects: waiting for the bus, buying ice cream, cooking, taking care of babies), more interest in construction/building toys.

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Jun. 11th, 2018 @ 04:46 pm But Her Emails
Current Mood: aggravatedsmh
White House confirms its chief of staff was hacked

Trump 'repeatedly tears up official documents' that should be preserved, leaving staff to tape them back together

Can only imagine what the reaction would be if these stories were about the Obama (or Clinton) administration.

(Bonus story: John Kelly Says The White House Is A ‘Miserable’ Place To Work. It's not the building, it's the management!)

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Jun. 10th, 2018 @ 09:51 pm All Over the Place
Current Mood: awakeawake
Tags: , , , ,
After a few weeks, it's hard for me even to recall what's been on my mind.

Rolling back the clock a bit...

Last weekend, Julie's parents treated us to a quick trip to Providence to attend a family friend's birthday party. Julie's sister's family came up from NYC. Good times with extended family! Erica had a wonderful time!

Google once again had a contingent marching in Boston Pride this weekend. Was great to be in the parade and see the happy crowd.

Yesterday evening, we met up with Xave and a few other people for dinner and a play. Saw Jennifer Hayley's The Nether, a disturbing sci-fi detective story that's effectively written and staged. (It's clearly a spiritual successor to the last play I saw that cuts away to a (fiction-within-the-)fictional world from a story that's set in an interrogation room. Not really. Except maybe?)

The last few weeks my indie-tabletop group has been Andrew running Paranoia, since I got the latest edition of that as a particularly well-chosen Christmas gift from my brother-in-law Sean.

Having finished season two of Man in the High Castle, we've been watching Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams with Tim and Co.

The headphone port on my phone has gone all flaky, and I'm not ready for a new phone quite yet. I've been working around a bit with a USB-C audio adapter for my favorite headphones. So maybe it's time for me to take another dive into the world of Bluetooth audio. I found a pair of bone-conduction headphones on sale, and that might be the next-best thing to the half-moon/half-in-ear design that is for some reason no longer available.

We added central air conditioning to the condo, just in time for summer. If it helps me sleep better in the hot months, will be worth every penny. Seems pretty good so far.

I keep not posting about news/politics. There sure is a lot worthy of comment. The SCOTUS decision in Masterpiece was an incredibly strange punt, steeped in realpolitik. And Trump's efforts at international diplomacy are a complete embarrassment.

Eristic improvements: Balancing without support while climbing and descending stairs, hanging by arms from bar, announcing achievements with "I did it!" or, even more amusingly, "Ta-dah!"

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May. 19th, 2018 @ 10:26 pm Ten Years Out
Current Mood: awakeawake
I graduated from Olin ten years ago yesterday, so I've had my current job for a decade as of today. It's been a good ten years.

Last weekend, we went to PyCon, which is in Cleveland this year (and next). So Eris got to spend some quality time with my parents. Was a good conference. And downtown Cleveland is strikingly nicer than it was a few years ago.

Julie continues to be busy. Had another solo night with the kid last week, and another coming up Monday.

This weekend is fairly relaxing, though. Julie and I both got in some good cooking. The farmers markets have started up again, and I went to both the Kendall Center Farmers Market (next to my work) and the Union Square Farmers Market (next to my house) this week.

Eristic improvements: Reciting entire picture-books, recounting events from her day.

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Apr. 25th, 2018 @ 09:57 pm At Home and Away
Current Mood: tiredtired
Everyone in the family has been a bit under the weather the past few weeks.

I took the day off on Patriot's Day (aka Marathon Day) because it was a daycare holiday, but I couldn't take Eris to the zoo or whatever because the weather was lousy. After spending the day cooped up at home, I did get out with Julie for a nice dinner, though still in the pouring rain.

Certainly made for an unusual Boston Marathon, though. The winner of the men's marathon, Yuki Kawauchi, is a non-professional but incredibly prolific runner, and quite possibly the best cold-weather distance runner in the world (setting the record for most under 2:20 marathons, as well as possibly the coldest, at the New Year's Marathon in Marshfield this year). In the women's race, winner Desiree Linden went from thinking she'd drop at the midway point to carrying the day, and second-place finisher, Sarah Sellers, was a hobbyist runner, a full-time nurse.

Last weekend, we went to visit my sister, Melissa, and her husband, Elliott, in Ann Arbor. My parents and Elliott's parents were visiting as well. Julie and I got to see the play Arcadia, which Melissa was directing. Was very good. One of Melissa's friends watched Eris while we saw the play, which was very much appreciated. I'd worried that the kid wouldn't like being left with someone new in an unfamiliar place, but she had no problem adjusting and apparently looking after her was "very easy" (who is this baby?) although she wouldn't go to sleep (she was still wide awake when we picked her up a bit after 11, though not for long after). The trip was great, and it was some wonderful time with family. I'd missed some earlier opportunities to visit due to schedule conflicts or general lack of wherewithal, so I'm very glad I made it this time. It will probably be my only time visiting my sister in Ann Arbor before she moves for grad school in the fall.

(Not everything went quite as planned, had to make a side trip when the kid's cold turned to an eye infection again. Fortunately, that was something that could be handled by a drugstore clinic, so it didn't require going too far out of the way.)

Yesterday, Julie was away on a day-trip for business, leaving early in the morning and taking the red-eye home. Which meant I got my first night alone with the kid. I was nervous, but it went fine, and the kid at least slept well.

Eristic improvements: Jumping down from a step, reassuring us when she takes a bump ("I'm okay!").

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