Not really, but a few months in review, since I’ve hardly posted much in recent days, as evidenced by the fact that my blog is slowly lifting up its skirt and showing its underclothes.

Thanksgiving. Yes, that far back. As a gift to my brother, my wife, and I, who all have birthdays in December, my parents took us to New York for Thanksgiving. My dad has worked for years in the Army, and so he was able to procure lodgings for us at Ft. Monmouth, a beautiful base south of the city in Jersey. A quick hour on the train and we were in the middle of the city. Thanksgiving day found us at Macy’s watching the parade float by. While we were several rows deep, we still had a decent view of the balloons as they came through, although they turned at the corner, so we really had a great view of their butts. I took several pictures of the balloons’ hinderparts, which I hope to post soon as a series entitled “An Ass-tastic Parade.” There were several other fun shots, such as how the shadow of Pikachu against the building hinted at a Godzilla-style invasion, or the back of my brother’s head, which I briefly mistook for the Charlie Brown balloon (he actually got on his tip-toes as my father was taking a digital picture of “Chuck” … when my father looked at the screen, Chuck was blocked out by my very bald brother’s dome).

Afterwards, we walked to Grand Central Station where we dined at Metrazur for Thanksgiving dinner. The food and service both were wonderful, topped only by the family conversation. For the rest of the week, we wandered the city, managing to catch the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show (complete with 3-D introduction) and 42nd Street. Despite my general dislike of musicals, 42nd Street was a fun show – maybe it was the meta-quality of it all (it’s a musical about putting on a musical).

We also visited stores, where I enjoyed browsing the frenzied shoppers as much as the merchandise itself. The Toys R Us in Times Square is of jaw-dropping size, but FAO Swartz had the stuffed animals that now inhabit our forthcoming child’s crib.

Which leads us to another of the past few months’ central activities. Baby preparation. L is in the final weeks of pregnancy (due Feb. 1st) and we have been busy trying to get everything in order for the arrival. Putting together the nursery, doctor’s visits (mostly L’s domain, but I tried to go to as many as possible without using up too much leave time), and most recently, a baby shower thrown by some wonderful friends and family. L and I spent most of Sunday night putting together strollers and “bouncy seats.” One of the cool things about having a child is that I get to play with all sorts of educational toys. My mother gave us a sunny face in the shape of a flower (honestly, I find the face a little scary – the eyes seem to follow you Mona Lisa style). When you touch the toy, it plays one of four tunes. The cool thing, however, is that once it picks one tune, it will play it in increasingly sophisticated ways the next few times you touch the toy. So the first round will play with only one instrument, the second with a quartet, and the third with a full orchestra. No longer the wooden blocks of our childhood.

Overall, we’re very blessed. This child will not go unloved … and, if the two sets of grandparents have anything to say about it, unspoiled.

Christmas fit in the middle of all of this, which we spent mostly with L’s family, exchanging gifts, enjoying conversation, and eating lots and LOTS of great food. For Christmas Eve, L made a 15 lb. turkey Scarborough Fair style (parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme), complete with a sweet potato casserole, and stuffing. The next day, we had ham and presents at the in-laws.

A bonus perk: lots of gaming stuff for gifts, like the PS2 Eyetoy, a Gameboy, and the PC version of Knights of the Old Republic. You know, for when the baby is asleep (experienced parents: insert laugh track here).

New Year’s was relatively quiet. We visited dave and nat’s rockin’ party, the results of which are obvious here, before moving on to our neighbors Ryan and Ann (with their twin newborns and their friend from Austin, Sue) for some chocolate fondue and conversation: “What was the best book you read in 2003?” (Paul Auster’s Book of Illusions). “Worst book?” (Delillo’s Cosmopolis, with Egger’s You Shall Know Our Velocity… a close second).

A few of many blessings:
A wonderful, smart, and beautiful wife.
Our soon-to-be-born son or daughter.
Our family.
Our friends, both offline and on, close and distant.
Government work.
Hand-sliced meat.

Things I hope for:
Welcome a healthy child.
Continued happiness and health for my family and friends.
More and more work on the dissertation, towards a completed degree.

That should catch me up. If you made it this far, then I applaud you. After all of this, I realize I probably should’ve just followed Dave’s lead, as usual.


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