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December 23, 2000
a year ago
two years ago
three years ago

Baby Class and Crouching Tiger

The class today focused on baby care. It was taught by a nurse that actually runs the night scheduling of nurses on the maternity floor of the Boulder hospital. There had been an emergency last night, and she was late because she had forgotten that she was teaching a class this morning. So John and I got there in plenty of time. Our plan for the day was to take our lunch time to go to McGuckins, find lunch, and find our dinner as well. Since we wouldn't have that much time between the end of class and the movie, we were looking for something that we could bring with us. The instructor, however, told us right off that she wouldn't be taking all the time that was allotted for the class.

The morning session started with the list of fears and concerns. Again, I couldn't really think of anything I was afraid of about bringing home a newborn. The instructor, however, said that it would be useful to list the things that we really wanted to learn from the class. That we really didn't have any problems doing. We really didn't know much of anything, and having a complete overview of what basic baby care is like was useful. Most of the other couples had various fears that they wanted addressed by the instructor. Stuff like sleeping position, advice about early development, and how to tell if the baby's actually sick rather than just complaining. There were also a few mothers to be that wanted to know what to do with a colicky child, because they had been screaming babies when they were small. They also wanted to know about SIDS, and "how to prevent it".

The first thing she went over was a list and a series of slides about perfectly normal conditions a newborn might have. I think that was the most useful section of the entire class today. There were quite a number of visually novel elements that a newborn baby could have that I wouldn't have ever thought were normal. Everything from being covered to a cream cheese-like substance (stuff that is actually naturally generated to lubricate the skin of a baby in the womb) to various bruises from what ever extraction device the doctor might have had to use. There were odd skin conditions, colorings, and head configurations that were all normal conditions from the birthing. It was really cool to actually see slides of all these things, because the experience gave me some idea of what might look awful but was actually normal. Just that much less to be scared of, which is always a good thing.

We had lunch at the Breadworks again. I had enjoyed the soup so much the last time, I just got that and bread, rather than opting for the sandwich as well. They had a chicken, fennel, and garlic soup that was filled with vegetables, savory broth, and chicken meat. It really was a meal onto itself. John had the same with a bag of chips. Since we didn't really have any shopping we had to do at that moment, we went for a walk around the area. I mentioned that I wanted to go back and see the dragon that we saw last week. I kind of wanted to buy it, but when John seemed to have forgotten my request completely I didn't make much of a fuss. There was plenty of time before the Fish was going to arrive.

The day itself was bright and clear. The sun was warm, but the air was cold and there was still snow on most of the northern sides and shadowed patches. The bare trees were stark black against a pale, powder blue sky. The houses in the area were of an older style, brick and white wood everywhere. Four ravens were playing amid the branches of one tree. John pointed them out and asked if they were crows or ravens. I think crows have yellow beaks. These birds had jet-black beaks and they were enormous, nearly twice the size of any crow I'd ever seen. So I postulated that they were ravens.

The afternoon was far more mundane than the morning. Going through care of the umbilical cord, actually diapering a baby doll (using cotton cloth diapers with the new Velcro fastening covers is far easier than I ever thought it would be), and talking through most of the everyday procedures for caring for a baby were pretty much what I thought they would be. She even went through a step-by-step demonstration of how to bathe a baby, which is I was pretty cool, especially with the description of just how many dozens of towels you will actually go through. She was pretty realistic and very good about making sure that perfection wasn't the goal. She also went through most of the concerns that the other people had mentioned, including a little hand waving about how to decipher the non-verbal communication of an infant. She did go through an entire list of how to deal with a crying baby by asking us what we would try next, rather than telling us to list. I felt that to be fairly effective, and it did show that most of us had some idea of what to try. There were also certain thresholds that were very useful for determining whether or not a baby was sick or not. In the end we got to see a Rob Reiner movie. It turns out that Rob has gotten into child development, now that he has two sons. The film itself was a little bit too general for me, mostly stating general principles rather than actual practices, but a number of the class seemed to like it well enough.

By the time we actually got out of the class it was a little bit past four. We went to McGuckin's and found it crowded with people doing their last-minute Christmas shopping. Both of us were very glad that we had finished all our shopping a week in advance. Sometimes it is nice to have out-of-town family that makes it imperative to mail things early. The two things we were looking for were nearly diametric opposites. One was something to kill all the tiny gnats that were dancing around the kitchen, the house plants, and even the tiny droplets of water left in the bathroom. The other was to look for some kind of artificial Christmas tree. I really don't like killing a new tree every year, but the living room really seems bare without something to put the presents underneath. Admittedly, once we got there and started looking, I realized that I really wanted the tree in place next year for the kid. The prices on the very nice artificial trees were pretty high, so we decided to wait until after Christmas to see if we could get a lower price. John still wanted something to put the presents under, so we found a lovely poinsettia and decided that that would be festive enough. The poinsettia we had last year was all green because I hadn't had the heart to put it in a dark space for the last month. Next year I'll have to put both of them in a closet together, and with more than one plant to remember I'll probably remember to water them both.

Looking for insect killing items in Boulder is always something of a hit and miss proposition, as there is a tendency to stay away from chemical means. The person we finally asked pointed us at things that could be stuck in the flower pots that were basically sticky rather than actually killing the things directly. Since I was planning on using this near my herb pots, it was actually a very good suggestion, which we readily took to the cashier.

Since I'd only had soup for lunch, I was plenty ready for dinner. The two of us went to Whole Foods. They have a number of hot food stations, an enormous deli, an extensive salad bar, a juice bar, and an entire wall of refrigerated drinks. We each got a salad and the slice of pizza. John got the garlic, white pizza slice while I got a pizza slice with chicken, spinach, and mushrooms. He got quite a lot more salad than I did. We both managed to pick up ginger ales, but he got the Whole Foods Brand while I picked up one of the fruit juice sweetened Hansen's offerings. Mine was probably half again as much in cost, but it was brewed with real ginger and tasted very spicy. We sat down in the eating area and took our time. It was very good. I think I'm going to have to eat lunch here more often.

We made it to the movie theater with 45 minutes to spare before the beginning of the movie. It was a good thing too. The theater the movie had originally been scheduled to show in was actually showing something else completely. So we went to customer service and asked which theater it had to move to, and they pointed us to the other side of the complex. It was a good thing because the new theater was nearly twice the size of the one it was originally scheduled to show in, so the complex had picked up on the popularity of the film. As it was, by the time we got to the new theater, it was two-thirds full. We had to pick seats more than halfway up the stadium seating. While I didn't think that they were very good seats at that moment, 20 minutes later I was very happy with our choice as people were starting to sit in the aisles because there were no more seats.

The manager of the theater then came in, stopped the projectionist from showing the commercials and previews on time, and then told everyone that they were actually going to check ticket stubs. This is the first time I've ever seen that happen. The moment they actually started to check stubs, quite a number of people filed quietly out of the theater. I guess several people bought tickets to other movies and tried to sneak into this movie. It turned out that they had exactly the number of seats for the number of tickets they'd sold. I was fairly impressed by that.

The movie was everything I had hoped it would be. The martial arts are gorgeous. While I have seen a good deal of Hong Kong wire work, the flying scenes were like nothing I had ever seen before. Clearly rooted in the same technique, they extended it beyond what I had thought was possible. The plot, as well, didn't disappoint. There was real character development, interesting and fun comic relief for some sections, and a very interesting set of romances. The cinematography was utterly gorgeous, with landscapes I hadn't known existed within China's borders. The desert scenes especially surprised me, as they shared so much with the southwestern deserts I really enjoyed. Go see it. It really should be seen on the big screen. Nothing else could capture the spectacular views or the full scope of the fights. There were a number of very intense overhead shots, scenes that were clearly not wire work and just as clearly the result of intense choreography and practice. Michelle Yeoh possibly surpassed anything I've seen from her before, especially in the classroom courtyard fight near the end. Given how much I've seen of her works, that's saying something.

As tired as I was when we got out of the movie, I was babbling happily about the entire thing with John. He really enjoyed as well. It was also really nice to see how much the rest of the crowd enjoyed the movie as well. Even the kids that had gotten bored by the subtitles were enthralled by the action scenes, and were happily talking about them as they filed out of the theater. I really hope this movie does well in the monetary sense, because that might pave the way for other films of that caliber to do well in the United States. Then again, maybe the popularity of the actors who have done well in American movies is what is paving the way for this movie.

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