Dim Sum and Singer
I am really glad of all this time off at home. I realized, when we were in Portland, that getting sleep wasn't a matter of finding other people to take care of Jet. While we were at the Convention, we were catching up on sleep pretty well, simply by the stint of having the time to catch up in. Simply having time that didn't have to be spent at work meant that we could sleep. So we're doing pretty darned well on sleep this vacation. That's good.
9:56 pm: Jet was only up three times last night, and he went right back to sleep after all of them. He was just really easy to get back to sleep, so it wasn't a hard thing at all. John got to sleep until 8, and I got a little more time in bed, but got up fairly quickly after that. I got some Christmas cards done, and took them out to the post office box with Jet when the Molly Maids arrived. Oops.
Usually they don't get here until the afternoon. So I went back into the house and John and I did an emergency pick-up of the house, immediately. Jet got put into his crib for a while as I did the whole upstairs, and John did much of the downstairs. I'd done our bedroom and bathroom before I'd even finished getting up and putting myself together. Eventually, we retreated down into the basement, which was where Singer found us when he arrived a little early to see the house and Jet in his native habitat.
I kind of wish I'd gotten more video tape of Jet and Jon together. They got along famously. Jon also really enjoyed seeing our little house on the prairie, mountain view, horse pasture, next door neighbor's tractor and all. It was fun to have him see the place and the basement and all.
Joan and Ray arrived soon after with Bev and Alex and Haley in their van and we all took off downtown to The Empress. Bob had made reservations for us, so they actually had two tables this time for everyone to sit down at. Singer and I sat next to each other, John was on my other side and Jet was next to him and Alex. Alex really wanted Jet to sit near him so that they could play. They definitely played. They played enough that Jet didn't get bored by the meal, at all.
In fact, Jet did wonderfully during the whole meal. Some of it was that he was held in Bob's lap, Mei's lap, and Cary got some time with him too. Jet was also entertained by Alex, Haley, Cary, Jamie and Andrew at different times. He had a great time getting passed around, chasing chopsticks and toys, and getting fed all kinds of random stuff from various people's chop sticks. It's actually easier to feed a kid small solids with chopsticks than with a spoon, I think.
I had a great time, too. It was really great being sandwiched between Bob Hamilton and Jon Singer. They both have some extraordinary stories and they had a great time encouraging each other to talk, so the conversation at our end of the table was never boring. The food was good, as usual, and we got to order a lot of stuff off the menu and everyone ate. The first order just disappeared as if descended upon by a horde of locusts. That was great.
The Goodell's hadn't ever had much dim sum, and I kind of wish I'd been sitting nearer them, somewhat, so we could explain what it was that we had ordered. A.J. did a great job of it, however, so they didn't starve. There was enough plain good stuff that they ate something, though Alex might have had to visit the McDonald's across the street, the rest of the family was brave enough to try things.
It was another really fun holiday gathering.
Afterwards we went to the Asian market. Jet fell asleep thoroughly after Singer and I had gotten our stuff and gotten back into the very warm Passat. I am always really glad of the Passat in the winters here. With all the sunshine the interior of the car is always warm. The dark gray paint makes the car really good at soaking up solar energy. So Jet was warm and fed and asleep.
He stayed that way through a trip to the Volkswagen dealer to get some parts, and a trip out to Mile High Ceramics. Singer had wanted to visit them rather badly and A.J. does ceramics, so she knew where we wanted to go. That was pretty impressive a coincidence. She gave us very clear instructions, and we got there without incident and I got to follow Singer into the place and listen to him mutter to himself as he peered about all the shelves and shelves and shelves of materials, tools, and everything and get things he needed.
It was cool to peer into the specialists shop of a craft I've never really tried or learned anything about. It was fun to just putter about and peer and listen to Singer, and have him show me stuff that he thought was really astonishing. There were two pieces by the person whose studio he's borrowing while he's here in Colorado, one was a gorgeous cat with a gold glaze that had starbursts in it. The other was another metallic looking piece with great glowing colors gleaming from the finish.
It's fun being a complete neophyte and peering in behind the shoulder of an expert. I have no mistakes I can make, and nothing I can do wrong, and lots to just look at and maybe learn a little from but there is absolutely no reason to even try to form an opinion or observation.
John had discovered that one of the parts looked wrong while we were inside, so Jet slept merrily through a trip back to the dealership and then all the way home. He got nearly two hours, all together, in his car seat. That was very good. When we got home, he was cheerful, happy and played with stuff while Singer and I had some tea. It was one of the jade oolongs I'd gotten from Upton, and we made it one of my Yixing pots with the high altitude boiled water. We got five tastings from the one pot, and got to sit and talk and think as we did it.
That was great. We haven't done that for years and years, and it's been too long since we did that kind of random association with short breaks to sip orchid-scented greenness. We talked ceramics and glazes, food, science fiction, a few friends we have in common, connections from the last decade and a half, kid stuff, my sister, and other things. Jet had to nurse in the middle of it all, but that didn't stop anything, and Jet enjoyed just settling in while we sipped and talked. He was much happier afterwards as well and Singer had fun snapping pictures of Jet while I was holding him.
Singer had to leave after that, he had a trip out west he still had to make and it was starting to get darkish. He was plenty awake from all the caffeine from the tea, and he was also really jazzed by a small taste of the fermented rice I'd bought at the Asian market. It's a traditional new years dish, and I wanted some for this coming weekend. It's hot and sweet and satisfying for some old ghosts of memories of mine.
So he fled into the sunset, after some really good hugs, and a promise to do this again, sooner this time. We might even have to go out to the East Coast sometime and try to see him there. He was very glad that Kathy had gotten out there.
Blue crabs. That'll be another reason we should get out there.
When he had left, we settled in to a simple dinner of the last of the roast beast, some garlic mashed, and a lot of peas. Simple food and not too much of it. I got to work on my journal a little bit for the first time this week, and I posted stuff up until the Sunday I'd forgotten to write. I'll have to finish that before the week's out. The only bad thing about having something to do every day plus a book I really had to read has been a neglect of my writing sanity.
The Hamiltons and the Golterman's at lunch had seen The Fellowship of the Ring and they all liked it. So there's more recommendations. Singer had said it was very dead on in some spots, and a bit off in others, the moderness of some of the monsters had bothered him. I'll have to see it sometime this week, and Walt and Cathie had indicated that if they come they would be willing to do kidwatch while they're here if we wanted some time to ourselves. So we might use that time for that.
It's interesting to know that time with Singer refreshes me. I like knowing that.
Jet was extra cranky this evening, after having had such a great day. He was, however, also drooling a great deal and crying whenever he bit down on something. He was biting everything. I heard gnawing sounds and turned around and he was standing at my wooden plant stand and he was actually gnawing on the wood of the stand. He crawled, at one point to the front door, pulled himself up and started gnawing on a metal stud sticking out below the doorknob. I think the stud is the lower support for the whole knob framework.
The three of us were playing on the floor, and Jet got John's face in a hug hold, and, very deliberately Jet took the tip of John's nose in his mouth and we both thought Jet was going to suck on it. Instead, Jet lightly but deliberately *bit* the tip of John's nose. Both John and I went hysterical with laughter. We laughed so hard we couldn't breath and Jet had this incredible look of total smugness on his little face.
I can't believe he's almost a year old. I also now know what they meant when they all said that they grow incredibly quickly. This year hasn't flown by, but Jet's done so much and learned so much and become so much more than when he first came into the world. He's growing at fantastic rates, and learning incredibly fast. He really is probably going to be walking before he's a year old. He's already pulling himself up on everything and staggering about stiff-legged after his walker and scooting around on the furniture and getting into everything.
We were transferring stuff from the video camera to tape tonight and the hardest part about the whole thing was keeping Jet off the equipment and cords. Looking back on it, though, he learned quickly. It only took about fifteen minutes of enforcing the boundary consistently before he finally gave up and didn't bother the equipment again. He really does learn when we do that firmly and consistently.
Also, during the evening, a UPS truck showed up in the pitch black of night, and Trip's present to us for the Solstice appeared! Yay! He got us The Fifth Element on DVD! Yay! Now we can see Leelu any time we want to.
It took a bit of bouncing to get him to sleep and we're trying to get him back into his crib. The last week, while he's slept well, we've put him in his car seat instead of the crib. So tonight we're switching back. John seems to have hit upon the possibility that Jet just needs a bit more burping and vertical bouncing before going horizontal in the crib to be sure that he gets all the gas out before going horizontal. It's as good a guess as any.
I got my Motrin with some pumpkin pie, so I'm feeling okay at the moment. Yay! Planning is good. I think that the caffeine has finally worn off, and it's certainly time to close all the blinds and keep the cold out. It's supposed to snow tomorrow evening and on and off for the weekend. We'll hope.