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November 9, 2001
a year ago
two years ago
three years ago

Carl, Naps, and Tapas

For all that Jet had such an excellent day yesterday, he had a horrible night last night. He was up so many times I finally lost count. I couldn't track time as well without my atomic clock or any big numbered digital clock in the room and I had trouble finding my glasses in the room.

At first it was because the room was too dark. Jet was up every twenty minutes until we turned the light on in the bathroom and only closed the door part of the way. Then he was up just every hour, with one two hour sleep stint. I don't know why. It might have been the dry hotel air, it might have been from processing all the stuff that had gone on during the day. Or something. It might just have been the axiom of if Jet has a good day he has to have a terrible night to make up for it with baby karma. Balance, it's all in the balance.

Not that he was enjoying any of what was happening, either He was pretty unhappy as well, and when he finally woke up for really at 6:30, we just left him in the play pen for a good hour or so and he played by himself with his toys. Finally we all got up and rubbed our eyes and went out to the Safeway to stock up on baby things and get some Starbucks for John and I.

We got back in plenty of time to meet up with Carl at breakfast. I was too tired for trying to eat anything with my teeth, so I just got some oatmeal. John and Carl got good breakfasts and we had some of the cauliflower and broccoli that Jet wouldn't eat last night for his breakfast. He still didn't want to eat it. So he had some oatmeal and got to munch on bread crusts from John's toast. He doesn't really eat the crusts quickly, instead he just munches and munches and gums the hard crusts until they get good and soggy and then he eats the mush that gradually accumulates.

He seems to really like that.

It was really great to see Carl again, after a bit more than a year of not seeing him. He really is one of those friends where the friendship seems to just pick up where it left off, and he was very kind and willing to talk about Jet while we ate. He's been cool and kept up with my journals and knows how all-pervading my obsession with Jet really is. I also asked a bit about all his travels, he'd actually sent me post cards and email updates with most of them, so it was fun to listen to some of his travelling stories as well and while I don't exactly envy him it is definitely an interesting way to hear about the some of the things I have missed about not having a kid.

I was very glad to have hooked up with him because he wasn't going to have tapas with us tonight, as he was going to be wise and hook up with the people he doesn't normally get to see in the Bay Area and have dinner and social face-to-face time with the gaming folks. Since so few people actually get up for breakfast, it was a good time to just hook up with him and give him a few hugs and let him look, face-to-face, with Jet, whom he's heard so much about.

From there the four of us went to registration and got our badges pretty early. Then we settled at some tables by a stairway and let Jet do some roaming behind the tables, out of the traffic lanes while we read the program and figured out if there was much of interest for us.

Jet cruised about happily and found the outlet pretty much immediately. We kept him from it, and explained that they were simply dangerous. He gradually widened his circle and eventually discovered the curtains that were all along the outside of the tables there. Jet loves, at home, to dive, head first, into the blankets hanging from the couch. He thought these were the same thing, and with his second dive, he found the steel post behind the curtains with his head.

Owie. He cried for a while, with a little bouncing and he was back at it. This time, I raised the curtain before he could hit his head again, and he scurried under the table. Wheee... he started just laughing as he cruised down his new tunnel and he never hit his head. From the underside he could see where all the steel things were, and I could see the curtain suddenly bell out as Jet would dive at the curtain from the inside. He'd laugh every time he did that, and there was laughter going down the whole table.

John chased him the whole way, too, which lent to the fun. Jet was going with afterburners, thinking he was going to get caught, and it was amazing watching just how quickly he could get where he wanted to go. Then John let him back through, and when Jet was through, he started diving *back* and missed the steel post by That Much going back underneath. Whew.

After all of that we were all tired. So we bid adieu to Carl and went back to the room. On the way there Jim caught up with us and confirmed all the plans for tonight, and that we were to meet them at the front lobby at 5:30 or a bit after. That was nice. We had called a few folks and their rooms to see what was up but people were clearly involved with the programming already.

Jet nursed himself to sleep and we all took a good long nap. Yes, rather than do any programming, we pretty much napped as much as we could. John and I both took Jet at different times to let the other sleep some more, and we basically spent the whole afternoon napping, nursing some and getting rest. Something we hadn't been able to do at home with all the things happening with work, and something we all desperately needed. Needed it far, far more than the rather weak programming this year at OryCon.

I happened to run into Geoff and Bruce sometime during all this, and Bruce had noted the timeliness of OryCon's weak programming this year. It was a very fine thing for a whole bunch of people desperately in need of nothing more than getting together with people and a place to rest where they wouldn't have to clean up or pick up afterwards in. The hotel was very nice, and the river right outside the door, and Jet and I stopped for a while to watch it outside the glass.

At 5:30, Jet was recently tanked up and we were all ready to go to tapas with everyone else. We had fun waiting in the lobby and not quite recognizing several of the people we were going with. I had the excuse of not having seen people for some time, they all had the excuse of my having short hair and that I was chasing a baby, though they logically knew that I should probably be chasing a baby around, the actual reality was quite different enough to confuse several people. Cera, in fact, recognized Rosty before she recognized me. That as pretty funny.

We all took off after that. John and I got rather lost on the way there, but eventually found it. By then Jet was fast asleep in his car seat. We decided to just take him in in my arms to start and see if he'd wake up. He pretty much spent the first twenty minutes asleep on my chest as we ordered drinks and food.

Cera had gotten early reservations at La Catalana, a place that specialized in Spanish Tapas. So we ordered pretty much one of everything and got a really wonderful treat of rich, spicy, tender, tasty, crusty, interesting, garlicky, and very satisfying fare. It reminded me of dim sum, lots of little plates of small amounts of very tasty food. It was very European, though, potato pie, duck comfit, and grilled bread with tomatoes.

There was also very plentiful seafood in grilled shrimp, broiled mussels on spinach and baked under cream with wild greens, deeply garlicky calamari rings, and buttery scallops. There were also really excellent choices in seasonal fruits and vegetables including some melt in the mouth pears that went with Mancha cheese (white cheese from black goats in the part of Spain that Don Quixote came from. It was goat sharp and mildly dusty tasting, a good contrast to the creamy smooth sweetness of the pears) and the duck comfit.

Lots of butter, lots of garlic, and plenty of seasoning on all the food really helped the varying textures still seem very unified in theme. It was really good food and came in waves with plenty of good, crusty bread for all the sauces and creams that came with various dishes. It was great kid taking care of food, in that we could always wait through a course if Jet needed some attention, either in getting changed, in getting fed, or, eventually, in getting comforted a bit as he was getting tired.

It was definitely not a restaurant made for kids. They didn't have a high chair, so John had to bring in the car seat, which worked well enough. There also wasn't any covering noise, really, for Jet, just the quiet murmur that happens only in really good restaurants. We did get smiles whenever Jet got exuberant, and he never really got badly frustrated and never really went on a crying jag, but I did have to take him around to look at stuff after a while as he got tired of the seat and the same surroundings of the dinner the whole time.

He was awfully good, and Harold was really great about entertaining Jet now and then when he could, and Jet did go to other arms when people offered. So that was pretty good. No one was that confident holding him for long, but that was fine. Christy was fascinated by Jet, and vice versa, as Jet had fun watching Christy as well, especially when she was paying attention to him. That was pretty good. So he did really well.

I think that if I keep taking him to good restaurants he'll keep going pretty well at them. Or surprisingly well, at least, for a kid his age.

We had to have dessert, and John and I shared a dish of the house's creme catalana, which was their version of a creme brule. It was rich with cinnamon and cardamom, and the crust was more caramelly than crisp, and had cinnamon with the sugar. It was really tasty and really good, and just as we finished it Jet decided he'd pretty much had enough.

So we paid our part of the bill and ran for the car. Letting everyone else have fun with their conversation. Cera said that she wanted to have breakfast with us, which was good. We had sat at the opposite ends of a table with a dozen people, so it had been hard to find any time to really talk. So we would have breakfast in the morning. That was good.

Jet, of course, feel asleep on the way home, and we got ready for bed again before I nursed him to sleep again, and he settled in with only minimal protest. Last night was so bad, I hope tonight is better, we'll have to see.

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Copyright 2001 Liralen Li. All Rights Reserved.