Friday, June 26, 2009

Nate's other darling

Nate has a new love. Sometimes I notice him regarding his new paramour lovingly, but I'm not jealous. Hard to feel jealous of a ten-pound rod of steel. The sights may be made of hard plastic--I am not sure.

For months...years...Nate has been DYING for a gun. Little did I know how I would inflame the desire by taking him to a shooting range for his birthday last year. Our new home happens to be relatively close to the range, so occasionally Nate would ask me accompany him to the range store and, I suppose, tolerate his longing looks and loving strokes of all the 'ladies' in the shop (why do guns have to be female I wonder?). We finally decided (emphasis on we--Nate definitely consulted me on this) that he should have his heart's desire, and one day she arrived to her new home. Our home.

For those of you out there worried about Mayumi's safety, you are not alone. Nate has agreed to keep the gun unloaded and locked (although in the closet near our bed). He is anxious for Mayumi to start her gun safety training but I am opposed to her early exposure to weapons more on ideological grounds than an actual worry that she'll figure out how to climb up to the top of the closet, unlock the gun, load it, and fire it. Those who know us well will not be surprised to find that we disagree on the utility/need/wisdom of owning a gun, but we both agree that if someone has a (legal and moral) passion then they should pursue it. So--we have a gun. Well, correction: Nate has a gun.

Enjoy (or tolerate) the following pictures and video clips.

The following clip is of Mayumi at the shooting range, following around the 'range dog,' named (curiously) Darth Vader. Darth was terrified by the very fascinated and (hee hee) doggedly pursuing Mayumi.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I Heart New York

Since 2003 my mother and I have been bringing groups to New York City, staying in Times Square, and introducing them into the "real" New York.

We encourage the group members to take advantage of the various promotions and discounts offered on Broadway and to see as many shows as they can. For us, that means a show per day! In the past, I have lived up to this goal and, in two weeks, have seen 16 shows (there are matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays).

Thanks the help of wonderful family and friends, I was able to fulfil my duties as Assistant to Glo (my mother) AND see many shows...all while enjoying the companionship of the junior tour conductor-in-training Mayumi. HUGE thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law Rosalie and sister-in-law Audrey, who came out to New York for the first week to spend time with Mayumi (and seriously help me out), my father (who came for the second week), my mother (who makes this whole thing possible), and my handful of great friends who babysat, entertained Mayumi, saved my spot in ticket lines, etc. Tim, Sally, and Amber...and Amber's crew...THANK YOU!

So yes, I saw 10 shows!! Here they are: Billy Elliot, Exit the King, Next to Normal, Blithe Spirit, Rock of Ages (although we left at intermission so it doesn't really count), 9 to 5, God of Carnage, Mary Stuart, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, and Guys and Dolls. I'd love to review them each for you...whoever you are...but knowing that no one is likely to read this I'll just let the random reader do their own research or contact me privately if curious. I WILL say that Next to Normal was by far my 'favorite' musical (hard to use that word since it was such a 'hard' show to watch (v. emotional)) and God of Carnage and Mary Stuart tied for favorite play. Rock of Ages was the worse musical (hence the early exit) and Exit the King was (by far) the worst play (I loved each of the others).

Enjoy the photos, courtesy of grandpa Astroland, as I took NONE. This last one doesn't even come close to capturing the funniness of the moment; one moment, she was sitting in a restaurant high chair, looking all innocent. Next moment we looked, she was practically swallowing a salt shaker. We tried to get her to do it again for a picture, but it never QUITE was as funny.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Climbing the Stairs

Mayumi climbed our staircase today while I wasn't looking. Seven stairs, not an inconsiderable height. Ugh. I had a student come while she was awake (usually she naps during my lessons) and I started her out in the swing next to our lesson table. This has worked fine in the past, but apparently now that she can walk she will NOT be confined to a somewhat stationary chair. Sigh. I apologized to my student and released Mayumi to wander about the room while I attempted to teach a lesson. Considering how noisy she can be, I was relieved when she went behind the little wall the separates the main room from the stairwell going up. I was even happier to note that she was silent, and figured she was having fun playing with some toy on (I hoped) the bottom step. Knowing that she has a tendency to try to climb the stairs, I strained my ears in her direction while attempting to simultaneously teach an Arabic lesson. Nothing--not a sound. When I finally heard a sound a few minutes later, it was clearly not from the downstairs. I excused myself to my student and dashed to the stairs; that little baby was no where in sight! I dashed upstairs and she was playing far across the room. She had climbed up the stairs entirely on her own!

Now don't worry; I don't plan on giving her free range to the staircases but I was actually quite proud of her (while also terrified of what could have happened...).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Year in the Life...

On 24 May 2009 Mayumi turned one year old! We celebrated with a luau-themed party at our home. Strangely, I only took one photo of the birthday girl herself, pictured here with her Auntie Heba (Heather Hughes) and Heba's future husband Koko (Congratulations you guys!!). My wonderful neighbors took many photos of the party and Mayumi and, when they pass them on to me, I'll post them. Note--Mayumi is wearing a dress from Honduras, presented to her by one of my Arabic students.

The following are a few other photos of some of our guests. I didn't get pictures of everyone but want to thank you ALL for coming and making Mayumi (and us) feel so loved. For those who have never been to our home, this party was held in our backyard. You may catch glimpses of our fence, our little storage shed, our deck, and our GARDEN in the background.

Mayumi has left the crawling world behind and has wholeheartedly embraced WALKING. See the clip below...although it really doesn't do her skills justice. Also notice the amazing baby gates that Nate engineered, built, and installed on our stairs.

Finally--we were gone in NYC for two weeks...hence, no posts. Once those pictures trickle in to me (I took NO pictures of my own, darn it!) I'll post them as well.