Monday, September 24, 2012

Pub Saturday

Last week was rather long and relentless at the House of Halekas. Grady had just gotten over a virus, and so then of course I had the same thing for the first half of the week (fever, gah). Meanwhile Jasper was conducting terribly fancy testing on the instrument he is sending to Mars next year. (I'm sure I've mentioned it.) Some nights he had to be at the lab monitoring and doing science things straight through the night. So he was coming and going at all hours, and often trying to sleep even if he was home. One morning I woke up and had no idea whether my husband was in the house. (He was.)

Come Saturday, Jasper was all filled with the buoyancy of his sciencey accomplishments and was honestly pretty peppy about it, I'll have you know. Meanwhile I needed one more half-day of computer time to finish up a draft so that I can make my end-of-the-month deadlines and keep bringing in all those millions of dollars so that we can save the planet for gosh sake. We're pretty important is what I'm saying. (Not actually.) But by Saturday afternoon, the Halekas clan was ready to call it. Weekend. Yes. Give me some of that.

I briefly pondered all the vegetables that were taking over the fridge, due to the crazy work hours and comings and goings and lack of cooking but continued onslaught of CSA boxes. I felt really bad about it, but I knew deep in my heart that we did not need me chopping eggplants and tomatoes. No, we needed to go someplace where someone would bring us a pint and a plate of food for a modest price. I told Jasper that I felt terribly guilty, but I couldn't deny that it was pub time.

So off to the Englander we went. And it was good.

Checking out the wine list.

Will you get a load of this Zin selection?

I'll have the fish-n-chips!

Well, yes, a drink while I wait would be delightful.


I will briefly sample this before subjecting it to gravity testing.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

FFFA: Eat Real Festival

A brief interlude of joy at the Eat Real Festival.
As it turns out, I don't really like festivals. All the people and the noise... the jostling about in crowds to make any forward progress... not actually having any idea where you are trying to get to... having to wait in line for every dang thing... all the people... and the people...

So, earlier this week, I lost my ever-loving mind and determined that this weekend's forced family funtime adventure would be the Eat Real Festival in Jack London Square. My initial motivation was the fact that our friend Nicole of FARMcurious had a booth and was going to do a demo on cheesemaking. And I momentarily forgot that a festival would also have a lot of other people at it. Okay, not really. I knew there woud be some other people. But I do forget just how crowded the world is. And how much I hate that.

We hadn't been on an FFFA in a while, due to extreme conditions in our work environments and also illness. I knew I was being ambitious, but I thought it would be fun. And it was, for brief flashes.

We peeked in at Nicole's cheese show, but it was popular (meaning crowded) and Baby Grady wasn't terribly interested. I could tell it was going to be good, though. And Nicole has put it in my head that I should make six kinds of chevre for the holidays. In fact, Nicole would say it's so easy, why wait for the holidays? Make six types of chevre for Tuesday night! But I am not the domestic goddess that Nicole is. So, the holidays. Homemade chevre.

At this point, Grady indicated that he was not enjoying the festival, but I managed to bring him around with some nursing in the Ergo inside a cool, quieter building. Honestly, if you think you are having a bad time, see if you can convince someone to put a boob in your mouth. It is apparently extremely fortifying.

Then I ate a taco that was downright delicious. I should have taken a picture of it. It contained braised pork shoulder. I also discovered the delicious gluten-free sourdough bread baked by Bread SRSLY. They deliver by bicycle throughout San Francisco. And no, I am not even kidding with that nonsense. That's how it is around here... gluten-free bread delivered by bicycle. Probably fixie. Because it's more sustainable?

Grady enjoyed some pineapple-mint agua fresca, though what I mean, specifically, is that he enjoyed dipping his paw in it.

But then as Grady started to fall apart for the second time, this time because it was time for a nap, and I looked around to find lines and crowds everywhere, I felt rather annoyed at being there. I was hungry, yes, at a food festival, but I didn't have the patience for fighting through the crowds to get more food. How dare all these other people also want frozen custard?!?! So we left. I left a food festival hungry. And came home and ate peanut butter straight from the jar. It was an epic new level of failure, even for an FFFA.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tasting sunbeams

We have these windows in our exterior doors, but they aren't like regular windows that you can just look through. I don't know what they're called. They are in "sections" like stained glass, but the glass isn't colored. Some of the glass is etched and some is just lumpy. I did briefly try to sort this out on the Google, but I got nothing. Anyway, the point is that light shines through these doors, but in scattered patches. The other point is that Baby Grady finds this fascinating.

He chases those light patches around and tries to grab at them. Sometimes he even tastes them. Which is just a really sensible thing to do when you are faced with such wonder, I think. He always peels back the rug, driving Jasper batty, looking for the source of those wily light patches. Or maybe trying to better comprehend their behavior. I don't really know.

He hasn't managed to grab one yet.

But he's still working on it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Cuter than a baby slow loris

This is from a few days ago, before Baby Grady got sick. And I just have to warn you that it's ridiculous. So, so cute and silly. As Auntie V pointed out earlier this week, "It's clear that Grady's world hasn't gotten any less hilarious lately." This is true. The world remains really, really funny.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


On Friday, Baby Grady woke up with an awfully big fever for such a little guy. (And yes, I know that in fact it's the opposite and babies can have higher fevers, safely, than adults, but roll with me here. Big fever, little baby. Much sadness)

He'd woken up hot and sad in the middle of the night and I got a temperature of 102.5 and gave him ibuprofen and we rocked and watched some Little Einsteins and then went back to sleep. In the morning, he woke up sad again, and felt hot again, and that's when I got a temperature of 104.8. And that's when I determined I was clearly no longer qualified to handle the situation. So I called up the advice nurse and she said that it was fine and we could just continue to treat him at home. But if it hit 106, we should go to the ER. Which seemed so strange... there was no intermediate "go to the doctor" protocol. When I asked about that, she said that if it were her kid, she'd want to see a doctor with a fever that high. So we did.

And they found nothing, of course. The doctor said that if we didn't start to see other symptoms in a day or so (divulging the reason for the fever), and it didn't go away, she would want to get a urine sample. Have you ever tried to get a nine-month-old to pee in a cup? Me neither, but I'm pretty sure it ends in a catheter. She sent us home with some sample cups, just in case we got the chance to obtain some baby urine. Because that might happen?

By last night my baby was very snurffley, so I think we have our culprit. But the fever persists. We've been alternating ibuprofen and acetaminophen for two days now and hoping this thing breaks soon. He has periods of cheerfulness when the fever's down, but it tends to spike back up before he's due for another dose, so we also have periods of great sadness.

You guys, I really hate it when my baby is sick. After we went to the pediatrician on Friday morning, I went in to work (late) and felt like such a rotten mom. Jasper was home with him, and we couldn't come up with a good reason for me to get behind in work (and miss two important meetings), when Jasper was there. If it had been a daycare day, I certainly would have stayed home. Obviously. But... even though I didn't need to stay home with him, I sure felt like I should. And I also felt like I should go to work. And the shoulds just made me feel lousy all around, because this is me... trying to handle multiple responsibilities and doing nothing well. Jasper was under strict orders to call me to come home if Grady wouldn't take a bottle, or if he just needed mommy. And they were fine, of course, because Jasper is a rock-solid daddy.

But I wasn't there to nurse my sick baby, because I was at work. And he was sick, most likely, because I sent him to daycare while I went to work. And some days I just really have no idea what I'm doing here, because it's clearly all mistakes and badness. And also all about me? I have not failed to notice this.

[This post is part of a conscious decision to talk about the things that are happening even if I can't make them funny. Feel free to let me know if it isn't working out for you.]

Monday, September 3, 2012


Baby Grady had kind of a big weekend, I'm not gonna lie. I mean, it was no big deal, really. He didn't go wine tasting or anything. But there was lots of out and about and sometimes that still amazes me. Like, that I can pack my baby up and go for coffee, errands, a meal... and it isn't dependably horrible and regret-inducing. In fact, I can pretty well count on Baby Grady to hang these days. We also spent a great deal of time trying to respond to his tired signals and get him to nap, while he refused to have any of that nonsense, because he might miss something for gosh sakes!

Following a morning of trying to convince our tired baby to sleep, Saturday afternoon was all kinds of surprising, because Jasper was supposed to have to work, but then he texted to say he didn't and was coming right back home. Then, the baby went down for a nap (!), and Jasper tried to put his slick moves on me, and as soon as that happened, the baby woke right back up because he does not believe in any hanky-panky among his parental-types (in addition to not believing in napping for himself). Then we ate pizza and watched Project Runway.

On Sunday, I had to take my computer to see the Apple Geniuses. Because of all the napping issues, I packed Grady the Gus up early, thinking he could nap on the way out to the WC. But he wasn't quite asleep yet when I got to our exit, so I kept right on driving up to Pleasant Hill (not actually a hill, as far as I know, but quite pleasant). I knew there was a Carter's store there (though I didn't know the location) and they were having a sale and because Grady has lots of cute t-shirts that will fit this winter, I wanted to get him some basic long-sleeved under-onesies. And this whole plan sort of hatched in my head as I drove cluelessly with my baby listing on the edge of sleep in the back seat.

Then, magically, I took a random exit, happened to see the Carter's store across the street, and pulled into a shady parking lot where my baby took his morning nap, which wasn't nearly long enough, but alas. When Baby Grady woke up, we walked over to the Peet's, where we met another fuzzy blond baby, whose mom recommended Toms for early walkers. Thank you for the advice, Other Mom, I already have my eye on the Calculus print, which might be discontinued, but I pinned it, so now I'm obsessed. Once I had my decaf, we sat by a fountain, and Grady had a snack of his own. Then we got those onesies and got back on the road to Walnut Creek.

Wow, it only just struck me that this is terribly boring and I should delete it, but I probably won't, because someone like maybe my mother-in-law might enjoy hearing about Baby Grady's non-adventures. So. We got to Walnut Creek a little early and went to the park, briefly, where Grady got himself quite sandy climbing in a train. Then we walked to the Apple Store (just needed a new power cord! for $80 thank you very much!). Then we swung through the H&M where we got Grady some very cheap comfy pants for fall. I wanted to get him a dapper cardigan, but his size was long gone. I contemplated a few other items, but left with just my $10-worth of comfy pants. After walking back to the park, where we'd left the car, it was clear that Grady was ready for nap #2 of the day.

So, we headed home, and just as we pulled into our neighborhood, he fell asleep. So, we sat in the car for awhile, and Grady took a nice normal-length nap of a full hour or something crazy. Then we went inside and Skyped with the Spokane grandparents. They got to see Grady be fussy, take some ibuprofen, bounce back, and then busy himself all over the living room with pulling up, cruising, crawling under coffee tables, and pounding his fists while orating on the state of society and so forth. Reese also had a cameo appearance.

Then we ate risotto.

On Monday, we spent pretty much the entire day trying to get Grady to sleep, while he mocked us. Jasper walked approximately 72 miles with him. And for much of that, Grady rode in his stroller, which is just the strangest because he wasn't weeping or anything. I am trying not to get too excited about what this might mean for my running opportunities.

During the brief interludes when we were not trying to get Grady to sleep, we went to our local coffeehouse where we hung out in the play area and met yet another fuzzy blond baby (they are really and truly everywhere this season). His name was Zev and he and Grady got on famously. But Zev is moving to New Zealand next week, so we were careful not to get too attached.

Later, after Grady had his afternoon not-nap, we took him to Boulevard Burger -- our local joint -- for the first time. There he ate his first chicken tender, and also really enjoyed the water, and some pickles.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


At some point we happened upon a routine wherein Daddy does bathtime while I clean up from dinner. I'm pretty sure I should be unhappy with this breakdown of household chores...

Bathtime looks pretty fun. And dishes typically aren't.

By the way, that's a duck shaped like an egg (I don't know) and a plastic feta container. The feta container is by far the favorite of all the bath toys. Because, obviously.