Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What I'll miss about Paris #14

In the neighborhood, there's a little white furry terrier/poodle mix who literally skips with his hind legs! How cute is that? I saw him for the second time ever, and boy, he really makes me smile. I can't stop smiling and I want to follow behind him as long as possible so I can enjoy the show. It's funny -- this little guy can't help skipping, even when his owner wants him to go faster. I wasn't impressed by his owner who tried to drag him away while he was doing a doodle -- and, of course, she didn't pick it up! It's in the middle of the sidewalk, lady! Have some courtesy! I won't be missing her.

New photos to view, finally!

Things are looking up
Originally uploaded by Caroline in Paris.
Ooh, what a cute girl! Hey, everyone, I've finally got SOME new photos on my flickr site. They're from Bonifacio and Corte, Corsica, when we were there in late April. More photos from Corsica to come, as well as Berlin photos (May), and those from Mont St. Michel and St. Malo (February). Click on a link (or the photo) on this posting to go directly to the site, or click on "my photos" under "links" in the sidebar of my blog. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Back from Berlin!

Sorry I've been out of touch again but we just spent 10 days in Berlin! Had a fun and crazy time -- a very different trip from Corsica, that's for sure. Yep, I've got photos from all of our travels. I think I'll just have to post them without doing much editing. The editing process is just overwhelming when you've got to look at a thousand photos!

Our baby boy Armitage is doing great -- loves to kick when I'm eating. We have a 3-D ultrasound today...can't wait!

Getting ready for our move is like having a part-time job. Selling appliances, cancelling this and that. We're flying June 22 (Leo as well, but on a different airline). We'll probably have to camp out in Los Banos until our furniture arrives. Hoping to deliver the baby in Berkeley and have Maylin start kindergarten there on the first day of the school year.

More later!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Natural runner

More on Maylin. She was racing with her closest friends after school in the park the other day and it was such a beautiful thing to see. I've seen her run before and I always marvel at her grace and speed. Not a wasted movement. Everything purposeful, efficient. Her face is relaxed but intent. If she wins, she's proud. If she loses, she's fine with it (phew!).

I see her in myself. I had a passion for running, but around age ten, I developed asthma. I should've started using an inhaler regularly when exerting myself so I could participate in sports but I didn't. I was a great sprinter and was even asked to be on the track team in my second high school, but I obediently listened to my parents and focused on my studying and music instead. I don't regret my decision, but I think I did miss out on a lot of fun and I would have learned how to deal with competition better -- something I've long feared. If Maylin ever says she wants to run competitively, I'll support her.

She's declared her career

John has occasionally asked Maylin some difficult questions. Well, I always think they're too difficult for preschoolers to answer because they usually require a lot of thought. During the long car ride to Nice to take the ferry to Corsica he asked her, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" When Maylin didn't know what to do with that question, I helped a little by giving some examples. When she heard me mention "artist" and what they do, she jumped at it. She said she wanted to be an artist because painting is her most favorite thing to do. Immediately, I felt pride and envy. The pride is understandable. The envy stems from the worry that had plagued me for the last ten years or so. What do I want to do with my life? And here's a four-and-a-half year-old kid who's got it all worked out.

I had never put down "full-time mother" on my list of careers, but if you look at my skills, interests, and passions, motherhood certainly fits the bill. If I do pursue other things down the line, both professional and non-professional, that will just be icing on the cake.

"I want to put my sandals on for pretty"

Lately, Maylin's been into looking "pretty." She'll change into a dress and wear barrettes and ponytail on weekends and when she gets home from school, but she'll never do it for school. I don't really understand it. Maybe she doesn't want to draw attention from her schoolmates, even though most of the girls there wear skirts and dresses themselves. I think it was about six months ago when I was trying to get her to wear something really nice to school. She started crying because the item was "too pretty." I don't know where she gets this from. I rarely use the word "pretty" but it seems the concept has made a very strong impression on her.

The last two weeks have been nice and warm in Paris so I've allowed Maylin to wear shorts and a t-shirt to school. In the evenings, she's excited about picking out her outfit, and in the morning, she wakes up happy and energetic. I attribute her fervor to the clothes because she'll put them on herself (something she's never done entirely by herself) and come into our bedroom before it's even time for me to get her out of bed.

Sandal shopping was required when Maylin only wanted to wear her strawberry rainboots (even on hot, sunny days) or her classic, black leather Mary Jane's, which were getting rather tight. I let her pick them out -- she made a very tasteful choice and even helped me shop for my own pair. She usually makes a very nice shopping companion.

She's been proudly wearing her sandals for the last couple days (even to school) and wanted them back on yesterday evening, prompting her to say, "I want to put my sandals on for pretty." She seems to make the same grammar mistakes over and over again, but I don't ever tell her she's making a mistake and overtly correct her. I just gently repeat what she's trying to say in the the right format. So I said, "You want to put on your sandals to be pretty?" For most of my life, I didn't take criticism and corrections well, and I think Maylin may be the same way. So to preserve her self-esteem, I teach in this indirect manner and have told John to do the same. Okay, at some point, she's going to have to get used to people being direct with her, but I think this method works well for now.

The mysterious disapppearance of Mr. Black and Mr. Black

On the mantle, alongside our goldfish Nemo, there once lived our black beetles Mr. Black and Mr. Black. During our two-week Corsica trip, they subsided on the remains of a head of romaine lettuce. They survived the vacation, no problem, and Nemo (aka Princess) as well on his special, slow-dissolving, igloo-resembling holiday food. Couple days after our return home, our two tiniest pets disappeared. I remember seeing their last incarnation of a house (an open, clear plastic box) sitting in the kitchen, with the wilted lettuce. The kitchen was on odd place for their home to be, and I assumed John had returned them to their usual home, a whisky glass, because I didn't see the little guys in the box. I emptied the contents of the box into the trash and put the box in the dishwasher.

I forgot to ask John about the whereabouts of Mr. Black and Mr. Black because, days later, they still weren't in the usual mantle location. We finally had some quiet time on the couch together one evening and I was relaxed enough to bring it up -- mind you, this was at least a full week after Corsica. He told me he had no idea, he had never moved them into the kitchen, and he had not put them back into a whisky glass. So we don't know why the box was ever in the kitchen, perhaps I unconsciously moved it there...perhaps I was readying them for their house transfer. Whichever the case, they are gone now and were most likely tossed out with that lettuce, clinging onto the bottom where I couldn't see them. Or, maybe they got out and are wandering the apartment as I write this blog posting.

Fortunately, Maylin hasn't been affected by their loss. I think she even talked about them once as if we still had them. Aw, the poor kid's in the denial.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Food obsession has calmed down

Gosh, remember all those food-related blog postings from January through March? Now you can blame them on the pregnancy. Pigging out on pork in Strasbourg? My body was crying out for protein, and lots of it. Salami-egg sandwiches I made myself every morning for a period? Another call for protein. All those udon restaurant reviews? A first-trimester craving. My falafel project that lost steam? Another craving. And finally, in Corsica, I went on a deep-fried calamari binge.

I actually enjoyed all those cravings -- kept things interesting. Now it's really tough. I go to the store and I don't know what to buy. I never know what I want to eat. Meat's not very high on my list anymore. Greasy stuff? Not tempting anymore. I'm only sure about fruit, which I kept in stock in our hotel room and car during the Corsica trip. And a small bowl of granola and milk tastes pretty good in the morning.

Also, now that my belly is nearly hitting my record-sized boobs, I don't have much room in my stomach for stuffing myself like the good ol' days. Small, frequent meals/snacks throughout the day. It's a little disorienting when I go to a restaurant and I'm actually having trouble finishing my dish.

WIth some effort, I did clear my plate during my first meal (and hopefully, not last) at Zen Zoo, rumored to be the only Taiwanese restaurant in all of Paris. Went with two Taiwanese friends, of course, and we were all very impressed. Ooh, I'll stop there since this calls for a restaurant review.

Back to reading after a long dry-spell

I have been reading about three to four books per month quite steadily since September. But sometime in March, I completely lost interest in reading. Very strange -- like someone pulling out the plug. In early April, one of my friends offered to lend me several books but I had to turn her down with slight embarrassment. So it seems I just had too much on my mind. My brain was completely full and I wasn't ready to write another file onto it. It was like I had too many storylines going on in my head to handle anymore. I had the moving storyline, the pregnancy storyline, the Corsica trip planning storyline, and the Berlin trip planning storyline. I could handle minimal time investment reading, like magazines, guidebooks, and the internet.

My cloud finally lifted on Saturday, when I was in sort of a safety zone -- the final day of real physical activity limitation after my amniocentesis (which went MUCH better than last year's because it felt pretty much like a blood test instead of having my belly popped like a balloon). Since then, I've finished The Kite Runner (amazing story -- I highly recommend it to everyone) and Girl with a Pearl Earring (I got addicted and finished it in a few hours late at night). I'm working on a less-impressive Le Divorce right now. Not very inspiring reading although it's about some American expats in Paris. The author lives part-time in Paris so I thought all her facts about living here would be right, but I did notice one little error. The narrator's niece Gennie really ought to be in "ecole maternelle," or preschool, instead of going to a "creche," which, in most cases, is government-subsidized baby daycare for working moms. The daughter is three years-old, too old for a "creche" or an "halte garderie" (toddler daycare), and the mom is a poet, not really holding the typically required 9-5 job.

My nit-pickiness, I guess, can be rather annoying to people, but I think I'm a natural editor of sorts. I had the best time reading over a friend's early draft of a feature film script. Just loved giving my input, as long as the victim can handle everything I'm going to dish out. I'm very nice about it though, starting with the positive stuff first. Learned that bit in piano teaching. Actually, I probably learned that in childhood -- didn't get lots of positive strokes, just lots of criticism which got me down and compromised my self-esteem.

But that's another story.