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October 28, 2005

The cat in the window

Less than a block from our house here in Brooklyn on 5th Avenue is a small shop named the Pink Pussycat. This establishment features, ahem, adult novelty items (or so I'm told!). All in all, it's a benign shop, a little shabby even. I usually don't notice it any more than I notice the dozens and dozens of other shops and restaurants on this busy shopping avenue.

Due to the nature of their merchandise, their front window has a heavy black curtain to prevent prying eyes from seeing inside. In front of the curtain is a fairly bland and amateurish window display, the central feature of which is a 2 foot tall sculpture or mannequin or whatever of a big pink cat.

I'm not sure what people out there are thinking about our neighborhood at this point, but trust me when I say it's not that big of a deal. So why am I mentioning it?

Meredith loves animals. Dogs. Cats. Squirrels. Zebras. Whatever. Did I mention cats? Whenever we happen to walk by this particular store, there's a very good chance that the pink cat in the window will catch her eye, and that of course prompts her to run to the window and point and chatter excitedly, "cat, cat, cat. Cat says meow". Then she'll just stand there and stare at this wondrous cat in the window, reaching out to try and touch it. Time then slows to a crawl. I feel the eyes of all the passersby as they take in the scene of the young father and his precious daughter loitering in front of the adult novelty shop. Somehow I'm not sure they can figure out that it's not my idea to be just hanging out there.

She does the same thing at the cat veterinarian's office just a few blocks away where there are real cats in the window. "Cat, cat, cat", she shreiks. That's OK. But I can't shake that slightly less than father-of-the-year feeling when she does it at the Pink Pussycat.

Posted by Greg at 12:57 AM | Comments (1)

October 21, 2005

2 years on

s11.JPGNew pictures are here, new pictures are here. Click on the picture to the left for the latest pics.
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Latest happenings include our September vacation to Westport Point in southern Massachusetts. We were up there for about 9 days over the Labor Day weekend; thanks to the hospitality of the Schleck's for letting us have the use of their house there. While there we had two sets of visitors, first my mom (aka MeMac) and sister, Jill. M can't say 'Aunt Jill'; it comes out as Aunt Gosh. That's a good name, it might stick. They were with us for about 4 days. We got in a lot of good beach time and a lot of relaxing-around-the-house time.

They flew back home mid-week, but their slots were filled by Josie's dad (Grand-Pere) and sister Erin. Again, M has trouble with the names of her aunts. Aunt Erin comes out as Aunt Ernie. Another good name that might stick.

While they were there, we had more of the same and that's a good thing. Lots of relaxing, lots of good food. We also spent a day in nearby New Bedford, an old whaling town with a fantastic whaling museum.

M loved the surf, no trepidation at all. She seemed to want one of us with her as she charged into the water, but we were optional. She was going anyway. There was a little toy boat at the house that she adopted as her new favorite toy. It had a string tied to it and she was more or less surgically attached to it as she played in the water.

I'm certain that if you ask any of the group who was there, they'll agree that it was an exceptionally relaxed and fantastic vacation. The surreal part of the trip was that Katrina slammed into New Orleans right as the vacation started, so our immediate experience was a large juxtaposition compared to what unfolded that week in the news. Unimaginable.
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In other news, M hurtled past the two year mark while we were on the vacation. We had a small party for her there and then another one back in Brooklyn with her friends.

She is really exploding with her words, having real back-and-forth conversations with us, moving past the point-and-identify stage. The things she picks up are amazing. I casually said 'Go Cowboys' one day weeks ago when a Cowboys game was on. She looked at me like I was crazy (happens a lot) and we moved on. Then, when a football game was on several weeks later, she turned to me casually and murmured 'Go Cowboys'. So something clicked in there about context and she filed it away for future use. (Full disclosure: it wasn't actually the Cowboys who were playing that second time, but hey it was football. What do you want from her, she's only 2 years old?)

Posted by Greg at 1:15 PM | Comments (1)

October 20, 2005

O, happy day!

astros.gifIf you don't know me that well or if I have never cornered you and bored you with old baseball stories, you might not know that I'm a fairly avid baseball fan in general and a Houston Astros fan in particular. I can date my 'Stros connection back to when I was 8 years old in the summer of '77. I spent most of that summer at my grandparents house in Lufkin, where my main activities were baseball, baseball, baseball and, for variety, vacation bible school. Baseball was the one that stuck.

I played on a little league team there (actually, a Dixie League team) whose name was, prophetically, the Astros. That name alone steered me a bit towards liking the 'Stros, but Lufkin's proximity to Houston was the clincher. I saw Astros game on TV and read about them in the paper. I was pummeled with baseball and the Astros. I was hooked.

Even moving to New York hasn't diminished my interest (thank you, internet). If anything, suffering through the recent Yankee successes and having to hear about them ad nauseam in the media has strengthened my resolve.

And now...the 'Stros have landed in the World Series, after nearly 30 years of unrequited fandom. O, happy day!

Posted by Greg at 12:33 AM | Comments (0)

October 6, 2005

Don't forget Rita

If you're relying solely on the national news, you'd think that the second hurricane that passed through last month was practically a non-event. But that was not the case. While it paled in comparison to what Katrina did to New Orleans, Rita really did a number on Beaumont and the surrounding area, where Josie grew up and where all of her family still lives. It was two weeks ago today that they evacuated ahead of the storm to the relative safety of Silsbee about 30 miles farther inland. They rode out the storm there, but here we are two weeks out and they are still not home. They are allowed home now, but the electricity is still off.

A few days after the storm passed when it was clear that normal wasn't going to return soon, they all, Jud, Joyce, Audrey and their 4 collective dogs, re-evacuated, this time to Erin's house in Friendswood south of Houston. They've been there ever since. Fortunately, Joyce's house and Jud's house were both OK, just a lot of debris from trees being knocked down. Audrey's house in Silsbee is also OK, but it doesn't have electricity yet either.

If you want to read more about it, the Beaumont newspaper has been our best source of information. From that, we heard about this little tidbit regarding the mosquito problem that is escalating:

According to Jefferson County Commissioner Mark Domingue, the current landing rate is between 25 and 55 per minute, well above the 10 that FEMA considers a serious problem.

He went on to add:

"I have seen as many as 200 per minute," he said. "That's when you look down at your legs, and it looks like you're growing fur."

Look, if you're from the area or have been to the area, you probably know that SE Texas is fairly renowned for mosquitoes. It's not something you usually hear people complaining about since it is such a given. So when you do hear complaints, much less newspaper articles, about it being a problem, wow, that is very telling.

Hang in there, all of you. Better times (and hopefully electricity and cooler mosquito-killing weather) are a-coming.

Posted by Greg at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)