Thursday, June 23, 2005

Shiny, not so happy person

It is hot. Really hot. Hot weather makes me very shiny. As Carlos puts it (while the Spaniard looks cool and non-shiny), “In the summer, you are from a family of shiny people.” It’s true – I think my entire family is not genetically engineered to deal with hot weather. We all take on a rather red, shiny appearance as soon as the mercury rises above 75 F.

We’re experiencing a bit of a heat wave in London right now, and we don’t have A/C. Frankly, it would seem a little wasteful to have air conditioning here since it is this hot for such a short period of the year. Still, this heat is killing me. I’ve been trying to work from home all day today, and I can’t seem to get anything done other than sweat profusely.

It remains to be seen if Anna will join the shiny people or if the Spanish side will win out. For her sake, I hope she’ll be a non-shiny person in the summer. It is already clear that she won’t have her mother’s freckly, sunburn prone skin – lucky girl. But, she doesn’t seem to be dealing well with this heat.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

A Day, A Decade -- No big diff

Yesterday Anna and I met up with some friends from McGill – Tiff and Ben and their daughter Clara (who is two months older than Anna). It was fantastic to see them and to finally meet little Clara in the flesh (you can follow her exploits at Before I met them at the train station, I was thinking about the fact that I hadn’t seen Tiff and Ben for about 10 years. Who knew that 10 years could go by so quickly! Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate with us yesterday, and we ended up exploring my neck of the woods in the rain. The good thing about miserable, rainy days is that they are ideal for sitting in cozy English pubs and catching up with old friends.

When did I reach a point in my life where not seeing friends for a decade is (a) possible, and (b) not such a big deal. I guess with friends living all over the world, it is hard to meet up with everyone on a regular basis. The funny thing is that when I saw Tiff and Ben, I didn’t feel like much time had passed since I saw them last.

Anna continues to chat away. New words are:
Tingka = toothbrush, I want to brush my teeth
Opsuh = octopus

I love my boots.

This smells lovely.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Slick Baby

I think I need to have Anna eat wearing a showercap. She has become increasingly fond of rubbing her hands in her hair when they are covered with food. This morning was especially bad because she decided to rub her buttered toast (and buttery hands) all over hair. So, out Anna went this morning with Angelika looking like she just stepped off the set for West Side Story. I was half expecting her to launch into "When you're a Jet . . . ".

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Carlos had a bit of a surprise yesterday when we were playing with Anna. She started looking at him and saying: “Cahlohs, Cahlohs”. What????? Poor Carlos looked at her and said, “No no no, Papa Papa” (pointing emphatically at himself). Wow, where did this come from? I don’t think she understands that she’s saying Papa’s name, but it really threw us for a loop.

We went to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew today and saw the most fantastic glass art exhibition. Kew Gardens are one of the most extensive botanical gardens in the UK and are close to where we live. We bought season passes to the gardens and go there a lot. Generally, we go just to amble around (not paying much attention to all the plants) and to let Anna run around (the gardens also have a great play area for kids). Now, the gardens are exhibiting glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly in the most amazing way. If anyone has been to the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, he is the artist who made those incredible glass flowers on the ceiling of the hotel’s lobby. His glass sculptures are placed throughout the gardens, amongst the plants. It is really incredible. I’m going to try and go back this coming week and take some pictures to post here. I was totally blown away. I haven’t figured out yet if the sculptures that are in the gardens existed prior to this exhibit or if there were created solely for exhibiting in the gardens. I think it is the latter. It is very difficult to describe without pictures, but his work has been placed in such a way that it looks almost like it is part of the plantscape. Very amazing.

New words

Teekuhl = Mr. Tickle (thank you Maya Key); this generally means please read the book Mr. Tickle for me
Cumpee = crab (not as out of this world as it seems because she has a book called Clumsy Crab that she loves; seems to have combined the two words)
Mango = just emerged yesterday; I don’t know where she learned this word because I don’t think either Carlos or I have taught it to her, but it does in fact seem to refer to the fruit
Laybuh = ladybug

I'm happier looking in this picture

18 Months -- wannna make something of it??

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Ohlee! 18 Months Today

Today Anna is 18 months. What a milestone. As I’m sure I’ve already written, time moves super fast these days.

I’m at the computer writing while listening to the most lovely rendition of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Anna is in bed for her nap, and we’ve read a number of books already. I put her in her crib with Piglet and her doll and a few books for her to read to them. She done reading and is now singing (in a tiny, very high pitched voice) “Kinkull kinkull lil tar” – the words fade out a bit after that first line, but amazingly she’s got the tune spot on.

It was been so much fun watching her recently. She’s really turning into a funny little person. The crazy thing is to see her traits that she gets from Carlos and her traits that she gets from me, but the craziest thing is to see her traits that are all her own. One thing that is a little disturbing is her temper. The majority of the time Anna is a very good natured and happy child. But, when she’s tired and something frustrates her, look out! When she gets mad, she makes me think of the Incredible Hulk. Remember on the TV show when someone made the scientist mad (I can’t remember his name), he would look at them and say through clenched teeth: “You don’t want to make me angry.” Well, Anna gets look and then turns into the Hulk – except for she doesn’t turn green, she doesn't triple in size and she doesn’t turn into Lou Ferrigno. Yesterday she got mad at her play stroller (a toddler-sized stroller for dolls, etc. that she just got yesterday – it seems to be a de rigeur toy here and Anna loves it) because it wouldn’t cooperate with her plans to place three teddy bears in at the same time. So she clenched her fists, yelled and bit the stroller. Yikes. Hopefully, this temper will ease up once her coordination develops more and her stroller plans don’t get thwarted quite so often.

We went to Barcelona last weekend, for an extra long weekend (it was a Bank Holiday weekend here). It was great to see the abuelos (espaƱol for grandparents for you gringos out there), and they went nuts for Anna. The weather was wonderful, lots of sun and the perfect temperature. We flew with Swiss International Airlines (I think it replaced Swiss Air), and they get a huge thumbs up in my book. Wow, they were really great. Excellent customer service (not something that is a defining characteristic of Iberia Airlines), and the best thing was on the way back we flew through Zurich and the Zurich Airport has a gorgeous playroom/nursery for kids. Anna was on cloud nine! During our layover, there was a huge room filled with toys for her to play in. Just a service that the airport offers. Wow.

On the job front, I’ve got training scheduled for Thursday next week. I think the scope of my work will become clearer after this. For now, I think I’ll be adding information to the organization’s website about cases in the US involving the Alien Tort Claims Act (a law that has been used to sue for human rights violations in US courts). Oh, in case I haven’t mentioned, the organization is a small non-profit that acts as a resource center for information on human rights and business. In particular, they monitor activities (both positive and negative) of companies as they relate to international human rights. It should be really interesting.

New words:
Ohlee = hola
Tannkoo = thank you
Gassjass = gracias
Umblela = umbrella