Saturday, February 14, 2004

Back from away

Got back yesterday. Tired. It's good to be home.

Just a couple days into my trip, I was going through blog withdrawal. Blogging on paper (just "logging," I guess) doesn't cut it. (Everything I note down is so obviously of the utmost importance to the whole world that committing anything to paper rather than the Internet is committing a disservice to mankind.) And a couple days ago I realized I'd kicked it. I'd kicked the blog habit. But wait — it's a good habit, isn't it? So today, I'm forcing myself to reestablish the daily routine.

Some highlights from our trip (in approximately chronological order):

Bedtime's a bit of a chore. Helena can climb out of bed, and does at every opportunity. I lie down with her to barricade her and help lull her to sleep. This takes well over an hour.

The WMD debacle continues. Clearly WMD now stands for weapons of mass deception. (See? That's something I'd noted down on paper as something to elaborate upon in my blog later. I thought it was terribly clever and thought by the time I had access to a computer again this old initialism with new interpretation would be passé. How terribly wrong I can be. It's not clever at all. It's the pen and paper that puts up a wall between me and the world and obscures the relevance of my reality.)

Helena has some new dance moves. She stands no hands, just in front of the stairs so she can use the first step to help prop her up if needed. There's a bit of a twist in the knees, and she clasps her hands together and swings them from side to side.

Sensory overload. Possibly for Helena, definitely for me. The tv is almost always on. I turned it off for a short while in the early evening and was bowled over by the quiet.

My mother tells Helena repeatedly "Nie, nie, nie" (Polish for "No, no, no") when she's getting into something she shouldn't, or more usually when Helena is trying to climb the stairs all the way up when no one is really in the mood to follow and monitor her. Helena now mimics my mom, saying "Ne, ne, ne." You know she's going to say it cuz there's a pause while she tries to figure out how to coordinate the words with shaking the head and wagging the finger from side to side. It's so cute! It's so cute that I fear the meaning of the words is already lost on her.

Helena bit my mother. Three times. It seemed deliberate. (This morning, she bit J-F.)

Edwards screwed himself out of the vice presidency. George Stephanopoulos asked him that sleazy question (Would you consider being Kerry's running mate?) about 50 times with very slight variations. (Sleazy because if you answer yes it's a surrender that the fight for the presidential nomination is lost, if you answer no you narrow you're options.) Edwards evaded for a while, but tired of the damn game, paused, and said no. At least Dean, when posed a similar question by Wolf Blitzer, laughed.

Bush met the press. Moron.

I really hate sleeping with Helena. She kicks me in face in the middle of the night, and then she wants to play.

The Grammys went off without a hitch. The only political statement came from Coldplay's lead singer, calling John Kerry the next president of the United States. My first thought: What does he care? He's British. But, apart from being an activist, etc, he knocked up Gwyneth Paltrow, who used to date Chris Heinz, who is John Kerry's stepson and campaigning actively on his behalf. Coincidence? Was this orchestrated by Kerry to help attract a youth vote?

It a took a few days, but Helena finally established a corner of the front hall closet as her space capsule. She likes storing her stuff, and stuff from my mom's cupboards (provisions?), there. She sits there for a bit, sliding the door closed on the outside world.

Tuesday we went "downtown" (it's not exactly a bustling urban centre) to meet a friend. Helena was quite social and thoroughly enjoyed the coffeehouse couches.

Wednesday Helena climbed up onto the coffeetable. Man she's fast!

The train travel went pretty well. The hardest part is trying to look a little helpless and pathetic so that someone offers to help carry a bag off the train for me. The most stressful part is boarding the train in St Catharines — it's not much of a station and the train stops there for all of two minutes. I'm afraid of the train pulling away with only half my baggage on board, and then in all the fuss I might drop the baby.

Actually, I was so stressed about our departure, we overslept. The alarm failed to go off. I woke up and checked the time with only 35 minutes to go before the train was to pull up. Ack. What on Earth possessed Helena to sleep late on this of all days?! Immediately called for a cab, but the dispatcher told us it would take 25 minutes. But the gods smiled on us, and the cab company. Somehow we made it aboard, and with most of our possessions (I left my pyjamas in a puddle on my mom's floor and my toothbrush in a puddle on the bathroom counter). Helena was way better without breakfast than I was without coffee. But we made it.

And now we're home.

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