Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Guest Post: Interview with a vampire Peace Corps Volunteer


Hello, sports fans! It is I, Mother Eisenberg, here in Privet Drive on my round the world trip with Father Eisenberg, visiting with our Annie. We are in Magnolia Crescent, our first stop, and I have told Annie how many people on her unblog mailing list have personally begged and pleaded with me to get her to write another installment. She has agreed to sit down with me for an interview. So here she is, Annie Eisenberg, in her own words.

ME: Annie, what have you been up to this summer?

AE: Several things. Thanks for asking. I started the summer off with the arrival of Hermione Granger, at the end of May. (Editor’s note: Hermione Granger is Annie’s high school, college and post college friend from Ithaca.) The residents of Little Whinging welcomed Hermione into their bosom (Editor’s note: objection to this phrase shot down by Annie). We spent about a week puttering around Little Whinging and spending awkward times sitting at my friends’ houses and having them harangue Hermione about what words she knew in Arabic. And after a month, Hermione did indeed build up a significant Arabic vocabulary. In mid-June, we went to in-service training, otherwise known as IST, in The Burrow, which is a coastal city in southern Privet Drive, north of Ottery St. Catchpole, which we are forbidden to visit. The other PCVs and I spent the week “training” while Hermione [CENSORED so as not to incriminate the interviewee]. On the plus side, however, Hermione met all of my colleagues and they all expressed surprise at my having such a nice friend.

ME: What happened after that?

AE: I spent about two weeks in my site doing nothing but watching t.v. with Hermione. Hermione went home at the end of June and we are no longer on speaking terms. Just kidding. Or am I?

ME: Annie, that was your last friend!

AE: I said just kidding. Or am I? Anyway, I went straight from Hermione’s departure in Stoatshead Hill to a warden’s conference in Magnolia Crescent. But that’s boring, although it’s always nice to see friends. Of which I do, in fact, have many, due to being extremely popular. And pretty.

ME: Thank goodness. What next?

AE: Then I had about a day and then Luna Lovegood and her friend came from Diagon Alley where they were studying Darija and Arabic respectively. (Editor’s note: Luna is another Ithacan, daughter of Draco who works with Father Eisenberg.) It was a pleasant weekend involving couscous and an impromptu dance party with Hasnaa (Editor’s note: Annie has never spelled this name this way before–formerly known as Hessnah or maybe Hesina.) I find this tedious, Mother.

ME: You promised! Just a few more questions. I’m begging you. The people want to know!

AE: Then I had two weeks at camp in Hogsmeade, which is a couple of hours south of Magnolia Crescent on the coast.

ME: What did you do there?

AE: A colleague and I led theater club, which involved activities and games that tended not to interest half of the children, but we did our best. Also we had a nightly dance party. The food was really bad, and I shared a room with eight very smelly PCVs.

ME: Yecch. Then?

AE: Then I went back to my site for three days and then embarked upon a vacation with Cho, Ginny, and Dolores, all of whom I met up with in Godric's Hollow, which is in northern Privet Drive. They are all PCVs. Cho used to be referenced as Lip Pouty girl, but we are friends now, so she no longer has that nickname and she shall henceforth be referred to as Cho. Her site is in the middle of nowhere, but she’s getting moved, so my fingers are crossed for her to be put in my province. We met up in Godric's Hollow, which we found to be an unimpressive city, although all we did was drink gin and tonics in the hotel.

ME: Annie!!!!!

AE: I learned from the best, Mother. Let’s have some more wine.

ME: Well, I guess just a little top off wouldn’t hurt. Glug, glug.

AE: The next day we took a bus to Beauxbatons which is about two hours north of Diagon Alley nestled in the Durmstrang Mountains. It really looks like a Swiss village, and the old medina is painted almost entirely blue, which has a very dreamlike effect on one’s time in the city.

ME: Then?

AE: We mainly just walked around, and I bought a lot of jewelry. After two days there, we went to Hogwarts, which I also found unimpressive. I’m very jaded. We were told the beach was too dirty to swim in, and we couldn’t stay awake late enough to go to any of the infamous discotheques. After two days there, we went to Little Hangleton, which is on the western coast, still in the north and is famous for being a cute beach town. It was okay. Some old stuff. And then I was supposed to stay with friends near Magnolia Crescent but they all bailed on me, so I took the liberty of letting Daddy Warbucks finance a hotel room for me on Saturday evening. And then Sunday morning I met up with my nagging, out of touch, aged parents and thank God because someone needed to wipe the drool off their chins.

ME: You ungrateful little pig.

AE: They told me about their hallucinations about traveling to India.

ME: I think this interview is over now. We are living it up in Magnolia Crescent and going out to eat in the medina tonight at one of those places where they meet you with a lantern because you could never find your way on your own. Tomorrow we drive to Diagon Alley ancha allah. Perhaps we will let Annie come with us. Or will we?

11 Months

Dear Dylan,

If you don't stop clinging to my legs and start sleeping, you are going to experience the natural consequences of your actions: transformation into a Dylan pancake.

Your Loving Family

Monday, July 30, 2007

Couldn't resist

Aaron S.

No, let's just call him A. Simpson.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

These little piggies stayed home

We have stayed home for a lot more weekends in a row than we usually do. Dylan sleeps so much better here than anywhere else that getting us to travel takes more convincing than it used to. At least she's started sleeping again at home. She's putting herself to sleep again too, so that's much better. I went back and looked at the Wonder Weeks again, and sure enough it described exactly some of the things she's been doing the past few weeks. There's another developmental spurt in another month or so, and then she's pretty much outgrown the book. I suspect I am not going to be all that nostalgic about the itty wittle baby part because the not sleeping has been so frequent. I don't know about Aaron, though, because he's been nostalgic about itty bitty Snuffy for like a year already.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sleep update

I think we are coming out the other end of whatever hellish thing we just went through. Let's call it July. We decided the not sleeping was a combination of Dylan being sick and going through some kind of developmental spurt because she stopped saying all her words for a while (except dada) and has now started with them again. I have been trying to teach her the sign for thirsty, but she finds pointing at the cup and yelling to be quite effective and has no use for me and my signing. She discovered pointing in general very suddenly about four days ago and has since been waving her chubby little finger at everything she thinks is interesting. Sometimes this brings results, as with the sippy cup, other times nothing, as with the ceiling fan, the plane, and my cupcake.

I took a nap yesterday and was suddenly much much happier. I theoretically knew that I had been grumpy for a month because of the no sleeping, but I had sort of forgotten and just resigned myself to being permanently grumpy. But no, it was the not sleeping. Being happy and whining anyway is more my MO.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Stupid Baby Tricks

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Today in Bigness

So BigManiacally BigMr. Bill Twins

Not really that big, but cute

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tuesdays With Aaron

Heh heh, all this talk of Harry Potter spoilers caused Aaron to spout off every spoiler he could think of at one of Tommy's friends. Turns out that's already a t-shirt. I finished HarryP yesterday if anyone wants to talk Hippogriff.


Aaron: "Why do they have that Phrenology Department at the hospital? Wasn't that discredited like 200 years ago?"

Kate: "..."

Kate: *snickers*

Kate: "Do you mean the Neurology Department?"


The new job is going well. I think it has been more of an adjustment for me than for Aaron since I am still trying to limit Dylan's hours in daycare but now I have a lot less help. He has been working all the time but seems to be enjoying it.


I was all ready to spout off a post about no sleep, no free time, dumb baby, I'm still grumpy, wah wah wah, and now here it is 8:00pm and both Aaron and Dylan have already gone to bed. Of course, that doesn't mean Dylan will stay asleep, but la la la I don't want to think about that.

Aaron has been laid up since Sunday with a geocaching-related injury. He was last in line as we were tromping through the woods, and apparently us front-of-the-liners stirred up a bees' nest as we walked over a fallen log. One infected sting later and here he is all doped up on antibiotics and passed out. We are having a difference of opinion regarding how he is to be treated during his convalescence. Usually I am the one lolling about griping about the minor ailment of the day. He claims that since he never complains about being sick I shouldn't make fun of him; for that same reason, I say seize the day.

Perhaps I was not so far off about Dylan's identity as the emperor in Star Wars.

Ah, my arrogance got the better of me...she just woke up. *Pouts*

Aaron, however, is having no problem staying asleep.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Museum Part II

We actually did more than play Wegmans at the museum. For one thing, we visited the butterflies.
(commence arty butterfly pictures)

The exhibit was spectacular. You go into an airlock on the way in and out to make sure none of the butterflies escape. The introductory video says to be careful where you step or else "you'll make the butterflies have a bad day."

We had a great time in one of the toddler play areas except for periodic infestations of older kids who seemed intent on making the babies have a bad day.

Meanwhile, I learned some interesting tidbits about baby development:

As long as we were there, Dylan got a tuneup. (look closely for a fat baby thigh)
I don't think it worked though since she has been going to bed at 10pm, the twit.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

You know you're jealous

"So," you ask, "Bleisenblogs, what is it you do for fun on the weekends?"

I will answer in pictures.

(heh, she's a hands on kind of manager)

In words, you could say that we pay money to pretend to do something we do for real at least once a week. Aprons, my friend, aprons.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Poop on Pop

I suppose we have some catching up to do.

I foolishly told Aaron that I get anxious when I walk into my office and the voicemail light on the phone is on. I rarely get voicemail, so when I do it usually means I need to 1) deal with something urgent or 2) do lots and lots of work. I have noticed recently the voicemail light is on every time I return to my office. Would it be self-defeating to file a complaint with my husband's new employer?

Dylan and I have matching mother-daughter hacking post-cold coughs. Also, matching no-more-than-four-consecutive-hours-of-sleep-this-week weeks. I am so freaking tired. I optimistically think each night will be The One only to have my dreams crushed with a whimper.
We have come to a mutual agreement about pureed/baby food. I am tired of pureeing/buying it and Dylan is tired of eating it. She only eats stuff she can feed herself and any attempts to put stuff in her mouth, even stuff she really likes, are met with disdain.

I gave an hour-long public presentation of my dissertation topic this week. Step 675 of 13,000 on the way to the MD/PhD. The committee meeting afterwards was cut short by a fire alarm, so I'm sure that's a sign of good things to come of my project.

Aaron says whether Harry P lives or dies he will live on in our hearts. I don't think he's read any of the books though because anyone with as much teen angst as Harry has had in the past couple is not living on in my heart for any amount of time.

Yesterday was my one year blogiversary. If you've been reading this drivel for one year now, congratulations!

Post title based on Events True to Life.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Rock-a-Bye Baby

Normally Dylan's bedtime routine goes something along the lines of bath-->jammies-->nursing-->bedtime story-->sleep. I take care of items 1-4. Aaron mans #5 in the event that Dylan is not putting herself to sleep, as has been the case lately. Aaron works his magic through the patented Awon's Bedtime Medley™, which consists of Baby Beluga-->Long Black Veil-->Rock-a-Bye Baby, and if you've ever been on the delightful end of the baby monitor for this little number, you know what a treat it is. Meanwhile, I get to go look at porn on the Internet.*

We have had a couple of indescribably unfortunate incidents in the past week wherein Dylan has worked herself into a hysterical frenzy while Aaron tried to get her to sleep, then calmed down instantly when I came and got her. Dylan is generally enchanted with Aaron and happy to spend endless amounts of time with him. There will be no selective pawning off of the heavy duty work of making the baby sleep. Is this some kind of conspiracy between the two of them? Haven't they heard the one about when Kate's happy everyone's happy? Would it work to attach a clapper to Dylan, then our bedtime routine would just be "Clap off"?

*Or whatever it is that I might someday want to do while not tending to the baby. I don't know, as this situation is purely hypothetical.

Postcard: More From India

(the hotel)
and an important one from Japan

Thursday, July 19, 2007

From the "I know what I like" department

Although now I am wondering what Jackson has to offer...

Monday, July 16, 2007


I'm going to stop posting until next weekend...Dylan hasn't slept in days because her nose is stuffy and it's hard to do the thing where you put the words together without the thing where you get to go to bed for a while.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Postcard: Delhi

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Some whining

We did the first three parts of a four-part geocache today. We were in the right place to find the fourth but Dylan started to lose it. I think we would have found it if the taller one of us didn't live by a rule of not putting his extremities into unseen corners of overpasses.

Adding another person to the house, even a small one, has increased the general household drudgery to be done by an alarming factor. And since the small once spends quite a bit of time motoring around on the floor, for the first time I feel like I need to tone down the filth level there. It is a foreign idea to us and we don't like it.

Another thing I am not taking kindly to is the ongoing lack of sleep. My baseline level is moderate, often punctuated by episodes of severe sleep deprivation. I am verging on grumpy all the time and we all know that isn't pretty.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Dog-Deer Days

Sometimes when I pick Dylan up from daycare they have her in the little baby room because at the end of the day they shuffle teachers around and she still likes it there a lot. Last time she was there I was amazed at all the fancy new toys and gadgets they had around...until I was reminded that the center director's baby is now in that room. Too bad Dylan will only overlap with him for a little while in each room.

Speaking of places to put Dylan, when asked by one of his new coworkers where Dylan goes during the day Aaron said, we give her some water and put her in a crate. Always a good way to make an impression on the social worker you're now working with.

When Snuffy and I were running today we saw deer three different times. Snuffy goes bounding after them like some kind of ridiculous deer-dog. I think he could clear four or five feet. Luckily he doesn't realize it. We can block a doorway with pretty much any kind of barrier of any height and he'll stand there pathetically on the other side like, oh well, I guess I won't go over there right now. He also gives the vacuum cleaner a five-foot berth. Yesterday we left him at Sol's house (Hi Sol! Snuffy came over yesterday!) for a few hours and (despite a demonstration from Aaron) he didn't actually make it outside to play because he was too intimidated by the doggie door. Which I fit through, by the way.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

This may not be a permanent solution

I haven't really had any downtime this entire week.

Today we learned that the bank at the hospital used to have a booth at the orientation that Aaron went to earlier in the week, but got kicked out because the man running it was too "aggressive." I hate those aggressive bankers, with their ATMs and checking accounts.
It is getting hard to take pictures of Dylan again. This time it's not so much the blank camera stare as the magnetic appeal of the camera. I usually have time for one, maybe two shots before they start looking like this:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Postcard: Hokkaido, Japan

Both my work and the heat are draining my life force today. Come back tomorrow for the possiblity of actual content.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Aaron's Orientation

Aaron here. I will be the substitute blogger for the day.

Today I had my first day of work. So last night I double checked that my alarm was set for 6 am and then turned on the fan and went to sleep. At 7 am Kate said "Sweetie, it's time for you to get up." I barely heard her over the noise of the fan. I rushed around the house and did my chores and made it to the Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) for my orientation on time.

When I got to MAG I got in line to get my orientation packet. I then looked up to make sure this was the right line and noticed that the twenty or so people that were ahead of me all looked like high school students. The perpetual nagging feeling of not belonging started to become more acute at this moment. Apparently the lady behind me noticed this too and asked me if this was the right line. I assured her it was (since people always like a yes man) and we joked about how much high school students sucked. I then died a little inside because I secretly had wished my job would end up a little like high school, but I digress.

We started out our orientation with learning about MAG. The history, collections, and activities offered. One of the highlights was that our room was the only non-air conditioned place in the whole building. All 167 of us enjoyed that tidbit. Now you may wonder why a statistical analyst or a nurse or an admissions administrator would need to know about MAG. I would guess if you did wonder that then you were probably the person in algebra class asking your teacher if you will ever use this after eighth grade. JUST STOP ASKING QUESTIONS, OKAY?

After learning all about MAG we had diversity training. I was excited about this segment because The Office episode about diversity training was very entertaining. Again I was disappointed to find that TV didn't accurately portray real life, but I do feel that I learned a lot. For instance, the people who put together the diversity packet have a different order for the way numbers go, in their world it is 2, 3, 1, and I found that to be ok.

We then all had to learn about safety. We learned that cross bows and machetes are not allowed. Who knew? At my table in orientation two recent college grads were talking about how the pay might not be the same as other corporate jobs they were looking at, but if you take into account the benefits U of R offers, you get about the same amount. For instance the lady for the safety office discussed how they offer personal escorts. Now I don't need one, since I am married and all, but I have never heard of a corporate job that offers escorts or at least advertises it as a benefit.

Then we learned all about confidentiality. That is all I have to say about that.

Really not much else happened throughout the day. We discussed topics and waited while people tried to fix technical difficulties. All in all I would say I waited around about an hour while people tried to fix things or find cables. It was very orienting.

During the last section we had to sit through the lady next to me struck up a conversation. She noted how she went to Cornell, like Andy. Then we talked all about Ithaca for the next half hour or however long it takes three people to fix a VCR. I thought how nice I made a friend. Then as we were going through the presenters packet she started guffawing over the grammatical errors. Apparently my guffaws weren't guffawly enough for her and she never spoke to me again. It is always sad to lose a friend, especially an ivy league friend.

I left for home at around 4:15 confident that I would be fully orientated if only I had a half day more of this. Lucky for me I do, tomorrow.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Postcard: Last of Hawaii

Brady Bunch Doesn't Even Begin to Describe It

We spent the weekend in Tully belatedly celebrating Aaron's mom's marriage last winter. The cast, which fluctuated throughout the weekend:

Aaron's mom Melanie and her new husband David
David's parents
Aaron, his two brothers, and their cousin
Their womenfolk
David's three daughters
Their menfolk (one imported from Sweden)(he came bearing chocolate)
Melanie's and David's ex-spouses
Their men/womenfolk
Miscellaneous family friends
Two dogs
One bird (inside--there were many outside)

Also present:

I don't think the number of people in the family compund ever dropped below eight. We had enough people to field two whiffleball teams (for the love of god, are you really supposed to get ten strikes?). Also played were ultimate frisbee, Family Feud, and the Newlywed Game (David does NOT like ketchup on his hotdog, thank you; Melanie has 10 pairs of shoes). Tully also boasts three geocaches, so as long as we were there...

We learned (through trial and, well, mishap) that Dylan can climb stairs. She has been pulling up for a long time now, but had never shown any interest in going up stairs until tempted with a delicious bowl of Snuffy food. Turns out she can do a whole flight.

At dinner David made a lovely speech. Here is an excerpt:

"Melanie, it's been a great eight years."


Melanie: "Haven't we been together nine years?"

"Oh. Yeah, that first one wasn't so great."

The Hora was done by many (absent your faithful blogtographer)

Dylan reiterated her need, I'll spare you the details, to sleep in nothing less than a full crib mattress. She received no attention whatsoever during the weekend. We are now home and recovering our strength.

Congratulations again, David and Melanie