lawnrrd: (kitty)
Hello, LiveJournal! It's been a while. The only way that I was able even to start this post was to give up on the idea that I could catch up, so I won’t even try. The highlights, though, are:

  • I’m still not dead. I’m actually reasonably healthy and quite happy.

  • K and I are still engaged. We still plan to marry in March 2014. Now you know roughly as much about our wedding plans as we do.

  • The boy is doing well. He is nine years old and in fourth grade. He does fourth-grader stuff.


Last weekend, I think I set a personal record, in that, for three nights in a row, I attended parties with cocktails and passed hors d'oeuvres. I am a sucker for cocktails and passed hors d'oeuvres, so I consider that a big win.

Thursday night was a cocktail reception for the opening of AMNH’s Poison! exhibition. The evening began with a slide presentation that I arrived in the middle of—the second half, at least, was interesting and entertaining. We then walked through the exhibit itself, but it was hard to see anything: the space was filled with the sort of people who would go to the opening of an exhibit in a science museum, which meant that we had to wait a long time to get close enough to any individual exhibit to see or read anything. K and I agreed that the best strategy would be to come back later when it would be filled with normal people, who wouldn’t get in our way.

The cocktail reception afterwards was moderately fun, as the museum’s exhibitions tend to be. We sort-of dodged the couple that always gloms on to us at these things. We first met another couple, who seemed to be trying too hard. After that, we chatted pleasantly with a third couple, which included a man who seemed to want me to put him through school.

Friday was quiet at work because Friday night was my firm’s annual holiday dinner dance. They like their parties at my firm, and it shows. The party was at an old private club near our office, in a beautiful old room that no one could afford to build any more. The evening is also a chance to catch up with my partners’ partners, and K came. We drank moderately, danced to the live band, and went home before we got too drunk.

Saturday itself was a busy day, during which I baked six pies for a school fundraiser. While they baked, K and I played Just Dance 4. As for Saturday night, well, that’s another post.
lawnrrd: (kitty)

After getting up this morning, I (in chronological order):

  1. Fed the boy breakfast.
  2. Walked a mile to get the car.
  3. Dropped off the car for its overdue annual inspection.
  4. Walked home.
  5. Fed myself and K breakfast.
  6. Walked to the boy's baseball game.
  7. Talked with K while looking at the boy's baseball game.
  8. Walked home.
  9. Reheated leftover BBQ for lunch.
  10. Bid a sad farewell to K.
  11. Walked with the boy to pick up the newly-inspected car.
  12. Drove to the storage space.
  13. Brought to the car two window air conditioners and three large bins of crap that I need to sort.
  14. Drove to Garden City in more than an hour of bumper-to-bumper traffic.
  15. Bought a hockey stick for the boy.
  16. Ate dinner at the food court.
  17. Bought nearly all of the Monster Rehab that the Target in Garden City had in stock.
  18. Drove back to Brooklyn.
  19. Reinstalled the A/Cs in my ex's apartment.
  20. Drove home.
  21. Carried the three large bins of crap and 32 cans of Monster up three flights of stairs.
  22. Got the boy into bed.
  23. Decided the best way to get off of my own case about everything that I needed to do today, but didn't, was to make a list of everything that I did.

Besides the above, I repeatedly throughout the day:

  • Giggled to myself at the name "Dicks Sporting Goods".
  • Missed K.

Ski Bums

Feb. 13th, 2013 10:50 am
lawnrrd: (kitty)

I've really started to like skiing, and so has my son, so last weekend we went skiing in the Poconos. This was his third day skiing this winter. It was my fifth, which means that I've spent as many days skiing this winter as in the previous forty-mumble years combined.

I had badly wanted to ski that weekend, because it looked like my last opportunity for the season. I managed to pick up a double hernia late last year, and I'm having it repaired in just over a week. That'll put me out of action until mid-March, and I expect skiing will be done for the season by then. (Especially because, right after the all-clear date, I'm going to Florida for a week.)

I had hoped to leave Friday evening, before the snow got too bad in NYC. When I came to get the kid, though, his mom and I differed vigorously about what "too bad" meant. I backed down and agreed to stay in the city overnight, planning to leave in the morning. For four hours after that, the city got nothing but light snow, so I fumed a bit.

The roads were in excellent shape on Saturday morning, despite the 8 inches or so of snow that fell overnight in NYC. Moreover, they were empty, making for the fastest drive to the Poconos I've ever had. We had an early lunch and then headed for the resort.

The original plan had been for the kid to spend all day Saturday in ski school, but our midday arrival quashed that. So I signed him up for a group lesson in the afternoon and then took to the slopes myself. I warmed up on some longer green trails and then started looking for manageable intermediate trails. One trail was just right, and I did it a few times, but it was short. Another seemed mostly ice and moguls. Still another was so intimidatingly steep that I didn't even try it.

There's a kid in there, I promise.

At 3:30, I picked up the kid at the end of his lesson. The instructor said that he was doing really well, so, for the first time, we took the lift to the top of the mountain and skied the easier green trail down. We did it again, but then agreed that we were tired, so we went to the hotel to check in.

A dinner of pub grub in one of the restaurants was followed by video games and then bed.

Sunday morning, we packed up and checked out and then set out for the resort again. The GPS seemed unwilling to accept that one key road was closed, so it took a lot longer to get there than I had expected, which led to a cascade of other problems, each one adding to the delay. Still, I got the kid into ski school only a little bit late. They tested him and sent him right to the top of the mountain.

I warmed up on a green again, and then went back some of the mixed green/blue trails that I'd had the most fun with the day before. I got to the top of the scary-steep trail but psyched myself out and took a different way down. Then I took the lift back up and made myself do the steep trail.

The steepness, as it turned out, was not so much a problem as the ice. K, who had gone ice climbing for the weekend instead of skiing with us, would have been much better equipped for that slope. (On the other hand, K reports that her hikes to the climbs were hindered by a lot of fresh powder, which at least made for a nice symmetry.)

I fell a few times. The only real problem was that, one of those times, I lost a ski, and it wound up about 10 feet straight uphill from me. Straight up the steep, icy hill. Between my ski poles and the edge of my remaining ski, I managed to inch up to retrieve it, but it was hard work.

I was tired and hungry when I finished, but I didn't want to stop right after a run that had given me so many problems. So I went back up, skied down an easy trail, and then got lunch.

After lunch, I did a couple more trails, including the blue that was the longest trail on the mountain. But I tired quickly. It was my second day of skiing in a row, the slopes were getting icier and icier, and I was losing my patience for dodging kamikaze boarders and skiers.

At 3:30, I retrieved the kid from ski school. He'd made a lot more progress, skiing his first blue trail that afternoon: he'd done that same longest trail. Twice. But he was tired, too.

We went back to the car and drove home, stopping first for dinner and then to pick up K at the train. Then we all went back to my place and were tired together.
lawnrrd: (Default)
The weekend that just ended was relatively quiet, involving soccer, cooking, and playdates with the neighbor. But I spent much of the previous weekend continuing to reconnect with my family.
There was a bat mitzvah. )
So, it was a busy weekend but a good one. My brother and I managed to reconnect (or continue to) with family that we had become distant from. There was a lot of food, much of it excellent. And K gave me more and more to be grateful for.
lawnrrd: (Default)
The boy is back home from summer camp, and he's brought back some interesting vocabulary, mannerisms, and questions. I'm trying not to be too strict for now, but whenever it comes up, I nonetheless make clear that he's being inappropriate.

As for me, now that he's back home, I'm spending more time at home, too. I'm happy to see him and to have him home, but it does mean dialing back, for a little while, on some of the things that have made this the best summer of my adult life. But life is about change, and his being here is also part of dialing those things back up for good.
lawnrrd: (Default)
It's been a long time since my last update, and there's no way I'm going to catch up on everything. The short version is that things are going well: work is good, the kid has been at overnight camp for the past three weeks and is going to be there for four more, and K and I have been able to see a lot of each other.

Which means also that K has been keeping me busy. For example, I took off work Thursday and Friday, which, combined with the holiday, made for a five-day weekend. In that time, we went to a barbecue, climbed for two days upstate, kayaked, and did a lot of push-ups.

I honestly can't remember the last time I was this happy.
lawnrrd: (Default)
Yesterday morning, I slept in for the first time in, oh, it has to be more than a month. During the week, there's work, of course, and I haven't been able to catch up in the past few weekends. It's hard to sleep in when there's a seven-year-old about, and we had that week in Puerto Rico at the start of the month and a weekend since then. Then there were the two consecutive weekends for the rock climbing class. So yesterday I slept in.

I needed it, too. I must have: I slept nearly until 10, and then I got up for about 90 minutes, during which I could think of nothing but food. I was too tired to think coherently about it though, so eventually I just scarfed a lot of leftover trail mix. Then I went back to bed for about two more hours.

Saturday had really tired me out, too. It was a long day, beginning at 6 AM, when I woke up and got ready to drive to New Paltz to climb during Welcome to the Gunks Weekend. The weekends of April 14-15 and 21-22 were the climbing class, and WTTG, two weeks later, is where the club tries to help the new graduates find people to climb with by actively pairing them with experienced leaders. (After that, you sort of have to find your own partners.) Since my Seattle trip fell through, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and climb.

I left home at about 6:30 Saturday morning with a passenger, stopped in Morningside Heights to pick up more passengers, and then drove to New Paltz. After a quick stop in town for more 'biners, we made it to the West Trapps lot just before 9 AM.

At the lot, I met B and P, who were experienced members of the club. B was going to lead, and P and I would follow. We did the first pitch of Bloody Bush, and then moved down the GT ledge to do the second pitch of Rusty Trifle. After that, we rappelled down.

Doing just those pitches and the rappel took nearly five hours, which surprised me. By the time we finished lunch, it was nearly four, and dinner was at seven. We decided to try to find one more easy pitch and walked further down the cliffs to look for Easy V. We stopped along the way to watch a very impressive snake—which turned out to be a copperhead—as it moved along the road.

We reached Easy V and I set up the anchor as B and P got out the rope and gear. B scrambled up a bit, and was about to place the first piece of pro, when he looked up and said that the rock looked really wet. After a short discussion, we agreed and decided to punt.

Dinner at the Gold Fox was good (or maybe I was just starving), and the after-dinner entertainment was in fact entertaining and not too long. Still, it was nearly ten by the time we got back on the road, and about 12:30 am by the time I got home after dropping off my passengers.

This was my first time climbing in the Gunks, and, aside from a few pitches during the class, my first time climbing rock outdoors. There were some moments of real (if not quite justified) terror, but I was mostly able to pause, breathe, and concentrate on the climb. Stil, adrenaline flooded my system, and when it wore off, it left me drained. I think I felt that yesterday as much as anything else.

For all that, the day was fun, and I'm glad that I did it. I'm looking forward to my next trip, although it's unlikely to happen before June. My climbing technique itself seemed improved, in that this was the first time I had ever climbed anything without my arms getting pumped. I hope that after a few more trips will be enough to get past most of the anxiety and focus more on the climbing.
lawnrrd: (Default)
When I was growing up, Thanksgiving used to be my favorite holiday. There was lots of good food, of course, and just the right amount of family. I saw just about everyone on Thursday, and only on Thursday, so I caught up with them without getting overloaded. The long break from school meant that I could sleep late and otherwise pretty much do what I wanted without being bothered.

Part 1: Thursday - Saturday )

Part 2: Sunday )
lawnrrd: (Default)
I haven't been home in nearly a week. Although I was away for good stuff, a night alone in my own space is a welcome opportunity to recharge. I'll be home the rest of the week, too, but the boy will be staying with me until sometime on Sunday. While I've missed him and will be glad for the time with him, it doesn't have quite the same effect on my energy.

The weekend was fun despite a head cold that knocked me out a bit. I got to spend some quality time with friends, whom I repaid for their company by sharing my cold with them because I'm generous like that.

Yesterday I flew to Cincinnati for meetings today with a client. The meetings were productive: I learned a lot about the new things they're doing and thinking of doing, and we had some useful brainstorming about possible subject matter for new patent applications.

I visit this client about once a year. Usually the meetings take up a full day, but today we had only about two and a half hours. For all that, or maybe because of it, this was one of the most productive disclosure sessions we've had.

I was supposed to have dinner with a couple of the GCs, but a scheduling cock-up meant that I had to catch a relatively early flight. I went with them to the restaurant to join them for appetizers at least. I had fried "Cantonese" shrimp, which were served with a sauce that was mixed duck sauce and hot mustard. They were unremarkable, but they were in fact shrimp, fried, and served with a sauce that was spicyish, so I'm not complaining.

I very nearly missed my flight, though, by leaving the restaurant later than I had planned and then getting caught in rush hour traffic. Fortunately, the terminal was empty, and I breezed through security to the gate. And following an uneventful flight, I find myself at home.
lawnrrd: (Default)
I'm embarrassed to admit how long it's been since I last read a book. It's easy enough to explain: what with all the work and personal hullabaloo, I've barely had enough mental energy to play Plants vs. Zombies on the subway, much less read anything. Now that things are starting to settle, though, I've noticed how long it really has been. Like, months, really.

There are a bunch of things I'd like to read about, fiction as well as nonfiction, but I'm trying to stick to stuff that's available on Kindle, so I can read it on my phone. That tends to increase convenience while lowering the chance of small people finding inappropriate reading matter next to my bed.

So, more or less on a whim, I've started reading Quo Vadis, which was free to download from the Kindle store. I don't know whether I can stick with anything this heavy these days, but it's worth a shot.
lawnrrd: (Default)
I got an email this afternoon from the MTA that the bag I left on the subway on Friday may have been turned in. But the email, which was obviously automatically generated, says only that "there is a chance or possibility that [my] item may have been received at the Lost Property Unit." The email adds that I must contact them before I come in, to confirm that the found items really are mine.

This would be good news, except the three listed phone numbers were all busy when I called and remained busy through thirty minutes of auto-redialing. So they may very well have my stuff, but I have no idea when I'll find out.
lawnrrd: (Default)
After skiing on Saturday, yesterday was a quiet Sunday at home for me and the boy. We were both tired, he was a little sick (he had been pretty snotty in the car on the way to the Poconos; good on him for having fun skiing anyway), and it was awfully cold. We played video and board games, watched TV, and cleaned up a little in anticipation of his mother's return that afternoon.

I'm still sore, mainly in ways and places I didn't expect. My ankles and lower shins are blistered and bruised from the ski boots: I'll have to wear thicker socks next time. I have a low-grade stiff neck, and my lower right leg is also a little sore and stiff. Some of this is doubtless due to unfamiliar strains on various parts of my body, but pushing the boy around likely strained muscles and joints in ways that are unusual even for skiers.

My left elbow is also still a little sore, probably from climbing last Tuesday with the boy, [livejournal.com profile] regyt, [livejournal.com profile] novalis, [livejournal.com profile] kinfae, and another munchkin. At the boy's insistence, I tried a dynamic move a couple of times while bouldering, and I may have strained something while trying to catch the next hold.

Then again, also while bouldering, I fell off the wall and, while falling, noticed that the small persons had somehow wandered into my landing zone while I had been paying attention to the wall. I had to twist to avoid squishing them and landed badly. Maybe I hurt it in the fall.

Whatever the cause, any joint or muscle pain is making me unduly nervous these days and probably will do so for the next few weeks or even months. I came down with a throat infection of unknown origin shortly after having finished a course of antibiotics for something else. Because of that history, my doctor prescribed a second-line antibiotic of doom, which had interesting side effects on me such as fatigue, dizziness, and anorgasmia. What is more pertinent is that other side effects can include tendinitis and even tendon rupture. Whoopie.

I am going to try very hard not to get any more infections ever again.
lawnrrd: (Default)
I've been in a long stretch in which I haven't posted much. The usual suspects bear most of the blame: I lack privacy to organize my thoughts; I lack time to write; and I still don't feel comfortable talking publicly about the things that occupy most of my attention these days. It's hard to motivate myself to express anything when I won't let myself express what feels most important.

There is a good deal of stress, but I'm also feeling generally hopeful. The details will come in time.

Things are going well at work. The clients like the work I'm doing, the firm likes the work I'm doing, and for once they're happy will my billable hours. I'm told that I'm being looked at for partnership this spring, but that many of the more influential partners still don't feel as though they know me. Resolving that has been an ongoing puzzle, and, though I have some ideas, I really don't know what I ought to do.

I'm getting back into some kind of shape, after having to lay off for various reasons in the fall. I've taken up climbing and often go to local climbing gyms with other LJ folks.

The boy is doing well, in school and otherwise. He's smart, funny, and charming, and everyone loves him. He just passed yet another test in his tae kwon do class and is now almost a yellow belt. He's getting more independent, which means he's asserting his own will against us more often, and that's at one time both gratifying and exasperating. Sometimes I look into his face and wonder who this big kid staring back at me is.

The wife is swamped at work. As I may or may not have mentioned, she's essentially creating a new division at her employer. She's hiring and managing people and fighting for and getting resources for the new project. Her end-of-year evaluation was so good that it scared her, in that she now has set high expectations that she has to continue to live up to.

We're planning a vacation in Florida for a week in February. That will include a few days with her parents near West Palm Beach and a few days involving Disney somehow.

That's most of the small stuff. The bigger stuff will come in time.
lawnrrd: (Default)
Today has turned into an extended playdate for the boy and a friend, which is our attempt to deal with the rainy day. The friend, a former classmate, came over with his mother and two-year-old sister for breakfast. Their father was unavailable for the day, and Mrs. Lawnrrd had plans to go to a baby shower.

So, they got here at around 9:30, and I made waffles and bacon. Mrs. Lawnrrd supplied a fruit salad. Everything was delicious, in my unbiased opinion.

While I cleared the table, my wife started praising my domestic skills. "He cooks, he cleans, and he's handy," she said. This impressed the friend's mom, whose husband does and is none of those things. My face must have shown the thought that flashed through my mind, because my wife asked me, "what?"

I shook my head, but she wouldn't let it go. "He must be good in bed, right?" I said, "Something like that, but fairly crude." "What?" she asked.

I gave in. "His tongue is a foot long, and he can breathe through his ears." The friend's mom was thoroughly squicked, and I hope my wife has learned her lesson.

Mrs. Lawnrrd left for the shower first, and then the boy, his friend, and I started playing the junior edition of Monopoly. After a while, it was time for the little sister to nap, so their mom walked home with her, while the boy's friend stayed here and kept playing with us. After the game, which the boy won (for which he demanded a cash prize that was not to be forthcoming), we made popcorn and sat down to watch Ratatouille, which is one of our favorite movies.

I suppose I am domestic, after all.

After the movie, it was time for a snack. By then, the little sister had finished her nap, so the friend's mother came over and has taken them out for pizza. And now I have some time to myself, which may include a nap and maybe even some writing. Depending on Mrs. Lawnrrd's schedule, I may even make it to the gym.

And so it goes.
lawnrrd: (Default)
This weekend we spent in Kent, Connecticut, which is near the western edge of the state, about halfway between the northern and southern borders. Friends of ours—parents of one of the boy's classmates—have a weekend place up there, and they invited us to join them for the weekend. We'd been there before, and it's beautiful up there.
Cut for length )
The festival did provide a moment of pure magic, though. We had wandered into a master class taught by Béla Fleck, and someone asked him about the classical music he had arranged for, and played on, nontraditional instruments. For about 90 seconds, I sat transfixed as he played Bach on the banjo.

Then we drove home and got stuck in traffic.
lawnrrd: (Default)
I made this 4 years ago. Now that we're having another hot summer, I'm just going to re-run it because I don't feel like making a new one.

From the 'You don't need a weatherman department'.
lawnrrd: (Default)
My cold peaked Friday night, which I spent on the sofabed curled up with a box of tissues. That stage of a cold usually lasts about two days for me, so I'm glad that I got through it this time in about twelve hours.

Saturday morning started kind of slowly. Lauren busied herself with her plants—her various plantings have more or less come to dominate our whole block—while I listlessly tidied up around the house.

Cut for length. )
lawnrrd: (Default)
It's been about a day and a half since I've eaten a real meal. And while small plates certainly have their place, I haven't had enough even of those. So I'm hungry, and I'm going to go out now and eat a real lunch.

Further updates as events warrant.
lawnrrd: (Default)
Last weekend I went to my fifteen-year law school reunion. While I don't really keep in touch with people from my class, it had been at least ten years since I'd been back, and there were people and places I was curious to see.

That curiosity seemed not to have been widely shared. To see what I mean, let me skip ahead to dinner on Saturday night. Each class had its own private dinner. Here's a picture of my class's dining room:
Cut to save your bandwidth and layout . . . )
Arriving Friday night, I saw a couple of my classmates at the welcoming reception and we chatted a bit. I left after about an hour, though, and went to my hotel to check in. I sort-of ate dinner at the hotel restaurant, then went up to my room to sleep. I must have been exhausted, because I slept for more than ten hours.

Nearly all the activities were scheduled for Saturday. Some of the panels seemed interesting, and I caught one on entrepreneurship. I did not want to miss the lunch, however. Barbecue in North Carolina meant pulled pork, cole slaw and hush puppies. But I stuck with the unsweet tea.

After lunch, I went to the bookstore to buy hats, shirts and other things with the school name. That took up enough of the afternoon that I really had time left only to go back to the hotel and work out before dinner.

The evening program was a couple of receptions, followed by dinner. I went to the law review reception, then to the general reception, and then to our class dinner, which consisted of me, three of my classmates, and two people from the alumni relations office. Dinner was OK: beef and salmon.

I'm glad that I went, just to see the place after all this time. It's always fascinating to me to go back to a place that I used to know well after several years' absence to see what I remember, to see what's changed, and to see what I've just plain forgotten. And it's startling the way that some people look nearly the same as they did when you knew them, and some just look old, but there's nearly no one in the middle, simply aging. I expect to see this again at the end of May, when I have my 20-year college reunion.
lawnrrd: (spot)
Everyone knows that raising a child is hard. No one talks about the biggest reason why.

As some of you know, Leo was born with a skin condition: a giant congenital melanocytic nevus with satellites. That is, he was born with a single bumpy, hairy, dark brown mole that covered about 80% of his back and about twenty-five other moles, roughly between a dime and a quarter in size, on the rest of his body. Although congenital nevi are merely uncommon, giant ones are rare, estimated to occur only once in every 500,000 births.

Most of the time, the consequences are mostly cosmetic. The condition is associated with a slightly elevated risk throughout his lifetime of melanoma. There can be some other concerns, since, among other things, nevi lack sweat glands, so kids with even larger nevi than Leo's are sometimes at risk for overheating. He still has the satellites, and, like most of us, he gets new, smaller moles from time to time, but the giant nevus was removed from his back in a series of seven operations, the last one on his second birthday. (Happy Birthday, Leo!)

There's a support group for people with nevi and their families. The rarity of the condition makes the group relatively small, and you get to know people. There's a conference in Dallas every two years, and the next one is coming up in July. We're going, and we're taking Leo.

Sometimes, though, this rare condition has an even rarer complication called neurocutaneous melanosis (NCM). In this condition, pigment cells, sometimes cancerous (that is, melanoma), grow on the spinal cord, brain, or both. Symptoms can include seizures, hydrocephalus, and other things. Symptomatic NCM is a bad sign, although it is no longer regarded as an automatic death sentence. If NCM progresses, though, it is inevitably fatal, whether the pigment cells are technically melanoma or not.

Leo had an MRI as soon as he was old enough to tolerate general anesthesia, and it showed no signs of NCM. But not all kids and parents are that lucky. Riley died this afternoon at home, just a few days after his ninth birthday.

I had followed Riley's story, sometimes in tears. I hurt for his parents. The pain is just a little keener, though, because, clean MRI or no, we can't be completely sure that won't happen to Leo, and that we won't be the parents who have to find a way to live during and afterwards.

But then, really, who can?

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