Friday, November 30, 2012

Shark, meet SharkBean

Two weeks ago, Andrew and I were invited to his cousin's wedding reception in Monterey. We decided to make a day of it, and invited my parents along to join us during the day, and then while we attended the reception that evening, they could have a nice dinner.

It was a beautiful drive, and Monterey was perfectly overcast. Just the way I like it.

Genevieve and Grandpa Knitmore on the Wharf

We arrived around lunchtime, walked down Fisherman's Wharf, and picked a wonderful restaurant - Domenico's. They were friendly and welcoming, the food was SUPERB, and the view couldn't be beat.

Taking in the scenery

Can you see them?

Sea lions, sunning.
Sea lions! They weren't having a particularly noisy day, but Genevieve LOVED watching them. In all of the times I have been to Monterey and had a Meal With a ViewTM, none of the views have come CLOSE to this one.

(Well, maybe the mating sea gulls on the other side of the window at Bubba Gumps about ten years ago, but that was awesome in an our-server-was-horrified kind of way.)

You can't see it, but we're wearing matching sweaters
Genevieve was amazing. After a long drive, she sat on our laps until the food came, and then she sat *so politely* in the high chair. We all had really excellent food, and she had delicious, perfectly prepared veggies that were SO good that she did her happy bounce with every bite. If I hadn't been busy being present in the moment, I would have filmed it to share. (Next time.)

After lunch, we made a quick stop at Happy Girl Kitchen Co to pick up some necessities for the house. And by "necessities" I mean summer apricot jam and blood orange preserves, along with a few other things that sounded delicious.

Generally speaking, I hate jam and preserves because I find them cloyingly sweet. Not so with the Happy Girl preserves. Their stuff tastes like summer, and I get uncharacteristically greedy with it.

Finally, we headed to the Monterey Bay Aquarium (or the Cetacean Institute, for the Star Trek fans in the audience), where we moseyed through until closing time.

Some of us didn't last that long
We packed up and went to change for the evening's festivities. The wedding reception was in the aquarium, between the jellyfish exhibit and the seahorse exhibit. There is something inherently cooler about being there after hours. Or maybe that's just my inner nerd speaking. (HA. INNER nerd. As if I'm not layer after layer of nerd.)

Dinner was the pièce de résistance; tables were set up in the open sea exhibit and we dined by soft candlelight and the light of the tank as we watched sharks, rays, and turtles (among other creatures) swimming around and doing their thing.

Personalized jellyfish for the bride and groom, courtesy of Andrew

The best part? Getting to show Genevieve all the different kinds of sharks.

All things being equal, I think she preferred the meditative properties of watching the anchovies. I think it's probably a developmental thing; like visual white noise.

White, fishy noise.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Growing up, I always wanted a dog. There were a lot of reasons why we didn't have one, but I knew that once I got my own place to live after college, I would be getting myself a dog. (It was in my five-year plan. Seriously.)

We adopted Niki about a month after Andrew and I got married, and we have loved him like crazy ever since. When he needed a dog (for companionship), we adopted Elphie. They have been our companions for the last eight years, and they have brought our family immeasurable joy.
Niki prefers to sleep propped on a soft surface. Here: my belly.
On Sunday, we noticed Niki was limping. We have had the *nastiest* foxtails in our yard this year, so Andrew and I both gave Niki a thorough examination (and a paw-di-cure) to see if we couldn't solve the issue.

"If he's still limping tomorrow, I'm taking him to the vet," I told Andrew. "I'm sure it's a pulled muscle or something."

Monday morning rolled around, so I made the appointment, texted Andrew the details, and on we went.

As we went in to the appointment, I talked our vet through all of the troubleshooting we had done in order to eliminate some of the causes of the limping. We got Niki to lay down on the good side, and Dr. L did a quick check to see if it was Niki's Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL).

It was.

We talked through our options, and with some guidance from Dr. L, got Niki scheduled for the CCL surgery. We did his pre-op stuff on Wednesday, Andrew dropped him off Thursday for the surgery, and we were supposed to pick Niki up Friday morning.

I held my breath all morning until I got my favorite phone call- the one where they call and tell you that your beloved pet is awake and recovering beautifully. And then came Thursday night. The first night where we were all home, except for Niki.

It was eerily quiet. Elphie was twitchy. I kept looking around the house for Niki, only to remember that - nope - he was at the vet recovering.

"He'll be home tomorrow," Andrew kept saying. It didn't make me feel better.

Friday morning, we got a call from the vet telling us that Niki was fine, but that he was refusing to eat. Dr. L chalked it up to anxiety, and suggested we come and get Niki ASAP. So we did.

Three pages of instructions and a bag full of medication later, we were on our way home.
Family snuggles: Priceless
It's been interesting taking care of a recovering dog. I keep thinking to myself, "This would have been easier before we had Genevieve," but the fact of the matter is that regardless of the timing, it's always hard.

We're taking turns keeping Niki comfortable and still, and my parents have been a huge help when it comes to juggling the baby and Niki's recovery. Fortunately, we are all well-loved, so nobody is left wanting.

(Elphie is running around scamming extra treats and snuggles while Niki snoozes, in care you were worried.)

I am so thankful that Niki is on the mend. Andrew and I joked earlier that once we got a routine in place, everything seems to change. That's life, huh?

It keeps us on our toes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wee vote

Yesterday, we went and voted as a family unit. Andrew beat us to the polls (pesky day job), so KidBrother Sam joined us. The plan was to go and vote, then go get coffee.

Don't let the sticker fool you. She didn't really vote.
And that's exactly what we did.

After I was done voting, Genevieve and I went outside to enjoy the beautiful fall weather. There were two little guys tooling around on their bikes, while their (baby-wearing) mom supervised. Once their dad was done voting, they took a family photo because it was the mom's first time voting as a newly-minted US citizen.

It warmed my heart, because the little guys were SO EXCITED for their mom. (Possibly, also the "I voted" stickers. Our polling place is pretty generous with the stickers.) I remember my parents' citizenship ceremony clearly, and how excited we were as a family. It was sweet to quietly observe another family making a similar memory.

On our way to coffee after voting, KidBrother Sam talked about how there should be consequences to *not* voting. On one hand, he said, he doesn't want the uninformed voting. On the other, (and I paraphrase) not voting because of X arbitrary reason should be discouraged.

(I love listening to him work through these things, and pointing out the small issues. Together, we will solve the world's problems.)

I thought about how this is Genevieve's first election, and it reminded me of *my* first time voting, about ten years ago.

Our polling place used to be at the elementary school that we attended; a healthy, five-minute walk from home. After work, I parked at home and hoofed on over to have my political voice heard.

A mock-election was being held for the elementary school kids, in the cafeteria. I walked up to the "real" polling station, and took a deep breath, trying to figure out where to start. ("Chaotic" seems insufficient in describing an elementary school cafeteria.)

"Excuse me, do you know where we put our ballots?" a little guy asked me, maybe six or seven years old, "It's my first time voting."

"Actually, no," I answered, "It's my first time voting, too. Let's go ask."

We both got our questions answered, and a few minutes later, I cast my first votes. I can't wait to continue our tradition of civic responsibility, followed by our morning coffee and political discussion as Genevieve gets older.

She already has a lot of opinions; at the very least, the discussions promise to be interesting.