Tuesday, September 29, 2009

From Here to [Grand]maternity - Welcoming Mason Asher Klein

With incredibly accurate timing, Ciel's labor began in earnest on the 24th of September (She was VERY ready, and the 24th was her due date!) with gMom Louise, friend Lindsey, and Jared attending.

Ciel and Jared took their carefully packed "labor bag" and amid great excitement left for Mt. Auburn Hospital shortly before midnight. Aunt-to-be Jaime was on her way back from New York City to welcome the new baby. gMom-to-be-for-the-second-time began reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown to await the happy news, and the dogs bounced around throughout the night. Around 6 am we heard the news: Mason Asher Klein had arrived at 4:42, weighing a healthy 8 1/2 lbs and measuring 21 inches!

Although the name Mason was on the "short list" of boys' names, it was ironic that I was reading "The Lost Symbol" while Mason was being born, as it was filled with Masonic history and lore. In fact, Mason's great-great-grandparents on the Hadden side were members of the Masons and Eastern Star! A very fitting name.

A cast of many grandparents, friends, grandgodfather, new aunt and new uncle arrived to celebrate, which garnered Ciel a single room while at the hospital - and on Sunday, Mason came home to begin a new life with Mom and Dad, his boppy, and Molly the dog! Three great-grandparents and a number of great aunts and uncles celebrated from afar.

Chillin' with Champy and the Gnome in Burlington, VT

Bright and early on the 13th of September, I embarked on a journey to Burlington, VT - via Philadelphia (how silly is that?) for a SAS Users Group Conference (NESUG.) I was co-chair of the Posters section, and had both a poster and a presentation to give. The conference site was quite beautiful, overlooking Lake Champlain and a short walk to a very cool and funky downtown (not to mention close to Ben & Jerry's, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Champlain Chocolates, and the like!) The leaves had not yet turned, but the skyline in the evening was nothing short of amazing.

A highlight of the conference was a dinner cruise on Monday night. The view from the boat was stunning, and the company was good.

Still, I was happy to bid adieu to Burlington, ever nervous that I would miss the blessed event to come.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Harvest Time

The hazy heat of late summer, punctuated by the shrill of cicadas, has led to the beginnings of harvest time. The fruit is getting heavier on the trees, and the tomatoes are heavy on the vine. The first leaves are already turning. The roses are fading, and the color scheme of the local flora is trending towards yellows and oranges.

Of course, the TRUE sign of fall around here is the return of the Pod people! Moving trucks and PODS litter the streets, along with all the detritus of unwanted furniture and household items. Back to feeling ancient in a city of mostly under 21s! Autumn of our lives, I guess.

Family Toast

In preparation for Alex and Michael's too short visit to Cambridge last week, Jim and I did some quality control at the Friendly Toast, a new and funky "diner" in Kendall Square. Alex & I had previously eaten at the Mother Ship Friendly Toast in Portsmouth, NH, but we needed to know that this version was acceptable. The long wait for a table on Sunday morning allowed a little time for enjoying the beautiful sunny day and interesting architectural details in the complex.

The decor is eclectic to say the least. Jim was lucky enough to be situated right under a couple of (human female) torsos hanging on the wall. It was like something out of an Old Navy commercial (only these ladies weren't talking!) Jim had green eggs and ham, while I had a vegetarian option which was quite good. The friendly toast (thick slabs of homemade bread) was really the best part though!

We assured ourselves that it was suitable to bring Alex and Michael to prior to their long drive up to Alex's good friend Diane's daughter's (the other Ciel) wedding in Belfast, Maine - but first, the night before, we fortified ourselves with a nice "slow food" dinner at Craigie on Main! Alas, Jim could not attend the second trip to Friendly Toast due to a meeting at work, but I sent Alex and Michael off to the wilds of Maine (and myself to the wilds of Cambridge) with full tummies.

Morning Glory

Jim's mother was quite fond of morning glories. In her memory, Jim has become. . . Jim MorningGlorySeed! [He also is a Morning Glory himself, epitomizing the "early to bed, early to rise" maxim. We of the opposite persuasion (nightowls) do not mind a bit, since we get coffee and newspaper in bed!] We have a quite glorious crop in our front "patch", which Jim is, *ahem*, helping to spread themselves to a fence at the end of our dead end road.