Archive for November, 2009

When my dear friend Grace suggested throwing a baby shower for us, I was honored and delighted by her offer.  At the same time, I was sad because most of my community, people I would otherwise invite to help celebrate the birth of our child, were on the West Coast.  We don’t know that many people here in New England, so this shower would have to be a small affair.

Grace & Alonso



But size doesn’t really matter when it comes to joy and the guests who were able to come brought plenty with them.  Each guest came from a different stage of my life, none of whom I met in New England, and while nobody knew each other, they all came together to help us welcome our baby.  Friends included:

Michael & Emily Tso and their 4 kids, Francesca, Viviana, Dawson, and Garrison.  I’ve known Mike since I was 18, when we met in Taiwan the summer after my freshman year in college.  It’s funny how our paths keep crossing throughout our lives, how his wife has also become a dear friend and how I’ve watched their kids grow.  They now live in NH, about 40 minutes away from us.


Old college friend Lain and her daughter Callie

Lain Chroust Ehmann and her daughters, Kinsey & Callie.  Lain is an old friend from Stanford who was both a fellow campus tour guide and a sorority sister. (Yes, I was in a sorority, but as Lain said, it was the anti-sorority sorority!)  I had not seen Lain since college.  She and her family just recently moved from California to Lexington, MA, and I was delighted to reconnect with her.


Ellen Anderson Holt and her sweet 2-year old boy, William.  Ellen is a poet friend from graduate school at UC Davis.  She, too, just moved from California to Cambridge, MA, as her husband is enrolled in a year-long fellowship at Harvard.  It’s been about 10 years since I last saw Ellen and I simply fell in love with her little boy.

Irene Kang, a buddy from San Francisco, who moved to Boston about 8 years ago.  We used to stalk musicians from the SF Symphony together.  We’ve managed to keep in touch and she even made it out to our wedding in Portland a few years ago.

Grace Talusan and Alonso Nichols, gracious hosts and loyal amigos.  Grace and I met in 1998 at the Squaw Valley Writers’ Conference, where we cornered Amy Tan and made her have dinner with us.  She has been a kindred spirit ever since.  Grace teaches at Tufts University and she and Alonso have been a saving grace to us, reaching out to us in our New Hampshire boondocks.

But the biggest hit of the party was the 3-ton pile of sand Hubby had delivered last week for his geo-thermal heating project.  Our side yard has temporarily been transformed into a big sandbox.  The kids had a hey day, a little bit of California brought to New Hampshire just for our party!


Little William, age 2, leaving a surprise in Mommy's shoe.



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National Novel Writing Month

On a whim, and with accountability from my friend Lillian, I signed up for National Novel Writing Month for November.  This is despite being 36 weeks pregnant, with all the accompanying discomforts–requiring 10 hours of sleep per day, limited mobility, limited brain capacity, swollen fingers, etc.  The goal of NaNoWriMo is simply to produce 50,000 words in a month.  No plot or character development is generally required, but by the end of the month, hopefully you’ve produced something, some kernel of truth or character or idea or detail that is worth developing further.

Many writers like me and Lillian, well-read and overeducated, stifle themselves when facing the blank page.  We are not satisfied with producing mediocre prose.  We must have truth and meaning and beauty in every sentence.  We must be Virginia Woolf!  NaNoWriMo eliminates that barrier and forces us to essentially free write, which is a valuable exercise.  Free writing can produce a lot of garbage, but also often produces some magic.  As long as we can get our critical, logical selves out of the way, our spiritual subconscious can sometimes shine.

So far, I’ve got 17, 263 words (49.5 pages) of a narrative, very light on plot, following around characters that are thinly veiled versions of me, Hubby, family, and the woman who just joined my pre-natal yoga class who annoys me.


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Baby Registry

35 weeks and counting.  Several friends have inquired where we are registered for our baby.  Since most of our friends are on the West Coast, we have a few options online:

  • Target.com for baby gear.  We have inherited most of our essential baby gear, furniture, clothes, etc., thanks to enthusiastic first-time grandparents on both sides.  Whatever we haven’t inherited, we’ve registered for here.  Extra points for whoever gets us the “Tiny Democrat” onesie.
  • Amazon.com for children’s books.  In my opinion, you can never have too many books.  This list was put together with suggestions from friends who are parents, aunts, uncles, and writers.  I am looking forward to reading to our baby.
  • To help in our vision to raise our child as a world citizen, please consider a donation to Rebuild Sudan.  Last spring, Hubby traveled to Sudan with this organization and helped design a school for the region of Jalle, in Southern Sudan, where thousands of children have been displaced by 20+ years of civil war.  We think our kid can afford to share a little.  Click on the website to donate and check out Hubby’s school design: rebuildsudan.org.
Mural design courtesy of Nancy Hom

Mural design courtesy of Nancy Hom

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