Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Ever since Axel was born, people have told me that he looks a bit more like me than like Will. I thought I'd dig up some photos to test the theory. I definitely see a similar mouth and certain expressions. But I also see Will in his nose and eyes, a little more every day.

The Calm

Williamsburg, 2012

Manhattan is still without power below 39th Street, but Williamsburg feels almost like normal today, except of course that it's going to be an odd few days.

Yesterday, we walked around to see if anything looked out of sorts. The rest of the neighborhood was doing much the same, wandering down to the waterfront and looking at the city, astonished that so much of it could really be without electricity. There isn't all that much visible damage here. A few trees down, many of the restaurants closed because their chefs couldn't make the trek from wherever they live.

Mainly everyone is taking stock, catching up on the news. I am amazed to hear of the evacuation of NYU Langone, which is where Axel was born.

We lent our doorman our car last night, as he faced 3-plus hours of a commute home to the Bronx at midnight, and apparently taxis are charging people as much as $150 for a simple route. We also have a friend staying with us, since he lent his apartment to a colleague who walked over the bridge from the city in search of a hot shower and some power.

Last night we had a nice meal with both of them and heard a bit more about the chaos in Manhattan. No street lights, people walking up to midtown for provisions and to plug their various devices into outlets, wherever they could find them.

Will's company is still without power so they told everyone to work the rest of the week at home. I, however, work for a newspaper, which stops for no one (not even Sandy), so they are sending a car for me so that I can come in for a few hours this afternoon. I will report back soon!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Williamsburg, 2012

Sandy seems to have passed through New York and things are a little quieter this morning. Unlike many of our friends in Manhattan, we never lost electricity, which meant we spent the day watching movies and the local news, cooking, and enjoying the unexpected but blustery day at home.

At around noon yesterday, things got a little hairier. From seven p.m. 'til midnight, our building was making incredibly loud groaning and creaking noises, which made it impossible to sleep. We did see what must have been electricity transformer explosions lighting up the sky in the distance at around nine.

Fortunately, things died down overnight and Williamsburg seems at least relatively unscathed. It's quiet out there, but I don't see any flooding on our street. What isn't clear is how quickly the city will be back to normal. I am off work again today, but have no idea when the L train will be up and running again and when it will be possible to navigate around the city.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Twelve Weeks Old

Axel, 2012

We are hanging out inside awaiting the storm. Axel is busily gnawing on his hands and making 459 facial expressions every 30 seconds, which is making photographing him a bit harder. His smiles are getting so animated, but so is his "sad face," a new development of late.

The sound of the wind woke us up at around 6 a.m., but so far it hasn't done much but make noise here yet. On the agenda for today? Watching the news, making BLTs, and staying in our PJs.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Williamsburg, 2012

Axel and I are prepping for the Frankenstorm. We aren't in "Zone A" but we are near it, so the plan is to hunker down inside for the next couple of days and keep dry.

We weren't here last year for Irene, so I have no idea how tomorrow will play out in the city but I do know that the subways are closed and that I will not be trekking into work, thank you very much.

We have a pretty well stocked pantry on a day-to-day basis, but I got a few extra things this morning and plan on filling the bath tub with water in case we lose water pressure. So far there aren't many signs of the storm in Brooklyn except for a bit of wind and a lot of chatter in the shops.

But obviously the city is taking Sandy seriously so I am not planning any long walks this evening.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Home Again

Axel, 2012

It was a long week.

I think I'm a tad shocked (okay, a lot shocked) at how hard it's been to go back to work. I don't know what I expected, but a friend recently described leaving her daughter to go to the office as an out of body experience. Sounds spot on to me. Part of me says I feel this so acutely because he's so young. But will it ever feel easy?

People often portray looking after an infant as drudge work. Isolating, frustrating, exhausting. The world seems to remind you, loudly and frequently, to take time to yourself and to get back to "normal" life as soon as possible. What they don't say is how fun it is. I don't want to seem like I'm glossing things over, but I'd say that nearly every moment of looking after Axel is a pleasure. I feel enormously grateful that he is here, and that I am lucky enough to be his mother.

Yes, breaks are nice. But ten hour days away from him are dreadful. Were I curing cancer or putting men on Mars, I might feel the blow less intensely.

The good news is that it's Friday and I am home, and have the whole weekend with him stretching ahead of me. Frankenstorm be damned! Unfortunately, Will had to head out of town for a family obligation. So we are here on our own, waiting for the rain and the wind.

I am celebrating getting through the last four days with a beer and some coconut ice cream.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This and That

Spokane, 2012

Well, day two back at work was a little harder. OK, a lot harder.

The trouble with working in a deadline based industry is that there's no room for "I only work 'til 5." Maybe such a media job exists somewhere. But tonight I got home at 7:55 and the last hour or so was killing me. I'm working on a project with weekly deadlines, so I know that tomorrow and Friday will only be worse. It's one thing to be annoyed that you are stuck at work because of general ennui or because it's been a long day and you want to make a dinner with friends. It's another when you miss your baby like crazy.

This morning I barely got to spend time with Axel because he's still on west coast time and so only woke up around 8. Then the hour or so before I left the house was a muddle of trying to pump, trying to get dressed, trying to get organized to get out the door.

I had lunch today with a friend who is also working full time and has a baby who is just about a month older than Axel. I know I am not the only one. I was joking with her that I used to think parents who worked were just dealing with logistics. Like, ok, snap your fingers, get a nanny, it will be fine. It barely occurred to me that being away from your child for 95% of their waking hours is pretty darn sad.

I try to tell myself that working is taking care of the baby in another way, or that maintaining my career is good for all of us in the long run. That having a working parent as a role model is a good thing. But on a day to day basis, when he's so little, it's pretty rough.

When I walked through the door and he was still awake (good old jet lag) I nearly burst into tears with happiness. Just to have that half an hour. And he was babbling away and grinning. He has taken to waking himself up laughing at his Sleep Sheep and batting away at it. He's so much more aware these days. Even though he's asleep now, I feel a million times better just knowing he's in the other room instead of several miles away.'s complicated. I keep having to tell myself it's only a month.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jet Lag

Axel, 2012

Somebody is tired after so much jetsetting.

The Saddle

Axel, 2012

I am back in the thick of midtown today. It's a little weird. I mean, we work in a world with "bring your dog to work" days...would it really disturb my cubicle mates so very much to have Axel hanging out next to us in his bassinet? I keep finding myself wishing we lived in Scandinavia and I could nip over to the state-subsidized creche for Swedish meatballs and playtime at lunch.

I am feeling relatively fine sobbing in the subway (yet.) Part of it is that I know he's in good hands, and part of it is that it's a short work assignment. I am also a little excited to schedule plenty of lunch dates during my month back and to catch up with old work colleagues.

But it's still pretty surreal to think that I created this tiny brand new human and am now back to the grind almost as if nothing happened. Everything is the same and nothing is remotely the same.

Axel, meanwhile, seems very pleased to have discovered his thumb.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Eleven Weeks Old

Axel, 2012

Our little munchkin is home and sleeping...finally. He's gone from being a bald eagle to a little ball of fuzz (with rapidly growing eyelashes.) Will and I have been entertaining ourselves by making up absurd names for him and are both kind of infatuated at the moment. Tired, yes.

Axel, 2012

Am I glad to be back home and in close proximity to a washing machine, changing table, and our bed? Most certainly. But it was really special to take one of our first family trips together. Axel is pretty good company.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wedding Weekend: Days Three and Four

Spokane, 2012

A whirlwind of a weekend in Spokane. The wedding was a gorgeous, 1920s-inspired affair and it was two days packed full of visits with old and very dear friends. And stripes!

I feel a sense of relief that we pulled off an ambitious trip. Aside from a few squeaky moments in the car, we had a blast, and are off to cap off the adventure with dinner at The Coterie Room.

It's been a little chaotic (read: messy) camping out in hotel rooms with a wee babe, but Axel seemed to take the whole endeavor in stride. I imagine he's probably thinking "Mwahahahaha, I made it back into their room. Victory!"

Alas, not for long my little friend.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Radio Flyer: Day Two

Spokane, 2012

Yesterday we explored Spokane on foot and couldn't resist snapping this picture of Axel on the giant Radio Flyer (not visible: Will ducking under the side.)

We also had a beautiful dinner in the cellars of Barrister Winery. The oddest part of the day? Seeing Rod Stewart in the lobby of our hotel.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Go West: Day One

Seattle to Spokane, 2012

We left Seattle at around 10:00 a.m. yesterday and drove through the Cascade Mountains, discussing (among other things) the space elevator, things we would buy if we were unfathomably rich, and social media. Will and I love a good road trip. I love the meandering conversations you have when you are trapped in the car; Will adores stopping along the way and striking up long chats with total strangers.

We wound up in Yakima at around midday...not terribly much to see there, but the wide streets and old signs really do remind you that you are on the frontier.

We also found our way to lunch at a breathtaking spot on the Columbia River Gorge. Cave B Winery was one of those places you hope you'll stumble upon but rarely do. It was especially cool to find it given the barren, almost lunar landscape of that part of Washington state, which reminded me a tad too much of The Hills Have Eyes.

We sat outside on the terrace in the sunshine as two military jets did an amazing fly over through the gorge. Just the kind of weird and wonderful thing we were after.

Axel was very amenable to the drive. I pumped a few bottles so that we didn't have to do any more stops than we usually would, and I broke out the cow book a couple of times to keep him entertained. Other than that he slept most of the way.

Once we got to Spokane, we checked into our hotel, took a dip in the hot tub, bathed Axel like a Roman senator, and caught up with some old friends.
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