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gros malin

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While MoBob is in Geneva I have taken care of the drop-off and pick-up daycare responsibilities via public transport. It's been fine except that the elevators in L'Enfant Plaza Metro are always out and consequently I have to lug the stroller onto the escalators, but Baby Z is securely strapped in and he doesn't seem to mind the ride.

When I'm feeling lazy and it's hot and I have a lot of stuff, I usually take the bus between the office and the daycare. This allows me to observe the fascinating social phenomenon of slugging, which is prevalent enough to warrant its own page on the DC metro area commuter website. "Slugging" is basically informal carpools so that cars can use the HOV lanes. I'm impressed at the social organization; although there aren't any signs, people know how to line up for what destination in an orderly fashion.

In other news:


Baby Z aced tot gymnastics. (He refused to take the medal off for days.)




He enjoyed the church summer kick-off picnic.


We watched the planes at the airport in air-conditioned comfort.


He got a military recruit haircut.


And started soccer class with Uncle Skouri.
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Assateague is in Maryland and Chincoteague is in Virginia. The beach is in Assateague and the charming small town is in Chincoteague. Surprisingly the Virginia side is much stricter in terms of access, i.e. you can camp in MD but not in VA.

We were in Pepsi territory.

I saw a confederate flag for the first time. I did not point this out to MoBob. I hadn't even seen one when we lived in Arkansas.

The hotel had a self-serve waffle machine.

It was too cold to swim.

We were one of the few families of color.

I ate way too much seafood but it was all delicious.

We didn't see many ponies on the boat tour.

In tribute to my dad, we lunched at Arby's on the way.

The Bay Bridge was awesome in the original sense of the word.

We ate at:
Don's
Captain Zack's (alas no t-shirt for Baby Z)
Island Creamery (where we had ice cream for a dinner and there was already a line at 6pm)
Saigon Village (where the kitchen ran out of phở before we arrived)
Sugarbakers (early morning cinnamon buns)

And bought a beautiful picture book about ponies at Sundial Books.

For next time:
NASA's Wallops Center
the Pony Centre
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My maternal grandfather, looking jaunty.
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Over the couple of months several people whom I liked very much have passed away. J was a colleague turned friend who was a true kindred spirit - a Mormon mom who served as a Peace Corps volunteer, married an African, and worked in a parallel field. J's chronicle of pregnancy with cancer was searing and beautiful, and resulted in a healthy baby boy. I hadn't kept in touch with R, but he was one of the first people I met when I moved to Washington DC as a new convert; he helped me adjust to life in our congregation, and as a professional chef introduced me to writers such as MFK Fisher who combined literary and culinary delights. I never saw P in the US. The last two times we worked together were in Kenya and Malaysia. P was the most field-oriented academic I knew. I'm glad she was able to return to what she really loved, working with women in their home communities.

Along with the recent events in Nepal, these departures have made me melancholy and reflective. How would I like to be remembered, in the end? Waving, or drowning?*

*Steve Smith
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Tomorrow we are driving to Assateague to visit the beach and see the ponies, then on Sunday we drop MoBob off at the airport for his trip to Geneva. Thank goodness we're taking a car because I feel as if we're packing as much stuff as our trip to the Philippines last year.

A couple of Saturdays ago I participated in a focus group for the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center and on the way back to the Metro I paid a short visit to the National Archives. I was especially touched by a small display on the history of immigration. That night we gathered with a number of old friends and classmates from grad school. So wonderful to see everyone and how well they are doing! So much better than Faceboook.

I've been binge reading Jennifer Weiner's books. It's so rare to read about a plus-size heroine. I read her collection of short stories on new motherhood several years ago but my feelings are still too raw and new to re-read them now.

My remarks at an event about the Sahel will be turned into a podcast. My remarks at another event on gender and agriculture are somewhere on youtube. I also spoke at a working group for a new guide. Several people have told me that I'm a very natural speaker, to which I respond, "I'm heavily medicated."

Last week I was out with a cold, so Baby Z went out with MB to a music class, then the Hawaiian Cultural Festival, and then couscous with family friends. I feel better now, but the a/c was out for a couple of days and we were very grumpy. Baby Z visited Tantrumville several times. He's also being assessed for his speech delays; he's talking more, but without complete sentences or verbs, and he mixes French and English like "my chapeau."

Although today was gray and rainy, I was cheered up by lunch with a professor friend at Busboys and Poets in Takoma Park. The food was just OK, but the company and atmosphere were excellent. I wish B&P would open up in our neighborhood.


We scored a free train table.


Baby Z has new pillow cases made from "Basra" fabric.




This month's theme is shapes and colors.
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Gym class.


Reception at the Library of Congress for the visiting Minister of Artisans and Handicrafts.


Open house at the Embassy of the Philippines.






"School" photos.




In serious thought.


Track suit!
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My blog has turned into a chronicle of Zacky's life and yet I realized recently that I'm always behind the camera. I was reminded of this essay which really strikes home. I'm so busy documenting his life that I forget that I'm a part of it. I want them to see the way I looked at them, see how much I loved them. I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother.

As we approach my second Mother's Day, I realize that, as much as I find much of the rhetoric on motherhood overly sentimental and unrealistic, it actually has been...OK. Fun, even.




*The Relief Society Declaration
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I am lucky that I had a chance to visit Nepal, and luckier that my friends there are all OK.



I have been fighting a cold, and it wanes and waxes in severity. The Nephew-in-Law returned to France, so we had a farewell dinner at Bistro 1707, which was actually pretty good. Not Mom's cooking, but still pretty good.

I had an appointment downtown on Friday so I ducked into Secondary Story Books off Dupont Circle, which, by the way, does not have a second story.



After gymnastics class on Saturday Baby Z and I were exiled to the zoo because MoBob and his friend needed quiet time to assemble the famous new IKEA bed. Surprisingly we saw quite a few animals - many more than I'd expected - including some time with the pandas. We also saw gorillas, elephants, big cats (tigers, lions, and cheetahs), zebras, gazelles, and lots of birds. No giraffes, disappointingly. Baby Z was most excited to see the donkeys that were part of the model farm. Maybe he remembered them from last summer in Morocco?






Baby Z had a case of the Monday grumps even with his new yellow hoodie.
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We went to IKEA to purchase a new bedframe and no one cried. We all displayed remarkable restraint.

I took the 30N bus all the way from Friendship Heights to Anacostia. I saw the whole sweep of the District of Columbia. Once we were in Anacostia I saw some surprisingly lovely sights: a fire station with a tower, a tennis lesson under flowering trees, and prosperous-looking red brick houses.


source: wikipedia


I attended an event on gender and climate change and shared the elevator on the way up with Femi Oke, formerly of CNN and now of Al Jazeera, and on the way down with Mme the Liberian minister of gender, children, and social protection. You can see me in the video way at the end, at about 1:10:01.


Even though it was cloudy, the cherry blossoms were still lovely.






We learned about jazz at the Smithsonian.


Miss Elaine showed us how to play our "instruments" in front of a jazz painting in the Hirschorn.


We took a double selfie.


We enjoyed the view from the leather lounge.


And then contemplated the fountain in the Sculpture Garden.


Then MoBob took the Nephew-in-Law shopping at Potomac Mills while Baby Z chauffeured around Paddington Bear.
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