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gros malin

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I don't want to say it's the new normal, but it's definitely the new reality. Last Friday I went to our local middle school (where Z would go eventually) to greet the new Secretary of Education, and MoBob to a info session with immigration lawyers organized for the Moroccan-American community. We really didn't do much for V-Day since Z was down with a tummy bug, which he went on to pass to MB and myself. We are all fine now but it was not pleasant.

We were well enough attend a wonderful dinner with a group of people who all knew each other from Burkina Faso. The hosts lived in an expansive house in the Maryland countryside. It was a nice fantasy, but I knew the commute and upkeep and isolation would wear us all down.

We went to visit City Wildlife for the annual open house. City Wildlife rehabilitates urban creatures. We had pitched the visit to Z as seeing baby squirrels, but alas, they were very excitable and so hidden behind a sheet - so we *heard* them. It was oddly like the National Zoo - animals that did not emerge as promised.

There's a sick turtle in there.



Work continues to be super busy, and I've been gone to a couple of evening events. I went on a rare visit to my grad school alma mater to attend a session on "finding your voice" which was presented by a former opera singer. There was advice on physical side (breathe) and on the attitude side (project confidence!). The crowd definitely skewed young but I saw one classmate, and a third was on the panel discussion afterwards, and one of panelists was a Fil-Am woman, a rare sight especially at the super senior level she was at.

I went out to dinner with other board members to discuss our next big fundraising event. It was a nice mix of fun mom talk and business. I don't think people realize that when NEH and NEA are cut, it means cuts to organizations like this one. Who is against theater for little kids?

Saturday was so mild - we went to a playdate in the morning, then on to the Presidents' Day Family Fest. Our routine for the National Portrait Gallery/Smithsonian American Art Museum is set: MB drops us off at Shake Shack to find parking, we order to go and meet inside Kogod Courtyard.

celebrity president sighting



We made a quick visit to the library and then enjoyed the balmy weather some more at our local playground, before going to an adoption party. We are really lucky to have a nice community in our neighborhood, centered on Z's school.

After church, we took Z to a class at the Smithsonian. The classes we've taken previously were a combination of activity + museum visit. This time kids rotated around four different arts and craft stations on the theme of music. It was cute, but in the end Z spent more time playing with another little boy and placing different animals in a princess castle.

making music



​Firday was a professional development day so Z attended a music day camp at a local conservatory with several friends from school. Tomorrow is a federal holiday, but both MB and I are going into the office. Z will be at an arts day camp​ which ends at 2:30pm so hopefully we'll have some time to play too.
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I actually have on my calendar that I should update my blog every Tuesday to account for all the weekend fun. Sadly, I've been remiss, especially since I can't access LJ at work. So now I'm committed to drafting a blog post and uploading it later.

I've been doing pretty well on reading. I just finished The Rook which I enjoyed very much. I've requested the sequel and I just discovered the "readers also enjoyed" feature on Good Reads. Although I'd read the DaVinci Code I wasn't a big fan - I liked Katherine Neville's books better, and will definitely try out the recommendations from Good Reads.

MoBob was at his post-accident massage appointment last night. Z and I actually had a nice family home evening after dinner. Usually for FHE I review whatever his Sunday school lesson was in French but I haven't been consistent. Sunday's lesson was "I am grateful for fish" which was about Jonah and the whale. We have a couple of illustrated Bibles in French and I read the story to Z, and he asked a lot of questions. He was especially intrigued by the whale (or fish) spitting Jonah back onto shore. Then we played with the ocean-themed felt set that I'd made last month.


Happy Chinese New Year!
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I always know when a cold is coming, and I always ignore the signs, and then I always feel sorry afterwards. This time Z go it first, so we left him at home with the babysitter (courtesy of emergency back-up care - honestly the best work benefit ever). Friday night he had trouble sleeping, and so did I, so Saturday was pretty much spent in bed. We missed out on French class and a birthday party. I slept and slept, and it felt wonderful. Saturday night was not much better, but Z was feeling perky again this morning. so MoBob took him to the Smithsonian's Chinese New Year Festival and I'm at home, feeling somewhat more lucid.

We got a new car! A Honda CR-V. Now we look like all the other families.

Z has improved a lot on potty-training. He's been wearing regular undies for a week now and only had a couple of accidents, at home. It's a real triumph since we've been working on this for over a year now and I was seriously getting worried as he approached his 4th birthday.

Work has been much busier than usual. Because of the federal hiring freeze I've been ask to take on a couple of additional projects, that would normally go to one person (the new position, now on hold). My upcoming travel schedule is firming up too - so far, South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania, and Madagascar. MB has a short domestic trip at least every other month, and a couple of international trips, so it will be an exciting year logistically. (*sigh*)
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This week was unusually busy both at work and at home. I left the house this morning with clean laundry still out and an unwrapped birthday present for an afternoon party. I had a couple of board meetings in the evening, and last night we did our monthly volunteer gig at the DC Diaper Bank. Today I'm at a "boot camp" for non-profit board members, which is kind of a nice reprieve from household chaos.

I like to say we provided "support services" for the Women's March. We hosted three guests (a mom and daughter who drive in from Michigan whom we met via a friend from church, and a friend whom we knew in Burkina Faso who took the bus from Maine), and MoBob volunteered at the school, where the PTA sold parking spots for inauguration and march days. We offered to host Z's friends whose parents wanted to March. Saturday evening we had dinner with other Burkina Faso friends with pizza from Comet Ping Pong, and a side visit to Politics and Prose.

I also participated in a Mormon feminist retreat. (They marched together on Saturday.) What a wonderful group of women - I hope I see them again. We cried and prayed together. I am lucky to have such intense spiritual experiences with my sisters from church.

feminist in training
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We were voluntold to telework the rest of the week so yesterday was my only day in the office, and I spent most of today alternating between work tasks and home tasks. Thankfully we were able to get a babysitter for tomorrow, and the library is showing "Frozen" in the afternoon.

I zipped through Crazy Rich Asians. It was pretty entertaining - it reminded me of some of the rich, distant cousins I've met in the Philippines. I'm surprised that the author neglected to mention, in a novel primarily based in Singapore, that the incredible airport includes a butterfly exhibit. I read that the novel's been optioned for a movie - I hope it actually happens!


After French class on Saturday, and since Z is so interested in dance these days, we went to a delightful production of The Big Meow with Jane Franklin Dance. It was refreshing that the main character was played by someone who looked more like me than the typical svelte dancer.


MLKJ Day was more challenging this year because MoBob is in Minneapolis, we don't have a car, and our usual back-up plan to play at one of the Smithsonian museums was less feasible because of all the inauguration prep.

We met up with another family for the show with Banjo Man Jack, along with a hundred other people desperate to get out of the house for MLJK Day. Everyone cheered for that socialist hymn called "This Land is Your Land."


Then on to Magic Ground - another crowded venue. We left before we were totally squeezed out but at least Z got some time in the beauty salon.


I made a portable felt activity kit out of cookie tin.


And a magic wand for the boy prince.


Z's homework: a coloring book about inauguration.
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Next week Z only has two days of school because of the MLKJ holiday (Monday), professional development day (Thursday), and Inauguration (Friday). And of course the weather sucks this time of year, and most of the fun things we do are closed on federal holidays. Another mom and I were laughing about how, before kids, there was so much spontaneity and leisure, and now long weekends or any weekdays off cause mental disarray and extra expense.

Since my office is between the White House and the Capitol (and next to the Trump Hotel), and our home is one metro stop away from the Mall, next week will be a logistical challenge. We have several folks staying with us for the March, so at least the prospect of telework means we can prepare for their arrival with more flexibility. MoBob works in Virginia, but many of his colleagues live in the District, so his office is also affected by the road closures and security measures. To complicate matters, MB is going on a business trip from Monday morning to Wednesday evening. And we still don't have a new car.

I just finished reading The Trespasser by Tana French. I was 140 or so on the library's hold list so they must've gotten multiple copies because it was released in September and I got it in December. I enjoyed it; it was less atmospheric and more urban than her previous novels, and thankfully this time there were no lingering unresolved questions, like in her other books. I wonder what Tana French will do next, since each of her novels builds upon characters introduced in the others, and with the latest, they are all "done."
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Z had a big weekend in the sense of two major changes. He started Saturday French classes and he moved up in his Sunday school class at church. He started both with a few tears but as usual we had to pry him away from his new teachers for both classes.


One of the many joys of living in Washington DC is the free, high quality cultural events. We've attended National Symphony Orchestra in Your Neighborhood every year, and this year it was in our immediate neighborhood. I went to the opening night concert. While we missed the family concert this year due to car shopping, Z attended a mini-concert at the local library with his class.


We attended an adorable performance of Amahl and the Night Visitors (which I'd never seen before, oddly) at a local church. The performers' bios showed that they were serious students (all the young men were engineering majors) as well as fine actors and singers.


Our admin brought in a huge candy bar, which was quickly consumed.


I've been on a felting rampage. I made a travel felt board out of an inexpensive picture frame and three sets of felt scenes - ocean creatures, cars, and a pizza.


MoBob helped me with the car wash.


One of the plants unexpectedly flowered.
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We don't party very much in Casa de Z.

But we did celebrate "Noon Year's Eve" with trains along the Anacostia.


Face painting from a Winter Fairy.


Dressing up as a Toilet Paper Snow Person at the library's New Year's craft party.


Visiting the holiday trains at Brookside Gardens.


Enjoying singing time at Busboys and Poets.


And homemade indoor fun with tiny dinosaurs and monster-making.


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glad for a new year and new LJ friends!
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