Monday, July 28, 2003

Family Time

It's going to be a week-plus of family time. Evelin's aunt and uncle are in town for a few days and we're going to be having dinner with them tonight and later in the week; this weekend, her cousin's getting married; and another aunt and uncle will be staying with us for a night or two after the wedding.

This weekend was pretty simple. Evelin's birthday was Saturday and I baked her a chocolate cake. For dinner we just grilled some peppers and onions and had veggie fajitas, and then watched Raising Arizona. It'd been a long time since I'd seen that movie (although we've been joking about it for a while now, what with going through our own fertility issues), and I'd forgotten a good chunk of it. Even though it was done in 1987, it's held up really well. At that point, ART and IVF were only a few years old, which leads to the baby-swiping plot instead of an ART comedy (for one of those, try Maybe Baby, which is a lot funnier if you've had to go to a fertility clinic), but the mix of humor, action, and pathos really work 15 years later. Plus it starts of with a line like "I tried to stand up and fly straight, but it wasn't easy with that son' bitch Reagan in the White House."

Last week I was a little bit irked about the disparity between vacation time between the U.S. and Italian offices of my company (actually between the U.S. office and any of our offices elsewhere in the world). On Sunday, Joe Robinson had a good op-ed piece in The Washington Post looking at how poorly vacations are valued in the U.S. vs. the rest of the world. Interesting reading, and it really makes me long for the time when I was telecommuting. Having to come into the office each day seems to make it easier to get distracted by tiny problems that raise resentment and cut down on productivity. Or maybe it is because when I was telecommuting, I was only doing one person's job instead of two to two-and-a-half person's jobs. I don't know if there is a real solution; there definitely isn't one that individuals can implement themselves (beyond dropping out of it all, which is where the country B&B/farm/vineyard/goat-cheese emporium idea comes into play), but there doesn't seem to be any political will to improve the lot of the worker either, so ...

On the panda front, Mei's hormone levels reached all time highs on Wednesday, so we could see at some point over the next week to 10 days either an end to pseudopregnancy or a cub. The conventional wisdom is that she's not pregnant this time, but there's really no way to know until the hormone levels drop off and a cub either shows or doesn't show. She did spend about 25 minutes shifting around the nest in one of her dens yesterday evening, along with some other unusual behaviors, but only time will tell ...

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