eldar: (Default)
( Jan. 24th, 2009 08:17 pm)
Today, we paid a visit to the Wildlife Conservation Society Aquarium in Brooklyn (we wanted to do something indoors, and free/cheap - well, it was free thanks to our year's membership of the WCS).

Okay, so it's not 100% outside - the basic layout is a lengthy courtyard surrounded by indoors exhibits, with open pools along one side housing walruses, seals, otters, and penguins.

Nevertheless, Aliza had a grand time, particularly in the coastal/reefs exhibit, where she ran from tank to tank, pointing and shouting "Fish, fish, fish!".

Then we had a tour of Brooklyn on the way home, and we located (but didn't stop at) the ChipShop.
eldar: (Default)
( Jul. 17th, 2008 06:57 pm)
Don't tell Alexis, but her keys were found in the waste-paper basket. Aliza knows that's where we throw stuff away, so it's only right that she copies us. Right?
eldar: (Default)
( Jun. 30th, 2008 10:49 pm)
Last week was supposed to be (relatively, no pun intended, really) stress-free... visit my folks and do stuff with Aliza, then play some bridge at the weekend.

It was mostly thus.

The drive down on Sunday was uneventful, though I did notice that my car, which had been behaving erratically (I felt it might have been mis-firing...), was using far more petrol than normal. As in around 20mpg rather than the usual 30 or so when doing mostly motorway driving. Still.

Monday we headed to the Rare Breeds Farm at Totnes, which Aliza gradually warmed to, and where we met a pair of particularly aggressive lambs who jumped up and grabbed both mine and Alexis's cups of Generic Animal Feed (tm) from our hands. They also have a range of different owls with a rather predictable naming theme. And yes they have a snowy owl. And yes, it is called what you think it's called.

Tuesday was the long day out, down to Cornwall and the Eden Project, which was excellent and well-designed with babies in pushchairs in mind! Plenty of other families around, Aliza ran around making friends and mooching Pringles off of total strangers. She has that effect. Backing into the drive back at my parents' place, my Dad commented that my engine sounded pretty awful (and driving up and down hills in Cornwall really didn't feel right at all, especially in low gear and low-mid revs). He suggested it was the exhaust that was at fault, and that I take it to Kwik Fit the next day.

On Wednesday we took my Nan out to Torcross for fish & chips, then down to Hope Cove (via the "other" Galmpton) where Aliza was given her first ice cream cone (Salcombe Dairy Strawberry, for the record). She needed no education in what to do with it: all that was left at the end was the tip of the cone and the ruff around the top. There is of course photographic evidence, presumably appearing on a Flickr account in the near future, if it isn't already there (ask [livejournal.com profile] arosoff). Nan also mentioned that one of my second cousins works at Kwik Fit; just as well because otherwise I'd have wondered just how he knew who I was when I walked into reception. He listened to the engine and diagnosed (as I had!) that I had a mis-fire, and that I really ought to get it looked at otherwise I'd do something unmentionable to the cat. He referred me to a garage just round the corner, who did some delving and determined I needed a new set of HT leads (the old ones literally fell apart in the mechanic's hands!) for the bargain price of 40 notes, and they were able to slot me in the next day.

Thursday, being carless, meant getting a lift with my mother (and transferring the car seat into her car) to have lunch with a relative of some variety (xth cousin once removed, almost certainly... she's my Dad's generation, not sure if she's his first or second cousin, can't be bothered to work it out) who was visiting from Canada. A pretty ropey carvery, but for £3.50 who's complaining? Checked in on my car on the way back, it was ready, price had gone up to 45 quid, still no bother (better than £300+ for a new catalytic converter!), however due to logistics my dad ended up driving it back a bit later. Had a quick spin round the block, all seemed very well.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were mainly bridge days. I headed into Torquay to meet my bridge partner, Dave, and after some to-ing and fro-ing (my 'phone ran out of credit, I couldn't top it up, and can you believe that payphones have a minimum call charge of 40p - including 20p connection charge - these days?!) met him in one of the arcades near the harbour. We got lunch, then played bridge, winning 3 and drawing 1 out of 7 matches and came 26th out of 51 teams, with exactly 70/140 points. How average can you get? The pairs event on Saturday and Sunday started very poorly, with a heavy loss, picked up tremendously with 6 straight wins, then got very disappointing on Sunday with only one win out of five. We just about scraped above 50%, and half-way in the field, which I guess we'd have accepted at the start, but given where we'd got to - and the chances we didn't put away on Sunday - it was something of a let-down.

Sunday evening Alexis and I finally got to ditch Aliza with my parents and we went out to dinner, a better carvery this time, at the Churston Court. Not as good as it used to be - from what I can gather the new owners ditched it in favour of a far-too-expensive à la carte menu, before bringing it back due to popular demand. What there was was good, but the choices were severly limited.

A very uneventful drive back this evening.

Then... the bad news, coming, as do buses, in twos:
1. Still no letter from the US Embassy telling me when the interview date for my visa application is. We posted the last set of forms off four weeks ago now. They usually get the date set within 2-3 weeks. There was a card saying a recorded delivery letter needed to be picked up, but it was too late to go get it by the time we got back - so Alexis has to pick it up tomorrow. Really, really, need it to be from the Embassy... because:
2. Landlord has, "due to circumstances beyond his control", decided not to renew our lease when it runs out on September 14th. So really really really want to get moved by then. Otherwise I have no idea what we're going to do. I'm wondering what is going on because previously talking to him he's said he's been happy to keep us on as tenants past that date, and even ditch the estate agents (to avoid him paying fees to them). That would've suited us as he did say he'd be okay going on a month-by-month basis. Bah. I'm vaguely hoping that he's actually bs'ed the estate agents to drop them and will get in touch with me to say so, and that we can stay on. However I have a feeling that this will not be so.

Aliza is now asleep on the floor. Yes, the floor. It's a habit she picked up at my parents' - except they have carpets, and we have the original bare floorboards, with sticky out bits and gaps and all. Still, she's quiet and finally run out of steam, which is usually a good sign.

Time for bed said Zebedee....
eldar: (Default)
( Jan. 5th, 2008 03:12 pm)
She is 1 today. 1 year. What year? It was only yesterday I swear!
eldar: (Default)
( Nov. 19th, 2007 10:47 pm)
At sometime between 5.15pm and 5.30pm today (going by the boiler clock, the only electric-powered non-digital clock in the house, and by those electric-powered digital clocks that had been running about half an hour by the time we finally got back in) we lost power. The first inkling I had was an announcement on the train that West Finchley station was closed. Then A. called up to say there was no power. So off we headed to TGI's for dinner, which ate up a couple of hours, then did a recce back along the street - still no power. So next we went to Tesco for candles and a big torch (but not candlesticks - Tesco do not sell regular everyday candlesticks, or at least the one at Colney Hatch doesn't appear to), and by the time we got back, so was the electricity.

And that is about the most exciting thing that's happened in a while. Except my clever little daughter who is now not only crawling all over the place, but is pulling herself up to standing against various bits of furniture. Soon she will learn to move whilst holding on. And then, walking. Such a clever girl.
eldar: (Default)
( Sep. 18th, 2007 03:52 pm)
We have an adorable little girl. She's clever and generally well-behaved and smiles lots and is a total joy to be with (most of the time - I mean, Aliza's still a baby after all and babies do tend to have their "meltdown moments"). Except at the moment, she's not sleeping through the night. The typical pattern is:

- Get her ready for bed. Try putting her down there and then. This typically results in a "waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!" there and then.

- Keep her in her gro-bag (kind of like a sleeping bag for babies), but take her out of the cot and sit her in the bouncer in the living room 'til she drops off (typically this takes 15-20 minutes). She gets the "bedtime" message, she just won't fall asleep without mummy and/or daddy in the room as well.

- Pop her back in the cot when we go to bed.

- "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!" usually re-occurs a couple of hours later, if that.

- Try to get her to go back to sleep in the cot, fail.

- Pick her up out of the cot, and either cuddle her in the living room 'til she falls asleep again, in which case, back in cot, rinse, repeat.

- Or more likely just give up and bring her in to bed with mummy and daddy, where often she'll drop right off and sleep 'til morning.

- Except lately she's been waking up at stupid o'clock anyway and fussing.

Alexis informs me that this is because she's "working on developing skills", in this case, probably crawling. Apparently when she nails what she's thinking about, sleeping through the night will return. Which is fantastic, because we'll be able to sleep at night (again), but not so fantastic because we'll have a mobile baby and to be honest it's bad enough removing items from her reach (she grabs anything that isn't nailed down, and pretty much anything that is, too). Baby-proofing our flat is going to be a nightmare.

eldar: (Default)
( Aug. 5th, 2007 11:02 am)
Yesterday afternoon we headed down into the wilds of Sarf Lundun to warm [livejournal.com profile] clarisinda and [livejournal.com profile] papaspoof's new home. By the time we got there, both the sun and the barbecue were already doing a good job of it. Many people were there, Aliza was finally proved to exist, and apart from some brief fussing she had a great time and was photographed a lot. She even managed to smile in a couple of shots.

This morning, I've been far more productive than is normal for a Sunday:
- Completed my 2006/07 self assessment form for work.
- I've finished up my Child Tax Credit application.
- I've submitted my 2006-07 Tax Return (which required the exact same bits of paper as the above...).
- I've paid off the Virgin credit card bill.
- I've re-organised a few online accounts.

In about an hour, we'll be headed into town again to meet up with my sister and her SO for noodles.

Next: write my review of The Prefect (which I know [livejournal.com profile] matgb may be interested in).
eldar: (Default)
( Jul. 17th, 2007 08:46 pm)
It's just taken me two and a half hours to get home from work. A very stop-start Tube finally terminated at Archway due to some inconsiderate sod who decided to jump under a train at Finchley Central.

Archway was chaos, and after half an hour - when I witnessed a just-pulling-in 263 (which I would almost certainly have got on) collide with a just-pulling-out 134 (which I'd have got on if I'd been stood in the right place) - I decided to start walking.

Halfway up the hill to Highgate, I managed to get on a 43, which I took all the way to Friern Barnet, followed by a 221 and a 125 to get most of the way home. Only a short walk from Ballard's Lane.

I feel that I am owed the beer I just opened up.

It also helps that my daughter is adorable and my lovely wife is making me roast chicken and mashed potatoes.
My little girl is 6 months old today. I find it hard to believe it's been that long.
She gets annoyed when I move her out of reach of my keyboard. She has also learned the key combination Alt+F,X. She can do searches in Firefox. What have we created...?
I did mention we were in New York taking Aliza to visit her grandparents and aunts and cousins, didn't I?  Well we are... as I type this, she's having a bit of a fuss whilst attended to by her grandfather.

Okay, so we flew in on Saturday (Upper Class, very nice, some day I'd like to try it out without the added hinderance of children - I guess I'll be waiting 20+ years for that!).

Sunday we endured much fussing from herself as she adjusted to the change in timezone, though we did escape briefly to go buy a new camera (Canon SP A630, or something like that...).

Monday was the Day of the Relatives: half a dozen or more, all being noisy, all fussing over her, and no wonder she got cranky.  And of course far too much food, which is now mostly stuffing up the fridge.

Today was Manhattan, with two goals in mind:
1. The recently re-opened Greek and Roman galleries at the Met.
2. FAO Schwarz to get her a teddy bear.

We achieved both, with a walk in Central Park in between, then decided to take the bus back up from FAO (59th and 5th) to the Met (80th or so).  This meant a Madison Avenue bus (5th being a down route, and we needed to go up), and it was busy - so we had to hold her and fold the buggy.  She fussed solidly for 20 blocks.  She was getting looks from everyone on the bus.  Thus, the title of this post.

The drive back wasn't as bad as it could've been, except just short of home she woke up and cried the rest of the way home.

There you are; up to date.  If you're really unlucky, I'll post more later.  Prey that apathy strikes.
I suppose I could eulogise about my beautiful baby daughter, and how adorable she is when she starts to try to burble. She does a great line in big toothless (for now) grins. She knows when she wants attention, too... and appears to know how to get it. This is easily observed behaviour. If she's fine just sat in her bouncer next to me whilst I'm at my computer, she'll just, well, sit there and quietly do whatever it is babies do. Maybe have a stretch, a bit of a wriggle, but she'll do it quietly. If she's after attention, though, she'll make it plain. So it's necessary to talk to her, tickle her, pick her up for a cuddle. Just as long as I don't turn around again as soon as she goes quiet. I think we have a clever one on our hands.

In other news, I think she's already got a boyfriend. He's an older lad (9-10 days, apparaently!), and I'm not sure I wholly approve. I might have to go round and sort him out. I've seen photos, and I'm not sure his intentions are quite honest! [To explain - at Alexis's last NCT get-together, Aliza was in a lot of photos next to the hosts' son, and they look as if they're cuddled up together. I'm not going to post a link to the photos as there are pictures of other peoples' kids there and I don't want to link to them without permission.]

Well there you go - life in a nutshell. If it weren't for my daughter, I'd be bored. Work is dull, and we've just heard that a major contract we were supposed to be ramping up on has been put back at least 6 months because the client's client haven't got approval to start operating.

There was something else but it can't be important because I've totally forgotten it.
eldar: (Default)
( Mar. 9th, 2007 09:32 am)
So Tuesday, we drove into town to take Aliza to the US Embassy for her registration there. This entailed a trip into Mayor Ken's Dreaded Congestion Charge Zone. I paid up the night before, and requested my receipt be sent by email. I expected (as these things often do) my email to arrive pretty much instantaneously, but it didn't - or so I thought.

A couple of days later, I poked my nose into my Junk Mail folder. Very little gets by the BT Internet spam filters, so I get maybe 1 or 2 junk emails per day - and most of it is genuine junk. Except that, nestled in there, was the receipt I'd requested for my Congestion Charge payment. How appropriate.
eldar: (Default)
( Feb. 18th, 2007 07:47 pm)
Okay, I've caught up on LJ (okay, I've skimmed about 100 posts and ignored most of them), so I guess I should let everyone know what I've been up to this past week and a half. Or rather, the last 5 days, since the 7 before that were rather dull and depressing due to the lack of cat :-(

Okay, Wednesday, we drove down to Devon so Aliza could visit her grandparents, and her great-Nan. Nan in particular was very happy to see Aliza, as it's her first great-grandchild. She's had plenty of recent practice with babies though, what with her neighbour's grandchildren, and her niece's grand-daughter being regular visitors. Aliza also met her sort-of-cousins (my sister's nieces), who seem to have grown very fond of the beach. Other than our beach visit, we had a generally quiet time (except when Miss Griselda Fusspot decided she didn't want to go to sleep until 5.30am...). A. and I even got to go out to dinner together, whilst my parents watched Aliza. And I got very damp and cold and wasted 15 quid watching Torquay lose 1-0 to Hartlepool.
eldar: (Default)
( Feb. 12th, 2007 12:00 pm)
I have the week off work. Wednesday, we're off down to Devon to see my parents, and finally my Nan will meet Aliza. In the meantime, there are plenty of errands to be run. Including getting myself a haircut, which I've not managed to do since October. I suspect that's going to have to be done tomorrow now, though.

My sister Sara (aka [livejournal.com profile] sister_sestina) and brother-in-law John came round yesterday for lunch, and to see their niece. In the end, we headed to TGI's, due to a lack of basic research on my part. That is, not really knowing local pubs suitable for a Sunday lunch, apart from The Orange Tree in Totteridge but we went there just before Christmas and the chances of just turning up on a Sunday and getting a table for 4+baby is unlikely.

Anyway, it transpires that this week it's half-term for their nieces (John's brother's kids), and they'll be staying in Devon with their Aunty and Uncle. So Aliza will have a 4- and 5-year-old to play with as well. They each made a card for her, which are all glittery and probably best kept in the bag lest the glitter get everywhere. The last time they "met" Aliza, she was still growing inside Alexis's tummy, and this has, apparently, been explained to them.

We still miss the cat, of course :-(
eldar: (Default)
( Feb. 5th, 2007 07:09 pm)
Zoe (the cat) is poorly, she appears to have a blood clot in her leg. She's staying overnight at the vet. She was limping round all day yesterday, then got really lethargic and totally uninterested in food or water. So this morning we got an emergency appointment. We miss her :-(

Blah is a lack of sleep, and a day at work that didn't involve any breaks of any kind and people talking at cross purposes and having to lump $3400 for new software on my own fucking credit card (and then raising an expenses claim) rather than the company actually having a credit card handy for such payments?! Hell it's lucky I happen to have a card with that kind of spare capacity. Then there's the whole palaver of setting up a PC in the demo room for a demo to clients tomorrow, we spent all bloody afternoon getting the demo working (or: a selection of random kludges that hopefully will do the trick for now, fingers crossed that the permissions error doens't pop up, it might be an idea to warn someone it might happen), then I looked at the diary and the room's booked all day tomorrow anyway, no time to set up the PC, even first thing because who wants a sodding monitor and PC sitting around taking up space and blocking views? Luckily there's a spare laptop, to go with the regular demo room laptop, but even that's narfed because I don't have admin rights to make all the changes I need to it. Tech support had better bloody get their arses in gear and get it sorted first thing. We still need to test the sodding demo. Oh and this client we're demo-ing to? Someone sent them a rather, er, fiery, letter this morning. (I can mention this because it's public knowledge. I should also point out that we'll be having nothing to do with that particular aspect of their business.)

At least Aliza's being adorable and well behaved. She's a month old today... doesn't time fly, and so on?

Flat sale, blah, solicitors, blah, estate agents, blah, managing agents, blah, just sell the damned thing already and give me my money! Of course I still need to completely empty the place, but it's not as simple as "pick it up, dump it" because not everything's to be dumped. I need to be more precise. "Pick up that and that and that and dump it, then take that and that down to Devon, oh and pop by my new place to pick up this old bed too which needs to go to Devon." Or maybe it'll be simpler to say "just take it all to Devon, and I'll get it dumped from down there". And maybe that should get organised for the day we drive down anyway, but that's just over a week away, a bit short notice, wouldn't you say? Aaargh! Me head explodee bang go aaaargh!

Can I get some sleep now?
eldar: (Default)
( Jan. 22nd, 2007 07:10 am)
Well, now I know what Aliza really thinks of me!

Alexis: "Give her a kiss from Daddy."

Me: Pecks her on the top of the head.

Aliza: Bleurgh! (accompanied by dribbles of recently-ingested milk)
eldar: (Default)
( Jan. 17th, 2007 08:16 am)
Our precious little girl refused to go to sleep, in a most noisy fashion, for nearly 6 hours last night. As a result, I look like a leftover cast member from Dawn Of The Dead. Deity-of-Your-Choice knows what the neighbours think.
eldar: (Default)
( Dec. 29th, 2006 06:39 pm)
We went to Watford the other day. Watford town centre is one-way-system retail park hell. I don't want to ever go back there again. The alternative was Brent Cross on the first day of the sales. I think in future I'd rather go with the devil I know.

Brent Cross was today, and from the look of the traffic queues, it wasn't going to be much fun. In the end, we parked easily, just had to wait ages for lifts, and battle through pretty packed crowds. The one good thing about the John Lewis baby department, though, is that it's the one bit of the store that is totally non-seasonal. You either need baby stuff, or you don't, regardless of the time of year. So it was the quietest bit of the whole shopping centre.

Babies are expensive. Okay, let me rephrase that. The stuff you need to buy for a first baby is expensive. Naturally, as long as you keep a reasonable gap between children (we intend to) and avoid multiple births (we kind of hope we do, at least this first one is just the one) these expenses can disappear almost completely for numbers 2, 3, etc. The same stuff is recycled for the most part. Clothes, furniture, equipment, and the like. It also means I've now got a definite deadline for clearing out the spare bedroom: January 4th, by 15:00, which is when the cot and dresser/changing table are getting delivered.

I like deadlines; they concentrate the mind. I have a feeling this is why I haven't picked a name yet. There isn't a real deadline, only a vague one. If I knew Baby would be arriving at precisely 07:36 on Tuesday January 16th, then I'd know that's when I'd have to have chosen a name by. As things stand, it's not all that clear. So I umm and I ahh and I say "I'll get around to it" but I never do. It's not like it's something difficult to do - go through a book with a list of names in it, and hopefully like a few of the same ones Alexis also likes.

This break has gone by a bit too quickly. It's Friday evening already, and there's now only a long weekend between now and going back to work.