Thursday, November 29, 2007

Caring for the octopus

Actually, Miss Veeka is an active quadriped with all four extremities going at once but in terms of managing all the activity, she is my little octopus. For instance, this morning, I was too groggy to snuggle with her in bed SO she jumped out, bounced down the steps, ran into the kitchen, pushed the little stepladder/chair to the counter, climbed up, got a bowl out of one cabinet, found the cereal box in the other, poured the cereal into the bowl and was chowing down when I found her.
The photo shows her at her desk job whenever she can get a seat at the computer. The kitty just takes it in.
Her vocabulary is improving. She likes to carry about a photo of Opa seated with a kitty he found in Jerusalem so I tell her to put "Opa" back on the shelf. She confuses this with "Baba," the Bulgarian word for "grandmother" that she uses at the daycare. She is now saying "OK" and has even come up with a two-syllable "thank you" when in the mood.
Yesterday she charmed the folks at Safeway into giving her not one but two free balloons. She just waves and blows kisses and everyone melts.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thank heaven for little girls

Isn't that the name of some Broadway song somewhere? Anyway, as I write this, the ever-busy Veeka is taking a nap, giving me a few minutes of respite. Which I don't get much these days, especially since I moved her into a bed. This may have been a very premature decision as she has now taken to getting out and showing up at my bed at all hours of the night. I know, put up a baby gate at the entrance to her room, right? Well, it's not so easy as that. When she sees such a detour, a wail goes up calculated to wake the dead, or at least me.
But I am thankful. Thankful that this year, I am not encircling the endless question of "should I adopt?" That decision was made and result is finally at home with me. Every Thanksgiving morning, I get out my special Thanksgiving book that I write in once a year to list all the things that have happened in the past year to give thanks for. There is always quite a list: people who've popped up to help at the last minute; a business trip that took me to Seattle, a finished manuscript, the works.
And next week I will be premiering a religion blog on the WTimes web site. I think I can offer more learned discourse and edgy observations than does Sally Quinn and her "On Faith" blog across town.
So today I offer thanks for little girls and furry kitties (including the one purring on my lap), the balmy warm weather and fabulously colorful leaves we have in the Washington area this year. Quelle plaisir!
And yes, that is a copy of the South Beach diet book Veeka is holding there.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Veeka gets a bed

Well, it was about time to switch her from crib to bed, although I'm already regretting it. A pro-life group I knew of needed cribs tout de suite, so I figured that at age 2.5, Veeka was ready to get a little girl bed. Not only that, but some friends had an extra one they wanted to give me.
Soooo, we switched over Sunday and nearly every night now, I have to chase the Little One back into bed. She *loves* her new freedom and the chance to rip apart her bedroom in under 5 minutes. Even if I put up the baby gate at the door, that still gives her free range of her room where she is happy to wreak maximum mess. The crib was easier. The photo you see here shows her in bed but that is an illusion.
This week has been busy work-wise with my driving to Baltimore to cover the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (imagine rooms and hallways filled with 300 men dressed in black), then on Wednesday I switched to the Fairfax (Va.) County courthouse where I am covering the biggest property trial in Episcopal Church history. I know - or know of - most of the people who have taken the stand thus far and today was pretty wild with the testimony of the presiding bishop who was taped last month. My articles should stay on the WTimes web site for at least a week (no, we do not have a good archive, unfortunately) so read them now.
Unfortunately the courthouse will not let me bring in my laptop (as it has a camera attached to the lid that I do not even know how to work.) So I spend my lunch hours at the local Panera which has free wireless, sending emails on what my story will be about. Then late in the afternoon I dash back to the restaurant to type and file my story. Essentially the Diocese of Virginia and the national Episcopal Church are suing 11 churches that left a year ago (over a gay bishop and major theological differences) and the costs for all this are running in the millions. I hae never covered a court case this long (six days) but I am enjoying being out of the office and on assignment.
And the best news is this: This afternoon, I handed in the last few chapters of my book manuscript! Free at last ! Free at last! Great God Almighty, free at last!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Autumn rain

That's what it's doing outside, dripping from the sky. I suppose folks from Atlanta wish they could have the same wet weather.
The photo shows Veeka and I dancing at a Greek festival in Seattle. We looked like that last night when I put on "Joyful Mysteries," a beautiful CD of piano music by Mary Lyman Jackson and Veeka and I danced to it.
As the year gets later and darker, the commute home becomes worse and worse. I used to be able to leave at 5 and be at the daycare just before 6. Now I am usually 10 minutes late at least. The traffic in recent weeks has been horrible. It's the worst part of my day.
I am in the last few days of getting a large book manuscript together. Wednesday is the deadline and I'm up late each night working on it, which makes me even more exhausted each morning. It's also a busy time work-wise; I will be in Baltimore the first part of this week covering the U.S. Catholic bishops' annual meeting (driving through 2 rush hours to get there and back is a real joy as well), then I head down to the Fairfax County courthouse to cover a huge trial with the Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Virginia suing a group of 11 churches that have pulled out of the denomination. I'll have an article in Monday's paper that explains it all.
Anyway I've lined up 2 babysitters this weekend to help with Veeka's care. It will be a tiring weekend, followed by an exhausting week. The good part will be getting that second half of my book advance.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Our little unicorn

Veeka really enjoyed her first Halloween. Just getting her to stop eating candy was quite a job. Here she has just polished off a red lollipop before she models her cute little unicorn outfit, purchased by the Vuotos in Canada. Her little arms are attached to wings on the back and she loved dashing about with her rainbow-colored horse's tail.
Her mommy is in the end stages of writing a book, the final chapters of which are due Nov. 15. So we are lining up babysitters both weekends so I can write! Two of the chapters are partly written; one has all the notes assembled and the last is ...hopeless! Well, not quite but it's the conclusion of the book which I have yet to think through. Of course this all has to be fit in around Veeka's schedule and my full-time job where I have also have a huge project I'd like to complete by Nov. 9.
Not to mention physical therapy for the frozen shoulder I got this summer that resulted from muscle strain in lifting Veeka. It never rains, but...
Happy All Saints and All Souls Days, y'all.