Twitter; Sick

Our big weekend news is that we now have a Twitter account. You can follow us at @orangechairblog. I believe I’ve successfully connected the account so you can follow us on Twitter to see when we post. And when we’re doing exciting things like going to brunch or sitting in traffic or whatever. I don’t have a Twitter account otherwise so I’m interested in seeing what sort of things should be posted on Twitter (tweeted? Not knowing about Twitter kind of makes me feel old).

Ben set up the Twitter account (remember Ben?). He has some Fresh Ideas for the new year, so I think we’ll hear more from him.


Elena only had minor colds most of her first year, so when she caught the flu or a stomach thing or something when she was almost one, I blithely sent her to day care anyway, only to get a call that I should really come and get my child, she was actually pretty sick.

What?  She's fine.

What? She’s fine.


Zoe was on nap strike yesterday. Despite my trying to reason with her, she only napped about 90 minutes total all day. She spent a lot of the day screaming because she was so tired and why were we keeping her up. This morning she woke up and her little throat was all hoarse. She has a cough that sounds terrible but it’s really just a regular cough with sore vocal cords. However, Elena and I are just getting over colds and I’ve been living in fear that Zoe would get the same illness. It’s got a 2+ week duration and while Elena and I can more or less power through, as noted above, Zoe just cannot be reasoned with.

So Zoe is either sick or she just needs to stop crying so much and take a damn nap. I guess we’ll find out which one it is because I certainly dropped her right off at day care this morning. Tra la la.

So we can remember that she actually does sleep.

So we can remember that she actually does sleep.


2013: Year in Review, in Dates and Pictures

A lot of things have happened gradually over the course of this year. Elena learned a ton of things, for example. I gained a lot of weight and then lost most of it (haha). I thought it’d be kind of interesting to do a review of some of the important/fun/remarkable dates from this year. I should preface this by mentioning there’s no way I just remembered all these dates – I’m looking at my calendar as I’m writing.

January 2 – Nothing like starting off the year on a sad note. This is the day my mom called me at work to tell me Uncle Don was being life-flighted to Shadyside Hospital for emergency heart surgery.

January 7 – This is the day Uncle Don died.

Uncle Don and baby Sandy

Uncle Don and baby Sandy

January 11 (approximate) – I know it was this weekend, but I can’t remember exactly what date it was – this is the day we found out we were pregnant.

January 29 – Elena started Kindercare.

March 3 – I played in a hockey tournament this weekend. March 3 is the day we made it to the championship game (unfortunately losing 2-1).

this is not a picture of me

this is not a picture of me

March 15 – This is the last time I played hockey before quitting because of pregnancy. Fortunately it was an awesome game (we won a championship in OT) and an awesome team (team Fifth Wheel). Absolutely the way to go out.

Team Fifth Wheel

Team Fifth Wheel

March 23Elizabeth and I were interviewed to be part of Pittsburgh Swan Day performances the previous October. This was Swan Day when we went to see the performances.

April 6 – Stacey’s wedding shower and bachelorette were this day. I was in charge of dessert and I did an awesome job.

April 24 – Today we told Elena she was going to be a big sister and found out we were having a girl.



May 5 – Ran the marathon relay, 6.1 leg in 1:14. 20 weeks pregnant for those of you keeping count.



May 18 – Catherine and the boys were in town, and we met up with Viki and Elizabeth and all their children and went to Touch a Truck. The event itself was lovely, but I am picking this day as sort of a shout-out to three of my most favoritest people and their wonderful children.

June 1Stacey’s wedding, I was matron of honor and Elena was flower girl. This was a big event for Stacey, obviously, and I guess for Frank too, but also a big weekend for us. A lot of work, a lot of fun.

June 9 – This was our first day of our awesome beach vacation.

Family Self Portrait

Family Self Portrait

July 13 – When Elena started at Kindercare I was afraid my weekends would be consumed by birthday parties for strangers. Fortunately that hasn’t been the case, although there has certainly been an uptick in birthdays. This day was the first birthday party she was invited to, and I met some of her school friends and their parents and realized they were actually nice, non-scary people.

July 20 – Elena and I went to Cleveland for a mini 15 year reunion with some Wooster folks.

July 21 – Elizabeth threw me a lovely, very small and very classy, baby shower tea at the Frick.

August 18 – This was the last Pirates game we went to this year. I think I ended up going to 5 games (Ben went to a few playoff games as well). Pirates made the playoffs!

September 12 Zoe was born.

I'm kind of a big deal

I’m kind of a big deal

October 5 – Mollie’s birthday party AND Ryan’s birthday party. With a three week old baby. Because I’m Superwoman. And/or crazy.

October 27Adeline’s Angels 5K to celebrate the life of Darlene’s wonderful baby girl who died at 14 months from SUDC.

November 7 – Back to work. Already.

December 21Wigle Whiskey tour with some of my work family and Christmas party with some other of my work family.



Despite the huge bummer that was the first week of January, this has been a good year with mostly happy memories and some pretty nice accomplishments. On to 2014!

A Visit with Santa

Last Sunday (December 15) Ben decided to take Elena to see Santa at the mall. Some background on this: Elena is not generally a fan of sitting with Santa and has not successfully done it before. The only times we’ve tried has been me taking her, so Ben had not had the experience before. But Elena seemed like she wanted to try again this year, so Ben took her out with the plan to go see Santa and then to buy some presents. I stayed home with Zoe to get some things done around the house. I looked online and Santa started at 9, so they left around 10:30.

Below is an edited transcript of our thrilling and gripping text conversation about the event.

B: Santa does not start til 11.
S: Weird. It said 9. Is there a line?
B: Yes a Christmas Story line. We were just told Santa had an accident on the way here and might be 15 min late.
S: What are you going to do?
B: Wait in line. If we leave E Dubs [what we call Elena sometimes] will be sad. She is very excited.
S: Sorry. It was bound to be a long wait today.
B: The guy said the line has yet to be this long all season. We are not even in the queue. We are in the extended line.
S: F*** it does say 11. I’m sorry, I don’t know what I was looking at. [In retrospect I don’t know why the start time would have made a difference.] He is there til 7 tonight. You could convince her to come back later?
B: Doubt it. She is pumped.
S: Sorry. Do you hate me and everything I stand for?
B: Nope. The good news – kids are not patient and some are getting out of line.
S: Hooray! They are my people. [I am not patient.]
B: She brought her bear so she has something to play with. [Santa] is here now.
S: He doesn’t have blood gushing from a head wound or anything does he?
B: Nope
S: That would make a better story. I hope he’s at least limping.
B: For some reason even though he is here more people are leaving.
S: Lunch?
B: We might have to eat lunch here.
S: I figured you would be eating there. No Chik Fil A today. Because God.
B: They would make a lot more money if it was not for him.

[Some unrelated discussion about the purchase of a box of chocolates.]

B: Santa only has one helper today. The helper is running his a** off though. A lot of kids here are dressed up in ugly Xmas outfits.

[Some unrelated discussion about our plans for the afternoon.]

B: The helper guy was just trying to teach a security guard how to help him do the job but another employee came in and the guard was happy he did not have to help.
S: Next year you can get a job as an elf.
B: Finally on the red carpet and making the last roundabout to Santa

at the roundabout

at the roundabout

S: Yay. Zoe’s been crying for about 30 minutes now.
B: I just told E Dubs imagine if Zoe were here she would be crying her eyes out waiting in line. Santa waved to E Dub and she said I guess he is not so scary anymore.

[Some unrelated discussion about how I’m never going to win a fitness competition if the baby keeps crying all the time and while I still have taste buds.]

B: Finally next.
S: Hooray.

[Some time passes.]

S: Pictures????

Picture with Santa (who is still kind of scary)

Picture with Santa (who is still kind of scary)

[Continued unrelated discussion about groceries, afternoon plans, etc. etc.]


I’ve posted about how much I like Bluebird Kitchen before. It’s a cute little cafe in Market Square that has yummy local food. Their macaron flavors make me want to punch someone in the throat they’re so awesome. They’re a little on the pricy side, and I’m happy to pay more money for good food (see: my bank account, our grocery receipts). Unfortunately, what with the cold weather and trying to maintain an exercise regime and nursing, I basically eat my face off every day these days. Today I just kept ordering things.



I ended up with the pain bagnat, chickpea salad, blueberry iced tea and a peppermint macaron (BAM). My favorite sandwich there is the chicken salad croissant, which has approximately 4,500 calories in it (EVERY SINGLE ONE IS WORTH IT), but I needed more food today, so I went this route.

Everything has been consumed. Yum.

What I’ve Read This Year

Elizabeth posted yesterday that she’d made the goal to read 52 books this year and she’s at 51. This got me thinking about the books I’ve read this year. Nowhere near 52*. I used to read quite a lot, and then when I was in law school I got out of it, and I’ve slowly been ramping back up. Book club has helped immensely with this.

I mostly like to read fiction. Mid-year this year I got really frustrated with depressing books (it seems like most of the best-reviewed books involve cancer, dead children, or Nazis, and I’m not enjoying reading about these things at this point). I am also not necessarily always interested in “beach read” books (sometimes! but not always). This has put a cramp in my reading because I’ve decided to try to be a little choosier about what I read.

So here’s my 2013 list, compiled with the help of Goodreads because I’d have no idea otherwise. Chronological order.

Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
This is a modern romance novel. I listened to this book on CD in my car. I’ve listened to a few of her books on CD because they are extremely light and yet still very engaging, and I enjoy that in a book on CD. This one was about two best friends (whose parents were characters in previous books) and one breaks up the wedding of the other (and of course SPOILER the one who breaks up the wedding ends up with the groom but it is fine because it works out better that way for everyone). I mean, totally predictable like all romance novels, but it’s about the journey when you’re reading a predictable book, and I like this journey.

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
I just finished reading The Lowland, which has echoes of some of the same themes that were in this book. Unaccustomed Earth was a series of short stories, all involving first or second generation Indians in America. As with all short story collections, some were really good and others were not as engaging. I listened to this on CD as well, and overall I enjoyed it.

Coral Glynn by Peter Cameron
I read this on recommendation of NPR. It was about a nurse who goes to a country house in 1950s England to care for an elderly woman, then the woman dies and the nurse marries her son, who is gay. The book didn’t really go where I was hoping it would go. (What was I hoping for, a re-enactment of The Birdcage? I’m not sure.) It was interesting but it didn’t sing out to me.

The Interestings by Meg Wolizter
Another NPR recommendation, but this one I enjoyed much more. It’s about teenagers who meet at an art camp in the 70s and become very close through their lives. One becomes extremely successful with his art, the others not so much. They still all have that artistic yearning, so there’s some predictable tension. This is exactly the kind of book I love – what I’d call “literary” fiction, not too light but not too depressing. You can really sink your teeth into it and enjoy what’s happening and feel enriched afterward.

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty
This is a semi-fictional book. It involves a real person, Louise Brooks, and her trip to NYC as a teenager to take a dance class, accompanied by a local woman hired to act as her chaperone. The action dragged a little. I think the same thing could have been accomplished with less book. Nevertheless I like where I ended up reading this.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
This is another book that was just up my alley. I read this on recommendation of Elizabeth (link to her review) and it was a fast read and an interesting story. I love that it’s more modern and actually uses recognizable technology. Years from now we can look back at this book and say, remember when 3D printers were brand new things?

We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy by Yael Kohen
This was a book club read that I wouldn’t have read otherwise (since I normally read fiction) but very much enjoyed as a student of comedy. It was written in interview style, which isn’t for everyone, but it was fascinating to learn and learn more about women in comedy over the past 50 years.

The Last Word (Spellman Series #6) by Lisa Lutz
My friend Barb got me in to the Spellman series a few years ago. The series is set in San Francisco and it’s about a family private detective business told from the perspective of Izzy, who is both the most skilled and the most directionless of the family. Izzy is hugely entertaining and also extremely infuriating, and in this book she was the most infuriating of all. You just want to hug her or shake her or both. Nevertheless I love reading about a flawed yet relateable female character, I feel like we don’t get too many of those.

Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro
I didn’t read all these stories but I count this because they are stories and I read some of them to completion, and because Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize this year, yo. Finger on the pulse, what? The stories are set in 1950s to modern day Canada and are very engaging snippets of life. I love about Alice Munro that her characters are very well crafted so months later, I don’t really get the stories confused in my head about what happened in which story.

The Dirty Secrets Club (Jo Beckett #1) by Meg Gardiner
This is another series of books I’ve been listening to on CD. I started with #2 in the series, last year, and I found #1 at the library this year. Jo Beckett is a forensic psychiatrist (with a Tragic Past) who helps the SFPD solve weird and high-profile cases. The books are written so you know who the murderers are and generally what they are up to, so the tension is focused on how they will be captured rather than who they are. I’ve enjoyed these books because of the weird and high-profile cases. They are interesting and disturbing to listen to in the car.

The Tragedy of Arthur by Arthur Phillips
I love Arthur Phillips and I’ve read all of his fiction. There aren’t too many authors (possibly no other authors) I can say that about. All of his books are very meta, such that you don’t really know what’s real and what’s not, and none moreso than this one, which is actually “about” the author but not really. It’s a self-aware, fictionalized memoir. I guess that’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely for me. If you like The French Lieutenant’s Wife, you’ll like this. If you hate that book, don’t bother with this one.

March by Geraldine Brooks
When I dropped Zoe off this morning, Bea was watching Little Women, which is her favorite story, and I suggested this book to her, as it’s told from the point of view of the father from Little Women. She LOVED this book and has already read it twice. I felt neutral about Little Women and didn’t actually finish this book, but I think I read enough of it to include it here. It felt like something that we would have read in high school – like Mark Twain, I felt like the literary conventions were sort of hitting me over the head. But I like literary conventions to hit me over the head so I’m not sure I hate that. The reason I didn’t finish it was because we talked about it in book club and after I knew how it ended I didn’t care enough to read how it actually ended. So I guess I didn’t love this book.

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
I just finished this – it focuses on two brothers born in 1940s India and affected by political unrest in India in the 1960s, and the wife and child of one of the brothers. I felt torn reading it – I found the book alternately readable and unenjoyable. I think this may have been because while the story and relevant history was interesting, I found the characters to be unsympathetic, which is a sticking point for me. I definitely preferred the Lahiri short stories over this novel.

What are my reading goals for 2014? I don’t know if I have any. I would like to read more, but I don’t see myself being less choosy about what I read, so I may just continue along as I have been and see what I get in.

*As it turns out, 13 is my number. I didn’t include some books here that I started but could not/did not finish.

Night feedings

A lot of people ask me if Zoe is sleeping through the night. The answer is no, she is not, but we are consistently down to one feeding a night and even have something of a bedtime routine (which involves eating for an hour, two songs and lights out). The latest she has made it is 5am. Last night she got up at 3. One unfortunate night last week she got up at both 12 and 3.

Now that it is not an act of torture to get her to bed and she generally only gets up one time, I actually enjoy the night feeds because they are our quiet time together. During the work week (and also on the weekends when I am home with Elena and Zoe) things are often hectic, so it is nice to be able to relax a bit with Zoe. I often look at Facebook or send semi-coherent emails to friends, but I also enjoy just snuggling with her. She is a bit refluxy and doesn’t always burp, so I “need” to cuddle with her, you see, to keep her upright for a bit so she can digest. It’s “necessary.”

I will certainly be happy to get back to sleeping all night, but in the meantime I am happy to spend some time with my sleepy friend.