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Greetings from America, #5

June 15th, 2005


In this Issue:


Greetings from America (Emerald Hills)
Part the Fifth: Epiphany Already?

So, newsletter #5 will come out some time around Epiphany[.]
Paul Lee , Newsletter #4, December 24, 2004


If your definition of "around" is "approximately five and one-third months", then we're right on schedule. Ahem. We've been occupied with a lot of "stuff". Tobias is at the center of most of our activities, but there is general housework stuff, shopping stuff, paperwork stuff, recorder lesson stuff, dance class stuff, fencing class stuff, traveling stuff, and hosting visitor stuff. Did we mention that all of this has to accommodate the baby? So the newsletter got short shrift.[1eng] Actually, it was so short as to have been non-existent.

There is no way we're going to be able to catch up on everything from the last five months, so I'm going to just touch on the highlights from the beginning of May 'till now. In future—and I hope, more timely—newsletters, we will catch up with another of the "missing" months, until we're all up-to-date. So without further ado....

Having missed nearly the entire first half of 2004, I am not going to try and catch up on everyone who's had birthdays since the last newsletter. However, we are making exceptions for four very special people, who have had their zero-eth birthday[2] during the Great Hiatus. Happy birthdays to Paul, Annika, Trevor, and Elizabeth; and congratulations to Marina & Tibor, Karin & Sven, Monica & Ryan, and Jade & Syd.

Not the Reason for the Radio Silence
Karin wanted me to send out just this picture as an explanation of why we've not had any newsletters:

Of course, this is not our new baby; Karin is actually holding Elizabeth Polk, Jade and Syd Polk's new daughter. We visited them in the hospital when Elizabeth was only two days old, and got these pictures:
IMG_6850_karinLN_tobiasXSL_elizabethCP_sydP IMG_6855_ptsl_tobiasXSL_elizabethCP_sydP
(That first picture is actually from two weeks later.)

Fencers Ready? Allez!
We attended a fencing tournament at West Valley College. While Karin fenced (yes, Karin is fencing, more on this in newsletter #9):
IMG_6288_karinLN_salute IMG_6289_karinLN_en_garde_tomC IMG_6290_karinLN_lunge IMG_6294_karinLN_lunge
I directed:

Of course I had to carry Tobias, since they don't make jackets designed to protect a baby in a carrier on your chest or back. Karin did well, coming in third in her pool of seven and ranked fifth overall.

Point Reyes
After experiencing Muir Woods and Big Basin National Park with Karin's parents (newsletter #7, coming soon), we had a chance to join some friends for a hike/picnic at the Point Reyes National Seashore. After much walking and snacking:
we ended up at the Arch Rock:
which is actually what we're standing on. Unfortunately, the trail leading down to a point where the "arch" of the Arch Rock can be seen is very steep and not at all friendly to anyone trying to carry an infant. So we had to content ourselves with peeks down to the beach.

Down the Coast and Back Again
For Memorial Day Weekend (the last weekend in May, with Memorial Day always being on that Monday), we drove down to Santa Barbara to visit the Payatt family. We saw many wondrous sights on this trip, including a cat with unusual headgear, fantastic chalk paintings, a mare and her new foal, and some very confused statues:
IMG_6881_crispin_cup IMG_6923_chalk_painting_garden IMG_6887_mare_foal IMG_6936_SB_musician_statue

We went wine tasting and picnicking just north of Santa Barbara:
IMG_1684_rgp_amandaP_karinLN_tobiasXSL_ptsl_brianM_andyL_entera IMG_1697_karinLN_tobiasXSL_ptsl
visited the beaches:
IMG_6899_karinLN_tobiasXSL_beach IMG_6948_karinLN_tobiasXSL_beach
and even made it to the partially restored Presidio in downtown Santa Barbara:
IMG_6925_SB_presidio_church IMG_6928_SB_presidio_church_ptsl_tobiasXSL

And as usual, Tobias got lots of attention:
IMG_1687_amandaP_tobiasXSL IMG_1704_elizabethMM_tobiasXSL

On the way back, we followed the Pacific coast out to San Simeon, where we stopped by Hearst Castle[3usa] before continuing up Highway 1 to enjoy the scenary:
IMG_6385_karinLN_tobiasXSL_steps IMG_6387_karinLN_tobiasXSL_neptune_pool IMG_6399_karinLN_hwy1_scenary

Not content to just rest after this six-day long "weekend" trip, we attended a pirates themed picnic on Angel Island the following weekend with our friends from PEERS.[4] Alas ("Arrrrrr!"), we didn't get any pictures of the pirate costumes, but we did get some of us taking a break while waiting for the ferry:
IMG_6956_robbieC_tobiasXSL_karinLN IMG_6961_robbieC_tobiasXSL_karinLN_jonnieC IMG_6963_tobiasXSL_karinLN_jonnieC
The other two boys are two of my godsons, the Robert and Jonathan Chow.

Andy Visit
Our friend Andy Arenson—last mentioned in these pages in December, 2003, when he came to Vienna with his wife and parents, and we met up for dinner at the Chinese vegetarian restaurant that would eventually host our own wedding banquet—came to town last week for a conference and stayed with us for a short visit. Not wanting to miss a photo opportunity, I got out the camera and handed Tobias to him:
IMG_7003_tobiasXSL_andyA IMG_7004_tobiasXSL_andyA

Tobias Update
What a difference five months make. Tobias now has two teeth:
sits up:
pulls himself up to a standing position:
climbs over low obstacles:
and effectively chases after things:

He can also now sit up in a high-chair for feeding:
though certain foods still cause him confusion:

And Karin has built him a new house, out of premium cardboard:

Just how he got into and through all these stages will be discussed in more detail in the next four "catch-up" newsletters.

Like Mother Like Son
Everyone tells us that Tobias looks like Karin. Well now here's proof:
IMG_6873_tobiasXSL_grass karinR_sitting

Until next time (which we hope to be next week),
-Tobias (finally asleep), Karin (finally getting to sleep), Paul (finally getting this sent)



[1] "Short Shrift": English expression, meaning "to give little attention to, to quickly dispose of something/someone". The German equivalent is "jmdn. kurz abfertigen".

[2] "Zero-eth Birthday": That is to say, they were born in the last five months.

[3] "Hearst Castle": The home of William Randolph Hearst, early 20th century American media magnate, who company owned many newspapers and a film studio. The movie Citizen Kane is a fictionalized (and somewhat unflattering) account of his life.

[4] "PEERS": The Period Events & Entertainments Re-Creation Society. See for details.



Except where otherwise noted, all contents © 2005, Paul T.S. Lee.
Creative Commons License See my copyright page for specific permissions granted under the Creative Commons License.
"†" Image(s) © Elizabeth M. McGuire, 2005.