Monday, January 21, 2008

Catching up

Okay, it's been quiet here long enough. I'm back to work, the baby is sleeping as much as a two-week-old can be expected to, and Christina is now able to extricate herself from a chair without using both a block-and-tackle and the vocabulary of a longshoreman. I reckon it's about time to blog again.

By now everybody's seen the picture of the new baby, Peter. In fact, I got comments from people I haven't talked to in a long time, including my cousin Kenny, whom I don't think I've seen in a decade. (Kenny, if you see this, I started to e-mail you back and my computer crashed. I'll try again in a bit.)

A note on the baby's name: "Peter" is in memory of three people: Christina's stepfather, who died shortly after we were married; my Uncle Pete, who for many years held the prize for most prolific and colorful swearing in Eastern Washington, and Christina's Uncle Piet, her grandmother's brother who came over from Holland. We toyed with spelling our Pete's name in the Dutch fashion, but decided it would make his life tough if and when he ever went to school. (Oddly enough, my Uncle Pete's actual name was John. Nobody in the family seems to know why he called himself Pete.) "Carroll" is Christina's dad's middle name. We also contemplated spelling that one "Karol," but decided against it. Christina's dad is important to her, and there are enough people honoring John Paul the Great that we didn't need to name a baby after him.

I occasionally hear from my daughter, who is in the early stages of rendering me an ancestor. Her baby is due in September. She's 19, which isn't really old enough from either my standpoint or hers, but she's the same age her mother was when she was born, so I guess she'll be all right. Either way, there's not a lot to be done except to love the baby when it arrives. Which I fully intend to do.

The night before Pete was born, I got a call from that same daughter that her grandmother had died. This is my mother-out-law, my ex-wife's mom. (Regular readers may have seen me post uncharitably about an ex in the past; this is a different ex.) Maryann was a wonderful mother, a wonderful mother-in-law (both while we were married and after), and the best grandma my daughter could have hoped for. The world is a lesser place without her. She wasn't all that old, either; only 63. When I was in the hospital with Christina and Pete, I kept remembering one thing about her: this was the person who taught me how to change diapers almost two decades ago. If nothing else, I'll always be grateful for that.

On a more pleasant note, while I was stuck at the hospital my Christmas present from Christina arrived. Back when I was in high school, I was learning Welsh in an evening class, and also singing with the Seattle Welsh Choir. (My singing voice tends to be reminiscent of a warthog passing a kidney stone, but then, I could pronounce the words where many of my choirmates couldn't. It evened out.) The classes were coordinated by David Morgan, who still runs an import shop that at that time specialized in Welsh items. In the church where the classes and choir practices were held, David had donated a stack of scratchy-but-serviceable records in Welsh. These I took home and listened to until I thought my record needle was going to wear out. On those records were a couple of songs by Edward H Dafis, the first rock band to record in the language of heaven. I was hooked. Some years later, I was able to get hold of a best-of collection of theirs on tape. But this... this is a collection of everything they ever recorded, six CDs worth, and has a booklet with all the lyrics to boot. (It's amazing how many I misheard. I comfort myself that their accent is very different from the one I learned in.) So I'm on cloud nine, soaking up the Welsh, much to the annoyance of anyone who rides in my truck with me.

(A piece of trivia: besides his importing business, David Morgan is also a master whipmaker. Remember the one Indiana Jones used? He made that, from kangaroo hide. Not bad, eh?)

I applied for a job last week that both pays better than the one I have and is something I'd really enjoy doing. I don't want to go into details, but I really want this one. I'd be grateful for prayers.

Finally, I just discovered this morning a blog steeped in Portland history. I'll always be a small-town boy at heart, but I lived in Portland for a number of years, and as cities go, it's a good one. I'm looking forward to going through the entries with a touch of nostalgia. It may even rate a spot in the sidebar.

That's all the news I can think of off the top of my head. I have a post percolating in my head, riffing off one that Nina put up a while ago. But that one's going to take a little time. Thanks for your patience, y'all!

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