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Four days from right now…

…we’ll be packing. And stressing out while trying to appear cool, calm, and collected for Ethel’s benefit, a gesture that – while nice – is ultimately useless because dogs can sense anxiety in the same way that monsters can smell fear. We’ll order a pizza and a large salad to share from Frank’s; the last meal should be NY-themed and something that won’t be available in the same quality once we hit Hanoi.

…or maybe we won’t be packing, since we only have marginally more with us here than we’re bringing to Vietnam, and it’ll take an hour to sort that out. It’s entirely likely that we’ll spend Friday afternoon and evening passing time however possible. Scrabble tournaments and books and tea/coffee and thumb twiddling. Maybe we’ll decide to watch all of season two of West Wing in an effort to make 8pm come a bit earlier, taking small breaks to check and re-check Ethel’s paperwork or to realize we’d forgotten something, check, and find out that it had been packed and that all was well.

January went by in whirlwind fashion…and though we had planned to be in Vietnam, I’m quite happy with how we spent our time.

  • We spent a weekend in Vermont with my mom and siblings, playing Scrabble by the woodstove while it snowed outside and convincing Andrew of VT’s awesomeness.
  • We spent a weekend in NYC with my HWS ladies (Jackie, Sara, Melissa and Amanda), filling our time with wine, karaoke, and dancing in a warehouse club in Brooklyn.
  • We joined the live audience of a taping of NPR’s Ask Me Another (also in Brooklyn) with Amanda and my cousins. This was the night, I believe, that Andrew and I decided that we needed to live in Brooklyn at some point. It’s too wonderful. The best things about Madison are all there, but scaled up to an entire borough and directly adjacent to New York.
  • We spent last weekend with an assortment of awesome people. Dave flew in from Madison, Susan flew in from Madison, and Ian (Andrew’s older brother) came up from DC. Bar crawling through beautiful and eclectic neighborhoods, the Natural History Museum, delicious food, a boisterous Flogging Molly concert at the Roseland Ballroom, an ironic drink at Guy Fieri’s tacky restaurant, late night waffles from a truck, brunch in a dive bar-restaurant…so much fun.
  • We (with Dad’s assistance) drank three boxes of wine, cooked a number of intricate meals, and participated in several Bain family gatherings.

I’m sure I’m missing things, but it’s been wonderful. We’ve managed to be productive with our respective jobs, to get Ethel ready to go, buy new plane tickets, pick out a new apartment, wander around the city, eat some pizza, read some good books, and not – I think – overstay our welcome in my dad’s apartment. We owe much of the fun we’ve had to the friends and family with whom we’ve been able to spend time, whether they live here already or took a bus, train, or car.

Andrew and I have had several train conversations about how well things work out when you just let them happen and enjoy the ride, so I guess if there’s a theme for this past month, that’s it.

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Today entailed [scheduled, not emergency] outpatient surgery and Season 1 of community and Frank cuddles.
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