We got to see lots of stars and watch the moon. It was great to be above the inversion that covered the Willamette Valley in rain and smog. The place we stayed had a wonderful eastern view, so in the morning we had the sunlight streaming through the windows at 7:30, and each dusk we watched as the moon progressed through fullness, moving thirteen degrees each night away from a ruby Mars. The eastern windows were a refreshing change because our house in Eugene has a nice southern exposure, and we tend to see the noon and midnight sky ( and trees block our views to the east and west).
Mark, Arthur and I hiked around the Descutes river, and also the Metolius.
Mark didn't stay the entire week, but when he was gone my folks came up and also some writer friends. The writers got a lot of writing done. My folks watched Arthur for large swaths of time, and my friends made sure he didn't roll into the fire or play with razor blades.
While away, I made some discoveries.
- The next house we live in has to have a dishwasher. Anyone who doesn't like dishwashers obviously doesn't value their time.
- I tend to discover my story plots intuitively; a strong visual image or interesting idea grabs me and I try to work it into a story. This way of writing works if I have large blocks of time. I need to develop plot outlines to maximize the creative process.
- The Discovery Channel will teach you that 1) a large rock from outer space could strike Earth and extinguish all life on the planet any time now; 2) a fault running off of the Pacific Northwest could trigger earthquakes and giant killer tsunamis that could destroy cities from Seattle to San Fransisco any time now; 3) weather patterns that govern the earth's climate could cascade into a new ice age that make your heating bills really large any time now; 4) electromagnetic energy from cell phone towers can amplify the psychic energy of a home so that untrained sensitives can create their own, very scary poltergeists out of their repressed, negative emotions.
- Although dating shows now feature (very young) gay men competing for a chance to date each other and earn cash prizes, it hasn't changed the fact that people on dating shows are really really mean.
Mark and I have come up with some new infants' books.
Shapes with Spot: "See Spot's triangle? Spot's triangle is pink. Spot's pool is oval. Spot's pool boy is a mesomorph."
Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You Hear?: "Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What do you hear? / Well, I hear that Mrs. Jones two houses over is having an affair with the postman. / Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Jones, What Do You Hear?"
Arthur has no teeth. This doesn't prevent me from asking him (too many times, according to Mark), "Are your teeth bothering you?" whenever I can't figure out why he's crying. Or drooling.
Arthur has object permanence and he knows what a fork and a french fry are. Arthur was fussing during dinner, so I put him on my lap as we ate. The look of betrayal as the french fry sailed over his head and into my mouth was so funny my dad nearly died laughing.
Arthur has discovered his toes. They are almost as fun as the teething ring.
Arthur can now bring both of his hands together to grab things.
Arthur's hair looks like it might be red. Then the sunlight will change and his hair looks blonde. His eyes are still blue.
Arthur prefers shaking a ring of plastic measuring spoons over shaking a knit hat; probably because the spoons make more noise. (Yes, he shook the spoons first, then the hat, then went back to the spoons.)
Arthur is beginning to grab things. This afternoon Mark was speaking with Lime Green Larry and Arthur took the phone from him. I don't know how a five and a half month infant can wrest a cell phone from a forty-something gay man because I was washing dishes in the next room. See; if we had a dishwasher, I wouldn't have missed this precious moment in Arthur's development.