Wednesday, July 26, 2006

'Three Weeks' or 'Any Day Now'

Today is the earliest of the various due dates we’ve been given, and while we don’t think the baby is actually coming today (knock on wood), we certainly are entering the period where our cell phones need to be charged and at the ready at all times. The doctor has assured us (if you can call it that) that due date from the first sonogram is the most reliable, and that due date was consistent with our Naegele's rule due date of August 16th. She says that that the earlier due dates the sonogram technicians have given us are more of an indication that the baby is big than anything else, and she's scheduled another sonogram to help us find out just how big the baby is. Even so, we know plenty of people who’s babies have arrived three weeks early, and in addition to today being our “early due date”, today is exactly three weeks from our original due date of August 16th. So when is the baby coming? Who knows, but I guarantee you that one way or another, it’s going to be a long three weeks ahead of us.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Showers and a Shower

The last few weeks here in DC have been filled with all kinds of showers. I was conveniently in South Africa for the record rainfall that soaked DC with over 7 inches of rain on June 26th, but thankfully our new house weathered the storm and was none the worse for wear. That record setting rainfall was just the beginning, as torrential thunderstorms continued to roll through the area for the next couple of weeks.

After I returned form Cape Town, we had our first house guests in our new home as my cousin Leanna & her husband Troy drove out from Iowa to visit us. They braved the heat and the ever present thunderstorms to explore the monuments and museums of DC. On the 4th, we waited until after the storms had rolled through, and then ventured down to the Capitol lawn to watch the fireworks while listening to the National Symphony Orchestra play Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. My sister flew into town on Thursday, and after a quick visit to Pasadena, we went to Mom & Don's for some delicious pizzas on the grill.

Saturday we were showered with presents instead of rain. Nancy & Danny hosted a wonderful casino night shower for us, and the real hit of the night was my sister's superb blackjack dealing. Katherine kept the bets flowing even as she busted player after player and raked in the money for the house. Of course the house's take went to the baby, so it was all together a very successful shower.

(click here to see pictures, or here for the slideshow)
(click here for a video of the fireworks)
(click here to see Don's pictures from the shower)
(I'll add a link to Leanna's pictures here when she sends them;-)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Cape Town

Last week I traveled to the continent of Africa for the first time in my life. I went to Cape Town to present a couple of papers at the International Energy Workshop. The conference was great, but what made it worthwhile to fly 28 hours to get there was the trip to the top of Table Mountain. Geoff Blanford (who I went to High School with, and now we both work on issues relating to climate change, so we run into each other at conferences a fair amount) and I took the cable car to the top of Table Mountain on Wednesday. We were up on top for almost two hours, plenty of time to explore the mountain and appreciate the views of the Cape of Good Hope, the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, Lions Head, Devils Peak, Robben Island, and Cape Town itself. We stayed on top of the mountain for sunset and were treated to some spectacular views of the warm evening light illuminating the low clouds that were starting to roll in over the Cape.

The other great part of the trip to Cape Town was watching the World Cup. Of course I was in South Africa exactly four years too soon, but watching the action in Germany with a bunch of South Africans amped about their chance to host the World Cup in 2010 was truly exciting. I've been out of the country for at least part of the last three World Cups now (I was in England and France in '98, and in Cozumel in '02), and it's always great to be abroad in order to really feel how passionate the rest of the world is about the soccer. On my return flight, my layover in Johannesburg coincided with the second half of the Germany vs. Argentina quarter-final match. The whole airport was riveted to every available screen and the roars that were let loose as Argentina scored to take a 1-0 lead and as Germany scored in the closing minutes to tie the game were tremendous. As time expired and the match was sent into extra time, I had to board my flight and endure an 18 hour flight without knowing how the match ended. Upon landing in New York, I was able to read about Germany's 4-2 win on penalty kicks, but the buzz was gone from the atmosphere. By the time I arrived at National in DC, the England vs. Portugal match had already begun, but the only television showing it was a little 4" portable TV by the shoe-shine stand. Soccer in the US still has a long ways to go.

(click here to see all the pictures, or here for the slideshow.)