January 25, 2005

This past week or so has been very full: three birthdays, an actual birth, a dinner party, and a great white shark. The birthdays belonged to Shannon and my sisters (who are twins and thus share a birthday). We went out to dinner Monday for Shannon's birthday, and my mom threw my sisters a celebration that same night, but I was unable to attend due to the fact that it was in Massachusetts.

The actual birth came on Friday morning. We knew that our friends Sara and Zach were due to have a baby at any moment, but we were still surprised when Zach called late on Thursday night to say that Sara's water had broken and that they were at the hospital (which is conveniently located across the street from my apartment). Then he called back early the next morning to say that the baby had arrived. It was a girl: 7 pounds, 4 ounces. They hadn't purposely decided to wait to find out the baby's gender but even though they'd had five ultrasounds, every time the baby had kept her legs shut which I guess means that either she's going to be very modest or very difficult. Anyway, we got to be the first visitors on the scene after the birth, which was exciting but also strange. They were still in the labor and delivery room when we got there, and there was blood on the floor, blood on the blankets, which didn't bother me or anything, but did give me the feeling of "Am I supposed to see this? Am I qualified to be here?"

The baby, for her part, was adorable and very purple with lots of dark hair, and Zach and Sara were suitably thrilled. "I've never seen one so fresh!" I said, referring to the baby, who was less than two hours old. "Neither have I!" said Sara.

We only stayed for a little while, because I had to get to work by 9, but later that morning we returned with flowers, a stuffed giraffe, and the requisite pink mylar balloon with "It's A Girl!" written on it. We visited with them again the following day, when they were a lot more coherent (probably owing to the fact that they hadn't just stayed up all night giving birth), and then they got discharged from the hospital on Sunday. That's when we went over to deliver a lasagna I'd made them and some soup, and their real baby present. We were a little worried that Sara would hate the creepy lamp, but she said she'd seen it herself in the store months ago when she first found out she was pregnant and had wanted it.

Then that night we all went over to Jen Fu's house for a Mas of Asian food and lots of wine. I had fun, but I was exhausted from a long weekend of work and cooking and baby visiting. I had to work a lot for a few reasons: first, I have this experiment going now where I have to come in at 9 a.m. every day, even on the weekends, second, I'm going to a conference on Thursday and I've been trying to get ready for it, and to finish off all my other work, and third, I was planning to be irresponsible and blow off work yesterday.

And so I did, sort of. I worked from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m., then Iggy and I and a couple of his friends from work drove down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for the day to see the jellyfish and especially the great white shark (they have a juvenile female shark who was rescued from fishing nets on exhibit, currently the only great white on display anywhere in the world). We had a great time, but we got back to San Francisco after 8 p.m. and I immediately had to go back in to work for a couple more hours. And then back in again in time for my 9 a.m. experiment today.

In fact, things have been so hectic that I'm actually starting to think that this work conference is going to be a vacation of sorts, even though it's at a ski resort in Colorado, and not only do I not ski and hate the cold, but the last time I went to this meeting, I had terrible altitude sickness the whole time I was there and constantly felt exhausted and had a headache. It is, however, a really good meeting, so I am looking forward to it professionally, at least.

Speaking of which, putting the counter on my website has been an interesting experiment indeed. As it turns out, a lot of my readers are fellow scientists, or otherwise in academia. On the one hand, I'm happy about this, because I think it's nice that other people in the same boat as myself are reading and presumably find what I write here to be somewhat interesting. On the other hand, it's a little bit scary, especially with the San Francisco Chronicle running articles like this (although I've been aware of this risk for years and have tried to be suitably discreet). Anyway, now my curiosity has been assuaged and I'm taking the counter down.

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