Kaida Rocks the NICU

My friend Sarah is my oldest friend and was the amazing Matron of Honor at my wedding.  We met on the first day of first grade, when she let me sit with her on the bus.  We pretty much have be together ever since.  She is even the one who helped Bülent pick out  my engagement ring.

She was expecting her first baby in September. I joked with her that her timing was bad, since I was leaving the U.S. in August, that she should hurry it up.  I didn’t expect her to take me seriously.

She and her husband, Chris, were originally planning to name their baby Olivia, but changed their minds and decided on Kaida (the Japanese word for “dragon.”)  They made an excellent choice, the name is completely apropos.  Kaida is a damned amazing fighter, something she has shown already.  As her mom says, “Don’t poke the Dragon.” 

Kaida was born a full month early and was a very sick baby.  Sarah was rushed to a hospital over an hour away, that specializes in high-risk births and infant care.   They asked all family members to wait to visit Kaida until the family was home together, but Sarah contacted me and invited me to come meet Kaida before I left for Turkey. 

Being invited by my friends to see them while they were excited and joyful, frightened and in awe of this tiny being they had brought into the world, was incredibly special and a privilege I will never forget.  I can see them now, Chris holding  Kaida, her eyes closed, so tiny and fragile, Sarah gazing at the two of them. Sarah and Chris were madly in love, with Kaida, so much so that their love was almost tangible.

Since Kaida’s birth Sarah and Chris have ben doing anything and everything to help their little girl.  For the last three weeks they have either been sleeping in the hospital or a a dorm nearby.   Thankfully, Kaida has been doing just as much for her parents as they have for her.  Each day she has been fighting, growing stronger and healthier.  The sick baby I saw in the hospital is a far cry from the rosy, alert baby with the chubby checks, in the pictures her mother is emailing me.  She is doing so well, in fact, that she has been transferred to the local hospital NICU, since she is no longer high risk!  Woot Woot!  Kaida Sarah and Chris, Congratulations on your very precious new daughter.  She couldn’t have more kind, amazing parents, ones who even gave her an awesome name to fight with!  Welcome to the world Baby Kaida, clearly you have a sense for the dramatic, but we’ll need to have a serious talk about how it is not polite to rush your mother.

P.S.  Auntie Jules already has started buying adorable stuff to send to her little dragon.

Back to US Road Trip Adventures!

In the beginning of the summer we did a road trip.  We started off in Texas with a visit with Bülent’s BFF Shawn.  I was able to visit with Shawn again and meet his wife Larinda.  They were great hosts, I had never been to Texas before and they had planned an awesome trip.  We visited in Fort Worth, near their home, then hopped in the truck and started the first leg of the road trip.  We drove to Austin, took a look around and then headed to the Salt Lick BBQ, a little bit out of town.  There was meat, meat and more meat!  It was amazing!

From there we drove to Fredericksburg where we hit up a few wineries and then stayed in an adorable cottage right off the main street.  A former German settlement, the buildings and cuisine have an authentic German flair.  I went running each morning we were there (Not optional: The food was amazing.  Example: Duck Hash with Eggs.  *Duck* Hash!)  It was fun, because running along there was so much to look at and enjoy.  The town had lots of great local wine, since it was close to the wineries.  It also had some really fun kitschy shops where you could buy useless but amusing things.

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For your information the glassware, jam jars with stems, was billed as “Texas Crystal Wine Glasses.”  Clearly all about the class.    There were also quite a few fudge shops.  This is pretty typical in tourist towns, apparently people walking the streets for souvenirs love to court diabetes and heart disease and pack away that delicious mixture of sugar and butter.  There were also some novelty treats.

Chocolate Covered Bacon

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Chocolate Covered Jalapeños

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Chocolate Covered Pickles

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I talked with the teenagers selling the atrocities, and and they insisted people actually bought the “treats” and that they were pretty good.  I pressed them, Really?  They are actually tasty?  The boys said they liked the bacon and jalapeños.  But they remained suspiciously quiet regarding the deliciousness of the chocolate covered pickles.

From there we went to a small winery near Luckenbach, named Sister Creek.

June 2012 116It was a small place and informal.  When we said yes, we would like to see the winery, we we told to just on on through and come back to taste when we were ready.   We had run of the place.  It was like a dream!

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Generally I prefer dry wines, Sister Creek had a lovely Muscat Canneli  that was fairly sweet, almost effervescent and delicious!  We bought a bottle to bring back to NH and another for a hostess gift on the return leg of our road trip.

From there we went down to San Antonio.  We spent a night enjoying the River Walk, and in the morning went to the Alamo.   Then we drove back on up to Fort Worth.   I had never been to Texas before, and Shawn and Larinda went to great lengths to plan a lovely vacation and show us around the state.  From pit BBQ to wineries to Chocolate covered bacon, we had a blast!

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Blogher 12

Holy Moly!  BlogHer!  I am still working though my experiences there.  I went to almost all the sessions.  A couple were productive and interesting.  However, the main even was…not lunch with Martha Stuart, or even lunch with Katie Couric (although that was awesome!)   It was meeting and connecting with other bloggers.  I don’t mean the random networking and thrusting of cards at each other, but the truly meaningful connection I made with some of the individuals there.  Sometimes it was just a short conversation that stayed with you, other times it was a discussion that was so intriguing you changed your plans just to continue it.

I met some great friends, finally understood the nuances of Twitter, and learned quite a bit at BlogHer12.  I also had a wicked good time!  There was a party every night.  Saturday night at  the Sparklecorn party I had a blast!   I danced so long and hard that my friends thought I was drinking, while I was sober and just dancing it out.  That was a blast.  Plus, any party where Ace of Cakes brings a Punk/Space Unicorn clearly rocks!

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Hopefully there will be more BlogHer posts coming, however I am a little distracted with a couple of events.  1) One of my Besties gave birth to a darling little girl—and I get to meet her tomorrow.  2) Packing for my trip back to Turkey.  There is a lot of bag weighing and triaging of clothes at my house.  GRRR…Damn the one bag, 23 kg limits!

The Road Trip Begins

Last Friday Bülent and I  flew to Dallas from our respective cities.  We have had a blast visiting with friends in Texas, and made a mini road trip from Dallas, to Austin to San Antonio and back.  There will be lots coming on our time in Texas but it needs its own post.  Our plan was to fly down, hang out, buy a car and drive back to NH.  And today it commences.   Bülent is picking up the car this morning and from there we will be hitting up cities willy-nilly in a northerly direction.  YAY!  It should be blast, and give me lots to post about.  I may be trying to post from my phone, so bear with me.

My Roomie’s Wedding!

My sophomore roommate from college was great.  Katie and I were very different.  She was organized, I was not.  We had a line down the center of the room, as long as my things did not escape the line, it was not an issue.  She was an art history major.  Her side of the room was always lovely, as was she.  She had a talent for putting together outfits.  Once, I was going out on a date.  She asked me, “Oh, is that what you are wearing?”  My response was, “No, apparently not.”   She dressed me like a doll, and I encouraged it.

So she got married in February.  I had a very complicated relationship with her wedding.  Not her—Her wedding.

1) I got the wedding announcement and was totally depressed. One of my BFFs was getting married and again I was out of the country.

2) My dad was terminally ill.  I was going to take care of him, so I would be in the country for the wedding.  I could GO! Yay!

3) My dad was SO ill I couldn’t plan on going because his death was imminent.

4) My dad died way before I thought he would.  So…Wedding was on.

My friend asked me to be her bridesmaid.  Through out the entire #1-4 she was awesome.  She told me she would love for me to be in the wedding.  All she asked was to let her know when I knew, a few days before the wedding would be fine.    Katie is amazing in that way.

While I wanted to be there for her I had hesitations. I hadn’t done anything social since my dad died.  But I had already bought the tickets.  It was hard for me because it was only a year and a half ago that my parents walked me down the aisle at my on wedding.

But I went anyway.  And I had an amazing time.  I saw some of my friends I hadn’t seen in five years.   While I was a little sad, I was also so happy to be there for my friend.  Also, it was not my wedding.  It was Katie’s.  Katie’s wedding.  The weekend was not about me—It was about Katie (and Pete).  A woman who we all wanted to celebrate, and share in her experience.    Every moment of that wedding day, I was fiercely glad I could be there with her.

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To start the Wedding Weekend, I flew to Nashville,  from where I made the road trip to Memphis with my friends Kate and Ben.  The weekend started off on an interesting note.

First, waiting for my flight to Nashville, I recognized a woman in my gate.  I knew her from some where, but could not place her for a few minutes.  Waiting for my flight was made much more interesting by sneaking peeks at this woman and racking my brain for where I had met her.  Then I realized, I hadn’t met her…I knew her from her blog.  Yes, at the Charlotte airport was Mr. Lady!  An auspicious beginning indeed!

I got off the plane, and Kate jumped out of her car, there was hugging and shrieking and then Kate started doing both as well.  Then, we got a call from our friend Ben.  He had dislocated his shoulder right before he left for the airport…What should he do?  Well, because the theme of the weekend was “Everyone Loves Katie!” he sucked it up, got on the plane and asked the flight attendant for ice.  We had a sling waiting for him when he got off the plane.  113.large

Every aspect of the wedding was a lot of fun. Seeing old friends, making new ones. Blind Mississippi Morris performed at the rehearsal dinner, blowing us out of the water. Also, it was at Fire Museum of Memphis, where they served martinis that smoked.

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The whole weekend was amazing, and really a journey.  There was time with friends, a beautiful wedding, and I think some healing too.