Friday, January 9, 2015

Two thousand miles in ten days.

Song of the Day: Wildfires, Mariachi El Bronx

Providence Stuff: School was cancelled yesterday. Not because of snow, but because the windchill was projected to be -25.


"Welcome to New England, where all sorts of things freeze," was the response I got from a Vermonter friend of mine on Monday morning after I'd complained about the sheath of ice, covering everything, that had appeared overnight. Of course it's cold; I'm in New England and it's winter.

Despite the temperature, however, I'm still in on snow. I was driving home earlier this week, sitting at a stoplight, watching big fat flakes of frozen rain fall slowly from the sky, realizing that it still fills me with a sense of childlike wonder. I got honked at once the light turned green - I'd been staring, slackjawed, at the snow outside my window. Maybe once it's all gray and piled up on the side of the roads, I'll fall out of love with it, but, for now, I'm in.

There seem to be two types of people: those that are happy for the holidays to be over and those who go through a blue period after the new year. I'm a part of the latter. If you're happy they're finished, this may not be the post for you because just about all I've got is material from our holiday travels.


December kicked off with my first trip to the TD Garden to see the Celtics play the Lakers. It was a random Friday afternoon, nothing special. Realizing that Kenz would be in the studio all night, I asked myself why not and found some cheap tickets online. Luckily, Courtney insisted that Josh take me up on the offer to join. I fought the rush hour traffic and hung out with little Sawyer for a bit before the two of us went to the game. I had hoped this type of thing would become a regular occurrence - Boston's only an hour away - but, like anything else, day to day life shows up and seems to get in the way. Resolved: see more Celtics live in 2015.  


With the holiday season comes holiday parties. Not being a part of an office doesn't exempt one from attending such parties - turns out gyms have them, too. 

The crew at the weightlifting gym.

The crew at the CrossFit gym.

The semester finally came to an end, which meant that Kenz and I finally had an evening to ourselves; we celebrated by trying the second of three restaurants in our village. It was great to have my wife back from the clutches of RISD before she headed down south.

Apollo knows he's not allowed on the couch. I think he was coaxed up there. 

We felt the need to test out a variety of pizza slices. For science. 

Kenz is a happy girl when she's been able to take a nap and a day off!

This was one of her semester-end pieces. She wasn't 100% happy with it, but I thought it was pretty awesome. 


Since she'd been so busy with school, Kenz hadn't been able to visit her new nephew in Tennessee since he'd been born. We'd decided it would be best for her to fly down early and I'd follow in the car (with the dogs) a few days later. I got the same type of picture over and over again once she'd arrived:

Her face...

...does not change... matter what...

...she's doing.


Tennessee was as it always is: warm, welcoming, and a bit of a blur. Now that we're in RI, the visits aren't as extended as they were while we were in London. Trying to do everything we used to do during a three week visit in ten days is simply unsustainable. I drove down earlier than planned and surprised Kenz. Out of fifteen hours in the car, the dogs and I saw two hours' worth of sunlight...

They didn't seem to mind. 

Since this was little Oliver's first Christmas, most of the attention was with him. Rightly so - he's an adorable little chunk. I learned how to swaddle, feed, burp, change a diaper, and put him to sleep - none of which I'd expected during the visit. It was equal parts stressful and boring, a wonderful way to spend the holiday. 

Of course, there were visits with friends and family in the run-up to the holiday itself. Being "home" for such a short period of time is a double-edged sword: on one hand, you don't overstay your welcome but on the other hand, you're always left wanting a bit more time.

The Knoxville boys.

PCAIN came in from Nashville.

Dinner with Dad, Mel, Jerry, and Kara.

Since Kara's pregnancy will be ending any day now, she encouraged Mom and Tom to come up to Knoxville for the holiday. There was mild consternation about compromising tradition, but it quickly faded over laughs and dinner the night before Christmas Eve.

Kara had the Christmas 1984 picture up in her house. 

And had a genius set of (changeable) stockings.

Jerry's type-a personality has already kicked in for baby clothes.


As has been mentioned before, Kenz and I are quite lucky in that her family celebrates on the Eve and mine on the Day. 

Oliver got passed around all night as everyone else prepped their own culinary delights...

...and caught up...

...and prepped...

...and spilled...

...until it was time to eat!

Post-feast baby time.

Willow wanted in on the gift giving.

Michael got a sweatshirt with Oliver's face all over it...

...and Kenz got one with her new favorite animal on it.

A fun time was had by all.


Christmas Day was mostly spent messing around with the oven, which some believed was broken (MoMA) and others believe was working just fine (everyone else).

Before long, however, it was time to open some gifts in the classic 'one-at-a-time' fashion (some traditions are just too sacred to compromise).

Pepper basked in the sun most of the day. 

No holiday is complete without a bit of gambling.

Whenever I do these updates, I can tell when I was too busy having a good time to take pictures. Most of Christmas was one of those times.

I received a bunch of grief (mostly from Kenz and Kara) about our departure date. We left on the 28th - a date I thought was reasonable. Apparently it was too early to go, yet we had enough time for some more coddling before departing.


Returning to Providence was much easier than our first return trip to London. I say "our," but I mean "mine." That first return to London had me full of melancholic homesickness; this time, it was business as usual. It's not that we've necessarily built much more of a community here than we had after six months in England, but we've got something going on here. I guess it's just a bit easier to come back home and still be in the same time zone as most everyone we've just left.

She slept for a solid eight of the fourteen hours, looking like the Virgin Mary.

We arrived to some presents for the pets that had been mailed while we were gone!

They were excited!

Christmas robe, christmas blanket, and a disobedient mom allowing that doggie up on the couch.

New Year's Eve started strong for Kenz: Diet Coke, coffee milk, and Lucky Charms (not unlike any other day of the year, come to think of it). 

We headed up to Boston for a wonderfully quiet evening with the Grays, appetizers, board games, Chinese food, and more baby time.

Josh imitates Sawyer's pouty face.

Maya and Axle share the bed.


So far, 2015 has been pretty standard: Snow, cold, snow, dog walking, and gearing up for the new semester. 

"You will never replace me" - Apollo

"Oh, it's snowing! Joy" - hour 1

"Man, this is sticking. I should take another picture." - hour 2

"I'll take the dogs for a walk in it. That'll be fun for them." - hour 3

"Gee, this is kind of cold." - hour 3.25

"I'm frozen!" - hour 3.5

Someone's making a homemade ice hockey rink outside their house.

Doesn't matter how cold it is, Apollo still loves to roll around.

And Bruce Bruce is perfectly fine inside, warm, helping me work.

That is, until he wants to retire to the dog bed for a Jabba the Hutt impression.

Now it's time to brace ourselves for the winter. Our neighbors had the right idea: two days after we got home, they went to Florida for two weeks. I thought about sending them a picture of the snow, but, them being born and raised in Lil Rhody, I'm pretty sure they know what snow looks like. 

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading. Enjoy the weekend.