DECEMBER 7-8, 2002

We went in for the weekend, because I needed a Josie fix, and because Nancy played materfamilias and gave a party for all of us. We took the Acela Regional in. It is so convenient, literally across the street from our apartment, and the ride is comfortable and scenic. But, the train was an hour late, and we waited in the cold dank train station which Amtrak has let go to seed. As I wrote to the CEO of Amtrak in my customary Letter from Farklempt, only Amtrak could make this scenic and restful route into a "trip from hell." Of course, I exaggerate (the trip was actually very pleasant and relaxing), but one does not get free tickets by mentioning the good points). We took a cab down to 3rd Street and there were Jonathan, Marjorie, and Josie. So, what's new with Josie? More hair, more charm, more intelligence, more chen. Her vocabulary is enormous. And she understands a great deal of what you say. Now I have to clean up my language and imagery when I talk in her presence. She greets Carol at the door with a big smile and a hug. Me she eyes coyly, and takes 10 minutes to warm up. She putters around the apartment, using her baby trike as a walker, and she's a skilled driver, able to navigate narrow spaces easily. In this, she takes after her great-grandmother. She can walk on her own, but her balance is just a bit off, and the walker does the trick.


She also loves to play peek-a-boo, popping out from behind the big chair.


We went out to a French bistro around the corner, Lucien, that was excellent: onion soup, endive with roquefort, grilled sardines (large ones that look like real fish), omelettes, and for Josie, peas.

More peas, please...Sunglasses

A nice Cahors from Provence to wash it down.

Jonathan and I returned to the apartment to nap, while the three women went out walking. When they returned, we read books with Josie and watched Teletubbies (she stands transfixed, shouting out the names for half an hour straight).


Then we played the piano for a bit. Our old piano sounds as good as ever. It does best in the dry cold weather, and it just keeps on holding its tuning for years.

But then the real piano playing began. Neal and Andy arrived, and Jonathan and Marjorie went out to the movies. They brought with them the finished album from their Brit Ahava,  which was just stunning. Josie knows them both, and glows with affection when she is with them. She gave Andy a big kiss. We went up to the balcony and Neal gave his first piano recital since he was a little boy. He took up the piano again seriously two years ago and practices diligently. He played a Clementi Sonatina.

Neal at piano..Neal at piano

Josie was transfixed. She really seemed to appreciate that this was serious music, well-played. Then came a Chopin mazurka, to which she danced gloriously. She joined Neal for a rendition of "The Farmer in the Dell," singing along.

Pick me up!..Adoration

A reflective moment..Josie plays piano

Even Sebastian left his sedentary perch and lay down near the piano to enjoy the music. Josie loves Sebastian, whom she calls "Kitty." He is so patient with her. She pounces on his fat belly and pulls and twists his tail. He seems to recognize that she is a baby, and he never makes any move of retaliation or cry of protest. He did, however, sink his fangs into Carol's arm when she tried to pet him.

Josie, Neal, Sebastian

After Carol put Josie to bed, we ordered in some excellent Thai food which we washed down with two bottles of some great wine that Jonathan had bought that day from his funky wine store--a spicy Tempranillo and a dry Mosel Riesling, both of which went well with the spicy food.

On to Sunday