Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wednesday, Sept. 30

After getting a late start from Traci's house, I drove the 120 miles to Alameda (near Oakland), CA, where I finally got to meet my 6-month-old great-niece, Natasha Rose. And boy, is she GREAT! She has big blue eyes, the cutest smile, and chubby little cheeks that belie her premature birth. She lives in a big old Victorian house that her parents are refurbishing.

And this is Natasha with her mom & dad, Irene and Daniel Neumansky. Irene is my sister's daughter. Irene and Daniel got married 3 (?) years ago in a most unique and enjoyable wedding (Flames were involved.)

While we humanoids were focused entirely on Natasha, Juliet was transfixed by Tiny, their foot-long fat black fish in an aquarium in the playroom. I'm sorry Tiny doesn't show up well in this picture, but, take Juliet's word for it, he was in there.

Irene and Natasha strick a regal pose on a new mirror-backed hall chair. Seeing the photographer's (me) reflection in the mirror when I viewed this picture made me wish I'd been a little more creative in shooting it and had positioned us so that I would have appeared to be sitting on her shoulder --- you know, like "Be good---Auntie Sue is watching you!"
Aren't their smiles cute?

You know how people make funny noises or silly faces or suddenly clap to get a baby's attention and try to get them to smile? Well, see who was, and who wasn't, surprised by the sudden funny sound Irene let out?

This picture shows one of my favorite "rooms" in their partially-restored Victorian house: The outdoor sunken living room (could also be called a patio, I suppose). This is what creative people make when, after putting in a new foundation and leveling their house, they discover a 4-foot difference in height between the bottom of the back door and the yard it is opening into. They also built into it a gas-powered fire pit which Irene appears to be surveying in this picture. A few minutes later, with the flick of a lighter, a flames appeared to leap from the lava rock. Neat!

I like this setting for an official family portrait because they are both pyromaniacs and a Neumansky family portrait just wouldn't be right without flames.

This is obviously me holding Natasha in the sunken patio. We were all enjoying the warmth of the fire as the evening was starting to get cool. (You might have to scroll down to see the firepit.)

We ordered Thai food for dinner and Daniel was kind enough to go pick it up and bring it home so we didn't have to worry about going out for dinner. And it was quite delicious too. Natasha sat quietly (mostly) in her seat and chewed on her toys while we ate, waiting her turn.

She has just started eating solid food (well, "mushy" might be a better adjective). I had the honor of feeding her her cereal dinner, which she ate very nicely, and then rocking her to sleep. Nitey-nite, Natasha!

This picture is from the next morning (I know, I'm cheating a little) when I went in to say good-bye to Daniel and Natasha (Irene was at work, Daniel was working upstairs in his office, and the nanny was watching Natasha and another little girl.)

Can't you see Natasha's beautiful big blue eyes imploring me to stay?
I wish I could, little girl. I wish I could....

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