8 May 2021, Phoenix

What happened to May 7? It’s a blur now, just an unbundling and recovery day. I do remember my bare toes appreciating the grass in front of Andrea’s apartment around midnight.

In the early morning of May 8 with my coffee, I sat on the small, partly enclosed patio in the front of Andrea’s ‘unit.’ There is a large, grass-filled rectangle of land between sets of units containing two healthy trees. The birds are everywhere and pleasantly loud (I was not trying to sleep). I saw a hummingbird. The neighbor cat skulked around. The sunlight was full but not yet hot. I was at peace.

Then I accomplished the following:
– Car rental
– US cash from a machine
– A SIM card for my mobile phone to temporarily replace the Sweden-based card.

The capstone of this day was the celebration of the third anniversary of Quinn’s birth. It was a grand occasion, expertly planned and executed by the honoree’s mother, Sabrina. Here are Quinn’s family connections, all but two being present. (I don’t yet know who Father Chris’s grandparents are).

Also present:
Dolores, Sabrina’s aunt (via Internet video link)
Socorro, Dolores’s daughter (via Internet video link)
Cousin/Aunt Elizabeth
(via Internet video link)
Cousin/Uncle Scott (via Internet video link)
Samantha, Sabrina’s twin sister
Amy, Sabrina’s half-sister
Michelle, Sabrina’s best friend
Jeff, Michelle’s husband

Several people contributed to the comestibles, including Grandma Andrea who served a classic dish she learned from her mother Patricia, who then was also present in spirit.

The opening of the presents was managed by Quinn, with guidance from Sabrina. They were many and all appropriate to Quinn’s age and the desires of her parents. It is self-serving, of course, for me to mention what I offered, but I feel good about having introduced Quinn to a set of characters who were first popular in Norden, and which are now more generally appreciated: the Moomin trolls.

The highlight of the occasion was– Balloons!!

After all the presents were opened, examined and appreciated, they were set aside (in an orderly manner, to be sure, as were the wrappings) to allow the adults to do their adult visiting. Some of the adults, including your humble and jetlagged correspondent, went into the adjacent large living room to join Quinn playing with one of her new toys, surrounded by air-filled balloons of various colors lying against one wall–apparently as decoration. There were four adults sitting on the couches watching and appreciating as her father helped her learn how to ‘golf’ a ball into a plastic dragon’s mouth which, if successfully done, would pop up out over the dragon’s tail back into the field of play.

Someone started to engage with the balloons and they eventually invaded the floor in from of the couches and Quinn’s play area. Someone hit a balloon and it went up; someone kicked a balloon and it also went up; soon, all the balloons were being battered around by everyone, especially Quinn, who uttered “Now THIS is a party!”

Quinn feeds “Baba” Andrea some cake.


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