Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday. At last.

There are few things more jolting than being woken up in the night with a sick child. Equally disturbing are middle of the night phone calls.

Yesterday our phone rang just shy of 5 a.m. Gary answered (it's on his side of the bed), and I could hear the voice - our daughter. It took me about half a second to figure out that she was sick. And she was calling to alert us.

To be fair, she was in a lot of distress with a very painful upset stomach. But this a new one for me - and one my parents never had to deal with. 21st-century parenting, indeed.


One month, I actually posted a blog entry every day. Looking back, I have no idea how. Some days, I have just way too much going on to sit at the computer and ruminate on the ups and downs of life. Other days, I have the time, but there's no way I am sharing thoughts either that mundane or that harrowing. It's best to keep some things to myself.

This week has been a combination of the two. But it's Friday, so I am welcoming a respite, however brief, from some of life's stresses.


We watched American Idol last night, pausing the program half-way through so I could read to Sylvia, then skip the commercials. So we were down to the final two men when the show switched off - I had set the DVR to record "Lost," also in HD, and the machine can only handle one HD input. All I could do was laugh, but the girls were not quite as amused. Not a big deal - eventually you'll find out who got booted off.

(I looked and found out right away - it was Robbie. But I would have booted Luke - just my opinion.)


We have come up with nicknames for our favorite - or not - AI contestants. There's Dreads (Jason Castro), Kid (David Archuleta), Cheater Girl (Kristy Lee Cook). Makes it fun. And boy did Kid earn his name - he cried like a baby when they got rid of Alexandrea. Grow up folks - you know this was part of the gig when you signed on! It made us laugh ... is it really so bad to watch AI with a bit of schadenfreude?


So we're chatting last night after dinner when Gary announces, enthusiastically, Great news! We all turn and listen and he stuns us with this announcement: He got an e-mail from his airline, and he's been upgraded to First Class for his business trip this week.

This was his great news? Hmmm. My expectations for this sort of bulletin have been drastically lowered, that's all I know.


It is a lovely last day of February/first day of March here in the Lone Star State. I am celebrating by wearing sandals. Which meant I had to paint my toenails - have not been for a pedicure yet. So I chose a color that won't show how dreadfully uncoordinated I am at toenail-painting. I know, how hard can it be? Terribly, once you're relied on the manicurist to do it for so long.


Let the weekend begin.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The excitement builds

It's busy around here. I say that every week; every week it is true.

I never even blogged about going to see Obama - that is how my days are. It was akin to attending a rock concert - that level of excitement. The warm-up band was playing music by Kool and the Gang, Aretha Franklin, Gloria Gaynor, Earth, Wind & Fire. It struck me that should he be elected, it will be a much funkier White House.

He came out late - naturally - and they kept schlepping out volunteers to get us fired up! Ready to go! It felt like a high school pep rally. And I wasn't going to waste my "Fired Up! Ready to go!" on campaign volunteers. Especially as it was approaching 8.45 p.m., and I had kids who needed to either hear a candidate or go to bed.

He made it around 8.45. And he does not disappoint. Obama is very charismatic, an excellent speaker. Peter Sagel on Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me said that his rallies have been likened to religious revivals ... except that at revivals, Jesus himself does not actually make an appearance (!)

His speech was great - like a proper politician, he promised everyone, everything. The energy was very contagious, and it was tough not to be swept up in the frenzy. Even though we left early - by 9.15 the girls were exhausted, and we figured it was better to beat a bit of the crowd (the Toyota Center holds 19,000 people - good call).

I'm not sure I'm totally on board with Obama. I like him - what's not to like? - but I'm not completely swayed. I do think he has not been vetted, and I agree that the media are throwing him some softballs. A lot remains to be seen - he cannot keep up the dazzle factor forever.

Though let's face it: John McCain is too old. He would be 71 when elected, and being president ages those in office. He spent five years as a POW; life has not been easy for him. While I respect a lot of what he has done (though a little less over the last two years as he has been shamelessly pandering for president), he is just too old.

And I'm not even sure where I stand - I am very torn. But I think it's a good dilemma.

The point of this post is to show just how people are feeling about this election. Early voting totals here in Texas are staggering. As of yesterday, these are the numbers for Harris County (the biggest county in Texas):

Democrats: 95,940
Republicans: 29,330

Totals for 2004 and 2006 don't even come close.

People are energized. Let's hope the momentum lasts through November.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Texas is Hill-Country!

Guess where we went last night?

We went to the IBEW Local Union 716 to see her - Madame President! Hillary was in town.

It's our second outing this week - we saw Obama Tuesday night (and I haven't even had a chance to blog about it - suffice it to say, it was very cool).

This is the first time the primary in Texas has mattered since 1976. So Obama and Clinton are both working hard to win votes. We have seen an ad blitz, and they are all over the state. Bill and Chelsea were here last week; Michelle Obama will be here tomorrow night.

And frankly, I am loving it. I like seeing the commercials, getting the attention. I like the visits. I am enjoying being wooed.

So last night, we let Camp Hillary woo us. Though it was sort of last-minute and disorganized - first e-mail said at some hotel; an hour or two later, new e-mail - CORRECTION! CHANGE OF LOCATION! There was some bickering/disorganization in the party, among local organizers.

We ended up at the union hall, which is not very big. We went early, after the Obama gathering; he filled the 19,000-seat Toyota Center, with people waiting three to four hours to get in. We weren't taking any chances.

And we even remembered the camera.

We waited in line for a l-o-n-g time, more than two hours. But there is a lot of energy at these things. And since you're among your people, it's fun to visit with the others in line. I figured out pretty quickly that the Latinas are definitely for Hillary. And, as our newest friends assured us, she has the Gay and Lesbian vote (well ... at least two gay and two lesbian votes - !)

They gave out signs - yay! I snagged one!

Finally, they opened the doors - more than an hour late, but that's pretty typical for these events. I was relieved to just get in - the place was not that big, and the line was huge. At least 1,000 people did not make it inside. It was SRO by the time we got in, but I didn't mind - we weren't very far from the front.

She's here! She's here! Finally, at 9.40 p.m., she made her appearance. We were very close - can you see her? (Look just under the blue sign, lower RH corner - yep, that's her face.)

She is a great speaker - it was very exciting. She's a bit blurry here, but you get the idea.

And, as if it weren't exciting enough to see Hillary, look who she brought - it's Chelsea! She must be exhausted. But she looked lovely.

Hillary even hung around and signed some autographs. If I'd thought about it, I would have grabbed my copy of It Takes a Village. But it never occurred to me that we would be that close. I tried to get my sign up there, but I just wasn't able to get close enough. That's Mr. Secret Agent Man looking stern behind her.

We didn't get to shake Hillary's hand, but look! We got to chat with Chelsea! She was extremely gracious, and actually did chat with people. I thanked her for her hard work to put a woman in the White House, told her I wanted my daughters to see a woman president. "Me, too," she answered. And posed for a photo. Signed an autograph, too.

(The freaky stalker guy in the background? My husband.)

Fun, fun time. My feet were killing me - I wore nice shoes to see her, and we stood for more than four hours, so I was beat. But it was worth it. We watched outside as we were leaving - we could see the cars lined up - but finally decided to just leave. But as we pulled out of the lot, the police cars stopped us, and we got a great view of the motorcade - her windows were not tinted, and with that red jacket we could see her. Very exciting.

We chilled at Joe's Crab Shack afterwards - it was nearly 11 and it was the only place we could think of that might be open. So we ate shrimp and chilled, basking in the glow of meeting the next president.

There really is an electricity in the air this primary season. I'm feeling lucky to be part of it.

Friday, February 22, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

What a corny title - what can I say? I have no excuse.

I have always considered myself environmentally aware. But this year I am making a real effort to Go Green. After working on getting curbside recycling in the subdivision, I started thinking about what else we could do to save the planet. Carbon emissions are increasing; the glaciers are shrinking.

And we live in a 4,000 sf house. With a swimming pool we run all year long. Not to mention the fact that we live in suburban hell, thus I am required to drive everywhere - we are not in a pedestrian-friendly environment.

But we can still make an effort. So, in light of the state of the planet, these are among our lifestyle changes:

• Plastic bags: I have not gotten plastic bags at the grocery store for months. Living in Germany, you learn to take your own bags. They are not automatically provided - you have to bring your own or buy them - a practice IKEA has adopted here. So I have a collection of canvas bags. They are starting to look somewhat worse for the wear, and I have found the new bags available at Target, Randall's and HEB to be far superior - they are made of some sort of post-consumer product, they are big, and very sturdy. I am a convert. But you have to educate baggers here - they look at me as if I am some sort of subversive when I hand them my pile of bags. They want to put the plastic bags inside my bags (um, sort of defeats the purpose). Or I really inspire the looks when - even more radical - I do not take a bag at all when I have purchased one small item. But it's worth it - I have not brought a bag into this house for at least three months. Score: 10/10

• Recycling: We are dutifully collecting our recycling and hauling it 16.82 miles each way to the Westpark Recycling Center. Bad news: Long drive, so we are burning fossil fuels to get there. Good news: We don't go very often. And they accept tin cans, plastic, aluminum, glass, and batteries. And you don't have to sort. And, since aluminum is infinitely recyclable, I'm going to give us extra credit for this one, despite the burning of gasoline. Score: 7/10

• Light bulbs: I was adamantly against the fluorescent bulbs - that light is so unflattering. But I am giving in, as I can see the long-term benefits. I can suffer through some strange lighting tints if it means my children will see snow-topped mountains. And we haven't yet replaced them all (though Gary found some great bulbs for the recessed lighting in the kitchen, and it really isn't bad - very bright). Score: 7/10

• Reduce/Reuse/Recycle: I collect everything I can - junk mail, catalogs, scrap paper, all plastics. We wash full loads of laundry (OK, not a real challenge when you have a family of five). I buy as little packaging as possible. I even wash out ziploc bags - how's that for commitment? The means, sometimes, do justify the ends. 9/10

• Carpooling: Gary carpools to work. Yes, it saves gas. Also saves time - they can use the HOV lane and be home in 30 minutes, rather than idling on the road for more than an hour. 10/10

• Meat: The best thing you can do for the environment? Stop eating meat. The raising of meat, particularly beef, uses up an incredible amount of resources, from the feeding and rearing of cattle to the transport. Not to mention the scandal in the meat-packing industry last week - that alone is enough to turn your stomach. So I've made an effort to cut way back on the red meat. We purchase very little, though I did buy some sausage this week. But I learned that ground turkey works very well for recipes that call for ground beef - well enough that no one around here even noticed. Score: 5/10

• Freecycle: I am a member of our local freecycle group. Anything you don't want, are hesitant to throw away, or need hauled off, you can just post to freecycle. Trust me, someone will come and get it. If you throw it all in a box, mention the two good things, and insist that someone take all, you'll get a dozen responses. I can't guarantee that none of it gets thrown away, but most of it gets re-used. And I don't have to do the hauling. 10/10.

If you add in the number of times I run around turning off lights, radios, and ceiling fans in empty rooms, we are making our own little dent. Don't look for me to appear in hemp shoes or buy all my clothes at the re-sale shop. But it's the least I can do - we'll just consider it a gift to my grandchildren.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Here and Now

The Easter candy is out. Full force. The aisles of the supermarket were full of pastel-colored bags, full of pastel-colored, foil-wrapped goodies.

(And who wants Hershey kisses with coconut? Yuck.)

I passed them all by. First of all, I am not eating that kind of stuff right now - I am viewing it all as toxins. And secondly, but probably more importantly, I am not ready. It's only February - Easter is not here yet.

Thich Nhat Hanh encourages living in the present moment, an acceptance of the here and the now. This is something I'm working on, striving for. Rather than constantly anticipating what should happen or what awaits - Christmas, vacation, promotion - he believes in appreciating the peace and beauty that are available now.

There are critics - some argue that these teachings do not encourage working against injustice. And, for me, I find that it can be too easy to get caught in only the present, ignoring any plans or preparation that is needed for the future.

None the less, I am trying to be more mindful of the present, concerning myself less with worrying about what the future holds.

Helps keep my mind off the drama around here - of which there is plenty. Life with three kids - this is how it is. Time to just take a deep breath, concentrate on inner peace, and let the beauty of the moment wash over me.

Deep breath. There is much in this moment for which I am grateful.

“Life can be found only in the present moment. The past is gone, the future is not yet here, and if we do not go back to ourselves in the present moment, we cannot be in touch with life.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

In other mundane news ...

So. This morning I decided to add a splash of interest to the sweater and slacks I was wearing. I chose a scarf as an accessory.

God. I am officially old. I guess a brooch might have been worse. But come to think of it, I have one that might have looked good with the outfit.

Yesterday I saw a woman walking down my street, her head covered with a nylon head scarf. Remember those? My mother used to wear them. Though what I really remember her using it for was when she had her hair in rollers mid-day, when my parents were going out that evening. These are the pre-curling iron days, and I guess you had to know at noon how you wanted your hair to turn out at 7.

For the record, I do not wear those. Nor do I wear plastic rain bonnets. Though maybe they are a good idea, after all.


Apparently, the American Idol contestants were only given a handful of song options for Hollywood week. They could sing "Sway," "Everything I Do" (dreadful, dreadful song by Bryan Adams, for whom I lost all respect), "When I Need You" (I have bad memories of hearing this on the radio ALL the time - and where is Leo Sayer, anyway?), or "Love The One You're With." All the contestants seemed to perform these same songs. And with the exception of "Sway," I didn't really care to hear any of them.

The show has been over for more than an hour, and I am still having unpleasant flashbacks.


Please let tomorrow be a headache free day. Pleeeaase.


I live among people who like to complain - that much has been established. But really - this morning - and it is February - people out at the bus stop were bundled up, whining about the cold, planning their day so that they could avoid the weather. It was in the high 30s; it got up into the high 50s or low 60s today. These are clearly not hearty folks; a day in Minnesota would about kill them.


A Beagle won the Westminster dog show. First time ever.

It wasn't our dog. She was not even in the running. Just felt the need to clarify, in case you were wondering. Zoe is not the award-winning type. She did win a blue ribbon at the 4-H show. Once. And even after she snapped at the judge. But it was a fluke.

New Colbert Report tonight. It's been a long dry spell - I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

1.57 a.m. and all is not well

I am not at my best at 2 a.m.

But when I hear the words, "Mommy, I threw up," I do my best.

The first thought that springs into my barely awake mind: I hope she's OK.

Second thought: Wow - it is the middle of the night. And I am too tired to think straight.

Third thought: Oh, please please please, tell you made it to the bathroom.

She did. Thank goodness. Which meant all I had to do was get her settled back in bad. She brushed her teeth, I got a pan to put next to the bed. Just in case.

I returned to bed. Where I lay awake for what felt like hours. I know it was until at least 3 - I glanced at the clock. I composed e-mails in my head, made mental notes of things I need to do. But I didn't ever sleep well.

So this morning was slow. I let her sleep, but she decided at 9 that she felt better and wanted to go to school - she was disappointed that she no longer has perfect attendance. Me? I'd love an extra day off. She was my excuse to hang out, watch movies all day.

My own mother never, ever let on that she was tired or frustrated or even slightly weary when I would wake her up in the middle of the night. She would change the sheets without a word of complaint. I try to live up to this example.

Today, she's all better. She is skipping soccer practice - under the circumstances, this was my recommendation. But she can go to Brownies.

I'm just glad it's nothing serious. And I'm hoping for a better night's sleep tonight.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Catch up. Get ready.

I grocery shopped today.

This is noteworthy because I really hate shopping for groceries. I like buying clothes, gifts, books, music, shoes, furniture. I love a trip to the hardware store, and I quite enjoy a run to Target. But groceries? The worst.

Yet, oddly enough, I like to eat. However, I enjoy eating more when someone else does the cooking.

That said, I'm really not a bad cook. I love having people over, love baking, and enjoy using all the accoutrements required for cooking, serving, and entertaining. It's the fixing-dinner-every-evening thing that I hate. And the weekly shopping. It's one of those tasks that is just never done.

But I did it. So now I'm off the hook - for a week, anyway. Or, if Gary goes out of town, even longer ...


Fun weekend. So to speak - we're not usually that exciting. Went to a party Thursday night, met the local candidate for Congress, chatted with friends. Sylvia's teacher showed up, which was a nice surprise - we love her. She and I, we're like best friends now - we're tight.

Then Friday, we found ourselves alone - this is happening more and more often lately. Alison had a school dance (she looked beautiful - she does have a knack for choosing great formals) and Maddie babysat, while Sylvia went to a friend's. So we went out to dinner at our local sushi joint, then down to River Oaks to see The Savages. I liked it - it wasn't great, but it was good. And I liked both Laura Linney and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Then Saturday night - after a fun-filled day of soccer and garage organizing - we took Sylvia and Maddie out for Cajun food (Alison was babysitting) then came home, Wii'd, and watched La Vie en Rose. The first several minutes were confusing, to say the least. Then it dawned on me: Language selection - we do not really need to watch the entire film en Francais. Good thing - I actually thought my French was pretty good (good enough, anyway, to pass the foreign language requirement in grad school, though that was reading - but I had to read Simone de Beauvoir, which I would not categorize as easy). And it certainly seemed that way while I was learning German, when every word came out in French, but watching this, I caught about every 53rd word. Which does not make for a coherent story. But I could not seem to get the subtitles to work. Switched back to the movie, and while I could figure out the major themes ("Take her!" "No, I won't!" "Come back!" "Titine, please!") some of the subtleties were lost on me. When Alison got home I had her try, and sadly, she is just as technologically inept as we are. Then suddenly the lightbulb went on: There is a button on the remote that turns on the subtitles. We were in business.

For the record: Not a great movie. It was OK - especially visually - but not great. It sort of jumped around and you had to look closely at her hairstyle to guess what year it was. And I was concerned til the very end about a very significant part of her life that had been eliminated. Then, suddenly, there it was at the end - an intentional plot device. I was shocked that they had overlooked it ... but of course, they had not. But wow - that Marion Cotillard was amazing. She gave a fantastic performance, and she even looked like Piaf. If you're a Piaf fan (and I confess, I find her mesmerizing), then you'll like this. If you don't like or, or don't care, I'd recommend a pass - you won't be impressed.


I freecycled a bunch of stuff. Old clothes, kids' stuff. Do not EVER tell my husband this, but I have way too many clothes. And shoes. My closet is too full (and I have a huge closet). But I feel better now that I've weeded some of it out.


I lay awake last night, woke up frequently, worried about how I was going to manage being three places at the same time. And each time I had to remind myself: That is for Tuesday evening - tonight is just Monday! I hate those evenings when I toss and turn, my mind too full to sleep. Now that I've lost sleep a day too early, let's hope that tonight is easier. Everyone will get where they need to be, one way or another.


The writers' strike is nearly over - yay! I am in solidarity with the writers (naturally). Peter is not - he is management, he reminds me. Keep remembering that when you're watching re-runs there, Peter. Even American Experience is a re-run tonight. Thank goodness for Law & Order repeats - even if I've seen them, they always feel new. And Alison was kind enough to pick up a book for me: Mates, Dates and Inflatable Bras. Nothing like British teenage lit to turn me on. I can crank up the deservedly Grammy-winning Amy Winehouse (loving her!) and take it easy.

Oh yes. Life is good.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Best - and Worst - of the Blog

When I was kid, I remember complaining that I was bored. My dad looked at me, somewhat incredulously, and told me he was never bored. In fact, he said, he could use an extra hour every day.

I was stunned - I honestly could not fathom what I do with an entire hour more each and every day.

Fast-forward. I want my extra hour. Or extra day. Whatever I can get, I'll take.

But to be honest, that's not the only thing that keeps me away from blogging. Lack of desire, some days, does it. Other days, I prefer to be just a consumer of blogs. And still other days, I run across blog entries that are so self-serving, so self-righteous, that I think I cannot possibly, for one more minute, contribute to the blogging world.

Today, apparently, I am, once again, feeling self-important. Because here it is, not even 8 a.m., and I'm at the computer. And to be honest, I have no topic in mind.

I could write about Houstonfest this weekend (high school German competition) - had a post all prepared in my head about how academics deserve more recognition, about how when I was in high school we were not permitted to participate in math relays held at the university campus that my school was part of, though we would never, ever have missed a track meet, a basketball tournament. But it hardly seemed getting too worked up about.

(For the record, Alison did very well, placing fifth in extemporaneous speaking and first in poetry. The school placed fourth. She was only eligible in a handful of categories, as she is considered an "advantaged" speaker, even though she really only met one of five or six criteria. She's going to state in both events, and she could not be more excited. Though she did not request my help as a chaperon ... which is OK. You can't watch any of the actual competition, so it's just as well that I stay home. Hanging out in hallways supervising kids is not my No. 1 way to spend a Saturday, and I did my duty over the weekend.)

I could pontificate on Super Tuesday, on upcoming primaries. Texas will really count - yay! A debate has been scheduled here for the Democrats, and the GOP is working on one, too - I anticipate visits from everyone in the days leading up to March 4 (I've heard the talk of a big Obama rally, but nothing definite for anyone else ... that will change). But my views are only mine. And while I know others agree with me, it can sound boring to ramble on and on about my political views. They're mine, and I value them highly. But others are not obligated to listen to what I have to say..

And people like to, for whatever reason, feel that they are somehow above the fray, saying that the candidates who are running for president do not inspire them, the media coverage is too intrusive, the campaign too long.

People said the same thing in 1960, that neither candidate did anything for them. I wonder who this dream candidate is, the one who would solve all our problems and inspire people to become part of the political process, all without negative ads and with just the right blend of charisma and talent. We end up with mere humans running. None of them is perfect, but I will give credit to anyone who tries to make a difference - Mike Gravel, Tom Villsack, and Duncan Hunter included.

And frankly, this year, the candidates have as much experience as any other year - we have former governors and senators among them. Just what is you people want, anyway?

And these comments are surprisingly upbeat from a cynic like me, let me tell you. Plus, I take offense at the media coverage jabs - I still consider myself part of the media, and I can tell you, most newspapers and TV stations offer exactly what the public wants. Look at the ratings. Personally, I love political coverage - I love to sit and watch election returns, listen to the speculation, the possible scenarios. In 2004, I loved that interactive map from the LA Times that showed what would happen depending on who won which state - I loved to change the states from red to blue, seeing how many states would be needed if my candidate did win Florida, or Ohio, or New Mexico. Fun stuff - on election night I was all set up on the sofa, laptop at my side, ready to play along with the live coverage.

But that's just me. And I never claimed to be normal. (Though I'm guessing Pete would understand.)

I could share the outrageous saga of the Harris County DA. I could write about what my girls are up to. I could blog about lots of little things I find entertaining, or amusing, or annoying.

Not in the mood. But by tomorrow I can share about another party, if you're interested. Or something new will have me inspired.

So, essentially, I have invested the last several minutes writing about nothing. Talk about self-absorbed ... blogging at its best.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Tuesday, Super Busy

I am swamped. As in, so busy I can't see straight.

But tomorrow, it will be over.

I did find time to attend a Super Tuesday party. Very fun. Very, very fun. Lots of cool people. Along with good pizza. And wine.

Now, back to the grindstone. But I'll have CNN on in the background. California results may have to wait until morning. I'm leaving the house early to attend breakfast at the middle school. Celebrating my child's academic accomplishments.

Maybe in the afternoon I can crash. Before I head out to soccer practice. Life with three kids ... I brought this on myself ... must remember that ... this is all of my own doing ...

Friday, February 01, 2008

Nothing quite as fun as a debate

I tuned in to watch the big debate last night - the first Democratic debate with only the two front-runners, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

It was fantastic! First of all, they got along famously - not a word of bickering between the two. It was quite the harmonious get-together. Sure, they disagreed, but they were so accommodating, it was just a civilized discussion, with each of them conceding points to the other ("Of course, you said that weeks ago..." "Naturally, it is a difficult decision ...").

And there were lots of good answers, on everything from health care to taxes to immigration.

But mostly it was fun because Pete and I texted back and forth during the entire event, noting worthy comments, picking out the celebrities in the audience, and discussion on other tangential subjects (Barack Obama's look, which led to Michelle Obama, which led to the hair flip - Pete likes, I hate - which led to Gloria Vanderbilt's common hair style, which led to Anderson Cooper and speculation on whether or not AC is single, whom he might be seeing, and what Pete's source is for that information).

But we were totally tuned in to the debate - trust me.

I have to say, it's the most I have enjoyed a debate this year - and I have watched several this year. When do the GOP candidates meet again? Peter, it's a date!