I came to be in Manhattan Friday night because my father didn't want to drive. My other brother, and his girlfriend, were to be in the city for work-related reasons. My mother suggested that she and the girlfriend get together to socialize and to shop for baby stuff, since I am to be an uncle again sometime in early September. After my brother's workday, my father was to join them for dinner. My father didn't want to drive, so he said he didn't want to drive because of his imminent glaucoma, and that's how I got invited along. Somewhere around the Holland Tunnel my father even told my mother, over the phone, that I was coming along.
This was my first meeting of the --- I don't know what to call her. Girlfriend-in-law, I guess, since I've heard no rumors of marriage. I felt comfortable with her swiftly, and got vague ideas of just what she did (it involves a lot of travel, which she and my brother are at the stage of life where they appreciate it), and got some favorable glimpses of smaller parts of her personality. For example she's found the Original New-Effect Star Trek on Netflix Instant, which is unimaginably awesome, and is getting to be a proper old-school Trekkie. She's even made my brother switch allegiance from Picard to Kirk.
Of course a lot of her talk was baby-stuff-oriented. She and my mother were irritated that so many baby clothes and accessories are made in Boy Blue or Girl Pink, when my brother and girlfriend-in-law have decided they wish to be surprised. And I appreciate her desire to not get stuff which will be wasted, but I wouldn't look for a diaper bag which could be used for some other purpose afterwards. But even here are optimistic touches: they'd got an eggplant to use to practice swaddling , as some How To Have A Baby book suggested. Feeling confident in their swaddle skills, they realized ... what to do with the eggplant? Why, they found a great-looking baba ganoush recipe. Her mother was horrified. Everyone else, my parents included, was delighted. I'm fairly sure they'll remember with the actual child to stop before adding olive oil.
 ``Swaddling'' is on my list of Favorite Words Of All Time, and possibly my favorite word that mostly enters my life only for A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Trivia: Johanne Gottfried Galle searched for Neptune at right ascension 21h, 46m; declination -13d 24'. It was found at right ascension 21h 53m, 25.84 s, the night of 23 September 1846. Source: In Search of Planet Vulcan, Richard Baum, William Sheehan. (And apparently it's back at that spot, which is why this comes up today.)
Currently Reading: Analog Science Fiction and Fact, July/August 2011, Editor Stanley Schmidt. Only two nonfiction pieces mention Isaac Asimov, who died long enough ago that college freshman were born after Asimov's death. Also, in the editorial, Schmidt is annoyed at all these so-called researchers trying to establish whether humans can multitask when they should be figuring out what kinds of people are best at what kinds of multitasking, and speaks ominously of the day They try to Stop Multitasking.