Bebe is sprawled between me and the keyboard as I type, so this entry will be somewhat ergonomically challenged.

Busy weekend! Barnes arrived on Friday to inspect his new niece (he approves). On Saturday we went to brunch at Afshin’s and plotted our next move. Saturday night was Games Night at 795 Alcatraz. Sunday was supposed to have been a surprise birthday party in Palo Alto for Ian, except that Jeremy spilled the beans. On the bright side, Kat made trifle and Alusha made pav. I absconded with the remains of the potato gratin.

Bukes: I started rereading A Suitable Boy two days before Claire was born. I read five hundred pages in the first two days, fifty the next week, a hundred the week after that. My reading is gradually returning to normal speed. ASB was the perfect post-baby book, as it happened: soulful and episodic, so that I could read it in small bites between stops on the feed-burp-change express.

Once I finished that I tackled Sarah Blaffer Hrdy (not a typo)’s Mother Nature, a wonderful synthesis of thirty years of research in anthropology and biology, which explains exactly why new mothers are intensely territorial and ambivalent. (No word yet on why I was intensely territorial and ambivalent before I had Claire.) Mother Nature, which I intend to give to all my friends who are mothers, revisits a lot of the ground I covered last year: the Darwin biography and Goodall and Fossey and The Metaphysical Club and The Mismeasure of Man.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about reproductive success in game-theoretical terms, and how players try to influence the allocation of resources. Now I’m reading Imperial San Francisco, which traces corrupt dynasties through the Gold Rush and the earthquake and the water wars. The saddest aspect of this book is the lost opportunities: the extension of the Panhandle to Civic Center, to form a Parisian boulevard; the Frederick Law Olmstead-designed Central Park where South Van Ness Avenue runs today. In daydreams I walk through a ghostly San Francisco of the future that never was.

Meanwhile the nation juggernauts towards war and the rocket ship I watched on its maiden flight burns up on reentry.

R (ruffling through the front section of the New York Times): Is there any good news in here?

Barnaby: The Museum of Natural History is rebuilding its dioramas.

R: Oh. (Pause.) Good. How’s Claire?

B: Really cute.


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