Stay on target…

Lani and the kids
19 May 2007

When you have two preschool children, time becomes your most precious commodity.  They are both asleep right now, and I think, “Do I balance the check register?  Do I clean the kitchen?  Do I write a blog entry?  Do I chop vegetables for tonight’s dinner?”  There’s too much to do and way too little time.  In the past few years, spare time has become something to be treated with reverence and gratitude.

And I have too many projects I want to do.  This is what is in “Japanese Schoolgirl Watch” in the June issue of Wired:

The Nintendo Life Coach
Gals in Japan are using Nintendo DS to do way more than play with Mario. A flood of femme-focused self-help software now runs on the touchscreen handheld. Female Power Emergency Up! DS promises to “Change your destiny in three months!” by measuring skills in love, fashion, beauty, diet, and fortune-telling(?!), then challenging girls to increase their scores.

Well, I tell you what, that got my mind buzzing.  I would LOVE to write some silly and yet oddly compelling little program like that!  I showed it to Matt and said, “What about an RSS feed self-help game that people could play on their cellphones?”

So… yet another project.  Yes.  But yet another super-fun project!

However, in the real world of children, bills, and a messy house, I have Deb and carloads of teenagers visiting next Friday. (I’m really really looking forward to it.  Deb and her entourage of brilliant, exuberant, wonderful teenagers is always fun to have for a visit.)  And I want my house to be clean for their visit.  So that mundane, not-so-fun project is my current project.

But I am constantly sidetracked.  So I’m trying to tell myself, in the voice of Gold Five from Star Wars, “Stay on target.”  Or maybe the voice of Will Farrell as Mugatu in Zoolander, “Do not be distracted by the beautiful celebrities.”

If I stay focused, surely I can clean a single house in a week… surely.

Just in case you don’t have the voice of Gold Five or Mugatu in your head, I’m posting the mp3s. Then, when you are trying to stay focused, you’ll be able to play back these encouraging words from your memory (you have to click the play button twice):

Gold Five:


May 24th, 2007 | General | No Comments -

Podcast imminent…

Another cute sequence of photos —
this time of Daddy and the kiddos
playing on the bed.
19 May 2007

Yesterday evening I read up on how to create a podcast. It turns out, it’s ridiculously easy. So now I just need to write and create.

Fun fun fun. I love to make things. Fun fun fun. 🙂

May 22nd, 2007 | General, Podcast | No Comments -

Greed and Patience

Lily and Uncle Steve playing with bubbles
at Logan’s Birthday Party.
(All the pictures were so cute,
I had a hard time picking one.
So I decided to post the whole sequence.)
19 May 2007

So Matt and I have been going to the gym for a month and a half now.  Before we started going, we read all the information they gave us about how to work out effectively and what to expect.  In the Lifetime Fitness book “LeanSource,” it says:

When starting an exercise program, it is extremely important to have realistic expectations.  Depending upon your initial fitness level, you should expect the following changes as you continue with your exercise program:

  • From 1 to 8 Weeks — Look to feel better and have more energy.
  • From 2 t0 6 Months — Lose size and inches while becoming leaner. Clothes begin to fit more loosely.  You are gaining muscle and losing fat.
  • After 6 Months — Start losing weight quite rapidly.

After reading this, my mind had been programmed.  “Okay.  Expect no physical changes for the first two months.”  It had taken me five years to get into such an unfit shape, so I was just happy that it would take only a year to get back into decent shape.  I thought it was going to take longer.  So the above timeline was already accelerated as far as I was concerned.

But then Matt and I saw physical changes in just a month.  Nothing that other people would notice, just subtle things like our muscles were becoming more defined and our clothes were hanging from our bodies differently.

We also definitely noticed the “feel better and have more energy” part.  It was so nice to not feel sluggish.  I have been sluggish for years, and it has been so pleasant to feel that wash off of me. 

At first, I was still patient.  I enjoyed and appreciated the changes.  I was happy to see progress.  But then, as I saw more progress with each passing week, my patience became greed.  “I want more!  I want more and I want it now!  I want all the weight gone and I want to have all the energy in the world!”

I was telling Matt about this shift in my thinking, and I asked him if he thought the same thing happened with money.  At first, you want money for reasonable things like a nice house and savings for retirement and the children’s educations.  But as more money comes your way, you become greedy, and now you think in your head that it’s okay to buy a $5000 dress — something that you never would have considered before.

Greed is a weird thing.  I don’t consider myself a greedy person, but it came upon me quite naturally.  I became greedy simply because I had tasted something really pleasant, and I wanted more and more, and I wanted it immediately.

I’ve calmed my mind down since this realization.  But whereas it took no effort to become greedy, it did take effort to make myself patient and content in the present again.  I’ll be fit in time, and in the meantime, I’ll enjoy the journey. 🙂

May 21st, 2007 | General | No Comments -

Ripples into the world

Damian having fun developing his motor skills.
08 May 2007

Something interesting and very pleasant happened this morning.  It was educational for me as well.

Every morning I get up about an hour or so before the kids.  I check email and the weather, read the blogs of my friends and family, occasionally blog myself, make a cup of tea, and then swing outside on the back porch and listen to the birds greet the morning.  It’s a quiet and peaceful ritual that I enjoy very much.

Well, today while I was reading my email, I received a reply from an email I had sent over a year ago.  I had gone to the UT anime club to pick something up, and while there, I didn’t say “hi” to Thai, the president of the anime club, even though I passed right by him.  This was my shyness hard at work.  Thai is a good guy and I’ve always liked him, but since we are just passing acquaintances, I was too shy to say anything.

I felt terrible about that.  I felt rude and mean, so when I got home, I wrote him an email apologizing for being rude and explaining that it was just because I am quite shy.  I never heard anything back, so I assumed that Thai either didn’t remember me or just brushed over the email without concern.

Well, he wrote back this morning, apologizing for being so very late with his reply.  He told me not to worry about it.  It was a lovely and kind email and made me happy.

It also made me realize that we don’t know all the ripples we send out into the world.  When we say a kind word or apologize for something we did or do something nice for someone, we don’t always receive any kind of acknowledgement for our act.  That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t appreciated or that it didn’t make the person feel happy.  Just because Thai didn’t write back, that didn’t mean that he didn’t appreciate the apology and email.

And when I realized this — when I realized that ripples I send out into the world can make people smile or feel a little less burdened in the day even though I’m unaware of it — it made me really happy.

So here’s to kindness and shyness and all the happy ripples that you can create in this life.

And thanks, Thai, for the lovely email and for the lovely lesson in life.

May 18th, 2007 | General | No Comments -

Longing for the past…

Lily playing in her “house.”
08 May 2007

I had a rare pang for the past this morning.  That hardly ever happens anymore.  I’m so ridiculously happy with my current life that I very rarely wish for things to be different.

But on this quiet, cool morning, I longed for the past so much it hurt.  I remembered all the good times I had with Gene and all the goofy things we did with our friends, and it hurt.  I missed my life with him.

I wonder if Matt ever does that.  I wonder if Matt ever misses England and his friends and family sometimes, and his heart aches.  I bet he does — how could he not?  He gets very melancholy when it rains.  I think the smell and the sound remind him of England.

It’s a  good thing we have such a lovely life here together to help us get through those painful nostalgic moments

On a completely different topic, I will be getting ordained by the Universal Life Church in order to marry my niece.  She’s 19-years-old marrying a 35-year-old.  No one is pleased with the match with the exception of her Aunt Cindy.  Either people think she is marrying too young or marrying the wrong person.  So she’s really bummed about her wedding because no one is involved with it.

So we decided that if I get ordained, then she will be mobile.  The wedding can be special in that way.  She can get married in whatever setting she chooses.

I told her that just because it’s me that will be marrying them, it is still a binding legal contract as well as an oath before her friends, family and God, and therefore needs to be taken seriously.  And she said she understood.

I asked Carla if she was upset that I was doing this (she is one of the folks that thinks the marriage will fail), and she said no.  She said that she hopes that I don’t regret this decision.  That was an interesting comment.  I haven’t quite thought that one through yet.  I wonder if other ordained ministers or justices of the peace regret marrying two people?  It was a really interesting comment.  Considering that marriage is supposed to be an extremely happy event, it was also a sad and morbid comment.  But people are always thinking such things, ie. planning the divorce before the marriage; otherwise we wouldn’t have prenuptial agreements.

Shelly just phoned.  Time to chat. 🙂

May 16th, 2007 | General | No Comments -

Time but no content

Double cuteness
17 April 2007

So both the kiddos are still asleep, so I have time to write, but I have nothing in my head to write about. I’ll post random thoughts.

  • Matt’s family paid for our tickets to England, so we are definitely going to England for Christmas. In fact, the dates are Dec 21 – Jan 6. Matt wanted to be in England for Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year’s and both the kids’ birthdays.
  • I put “Rupert Murdoch” in the title to one of my blog entries, and I started getting spam comments, and my blog content was lifted and posted on a spam site. I guess people google “Rupert Murdoch” a lot.
  • WordPress just sent out an update, and I don’t like the new “code” box. It doesn’t actually allow you to put in whatever html you would like. It changes <div> tags to <p> tags. Very annoying.
  • I feel so behind-the-curve with “Web 2.0.” (I’m still uncomfortable with that name.) I feel overwhelmed and decidedly low-tech compared to all the amazing stuff that’s out there.
  • I miss Matt during the week. But it’s much better now that we meet at the gym. I have to start getting ready to leave for the gym at 3pm (feeding kids, dressing kids, packing bags) so I can leave the house by 4pm. Before this gym membership, it was just me and the kids at home until Matt got home around 5pm. That’s a long time to be by yourself with two little ones. Hard work and very lonely.
  • Between working out at the gym and nursing a 4-month-old 20-pound baby, I have an insane appetite! I get hungry in the middle of the night. Honestly. I had dreams all last night about eating food. The dreams were just me… eating food. It reminds me of the second trimester of both my pregnancies. Well, that’s not strictly true. During the second trimester, I was constantly hungry… always a feeling of hunger even right after I ate. I’m not always hungry right now; I just eat often, about every three hours.
  • Damian is 19 pounds 9 ounces at only 4-months-old. And the craziest part: he’s only in the 97th percentile. There are babies out there that are bigger than him!
  • I hear my baby waking up in the next room. Babies make the cutest cooing noises. I think you could end wars with that sound.
  • I have to go now and be with my baby. And make some food! I’m starving! 🙂

Doing random thoughts is fun. You should try it.

May 8th, 2007 | General | No Comments -

Fun with digital toys

So I’ve been playing with the camera on our new phones.  The thing that I really like about this phone is that I can just download the photos off my camera onto my computer.  Photos taken this morning of the family waking up:

05 May 2007

Sure, the quality of the photos would have been much better if I had taken the pictures with our Nikon camera, but this morning was about photos and playing with new digital toys. 🙂

I better go join my family now.  I’m playing on the computer instead of interacting with my family, and I can only do that for a short time before repercussions start flowing through the house.

May 5th, 2007 | General | No Comments -

Byte-sized creativity

Lily putting Damian night-night.
01 May 2007

I’ve decided that blogs are a creative outlet. They are not merely a way to communicate with family and friends (and sometimes strangers), nor are they merely a way to vent, pontificate, or have a cathartic breakthrough in a public forum.

No, blog entries are so much more.  When you have only fifteen minutes a day in which to stretch your creative muscles, you blog.  Laundry, dishes, dinner, phone calls, bills — the stuff of life that steals all your time — leave only a small window for creative expression.

So we write our little byte-sized orations that we hope are in some small way witty, insightful, entertaining, or relevant.  Perhaps they are; perhaps they aren’t.  But, as we crawl into bed at night, we feel a little more fulfilled.  Today I created something — good or bad, entertaining or tiresome — at least I had an outlet for the creative pressure that builds up inside.

May 4th, 2007 | General | No Comments -

Design vs Functionality

Daddy and Damian
28 April 2007

We recently purchased new cell phones.  We were using the Samsung T309 which I do not recommend.  The sound quality is muffled and it doesn’t take a standard headset.  These phones were the cheap-o phones that came with the 2-year T-Mobile contract.

We’ve had the T309 phones for the past year, and I was pretty unhappy with them from the very beginning.  So I’ve been coveting another phone for awhile.  Shelly has the very sexy Motorola Razr phone. She’s had this phone for a few years, and I was seduced by its sleek industrial design from the first moment I saw it.

So when we decided to actually spend money on new phones, I thought we would be buying Razr phones since we had been talking about how pretty they are for a couple of years.  But after doing our research, we found that Nokia phones have the best sound quality.

I have been listening to muffled conversations for the past year.  There was no contest, no debate.  Functionality won by a landslide over design.

We bought the very fun Nokia 5300 XpressMusic phones.  I was a bit dubious about spending $150 on this phone since I wouldn’t be using one of its main functions, the mp3 player.  I have my iPod for that.  But after having crappy phones for so long, we splurged.

And I tell you what, it’s a fun phone.  It may not have the sexy vibe of the Razr phone, but it’s a lot of fun.  I’ve been playing with it for two days now.

And, more importantly, the sound clarity is wonderful.  I talked to Shelly for an hour and missed only one word.  I was so happy.  I can finally hear what the other person is saying. 🙂

May 1st, 2007 | General | No Comments -