Romance in the night


Lily and Clara on the swing.
28 March 2008

The baby went to bed at 7pm last night.  At first, this made us really happy as both children were asleep in bed by 9pm (a rare thing in our household).  But when Damian woke up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, at 2am, then we were not so happy.

To pass the time through the long, dark night with a wide-awake baby, I wanted to watch a romantic comedy (my favorite genre) but I have seen all the romances in our DVD collection many many times… except for my husband’s favorite romance, The Cutting Edge.

A couple of thoughts about The Cutting Edge:

  • It’s actually quite good.
  • Exercise montages, ala Flashdance and Rocky, make me laugh. I wish exercising was that fun and/or sexy, and had upbeat and/or heroic background music.  But, alas, it is often simply tedious.
  • I love the fact that my husband has a favorite romance movie — one that he has seen so many times (he estimates around fifty) that his family tease him about it.  It shows that he really is a romantic at heart.
March 31st, 2008 | General | No Comments -

Easter piccies

I know what you’ve been thinking.  “Hey, Angel, it’s fine and everything reading your rant against Objectivism and how it translates into a piss-poor attitude towards your fellow man in the real world, but where are the Easter piccies?  I really only come to your blog to look at the cute pictures, and I read the rants just to be polite.” 😉

Well, a bit late, but here they are:


Lily, Damian and Daddy doing a little DIY in the back garden.
Matt was repairing the playhouse for the children.


Lily and Damian playing.


Logan covering Damian with a cascarones egg.


More cascarones fun.


Lily joining in the cascarones fun.


Damian covered in confetti.


Lily covered in confetti.


Lily and Clara.


The women have a picnic on the lawn…


…while the men continue with their outdoor DIY.


Logan playing on the newly-repaired playhouse.


Carla gets her hair done. 🙂


The Easter picnic continues…


… as does the Easter DIY.


Steve had hidden the Easter eggs for the Easter egg hunt for the kids.
There were colored boiled eggs, plastic eggs with candy, and cascarones eggs.
As soon as Steve hid the eggs, Lani found two hard-boiled eggs and ate them.
Here she is eating a blue-colored hard-boiled egg.


Men at work.


Lily hunting Easter eggs. (Do you see all the leaves in her hair?
To a three-year-old, there is no difference between brightly-colored
paper confetti and old dry leaves. After pouring confetti in her hair,
she proceeded to pour leaves all over herself.)


Damian and Daddy find a couple of Easter eggs.


The Easter egg hunt continues.


Carla and Clara supervise the Easter egg hunt.


Uncle Ben and Lily check out the playhouse.


More confetti Lily.


Carla and Clara snuggle.


And then Carla and Clara play.


The kids giving the playhouse a test-run.


Super Logan.


Steve and Matt continue the DIY around all the children.

Phew! That was a lot of photos! But I was a bit trigger-happy on Easter. 🙂 I hope everyone had a good Easter.

March 28th, 2008 | The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -

Imbedded philosophy


Lily having a tea party with Jasmine.
25 March 2008

I have a secret which only my husband knows, but I am willing to share as long as you promise to not think of me too badly afterwards:  I was not very fond of The Incredibles.  There.  I’ve said it.

Since our society loves Pixar, I’m sure I’ll be a pariah after this entry, but it needed to be said.  Someone had to come forth and be counted.  The Ayn Rand Objectivist subtext in The Incredibles was annoying.

But to be fair, I must admit a prejudice.  My first boyfriend was an Objectivist, and I found his “I’m better than you and it’s okay because I have an entire philosophical movement to back my opinion” attitude both irritating and cruel (he treated other people very badly and this was his justification).  So to see his sentiments mirrored in a Pixar movie really did put me off the movie.

But the secret is out now.  I hope you still respect me in the morning.

Ps. I googled “The Incredibles Ayn Rand” and I was definitely not the only one that picked up on that annoying philosophy weaving its way throughout the movie.  In case you haven’t met any real-life Objectivists, let me clue you in.  Theoretical “rational self-interest” very often translates into real world “asshole.”  The theory does not translate well into reality.

Okay, I’m done ranting now… I f*ckin’ hate that philosophy… no, really, I’m done ranting…

March 26th, 2008 | General | No Comments -

The beauty of children


Lily in her newest Disney princess dress.
22 March 2008

Kids are wonderfully transparent.  By the time we are adults, we have learned to hide or disguise our emotions.  And all of our hidden emotions cook inside of us and eventually bubble up, sometimes in unpleasant ways.

But not children.  Angry, sad, happy, scared… it’s all right there in your lap.  It makes it much easier to work with them.

And sometimes, like in the picture above, their transparent emotions will make you smile and smile.  Lily had been asking for the Geselle dress for awhile, but I told her that we would wait until it went to the sale rack.  Well, I soon realized that it would not make it to the sale rack.  In fact, by the time I agreed to buy it for her (it was still at full price, but the dresses were not staying on the shelves), there were none left locally and we had to drive to the Disney store at the San Marcos outlet mall (an hour drive) as it was the only store that still had a dress in her size.

But when she put it on…  and Matt photographed her beautifully happy expression when she wore her dress… it was definitely worth the trip.  She felt so special.  I do not have a single dress that makes me feel that special, that encourages the expression that she has.  And, sadly, if I did have a dress that made me feel like that, I would probably feel embarrassed and hide the emotion.

In many ways, we would do well to emulate children.

Ps. That dress was $50, not counting the money spent on fuel to get it.  When Matt watched her happily float around the house in her new dress which is the bridal dress from Enchanted, Matt said, “I’ve just had a vision of my future.  She is going to want a really expensive wedding.” 😉

March 25th, 2008 | The Life of a Suburban Mommy | No Comments -

In the closet


Mommy vision again. 🙂
19 March 2008

I met the other Democrat who lives in Williamson County.  The house down the street has an “Obama 2008” sign outside their house, and I say “Good for them!” to have the balls to come out of the Democratic closet.  The peer pressure to appear conservative is quite strong simply because everyone around you is conservative.  You start to feel like some crazy liberal interloper and you find yourself thinking things like, “Maybe gun control is a bad thing.”

It has to be a little tough on the current conservative Round Rock residents though.  The housing prices in Austin have become so high, many Austinites, like Matt and myself, have been forced to move to the suburbs in order to have a nice house which is big enough for our growing families.  That means more and more liberals with their tiny liberal hybrid cars and their cactus-covered xeriscaped liberal yards will be moving here.  But who knows, maybe the local Round Rock population will think the liberals with their tinkertoy cars and cacti are amusing.  Or maybe they’ll think, “Well, there goes the neighborhood” and move to Hutto.  Like the 70s computer-simulation, Life, this cell will eventually stabilize into a new pattern.

March 21st, 2008 | Austin | No Comments -

Upgrade


Damian playing with the water fountain.
19 March 2008

Matt, or as I like to call him, Super Amazing Perfect Husband upgraded my computer.  He upgrades my computer about once each year — a faster hard drive or faster RAM or a nicer monitor.  This year I got a new motherboard, CPU (dual!) and RAM.  He also wiped my drive and installed Windows Vista.  And say what you will about Vista, but it is pretty.

My computer is sweet now.  And after this most current upgrade, I have two bits of advice to pass on:

  1. Never underestimate what a nice screensaver can do for your business. I originally wanted Vista just for the bubble screensaver.  Those bubbles are so cool.

  2. If you are single and you have the choice between a Brad Pitt look-alike, a fireman, an astronaut, and a computer nerd, always take the computer nerd.  You will have the sweetest machine in the city, and it’s true what they say about computer nerds in bed (wink wink nudge nudge).
March 20th, 2008 | General | No Comments -

The productivity of a housewife


Daddy and the kids on the swing.
15 March 2008

I’ve read many books on productivity and organization.  It is one of my favorite nonfiction genres.  But I have never been able to follow a system — any system — successfully.  The other day, as I was trying to feed both Damian and Lily while cleaning the house and doing the laundry, it dawned on me why I have failed so miserably:

Productivity books are written by professional men for professional men.

The productivity guru sequesters himself in his home office for nine hours while his wife is left cooking, cleaning, paying the bills, doing the laundry, grocery shopping, and caring for the children (notice that I did not even mention any hobbies that she may be trying to pursue for herself).  “But, honey,” he says as she desperately asks for help, “my work brings in the money and puts the food on the table.”  And off he goes into his office, away from his hectic family, to publish his solution to the world’s productivity problems.

Yeah.  Whatever.

I’m waiting for the book written by the housewife.  Not only does a housewife have too many things to do in too little time, but the priorities are constantly shifting — I mean, truly constantly in flux like water on paper.  And a housewife has a very difficult time following a set schedule because children are variables which cannot be quantified.

Short of getting up at 4am (which is what I did this morning), I cannot find the time for anything but housework and childcare.  And even the housework falls behind.  (Childcare is the primary duty, so it never falls behind; it takes precedence over everything.)

Maybe someday I will discover an industrial-strength productivity system — one that even a housewife can use.  I’ve been searching, but I have not been successful yet.  But as always, I have hope. 🙂

March 19th, 2008 | Planning Nerd, The Life of a Suburban Mommy | 1 Comment -

Never play against the Bank

The children playing in the backyard at sunset.
15 March 2008

I don’t gamble; I have never gambled.  Gambling is a losing proposition.  You know that the odds are in favor of the house.  Why give away your money?

Yet, with all my education and savvy — with all of my self-righteous attitude — I still got involved with credit cards… icky, horrible credit cards.  Talk about giving your money away.  I should just go to Discover Card and write them a check for several thousand dollars — why bother with the thinly-disguised middle man of 22% APR.

I hate credit cards, and yet I have never evolved the self-discipline to get out from under their thumb of financial slavery.  Was the Illustrator book worth it?  Was the plushie Belle doll worth it?  Are any of our transitory consumer trinkets worth indenturing our future and the future of our family?

I read this article on credit card rates increasing even though the Federal Reserve is cutting rates, and I got so upset with myself for ever getting involved with these legalized loan sharks in the first place.

Five years ago, when we got that first credit card to pay for Savannah’s vet bills, my only knowledge was: “Credit cards are bad.”  Now I understand so much more.  I understand how the whole debt trap works — the interplay of the minimum payment, exorbitant APRs, and outrageous fees.  You combine these with our consumer culture and the human desire for immediate gratification, and you have a money-making machine for the banks.

But I guess, like I’ve said before, out of adversity comes knowledge and experience.  I’ve read many personal finance books and understood them on a theoretical level.  But now that I have personally lived the chapter on “Consumer Debt,” I understand it intimately.  So let me pass my knowledge onto any young people that might be reading this entry:  “Credit cards are bad.  Stay away from them.  If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.”

March 16th, 2008 | Recovering Consumer | No Comments -

My dream house

Sean stayed up all night playing World of Warcraft and
chatting online. As he slept through the afternoon the following day
on Aunt Deb’s bed, my children took their naps with him.
(I remember those days fondly… before children…
playing EverQuest until all hours of the morning with Matt… *sigh*…
maybe when the children are older we can abuse MMORPGs again.
Or is it like Senior Prom or Spring Break in Fort Launderdale — you have
a window in which to enjoy those things, but then you grow
past them? I don’t know. We’ll find out if we still enjoy MMORPGs
when the children allow us the time to explore that question.
Anyways, I completely digress; here’s the cute piccies: )
12 March 2008

When Joseph Campbell described the Japanese aesthetic, it turns out he also described my dream house: “You can’t tell where nature ends and art begins.”  In my dream house, you wouldn’t be able to tell where the outside ends and the inside begins.  I want lots of plants and windows, light and soft colors, outdoor rooms as well as indoor rooms…

Of course, my dream house has many — many — more details, but that would just translate into a long, boring entry, so I will just stop here.

Men have dream cars; women have dream houses. 🙂

March 15th, 2008 | General | No Comments -

How does one define “Old”?

Damian pushing his toy car out the back door.
08 March 2008

I’m sure you have heard the saying, “If it’s too loud, then you’re too old.”  Well, it’s been too loud for many years now.  I hate loud music and loud movies — it hurts my ears and annoys me… a lot.  And I listen to “soft rock.”  It’s true; I do.  And I’m not ashamed to admit it.

So how do I know that I’m not too old?  Because I still find this Call of Duty 4 review funny.  It has lots of cussing and crude sexual humor.  The day that I find things like this more crude than humorous is the day that I am officially “old.”

Of course, that day may be coming soon.  I found 95% of Knocked Up crude, annoying, and a complete waste of time.  However, the remaining 5% was laugh-out-loud funny.  But is it worth 126 minutes of my life for those 7 minutes of laughter?  I don’t think so.  I think I’ll stick with Colin Firth and Jane Austen.

March 13th, 2008 | General | No Comments -