Happy Birthday little blog


One year since I started this little homage to my daily life and particular brand of crazy. I have enjoyed it more than I ever could have imagined. Hopefully one or two of you feel the same way (I don't check my stat counter very often so I won't know if you want to lie to me about that one). Thank you to each of you who have made me feel like it's worth it to share by odds and ends.

Silas Marner


Silas Marner (Enriched Classics Series) Silas Marner by George Eliot

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I had a really hard time getting through this book. I'm just out of practice reading classics and the language is hard for me to wade through. (Kinda makes me sad but that's just my issue.) The book picked up for me after Eppie entered in and I can see how the story ties well together. I'm sure I got out of it what I put in, I wish it were more but I kinda of rushed through.

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Read it and/or weep

So two random political thoughts:
  1. Was reading the Time magazine this week. Lovely little essay about service. Wasn't reading it very closely and didn't notice who had written it. Half way through I start to realize this was seeming a little familiar. It was written by Barack Obama! Is it just me or is it a little awesome that our sitting president will take time out to write a viewpoint for Time magazine about national service. I was impressed.
  2. I was at the gym this morning and can't help but notice the huge TV with Fox news sitting right in front of me. Not really paying attention, but noticed that a Republican congressman was droning on about how Obama's deficit spending is going to ruin the country etc. I don't remember those Republican's having such a hard time with deficit spending a few months ago.
Just stuff in my head :-)

Kinda forgot I had so much stuff

So we finally got some furniture for the living room. Yay! Once those pieces came in I went "shopping" in my garage amongst the still packed boxes of home decor. Kinda nice to see some of it again. The dining room (which is basically part of the same room) is still a collection ground for mismatched random stuff, but the living room is looking fairly put together. I still have plans to buy a piano for this room, but I'm liking it much in the now. Just ignore the sparse entry way in these pics - I've got my eye on it and plans are forthcoming.

Spring Break day five


And day five found me driving my lovely girls down south to San Antonio for a quick trip to Sea World (poor Dave was enjoying the day in cubicle world). Yes, crazy crowded - we're not the only one's looking to get out during spring break. But the weather was divine and it was a pleasure just be outside.

The defining moment of the day came when Tessa talked me into sitting front and center in the "splash zone" for the Shamu show. This was, simply put, a crazy idea and one never to be repeated. Killer whales taste yucky. We did get a fantastic view when the whale came up on the platform not even 20 feet away, but still not sure it was worth it when you net out the disgusting sticky mess that we were for the rest of the day. Live and learn, eh?

Spring Break day four


The beautiful weather continues and we are gung ho to capitalize on it. We went with friends to Zilker Botanical Garden today and it was fantastic. So green and beautiful, lots of color too this time of year. I haven't seen daffodils in years and they are one of my favorites. I can't believe we hadn't been there before today and certainly will be making much more regular stops from this point forward.

We took a picnic lunch for after our walk about and then stopped off at Sugar Mama's for a cupcake. Do I seem obsessed with cupcakes? Truly I am not, but their lemon cupcake was an out of body experience. Completely charming little bakery. I have no idea how you can generate enough revenue to keep a store front going with nothing but cupcakes (and a few other treats) on your menu, but Austin is certainly the place to do it.

More pics (and some others I had neglected to upload in the craziness of the past months) at our smugmug site.

Spring Break day three


You would think there would be some good stuff on day three, eh? Well, if any of you are interested I slept in for the third day in a row and that is certainly a vacation in my book. With my co-workers now two hours removed from me and no school to get girls ready for in the morning there is a bit of laziness going on.

Just remembering last spring break. Boy did it suck! I painted five rooms in five days to get ready to sell our (colorful) house and that's just criminal. Or insane. Or criminally insane. Is it any wonder I'm finding it hard to find the wherewithal to finish painting my house here in Austin? I think my creative synapses were permanently fried by those paint fumes.

Spring Break day two


One of Tessa's friends invited us to go and visit the Natural History Museum on the UT campus. It was a gorgeous day outside so we picnicked outside as well. March in the sunbelt is really as good as it gets.

Spring Break day one


The biggest chunk of the day consisted of Playstation, but I did manage to get the girls out to our neighborhood park and that makes for better pictures. Tessa was proud that she finally figured out how to get up in a tree (she is unfortunately my daughter when it comes to command of her body). Sylvie had taken an impromptu nap just before and was massively grumpy for most of the outing. I was having a grumpy day of my own and the fresh air did me a world of good.

Revelations abound


I learned something else about myself while in Phoenix. Well, it wasn't really new information but it certainly made me bust my gut.

I took a personality test Thursday night and it pegged me dead on. But the funny part came when each of the 16 personality types were assigned a "prayer" for their daily devotions.

"Lord, keep me open to others' ideas, wrong though they may be."

If you need me to analyze this further then you probably need to get to know me better :-)

She was the only one of us girls that got a middle name


For those of you still studying from the Amber primer, I am the oldest of four siblings. And I mean oldest. I am eight years older than my brother and fourteen and seventeen years older than my sisters. We'll just pretend they keep me young :-)

I've used this blog to say happy birthday to numbers two and four in the line up, but today is a happy celebration for little miss third time's a charm. Anna is turning the big 18 today and I'm super thrilled for her. She is one of the most caring and generous people I know and I love her much. She was my social charm in high school - took her to football games where she was the life of the party. She was certainly a mover and a shaker, you could rarely find her as a pre-schooler without a bruise on her forehead, but she was (and is) always beautiful.

I don't get to see enough of you seester, but know that I'm thinking of you today.

Now I am complete


Had a dinner conversation tonight with my friends' five year old son about middle names. I told him I didn't have one and he thought that was odd. I told him that I needed one and asked him what he recommended. "I've got a good one" he told me, "Amber Texas Girl". Perfect.

Word of the day

I am a mathematicaster. This is my new favorite word.

The Septembers of Shiraz


The Septembers of Shiraz: A Novel (P.S.) The Septembers of Shiraz: A Novel by Dalia Sofer

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book swept me up completely. Her narrative style was wonderful and the story was superb. It seems like often I love the general plot or perhaps it's the small beautiful moments that pull me into a book, but I found that she had both going for her. The story was heartbreaking in its own way, really hard to imagine what each of the characters went through. I liked seeing the events through the different points of view. I could see this becoming a 5 star review if I reread it another time. Lovely, lovely book.

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Tunes for Traveling vol. 4

Off I go again to Phoenix; short turn around this time. They have finally hired me a boss and I'm headed to the office to make myself known. For those of you watching the Amber stress-o-meter, things have taken a sharp turn for the better over the past few weeks as I've finally cut my hours back to my normal 20 per week. 30 was okay for a while, but I've done it too much over the past year+ and mucho glad to have time to breathe during the day. Just imagine how you would feel if you suddenly found yourself with two extra hours in every week day. Wonderful!

So on my trusty iPod this week:
  • Bjork
  • Coldplay
  • The Concretes
  • Conor Obest
  • Death Cab for Cutie
  • Fleet Foxes
  • Foo Fighters
  • Fountains of Wayne
  • Gnarls Barkley
  • The Gourds
  • Guster
  • Kasey Chambers
  • Kings of Leon
  • Laura Veirs
  • Neko Case
  • Over the Rhine
  • Patty Griffin
  • Rachel Yamagata
  • Robinella
  • Ryan Bingham
  • The Shins
  • Spoon
  • Sufjan Stevens
  • U2
  • The White Stripes
  • Wolfmother

Spring is here!


I walked home from church today and was enthralled by all the color that is popping out around me. We still have some green trees in the winter, but a lot of them do that whole seasonal thing. (What a novelty!) The fresh green is appearing up and down our street, such a lovely and optimistic color.

My favorite is the top center. I have been noticing these on my half a block walk to pick Tessa up from school each day and loving their heavenly scent. And then just last week I noticed that I have one in my very own front yard. How's that for a lovely surprise?

Bonus points if you can tell me what any of them are. My knowledge of trees and flowers is embarrassingly lacking.


So back again from my unofficial and unintended blogger hiatus. Just a little catch up to do...

My beautiful Tessa got baptized last Saturday. She was her giddy, exuberant (meaning irreverent) self - who could expect anything less? I am very proud of her for choosing to take this step. She is a wonderful girl and I am humbled to be her mother. Those words don't really scratch the surface of everything I've been feeling, but you get the idea.

We were so glad to have Dave's dad with us. It was fun to show him Austin and I'm quite sure Tessa wouldn't feel like it was really her birthday without him.

The American Way of War


The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril The American Way of War: Guided Missiles, Misguided Men, and a Republic in Peril by Eugene Jarecki

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed reading this book. I've never fancied myself very interested in history, but I really appreciated the approach this book took to give context on the current political climate and wars through the lens of the 20th century. I don't think it was entirely neat and cohesive in scope, and there were parts that I found more challenging due to my interest waning, but all in all very glad I read it. I'm looking forward to reading more history now. Made me want to know about other presidents and get better context for my political beliefs.

My favorite quote was one from Eisenhower's "Chance for Peace" speech:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."

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