Tunes for Traveling vol. 5


I'm headed to Atlanta today for a work conference. A rare occasion to enjoy a nice hotel and per diem. Yay! And because I'm a little crazy for consistency (you have no idea) I must let you know what's on my trusty iPod this week:
  • Ben Harper
  • Billie Holiday
  • Bon Iver
  • Coldplay
  • Cowboy Junkies
  • Death Cab for Cutie
  • The Decemberists
  • The Eels
  • Elbow
  • Elvis Costello
  • Fiona Apple
  • Gillian Welch
  • Gomez
  • Jane's Addiction
  • Jewel
  • Kasey Chambers
  • Kings of Leon
  • Macy Gray
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Rhett Miller
  • She & Him
  • The Shins
  • Sigur Ros
  • Slaid Cleeves
  • Spoon
  • Sufjan Stevens
  • The Violent Femmes
  • Yes

Our graduate


Sylvie had her preschool graduation last night. She has been talking about it for weeks and I could tell why when we got there. Her wonderful teachers had put so much energy and time into making it a really special night for the kids. The YMCA preschool is closing and I'm sure this being the last graduation made it very emotional for the teachers. Sylvie has grown a lot this year and absolutely adores her teachers.

There was a luau dance party afterward and it was way more fun that I had anticipated. Especially because Tessa chose this particular evening to let the world know that she can get her groove on.



Tessa's got talent


Tessa had participated in the 2nd grade talent show today. It made me want to be a 2nd grade teacher. Well not really because environmental noise levels and my personal sanity are closely intertwined, but I was for that 50 minutes deeply in love with eight year olds. It just seemed such a precious age to me, right on the cusp before self consciousness sets in for good. The fact that the little girl playing a violin solo got high fives from the boys on in her class because she was "awesome", or that a little boy singing karaoke could get the whole grade clapping and swaying along to Drift Away, or that a piano solo on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star got all the kids bopping along like it was still fresh and cool - all just too precious to me.

Tessa's group did a cheer routine. I've been hearing her talk for weeks about her classmates hoisting her up in the air and I've certainly done my fair share of fretting about this since there are no adults supervising this "practice", but no one fell completely splat and she was smiling big so we'll call it a success.

Safari adventure, Texas style


We went to the Exotic Resort Zoo today which is just outside of Johnson City which is just outside of nowhere. Ah Texas and its small towns. The safari style zoo was such a fantastic time. We rode on along behind a tractor through the owner's acreage and got to hand feed dozens of animals seriously up close. There are far too many pictures our our adventure and the animals here on our SmugMug site. I think there must be some crazy Texas laws/attitudes that make it the cool thing to own your own African wildlife because there are quite a handful of these private zoos across the countryside. After our wild adventure we went to Fredericksburg to enjoy a little German lunch at a Biergarten and shopping down Main Street. Homemade fudge anyone? Yum!

Stupid things make me feel smarter by comparison


fail owned pwned pictures
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Another Happy Birthday


My mom flew in last weekend to visit our cute city (and maybe our cute selves) and today happens to be her birthday! We went to Zilker Botanical Gardens this afternoon and out for a yummy dinner at Cannoli Joe's. It's not every day in late May you get temperatures in the low 80s so it was certainly a day to capitalize on.

I love you mom! Happy Birthday!

A Piano!

I bought a piano! Yay for Craig's List! I've been wanting one for years and years and years and with Tessa at a good age to begin lessons and a house with an actual place to put one it was finally time. How mommy is that to wait until someone other than myself has a need to justify the decision? Well, Tessa is adamant that she is NOT going to take lessons (trust me, she is) but I'm thrilled to have such a blessing in the house. It's been literally 15 years since I sat down at a piano but my fingers had a pretty good memory and there was actual music coming out of me today. It felt amazing.


Happier Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this slim little volume. I didn't feel like any of the concepts were totally mind bending, but he presented them well and they served as good reminders of the importance of priority to our ultimate happiness. That happiness doesn't need to wait for some illusive day when we have our ducks in a row, that we have to make it a priority and work on it like any goal. I liked the way he interspersed thought experiments and workbook style questions to make you really integrate the concepts.

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They're coming to get me


I found ivy growing into my (closed) bedroom window this morning. This place where things grow is weird.

The Promise

The Promise The Promise by Chaim Potok

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I was excited to see the characters of Danny and Reuven from the Chosen followed through to adulthood, but the characters were my biggest negative from this book. They just felt flat to me and their interactions were choppy and didn't flow naturally. The general plot and the conflicts were interesting and I found myself enjoying the book because of that, but the people acting it out didn't feel authentic to me.

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Sister magic


I found my girls in the family room playing charades this afternoon. They each seemed to be guessing at their own acting as much as their sister's, a very communal and benevolent version of the game I suppose. As soon as I asked to take their picture it of course devolved into general mayhem. And now that I'm sitting down again to post said pictures I can hear them in there again working their sisterly magic. I guess we've already reached the age when more fun happens when mom is out of the room.

Mmmm, Sugar


Dave bought me a carrot cake for Mother's Day yesterday. I love carrot cake but never think to get it unless I'm having a serious craving. I always choose something chocolate. But when I really think about it, many of my favorite desserts (oh! how could I ever choose just one favorite!) aren't of the chocolate variety. I've been wanting to post a list, just cause I like lists, so here's some of my favorite desserts:
  • Lemon bars
  • Those raspberry jam/oatmeal bars
  • Brownies, heavy and almost gooey
  • Gingerbread!
  • Cookies of all varieties but preferably moist and chewy
  • But especially my chocolate chip cookies (well, really just the dough)
  • Truffles
  • Baklava
  • Denise Dent's cinnamon rolls
  • Cheesecake if it's around but I like it better with stuff in it
  • And occasionally a very good carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
Honestly though, if it has sugar in it and a good measure of refined flour - I'll probably eat it. What are your favorites?

Glory Days


Joining Facebook has got me going back through my yearbooks perusing. I mean who doesn't want to relive these glorious memories? All I remember from this day going to pose for our "senior ad" was the jailer dude telling us about us being in the same cell as the creepy dude from the Ogden Hi Fi murders. Something about making people drink Drano. A lot of high school is spotty to me, but that seems like a strange memory to have.

Awesome photo, right? I'm sure all the ladies with me that day will be thanking me later for posting.

Old dog. New trick.


I finally joined Facebook today after much time avoiding it making fun. It feels strange. And maybe nice. And more strange. I'm usually on the early adopter side of things so it's a little uncomfortable to feel behind and confused while everyone else speeds along. Be nice to me :-)

Lovely thought

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.

~Anaïs Nin

Do do do do, do do do do


I was looking through some old CDs and found a treasure I bought back in college. A whole disc of covers of Tom's Diner by Suzanne Vega. Does it get any more awesome than that? I used to be slightly obsessed with that song and sang it way to much (I'm sure to the dismay of all those around me). The dancing in this video is just so incredibly classic. The 90s were awesome.

Baby Alive stalker version

Sylvie is in mommy mode lately and has been toting her "baby alive" around all day. She took it in the car this morning for our trip to pre-school and asked me to babysit her while she was at school. Sure, sure. Well, I left her in the car and forgot all about it. When I got back into the car to go get Sylvie later the baby started giggling and gurgling and I about jumped out of my skin. There might have been a bad word uttered. And don't tell me I'm the only one that is paranoid about creepy dudes jumping out of the back of my car to strangle me dead.

After I picked her up, Sylvie grilled me to find out if I had left the baby in the car or if I had really taken care of her. I lied :-)

A Golden Age


A Golden Age A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Listening to books has pros and cons for me lately. The sound of the book was wonderful - the characters really come to life and the atmosphere was rich. But because I don't have large dedicated chunks of time to listen I had to break it up a lot and the sweeping nature of the story didn't really come across as it might have otherwise. The protagonist was such an interesting character and watching her progression through the course of the novel was very satisfying. It was a very different perspective on war/revolution and the human scale of it was very much what I am drawn to.

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My degree finally pays off


This is probably one of my favorite math moments of all time. It all boils down to this guy saying that if there are two possible outcomes then there is a fifty/fifty chance of either of them happening. No matter that one of the possible outcomes is so removed that it's not really a possibility at all. Soooooo funny (and more than a little pathetic).

On a more serious note though, this story illustrates a frustration I have with conservative media and politicians and the growing sentiment I've seen with disregard for science. The fact that this Walter guy was taken seriously as put up as an expert by some of the news network is a total farce. Just because you don't understand something doesn't mean the scientific community doesn't know what its talking about.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Large Hadron Collider
Daily Show
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Economic CrisisFirst 100 Days

Unaccustomed Earth


Unaccustomed Earth Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I totally loved this book - tried my hardest to read it slow but when I would pick it up I got completely caught up in the stories. I didn't think I was much a one for short stories. In fact, I didn't enjoy her first collection as well, but often that's just where I'm at and not the actual writing. But this book was just lovely through and through. Such an atmosphere to her characters and stories.

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Well hello, Hello Kitty


Did you know that it's No Pants Day? Sylvie was throwing a fit about something or other when I happened to be reading our Austin events calendar and this little gem caught my eye. I immediately told her and she's been happier than a pig in mud ever since.

Sister Pictures

I never pay a whole lot for family pictures and I guess I get what I pay for. But I figure my girls are cute enough to carry it off regardless. They are both happy in front of the camera right now and that makes the whole process blessedly smooth.