Happy Halloween

2010/10/31

It's currently 82 degrees outside so it doesn't really feel like festive fall holiday weather to me, but my girls have a sun belt upbringing so they don't seem bothered by it. I'm pretty sure they would be completely fine whether the temperature was 32 degrees or 92 degrees as long as they got candy.





Asthma sucks

2010/10/30

I had a horrendous cough in September of 2007 that simply wouldn't go away. I finally drug myself to the doctor and she diagnosed asthma. I didn't have any of what I thought were typical symptoms of asthma so that was a huge surprise. Anyway, I went on medication and while my cough eventually subsided, the biggest change I noticed was the sudden disappearance of daytime sleepiness that had plagued me my whole adult life. That was a huge perk for sure. I guess I must have been not getting enough oxygen while I slept. Suddenly baseline normal was a whole lot nicer.

When we moved to Austin in summer of 2008 I went off medication for a while and my symptoms were pretty much absent which bolstered my suspicion that it was pollution in Phoenix that was a catalyst for my lungs rebelling. Things weren't perfect though so I started taking a half dose of my Advair and that seemed to hit the sweet spot. Fast forward to six months ago or so when I visited a myopractor (yes, I had never heard of one either but it was amazing!) for an issue I was having with my hips in yoga and he "unkinked" a muscle below my diaphragm that he said sometimes alleviates asthma. Bonus! I went off meds again and I've been feeling fine until recently. I could feel my edge of lung capacity when I was pushing the edge of my cardio, but I have no plans to be a serious runner so I'm fine sacrificing 10-15% of lung capacity to be off meds. Strangely enough, yoga never seems to be a problem because of the deep ujjayi breath that I employ there. The only place I really feel a loss of my lung capacity is when I try to sing in choir, and that is a bummer.

Anyway, more to the point of my lengthy post today, ACL last month was a major problem. The absolutely ridiculous amount of cigarette smoke sent me back to a bad place. Me and the cough are best friends again. I've started taking my medicine again, but it really is a long term thing and a quick fix doesn't do it. Add to that the cold weather approaching and I feel like my progress is about to disappear. This morning my running partner was out of town so I made myself a peppy running mix and figured it might motivate me to kick it out on the Town Lake trail. Well a sudden cold snap (hello unexpected 42 degrees!) ruined that fast. The taste of blood and coughing fits are a good incentive for me to stop running and walk. Like I need much of an incentive.

Anyway, my asthma is very mild and I really don't have reason to complain. I have never experienced a shortness of breath that would be dangerous. Mostly I am just a wimp with a cough. And apparently a need to rant about it considering the word count of this post.

Check!

2010/10/28

Christmas shopping... done!

Last year Christmas kind of kicked me in the teeth from a stress standpoint so this year I'm doing what I can to combat that. Not that my Christmas plans or details are extraordinarily weighty, I just have a low set point for stress. So shopping is done and cards are ordered. We're planning a family road trip for Thanksgiving so I'm hoping to get all the chores out of the way so I can enjoy December once we get back.

Oh, and maybe renovating our family room over Christmas break. Did I say something about stress? No big deal...

Sometimes

2010/10/27

I was having a good day and then the afternoon turned sour. For no apparent reason I was short tempered and absolutely over loaded. And of course there was much to actually accomplish while the black cloud hung over my head. Crazy overwhelmed. And then out of the blue I got just what I needed, exactly what I asked for. Like a piercing ray of sunshine on the longest of gray days. Prayers are answered.

Coyotes

2010/10/25

Coyotes: A Journey Through the Secret World of America's Illegal AliensCoyotes: A Journey Through the Secret World of America's Illegal Aliens by Ted Conover

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


It was interesting to me how relevant this book was considering it's about immigration and it was written over 20 years ago. The author spends time with various groups of migrant workers and writes an interesting account of his experiences with them. I liked his personal style more than his writing style. I appreciated his general attitude and open mind to new experiences. Good book.



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My favorite music

Music means many things to me, but lately it has served as self assuring oracle of sorts. I find myself analyzing every song I listen to for some poetry that will describe me, make me feel understood. Perhaps less crazy. Or now that I'm articulating this on the page it seems I might be all the more crazy for it. Sometimes I find just a phrase that resonates. Sometimes it's more the atmosphere of the song. Or sometimes the whole song will be so on the mark that it will simply blow me away.

Music holds lots of memory and feeling for me too, as I think it does for lots of people. I seem to be draw to emotional and melancholy stuff lately. Lyrical and brooding. Even when I know my mood would be improved by something more upbeat, I just seem to be magnetically drawn to the tragic beauty in the somber stuff. Obviously I'm not the only one as the popularity of the Cure, Nick Drake, the Smiths, and countless others can testify. Beauty is truth and truth is...

Clem Snide wrote this song just for me. Terrible audio quality but it was the best one I could find.

Best thing about 2 o'clock church

2010/10/24

I love to lay in bed on a Sunday morning with absolutely nothing to do.  I'll read a book or magazine or sometimes when it's quiet I'll just stare out my window and think and think and think.  Wanna guess what I'm thinking about?

Super Kids on the town

2010/10/22

I went with Sylvie's class, Mrs. Smith's Super Kids, this morning to the Austin Children's Museum. And I must have put my bad mommy pants on this morning because I completely forgot my camera. All I got are these stinky pics with my phone. I'm not on good terms with my camera and I think my disdain makes me forget it when I should be excited to bring it along. I really need (want?) a new camera. I just kinda hate the one I have but it's not technically broken (it's rather new actually) so I can't justify buying another one. I even have two cameras but the older of the two has some focusing problems that made me buy the stinky new one in the first place. Well that was a lengthy side rant...

The museum was fun if a little chaotic. This is my third or fourth time going and I've kind of lost my zeal for the children's museum. It's just not very spectacular in my estimation. But the kids loved running around and touching stuff so that's pretty much all you can ask for a first grade field trip. Sylvie is still in a hug-my-mom-in-public stage and after the fourth grade field trip last week where I experienced the who-is-that-woman-over-there-she-surely-couldn't-be-my-mother stage I was glad to hang with my baby.


Bring on the Nerds!

I was reading my blog from a couple of years ago and I had a post about swearing off Halloween candy.  And I kept true to my goal which was no small feat.  This year I'm going to balance out the universe by eating enough candy to make me sick.  Starting now.

Clocking in


I once had a job so soul killing that I had to stop reading my daily Dilbert calendar because the truth cut too deeply. My boss was so incredibly inept that it took her being out unexpectedly for three weeks for me to clear the 2-3 year back log that had accumulated on her desk and get the department running properly. And of course she had gotten her current position in operations by being put out to pasture from a more high profile client based position that she also stunk at. So she was paid probably 5 or 6 times what I was for doing badly 1/4 of the output that I did well. Awesome.

I've also been fortunate enough to work with some amazingly talented bosses. People that inspired me personally and professionally. People that were savvy and smart and did incredible things despite the pointy haired bosses of the world. People that made me better. I've been with GCC for 11 years now and my success and longevity is due in large part to this fact. No job is perfect of course but it makes life so much better when you've got people to work with that "get it".

Just some things on my mind after an awesome meeting yesterday. Awesome in the jaw droppingly, is this really happening to me, what planet am I on, good thing this phone has mute so that they can't hear my soul scream as it's dying kind of way.

Sufjan

2010/10/20

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful show last night. Sufjan Stevens has been one of my favorites for years and this is the first time I've been able to see him live. The show was at the Long Center for the Performing Arts and it was so nice to see a concert where I could sit in my comfy seat (first row on the mezzanine) and not worry about my ears ringing the entire next day. A venue that is made for acoustics and the band doesn't have to compensate by just playing loud. Fabulous.

I was worried that he'd only play off of his new album, which is a definite departure from my favorite albums of the early aughts. He did in fact do that very thing but it was crazy entertaining and I wasn't disappointed. Really, really loved it. But the icing on the cake was the encore which was a mini set of some of those early songs. Songs that I had desperately hoped to hear. So beautiful and full of feeling.

Sufjan Stevens - The Dress Looks Nice On You - Oct 1/09, Toronto from trendaway on Vimeo.



Thinking happy thoughts hurts

2010/10/18

Let the record show that headaches suck.

Good

2010/10/17

We're out taking a lovely walk through the neighborhood greenbelt before church. Good Sunday morning.

That other Texan president


I went with Tessa's 4th grade class out to Johnson City to the LBJ family settlement to learn about the 36th president's grandparents and the general lifestyle of the western frontier. 4th grade is that magical time when we all learn state history and the story of Texas is an adventure for sure. The kids learned about rope making, buffalo soldiers, frontier games, horse safety, Native Americans, mountain men, cattle driving, and daily life in a two bedroom cabin. It was really well done and a good hands on education. I had an education of my own shuttling three fourth grade girls the 45 minutes to and from the field trip. I wish I had an exact word count for you because it would have been an impressive number for sure - my ears were tired. But a good day and I'm so glad I got to go.

Gertie

2010/10/15


Another stop in childhood. This is a picture of my sweet but stupid childhood pal. Gertrude Hortense Byington or Gertie as she was known (my dad gets the blame for her full name). She was a Miniature German Snauser that came from a litter of my parents' dog Hilda. She was born when I was 4 or 5 and lived until I was in high school. Her mom was run over by a car when I was in 1st grade so I don't remember her as well, but Gertie was there for such a long span that she really is a permanent fixture in my childhood memories. She was dumber than anything but she was still my sweet dog.

My favorite memory was one day when we were all going out and about and Gertie was coming with. She got soooo excited that she ran down to the driveway and started jumping into our van before the door was even open. And not just once, she kept jumping up and jumping up, not learning from what must have been a painful mistake.

At the end of her life Gertie's lack of oral hygiene caused my friend Kari to nick name her Halitosis. She slept in my bed until the end and it's amazing that anyone was willing to venture into my room for how bad it must have smelled. But a girl loves her dog. Miss you Gertie.

Chess Club

2010/10/14

I volunteered to help out at chess club meetings this year since both of my girls decided that they wanted to join. I was happy to oblige remembering how much I enjoyed chess club in elementary school. It was strange sitting down to play with my girls before hand (since they had never played and I figured I should at least teach them the basics) and realizing that I haven't played a game of chess in probably 15 or 20 years. But we're all enjoying it at home so there are bound to be many more games in the future. I need a little time to build up my skills so Tessa won't start beating me quite yet.

Sylvie is still really nervous about being in the club and pretty much just follows me around as I monitor games with her head buried in my back. Tessa is branching out, but still is working on meeting new kids to play. The club is mostly boys and most certainly a good portion of them are smelly and filled with cooties. Below are some pics from my phone taken this week. The kids got their club t-shirts and I was fortunate enough to get one too. Soooo excited about wearing that one every Tuesday. It just might accidentally get lost in the laundry.


How We Decide

2010/10/13

How We DecideHow We Decide by Jonah Lehrer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book didn't impress me much at first - I felt like the author was just spouting out interesting facts without a coherent theme or message. But the anecdotes kept me involved and I'm glad I stuck with it. He tied it up much better at the end and it proved to be a highly interesting and informative book. Think about thinking was my main take away and that is something I indulge in plenty. I appreciate the credence he gave to "emotional" decisions and it reinforced much of what I've always felt to be true. Fascinating stuff.



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Fourth Grade

2010/10/12


You might think this is the low point for my school photos but you'd be wrong. There are much, much worse ones to come. Although this may be the one existing photo that showcases my lovely teeth before braces. Thank you orthodontia.

Mrs. Thornock was my fourth grade teacher and I thought she was really cool. Not actually cool mind you, but kind of wacky and challenging which I guess that fit my definition. If there was one thing she taught me it was to never ever use a "dead" word. This was strictly verboten and she had examples written on a banner hung across the top of the blackboard. "Nice" was the primary suspect and the only one I can still recall. Basically she was trying to get us to expand our vocabulary and try out new words. I took her advice to heart.

I also remember missing out on the opportunity to go to the advanced Math class because my test scores weren't high enough. Stupid math facts and the double checking. I was sad and clearly still have not gotten over it. You think I could call my old school and appeal the decision based on the new information that I actually graduated from college with a degree in Mathematics? Mr. Wright was my math teacher and he was even cooler. I remember nothing about him other than the kids liked him a lot and he had a bushy mustache. I thought he was tall until I went back a few years later and discovered that I had been short. I remember playing Oregon Trail in his classroom when we had finished our work. Has there ever been a better game ever? Maybe my adult affinity for The Sims started way back then.

ACL 2010

2010/10/11

Ahhh, ACL. This is certainly one of the highlights of the calendar year living in Austin. This was my second year going, Dave's third. Last year Tessa got a fever of 103 the day before and I opted to do the mommy thing and stay home. Bummer for sure but with all the sweat and cigarette smoke of the festival still fresh in my mind I'm not entirely sure I need to go every year. It is incredible seeing so many awesome bands back to back, but the sound quality is never optimal in a festival scene so maybe I'm better off every once in a while just staying home and watching the TV version on PBS.

Anyway, that's a downer of an opening paragraph. This year's festival was tons of fun. Dave and I went sans kiddos on Friday, took the girls along on Saturday, and Dave went solo on Sunday. I had too much going on at church to miss plus that whole keeping the Sabbath day holy thing. Two days was enough for me. The sound was better than I remembered from two years ago, but there were still highs and lows as far as listening experience was concerned.

Best show was definitely The Strokes. Every song was an absolute hit and their front man is highly entertaining. Crazy good stuff. I also super enjoyed LCD Soundsystem for the awesome mommy and daughter mosh pit we started, Spoon because they are the most awesome band in the universe, and Those Darlins because they rock and I am currently in love with them. Black Keys was good but we weren't in a super good spot to really hear well. We saw them in a small venue back in Phoenix that was so spectacular this really couldn't compare. Broken Bells was the biggest disappointment simply because I was incredibly looking forward to seeing them and the sound quality stunk. That and fifty billion college kids wanted to brag to their friends that they saw James Mercer so the crown was absolutely insane. More of my schedule highlighted in red below:






Hello blog

2010/10/07

I may have a shortage of words lately, but fortunately I have an abundance of adorable girl moments to make up for it. I thought I would share one.

P.S. My favorite temperature is not hot.