Friday, April 07, 2006

Flower Glowering

In New England in the fall, it's leaf peeping. I've christened the Texas in the springtime rite of driving around looking at the wildflowers "Flower Glowering."

We spend last Sunday driving around Washington County, looking at the bluebonnets and other assorted wildflowers and taking pictures. We got some good ones of J. in the flowers, as well as a family portrait. Austin doesn't have as many flowers this year -- too little rain.

And yes, this post was entirely so I could use the phrase flower glowering. :)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Grups, kids, and passion

There's an article from NY Magazine about parents who don't want to grow up -- who listen to the same music and dress in the same fashion as teenagers, and who dress their babies the same way. Despite the fact that the article quotes Neal Pollack, my current favorite writer-I-love-to-hate, there are some pieces that resonate with me.

Now, I'm not particularly cool, but I would argue that what separates grown ups from chidren is not fashion or music, but rather "responsibility." Used to be, you had to wear a suit in order to get the sort of job that would provide for your family. These days, creative jobs exist that allow us to continue to express our personal style even as we assume more responsibilities.

I also think we have a responsibility to our children to show them and teach them how best to live in the world. For me, that means that having my daughter a year ago has fired up my latent entrepeneurial drive. Working for "the man" is not what I want to model for her, realizing that the ownership my entrepeneur parents modelled for me has made a huge difference in how I interact in the world.

The same feeling was echoed in the article:

“It’s really important for us to be whole people, and not feel like our kids have . . . look, we love our kids,” says Hermelin. “The point isn’t to raise cool kids. We want passionate kids. And I think that by us doing the things that we love to do, that models that passion for our kids.”

Later, when I talk to Andy Chase, the dad–slash–rock star, he says almost the exact same thing. “How great for a child to see their parents loving what they’re doing? It’s a delicate balance to strike, but when you maintain that balance, its a great thing to teach your children—that they can look forward to doing something they love doing.”

Because of this feeling, I'm working really hard at Dressr -- finding passion in my side work, hoping that one day it can be a business, and not just a project.
I'm presenting at the next Austin on Rails meeting (April 11th, 7-9 PM, Frog Interactive at 8th and Congress). I'll be showing off my work in progress -- Dressr -- with technical highlights on how easy ActsAsTaggable gem and the library are to use.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

My Newest ParentHacks: Working Mother's Guide to Life, Put Several Crib Sheets on at the Same Time, and my favorite: 'Amelie'-style bangs .
Gracious Living: Quaker Prayer before Dinner

Yesterday, I was in Houston for my Dad's cancer appointments. I was staying with my friend Nell there, and since I was done with the appointments by 2, I decided I would put together dinner for her and her fiance. Nell'd had a 7-detention-giving day (she's a school teacher); and then got a stressful phone call. When sitting down to dinner I suggested "Shall we pray"? (2 out of the 3 of us go to church, I figured that was a quorum.) "We'll pray the Quaker way -- with silence" she said. We sat in silence for what was probably 3 minutes -- it seemed like a long time -- before she concluded by saying "Amen."

It was an incredibly calming experience to sit in the quiet with our eyes closed for just a short while. Taking time to do a short reset and slow down before eating made us all enjoy ourselves much more. I was unfamilar with Quaker prayer, but I was glad to learn it from my friend. A moment of silence, if taken seriously, is a great prayer.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Gracious Living: Lessons from the 50s

I've just picked my daughter up an hour early from day care, feverish and with a stomach virus. I'm leaving in 2 hours to drive the 3 hours to Houston so I can attend an appointment with my dad's cancer doctor tomorrow. Which means my husband has to work from home on the beginning stages of a big project while caring for our sick daughter tomorrow without any help from me. He's half an hour late; I haven't packed; and the daughter has just gone down for a nap.

What would you do in this situation? Me, I borrowed a page out of 1950s home economics and made my home an oasis of calm, collected domesticity. Toys picked up. Table cleared off. Radio off. Placemats, dishes, napkins on the table. Enchiladas (hardly homemade) in the oven. Fizzy water chilling in the fridge. The thing is, those 1950s "how to please your husband" texts actually knew something... when you've come to the end of a stressful day home should be your refuge. Taking 30 minutes to eat dinner together renewed us enough to move on to the next task in our out of control day.

If you've never done this; I encourage you to try it.

(And yes, my husband has done the same for me...)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I'm no interior designer, but I have developed 5 rules to help me decorate my house:

  1. Symmetry is good
  2. View Ways (e.g. long hallways with a picture hanging at the end) are good
  3. Straight lines are good (especially when it comes to the top of hung pictures)
  4. Shouting distance (between furniture) is bad
  5. Clutter is bad

Developed based on Laurie Ward's Use What You Have Decorating; Sarah Susanka's Not So Big House books; and a dash of FlyLady.