Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
It's like sitting around the breakfast table reading the paper and sharing tidbits, no?
Monday, December 17, 2007
My sister is home, and going through old photos. Here's one she found of my Mom, at about 25. Doesn't she look like the sexy Kansas farmgirl she was? Although this would have been after she left Kansas to see the world via the Air Force.
(p.s. All that hair -- it's fake!)
Friday, December 14, 2007
So.... check it out. Addicted to Costco.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I love talking about projects my friends are working on -- it reinforces the community of "doers" around me and reminds me that my friends are pretty darn cool.
The most recent project by a friend is LiveMom. It's a local parenting (momming?) website and discount program, created by my friend Catherine. The site's design is fabulous, and Catherine's writing is clear, honest, and entertaining. She's doing a great job, so if you're an Austin area mom (or just a mom who visits Austin), you should drop by and check it out.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
He started learning this ability to fix things during his youth, working with his stepfather in construction -- where they tended to take a job first and figure out how to build it the night before they started.
He enlisted in the Army, then switched to the Air Force. His career in the Air Force included being “on the front line of the cold war” by running radar evaluation squadrons as far away as Labrador and being the officer in charge of a missile site. He graduated from the Air Force’s Office Candidate School in 1963. He was a member of the Air Force and National Rifle teams, and a gunsmith.
While his intelligence was what enabled him to fix anything, I personally think it was his integrity and stubbornness that made him successful. To start and run a business for 27 years – over multiple economic “slow downs”, flirtations with bankruptcy, and changing markets – took an incredible amount of stubbornness.
It’s this integrity (and stubbornness!) that meant he had a marriage of 36 years; even though *his* parents were divorced and remarried multiple times. It began with a first date in a junkyard in the rain – Mom’s roommates said if she saw him again it had to be true love – but ended as husband and wife, business partners, parents, and grandparents who enjoyed working, dancing, reading, and dining, all done together.
My dad was not given to casual displays of affection – although hugs and kisses were available when requested – but to more practical displays of affection like driving to rescue me after my 20 year old Mercedes starting dropping pieces of itself on the Houston streets.
He used his intelligence & integrity to raise two daughters, giving them opportunities he never had, letting them (finally!) discover he didn’t know everything, and letting them go – as far away as Africa and Turkey – to become independent adults.
In the end, no one, including my Dad, could fix his cancer that grew so fast and put him in so much pain. [He was stubborn and persistent until the end, holding on until we all told him it was all right for him to go.]
(More or less the eulogy I gave Thursday night at my Dad's funeral.)
Find my sister's here (minus her creative storytelling).
Monday, December 10, 2007
I'd love to know how your neighborhood compares.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
James Edward Carlstead, 67, of Buda passed away at MD Anderson in Houston Texas, December 4th, 2007.
He was born in Keytesville, Missouri on September 25, 1940 to Francis Pauline and George William Carlstead.
A 20 year veteran of the Air Force, Jim performed many duties for his country including running radar evaluation squadrons; officer in charge of a missile site “on the front line of the cold war”, a member of the Air Force and National Rifle teams, and gunsmith. He graduated from the Air Force’s Office Candidate School in 1963.
In 1980 he started Carlstead Truck Sales, which did business in the Buda, Texas area for 27 years. He served on the Hays Youth Athletic Association Board from 1987-1989, was a member and officer of the Austin Rifle club, coached the UT Rifle Team for 10 years, and enjoyed square dancing with the Waterloo Squares.
He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Ellen; his daughters Cristi Carlstead of Istanbul and Sara Carlstead Brumfield of Austin, a son-in-law Ben and a granddaughter Josie.
The funeral service will be Thursday, December 6 at 7PM followed by a visitation until 9PM at St. Anthony Marie Claret Catholic Church, 801 North Burleson Street in Kyle, Texas. Graveside service will be held at 9:45 AM Friday, December 7 at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.
In lieu of flowers memorials can be made to the University of Texas Rifle and Pistol Club; c/o Lee Patterson; 2112 Guadalupe St., Room. 512; Austin, TX 78705 or to the St. Michael’s Academy Endowment; 3000 Barton Creek Boulevard, Austin, TX 78735.
Bye-bye Daddy. I will miss you more than I can imagine.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
My Dad is dying. He was scheduled for surgery at MD Anderson the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to remove a tumor, but that Tuesday we discovered the tumor had quadrupled in size in the previous month (not normal for sarcoma at all) and was no longer operable. He started chemotherapy on Thanksgiving day. By Saturday he was in the hospital with neurotoxicity -- a reaction to chemo that causes a lot of confusion and, in his case, paranoia. He also couldn't really walk, mostly due to the tumor (we think). They watched his kidney function, which was slowly getting better, but when the white blood cell the chemo was breaking down starting hitting this weekend, they just couldn't handle it. (We decided not to do dialysis, which would only have been for more chemo, which he really wasn't handling well at all, and wouldn't have helped the tumor enough to be operable...) He's basically in kidney failure right now, slipping into a coma, and waiting for the stress to start affecting his other organs.
Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
1) I'm pretty pleased with myself and life right now -- which is a wonderful thing to discover. How could I tell? I wasn't nervous about this at all. For instance, my 10 year high school reunion involved a new clothing purchases and drinking copious amounts of wine once I got there. For this, I was throwing clothing into a suitcase 10 minutes before we left, hoping I would cover the vagaries of Houston weather, and drank moderate amounts of wine.
2) Geeks lacking social skills in college are *still* lacking social skills 10 years later. I like to think I've improved on that account (maybe I'm deluding myself), but I was surprised how often I had to just chalk it up to personality, and how less tolerant of it I am now. Turns out the self assured ones are the worst -- they have less perceived incentive for fixing their flaws. (Or don't realize they have them.) The ones that were just shy/awkward are (somewhat) easier to talk to now.
3) Rediscovering my freshman year roommates was the highlight of the weekend. We were best friends for first semester, and could hardly speak to each other second semester (putting 5 freshman in a suite built for 4 is one of the worst ideas Rice has ever had -- and our numbers show it, since only 3 of us stuck around Rice long enough to graduate).
4) Ben and I are "successful" -- both in that we are happy (see #1) and in that when we compare ourselves to our Rice peers, we don't find much jealousy. The only people I was even a little jealous of were 2 CS friends who have/are starting companies -- but I also feel that if I want it enough I can make that happen, too (maybe on a later or slower schedule, but that's OK, too). And, it turns out, many of our peers who aren't software/CS people were jealous of Ben and my projects -- if you are a chemical engineer or you work in oil, side projects are a lot harder to do. (The CS friends didn't even manage to get to our projects; see #2)
All in all a good experience. I'm glad we went.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I hosted a "coffee" to introduce some friends to Impact Austin, a women's philanthropy group in Austin. Impact Austin is a great organization -- every member gives $1000, and then vote on which local nonprofit grant applicants gets our "high impact" $100K+ grants. I love it because I don't have to do any work -- writing a check doesn't take that much time, and even hosting a coffee to help recruit more women wasn't that much work. (And it looks like it recruited 6 women -- with a couple more to come, I hope!)
And since putting together menus is one of my talents and pleasures, I wanted to mention what I served -- not that my guests ate nearly enough! I went with an "Autumn Treats" theme, with apples, pumpkin, and pomegranate as the focus foods. (I was trying to keep it simple -- I think I ended up with too many things, but it was easy.)
Pumpkin Bread (Krusteaz mix from Costco)
Pumpkin Empanadas (from HEB)
Dried Apple Chips
Homemade Rice Bread and Oatmeal Bread (thanks Mom!)
Sliced Honey Crisp Apples
Caramel Sauce (to dip the apples in)
Natural Peanut Butter (to dip the apples in)
My "signature" drink was Pomegranate Juice mixed with Champagne
Pumpkin Spice Flavored Creamer
Blood Orange Soda
If you're an Austin woman reading this that I managed not to invite -- apologies! If you're interested in finding out more about Impact Austin let me know and I can tell you about it and take you to another event.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
How can this be? Is it a statistical anomaly—or even a metaphysical phenomenon? While the link between giving and prosperity is not as mechanistic as returns on municipal bonds, there are some very earthbound explanations for it. Psychologists and neuroscientists have identified several ways that giving makes us more effective and successful. For example, new research from the University of Oregon finds that charity stimulates parts of the brain called the caudate nucleus and the nucleus accumbens, which are associated with meeting basic needs such as food and shelter—suggesting to the researchers that our brains know that giving is good for us. Experiments have also found that people are elevated by others into positions of leadership after they are witnessed behaving charitably.
I think engendering gratitude makes you a "better" person in a lot of ways (you spend less, you're more gracious, and less competitive), and perhaps that helps your earning potential.
Hat tip to The Happiness Project Blog, one of my favorites.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
This was in the Denver airport -- we've never been offered stickers before, and I don't know if any other airport is doing this.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Convinced by the mountain of studies, a handful of school districts around the nation are starting school later in the morning. The best known of these is in Edina, Minnesota, an affluent suburb of Minneapolis, where the high school start time was changed from 7:25 a.m. to 8:30. The results were startling. In the year preceding the time change, math and verbal SAT scores for the top 10 percent of Edina’s students averaged 1288. A year later, the top 10 percent averaged 1500, an increase that couldn’t be attributed to any other variable. “Truly flabbergasting,” said Brian O’Reilly, the College Board’s executive director for SAT Program Relations, on hearing the results.
Also a great word for describing that hour between when a kid should be in bed and when they actually are -- "the Slush Hour":
Long before children become overscheduled high schoolers gunning for college, parents start making trade-offs between their kids’ sleep and their other needs. This is especially true in the last hour of a child’s day, a time zone let’s call “the Slush Hour.” The Slush Hour is both a rush to sleep and a slush fund of potential time, sort of a petty-cash drawer from which we withdraw ten-minute increments. During the Slush Hour, children should be in bed, but there are so many competing priorities. As a result, sleep is treated much like the national debt—What’s another half-hour on the bill? We’re surviving; kids can, too.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
So -- here is the menu and recipes for Turkish night at the Brumfield's:
cigarette borek(fried pasty with feta cheese in it)
yogurt dip (hidari/haydari) served with olives, cucumber slices and radish flowers
kisir (turkish tabouleh, basically) served with pita wedges
fish sandwiches (one of the istanbul street foods, served on the banks of the Bosphorus. Basically, grilled fish on a roll. Cristi didn't let Ben buy any -- "soviet era heavy metals" -- but it flung such a craving on him that we've had them for dinner many times since we returned.
Red Lentil Soup
lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers w/pomegranate dressing
Kofte (someplace between a meatball and a hamburger, flavored with cumin and other spices)
Manti (really small ravioli like pasta)
Rice Pudding (Sutlac)
Credits: Picture above and many of our recipes came from the fabulous TurkishCookbook.com. Check it out -- lots of wonderful recipes.
Friday, September 21, 2007
The folks at KTRU (Rice radio) have agreed to set aside a block of time to play some songs that remind us all of Josh. I’m not sure how many they will play-that’s entirely up to the DJ. We have already forwarded them some song suggestions, but if anyone has a specific request, please forward it to me and I will pass it along to the DJ, Claire Hein, who is working with us.
For those in the greater Houston area, KTRU is broadcast at 91.7 FM. For those outside of Houston, KTRU can be heard online at:
It also seems likely that we will be able to get a recording of the broadcast from KTRU. Please let me know if you are interested, and I will see if I can get you a copy. As an aside, the FCC rules governing KTRU don’t allow them to specifically say that the songs are for a named individual. Unfortunately, this means that they will not mention Josh by name. However, I know that certain songs will say “Josh” loud and clear to those of us who love him.(if you don't have her email and would like to recommend something let me know)
--From Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty by Nancy Etcoff
Hard work, being a psychologist, with all that squirrel shaving and painting.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
This past month was one of those moments of weakness. Since moving up to the 2 year old class at school, and our trip to Turkey, J. has not been sleeping nearly enough. And a tired 2 year old is *not* a pleasant person to be around.
I stumbled across mention of Sleepless in America: Is Your Child Misbehaving or Missing Sleep? at another blog, and though "Ah ha! Something that will help me solve the sleep issue." Requested it from the library, got it, read it over the course of a week, sharing pertinent issues with Ben.
The problem is that the actual advice could be distilled to about 10 bullet points (most of them common sense), but you have to wade through pages of examples and repercussions to missing sleep to get the advice (or because I feel like I have to read the whole book through?). It definitely raised my stress level to read it all, and made me worry a whole lot more.
So I need to remember to skim or pick and choose what to read out of this sort of book, and to be careful in which books I actually choose to read. (I'm generally careful about what media I consume, knowing how easy it is to get stressed out over what you read and watch on TV. Parenting issues, though, prey on my insecurities as a mother and make me want EXPERT ADVICE to solve problems.)
Ok, so here's the summary of Sleepless in America:
- Many behavior problems can be traced to lack of sleep. Before treating your kid for ADHD etc, figure out if they are missing sleep. Think about how you act when you are sleep deprived -- clumsy, indecisive, emotional, overreacting -- and how or if you see these characteristics in your kids.
- Average amount of sleep needed, over 24 hours (including naps):
- under 1 year -- 14-18 hours
- 1-3 years -- 13 hours
- 3-5 years -- 12 hours
- 6-12 years -- 10-11 hours
- 13-19 years -- 9.25 hours
- 20 years + -- 8.25
- Establish & enforce a consistent wake up time, work backwards to a bedtime
- Work on "calm energy" to wind down before bed, nip "anxious energy" in the bud.
- Don't worry so much about bad habits, and focus on getting your kids wound down enough to fall asleep when you put them down. (backrubs, lower lights, cuddling, calm reading, consistent bedtime routine, etc.)
- The more sleep you have, the easier it is to sleep. Go figure. Once we started putting J down earlier at home, her school naps got longer too.
Friday, September 14, 2007
It may still be in the 90s in Austin, but I'm enjoying the influx of fall foods. In particular:
Pumpkin. The Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks and Pumpkin Empanadas at HEB. I need to visit Amy's Ice Cream to see if they have their Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream yet.
Apples. I'm a Granny Smith eater -- I like my apples tart and crisp -- but the variety available at my local HEB tempted me to try the Macintosh (a bit mealy and nothing outstanding in taste) and a Honeycrisp (as crisp as a Granny Smith, but sweet and juicy --- a winner!).
via Digitization 101. (Dr. Ariel Shamir and Shai Avidan wrote about this technology in ACM Transactions on Graphics, Volume 26, Number 3, SIGGRAPH 2007.)
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Library Items on Loan
Wednesday, September 12, 2007 4:07 PM --
Due Within 3 Days(8)
Not Due Yet (7)
Holds Not Ready Yet (2)
(c) 2003-2007 JANDI Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Do not reply to this email address.
Elf notices are provided "as is", "as available" and without warranties.
All library fines and charges are the responsibility of the cardholder.
Oh, I have library books due today! This is a pretty darn useful service, since keeping up with the library book due dates is not that easy (did you know that they no longer stamp the due dates on the inside of the covers???). Not to mention it reminds me of what books I have on hold.
They deliver notices via email or RSS feed (or both!)
How does it work? The website doesn't say much, but I'd guess they use your login to the library site to scrape the account status page into their DB, which they then use to generate emals and rss feeds. They actually do a real time check when you click through the rss reed link. (It seems to be an asp/.Net application.)
How do they make money? I'm guessing the amazon affiliate linked recommendation on the right side of the email/webpage. They have pretty good data to do this with, so maybe it will work out to a reasonable income stream for them.
Business Idea/Feature for them or someone else: Tie your Amazon wishlist into your local library to request/put holds on your wishlist books, one or two at a time. (This is basically what I do manually.)
So, if you use your public library, go check it out.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
After the Mustang closed down, we attempted to recreate this yummy dish without much success. Tonight, however, I nailed it. Reproduced here, for your culinary enjoyment, is my recipe:
Mustang Diner's Portabella Shortstack
For each shortstack (serves 2-3 as an appetizer or 1 as an entree):
2 Portabella mushrooms
2 teaspoons pesto
2 slices proscuitto
2 slices provolone
Marinate 2 portabella mushrooms in Italian Dressing overnight.
Grill each mushroom on a George Foreman Grill for 5 minutes.
Spread a teaspoon of pesto over the gill side of each mushroom.
Top with a slice or two of prosciutto.
Cover with a slice of provolone.
Broil mushrooms until cheese melts and starts browning.
Put one mushroom stack on top of the 2nd to form a "short stack"
The key to this recipe is the George Foreman Grill -- you want the mushrooms to be well cooked before you start assembling.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I've been wanting to record the books I read somewhere, so I'm going to try blogging them.
Finished Sunday night: Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life. I enjoy contemplative books as part of my "winding down for sleep" routine, and since I enjoy "life hacking" this one was particularly appealing. Housework is one of those things that has to be done, so developing a spiritual attitude on the topic improves my attitude and makes it more pleasant.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Based on the Apple ads, they compare Rails with many of the other web development tools out there. Here's the one comparing it with Java:
I met Greg and Jason this weekend at Lone Star Ruby Conf, where they premiered the ads with Python and Django. (Hilarious, both.) They aren't posted on their website yet, but will be in the coming weeks.
Great example of someone coming up with a clever idea, executing on it, leveraging their network (friend with a film degree) and free technology (it's a blog and youtube), and then putting themselves out there and emailing the RailsConf organizers to see if they wanted to show some of the videos. Instant fame, at least in the Rail community. And since they are a custom web house, it's great brand recognition and advertising for them.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
As a feminist geek, I should perhaps not admit to getting any tech news from Vogue... but... the September issue has a short spot about the Eee PC by Asus, a sub-$300 notebook computer running.. get this ... Linux. If you want any actual details, try the Wikipedia page, since the Asus website is nothing but marketing.
builtin wireless, solid state memory (means less battery usage), wimpy memory, small scfreen (duh). It might be worth checking out. For our last notebook purchase, also based on size, the keyboard size and feel were the deal maker or breaker. According to this review, that may be an issue. (if that review is right, then there may be a sub-$200 version as well.)
This is the email that Ryan Bates sent out:
We have more information for those of you interested in making a contribution for the fund for Lauren and Nathan and dedicated to Josh's memory. To facilitate donations in the interim, we have set up a savings account here in Lauren's name to which contributions can be sent. For those who are attending the memorial service tomorrow, there will also be envelopes and a box for contributions, or you can speak to me or Dave Jones personally.
(bank details deleted)
Finally, if you make a contribution via mail, please send me or Dave Jones an email as well. I think Lauren would appreciate knowing about all the people who care about her, Nathan, and Josh, and we don't want anyone's contribution to be overlooked.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Joshua John Warren died unexpectedly on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2007.
He was born May 23, 1974, in Tuscaloosa. Josh graduated from Emma Sansom High School in 1992, where he was valedictorian of his class. He received a B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from Rice University in 1996 and his doctoral degree in Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics from Yale University in 2001. Josh was employed at Duke University as a postdoctoral research associate at the time of his death. His research focused on X-ray crystallographic methods to explore protein structures, particularly as it related to cancer diagnosis. Josh was an exceptional man, with a sense of humor and quick wit balanced by a genuine sense of warmth and concern for his family and friends. Josh never met a stranger and had a wide circle of friends. He was an avid reader and had a variety of interests, including pottery, choral music, whitewater paddling, food and wine, and baseball.
Josh is survived by his wife, Lauren, and their 21Ú2-year-old son, Nathan, of Chapel Hill, N.C.; his parents, Howard and Kathleen Warren, of Gadsden; his sister and brother-in-law, Rebecca and Mario Salas; and a niece, Elena Sofia, of Hoover; his grandmother, June McGuire, of Rainbow City; and his father- and mother-in-law, Fred and Cherie Half, of Palo Alto, Calif.
Memorial services will be held on Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter, with visitation to follow in the Parrish Hall and at Duke Gardens on Friday.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the charity of your choice.
Collier-Butler Funeral and Cremation Services is in charge of arrangements.
Ben and I didn't know Josh that well, but we had eaten with him (and occasionally Lauren) on our trips through Chapel Hill on the way to Virginia. He was a warm, smart, funny man. His son Nathan is the same age as Josie.
I recommend taking some time today to appreciate the ones you love -- you never know how much longer you -- or they -- have.
May you rest in peace, Josh.
Monday, September 03, 2007
Tonight it was my bathroom cabinet. What I realized, clearing out my hair, makeup, and drugstore stuff, was that I was completely out of my favorite lipstick and makeup. (And probably had been for a year or longer.) It's not like I'm a teenager anymore, playing around with cosmetics. I know what I like. So what's going on? I think it has to do with not giving my self permission to spend money -- good makeup, at least in this case, is expensive. Definitely not an impulse buy, since neither of them are carried in stores any longer. So, in the back of my head, I think "too much trouble, too much money." And then I wonder why I can't be bothered to put on makeup in the morning. Why bother if the results aren't worth it? (And nothing lives up to how I feel in these 2...)
So I went tonight and found each online, and added in a perfume I've been wanting for a long time (I've been carting the sample vial around for more than 10 years).
Since I would kill someone for whining this long about makeup without telling me what it was in particular, here we go:
Stila Cream Lip Color in Billie -- I first bought this around 1998, out shopping with Kara and John. I went to the Stila counter, showed them my new eye glasses, and said "I want a lipstick that will match this." (really!) It's a great red brown color, and works great with both my skin and my wardrobe.
Alexandra de Markoff Moisturizing Matte Makeup. My mother found some of this (a major bargain I'm sure), years ago, and we both loved it. It's a formula from the 1940s -- I've read that Vivian Leigh wore it in Gone with the Wind -- of mineral oil and pigments. It creates a flawless matte face, very retro looking (which is why I like it!).
Society by Burberrys. All I remember about this perfume is spicy and sweet at the same time.
Friday, August 31, 2007
It's slightly embarrassing -- Ben jokes I'm the world expert on Steampunk Home design -- to be blogging about decorating the house in an aesthetic that no one has heard about.
Steampunk is basically an alternative future where the information age starts during Victorian times. Think The Difference Engine, The Diamond Age, Firefly or Wild Wild West.
If you want to find out more about steampunk, I'd suggest these links:
If you'd like to drop by and visit my (perhaps) more entertaining and more prolific blog, you'd be welcome.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
The press release.
I can't find the S1 online anywhere; I'll post that when it appears.
An S1 is the document a company files with it's intention of offering an intial public offering (an IPO).
Since Ben's been at Convio for 6+ years now, this is nice to see.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
When it comes to planning meals and cooking for the family, you first have to identify the tasks:
- Meal Planning -- what recipe to make, what sides to put with it, when to cook it, when to eat it, and when to eat out.
- Grocery Shopping -- getting the resources you need to execute the plan
- Cooking -- What most people consider the actual work: the act of applying heat to the resources to turn them into something you can eat. In reality, if you do the first and second well enough this can be optimized to 15-20 minutes worth of work a day.
- Cleaning -- table cleaned off, dishes into the dishwasher, dishwasher run as needed, cooking dishes cleaned/soaked/dishwashed, counters and tabletop wiped.
- Dishwasher cleaned out (asynchronous task).
- Leftover management -- leftovers put into appropriate containers, ideally added to a list so they aren't forgotten about.
Meal Planning/Grocery Shopping/Cooking -- Owned by Ben or Sara on alternating weeks. What this means is that you have ownership over everything food related for that week -- if you don't plan, or forget to buy something at the grocery store, or don't get home in time to cook it's your problem. (We do occasionally pitch in to help each other out -- but the ownership that means when it isn't your week, you don't worry about it.) It also means we eat a nice variety of foods -- Ben's food one week (hello cube steak), Sara's the other (mushroom soba noodles, anyone?). If you need something from the grocery store on your off week, you just make sure you add it to the list on the fridge.
Cleaning -- generally done by the person who isn't cooking. While this isn't entirely optimal (it doesn't give you a good incentive to clean as you go or use as few dishes as possible), our dinners are usually simple enough that it isn't a big deal. We're also slowly integrating Miss J. into this task -- with the hope that she'll handle the table portion, at least, by the time she's 5 or 6.
Dishwasher clean out -- not officially allocated. I think Ben does this more than I do, but I may do it more than he does. Often we combine it with fixing dinner or cleaning up from dinner.
Leftover management -- not our best task. I tend to put away leftovers more than Ben does, but it officially falls on the Cleaner for the week. Managing eating them, however, should be the responsibility of the Cooker for the week. In reality, leftover management often falls into the "refrigerator cleanout" task, which Ben often does (especially the gross parts).
I think the smartest thing about our system is the alternating weeks. We know whose job it is to cook on a given day -- no micromanagement or tiresome negotiation needed. And by trading off the thinking parts of the responsibility we each get a break -- this wouldn't be nearly as "fair" (or as fun) if one of us was always planning the meals and doing the grocery shopping, with the other pitching in to cook.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
- Pierre Reverdy observed, “There is no love, there are only proofs of love.” Keeping these journals to be a link between himself and his children is an active proof of love. We think we act because of the way we feel, but in fact, the way we act shapes the way we feel – so performing loving actions boosts loving feelings.
I'm taking this as a reminder to do, not just to contemplate, especially in my family affairs.
- Studies show that one way to boost happiness is to keep happy memories fresh. Happy people don’t have more pleasant experiences than unhappy people, but they remember them better. Keeping a journal (which for most people skews toward the happy experiences) will help keep good times memorable.
Monday, August 13, 2007
"Adam Phillips, a Longon psychoanalyst, muses in his 1996 book, "Monogamy": "What if our strongest wish was to be praised...What would our relationships be like?... We might find ourselves saying things like: The cruelest thing one can do to one's parner is to be good at fidelity but bad at celebration... Or it's not difficult to sustain a relationship but it's impossible to keep a celebration going. The long applause becomes baffling."
-- both from "Can This Marriage Be Saved?", Laurie Abraham, New York Times Magazine 8/12/2007
What I found provoking about these is that they tie in nicely to the current popular science on Happiness. That to be happy you have to have "flow" -- work that engages you in an almost transcendental way, and gratitude -- which I see tying in to celebration in a marriage -- to take time to appreciate what we've accomplished and what we have.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
1) avoid high rent areas
2) look for the competition
3) order strategically
4) know the restaurant cycle
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
I nicked my sister's George Foreman grill the other day, and Ben and I have both been cooking with it. For people like us, who work fulltime and like home cooked family meals, it's a godsend. In a week, here's what we've used it for (no recipes!):
Grilled Scallops with Pesto Pasta
Grilled Chicken with Pasta
Grilled Fish Sandwiches
Toasted English Muffin (since the toaster croaked...)
Ok, so it's a bit sandwich heavy, but this is just the tip of the iceberg, folks! We haven't even touched beef or vegetables yet! The wonderful thing is that it cuts your meat cooking time in half -- and when you have less than 30 minutes to get dinner on the table, that's a pretty substantial time gain.
We're even contemplating a supper club themed dinner, all cooked on the grill. (We might have to borrow a couple to put on a multi-course dinner for 8, but it would be doable...)
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
A knockoff (from Target) of the Skip Hop portable diapering kit.
The Coppertone Kids Continuous Spray SunScreen. OMG, this stuff is so easy to apply that we all used it. I'm particularly proud that none of us got sunburnt despite 2 weeks of walking and hiking in 100+ degree sun. It came with a convenient sunblock stick, which was easy to carry for touchups.
Instead of a purse, I carried a small canvas drawstring backpack. (Sort of like these, but even simpler.) Big enough to fit the aforementioned diaper kit, as well as 2 water bottles, papers, money, guidebooks, etc. It was simple enough even Ben would carry it...
Although it's not kid-specific, I also have to endorse the Ricardo Beverly Hills 2 compartment pullman suiter rollaboard suitcase. It's not a fancy designer or anything, but I love these suitcases so much I'm on my second one (the first lasted for about 7 years of hard business travel). The neat thing about them is that they have a well separated hanging section, so you don't need to carry a garment bag (all in the space of a normal roll-aboard).
We were surprised at how much we used our stroller (and how little we used our backpack carrier), and while I was wishing we had a better stroller while we were there, I was extemely pleased it was an el cheapo umbrella stroller when Air France decided to keep it.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Trash the Dress.
Top image from altf.com. Bottom from marceric.net.
Location ideas for the Austin area:
Water: Barton Springs (the shallow ledge), Tivoli Building water works, the flat fountain at the domain. Hamilton Falls. Wondering about the refurbished Deep Eddy pavillion and pool?
Nature: I'd love some good mud spots, but can't think of any. Cliffs around Lake Travis might be cool, though.
Dirt: Dad's shop. (lots of grease! I love this idea!!!) Climb on the fender on a truck, "work" on the engine, roll a dolly underneath the dolly, etc.
This just might be the incentive I need to fit back into my wedding dress....
I've complained before that all my favorite magazines seem to go out of business... However I'm happy to share that Victoria Magazine is back!
How it's back is even more interesting. A company called Hoffman Media has a partnership with Hearst (the original publisher) to publish the magazine. According to the press release, under the terms of the agreement, Hoffman will handle all editorial, production, distribution and advertising for Victoria. Hearst will contribute the Victoria trademark, copyright, URL (www.victoriamag.com), subscription database, and access to historical content of both editorial and art.
Interesting. Smart. I just hope they hire Nancy Lindemeyer, the original editor, for some role (even just contributor). She was the heart and soul of Victoria.
My new subscription form came the day after I had read one of my beloved back issues. If you want to understand why Victoria was so wonderful, I direct you to this blog post and the ensuing comments -- they could have been writen by yours truly, if I was a better writer.
If you are interested in the business story of Victoria, I direct you here. Very interesting.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
From "rasberry tart" which is cockney rhyming slang for "fart"
It comes from making a rasberry sound by blowing air through flapping lips -- or, in less refined circles, a farting noise.
Ben told me this last night, so I'm sure I should credit some blogger, but this was the only one I found.
Monday, June 18, 2007
From the oven's perspective, these were the courses:
at 480 degrees:
1) No-knead bread (45 minutes)
2) Oven Roasted Asparagus (45 minutes)
take out when done, then turn oven on to broil (500 degrees) and cook
3) Oven Broiled Filet Mignon (20 minutes)
With all those long cooking times, I had plenty of time to make a picturesque but easy ceasar salad (take apart 2 heads of romaine carefully, rinse, arrange 4-5 spears of romaine on each salad plate, drizzle with homemade ceasar dressing, then shave parmesan with a vegetable peeler over each salad).
Dessert after such a hot meal? Ice Cream. Specifically an impulse buy they were sampling at Costco (the whole meal was from Costco, actually) called PJ Madison's, an organic gelato that was incredibly yummy.