Lunch!

and dinner, really. We’ve finally hit the wall. I knew this wall existed. I knew I had it coming, but I was just hoping if I ignored it, it would go away. But Stella is really, really sick of our pretend “meals” we feed her. We’ve been feeding her basically the same thing since she starting eating solid food.

  • Chicken (cooked weekly and slowly growing more slimy over the week) or Cheese
  • Frozen Vegetables (mainly corn and peas because that’s what she likes
  • Milk
  • Water
  • Bread or Toasted O’s

She’s finally started getting a little antsy about this same boring food. Especially when she goes out to eat and gets hamburgers and cheese omelets. So last night I was making Grilled Chicken Breasts with Tomato, Olive, and Feta Relish for dinner. Usually dinner gets made after Stella goes to bed, but I made the sauce early and spooned it over her chicken breasts. I even put a piece of mint on there for garnish.

Sidetrack

I’d have a picture of this, but Julie’s laptop is a pain to use these days so we aren’t downloading pictures that often. I’ll post it at some point.

It was very artsy. And Stella had another first.

Stella’s First!

Realizing garnish doesn’t taste good and is just there to look pretty.

It was amusing. She pulled out the mint. Looked at it. Chewed on it a bit. Then dropped it off of her high chair as an offering to the dogs (who learned about garnish quite a long time ago and were not deceived).

She devoured the food. Which was excellent. And it had vegetables and cheese, so it was sort of healthy.

This led back to the fact that I really need to start cooking for Stella. I’ve been inspired by the past by the site Vegan Lunch Box, even though I could not be less vegan if I tried.

Not Sold Yet

So I’ve been listening to this With Lasers. I suppose we didn’t really want it to sell on day 1. Haven’t heard from the tile place if they’re going to be able to install our tile before our open house.

What else is going on? Julie and I are doing lots of small stuff around the house. Last night I:

  • Cleaned the oven. We sprayed it with horrific chemicals a few nights ago. Then I attempted to cook something in it, because I am forgetful. This released magical toxic fumes through the oven vent under the back left burner. Sometimes I feel like my oven resembles a steam engine. And one day it’s going to stand up on spindly white legs. Move forward from its niche revealing it’s long spindley be-gloved hands. It’s two front burners will flip up revealing his eyes and he will begin talking to me with his oven mouth. Inevitably I will say something rude and he will turn on his burner eyes and they will glow red, red, red! What was I talking about? Oh yes. Two hours after I sprayed the over last night I actually cleaned it. It is now nice and clean. And it only releases mildly toxic fumes when I turn it on.
  • Replanted a hanging basket with new flowers. The old flowers had died. These were the special magical yellow flowers. Yellow flowers apparently make people want to buy. Or something. I hate throwing away plants that I haven’t given around six months to struggle back to life. But desperate times and all that.
  • Played Lego Star Wars. For 10 minutes after I got Stella in bed, while Julie was getting Roxie from the groomers. Roxie looked even more ridiculous than normal. She had two pink ear bows, and a big pink bow attached to her harness. As always she looked naked and mortified.
  • Vacuumed the downstairs. Vacuuming is boring. There’s no way around it. No story there.
  • Ate McDonalds. The new geniuses they’ve hired are unable to complete an order correctly. I did not get my super-sized fries last night, and they decided this time Honey-Mustard was the same as Honey. Although that’s a step up. Last time I asked for Barbecue sauce and honey, and I got sweet and sour. I suppose she was keying off of the “and”. How sad is it that these teenagers cannot even properly perform a McDonalds job? A job that was designed to require next to no thinking.
  • Put on a missing cable TV wall plate.
  • But not in that order.

Could this post be my entry for The Holme’s Carnival of the Mundane? Probably not. I’m sure I can get more mundane than this.

For Sale

Our house went up for sale last night. It’s a bit bittersweet. This is the house that Julie and I did so much work on. We bought a table saw and learned how to put in Pergo floors. Travis and I spent weekends knocking out the back patio and building the frame for our wonderful deck. And the entire gang put so much effort into putting on the decking. And of course, Stella came home to this house. And I will always remember lying on the floor of her room sleeping with her on my chest. Breathing in the smell of her hair. It has been a good house. The listing is here. You know you’re curious you Lookey-Lou:

http://www.austinhomesearch.com/ahs/GetResults2New.aspx?id=185807

We have our first showing today at 11:45. I have a feeling it might sell fast.

This weekend was quite a bit of fun. Friday evening we were going to go out to eat as a pre-celebration for Julie’s birthday. But Waterloo south had a 45 minute (!) wait and we didn’t want to even attempt to go downtown where all the bikers were (Republic of Texas rally was downtown this weekend). So we ended up getting a baguette and some beer and eating Chicken Picatta at home. It was a pretty low key night. We watched “The Man Who Knew Too Much”, which Julie hadn’t seen and which was actually somewhat comical. My parent’s used this as an object lesson in obedience and “How to Behave in a Foreign Country” growing up. It was nice to see it as an adult and not take it seriously. And experience someone else seeing that fantastic climax for the first time. Julie was making fun of Doris Day’s casting for the first 3/4 of the movie and when we hit the climax it was sort of like, “Oh, I get it…”

Saturday was a whole bundle of fun. I went running in the morning with Stella. Then we went over to her Baba and Grandaddy’s house and hung out on their porch for a while. Baba dug out a bunch of old wooden blocks for Stella to play with and we just sat out and enjoyed the morning. I ran back over to our house and woke up Julie around 10:30, so she got a nice long sleep on her birthday. We ate some chocolate muffins for breakfast and then headed out to J.C. Penny. Oh, I forgot. We had gone to Kohls the night before to look for a new shirt for Julie for her birthday party and came out empty handed. It wasn’t that nothing fit, so much that everything was just so ugly that you couldn’t get excited about anything. So on Saturday we headed to J.C. Penny at Southpark Meadows. It was as if the gods were smiling upon us. They had tons of nice stuff, Julie tried on a bunch, and stopped trying things on because she had too much, not because there wasn’t anything else to try on. I like having good shopping excursions with Julie. Stella and I played outside the dressing rooms. We’d stolen Julie’s sunglasses and were playing games with those. Stella was also standing on her tip-toes (which I hadn’t seen before), and attempting to do chinups on the shopping cart. We had a lot of fun.

After that we headed out to McKinney state falls to go swimming, but it was closed due to bacteria levels. Bummer. Then we went to Garrison Park to go swimming, but it cost $3 and we only had about 30 more minutes to swim. Bummer. So we went and got snow cones. Stella had her first tastes of snow cone, and I’m proud to say she prefers Root Beer (my flavor) over Black Cherry (Julie’s flavor).

We headed home and went out to an early dinner with my Mom, Dad, Christine, and Brian. At Waterloo South. So Julie got her hamburger. We came home and had Julie’s birthday party. The usual suspects came out and it was a lot of fun.

Sunday, I slept in with Stella until 10:30. Sleeping in with Stella involves me going into her room about 7:30, and lying down on a pillow and a blanket. Stella then proceeds to crawl on me, alternating with dozing off in odd positions for short periods of time. It’s all very cuddly. We got up and cleaned up after the party, and then went out to breakfast at IHOP. We were bad this weekend about eating out.

That afternoon we went swimming at Dittmar pool with Christine and Brian. Stella seemed to enjoy the water, but I think she was overwhelmed by the number of people in the pool (heck, we were overwhelmed by the number of people in the pool). But it was a free pool on a hot summer day. Better get used to it kiddo, that’s the way you’ll be swimming in Austin.

We got home, and I realized that our Realtor was going to be taking pictures of our house and that the lawn was shaggy, so I rushed out and mowed it. I got out of the shower about 5 minutes before he got there. We got our paperwork signed and he mentioned that he thought we had tile in our master bath, and that no one wants carpet in their master bath. We find that argument hard to argue with. It is just too humid in a bathroom to have carpet. So we’re going to go out and pick some tile at lunch today. We’ll get that put in as soon as possible. As long as we don’t sell the house first.

All in all, it’s been a crazy time getting the house ready to market, but we’re definitely seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And it was a great weekend to boot. Stella has really started communicating with us, and really starting to stand up on her own, and toddle around. Plus she’d started using the “No” word. I really don’t like having to go into work these days. I’d much rather sit around and play with her. Ah well, this post is too long. I’ll let you guys know how the tile goes…

Ok, now listen up whippersnappers!

Music costs money. You need to pay for it. Stop your stealing, and whining about how music is crap, and start paying the artists who create good music.

I’m sick of you.

Last night I bought LCD Soundsystem’s new album from iTunes. The Holmes’ had given me an iTunes gift certificate for my birthday. My computer doesn’t run iTunes, and it can’t play the standard iTunes file format, but recently Apple came out with DRM free music. Suddenly my computer can play tracks I download from iTunes (as long as they’ve been converted and are distributed by EMI). This was great. I downloaded the tracks, and I’ve been rockin’ out. Thanks Travis, Ashley and Henry!

But… a bunch of people are complaining because apple is putting your email address and account name in the tracks you download. So all you music thieves can’t just dump the new tracks you buy on some music sharing service. Their is so much complaining about this. It amazes me. I wanted DRM-free tracks because I run linux, and I don’t want to have to buy a certain type of computer just to be able to listen to music. I did not want DRM-free tracks so I could upload music to file sharing services.

At work, I have an iTunes share so that others in the office can listen to my music. I was browsing one of my coworkers shares and noticed that he had an album that I wasn’t aware of anyone else in the universe who liked (Brassy). Then I noticed he had all of the music that I own. He had ripped all of them music off of my iTunes share without asking. This pisses me off. I’ve spent thousands of dollars building up my music collection. I support those musicians that I like with my money. I’m making your music theft possible, and I’m pretty much single handedly keeping the music business alive. Stop stealing music jackasses!

This isn’t Pokemon. You’re not trying to catch all the mp3s. Grow up!

If you want to listen to an album before buying check out a Napster.com. If it’s not there, then chances are the band is too small and they’ll be promoting themselves with mp3s on their website. Stop stealing music, there’s no reason for it. You’re going to make it so that no one can earn a living creating music. And then the music will really suck.

Sleep

So I’m a pretty heavy sleeper, but my body also hates alarm clocks. I have a really good internal clock because of this. My body will almost always try to anticipate the alarm clock and wake up just before it goes off. I’m liable to have a heart attack some day. I’m not one of those people who can hit snooze. When the alarm goes off my body has a full blown adrenaline-pumping flight reaction.

Because Stella was getting up around 7:15am every morning my internal clock was wired to not let me sleep after that point. Even when I wanted to on a weekend, and had traded all my video game playing time to Julie for the next 17 years in exchange for her waking up with Stella on a Sunday morning. But lately, Stella has been sleeping in. I get up and change her diaper when the alarm goes off at 7:30am and she goes back to sleep until about 8:15-8:30.

Long Weekend

Thank goodness for long weekends. We were on a mad scramble this past weekend to get the house ready for Realtors. We’re meeting with our first one tonight. Hopefully that will go well.

But this weekend… we spent Friday night having a Loaded Gun Theory meeting. Which culminated in Julie and I forcing Bill and Ian to move couches. With bullwhips. Four couches. We’re slave drivers. Slapdash Flimflammery is on though! Mark your calendars. July 28th.

On Saturday we spent the day working. Painting and cleaning, and cleaning and painting. We were exhausted by the evening, but we went to see Morrisey at the Backyard anyway. It was a great stuff. Although, I like his new album more than most people apparently. I Will See You in Far Off Places is one of my favorite of his new songs. Made me want to cry a little bit. I guess I get sentimental about the people I know around the world. Life Is a Pigsty was beautiful and really took advantage of his new band. It had been threatening to rain, but unfortunately the rain sound effect in the song had to do. I was really looking forward to getting drenched at a Morrissey concert, especially during Everyday Is Like Sunday (LP Version). Ah well… I suppose it really wouldn’t be a Morrissey concert unless you were disappointed. The drummer had a japanese drum for the thunder in “Life is a Pigsty”, which was then used to tremendous effect to mimick the guitar saws as drummed tattoos at the end of “How Soon is Now?”. Imagine that guitar rift vibrating your entire body. Very cool. The one song encore was You’re Gonna Need Someone On Your Side which rocked. Which was pretty much the theme of the night. The songs that rocked, really rocked. The band was fantastic and really knocked out the awesome guitar parts on songs like The Queen Is Dead. The slow songs on the other hand were often duds. There were even a few that neither Julie nor I had heard and probably would have been content to stay that way. We were exhausted by the end, but I’m glad we went.

On Sunday we headed off to church and said goodbye to our friends Mari and Todd who are moving to Mexico for two years. So more friends in far off places. We are planning on visiting them though. That should be an interesting vacation.

In the afternoon we got back to work. Again with the painting and the cleaning. Things were starting to feel like the house was getting worse and worse. I ended up cooking my parents a tri-tip roast with a minted chimmichurri sauce for dinner to thank them for all their help getting the house in order. We ended the night watching Nacho Libre. Which was mostly inoffensive. Although I wouldn’t have thought that the most enjoyable part of the movie would have been the wrestling.

On Monday we kept up with the cleaning. I mowed and touched up the front yard, added flowers, etc. It’s gorgeous out there right now. I noticed that another plant is blooming this morning. I think we have probably 20-30 distinct types of flowers in our front and back yard right now. It’s amazing. And our neighbors pulled up their grass on the part of the lawn we share and decorated with new flowerbeds, so our fantastic brand new grass is now bordered on two sides by native flowers and bushes. It is amazing. Julie no longer wants to leave.

Monday night we watched Blade Runner. We’d never seen it all the way through. We were impressed that it still held up even though every single piece of that movie has been collaged into 100 others.

Last night we took Stella to the park, since she hadn’t been in quite a while. She stubbornly refused to walk and mostly just mooned about. My mother called while we were getting ready for bed and asked if she could borrow our oven. Turned out she had picked up a pizza from Pappa Murphy’s completely forgetting that the gas at her house had not been turned on. We ended up sharing the pizza and then touching up a few last things.

So realtors this week, and Julie’s birthday party this weekend. Should be a fun 4 day week.

Walking

Yesterday Stella woke me up at her normal time. About 7:15am. She’s been having stomach trouble lately and so my first order of business was to clean a particularly nasty diaper. As I did so, she danced at her music and sound table. Pulling the frog’s guitar frantically to fast forward to the songs that were most danceable. She was not about to sit down.

I got home about 7. Stella has been spending the days with her BaBa (paternal grandmother) and so Julie and I were both in a mood to just hang out with her. We haven’t seen that much of her lately, and she’s been letting us know with lots of hugs. Which is not to say she doesn’t love spending time with her Baba. Just that she makes a point of reminding us that we’re her parents.

We were hanging out in Stella’s room and she started just standing up in the middle of the room. Or pulling up and standing without holding onto anything. And each time she did she’d have this look on her face. Pride, like she’d just narrowly won a race, mixed with a look of intense mischief. I swear there were little lights dancing in her eyes. You could see the wheels turning.

Shortly after that she took a step. It was more of a shuffle, and we asked each other, “Was that a step?”. “I dunno. I think so.” At which point she took a shuffle and a real step. At this point we were goading her on. Julie was convinced that if she got the camera Stella would stop, but decided to get it anyway. When she got back. Stella stood up with the assistance of her table, and then took 4 wobbly steps towards me. We were cheering and yelling. And Stella looked like a thief raiding the Pharaoh’s tomb. After that she stopped performing for us. Cheeky monkey. We feed her and cloth her! We tell her when to dance! She was looking pretty tired though. Which I guess makes sense when you realize that in essence she’s doing what people do in physical therapy. So we took her downstairs. Gave her some food and put her to bed. I read her “Goodnight Gorilla”. And I decided that Gorilla is a girl gorilla just like Stella. And all too soon our little girl gorilla will start letting all the animals out to try to come sleep in our bed.

Julie brought up something else funny. Apparently, when my mom comes over she immediately finds a barrette for Stella.

Sidetrack

Barrette, btw is one of the words I pronounce with a Jersey accent. Like pajamas. Don’t know why. It just happens.

I find this funny. Stella has very unruly hair for those of you who don’t see her regularly. I realize that my mom brushed her daughters hair every day, ironed ribbons, and then put them in their hair, but I just can’t seem to get the energy to carry on the tradition. And I’m cool with that. Here’s to hoping that Stella continues to pick out her own clothes (sometimes t-shirts and jean shorts, sometimes dresses) and pull out her barrettes, and becomes whatever sort of girl she wants to be.

A Review in Three Parts

Her breasts were like pomegranates or what you will, but like nothing so much as a young woman’s breasts.

– Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Read that his morning and thought of the play last night. Julie and I saw “A Thought in Three Parts”. We were accompanied on this trek with another mother,

My heart bleeds for you…

Fantastic quotes from this CNN article:

Schwartz called that “outrageous” and said even he can’t fill up his SUV at that price.

“If it keeps going like this, my kids will never be able to afford to drive,” said Schwartz, who has an 18-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter.

– Schwartz: owner of title insurance company and gas station.

Oh, the humanity!