Tuesday, April 29, 2008

House musings

This week past week, Ken and Chrys, aka Grandpa and Grandma, came to visit and help us with the house. (Just for the record, Grandma is still here and spoiling up one kid.) We now have our fabulous front door installed and a fancy new front yard full of perennials. I'm also slammed with work - I have about four new freelance projects with pretty tight deadlines. One of these days I'll get up the photos of our walls and our new hardwood floor in the kitchen. Perhaps I'll even scan our paint chips and get some feedback on the seven colors we've chosen (every room has to be a different color and since we're hiring someone in the ward to paint, he's not going to charge extra for having seven colors.) The colors are settling into a more muted version of our current house.

On Friday and Saturday, we spent all day digging in the dirt in our new front yard. I think we're actually motivating a few of our other neighbors to step up their landscaping game because one of the missionaries ripped out a tree (which fell on my car, no less - luckily the tree was very dead, it's only a small dent, and no one was hurt!), we built a new walkway out of pavers, and we built a new box with some of the old landscaping timbers that were in the yard. Combine that with about twenty new plants, and all of a sudden the neighbors are trying to keep up with the Rindlesbachs. :P

Anyway, on Saturday afternoon, I took Frankie on a little walk to the McDonalds down on the street corner to use the bathroom since we have no water yet in the house. On the way out, a fire engine pulled into the parking lot and, well, we just had to go and sit in it. The fireman was kind enough to take pictures with his camera phone and send them to me, so lucky for you, I'm able to blog about it.

I'm not making any promises as to when I'll get up photos of the house and garden, but hopefully it'll be soon. Chrys and I should finish the garden this week - we still need a few more plants and to build another walkway. It's going to be killer and seriously, if the neighborhood had yard of the month, we'd be a contender. This is exciting to me because I find landscaping an elusive mystery; I'm amazed that it's coming together so well. The backyard is a tangle of kudzu, so we'll wait to attack that when we move in and we start building the garage and Juston's mini half-pipe. Anyone who lives in the area, please feel free to drop by any time and check out the house!

And for the record, I'm going back to red hair tomorrow. The bleach just hurts too much to keep up (oh the burn) and I'm just not a blonde. Goodbye, platinum!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Free Cone Day

In case you missed it, here's the e-mail I sent out about our Tuesday meetup at the Ben & Jerry's:

As promised, I'm sending out the e-mail about FREE CONE DAY at Ben & Jerry's this Tuesday, April 29. I was mistaken in that the store doesn't open until 1 PM, so feed the kiddos lunch, load 'em up, meet at Ben & Jerry's at 1 PM sharp, get the kids sugared up, and then pray that they take naps. We'll be there for sure and we'd love to see anyone else who wants free ice cream! The address:

800 North Highland Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30306

It's the same one we went to last year. Feel free to pass this along to anyone else who might be interested. (FYI, the free cones end at 8 PM.)


(P.S. You might want to try parking on Greenwood Ave. since there's no proper parking on Highland.)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I'll call this 'the happy post.'

Yesterday I wrote a bit of a vent, rant, downer, whatever you want to call it. So today I'll post a few happy photos of Frankie so that no one can get too mad because I know that some of you feel passionately about that which I criticized last night. Let's just call it a 'differing of priorities' - ultimately, everyone's heart is in some good place, right?

Yesterday I was putting away the laundry (yes! it actually made it into the drawers!) and when I went to put something in the other room, I saw this. We got Frankie a cheap lei when we went to Hawaii earlier this year, and apparently it makes a really good hat.

View #2 - There's something very 'peace & love incorporated' about the tie-dyed shirt with the flowers.

Juston had a work 'meeting' last week that involved cupcakes, eating mini pups, and playing Wii tennis. It happened to coincide with when I had to meet up with my TCM boss to talk about projects, so we got to see a little bit of the action. This 'meeting' was really just a socializer so that everyone from the network could have a good chat, and since a lot of people work at Cartoon Network, Juston had to wear a nametag. (It's a rough job, let me tell you - it's every 12-year-old boy's dream to get paid to watch cartoons all day.) Ahem, back to the photo...later that night, Frankie modeled what it would look like if he wore Juston's party nametag on his head.

We spend a lot of time these days pursuing one of Frankie's great passions, which is watching videos of random babies on You Tube.

And lastly, 'Bridget gives up.'

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The day that domesticity died.

This was the day that I gave up on domesticity...

Honestly, how am I supposed to cook without a crock pot? It's the busy lady's friend! It was the casualty of being placed on a lower shelf, right next to the gargantuan box of fruit snacks, and a cranky child who decided that he must have fruit snacks RIGHT NOW! *sigh* Old friend, I will miss you.

And just so you know, I did cook stuff on occasion without a crock pot. Frankie enjoyed the spoils of cake batter earlier in the day, *before* he smashed my crock pot. He's also covered in flour because it just feels so nice.

The other topic I want to address is Earth Day, which was yesterday. Did anyone else ride the 'guilt train' all day? I don't watch Oprah, but for some reason yesterday I found myself watching Oprah and being berated by Julia Roberts and some other lady for not eating enough organic foods and because of that my child is going to die from pesticide poisoning. (Luckily I dragged myself away from that after ten minutes and went to mow the lawn.) I surfed a few blogs last night between bouts of freelance work and was berated for not eating locally, organically, and for not always remembering my reusable grocery bags. All I have to say is, that while saving the planet is important and I do what I can to conserve and reduce and recycle and what have you, everyone seems to have bought into this 'green industrial complex,' which behind the fancy veneer, is as much a moneymaking scheme as anything else. Take the 'parenting industrial complex', which is the idea that if we don't spend enough and provide the best for our children, that they'll live a less than fulfilling life and spend countless amounts of money on therapy to try and rectify their neglectful childhoods. There's so much stuff to buy, and companies prey on the fact that parents are riddled with guilt, constantly afraid that they aren't doing enough for their children. I feel like the same thing is happening in the 'green' business. Honestly, who thinks it's a good idea to spend $9 on a tiny bottle of 'natural' baby shampoo? And what does natural even mean? It's thrown around so haphazardly that anything except maybe Twinkies can be twisted around the word 'natural.' Labeling and marketing is so misleading that just about every company is now preying on the consumer's fear that we're going to destroy the planet if we eat one irresponsible thing or if we happen to have a bottle of Tilex under our kitchen sink. It's getting out of hand, chiefly because there's LOTS of money to be made. Have a look at Healthy Child. If that's not a huge ad campaign marketed as activism, I'm not sure what it is. (And the website is carbon neutral - we can now buy our way out of guilt for using electricity to look at their website. Let's face it, I live in a highly consumerist society in the industrialized world and I WILL have a carbon footprint. It's important to reduce it when possible, but I cannot remove it completely, no matter how hard I try.) It's 'responsible' to buy expensive products in the name of saving the planet? Someone's pockets are sure getting lined with the 'green' (pun intended.) I can't do it. I can't justify it. And the guilt is pretty intense. No one wants to kill the planet, but I'm not sure that buying things and shopping at Whole Foods (I don't) is the best way. Because at the end of the day, the businesses still have us buying things - this time they're just stroking our egos to have us come back for more.

(I'm not advocating being irresponsible, but in using moderation and common sense and calling a spade a spade. Now I do want to try one of those worm composts - it sounds like a cool project and I think Frankie would dig having a bucket of worms. Plus I want to plant a small garden next year, after we move, and have it be a family activity with free fertilizer! Woo! And FWIW, I'm going to use an old aquarium that we already have instead of investing in a worm harvester. Do my worms really need a $150 habitat? I think not.)
*Edit*: Forgive the non-lyrical prose of last night. I haven't slept well for several days and I just needed to vent. P.S. I don't shop at Whole Foods because it's a very upper-class establishment (read $$$$). If I were rich, I might think it was a pretty nifty place to shop mainly because of all the cheese samples.

Monday, April 21, 2008

This is the "unattractive photos of the author" post.

All I have to say is that Juston's iphone really let me down this time. He took these unflattering pictures, but I still feel compelled to share them on the blog because I am too tired to hook up my camera, load pictures, re-size and fix them, and then upload them to the blog. It was a late night of book galleys last night and a whole morning of poopy two-year-olds at the preschool, so the less I have to think, the better. I may regret this post when I've had more sleep.

I picked up another sailor suit at a stake swap that happened last year. Sailor suits are quite possibly the most humiliating thing you can put on a child, so we have to do it while he's too young to know better.

This is what I do, I sit on you.

Ignore the angle. And really, who's exploiting who, huh?

Coming soon: walls!

Saturday, April 19, 2008


I don't have anything witty or intelligent to say tonight, so I'll just post this picture of Frankie and get back to procrastinating on my freelance work. I'm helping with TCM book publishing again for the time being, which makes me very happy. :) Trust me, I'm thinking deeply right now about the galleys that are sitting on our dining room table.

(I was far too lazy to open photoshop tonight just to change the photo size to something smaller, so if you click on the pic it's gonna be huge. Consider this your warning and just appreciate it within the context of this post.)

While we're on the subject of thinking, I'm thinking about changing my blogger template. I've had this one for the past year and a half and I can't decide if it's worth trying to dress it up. I mean, I bought a domain name like six months ago and it's still sitting empty; I'm not very good at follow-through. It's like landscaping - simple is best because I get bored with the 'housekeeping' part, and while it's not going to amaze any passers-by, at least no one's calling code enforcement. What's also ridiculous is that I just now got around to adding the 'title' function; I've been doing it in HTML because I couldn't be bothered changing it. Maybe I should worry about changing my ringtone first, since I've been listening to "This Island" by Le Tigre for at least a year now. I'm so behind. What do you think? Is it time to stretch myself?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My mini-book review. It's riveting.

When I go to the gym, I usually like to do a 20 minute warm-up on a cycle so that I can read. Today I had the pleasure of finishing a book, which is something that doesn't happen as often as I'd like. The book is titled Looks: Why They Matter More Than You Ever Imagined by Gordon L. Patzer, Ph.D. It's one of the rare books that I actually grabbed off of the library shelf instead of carefully planning ahead and ordering the book from a different library branch. It came out this year, so I assumed it was current, and the topic intrigued me, as I am what I will call an 'enhancement studies' junkie (i.e. I like to study lookism, cosmetic surgery, and its relationship to the advertising industry/media. Somehow I managed to tie that into film studies when I was in school.) Anyway, back to the book. It was pretty standard, in that there's not a lot of new stuff to say unless you've conducted some sort of new, elaborate study, which Patzer had not. He was very biased (I should've known when he was saying that Ross Perot was the most qualified candidate to run for president in the past, well, pretty much, ever, that he wasn't going to give fair and balanced analysis. Whether or not it's a true statement is unimportant, but that's some pretty heavy editorializing.) I learned nothing new, since we already knew that pretty people get treated better in life and that advertising preys on our fears about our own levels of physical attractiveness. And don't make up fake people as 'case studies' - readers can see right through that. Yadda, yadda, etc, etc. There were two passages in the concluding chapter, though, that really caught my attention. The book was even due back today, but it's worth a ten cent late fee to post these paragraphs.

And I quote, "But we live in a media age, where every sort of dream is manufactured and sold as reality. All too often, Americans do not stop to realize that there is a vast gulf between what is presented on a flickering screen and the real world. Yet everything, every single item that appears in a picture, every word spoken, every sound heard, is a creation of the production and has some specific purpose in being put before the audience. To forget this is to forget that a movie or TV show is merely entertainment. And while one may sometimes learn valid life lessons from art, it is art, it is artifice, it is not reality - it is a construct from beginning to end."

And if that wasn't enough to get me reeling (film is 'merely' entertainment and that's it's only purpose? You just de-legitimized everything that I do! ), I turned the page to this...

"So we are awash in an image tsunami, swimming on a tide of beautiful illusions. It becomes harder and harder to distinguish the reel from the real, to remember that in the end the purpose of all this beauty and glamour, always, is to help somebody make money. Always."

Ummm...a little reductive, don't you think? While there's some validity, hello, I have a huge problem with your unsupported, blanket assessments! Biased jerk.

Discuss. And for worthwhile reads on the topic, just ask. I think I'll go watch some TV now and let my brain rot.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Box of FUN

Our window came via UPS yesterday, which subsequently meant that a large box full of non-biodegradable packing peanuts came to our house. Not so fun for cleaning, but loads of fun for playtime! I put together a little video of our adventures in packing peanut land, and you must remember that I am not the editor in this family. Unless Juston wants to step up and make more videos, you're stuck with my sorry renditions (but I make mine for free.) This video does not include the thirty minutes of cleaning that followed this foray into mess-making.

I'll stick to no edit videos from now on, don't worry.

On a completely unrelated note, I read on someone's blog yesterday that some vegans think that keeping a pet is exploitation of animals. Now really, who is exploiting who? Bridget sits on our heads and scratches us until we pet her. She sleeps in the bed, under the covers. She gets fed regularly and pretty much gets to do whatever she wants. I'd hardly call it a natural life in the wild, but I'd also not call it exploitative. Juston asked me if these same vegans liked to go to the dump and watch the dogs eat trash in their natural habitat. It kind of makes me wonder.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Just in case...

...you need one of these.

The rooster's gone. So sad.

The business portion of the blog

As of late, I've started an involvement with a grassroots charter school effort that is seeking approval to open a new kind of school in 2009 in Atlanta's Historic West End. The Kindezi School is a teacher co-op, with only six students per teacher, and uses what they call the tutorial method - one on one teacher-student interaction and a curriculum designed by the parent and teacher for each child, individually. The six-to-one ratio creates 'family-sized' classrooms and teachers will stay with the same class for at least two years. I'm very excited about the possibilities and I've spent quite a bit of time talking to founding board members, several of whom are very innovative educators. The head of the executive board, Dean Leaper, is actually volunteering his time this year as a teacher for Atlanta Public Schools, teaching a class of only six students (all refugees at different academic levels) to prove that this method works.

The public schools in Southwest Atlanta are lacking at best, and when we purchased our house in West End, we knew that we'd have to look either for other educational opportunities for Frankie in three years, or that we'd have to move. This school, should the charter get approved and should we get Frankie in, would allow us to stay and invest in a community that we're already growing to love even though we don't even live there yet! If you are a parent in Atlanta (especially Southwest Atlanta) please check them out and consider signing their petition. They are looking for a groundswell of local support in order to bolster their chances of making this school a reality. Or, if you don't live in SW ATL but want to show your support for Frankie (!), you can sign a community support petition. I'm attending another meeting tonight that's before the school board and taking Frankie to show that parents are serious about quality educational options in an area of town that's been mostly ignored in the past. (They might later regret asking me to bring my tot when he terrorizes the meeting.) Great things are happening in the West End!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

In tha Hizzy

In keeping with tradition, we spent all day yesterday working on the house. Check this out:

Can lights! We have four of them in each of the rooms now. The electrical is mostly finished at this point, which means that we're ready for sheetrock. I think it's going to change things more than any of our other renovations to this point because it might actually start to look like a place that someone might want to live. I took a few pictures of the studs and insulation just for nostalgia's sake, so we can remember all the stages of remodelation once we're done.

This picture is to give an idea of the ceiling height throughout the house:

And this is from the living room, looking down the hallway.

And what's that in the left corner? Oh, it's a door!

We bought this door in the northern exburbs off of craigslist. It needs a bit of work, but a door like this new is well over $1k, so we saved some serious Benjamins. I tried rotating the picture so that the door was upright, but it gave me a sort of vertigo feeling looking at the door hanging in the air, so I left it on its side. Use your imagination.

I also drove to the exburbs yesterday. I traveled to Snelville, home of Diana DeGarmo. Remember her? Yeah, I didn't think so. I bought the third and final light fixture that will hang in that hallway pictured above. I'm very happy with all three of them.

And now it's time for your Frankie fix (we're looking at you, Grandma!)

He still doesn't like the new house. I think it's the air compressor and the sawsall.


Friday, April 11, 2008


One of the curses of having On Demand is Teletubbies on demand.

Okay, so there's this segment on an episode where a lady sings a (admittedly very British) song called "Five Fat Sausages." (We decided the American version would have to be something like 'five fat bacons' or 'five fried chickens'.) Frankie loves it and always plays along. Here he is, making the sausages go 'bam!' with all of the children on TV. Ah, interactivity. It removes a small amount of the "holy cow that kid watches a lot of Teletubbies" guilt.

(P.S. - this is probably only interesting to grandparent types.)

We tried to play "Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam" - but I made a crucial mistake: I left the TV on. Even Bridget is mesmerized by the Teletubbies baby crack magic. (We accidentally stole the sunbeam from the nursery at church lest you actually think I'm *that* crafty.)

At least three people thought Frankie was a girl because he wore his pink skull and crossbones shirt that day. The mullet really doesn't help either; it's long enough for small pigtails.

Oh, just the usual...

This week I spent way more time than was necessary toiling and laboring in the yard. We had several months' worth of leaf buildup, as well as an embarrassing amount of weeds. No more! This is why I love Atlanta in the spring - it's so nice and warm and enticing to be outside, even when doing laborious tasks. Even when you take into account the yellow stuff (those of you who live here KNOW what I'm talking about), it's still the best place I've ever been in the springtime. The newfound heat, however, must bring out the strangeness. I'll let this video explain itself. And you should watch it to the end.

Okay, I'll explain a bit more. Elder Jones and three other missionaries were at our house for a 'transfers party.' Elder Jones was about to have his final transfer back home, we were all hyped up on Texas sheet cake, and this happened.

When one is a parent, one gets on all kinds of weird mailing lists. This is by far the best thing I've ever received in the mail. Trust me, you need to click on it and read the fine print.

I'm not going to get into how this is wrong on so many levels. I'm just going to let the bad marketing stand: the appeal to my husband's macho nature, my supposed pride and joy at putting my child in a pageant at the age of 20 months, the assumption that he's a rock star and the reveling in his dudeness. Let's stereotype my baby and try to get over the stigma of pageants only for girls - let's give showbiz parents of all genders the chance to destroy their childrens' lives young! Why why why do babies (or children of any age) need gender-segregated beauty contests?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Small friends.

This past weekend, we visited Abram & Jeremiah to drop off a birthday present and sneak in some cake. :)

Abe + Frankie. It's too bad I didn't get a good pic of him with Jeremiah - he doesn't say 'Abe' yet, but he's always asking for 'Jay.'

We managed to get posed pictures of hugs; I'm kind of surprised Frankie went along with it. These two are going to be serious trouble in Sunbeams.

We got them a bubble machine. Of course it was a hit - what kid under the age of five *doesn't* love bubbles? (Too bad it was pouring rain - sorry about the carpet!)

I've finally cleared out my backlog of pictures, so you can plan on a slowing of posts unless I come up with something really profound to say or I finally get my job teaching at the community college. I talked to them last week, it's looking more probable than ever. Now if I could ever set up an appointment for that second interview and filling out paperwork - I had my first interview back in July. Yep. Last July. But fingers crossed! And I wouldn't count on anything profound.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

More fun with iPhone

While Juston's iPhone continually crashes and renders him unavailable by phone at inconvenient moments, he does like to take pictures with it. Here's a few that he shared with me and that I, in turn, am sharing with the world. I kind of think that was the idea.

Yesterday at the house, I was shop vac'ing away, but Frankie just wasn't having it. In these photos, he was clinging to my legs for dear life, which resulted in him trying to pull down my pants more than once. I think he's scared of the air compressor, nail gun, saw, and shop vac, which makes it a bit difficult for me to do more than clean up at the worksite as I'm usually on 'toddler duty' while Juston does the heavy duty work. When it's not raining, we usually just work on the yard. It's easier.

Our bathroom windows, installed. They look really lovely in the sunlight.

The living room mantel, in a current state of sanding.

Corn dog. People are always reminding us that this equals heavy dental work; trust me, I'm already having nightmares about the orthodontia.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Cold feet

Okay so I need some advice. We ordered a Silestone quartz surface countertop for the kitchen (same pattern as the one pictured above), but now I'm having buyer's remorse. Obviously they haven't cut the countertop or anything like that - we've still got at least 1 1/2 months until our kitchen will be to that stage. I'm assuming it's not too late to change my mind at this point. So should we have gone granite? Will this be a liability instead of an asset when we go to sell? What do you think?

*Edit*: I think I've decided that if we do go with Silestone, we're going to go with a different look for sure - maybe more of a 'white' because it's neutral but then we could play up the kitchen with some cool pendant lights and a great paint color. I dunno, I'm stressing about this way more than I should. So white-ish countertops and art glass hanging pendants in yellow blaze? Yes?

Edit #2 - tomorrow I'm going to look at silestone slabs at the distributor. And then there's plan #3: laminate money-savers. Just not sure if that's going to be a bigger black eye in a few years.

Week in review.

So this week at the house, I managed to unclog a drain with baking soda and vinegar because I'm awesome (and drano scares me.) Bridget got vaccinated and was really lethargic for a couple of days, which was sad. Luckily she's back to whatever it is that she does, which is mostly bark at the TV and try to eat everything in sight. Frankie drew a mural with yellow chalk on the garage door.

Juston finally broke out his new bike and took Frankie for a ride around the neighborhood.

A guy dropped his daughter off at the preschool and said that since he did his daughter's hair, maybe I'd like to fix it. I told him to look at my hair and my son's hair and that it probably wasn't a good idea. This was my attempt at trying to match Frankie's hair with mine.

We acquired a plastic basketball hoop from craigslist, and it's a popular item with the short one.

We went to the zoo on Friday, and Frankie stuck his finger in the gorilla's nose (he's recently discovered putting fingers in nostrils) and pretty much refused to look at the camera for any pictures.

Yep, I'd say that about does it.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


I hate Michael Bay films. He's the master of films with giant plot holes and an overabundance of cleavage and big explosions. (However, I do like to make fun of films with lots of big explosions.) Explaining all of the reasons why I hate Bay's films is an entire post in and of itself, and I don't feel like going there right now. (You can read about how much I despised Transformers here.) But I saw this commercial today thanks to Juston and it just might change my opinion of Mr. Bay. Not his films, just the man behind the Hollywood product placement machine.

It's possibly the most amazing commercial I've seen in my life. If the guy can make fun of himself (and his films' penchant for big explosions) so blatantly, I've got to give him props.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


So, I bought another stained glass window tonight on ebay. Right now, the house is framed for an octagon window, but I don't really like octagon windows, so I started looking for something else. We debated just buying a run-of-the-mill vinyl, rectangular window at the Home Depot, but figured that was too boring for our kitchen! No, we must go overboard with stained glass fixtures because we can, and that's the only reason. Here's a picture of our new acquisition.

This window is 29 1/4" x 17", so it'll fit the space nicely. And, for fun, I'm also currently winning another stained glass hanging light fixture for the hallway. Shipping on these things isn't cheap, so if I can get it for a price of under $5, I'm going to get it as well. Do you think it's a bit much? Probably, but it's getting really hard to stop at this point. :)

And on the topic of excess, I present to you THE PROFESSOR!

Eighty saturated fat grams of crisis control that Juston gave to a co-worker. I'm not sure if she really got the joke, but you know, it never hurts to have a giant, rather studious chocolate rabbit around just in case.


So a team of four ladies came to our house yesterday right in the middle of Frankie's nap to evaluate his language and developmental skills. He cried for the first half hour of their visit, quite violently at times, because of his rude awakening. He wouldn't calm down until I turned on Teletubbies for him; they work some sort of 'baby crack' magic that I don't quite understand. At that point, he happily did everything the ladies asked and he was deemed 'normal.' We were relieved and pretty much suspected that there weren't any problems or delays based on his behavior. He likes to put bubbles in face when bathing.

He thinks that Elmo is used for basketball; to Frankie, everything is used for basketball! There is nothing that cannot be dunked.

And, in typical Frankie fashion, he knows that it's polite to share.

In all seriousness, we're so happy that Frankie is now caught up developmentally since he was a bit late to reach a few of his milestones. He's a typical toddler, which means he's all trouble, but in a cute, mullet-y sort of way which means he can get away with it.