Trading Spaces

Today is the day of The Big Move. I’ve rounded up help to move Howard’s drawing and computing space out of the Dungeon Office of Doom and into a room with a view. Granted it is mostly a view of grass and feet, but it has actual daylight.

The move is about halfway done right now. The heavy lifting is over. Two amazing friends came over and carried Howard’s big drawing table up the stairs and maneuvered it around the corner into his new office without having to disassemble it. This saved us one or two hours of frustration with accompanying attmepts to not swear. I was REALLY not looking forward to taking that thing apart and putting it back together. There are springs and bolts and nuts and odd shaped pieces of metal involved. Instead all of the heavy lifting was done in less than 30 minutes. Yay!

Now comes the computer re-assembly. I’ve drafted Chalain and Liren to help me with this. Mostly Chalain, Liren is along for the ride and to keep me company. In theory the computer reassembly is tedious, but routine. Except that I know computer systems. We could be in for an hour or two of frustration with accompanying attempts not to swear.

Travelling again

The human mind is an amazing thing. I’ve been so excited and anticipatory about moving the office on Saturday that I managed to almost totally repress the fact that Howard had to leave for a week long trip today. Repression fled last night as I helped Howard pack his suitcases. Then I got to spend time with him this morning and then Gleek, Patches, and I got to wave goodbye as he drove away. (Link & Kiki said bye before they went to school.)

The good news is that I’m still sufficiently anticipatory about moving the office that I’m not feeling sad or lonely yet. I figure I’m saving the sad and lonely until Saturday night when all the work is done and Howard isn’t here to admire it. I have the camera and I’ll take pictures to show to him, but it won’t be the same as having him here to give me a hug and say “Wow!”

Today begins three weeks during which I’ll see Howard for 4 days. This is the tightest packed travel schedule that we’ve ever dealt with. Hopefully I’ll keep busy enough that the time will go quickly.

The Light Fantastic

It’s amazing how seemingly small things can thoroughly delight kids. For months now the ceiling light in Kiki and Link’s room has been broken. It had a short in it which burned out bulbs in minutes. It was summer and the days were pretty long, so we just made do with the bedside lamps after dark. Then the days started getting shorter. And I started hearing “I’m scared!” a lot more often. So a few days ago Howard bought a florescent light fixture to put up in their room. He installed it this morning. Can we say “overkill”? Kiki and Link now have the brightest room in the whole house. They love it. Kiki said “It’s like Day!” I squinted and agreed. Then we turned off the light and discovered that florescent light really powers up all the little glow-in-the-dark stars on their ceiling. They now have a super-glowing galaxy to watch as they fall asleep. There were squeals and giggles at this discovery. Link summed it up by saying: “This is my bestest day!”


Long long day. I went to the gym as part of my sporadic effort to shed ten more pounds. From the gym I went to pick up Kiki and Link from school. I then drove straight to Kiki’s art lessons. Then to Link’s gymnastics class where we killed 30 minutes waiting for it to start. Then back to pick up Kiki and drop her off at home. Killed 15 minutes at home then picked up Link. Then headed over to the church building for a Relief Society meeting which I ducked out of early because I was just feeling down and exhausted instead of sociable.

The Wednesday afternoon schedule is exhausting on purpose so that I’m only driving all over one day out of the week. All the other afternoons I get to stay at home. Yay.

I just hope I get more used to Wednesdays so that I don’t end up feeling this blue at the end of every one.


I don’t know if it’s the cooler weather or the school schedule, but I’ve begun feeling project-ish lately. I suddenly have lists of things that I want to do. In the interests of organizing my thinking on them I’m going to catalog them in here.

The biggest project is the one which will enable many of the other projects. We’re going to shift Howard out of the Dungeon Office Of Doom. The current office which Howard and I share is a windowless basement room. The space is crammed full of two workspaces and cluttered with papers and books. Half a flight of stairs upward we have a guest room with a window.

We’ve decided that leaving a room empty for guests who are only here a few weeks out of the year may be hospitable, but it isn’t a good use of space. Howard is going to get that room. He’ll get access to actual daylight whil he is working. My computer stays in the basement, but I get the whole rest of the dungeon room to set up as I please. It’ll have the futon for guests, shelves full of books, and a big table upon which I can spread out a project and leave it for a week without anybody spilling food on it or moving things around.

I’m excited about this move. It’s going to happen this Saturday while Howard is out of town so that his buffer productivity won’t be impacted. I’ve already drafted the help I’ll need for it. I’m dreading moving Howards big drawing table though.

Other Projects:
2004 Tayler Family Scrapbook
“Who Was Grandpa/Grandma Tayler” books
Howard Childhood photo book
Sandra Childhood photo book
painting & sewing Road & River blanket for Patches Christmas.
sew stuffed Dragon for my mom for Christmas
see if Microwaving Pressed Flowers really works
actually put together some of those puzzles gathering dust
sort and re-organize games shelves
clean up my bedroom
plant tulip bulbs when they arrive
repaint and decorate kid’s bathroom
finish the story I’ve been working on

I’m sure there are more, but those are the ones in the front of my brain right now. For today I need to be cleaning up so that Saturday’s move can go smoothly.

Rites of Passage

We had a rite of passage around here today.  Kiki got her ears pierced.  She’s wanted it done since she was about 5.  My parents wouldn’t let me get mine done until I was 12, so my first reaction was to make her wait until 12.  But when I sat down and tried to figure out “Why 12?” I found my back brain mumbling something about “responsibility” and “old enough”.  I realized what I really wanted was for her to be responsible enough to take care of the holes and earrings herself without any intervention from me.  I decided that when she was consistently taking care of her hair and fixing it every day without my help, that would demonstrate adequate levels of responsibility. 

I told Kiki this and from age 5 to age 9 she had sporadic days where she tried to earn her earrings.  Then about a month ago I realized it had been months sinced I’d brushed Kiki’s hair.  It looked nice, so I had to assume that she’d been doing it by herself.  I brought it up with Howard and double checked that he was alright with his daughter having holes in her earlobes. He was fine with it.  In fact he was the one who took her out to lunch and to the mall to get her ears pierced. 

Kiki is extremely delighted with the ear rings.  Far more delighted now than she would have been had I simply taken her after her first request.  She earned the right to wear those ear rings. 

I swear I didn’t intentionally plan it this way 4 years ago, but now I really really like the fact that she has a physical reminder that responsibility brings priveledges.  This is such an important message to teach children because we live in a society which believes in entitlement.  All forms of media preach it every day and if kids can’t see in their own lives that we get what we earn, then they’ll believe the hype.  Wow, that got preachy.

Anyway, Kiki has ear rings and they look beautiful on her.  And I feel wistful and nostalgic because my “baby” is growing up so fast and now she has her ears pierced. 

Business and Opportunity Cost

I’ve been musing on Opportunity Costs lately.  Opportunity Cost is a term that I learned in my high school economy class.  Opportunity Cost basically means that anything you get requires you to give up something else.  The Opportunity Cost of buying a new stereo is that you are unable to buy a new computer.  The Opportunity Cost of watching a movie is that you’re unable to spend the time playing with kids, or reading a book, or anything else with that time.

I’m pretty convinced that the simplest way to have a happy life is to make sure that the value of the things you choose to do, buy, have, be, outweighs the accompanying opportunity costs. Unfortunately that isn’t always easy to do.  Sometimes the thing we get isn’t happy even though the opportunity cost is much worse.  Getting to stay at an unpleasant job doesn’t make us happy even though unemployment is worse.

This has been on my brain as Howard and I make plans to get from where we are (Employed by Novell, frequently stressed, Schlock barely paying for itself) to where we want to be (Schlock paying for the family, Howard home more, actual free time).  There are large, carefully laid plans for getting us from here to there.  We don’t talk about these plans much because sometimes talking about them would break them.  People ask why there isn’t more merchandise, they ask why don’t we do this thing, or why on earth we did that thing.  Mostly I don’t answer because the answer involves a treatise on economics and Good Business Practice which they didn’t ask for and probably don’t want to listen to anyway.

Howard and I have been running a business for over 10 years.  It has never been a profitable business and the goals of the business have changed significantly, but we’ve learned a lot.  We’ve learned how to be professional.  We’ve learned how to properly account for the money and inventory.  We’ve learned what things we can do for ourselves and when the best solution is to develop relationships with other businesses.  Schlock is building slowly and merchandise is coming slowly because we are making sure that we don’t go running out on a limb and swamp the business with expenses that will kill it.  We went down that road before when we were doing music.  I don’t want to go there again.

It’s all about opportunity costs.  Every penny that goes into shirt production can’t go into book productions.  Which will sell better?  Probably books.  But to prep the book takes time.  Time to find a publisher and distributor.  Time to put the book together.  Every slice of time that goes into Schlock production doesn’t go into Novell, or Family, or relaxation.  Time must be parcelled out carefully or things fall apart.  It is all pretty delecately balanced and trying to move faster will send things crashing and breaking.

Moving slowly when I want to run is incredibly frustrating.  I’m here and I want to be there.  I want to be there right now

The Phantom of the Opera

Early in my college career Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical play The Phantom of the Opera came into focus for me.  It had been camped on Broadway for months and had expanded to a theater in LA.  Both locations were selling out regularly.  I became interested in the play because of a roommate who’d seen it and loved it.  I listened to her soundtrack, bought the soundtrack, read the original book, bought the original book, looked through books about the creation of the play, and finally convinced my family to go and see it while we were in LA for a trip to Disneyland.  I loved it, but became convinced that my family members were phlistines because they didn’t properly appreciate it. (I’ve revised this opinion since).  Then my life moved on and I haven’t spent much of the intervening 11 years thinking about phantoms or operas.

Then the other day I was browsing a movie trailer site and saw a trailer labeled Phantom of the Opera.  I clicked and discovered to my surprise that the artistic wrangling over the creation of a movie based on Webbers’ play had been worked through, and the film will come out in theaters this December.  I’m going to be there.  I looked at who they picked for the major parts and the faces look right to me.  The images in the trailer looked beautiful.  I figure the probability that they failed to capture the glory of the play is pretty high, but the nostalgia alone is worth $4.50 (I do matinees).

This morning I pulled out my dusty copy of the Phantom Soundtrack and listened to it while I cleaned the kitchen.  By “listened” I mean “sang along at the top of my voice.”  I love being able to match the high notes in beautiful songs although a few of the highest notes were only reachable by screeching.  I screeched away joyfully.  No one who can tell on me is within hearing range.  Gleek and Patches seemed to take the performance in stride and just went on with their day. 

Now I’m wanting to get the highlights soundtrack for Les Miserables which was really popular at the same time, but which I never acquired the soundtrack for.  I used to be able to sing those songs by heart, but I’ve forgotten most of the words now.  While I’m at it I might pick up the soundtrack for Chicago, that movie was absolutely fantastic and I want to learn those songs.  Unfortunately I just tightened up the budget so no splurging for me today.  I’ll just have to stick them on my wish list and look forward to Christmas.  Perhaps my local library has them.  For now I’m going to go pop in the second disc of Phantom and go fold some laundry.

Castle in the Sky

I just watched Castle in the Sky with my kids and Howard.  None of us had seen it before.  It was fantastic.  It is the only Anime movie that I’ve ever seen where I outright loved all of it.  Kiki’s Delivery Service is cute, but the pacing feels off and I didn’t get wrapped up in the story.  Ditto My Neighbor Totoro.  I’ve grown to love both, but didn’t love them right away.  The other anime that I’ve seen is beautifully drawn, but all of the stories failed to engage me.  It is entirely possible that I’ve just missed all of the good stuff.  (Feel free to recommend some, but be aware that I’m not keen on graphic violence or sex even animated.)

Castle in the Sky was an instant hit with all of us.  Gleek kept making delighted exclaimations throughout the movie. (“The robot is their friend!”)  Link and Kiki were enraptured.    All three kids wanted to watch the movie again right away.  After I refused to allow an imediate re-showing, the kids all engaged in a delightful discussions about whether it would be possible for a tree to grow up in the sky.  Kiki and Gleek both asserted that it was.  Kiki said the tree needed something floating to grow on.  Gleek said it only needed a blue diamond.  Link was doubtful about this, but agreed that it might work if there was magic involved.  They all went to bed happily musing on castles and crystals and trees and giant robots.

I suspect that the kind friend who loaned us the DVD won’t be getting it back for several weeks. 


According to Howard if the Red Badge of Courage is Blood, then the Translucent Badge of Motherhood is Snot.

I ponder this while wearing my third shirt for today. If I ever have amnesia I’ll be able to tell that I’m a mother just by looking at my clothes. They’re oldish, stained, washable, easy to move in, and usually “badged”.

Fortunately neither Howard nor the kids seem to care what my clothes look like. Although there have been some times where I’ve wondered what other people think as I look down and realized that I forgot to change before going out in public. If I were a celebrity, there would be tons of paparazzi photos of me looking horrible. So many opportunities for photo taking.