Saturday, November 22, 2008


Erich has to go to Mexico tomorrow. My first inclination is to really whine about this trip. It was originally scheduled for a few weeks ago, at a time when his company's offices in Brazil and Spain couldn't cover it like they usually do. Even though it ended up being delayed, somehow Erich stayed stuck with the responsibility of going down there.

He has school work to do. Thanksgiving is next week. So, how irritating that he has to take a four-hour flight to Mexico City and drive an additional four hours, just so he can be present while some substation undergoes some testing. They would prefer he stays the whole week, but there's no way he's missing Thanksgiving. Therefore, his flight home lands at 12:20 Thursday morning. I argue: Brazil and Spain don't even have Thanksgiving! So why is Erich stuck with this job?

As annoyed as I was about this trip, I, luckily, quickly grew up and realized how incredibly blessed we are. I keep hearing more and more about people being laid off. I think about people with lots of investments who have lost a lot of money, and I particularly worry about those near retirement age, who don't have time to wait for the market to take an upturn.

Erich's office is too small to have 401k benefits and the bulk of our savings is in regular savings accounts, so we haven't lost much money recently. And Erich is an electrical engineer who specializes in power. His job will pretty much never be out of demand. And if his company wants him to be down in Mexico, even if someone else could do it, he must be reasonably competent and important.

I'm so proud of my husband, and I hope I never forget to count our blessings. Enjoy that warm weather, Erich!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Five: 11/21


1. What made you happy this week?

Erich did a big grocery shopping trip. I've been a little under the weather and it meant a lot that he just made a big list and bought a bunch of food, including planning a bunch of meals. Thanks, honey!

2. What made you sad?

I honestly can't think of anything. Yay for no sadness!

3. What made you angry?

The computer program that records TV for us keeps malfunctioning, and once again our Thursday TV shows didn't get recorded. For various reasons, it's probably only worked once for us this fall season.

4. What are you looking forward to in the next week?

Thanksgiving! One of my favorite holidays. This year is Erich's extended family, and it's going to be a crazy huge gathering. My favorite!

5. What are you not looking forward to?

Erich has to go to Mexico City next week, Sunday through the wee hours of Thursday morning. I am NOT looking forward to this.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Moments in Spain: Approaching the Guggenheim

Architect Frank Gehry used plates of titanium placed in such a way to look like fish scales.

"The randomness of the curves are designed to catch the light." --Frank Gehry

Computer simulation made the structure of the building possible to execute.

When viewing the pond from the inside of the museum, there appears to be no division between it and the Nervión river beyond.

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Funny Husband

Erich, to me on the phone: What do you want for dinner, tacos or tuna casserole? [He's so wonderful and did a lot of grocery shopping and prepared dinner after a full day of work.]

Me: Ummm...tuna casserole!

Erich: Correct.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wedding Memories: Garden Photos

I had decided that I wanted Magi, the photographer, to take pictures of me out in my parents' backyard. In retrospect, I'm not sure the photos are worth the amount of time it took, especially considering the fact that I had forgotten to put on my jewelry and the flowers were delivered directly to the church. The backyard pictures definitely would have looked better with jewelry and bouquets. Also, I envisioned more action photos of strolling through the garden, but they were pretty much all posed.

Okay, have I talked down the photos enough? They're not my favorite, obviously, but there were some good ones:

There were also some good ones of me with my lovely maidens:

With sister and Matron-of-Honor, Anne

Sister-in-law Erin

Friend Sarah

Friend Melissa

All of us

And last, but not least, one with my mother

All that smiling was starting to get tiring, and the day was still young!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Taxes ≠ Charity

I'm currently reading an excellent book called How Christianity Changed the World by Alvin J. Schmidt. Christianity has truly shaped our world in ways that people may not realize. Dr. Schmidt shows in this book how dramatically the world changed when the Christians grew in number and influence over the Greco-Romans.

During election season, I remember reading arguments for state welfare that quoted the gospel of Matthew: "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me" (Matt. 25:35-36). Christians would use this passage as a reason to vote democrat.

This never sat well with me, and the reason why is articulated perfectly by Dr. Schmidt in his chapter on Christian charity. Allow me to quote the book:

While it is indisputably true that modern state welfare is largely the outgrowth of Christianity's centuries-old charity practices, it needs to be noted that there are several reasons why state welfare programs cannot be equated with Christian charity. State welfare today corresponds more to the pagan liberalitis of Rome than to Christian caritas. The latter, as noted earlier, was done out of selfless love, whereas the former was done with the objective of receiving some type of reciprocity. While a great deal of today's state welfare is provided to assist those in need, it lacks genuine love. State welfare programs operate on the basis of coercion; funds are involuntarily gathered by means of enforced taxation, and thus they violate the spirit and method of true Christian charity. Although governmental welfare programs help many of the unfortunate, and while they might be called charity, they are not Christian charity; nor are they Christian compassion.

State welfare programs are also at odds with Christian charity in that they often produce unintended harmful effects by unintentionally encouraging the loss of individual responsibility and even rewarding it.[...]

Another effect of governmental welfare programs at odds with Christian charity is that they often foster political demagoguery by pandering to the voters who are recipients of social welfare. Political demagoguery clearly violates Christian charity, not only because it uses lies and deception, but also because it benefits the selfish interests of the demagogues who, by presenting themselves as advocates of state welfare programs, reap political gain since those who are dependent on governmental handouts will vote for them in order to keep the handouts coming. Such politicians are practicing Roman liberalitis, not Christian caritas.[...]

Christianity...fosters freedom from all forms of slavery. State welfare, on the other hand, tends to create a permanently dependent class, really a new type of slavery. The essence of slavery is being dependent on someone or some entity for one's livelihood, and all forms of slavery demoralize human beings. Thus, enforced social welfare programs, which at first may appear altruistic and generous, are, in the long run, often detrimental (144-147).

There you have it. Ease your consciences, Christians. It's not charity if the government takes your money to give to others. I prefer to choose my charities and not have the government decide who deserves my hard-earned money.

Halloween Party Addendum

I got a valid question in a comment on my last post. What did Erich and I dress up as?

I found some facebook pictures:

I wore the same queen costume that I wore for my piano recital. I labeled my orange solo cup "Susie Queen," saying, "Now we know what the Q stands for!" yuk yuk yuk. I have no idea what I'm doing here, btw. But I am standing behind Matt, aka Joe the Plumber and facing Erin the Native American. Paul the wizard is getting some food.

Erich is not a king. He's Brian Urlacher with cheap Target jersey and black lipstick under his eyes. He's talking to the graduated cylinder, Sigmund Freud, and Dan the 50s guy.

Fun times!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Halloween Party

Last year, I had this crazy idea to host a Halloween party as a personal incentive to get my house organized and decorated after the craziness of moving, the wedding, and the honeymoon. This was a craaaazy idea. Needless to say, it did not happen, but we did get to go to a great Halloween party put on by my friend and former roommate, Melissa, at my former place of residence.

This year, however, it totally worked out. Since I was planning the Halloween recital, I was already in the planning mode, and our place is finally to a point where I don't mind showing it off. And anyway, besides some food, all you really need is RockBand 2 (check), Beirut in the basement (check) and really, really awesome friends (check and check!)!

Sadly, I did not get photos of everyone in costume, but here's a sampling:

Anne and Jed as frontier folk

Tim and Erin, self-explanatory :)

My dad, aka "Wade"

Sarah and Chris as a flapper and Tequila Joe

George as Indiana Jones

Niki and Cory as Sigmund Freud and a graduated cylinder (get it?? :)

We had many other friends attend, but sadly these are all the pictures I got. Though I say so myself, this party really rocked. I can't wait to host more parties in the future!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Moments in Spain: Big Spider Sculpture

This is "Maman" (Mommy) by Louise Bourgeois, which stands outside the Guggenheim Museum:

(Sidenote: that red thing that makes the bridge look like a suspension bridge? Entirely artistic.)

Friday Five: 11/7

Another Friday Five taken from the archives. Yay, blog fodder!

1. What type of hair do you have? (Thin, Normal, Thick, Frizzy, etc.)

I would call it "normal." Right now it's kind of split-endy and in need of a trim.

2. What color is your hair currently?

I've heard myself called a redhead a few times recently. This makes me uncomfortable because I just don't see myself as a redhead. But, since Clairol Natural Instincts "Mahogany" turned out to be quite red for the first week or two, I guess I'm kind of a redhead. I've been searching for the perfect store-bought dark brown coppery shade, and I think I'm closing in on it. I have come away from the salon with really good hair color, but that's too expensive to do all the time.

3. What colors have you dyed/highlighted your hair?

My natural color is a blondish ashy light brown. In high school I got honey blonde highlights around sophomore and junior year. I let that grow out from senior year through most of college. Then I got the itch to do more with my hair. Junior year of college I had a long perm, which was kind of cute sometimes, but I'll probably never do that again. Then senior year I had a revelation: what if I dye my hair darker?? OMG that could be so cute! And alas, ever since then I've always had a hair color that is to some degree darker and redder than my natural color.

4. If you could dye your hair any color, what would it be?

Well, I think I've covered what color I actually want my hair to be. But if it weren't for my skin tone (yellow undertones), I'd try shades that would, in reality, look really awful on me. Like platinum or strawberry blonde, or jet black. Maybe I should just experiment with wigs.

5. What is your hair's length?

LONG for me. I've been growing it out since just over a year before the wedding, so over two years now, and it's now halfway down my back. Did I mention I need a trim? Sometimes the length is annoying, but I like it. It helps my face not look so round. :)

Thursday, November 6, 2008


The best thing that came out of Election Day was a trip to the Morton Arboretum. Thanks to global warming beautiful weather, my mom and I decided to take our twice-weekly walk at the Arboretum instead of in my neighborhood.

What a treat! I absolutely love fall colors, and usually it's too cold and dreary to go out and enjoy them at their peak. But the 70+ degree weather and bright sunshine made this the perfect day.

Enough words, enjoy the photos:

Wedding Memories: Another Dress Goes On

After we successfully got the bride into her dress, Alayna, the nearly two-year-old unofficial flower girl seemed ready to look just as pretty.

Let's just slip this on...

Hmm, something went wrong. Let's try stepping in...

I think it's working!

Oh, nope.

The face of toddler defiance

Off the hook for now!

Her dress did eventually go on...

...but she was never very happy in it. I think it was just too scratchy and uncomfortable.

That theory is supported by how happy she was at the reception in her play clothes!