Welcome to the world of Irongate

This is where we welcome each of you to the world of us.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone renounced violence forever? I could then conquer the whole stupid planet with just a butter knife.

Two benches ignoring a tree.

I stole this picture and headline from Renee'.
Maybe the only creative thing I'll ever do is blog. Blog creatively. Although Brinbrin and Matt seemed happy with my writing help on the adoption resume. That made me happy. Even if they don't use any of it, and they hate it all, at least they lied to me and said they liked it. So I'm good for something, at least.

We painted this weekend. I will eventually put up a couple pics of our objet d'art, but really, for now, just use your imagination. Mine, titled "Roadkill Birds," had three nice small poppies in the corner and some good grass. Amanda's is a lovely still life, with a blue vase and several varieties of flower. She got paint on her shorts, but it came out. At first, Renee' was frustrated, toiling and heaving over her work, sighing and stomping off, returning - "How's this?" "No, that's crap," the rest of us would say, gently encouraging her to keep trying. "Ok, this isn't bad," she'd say. And B would give her the ole "No, you should stop now and start over with a new canvas. Really. Don't touch it." And R would glare and pout, walk off, come back. But when she started over, it was brilliant. She even came back to the original crap painting and turned it into an awesome urban-ish flower. They both created some really cool pieces.

I feel obsessed with painting and being creative. Last week, or over the weekend (I don't remember -- time is becoming muddy these days), I was haunting the house trying to find my box of pastels. Couldn't find 'em. Wanted to go out and buy more at 11pm. Renee' was all, "Why am I living with a lunatic?" and I was all, "Do you want some bread? Maybe some toast. Where are my pastels? They aren't in this closet or in that box or in the freezer."

There is this insatiable need to do more. I did one painting to their 10. The paint makes me twitchy. The brushes make me wish I could use my fingers. People kept talking to me. I'd be in the middle of a brushstroke and Amanda would get paint on her eyeball. Or I'd be contemplating the fabulous combination of brown on brown, and the girls would be all, "Andi, your painting is a pit of despair. What do you think of mine?"

The kicker is, I'm ok with sucking (for now) because I just want to keep doing it. One day, my paints will come.

Monday, May 29, 2006

HOLIDAY!!! but wait...all things below are boring..

Ok so we had a much needed holiday weekend. It is funny to me when we are exhausted at the end of it though. As we were just walking up the stairs Andi said "will you please bring the aparment down." She is such a funny gal, that Andi!

Ok so life is busy pretty much all of the time. However, this weekend was slow moving and gentle on the soul. Friday seems so long ago. We went out to dinner at Bravo! It was wonderful in every way. Oh wait...was that Sat? I forget. Anyways at some point we went out to Bravo and it was Bravo.

Saturday we went to Brenda's and spent the day working on the adoption album and doing a little painting. We also watched a movie and grilled. It was general laziness and good times.
I believe we were productive on the album but we will see what Brenda ends up posting. I am so grateful that we got to be a part of this important process once again.

Sunday Andi and I mostly just did a whole bunch of nothing. We lost such track of time that we were guessing it to be between and 11am and 2pm and it was actually 2:30 pm. What a lovely day it was. We picked up Amanda at 8pm came home watched yet another movie and that was that.

Today we got up at 10am, which was lovely. We had breakfast and headed to Barndoors for yet another day full of painting and grilling with swimming thrown in the mix. It was a lovely time.
I did manage to put out two grill fires and the house did not burn down.

It was a blast being in the pool with the family. Now we are home and starting to slip back into reality. Well, at least the grown ups are slowly fighting reality. Amanda however is just about to embark on a journey.

I love our life. I am anxious for vacation. I will be meeting Andi's family and I am excited to put faces with the names.

Friday, May 19, 2006


So, my daughter is a Shoshone Indian. At least, for a day. A few minutes anyway. She was part of a classroom "wax museum" - a display of characters that speak when asked to give information about their history. Kind of cool, wish I could have gone to see it, but today we had a new business pitch that needed conversion from InDesign to Word and it took all morning with two editors working on it. So yeah. I volleyed with her father about going, and he went, took pics, and sent them on to me. Her first words when I said he was trying to go, "Oh man, he's always criticizing me." But maybe he holds her to a higher standard and in general, lazy people hate that.

Please note how I slaved away on the accessories for this costume. I made a "fur shawl," a headband, and a baby wrap out of the finest WalMart cloth. But I think she put it on crooked and it just doesn't look right in this picture. No matter how often I tried to get her to take some care when she put it on for rehearsal, she just didn't give a crap. Sigh. You know how they say a mother's work is never done? It's also "dust in the wind." People don't notice when you do it right, and they sure do when you get it wrong. Ah well, keep on keepin' on. She'll be 18 one day and then I'll be begging to sew costumes and do scrapbooks and paint boxes and watch movies and play board games and go for walks. Life is comfortable but it still isn't FAIR.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Language in another language

This is an instruction manual of an MP3 player written in English by non-native English speakers. Here is an excerpt:

For you using the unit correctly. Please read the attached manual carefully before you using the unit. We will not inform individually if the information in the manual was changed.

1. Please take out the battery from the unit for prevent the unit damaged if you don't use it long time.
2. Don't use the unit in very hot and cool and dank environment.
3. Please make sure the "lock" button on unlock position.
4. Don't collide the unit with hard object. Otherwise it maybe wear the surface or fall off the battery or damage the hardware of the unit.
5. Please change the battery under the following condition.
a) The symbol of the battery volume was blank and flashing.
b) The system was power off automatically. And power off again soon after power on.
c) All buttons no function and they are still no function after take out and replace the battery.
6. Avoid to using the unit in very dry condition for prevent static electricity.
7. Don't disconnect during the unit is in formatting and uploading and downloading. Otherwise it may make wrong the program.
8. When using the unit for moveable storage. Please export document correctly per the document management method.

It is enter stop interface no matter enter music interface from any interface. The current directory should be resume to the directory when left if the current song need to resume to the song when left MUSIC. It will turn to the first file of the directory if the resume song was avoided.

I would like to mention that I found almost no misspellings. And even though on first read it doesn't seem to make sense, I bet if you had the MP3 in front of you and needed to perform a step, you could figure it out. Me love you long time.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

What Scrapple Means to Me.

Scrapple is a food I ate often while growing up. It's a northeastern thing, and nowhere here in Texas have I located any Scrapple. Scrapple's finest brand is represented by Rapa, a Delaware-based company who only makes Scrapple.

Do you need to know what it is? Well, it's a breakfast meat. What kind of breakfast meat, you ask? Take a pig. Take a blender. Add some cornmeal. Form into blocks. Slice and fry in the pan and eat with scrambled eggs and toast. You don't look too closely into your Scrapple. Any oddly textured bits get swallowed with the rest, and you just don't think too hard about your breakfast. Because the taste is amazing - surpasses bacon, sausage, kippers, and Spam in all ways. (Spam is maybe not a great example, tho Amanda loves how Renee' cooks Spam.)

My sister can tell you a great story about families and Scrapple. When I was around 2 or 3 years old in our hometown of Delaware, I was laying spread eagle on the floor. So she asked, "Hey you, what are you doing?" To which I replied delightedly, "I'm a piece of Scrapple!!" Isn't that adorable? See how influential this stuff is? Children and barns alike were raised on this stuff, the building blocks of nutritional mystery.

Some people eat it with syrup, but I'm not a fan. These are the syrup-on-my-sausage types, and I'm not akin to this. I like mine cut thin and fried DARK - my brother likes it that way too, I think. My whole family has cravings of it, so that a select few of us began making our own, which is pretty darn good. By us, I mean, not me, per se. Now that only my one brother and one family friend remain in the northeast, what choice did we have? My other brother in Austin and myself have to wait to either get care packages of Scrapple or travel to Florida, where my sisters and mom make it themselves, or they wait for care packages of Scrapple. It's a desperate situation really, and I've discovered Rapa ships! but only through February because of the temperatures. Understandable, since
Scrapple gone bad is absolutely not to be trifled with.

It's an old recipe: Rapa does it best, my sisters do it well, and every other version I've tried just doesn't cut it. So I'm hoping you all get a chance to try some. Gather your best folks around you so you can stay distracted while you eat your Scrapple.

Monday, May 08, 2006

B is for Birthday, Beef and Brooligig

This is one of my birthday presents. For those in my life who I love dearly, I so wish you could be there to experience these priceless objet d'art. This - is apology steak. Named so for its aroma of Matt's sincere regret for his wrongdoings, his slips of the tongue, his faux pas. Any mistake or misstep made in our direction, and his payback is a steak dinner. He may have been sorry for the fact that he is singlehandedly responsible for global warming, and if I have to turn the A/C up in the apt, we nail him. I mean, he offers up dinner for our whole family, cooked by him. Repast on Sunday was no exception.

I don't have photos of the lovely wheat-free bread/crushed nut horse derbies, or whatever he called them. We did bring salad, and Brenda always makes potatoes. (She has to contribute somehow; I mean, we can barely tolerate her presence as it is - there has to be peace offering.)
We brought the salad so we didn't come across entirely as the freeloaders that we are. (Kudos to Bingdon's herb dressing, btw. She should post it here.)

Anyway, after the game of modified pinochle, we had ice cream and Brenda's famous cherry-chocolate cake. I think it's the best she's made EVAR. No photos of that either, but it's for the best. You'd have been licking your screen by now if I'd posted them.

No one got any pictures of all of us together, and I blame Matt for that...

A birthday poem from Amanda to me.

Birthday Poem

Candy, cake, and ice cream too
Mommy did you know I love you?
Come on, let's go, it's time you know,
To blow out the candles so blow Mommy blow!!!

It's a surprise,
So I'll tell her lies.
She looked surprised
When I saw her eyes.
The camera is flashing,
Renee is laughing.
I gave you a present, It looks like a crescent.

Logan is running,
He looks very stunning.
Logan went to grab a potato,
Hallie instantly had to say no.
Shannon is talking about Germany,
It's starting to annoy me.
It's your thirty-fifth birthday,
So everybody say Hip-Hip Hooray.
Now it's time for me to say
I hope you had a good day!!

Amanda Reis

I ask you: does it get any better than that?

Mucho amor, mi pequenita.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Much ado about chickens

No, that's not Renee' in a chicken suit, but it's probably as close as it's going to get. You see, tomorrow is my birthday. I'm turning that ripe old age of 35. I didn't think it was possible, either. All that hard-living, fast times and reckless abandon. Wowie. Whoda thunk.

So, in homage and respect to my aging carapace, I was delivered the most gorgeous bunch of flowers, a box of candy, 6 balloons and a serenade "You Are My Sunshine" by...this chicken. She even cracked a couple jokes. "I'll do any job, just no chicken strips, please" and "I'm a girl chicken - can't you see the chicken breasts?"

The 5' furry fowl also brought the entire office over to my cube to experience the scene. And after a videotaping mishap (thankfully, the battery died) someone did snap a couple digi photos, and she said she'd email them to me over the weekend. I'll share them with you later.

What a great start to a great birthday. I've gotten cards from co-workers, two of them even bought me lunch (thanks, D, R and M). So it's been a fun week, and the weekend purports to be grand as well.