Friday, January 30, 2009

Short on Money but Long on Time

This site is running a $1/night hotel deal for anywhere in the world. They are giving this deal 15 minutes everyday next week. The trick is you have no idea when, and they do it in 7.5 minute blocks or 5 minute blocks.

I plan on sitting with the window open every day that I'm home because, well, I can do that right now and I would love to get our New York City hotel room for $1/night. Just thought I'd let you know.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rest in Peace

My all time favorite magazine is calling it quits. I am sad that come April my sense of style will no longer be validated once a month from my mailbox.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Little Eyes

This morning we were awoken by a six year old staring at us through the crack in our door. Now when I say awoken, I mean after the alarm went off at 5:30 and we found out that school was cancelled and went back to sleep. And after 7:06 when I heard him walking around our hall and got up and told him school was cancelled and put him back in bed with his DVD player and Kung Fu Panda.

So fast forward to 8:13 and I hear Joshua say "Austin" and I look up to see this blurry mass through our door. With the help of my glasses I can now see he has his arm poked through the crack in the door and he's pointing at the window. He refused to move or speak until we looked out our windows. Finally, after Joshua and I BOTH looked out the window to see the snow he said, "I'm hungry!" And that's how we started our morning.

How about you?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

4 9 3 9

4939 - View 1

I've had this design rattling around in my head for months now. And then yesterday I finally sat down to model it, and it all came gushing out in one long marathon day of designing. Man is it good to get that out! Maybe now I can fit in some other stuff (like how to communicate with an "abuela")

4939 - View 2

What I love about this design is how it orients itself to the trees and nestles in between them. I know which room I'd call dibbs on.

4939 - View 3

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fast Forward

Tomorrow morning Joshua and I are going to wake up and have a 6 year old kid for a few days. We are going to have to feed him breakfast which we don't normally eat. And we have to get him to school on time which actually starts 30 minutes before we usually get up. Sounds hard enough but did I mention the six year old also comes with an "abuela" who speaks no English?

Should make for a very different week here in the Fykes household. If anyone wants to practice their Spanish you are more than welcome to join us for dinner on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings - should be fun!

Take that Logan's

Last week Joshua and I were sitting down to dinner and realized that this is probably the cheapest meal we have ever eaten (and by far not the worst.) We rarely add up the cost of our meal but because we just bought the ingredients that day the costs were just too obvious. Here is what you can do with coupons and a little time:

Popcorn Shrimp:
On sale for $1.00

-$1.00 coupon


Green Giant Frozen Corn:
On sale for $1.09

-$.50 coupon (doubled to $1.00)

TOTAL = $0.09

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese:
On sale for $0.50

Ingredients of Butter and Milk: $0.12

TOTAL = $0.62

Betty Crocker Brownie Mix:
Free after rebate

Ingredients of Eggs and Oil:$0.11

TOTAL = $0.11

The grand total of the meal that we did NOT make from scratch: $0.82. That doesn't even seem possible to us and we buy the ingredients every week. The crazy thing is that we got seconds and have 90% of the brownie left and another serving of mac and cheese.

Joshua and I always baulk at the Logan's commercial that says you can eat at their restaurant for the cost of eating at home but we have never had a side by side comparison.

$13.99 vs. $0.82 Yep, that seems about even.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Interview

This afternoon I will be interviewing our first possible tenant. Actually, to be more correct I will be meeting our first possible tenant's mother. I have the room all cleaned and pristine. I tidied the living room, got all the sewing stuff out of the dining room and as soon as I'm done with this post I'm cleaning the kitchen.

I actually think this is more stressful to me than couchsurfing. Couchsurfing has this great system of referrals and you can read online profiles that will tell you pretty quickly if you will mesh with your visitor. This does NOT.

We'll see how this goes, but I am going to believe in the good of the human race and open our home to people who need it (with 2 solid references of course).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Just When it was Beginning to Scab

Change hurts! No matter how excited you are about what you are doing - the process of getting there is NOT FUN! When I left my job in 2007 it was the hardest time I have had since coming to Nashville. The crazy thing is I was transitioning into something I had wanted for a long time.

I knew that leaving meant Joshua and I would be able to go to Europe. I knew it meant we were going to be working together and that was our dream. I also knew that everything I was used to was going to change even if I didn't want it to. Sure enough all three of those happened

Now that pain is gone and we have acclimated into our "american dream" so you know what that means. Change is inevitable. We aren't called to be comfortable so we are trying to be open. We have no idea where, when or what we are going to do but Joshua and I both feel change a'comin. Kind of makes me wish someone could just wake me up when it is over but that isn't what adulthood is about.

So, this is us facing it head on and knowing that whatever is before us is where we are supposed to be no matter how much it hurts to get there. And I apologize in advance if I'm a little hard to deal with in the next few months.

Post Script: I am NOT pregnant - let me just nip that thinking in the bud.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Trending Down

Lately I've been thinking a lot about fashion. I know you look at me and you think - she never thinks about fashion but that wouldn't be true. I'm very aware of styles but I just can't seem to make myself spend the money that fashion requires (although I wish I could).

I'm heading to New York in late February and that makes me think about my first trip in 2001. I was one week away from September 11 so that trip could have been something completely different but luckily it will be remembered for Sex and the City and and rolled jeans. This style was all over the streets.

I loved it and so when I got back to Austin I started rolling up my jeans. I got SOOOOO much flack for that move. People asked me constantly if I was waiting for a flood and then there was just the usual "are you going like that?" I would tell them "oh you just wait - you'll be wearing your pants like this real soon."

I waited.

I left Austin in 2003 and that style still hadn't hit mainstream, but by 2004 or 2005 it was everywhere. THREE YEARS!

My question is, why does it take so long for fashion to trend down to the rest of the country? Austin is a pretty forward thinking place so I wouldn't think they would be far down the list.  Are they testing to see if it works in New York and LA before the major advertisers and retailers start showing that kind of fashion?

I seriously have no idea but I do look forward to walking around the City getting a look at 2012.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Not Since 2001

My hair is now long enough that I don't have to fight the flip out on the ends.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Have You Been to the Library Lately?

I am currently loving the library. I think it is awesome that our country thinks reading is so important that they fit the bill to make books available to everyone. Our Edmondson branch isn't quite as exhaustive as but with a simple form I can request any book. I am currently in line for 8 books and I can't wait for them to show up.

I know you are thinking, have I never used a library before? I'm very aware I'm talking about it like it is a martian that just showed up in our lawn. But, you know that feeling when you leave $20 in your jeans pocket and then the next time you wear them you find it and it feels like you just made $20? It's something like that.

Anyway, I got A Man Without a Country on one of the 3 trips to the library last week (that's right three trips).  It took all of 2 hours to read and I think it was worth every minute.  It felt a bit like something that I would have been required to read in college and although I don't agree with all of his ranting I do think he made some really good points. I love the challenge of sifting through the information in a book and using my brain to decide what I agree with instead of just reading people who think just like me.  I think stretching is how we grow as people.

My favorite part of the book was excerpted here but I also enjoyed his talk about marriage.

"Why are so many people getting divorced today? Its because most of us don't have extended families anymore. It used to be that when a man and a woman got married, the bride got a lot more people to talk to about everything. The groom got a lot more pals to tell dumb jokes to...

But most of us, if we get married nowadays are just one more person for the other person. The groom gets one more pal, but it's a woman. The woman gets one more person to talk to about everything, but it's a man...

A husband, a wife and some kids is not a family. It's a terribly vulnerable survival unit."

Oh yeah and I also picked up the Pilates for Dummies DVD. Like I said stretching is really important.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Instead of Being Warm By the Fire

Last night during the eight degree weather Joshua and I hung up the curtains we finished last week. I know that doesn't sound special but it took a lot for us to get up from our warm and toasty living room and go into the fire-less back of our house to hang them up. Overall, I would say totally worth it!

The room looks almost finished and so now our next couchsurfer will have the luxury of being able to block out the east sun that streams in those windows in the morning. It also let me post this which I've been waiting to do for a week.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I am the official owner of .

There is nothing there yet but I'm in the process of researching what I want to do about moving our blog over there. It is moments like this that make me wish I were a technical minded person who just knew stuff about this because I enjoyed reading about websites and stuff.

Instead, I can slip Friends references into any conversation and I can talk all about how mitigated speech caused airline crashes - but that's not helping me much today, is it?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Little House in the Big Woods

One of my best memories from childhood is sitting beside my mom on the loveseat in her bedroom while she read the Little House on the Prairie series to me. I'm pretty sure it happened every night and if you hear my mom's side of the story she'll say I demanded we read. I don't know about you internet, but I think it is a little hard to believe that I would demand anything.

Semicolon-End Parenthesis.

Anyway, the girl I tutor on Tuesdays (we'll call her Anna) was telling me how she isn't doing that great at reading. We decided I would come on another day of the week to read because we didn't have time to do school work and read on Tuesday. Now every Wednesday and possibly Monday afternoon we will be following Laura Ingalls and her changing habitats.

Today was the first reading day and she loved the book but she was very appalled that Pa would tell Laura to "fetch" something. And I quote, "He could say please go get it. It isn't like she's a dog." I love that she will ask questions and that only 13 pages in she has learned about fetch, venison and how to smoke meat for the winter.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'd be his assistant any day

This year for Christmas Joshua's dad got us the newest book by Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers. Have you people read any of his books? I read this one first and thought that it was so great but then I read this one and it was better and now this one.

Reading these books actually makes me wish I had studied sociology and psychology. I love the perspective he brings to mundane things and I love how he challenges traditional lines of thinking. Its the kind of book that I can't just silently read - poor Joshua is going to have the whole thing ruined for him because I keep saying "Did you know that Asians score in the 90th percentile in math and we only score in the 40th?"

Malcolm Gladwell has officially gone on my list of people I would love to have dinner with (dead or alive).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Our Booty

We have a friend who did a giveaway on his blog. He said he would send a Dr. Pepper to the winner and I totally thought he was kidding. I REALLY thought he was kidding when he said that because he liked HIS answer the best he was going to send everyone who commented a DP just so we didn't think he was taking the easy way out.

But low and behold this showed up in our mailbox:

Modeled by the much too hairy Austin and after seeing this photo I am calling to make her a grooming appointment immediately. I'm really surprised she isn't bumping into more things with all that hair over her eyes.

Thanks to Nathan for the beverage and Chuck for the photo idea.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Now I have to figure out the next 6 steps

I learned am still learning a very valuable lesson about the significance of each person. It started with a project referral from a guy who I don't really know all that well. He's what I would consider a business acquaintance. When he called to tell me he had a potential client he was going to send our way, to be honest I was not only excited, but a bit floored. I like to think that we do good work, and it only takes a few minutes to see we are talented, but in reality I think that only someone who knows us pretty well or who is looking for a referral in return would send work our way.

Enter Joshua's erroneous thinking.

After that phone call I quickly realized how I judge/put people in categories: this person probably won't be a good business contact, this person probably will, etc.. When random people send work our way I feel pretty stupid and more than a little ashamed for not having realized how valuable that relationship could be.

Now, before you decide I'm a horrible person and try to phase Tiff and I out (notice I said TRY - it's not that easy to get rid of us), let me say I've never had these thoughts in personal relationships/friendships. But that raises the question: "what's the difference?" Relationships are relationships business or personal, shouldn't I treat everyone the same, give every single person the same chance, the possibility of a meaningful place in my life?

In Blink (which is an amazing book) it talks about our subconscious snap judgements. After reading that book about a year ago I'm slowly becoming more aware of mine. The great thing is now that I'm aware I can fight it. I believe they call that Step One.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Everything in the Name

Someone hit our blog today from Cut Off, LA: hands down, most obscure hit to date. Down in the bayou between Ludevine and Gilliano sits Cut Off with its 5,806 people.

I'm really curious about the history of its name but rather than talk about the history of the CDP (Census Designated Place) instead I learned that Trishelle Cannatella was born and raised there. Way to go Cut Off - way to go!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dental Work

Yesterday I spent the day auditioning actors for a new series of Fuel. The first day of auditioning is really hard for me. You have to sit through quite a few people who should NOT be out there auditioning for acting jobs because they.are.terrible. I personally think it might be more beneficial for the person in the long run if I give them a little Simon and just stop them before they waste 5 minutes of my life and the thousands of dollars on headshots and acting lessons. However, the need to keep everyone happy makes me say "good job" and talk to them about something for 2 minutes so that they are in the room the same time as the person before them.

Luckily, this audition only had a handful of horrible people. Most of them were just average and that's not as hard to sit through. Sometimes at the end of these days I feel like I have been run over by a train due to constantly constraining myself from telling these people to get a new hobby. However, today I simply feel like I have stumped my toes 8 or 10 times.

On the upside, I was rewarded with at least one strange and fairly alarming moment from the day. This particular girl came from the agency that forgot to tell their clients to bring a monologue so we were awkwardly chatted while I came up with something for her read. She did a great job on the read and then before I could say anything she says that she doesn't have a lisp all the time.

(Please Note: This wasn't a bad lisp. It was very slight and gave her an endearing quality.)

She continued saying she had just came from the dentist and the top half of her mouth is numb. Then she fiddles with something and then out of nowhere one of her front two teeth protrudes 2 inches out of her mouth. I'm sure my eyes got huge because please, it is NOT common for people to start shooting dental work out of their mouth at auditions.

I didn't mind the lisp quite as much as I do mind the mental image I now have of her tooth just floating around outside her mouth on a stick. Seriously, I have no idea the mechanics of how it works but the tooth is apparently on a stick in her mouth. Now if I call her back I will be able to do nothing but just stare at her teeth in anticipation of it happening again.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dreaming of Travel

We had another set of couchsurfers over the holiday. They messaged us saying they were stranded because their couch fell through. Even though Joshua's dad was in town and four of my family were coming the next day we said come on because we know how it feels to be stranded. Although they had to sleep in the basement it was still great to meet a pair of Kiwis.

10 points to whomever can name the country who call themselves kiwis?

It is also a great reminder that people fly from all over the world to drive for hours to get anywhere in our country. Because of all my travel for work over the last 3 years we have kept our domestic traveling to a minimum but this year we are changing that.

In honor of lower gas prices and less travel for Tiffany we are going to take Joshua to see the US because there are just too many places he has never been. I think he wishes he wasn't going to have to see it in a Scion xA but what can you do!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Since We Already Do It for Free

Today Joshua and I have kind of decided that we are going to rent out our spare bedroom. I think it is a great way to get some extra cash and I mean come on we already let strangers stay here for free. We will do short term rentals week to week or maybe even a month. I'm kind of excited and so I need to get to work on our craigslist ad and curtains for that room.

Recession here we come!

The Christmas Tree is Down Now

But while it was up...

Joshua thinks it is hysterical that I use sound to describe how something looks.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

We celebrate Thanksgiving on January 1

While everyone else is making resolutions for 2009 I would rather us look back and be thankful for an amazing 2008. Even though last year was shaky at times, overall we are so blessed. And no matter what this next year holds you can find us here again on January 1 with our list of thankfulness.


  • We work at jobs we love
  • Our commute is twelve stairs
  • We can kiss our co-worker
  • We got to see our TX family multiple times instead of the standard once a year
  • We are a part of Fellowship Bible Church
  • We were able to live out a dream we have been working towards for 5 years
  • We get to live in a house with a laundry chute
  • Through couchsurfing and travel we met people from 13 different countries
  • We have food and clean water everyday
  • Video iChat makes the world smaller
  • Joshua's pupil is no longer doing addition using his fingers
  • We have some amazing friends who know and still love us

Although our future is uncertain I look forward to what our abnormal 2009 looks like. Thank you internet for being a part of our journey this year. I have a feeling that next year will hold twists and turns for our family so I hope you stick around for the ride. We can't promise interesting but we can promise strange.

Happy New Year from Tiffany, Joshua and Austin.