Monday, December 18, 2006

Let the games begin


We stayed in a hotel downtown overnight on Saturday with my sister and her family after a night taking in the lights, the Marshall Field's/Macy's Mary Poppins window display, the German Christkindl market and doing a looong stroll down the Magnificent Mile. Here's an afternoon shot from our hotel room window. We figured Simon and others kids would get a kick out of this view.


There was only a shower in the hotel room, so Lily got a bath in the sink.


Lily's first giant Christmas tree.

Santa made a stop by our place earlier in the day and left some stocking stuffers for my nephew and niece Jacob and Marisa, but he also left a note explaining that he has mistakenly delivered some of their presents to England. So we offered to pick those up for them.

We're off Tuesday evening to continue our holiday adventures...

Friday, December 15, 2006

Dates

It's official.

We're leaving for the UK on Tuesday, December 19th in the evening and getting there on Wednesday, December 20th in the morning.

We're going to Barcelona on the 22, 23 and 24.

I'm returning to Chicago on January 3 and Oli and Lily will return a week later (still need to change their tickets).

Excitingly, Mendy and Dave are in town from London right this moment (Mendy is a friend who also married a Britisher and moved away to London a few years ago) . They stopped by ours last night with Colin and Jay and met our girl Lily. They will be back in London for New Years, so perhaps the four of us will all catch up with Marty and Megan and the Milford Kru and it will be an event worth remembering for at least three weeks.

!

Oli at 21 dancing in Marseille.

We were in Marseille, there were some Peruvian people playing instruments, and someone thought it would be funny to dance in front of them. What a loser.

Friday, December 08, 2006

ENGLAND !

Oliver's permanent residence has been approved. This means we will be in England for Christmas (most likely). The email I got last night says that it can take up to 30 days for him to receive the green card at home, but they said the same thing about the work permit and we got it in under a week.

Our scheduled departure is on Tuesday, December 19, which means we get to England on the 20th. If we don't get the card in time, we'll reschedule for a week or two later.

I was getting pretty excited to spend New Years with everyone here, so don't think we won't be missing you guys, but I think everyone can understand our excitement to go see Lily's grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins, and Oli's friends and to be in a country that is a lot warmer than Chicago is right now. Brrr.

Humorously, I just sent off a $170 check to Homeland Security yesterday to get an expedited travel document so we could make it to the UK for Christmas. All day yesterday I kept checking my email to see if his perm res would miraculously get approved and I wouldn't have to send this new application. At 4pm I finally gave in and next-day aired it to California. They sent me the approval notice by email at 5:42 pm and I opened it first thing this morning. I almost choked on laughter when I opened my email this morning. My instincts were so right, but I don't mind that I ignored them and now have to clean up the mess of this new application because we'll be in England in just over a week.

England!

Monday, December 04, 2006

This one's for you, Sunday-night-football-watching men

Last night I stopped by Kevin Rooney's where he, Drogos and Jared were watching football. The commercial where all the college team mascots are chasing the heisman trophy came on. There are bears and other normal mascots running around and then there's this boulder-y thing. We wondered which mascot that could be and if it could represent the Ohio State Buckeyes. This question begged another: What is a Buckeye?

Answer:
A buckeye is a stinky nut that comes off of the Aesculus glabra Willdenow tree. See here for discussion.

Other answer:
The boulder-y thing does indeed represent said Buckeye and it looks like we weren't the only ones who had this question.

See parts one and two of the commercial for yourself.

Also, Drogos, we were right that Oklahoma's state motto is "The Sooner State;" thus, the U of OK team name.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Perhaps the funniest thing ever said


Two things:

1 - Good luck to Colin, Brian and Jay as they move to a new apartment today in one-foot-deep snow. Poor timing, but I hear the new place is great.

2 - Note the new tagline up top under "Lomo y Queso": More powerful than Skynet.

Megan Edith's brother Tyler was chatting with us at the Ediths' wedding and he told us a story about a nerdy friend who claimed to have created an artificial intelligence program that was "more powerful than Skynet." (Skynet was the computer network that took over the machines and the world in the Terminator series.)

Shakespeare told us that brevity is the soul of wit, and for many reasons, including its brevity and the way it blurs lines between fiction and reality, I seriously think the phrase "more powerful than Skynet," could be the funniest thing I've ever heard.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Who are those people?

New blogs in the menu over there, people:

Atrocity Road
Sam “I think he lives in Bristol” Allen
A Britisher, he’s so deeply into that Indonesian-Dub-fusion scene that he’s formed an alter ego named Able DJ, which if I may say so, is a pretty good alter ego to have. I don’t know much about what he does, but if you want to know if the DJ was Able (best pun ever) to score after the last “mashup,” or if you like viewing photos from the urban Anglo environ, this is your blog, mate.

Charity and politics

ABC's 20/20 did some amazing journalistic investigation last night for their dazzling piece on 'Who gives and who doesn't?' about how different social groups give money. The show seemed to be glorifying the good nature of conservatives and the religious, whilst being critical of the secular and liberal middle-class. Or maybe that’s simply what the data suggests.

Apparently, middle-class liberals, who don't go to church, who live in San Francisco, who earn more money than their rural, church-going conservative counterparts, who profess to 'care' so much about charitable causes, give less than the poor, church-going conservatives. Liberals are also less likely to give blood. And it's 24 red states (from the last election), which make up the most generous 25 states in America for donating an above-average amount of their income.

Arthur Brooks, the author of "Who Really Cares”, had this to say:
"You find that people who believe it's the government's job to make incomes more equal, are far less likely to give their money away," In fact, people who disagree with the statement, "The government has a basic responsibility to take care of the people who can't take care of themselves," are 27 percent more likely to give to charity.

I don’t personally like giving money to charities because they just end up spending it on drugs.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Also shaken

I'm a middle-aged woman, evidently.

Oli and I went to go see Casino Royale last week and in the words of Martha Matters, yowza! I've been day-dreaming about Daniel Craig/James Bond ever since. Plus, I want to be a spy now. It's one of those movies that really wraps you up in its world, and now here I am, thinking up ways Oli and I can get into espionage....and ways I can meet Daniel Craig.

Go see it; it's actually shot really well, has good characters, attempts to not degrade women, and has a great exchange that ends with James responding: "Skewered."

Oh, and one other thing, I really, really hated Batman Begins and somewhat resent Martha comparing these movies, but I'll let it slide because she dresses so well.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The internet is AMAZING!

I love this Age of Information. Anything and everything is possible. Friends in distant lands, answers to the day’s wonderings, books, images and music are but a double-click away.

This little gem allows me to watch films, documentaries and animation without Netflix, LimeWire or the telly. Nice.

But, seriously, I do believe that the Internet is the defining thing of our age, and I do think it’s more than about just getting quick-fix media-hits from the online syringe. I sometimes think of Wikipedia as a metaphor for the Internet. Both are fantastic resources because they are open-source and available for all to use, to edit and to create at no (or little) cost. Both serve as a barrier to ignorance and allow all to share in knowledge and information. It is for this reason that I believe free-internet access, preferably wi-fi, should be a right, not a privilege, for the people of the world.

God didn’t make men equal, the Internet did.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Holidays

Just some cute bits:

1. My nephew has been waiting for weeks to put up the Christmas decorations but my sister said not until the day after Thanksgiving. On November 1st, knowing this was the month of Thanksgiving, he said, "Can we just put up a little now? Like, a candle?" There is no arguing with the 5-year-old mind.

2. We decorated the Christmas tree at my parents' on the day after Thanksgiving (the kids got my sister to cave and put up their tree three days before). On about her 12th ornament, my niece Marisa hung it gently on the tree, gazed at it and sighed, "Ah, the first branch of Christmas." We stil are unsure of what they means, but it's a nice sentiment.

3. I'm set on getting mini radio-controlled cars for all of my family members for Christmas. I have visions of Grandma and her sister racing to the death while eating brownies and drinking egg nog. Oli is down with this idea but doesn't want to get one for every individual. I say, what man wouldn't give his left arm for a wife that wants to buy 30 rc cars?

Recent photos


Looking good on Thanksgiving Day, Lily is wearing:

*Body warmer/vest by Marisa Brown
*Velvet dress by YaYa and The Find
*Tights by Nana Lisa
*Shoes by Laura


Making a goofy face in the hallway

New Baby Lily photos at las fotos de oliver.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Stalking Janice

Happy belated birthday, Janice!

You're always such a good friend to us, taking Oli out to concerts, dragging us out of the house to play softball, buying stuff for Lily, making Angela jewelry. What does one do for such a friend on (or after) her birthday? Surely you don't just buy her bottles of hand lotion and bubble bath...

You stalk her for a day and make a movie about it.

Happy birthday, Love.
~ The Seeleys

**Note to viewers** - This video deviates from the usual 2-minute length. This is a 20-something minute film. We hope it's funny and wasn't just funny to us because we lived it. Enjoy!



Saturday, November 18, 2006

What to take away from this presentation

We've been up all evening making food and preparing Oli's RVA presentation for tomorrow. We're exhausted and going a bit bonkers.

We've decided that the most important things for people to take away from a presentation on sexual assault are:
1. It is never the victim's fault.
2. It is never the victim's fault.
3. No smoking.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Huzzah patent holder

Hey -

Oli is convinced that the reason people in our Chicago social circle say "huzzah!" from time to time is because they heard him and his friends say it during the toast at our wedding. He thinks they invented it.

Please back me up and explain that many people in this world say "huzzah!" to be both unified and humorous at the same time.

Sorry Ol.

Star Wars Oli

First came the Star Wars Kid, then came approximately 106 immitations including Stephen Colbert's green sceen challenge. If you're interested in reading more on the Star Wars Kid phenomena then I recommend you read Megan's concise history.

Anyway, here is my effort. I hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The C word

I was recently sitting around the apartment alone on a Saturday while Oli was at an RVA training and Lily was napping. Wow, an hour to myself. What do I do? I was sitting in the papasan chair and wondered if I should maybe read one of those books I had never read that were sitting on my bookshelf. I looked up, and there it was: Cunt.

I thought it would be a quick funny read about the origins of the C word and its meaning in our society and how we can “reclaim” it. My, how we love reclaiming things. I thought it would help me get thinking about feminist and female issues again. I realized that I haven’t been thinking about those and their impact on my and my family and friends’ lives very much lately.

But Cunt is so much more.

I bought the book, I’m sure, to be trendy and alternative. I know I bought it at Borders, though, so that immediately kills all hope of being alternative. But thank God I didn’t read this book before. I would not have been ready. I required several years of my mother’s yogi talk to prepare me for this book.

This book and its author give off vibes of big warm moms who cook yummy healthy food and know how to talk politics, earthy spirituality and sexuality, San Francisco, and much more. It makes me want to be home and not work and to put more time and thought into the food we make, and the way we care for our bodies, and the home we craft for ourselves, and the way we raise Lily as a girl and woman. It makes we want a kitchen filled with clay pots of herbs, quinoa (a la Laura Hartich), and things to sooth the soul. Basically, it makes me want to be what I like to call organi-mom….and more. The book is not specifically about these things, but this is how it has affected this reader.

The author (Inga Muscio) discusses etymology, history, taking control of one’s personal health, prostitution, sexual power, orgasms, acrimony among women, and so much more. It sounds like it’s all been said before in many a self-help book, but this is not a self-help book. Inga’s ability to reach into so many places (history, pop culture, politics, capitalism) and intelligently and humanly make arguments for why women (and the people in their lives) should be putting more thought into their own lives and bodies rather than running around and trusting what doctors and magazines and TV say, is just flat out good. G-o-o-d. Again, I defer to Laura Hartich who shunned doctors who didn’t listen to her and her feelings and intuitions about her own body.

Inga can be very slang-y and guru-y and hokey-pokey, but I can forgive her these things because her messages and information are just incredible. The resources she lists in the book and in the section at the back are amazing. Oli and I You-tubed some of her references last night and wow, information.

You may think, “Ah, Angela is entering that reading-woman-books phase again and she’ll listen to anything anyone with a vagina writes,” but all I can say is this book is good and women and non-women should read it with other women and non-women they know and talk about it and whatever it makes them think about.

I’m almost done, so you can borrow it if you want.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election Day

During the days leading up to Election Day, I couldn't care less about politics (other than figuring out who I'm going to vote for). Then, when it arrives, I am suprised to remember how fantastic it is. I don't know why I forget how great Election Day is. But for whatever reason I'm always half-hearted until the actual day arrives, at which point I get all nervous to go vote (funny, no?). Then I go vote and I'm like, "Whoa, this is fun." Then I go home and turn on the TV and I'm like, "Man, this is really exciting!" And then Charlie Gibson and George Stephan-greekolas start talking and I f-ing lose it, as well as my grip on time and space and suddenly it's midnight and I'm exhausted from excitement and overload of intelligent conversation.

And then I wake up and run for the newspaper kiosk to see what happened during those hours of sleep. And that's fun, too.

Happy Day After Election Day, kids. From the looks of the other blogs in our sphere, y'all enjoyed it as much and even more than I did.

Walking Lily and Plasma Cars


Lily has begun standing without support for just a few moments and is destined to walk independently very soon. At the moment she is walking, or rampaging, with the assistance of her new crocadile walker device.

I, whilst shopping for the crocodile, found an incredible toy...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Happy birthday me!


Like the Queen of England (Huzzah, peace be upon her) I have two birthdays. One American and one English. I was born 11.06.81, which in England translates as the 11th of June; in American it's November the 6th.

Having only just discovered my birthday, no celebrations are planned. Gifts are welcome, however.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A grown-up weekend

This last weekend has proven how quickly we turn into grown-ups doing grown-up stuff. As those of you who have read Taylor Street this week know, we spent the weekend in Urbana (and Champaign), Illinois with our good friend Colin Taylor, who was born and raised in said town. We stayed with Colin's parents John and Barb and passed the time with them, Colin's younger sister Abby, and his good friend Ben.

Saturday morning brought the Hartichs (Nate, Laura, Simon, Theo) for a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, fruit and cinnamon crumble cake, followed by chasing children and dogs in the backyard. Simon has opened up to everyone and showed his true colors while running around the yard in circles yelling things like, "I like your grass!!! I like this yard!!!" Theo impressed me (and others) with his intelligent baby babble and chill demenor. Lily was her usual intense self, sticking to missions like: Pull all the toys out of the box, Eat the leaf, and everyone's favorite, Growl really loudly.


Lily has definitely reached a new stage in which she recognizes that she can exert her will on the world. No longer does she cry when something she wants is out of her reach; rather, she sees something she wants and immediately focuses all attention on obtaining that thing, even if that requires crawling over large obstacles. This goes for when she wants to be held by someone in particular. When she's tired, she won't let non-mommy/daddy people hold her. If someone else picks her up, she knows all she has to do is stretch her arms out to mom/dad and she's home free. Today in the bath she demonstrated another fun example of how she has realized her physical abilities. Lily sometimes sucks on her washcloth full of warm water. Usually when it dries up, she wines and shakes it. Today she just dipped it back in the warm water and put it back to her lips; she did this several times. Like Short Circuit, Lily craves input and she is learning.

Back to Urbana-Champaign...Colin and I took Oli on a tour of campus and campustown, complete with stops at Espresso Royale and Murphy's. While sitting on the sidewalk sipping our Royale mint hot chocolates, we witnessed a Bar Scramble, which I can only guess is equivalent to what we called a Bar Crawl in my day. Members of some co-ed organization wore matching T-shirts listing the bars they had to go to as part of this scramble. At each they were required to take a different type of shot. I don't know what the prize was or what organization they were part of, but let me say that I took great pleasure in watching them flip their blonde hair, adjust their baseball caps and talk in loud cutesy voices all the while feeling superior...and nostalgic.

On Saturday night we went to the Eastins' with the family and Ben for a chilli cook-off in which many guests brought chilli for everyone to try. Then we all voted for our favorite recipe as we sat around the campfire, drinking beer, eating caramel apples and brownies. Lily slept on me the whole night and I have to say, a great way to spend a Saturday night is by a campfire with your friends and other great people, eating comfort food, cuddling a very cute warm sleeping baby. Beats a night out at a club any time.

Sunday was more chill. John took Lily on a 6-mile walk; it's good Lily LOVES taking walks. Colin, Oli, Abby and I went for a walk on a sculpture trail and stopped by the Japan House and garden. This was followed up with watching Hocus Pocus with the family and Colin's friend Ben.

(Don't we look like two pairs of brother and sister?)



Between all the good food provided by the Hughes-Taylors and the relaxed flow of events, we're feeling like we've just come back from 7 days on some beach. What else could you expect from a town with gas stations like this one:

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Espagna, España, Espain, Spain.
















We've decided to move back to Spain.

The plan:
1. Tell employer (Done)
2. Withdraw from classes and continues auditing them (attending without having to do the work) until the end of the semester (in progress)
3. Take Spanish course in Spring
4. Spend as much time with American family and friends as possible
5. Go to England for the month of August 07
6. Move to Barcelona in September 07
7. Play with Lily on the beach, teach English, travel, scout next location to live in (rural España?)

The point: Lily will be in school in 4.5 years so now is the time to spend time and have adventures with her. University is good and we plan to go back, but we also believe in informal education. Who knows where our travels will take us and what opportunities lie ahead? Olé.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Horror Movie Friday?

Come to our place Friday night around 8pm for:
- Horror movies
- Beers
- Fun

Please bring with you: a horror movie, some beers, and, oh what the heck, some fun.


PS - We only have a DVD player, not VHS...but if you have a VHS you really love, bring a VHS player and we'll hook it up in the name of fun.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Thanks...

...to Cassie, Caleb and Colin for babysitting on Friday. They had a nice night of working on their theses and lesson plans while baby Lily slept peacefully in the next room.

If anyone had tried to break in to steal our baby, they would have had not one, but three intellectual babysitters to get through. I doubt the average Chicago baby thief could have coped.

Well done, guys.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Babysit? On a Friday? You must be...desperate.

Hi. My name is Angela.

I want to go on a date with my husband Oliver.

I have a lot of cool friends and I bet one of them wouldn't mind hanging out in my house on this Friday the thirteenth while my baby sleeps and I go out with said husband.

Food and drink provided.

Give us an email or phone call if interested.

Thanks!

The amazing crawling carpet monster


It crawls, it searches and it destroys. Watch Lily fall on her face with an almighty bump in her latest video.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Must to work

Oli's work permit has come through. He can pick it up shortly.

As he said, "No immunity from working now. Ha."

~

Friday, September 29, 2006

Lily and Elmo


This is a quick vid I whipped up of Lily and Elmo playing together. Lily finds Elmo hilarious except for when he goes in circles.

Also, my phone was stolen

Yeah -

I forgot to say that people who usually call my cell phone should not because it was stolen by a kid named Alex. I should be up and running with the same number next week, thanks to my mom and her extra Cingular cell phone.

Quick anecdote. I entered the Logan Square library the other day and put my phone on vibrate. Then I sat at a computer, opened my bag to get out a book, and did about thrity minutes of typing. I moved to a nearby table to study. Then just a few minutes later I realized my phone was missing. It could only have fallen out of my bag when I opened for the book; so I had been away from it for only a few minutes, yet it was not by the computer I had been at. Since no one had turned it in and it was NOT in my bag, I decided it had been picked up by some person who had no intention of returning it. (At the library? COME ON. The library is happy nice place, not a hang out for thugs.)

Back home Oli tried calling my phone repeatedly until someone did pick up. Oli put on an even, stern voice and simply said, "Give us the phone back." This tone went on as he talked with "Alex" who said he'd give back the phone for money. Oli pointed out that Alex had been recorded on the library's CCT system and should return the phone to the library...or else. Alex hung up. Oli sent a threatening text and Alex sent back one involving an expletive (written in text message abbreviation). I sent a pleading text saying our kid had a rare disease and we needed the phone (C'mon, that's funny.) After ten minutes, I decided it was useless and had the phone disconnected.

So if you need me, for now, call my new work phone number (I have a direct line now which you can find on the uic website) or at home.

Fin.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Has anyone noticed...

that we need to post more often?

Will do soon. In the meantime, quick update:
1 - I'm doing a master's in Linguistics and ESL/EFL. It's fun and I'm doing take-home essay exams for the next three weeks.
2 - Lily crawls. Holy cow! Bung-oh! Tally-hoo!
3 - Oli might get a filming job through Cassie Hatzfeld. Wow!
4 - We want to go see the movie Jesus Camp on Friday with Colin, but can't find a babysitter. Movie's at 9:45 pm. Any takers?
5 - Oli finishes his Rape Victim Advocates training this Saturday. Congratulations to the best British Rape Victim Advocate in Illinois, maybe even in Chicago.
6 - We are waiting for Oli's permanent residence to come through so we can buy our tickets to England/Spain for the holiday season. Two weeks of Euro vacation, are you in our future?
7 - Our car pipe was fixed. Then we got a flat tire and replaced all of our tires. Seriously considering going the Igo (www.igocars.org) way.
8 - Planning a trip to Urbana to visit the Hughes Taylor family for the weekend of Oct 21. Autumnal small-town America is nice.

Later!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Lily stands up in her crib

Yes, that's right, Lily stands up in her crib and I made a movie about it and put it to 'poppin me collar' by Three Six Mafia
Watch it!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Wisconsin!

We went to Wisconsin many weeks ago with the in-laws and those pesky kids of theirs. Here, at last, is the video of the holiday and another of those aforementioned kids searching for monsters.

Not much else to say really.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Bridal pox

Megan and Marty were married on Friday evening. Huzzah to Mr. and Mrs. Edith!

At the blissful event I aquired several mosquito bites that didn't fully break out until today, Sunday.

This morning they looked like this:



Now they look like this:



Looks like small pox. Doesn't itch too badly because I refrained from scratching them all day.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Lily does like Hannah does


Lily and her cousin Hannah may live a world apart but their lives exist in perfect congruence. Check out the videos below if you don't believe me.

Lily on a swing
Hannah on a swing

Lily at the beach
Hannah at the beach

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The car is fucked



Some bastard, some tow truck bastard has fucked up our car. I wish they had bloody stolen it instead of leaving us with a undriveable piece of junk that will cost more money than we have to fix. I am very upset by this whole episode.

As you can see in this picture, something is very seriously wrong. Though, if anyone actually knows anything about cars please feel free to comment.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

GiR2007

Check out this YouTube user's videos.
My favorite is Sheep Are Fluffy

Stolen cars and terrorist attacks

This afternoon, our car was not parked where it had been parked several hours earlier. Now, we've had the car towed on a number of occasions. Once in Barcelona when all our stuff was in it and one time here in Chicago when it was parked on a road due for some construction - on this occasion the tow truck just moved it down the street for us.

Today, there was no road construction, there was no street cleaning, and there was no car. We reported the stolen vehicle to the police, notified the insurance company and contacted the city just to make sure it hadn't been towed (and it hadn't). We were just getting used to the idea of some insurance money and being car-free when Angela found it awkwardly parked down the street a bit. Bollocks.

In further news, downtown Chicago was yesterday the victim of a brutal terrorist attack. That is if you believe my videos.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Craigslist countdown....

Earlier today Oliver saw an N64 in a resale shop next to our grocery store and he thought about how nice it would be to own an N64 and Golden Eye. So he went back this afternoon and asked how much. It was $10 for the box, no controllers, no wire to plug it into the wall....lame.

We took a quick look on Craigslist and found an ad placed an hour ago for "N64 with 2 controllers, Golden eye, Smash bros. mario kart-$25 ". We just emailed the poster....Will we get it?

Stay tuned.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Bathtime!


New Lily photos are up on my webshots page in a new album, "Lily 6-12 months".

If you use the link in the right-hand menu, you'll have to click to the second page of albums to see the new one.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Blockbuster



Directed by Ben Milner
Staring Oliver and Angela
Featuring the Milford Krü and Mr. T

Thursday, August 03, 2006

By the way...

...we'll be in Wisconsin Friday - Monday this weekend in a big cabin in a forest on a lake in the middle of nowhere. We'll be there with my sister, her husband and kids, as well as my brother and a couple of his friends.

So don't call and ask us to go clubbin'.

Intercambio heaven

I've been trying to find someone to do an intercambio with but nothing was turning up. I wanted an international student who could read essays and things I write in Spanish and correct them in return for me doing the same for them.

(I am a dork and read Hoy - one of the Spanish newspapers in Chicago - each day on the way to work. About 3 times a week I pick an article, study it and write a summary in Spanish.)

The search was going poorly when I had a stroke of genius. It was so easy to find an intercambio in Barcelona, why not put a post on Loquo, the CraigsList of Spain? I posted looking for an email intercambio and I now have 6 new Barcelona buddies.

One is an IT specialist, three are students, one is an old man and one is trying to be an interpreter for the UN but currently working as a receptionist for Telefonica...

I'm sure some of them will not stick, as is the trend with intercambios, but a couple seem very promising. So after months of nothing, I am now swimming in intercambios. If anyone wants one, I'll sell cheap.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Digital errand boy


Oliver Seeley has been making a film for Markus Oliver, who in turn will give the film to Ryan Seacrest.

Markus Oliver gave Liliana Seeley an iPod.

It's of the slim, black, 30Gb, video generation and now all our music, all our videos are on it.

Markus Oliver is a giving man.

Ryan Seacrest is not a giving man; he took all the rights to Oliver Seeley's film by making him sign the document seen above.

At least we have the iPod.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I think the world should judge the quality of films by my opinion.

I think the world should judge the quality of films by my opinion.

[pause]

Not because I am the greatest film critic in history, but because I never see films until years after they are released. I didn't see The Big Lebowski until 2001, Empire Records until 1998. It took me two years to finally see Bring It On in 2002.

My opinion can not be swayed by the media buzz that told us Titanic deserved all the Oscars and that Ben Affleck could act, because when the media is talking about Jonathan Taylor Thomas, I'm still on Corey Haim; when it's talking about Scarlett Johansen, I'm watching Demi Moore.

My opinions are pure vintage. My opinions are reliable...accurate even.

[pause]

I say all this because I've just finally seen Sin City and it is beautiful.

His news show is news

Steven Colbert is everything that is right about America, and I'm not just talking about his character's politics.

Watch this segment and let the truth juices run down your chin.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Back to school, back to school, to prove to dad that I'm not a fool

Yeah, that title was a Billy Madison reference, and you loved it!

Anyway, sudden new development in the Ruiter Seeley household: Angela is going back to school for her master's in the Fall. That's four weeks from now.

I'd been pondering doing an education degree with an English as a second language (ESL) certification, but that would really just certify me for teaching in elementary or secondary schools here in the US. That was not practical seeing as we plan to go back to Spain and also not practical since I don't want to teach elementary and secondary school.

Lately I've been thinking I'd love to just study Linguistics, but I thought I only wanted to study it for fun, not work with it forever. Then I realized that the Linguistics master's degree at UIC is a master's in teaching ESL to adult learners. This degree combines linguistics/language theory with a certification in teaching language that is highly regarded worldwide. They even provide job placement assistance in college, university and business settings around the world.

But the application deadline was past. I could have applied to be a non-degree student (a "trial" student), which is a very easy application process that just requires you to then apply to be a "real" student the next semester, but that deadline had just passed as well.

So I wrote a lovely email to the director of the program, who had me call him at home, talked with me and decided to write me a letter to the Graduate Admissions Office extending the deadline for my application.

Classes are in the afternoons, but Al, my boss, said I can adjust my work schedule.

Oli and I spoke about it and it seems like a good thing that I want to do; it will mean postponing Spain by one year and will require us to be creative parents, but our remaining here for a little longer will also give Oli the opportunity to do a degree if he likes, once his permanent residence is approved. He's thinking to do training with a social service organization here in Chicago before moving ahead with a degree, though.

Anyway, I'm excited and did I mention this education is all free since I work for ye olde University of Illinois?

P.S. - Eat it, Colin. I'm going back before you! :)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Word authentimacate, people

I have had my self esteem falsely boosted.

Note that all of our posts have recently had one extra comment added, all of which say something like, "I love your blog. It's at the top of my list," and are labeled "anonymous."

Now, Megan Edwards recently commented on the Grabblin post and logged in as anonymous, so when I read the first of these comments, I was like, "Aw, that's nice, Meggers. Thanks for the boost of blog confidence." I did find the wording, much like that of an English-as-a-second language student, to be odd as Megan is a former journalist with a strong command of of the English language, but my ego allowed me to overlook this discrepancy.

Then I noticed more and more new comments stating almost the same thing, each with little arrow links >> that lead to various financial institutions' websites.

The reason this happened is because we accidentally had the word authentication turned off in our blog settings , which allowed spammers to automatically post a dozen adds on our site, but does anyone find it ironic that this flavor of spamming occured after I had recently lashed out at credit institutions on this same blog?

Do you think Chase and Citibank received my letters at New Card Services and then sent them over to New Advertising Methods who proceeded to spam my blog? I wouldn't put it past 'em.

In any case, the word authentication is now on and computers cannot talk to us anymore. So please ignore those links and refrain from patronizing any company that uses such advertising methods....or be active and write them a letter....or don't since that may lead to your blog being blown up.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

chemical weapons

It's not a new thing to be puked on by Lily. In fact, she's very good at it and does it between 6 and 8 times a day. She has various methods of attack. Sometimes she does it so quitely that you don't know you've been taken down until you find chunks of sour crust over your back and shoulder, or you find a trail of slippery white slime on the floor of the apartment. One of her more annnoying methods of attack is when she parks one in your pocket, belly button, mouth or ear. These can be difficult to clean, and the warmth is not comforting.

The most destructive type of puke attack is the 3-prongued blitz assualt. It ususallly begins with a particularly messy diaper, followed by piss all over the changing table and then at some point, when you're distracted, she'll slip one out covering her face, neck and back. She's a real pro and she knows when to perform, like when the camera is filming.

Lily can be seen above plotting her next strike.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Jedi mind tricks


Those English among you will know who and what I'm talking about, but for you Americans forget David Blane and check out this guy: Derren Brown. He is an English psychological illusionist and skeptic of paranormal phenomena.

See him in action:
Person swap
Russian scam
Kung Fu
Zombie

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Need a name for your band?

Go to www.Engrish.com, close your eyes, click to a page, point your finger, open eyes. You now have a name for your 80s punk band such as:

- benign girl
- fortunate hammer
- deep-sea hooker
- happy pet
- flesh drink
- repaint version
- armor bike
- deluxe tense up
- Jude Low
- ground mother
- tuff mug
- living heater
- environmental disruption
- pet bottle
- diss club
- feeling kettle
- beauty checker
- irreplaceable persons
- pleasant with vigor

just a sampling of the many great band names waiting to be discovered on the world wide web,,,,

Friday, July 07, 2006

Megan gone grabblin'?



Is that Megan Edwards on the right?

I hope so.

A film with a plot...at last


After a stunning series of debut films, all of which demonstrate a preternatural understanding of film and most of which demonstrate why brevity is the soul of wit, here at last is a work that combines Oliver's visual mastery with Angela's writing genius. In their first collaborative work, you'll see why the Seeleys are a match made in Logan Square.

The first film from the Seeleys:

The Lily Monster
Toys are supposed to be fun. This one's deadly.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Also new from Oliver Seeley:

Slowly
A baby discovers that her hands can do things.

Laughing Lily
Lily laughs and so will you.

Theo and Simon
Two brothers, one mom, one dinosaur. You do the math.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Lazing momentarily


I'm feeling a little ill at work this afternoon and have taken a ten-minute break to read Mr. Sun....which led to the previous post and this one.

See this for a semi-explanation of this crazy photo.

Lip my stockings.


Stop it!

Stop evil mail: http://www.obviously.com/junkmail/
Stop evil phone calls: https://www.donotcall.gov/
Help stop evil emails: http://www.spamcop.net

The first letter

Citibank New Cardmember Services
P.O. Box 6168
Sioux Falls, SD 5717-9720

July 5, 2006

To Whom it May Concern:

On July fifth, 2006, I received a letter from Citibank. The envelope said simply: “You’ve earned it. [See details inside.]”. Without opening the envelope I knew that what I had earned was the Citi Diamond Preferred Card or one of its brethren because I had received just such an envelope twice weekly for the last several months. I'm beginning to doubt Citibank's patriotism as it seems determined to terrorize the good citizens of this country, even on the anniversary of our independence.

Let me be brief:

Citibank’s advertisement bombardment has not and will not work on me. I am sure that Citibank’s database shows that I have opened up a few credit cards in the last year, but please be aware that I have no intention and no need to open another. I don’t care that I am being offered 0% APR for a generous period of time and a low balance transfer cost. Advertisement is meant to make those who need a service aware that it exists. I HAVE NO NEED FOR CITIBANK’S SERVICES. Repeatedly telling me about them will not change that reality.

I understand that you who are reading this letter work in the New Cardholder Services department, which may or may not be responsible for sending me these highly irritating advertisements that I simply throw away because Chicago does not have a recycling program, and Citibank is thereby POLLUTING THE EARTH with junk mail. I digress. Whoever you are, please, please save me, save the Earth and contact whoever has my name on a list and tell them to stop sending me these advertisements and applications.

If you need any more reason to help me, know that by stopping these mailing, you will actually make me more apt to utilize Citibank’s services in the future if I should find a need for them. In the meantime, rest assured that I am well aware of what those services are and how they work and that no, I am not interested in learning about any new programs that should be developed after Citibank kindly stops sending me their advertisements.

For even further motivation, be aware that for each Citibank letter I receive in the future, I will send another to you, each meaner and angrier than the last, perhaps culminating in some kind of class action lawsuit supported by indebted people and environmentalists from around the globe. I don’t have much time on my hands, but I am vengeful.

Whoever you are, if you succeed in ending the onslaught of colorful glossy paper, my husband and child, who have to bear my looks and sounds of despair every time I go through the mail, will be forever grateful.

With kindest regards,

Angela Ruiter Seeley


Simplify: write nasty notes to credit card companies

Sometimes in this post-wedding, post-baby life I feel that there's not enough time for anything! Luckily, I don't always feel this way, just sometimes. Like when I want to read my book about the Spanish Civil War, study a little Spanish from today's Hoy newspaper, knit a winter hat for baby Theo...but have to clean house, pay bills, call insurance company, order silly wedding photos (finally) and look up some new recipes because we're bored of our food choices (all of this after Lily's asleep, of course).

When this feeling hits it's usually because I'm doing something I feel I have to but don't really enjoy, or feel I have to do NOW but don't have enough time to concentrate on and do well.

Oliver and I talk about this horrible feeling when I feel it, and when I do I get nutty, and therefore I don't want this to be a regular occurence for the rest of my life! So I'm making efforts to think about life and the things in it differently. I don't want to think life is what happens when I finish taking care of all the responsibilities. Rather than thinking, "I have to get these thank-you notes out today or everyone will think I'm ungrateful," I am trying to wait until I feel like writing to one of the recipients of said thank-you notes and taking the time to write a heart-felt message to them. I've decided that a belated meaningful message is better than a punctual empty one.

In this same vein, I don't want my in-person experiences with friends and family to be had out of duty. Sometimes I feel like we used to spend time with my family because we felt we had to fill a quota. We said yes to every engagement and enjoyed about 13% of them. Now I'm trying to say yes only 13% of the time. In many ways, I think Oli's family gets the better part of us. We may only see them a few times a year, but when we do, it's a solid block of quality time spent on holiday. My family gets us more often, but usually only for a few hours smashed between errands in one of our homes where one or more of us is usually missing half the time doing something in another part of the house. When we see the Seeleys, other things are generally set aside and we get to enjoy each other whereas time with my family always seems fragmented. I want to explain this to my family but am not sure they think about things the same way. The way I see things: if you're important to me, I see you and I have a good time, I write you and share things with you, whether that's once a decade or every week.

All of this discussion is why I always feel like simplifying our lives, or perhaps keeping them simple since they're not too crazy yet. Things I'd love to dispose of: car, credit cards, cell phone, junk mail (Tonight I have begun writing notes to the credit card companies that send me applications by mail biweekly- two of whose cards I already have!). If you try to call my phone and its says it's disconnected, you'll know I've gone straight edge.

Anyway, I guess the main thing is that I will not guilt myself for not doing things I "should" because when I do things just because I should, the emotional results are not pretty and life is slipping away too quickly to melt down over thank-you notes.

Not knowing what else to do, family watches soccer

That’s right. We spent the Fourth of July watching soccer. Can you think of anything less patriotic?

But alas, it was perhaps the best Fourth ever. Ididn't have to listen to "Proud to be an American" even once!

At 1:30pm Lily, Oli and I were in Small Bar in Wicker Park and the place was half full, preparing itself for the Italy-Germany game. We just barely got seats with the new buddies we’ve made down at the pub. As the pre-game was coming to a close we all vied for one of the three servers’ attention. All together we were one Brit, a duo of Germans, a Mexican, a bevel of new people from around the States, a bi-national baby and the usual urban family members (Colin, Cassie, Jay, Nate Luman, Katie, with a surprise visit from Libby). Eventually everyone got their liter German beers, hummus and pita, coffee ands strange Swedish cherry beers….and the match began.

Everyone was supporting Germany and I went with the intention to support the Germans as well, but as play began, I found myself cheering involuntarily when something happened in Italy’s favor or against Germany’s. Thus, for two hours I had to mask each shout of glee as one of despair and vice versa. That is, until Italy scored their first goal in that second-to-last minute. The sheer despair of the German players and fans broke my heart and made me see that I had been supporting the wrong team. Despite all the foul fakery on behalf of the Italians, it was only these forlorn faces that made me see the error of my ways. My deepest apologies to my fellow World Cup watchers.

Lily, on the other hand, could have cared less about the game. She was too busy being passed around and cooed at by every person who could see her through the mob of viewers. Then she got bored with that and fell asleep in my lap and slept right through the shouts of “Viva Italia” and that thing that the Germans shout but I don’t know how to spell.

After the game everyone had about 10 minutes of sadness and then we soon forgot the game as we basked on the sidewalk out front of Small Bar watching Colin and Nate Luman get drunk and have ridiculous conversations with our new soccer friends. At one point Colin was playing with Nate’s hair.

After making a stop off at the Hartrich’s to pass off my breast pump for Laura’s use (they had a second baby two weeks ago), we headed to the Janice/Megan back yard to meet up with that crew of people, who had been at the Sox game. All of this naturally led to barbequing which meant lots of cheesy hotdog consumption. Kinda delicious and kinda disgusting. All the same, thanks to Nate for providing.

On a side note, reading Laura’s blog about her creepy Fourth-of-July past made me think of that Onion article printed after September 11 titled, “Not knowing what else to do, woman bakes American-flag cake”. Read, enjoy, and have a happy July 5th.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

a kick in the balls

Rooney: raw brilliance fused with brooding menace. According to sports scientists, the optimal range of testosterone for an athlete is between 600-900 ng/dl. Rooney's veins overflow with the stuff. He is the ultimate grunt - the sort of man that future generations will clone to go to war - a player you would always want on your team, even though you know he's always primed to explode. Today he did (Sean Ingle). The Guardian newspaper has given some amusing coverage of the World Cup with headlines such as "Lampard injury hopes quashed", meant as insult to Lampard for his continued poor performance in the tournament. Despite being utterly crushed at our loss today, the game was a 2-hour nail biter of epic proportions and easily the best performance by England so far. And perhaps it was better this way, rather than continuing on dismally. We can be proud of England's sterling display whilst a man down with nods to Owen Hargreaves, Ashley Cole and Aaron Lennon for some notable performances.

The World Cup is not over for me yet, though. I've made some German friends down the local and it is with them that I'll follow this tournament to a glorious Germany victory.

Gehen Sie Deutschland!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Argentina to win the World Cup

Argentina just beat Serbia and Montenegro 6-0 and I just wanna say that my money is on Argentina to win the World Cup. Forget England. I've given up on them. There's too much expectation and pressure and they're no good. The weather is just too hot for them.

Venga Argentina!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Lily this is Goldie, Goldie this is Lily

Lily and I were just enjoying the arrival of Wayne Rooney on the pitch against Trinidad & Tobago when I saw someone familiar lingering outside the pub. I stared at him for a moment unable to decide if it really was him or not but when he caught my eye, winked, and came over I knew it was Goldie. I introduced Lily and Goldie and we chatted about her age and the game and so on. Goldie said he was in Chicago because that's where his girlfriend lived.

Fortunately, England were spared a humilating scoreline thanks to some late goals by Crouch and Gerrard. T&T played extremely well and had enough chances to have secured a very different scoreline. I think that for once it seemed that Errikson's substitutions made all the difference. Hopefully now that we're through to the quarter finals we can expect to see Walcott come on against Sweden at some point.

Lily did not like all the shouting during the game and it made her cry. It was the shouting following near misses that upset her but interestingly the cheers of joy after our goals did not affect her at all. She is a true England fan; it was not the noise that annoyed her but England's missed opportunities.

Monday, June 12, 2006

A Groovy Kind of Lily


In her latest adventure Lily finds her groove and learns that you've gotta get up before you can get down.

Watch A Groovy Kind of Lily

Friday, June 09, 2006

England, football, lager!


If you hadn't noticed, the World Cup has begun. In what many Americans are describing as "anamolous and slightly confusing", and unlike the World Series in Baseball, this competition actually includes teams from all over the world. England, this year, are destined to win. It is impossible not to conceive, however, being beaten by teams such as Trinidad and Tobago and losing on penalties to either Germany or Argentina (our traditional foes) in an agonising quarter final. They key to our success will be in conceading early goals in big games. It may seem counter intuititive but the alternative, as shown by games against Argentina and Brazil in 2002 and France and Portugal in 2004, clearly does not work.

And not to make too much fun of Americans it must be noted that in the last World Cup the USA equalled England's performance by reaching the quarter finals.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

God will not save you.


Recent research adds to the growing body of evidence which suggests that God will not save you, in any event.

But, we don't need God anyway. Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. Like war. Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Read it.

On McSweeney's:
SHORT ESSAYS ON FAVORITE SONGS,
INSPIRED BY NICK HORNBY'S SONGBOOK.

"Inner Meet Me" by The Beta Band

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Return of the Lily


Two new videos of Lily are available for viewing. One where Lily goes on adventure to Damen and another of her playing in her jungle gym.

Damen: A guy, a girl and a baby find out the true meaning of friendship.

Baby Genius: The baby that knew too much.