The Alexander Hamilton Universe

I’m giddy at the fact that tomorrow on July 3rd, Disney + is going to premier Hamilton as a live stage production recording with all the original cast. You can view the trailer here. I was lucky enough to see it live in 2018 when it came through Houston. The tickets were crazy expensive. Astronomical, really. If I remember correctly, for Nick and I to go was somewhere around $500. He was eight! BUT, when I asked what he wanted for his birthday, he wanted to see Hamilton. How could I deny? Plus, he needed someone to take him.


Coronavirus Part 2, Day 38- Psychographics

Join groups where people talk about the stuff you want to talk about.

Steve Moga
Penny’s word “Troof” instead of “Truth” ❤

I’m standing around in my kitchen heating up some pasta and meat sauce for the boys of my house. Penny is having cheese for dinner. Whatever. Her and I just got back from my visit to the salon, which was not what it used to be. As you might imagine the usual pampering of customers with hot tea and fizzy water service is now a pre-COVID thing of the past. We had to wear our masks the entire time, and when Penny decided to switch chairs for the 5th time, the girl at the counter (finally) told me that, per the customer policy, additional people are not allowed to join appointments, kids included. I suppose they were going to just let it be until they saw that Penny was only going to touch every chair in the salon.

They let me finish my session where I got highlights in the front to, you know, hide the fact that I’m sprouting grey hairs. It’s a reverse-hiding. It’s a “my light hair is so in plain sight that maybe you won’t notice” hiding. Now I feel, sort of, like a lion? Or like Poppy. Steve has walked past me twice and said nothing. Nick came and collected his dinner, same thing. Boys!


Coronavirus Part 2, Day 33- Time Management


Today at H-E-B Penny and I went shopping for eggs and popsicles and a few other things I can’t remember. We’re in the habit of wearing our masks now, the hand sanitizer thing takes a little more intentional remembering but that’s much improved as well. The one thing I haven’t gotten into is the six-feet apart thing. It’s difficult in the grocery store when everyone seems to be standing around in the bread aisle at the same time. Maybe some social distancing things will stick, and other things won’t.


Coronavirus Part 2, Day 26- Design Your Life

Today I took Penny to Floor and Decor, a construction materials retail store with isles of hardwood flooring and tile and backsplash and anything you could want for a home construction project. Penny and I went in, masked up, but it seemed like we were in the minority. Most of the contractors went around bare faced, and you know what? I didn’t care. It was a relief even, to see people going about the business of manual labor without a face mask. Like somewhere in these little occupational enclaves there was no COVID-19. I know this isn’t true of course. And I don’t know why I felt so differently at seeing people bare faced at Hobby Lobby. It’s completely illogical.

Red Robin in my backyard

My sister introduced me to a book a little while ago called Designing Your Life. I haven’t read it and asked her to explain to me how it’s different from other self-helpy books about organizing your life.

“The author talks about designing your life versus making plans,” she said. “You design your life the way you might design a room in your house. You make a plan and buy some pieces, but when you put your pieces in place, you might discover that something doesn’t work in that space. So you move things around, and it’s more of an iterative process.”

To think about life as a design process is a more helpful model than say, finding your passion. Perhaps because in a design process you can account for the fact that you might not know exactly what you want, and so you allow yourself the freedom to make changes as necessary.

Cardinal (not a Red Robin)

When I think about how we came to land in Houston and the lifestyle we had hoped to achieve, we made assumptions about specific neighborhoods—and about ourselves—that haven’t panned out as expected. Some things aren’t working the way we had hoped. Rather than get bent out of shape about what could have been, it’s time to get to designing and adjusting variables.

The great thing about designing is that the next iteration doesn’t have to be perfect. If you find that a framed picture doesn’t work in a space because it’s too small, you can find a wall that doesn’t dwarf the picture. If that’s still not quite right, you can try portrait versus landscape. You keep working it and improving on little details until you’re satisfied or you just plain don’t feel like fussing with it anymore. The same goes with the variables and details or our lives. So, it’s time for me to start fussing with the details of our life design.

Coronavirus Part 2, Day 12- Daring to Discipline

Eggs and jalapeños for breakfast. Photo credit: Penelope

I don’t know if there would have been fewer deaths under Obama, but I know we’d all feel better.


It’s hot and humid today in Houston, the sky is threatening to open up and rain just to cool things off. In Coronavirus news, today I learned that in South Africa they mandated a ban on alcohol and tobacco as part of their lockdown. South Africans are expecting the government to lift the ban soon. I’m not saying our government is perfect, but a ban on alcohol and tobacco is rough.

Penny has refused to do her work, but unfortunately for her I woke up this morning of the mindset that I was going to get through to her today. I even took her to our credit union and withdrew $20, broken down into $1 bills, quarters, dimes, and pennies so I could teach her about tens and ones and why you line them up to add and subtract them. We did not make it through the word problem set. She’s upstairs playing the harmonica. No iPad.

Birdwatching. Brewers Black Bird or Common Grackle?

Speaking of waking up, I learned a new trick from this book Liturgy of the Ordinary which has this section at the back about establishing rituals. I really liked this ‘ritual’ idea, rather than the dreaded word, ‘habit’. So, rather than wake up and reach for my phone, I wake up, I get up, I pray and contemplate, and then I reach for my phone. Because the moment I reach for my phone, the noise of the day has started and I’m already behind.

So I braced myself and spiritually prepared for what’s about to happen this evening now that I’ve banned media because both my kids failed to do their work. I remember telling my dad one day that the kids behaved poorly at church. Steve and I were supposed to enact some consequence but had intentionally forgotten about it and my house just went about the business of having a peaceful Sunday.

“The trouble is, that if I ground the kids from going outside, it’s like I’m punishing myself too,” I told my dad.

“Yes, but this way you will punish yourself twice. The first time when you put up with the bad behavior again, and the second time when you enforce the original punishment.”

Touché dad. Touché.

Poppy. Photo credit: Penelope