Monday, February 28, 2011

The Hip Housewife gets distressing news

Like many people I know, I've gotten back in touch with people I went to high school with via the internet.  Not very many days ago, I was looking at such a person's photos when I was reminded of the guy she dated while we were at school together.

He was hugely smart, a very good musician, generally someone we all knew was going to go far.  I'm not sure I spoke to him more than once or twice, he was an overachiever and I was slumping with my black-clad crew listening to the Cure.  We didn't exactly turn in the same circles.

And, apologies to my classmate for saying this, but he looked like a geek right down to the narrow chin and huge glasses.  Despite his stereotypical appearance we all knew he'd go very far in the world.  He'd been accepted to Stanford and was already programming in 1988.  His future was so bright he shoulda worn shades.

I learned that my fellow Highlander  had indeed gone far, graduating from Stanford with a double major, going to work for Microsoft in the early 90's which made him rich.  He'd bought 64 Valiant on ebay and driven it across the country among many other things that went with being successful and smart.  When I looked for photos of him, he'd filled out, gotten contacts, grown a goatee and was downright appealing.

But, he also suffered from bipolar disorder, classic bipolar as compared to my type II.  Sometime in the mid/late 90s he had a mental breakdown and had to leave his job. He had an incredible feeling that he had to be the best at everything among everyone he knew.  He suffered from horrid insecurity and feelings of inadequacy.

This ended with his suicide in 2004.  This fact has distressed me greatly, I've been upset about it all weekend.  I can't say exactly why, I can't say I had any kind of epiphany about how the rich and smart aren't immune to mental illness, I can't say I knew him well and now there's a hole in my life.  But I'm very upset about it all the same.

It doesn't seem right that he couldn't enjoy the life he'd built for himself.  It doesn't seem right that he couldn't take advantage of the benefits available to him, both financial and that health insurance from God Bill Gates gives him employees, to make himself happy, not paranoid and content with what he had achieved.

It has tossed me into some belly-button contemplation about my process, (because everything circles back to me don't ya know *kidding tone meant here*)

I could easily have turned this around on myself at various times in my life.  Dang, if *he* wasn't happy with what he'd done what right do I have to celebrate anything I've done?  What have I done?  Bought art supplies and bragged about it on a blog?  Sheesh, what do I think I am?

But, I should be proud of the fact that I got well.  I should be proud that I listened to the people in my life and took my pills and let them work.    I put my children into the first space of my priorities.  I've sustained a marriage for almost 21 years, starting from a point that was the formula for failure.

I don't know, it made me very sad to hear of his death.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  Pin curling your hair is still a great way to get curls without using heat.  I'll be posting my step-by-step later this week.  

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Okay, so I'm a jerk

It occurred to me yesterday that I've been a jerk to Scott all this week.  No reason,  I was just being an asshole.

I didn't even realize it until yesterday and now I'm ashamed of myself.

I don't like it when I figure out I've been mean to someone I love and I'm still chewing on why I felt I needed to do that. 

I'll probably have something more to say later.  Well, does anyone who knows me doubt I'll have something to say? 

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  Baking soda can be a very effective shampoo, just pour some into your hand, rub into your scalp and rinse. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oh boy, I wasn't looking forward to this part of parenting a daughter

My daughter is nine and in fourth grade.  We've been protective of her in regards to what entertainment and situations she's exposed to and this has made her a little immature for her age.  She's really comfortable with younger kids and they're comfy with her. 

Now that it's fourth grade, some of the girls are starting to get their mean girl shoes on.  A couple have asked Zoe if she likes Elmo and tell her Elmo is for babies.  It makes her feel crappy and she's talked to her dad about it a little bit.

It's not bullying exactly, bullying involves phyicality where girls wage psychological war.  The term "Mean Girls" is a good one. 

I'm distressed, but there isn't much I can do about it except coach her in what to say back to them, like "Well, don't watch Elmo then."  or "Yeah?  And?". If they continue to say that she's a baby for liking Elmo she should reply "Yah, and?" or "You said that already.". 

Sadly, it's part of being a girl growing up around other girls.  At some point in our female lives claws grow and we wander around yowling and spitting.  It's really hard to explain how very nasty teenage girls can be.  Stephen King did an excellent job of it in the book Carrie.  Every woman I know who read that agrees that, yeah, we could be that bad. 

I've been dreading this phase.  Schools now have a much stricter rules in regards to bullying of the physical and emotional kind.  But, someone has to tattle, which sucks. 

I'm not about to let her watch Freddy and Jason or Saw and Hostel, but I will let her like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus.  Questionable role models?  Yes.  But so was Madonna and Donna Summer and Diana Ross and The Ronettes. 

It's inevitable that she's going to grow up, but unless I keep her in the house like Rapunzel, I can't keep her from having to deal with meanies. 

Soon, I'll start leaving tissue boxes in her room for weeping purposes.


Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  Glittery make up is for evening only!

Monday, February 21, 2011

And now on to exercise!

Gah, the advice about exercise!  Here is what all the advisers say in common: you should exercise.

How long, how often, what kind, oi, try and figure it out.  Again, a couple of the high profile trainers/gurus/whatever you want to call them, Richard Simmons, Susan Powter, the Biggest Loser trainers all say one should move around every day.  Susan tells us to modify to your ability and make sure you don't hurt yourself.  Richard has tailored his routines for bigger people, but they're so corny I can't even do them, maybe on mute I could stand it. 

Susan highly recommends walking every day, doesn't matter how fast, just as long as you walk around and move more than you are right now, at least 30 minutes a day.

Richard likes an hour, with some stretching to improve your range of motion.  He's big into low impact movement, because it's more difficult for larger people to lift their limbs and they can hurt themselves doing high impact.  When a person is bigger it's hard on the knees, very big people will develop a bend in their legs with their knees moving closer together and feet moving farther apart to support their weight. 

Jillian, of the Biggest Loser, tells one to suck it up and just do it goddammit!  Bob, also of BL, tells us to modify on his DVDs and work into the workouts as your fitness level improves.  I've done workouts by both of these trainers and I'm sore afterwards, more so with Jillian's routines than Bob's because hers are harder, more intense.

I did a couple of Jillian's today, short ones that focused on abs, arms and legs and I think I strained my back trying to hold the ab crunch position while I rotated from the waist. Again, Jiilian never says anything about modification she tells you to just do the friggin' exercise. 

But even smaller persons need to start slowly so they don't hurt themselves.  Cameron Diaz speaks of starting martial arts training for the Charlie's Angels film and not being able to touch her toes.  There are lots of people who are naturally thin but not in shape and bigger people who are very fit. 

Anyway,  I've been advised to move around gently three to four times a week, really push myself into high cardio every day, do power yoga daily, do running and calisthenics boot camp style every day among other things. 

I can't figure it all out so I've been doing the treadmill, Wii Fit (I really like the boxing games), various exercise DVDs or workouts on Netflix instant streaming five to six days a week.  I also walk the dogs at night after the kids go to bed.  Our walks last anywhere from 15 minutes to almost an hour depending on how energetic I'm feeling. 

I get to weigh myself next week, so I'm going to see if any of this is paying off.  I'm going to be pissed if I don't see any changes. 

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  Black women swear by petroleum jelly as eye cream. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Now I have to clutch my head

For the last three weeks or so, I've been eating healthier and exercising between 5-7 time a week.  I am begrudgingly admitting that I feel better and that I can feel parts of my body getting stronger.  I'm trying to not get caught up in results, I've given my scale to my friend Amanda.  I also have a tendency to get frustrated when the scale or the measuring tape doesn't change their numbers and give up in a fit of self loathing. 

I spent some time today reading excerpts from various books about what to eat, how to eat it, when to eat it, what's evil today and all that stuff.

Well, it would appear being vegan for health and well being is big right now and detoxing is still popular.  One book's introduction tells me that the author began his journey to wellness with three days of colon cleansing. 

Colon cleansing is another phrase for "I shit for three days."  I don't want to shit for three days, I don't like shitting for three minutes let alone three days.  Do people take vacation days to do this?  You'd have to, if you were going to colon cleanse for three days. 

Did you know there's a man who believes Elvis died of a heart attack brought on by chronic constipation?  

Anyway, this one author big into the vegan thing, with most of one's meals being raw foods.  Yes, the raw food movement.  Fruits, roots, shoots, leaves, nuts and seeds, that's all they eat.  Oh, and it's got to be all organic because big food is evil, in bed with the medical industry and is trying to make everyone sick so doctors can make more money. 

The Skinny Bitch basically says go vegan or go fuck yourself.  She also insists you can afford to eat an organic vegan diet you just choose not to make it work in your budget. 

Then there's Susan Powter, who says I'm not eating enough, I need at least 2200 calories a day, compared to the 1100 calories has calculated for me. 

 Recently, Susan has also jumped on the organic vegan wagon, eat vegetables and fruits, legumes and rice, anything that grows from the ground is fine. 

The ghost of Atkins is still floating around, telling me I need to ditch the carbs found in rice, beans and fruits in favor of lean proteins, dark greens and nuts.  Suzanne Somers does a version of the high protein thing including blue cheese dressing, cheeses, lean meats and eggs, meaning cobb salad is a go.  Of course, she also puts a  dose of hormones into her vagina every morning so I'm not sure I should take all of her advice.

So, blue cheese burgers on lettuce on one plate and just lettuce on the other.  Am I the only one who thinks this is weird and confusing? 

Watching the Biggest Loser doesn't help, what with 20, 30 and in one case, 40 pounds lost in a week.  I am not of the opinion that a loss of that much is healthy.  I'm also not of the opinion that a trainer pushing a person to exercise until they puke, pass out or both is a good thing.  I understand proving to someone that they can do a lot more than they think they can is a powerful motivator, but when the person in question literally runs until they drop and needs medical attention, I'll probably look elsewhere for advice.  But seeing the big numbers is discouraging.

I went to look at the food pyramid on the Department of Agriculture's site, but I can't make heads or tails of that thing.  The message appears to be, eat more vegetables.   Okay, I need to eat more vegetables.    Got it. 

But then there is the recommendation of what kind of vegetables.  Any vegetables?  Yes, says one!  Oh no, says another!  Only dark leafy greens.  No no, you need non-starchy vegetables and carrots should be the only root vegetable you eat.  No no, squash is a must!  All organic!  Any vegetable is okay, even frozen or canned just eat more vegetables!  For god's sake, juice it!  Only the juice is what you need!  Use the pulp to make veggie breads! 

The rest of it is all conflicting information making me so confused I'm ready to toss the whole idea and come up with my own plan involving more vegetables.  And I could probably write a book about my experience of eating more vegetables and how it Changed My Life. 

I have found a promising book by a woman named Marion Nestle Ph.D., a professor of nutrition at New York University.  She has written several books about foods, what a person should eat, how food works in your body and such.  What she presents are facts and the philosophies of other scholars she admires who all said pretty much the same thing:  Move more, try to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. 

She's very aware of the issues families are dealing with regarding finances and food costs.  She knows there are families who sometimes have to make choices between medication and more nutritious foods.  She knows that people don't have a huge amount of time.  That's why I like her. 

I have some other books I need to read before I commit to her publication, but I'm putting on my wish list. 

I'm not even going to go into the various ideas about exercise, because my scalp already hurts from where I've been pulling at it. 

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If, like me, you have a tendency to pick at your skin, keep something on hand to put on whatever blemish you are wanting to pick at.  I use an anti-blemish treatment gel.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Oh you flippin' dog.....

We have two doggies, both mutts we rescued from a shelter.

Gibson, our dalmatian-and-something mix, was in the big, downtown shelter as a puppy, back in 9 months later as a stray, adopted out, but back again 9 months after that because his family was evicted from their home.  He was taken from the shelter by Austin Pets Alive, who brought him to an adoption fair where we found him.  That was 13 months ago, the longest Gibson has been with any of his three families.

The result is that we don't know much about his upbringing.  We don't know if he was an only dog or if he had other animals around him. He's fine with kids and gets upset when they cry.   Not long ago, there was a wasp in Zoe's room, underneath some of the rubble on her floor.  Her friend stepped on it with her bare foot and got stung. As I was running upstairs, Gibson was running down to get me.

We added Peavey, a black lab-and-something mutt, this last August.  Gibson and Peavey do some wrestling around, but none of it is fighting.  They make snarly noises, but it turns into grooming and their tails are wagging.

We call it "alpha dogging" when Gibson decides to jump Peavey.

However, when we get him around other dogs, it's sometimes an issue.  Yesterday, I took the two canines to a local dog park.  Peavey ran off.  While our backyard is a nice size, he likes having the extra room to really run fast and far.

Gibson, went up to the other dogs in the park and started chest-bumping.  He was wanting to play with them the way he plays with Peavey.  I'm very careful to keep an eye on Gibson, sticking close to step in should it appear he's making anyone upset.

It depends on the dog he's trying to play with and the humans that are in the park that day.  Once, we met a woman who said "Oh nah, he's just vocal.  He's sooooooo not being aggressive, he's just playin'".  We've also met a man, who gave us the term 'chest bumping', which he sees his animals do, just the alpha dogs from various homes doing their thing.

Then there was yesterday.  The dogs he was trying to wrestle with didn't have a sense of humor, didn't like he was doing that and reacted in kind.  And their owners responded the same way, which ended with us being politely asked to leave.

 There's another enclosure where there weren't any other dogs, so I took my two over there and had a cry. It's upsetting and embarrassing that my dog has no manners, will run away if he gets out without his leash on and won't sit on command unless you're holding a treat or his leash. 

Now what do I do?  I want to bring him to the dog park, but how do I control this behavior?  Will taking him to training classes help by really establishing that he's not in charge? 

There's also the fact that most people think he's part pit-bull.  His head isn't shaped quite right to be part pit, his jaw is too small, but when he smiles he looks pit like.   Put him next to a pit-bull, he has the same squatty body, but a number of dogs have that, boxers, bulldogs, rottweilers, etc.  But, almost everyone who sees him asks if he's part pit, which makes people think he's aggressive instead of playing. 

It's really stressful taking him to the dog park, but Peavey loves it and I want to take them both so they can run and play.   And if we're going to take him, we need to deal with the way he acts.

I'm looking into training classes now and getting that into the budget.

Oh, why does this make me feel like it's one of my kids that is misbehaving? 

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  When coloring or perming your hair at home,  perm clean hair, color dirty hair.  In other words, wash and dry your hair before you perm and don't wash your hair before you color.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wow, that works

About ten years ago, Scott was at work on Valentine's Day when one of his co-workers poked his head into Scott's office to ask if Scott had gotten a ticket to the pro wrestling event that night.  Apparently, they were being given to employees as a bonus for being awesome. 

Scott said he wouldn't go anyway because it was Valentine's Day and I'm told the following conversation happened, this isn't word for word but it captures the communication.

Scott:  Are you gonna go?

Friend:  Yeah.

Scott:  You got a ticket for Christine too?

F:  No, I could only get one.

S:  You're not going to go to wresting on Valentine's Day are you?

F:  She said it was okay.

S:  Dude, you didn't call and ask her did you?

F:  Well...... yeah.

S:  Yeah, she said it was okay, but she wants you to come home and spend Valentine's Day with her.

F:  Then why didn't she say that?

S:  Because she wants you to stay home because you want to, not because she told you to.

F:  That makes no sense.

S:  I know, but if they have to tell you it doesn't count.  If she TELLS you to stay home instead, she's being a controlling bitch. 

F:  But I want to do what she wants, I'd go home if she asked me to, I wouldn't think she was a bitch.  How can I do what she wants me to if she doesn't tell me? 

S:  I know, it doesn't make sense but that's how it is.

F:  So she wants me to come home but she won't say so? 

S:  Right.  Go get a bag of M&Ms and tell her you decided to come home.  I know, it makes my head hurt. 

I will confess to holding onto the attitude that if I have to tell Scott to do something nice or romantic for me, it doesn't mean as much.  I don't want him to be nice to me because I tell him to, I want him to have the idea on his own. 

Then, there is his side of the argument that he wants to do what I want if that will make me happy, but he doesn't know what that is unless I tell him. 

But if I tell him, he's only doing it because I told him to, I might as well buy myself a box of candy and sign his name to it.  What fun is that?  It makes a girl upset causing her to eat all the candy in the box while watching a romantic film where the heroine ends up living on a vineyard in France with Kevin Klein, this makes her cry about how much her life sucks.  And the resulting sugar high will give her the energy to pick a fight with the man who loves her and was just waiting for instructions.  It's a bad scene all around. 

This year, I tried something different.  I emailed him the link to the el cheap-0 special ProFlowers was having for Valentines Day. 

And yesterday flowers appeared on my doorstep!  And I was excited and touched!  Who knew? 

I'll need to try that again soon.  I don't know why I'm surprised, my mom has done this to great success for years. 

Let's see, my birthday is next,  I should start thinking about what I want for my birthday now. 

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  Put some of your favorite perfume on a handkerchief and tuck it into your lingerie drawer to make your dainties smell wonderful. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

And arty-fartsy post about listening to my artistic voice. Don't worry, it's not long

A friend of mine commissioned a painting from me.  This made me super-duper excited.  She asked me to paint something that shows the growth she's made in the last year, which is considerable, in whatever vision I have.

I started the project in the worst state of mind.  I was thinking about what she would like, what she might want, what she was expecting, oh no!  that might offend her boyfriend! And that wasn't working.  I scrapped the first canvas and started over. 

After really struggling with what I wanted to do, I was on the brink of gessoing over the canvases and starting a third time when  I finally asked myself  "What if a mutual friend said 'Why don't you paint a picture of how much she's been through in the last year?'"  and I started again.

With that mind set, the paint flowed and the image was able to talk to me.  I used a symbolism I saw when I was reading her story unfold via emails she sent to a group of us.  And I used symbolic images I find in my own life.

Once I had it as close to done as I could get it, I let it sit in my living room so I could contemplate if anything needed to be changed.  Nope, if I added to it, I would be forcing it and that would ruin what I had. 

I'm sending it off to her today with hopes she'll love it.  I've gotten to a place where I hang my paintings in my house and can say "Ah, I like to do it.  I may be a terrible painter, but I don't care!  It works for me."  But creating something for someone about that deep a subject?  This is scary, which means it's good for me to do it.

Will and I are going to the post office now. 

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If yiou are having issues with your skin and you have a product that works for you, regardless of what the reviews say.  I use Oxy cleansing pads when my skin breaks out even though reviews say it's drying and irritating for my skin.  It works for me, so I use them.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A delayed update as to the Hip Housewife's prior emotional distress

Since I blogged at ya last, I had a couple of very good conversations.  One, with my excellent friend Amanda and another with a woman who knew the person in question at the same time as I did.

The Divine Miss H and I were in theater with the Facebook meanie at the same time and she knew exactly who I was talking about.  She emailed me right away to be sure her suspicions were correct and, oh, what a snark we had!  It was very beneath us, but we squatted down and chattered at each other about her and others that we thought were awful. 

It felt so wonderful to have someone say "Oh, yeah.  No you're not wrong, they're horrid.  I think that school they both went to makes them crazy, well, crazy-er since they were crazy to start with.  And what was up with his girlfriend? Did you know I knew her in high school?"  knew exactly who and what I was talking about.  Cathartic.

My friend Amanda and I get together regularly during the week for a break from the stay-at-home-mom track we're both on.  I walked into her house on Wednesday and one of the first things she said to me was "So, you know that person is wack-o right?". 

Then she asked me how many people have I known who really lived an authentic life who tell everyone about it.  Which is very true, individuals I know who are living a true life, either don't say anything about it or say they're trying, it's a work in progress, they are always looking for the next lesson.  Because living an authentic life is about rediscovering the truth of right now, to stay in one place is to be stagnant and stagnant water grows gross stuff in it.  

And if, the lady in question is still upset about something that happened in 1993, exactly how much growth could there have been?  At least in this particular area?  Again, if her life is authentic and toxic-free, why respond to someone/thing that would invite toxicity into your life?  

 Holy new age thinking Batgirl!   

Then I think we talked about spaghetti squash. 

Why did I make the decision to hang onto this particular cyber-incident?  What benefit do I get from my clinging?  I dunno.  I haven't figured that out yet.  That answer will come to me in time.

But today?  Today I have a Zumba class and Girl Scout cookies to sell with Zoe, laundry to attempt to catch up on and my face to wash.  I have to focus on everyday things at this moment. 

First?  Harvest my farm in Farmville!  One needs their priorities. 

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  (Taken from the website Learn From My Fail)  Ladies, when you are bleaching your hair with lemon juice, the carpet does not need to match the drapes. Ever.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Hip Housewife is feeling insecure and contemplating that, skip if you like

Warning!  I get very new-age in here, which I know is not for everyone.  I just ask for no judgement, which would make me sad, okay? 

I can tell when I'm having a fit of insecurity, not by being able to identify the fact that I'm feeling not quite full of self-esteem, but because I start wanting to look up the woman who gave me the Facebook rejection summer before last.  (If you don't know what that's all about you can read about it here: An entry in my journal from the year I was crazy)

This last week, I noticed I was thinking about googling her again.  that silly Facebook rejection has become something I poke myself with.  I started to wonder why I always want to do that.

I have a method of sorting out how I feel about things called "Voice Dialog".  All the descriptions I can find online are very aery-faery, new-agey and don't make much sense.  Essentially, it's interviewing yourself.  You know when someone asks you a question and you are surprised when you hear your answer?  It's something like that, only you are asking yourself the question.  There's a very good example of voice dialog in the movie "The Big Chill"  where William Hurt is interviewing himself in front of the video camera he found in his friend's house. Those of you who know me will not be surprised by the fact that this works well for me because, well, sometimes I just gotta talk.

I like to do it in the car, because one does this speaking out loud,  I can babble along without anyone listening or wondering what I'm doing.  If I'm feeling particularly self-conscious, I'll plug in a cell-phone ear piece to make it look like I'm talking on the phone. 

So, this Sunday while in the car, I ask myself what was up with wanting to cyber-stalk this woman?

My answer?  I am 100% convinced she is better than me.  She has a better life than me, is a better person than me, a better mom, wife, whatever.  She's got much more life experience and is very definitely more evolved from a self-awareness standpoint.  Even though I have an issue with her attending a school that allows a person to receive a masters degree in depth psychology by attending classes only one weekend a month and she is now calling herself a therapist/independent mental health professional, at least she DID it.  At least she's trying to follow her passion and bliss, more than I can say for scared little me.  I'm fat.  I'm scared. 

Then I spoke to myself again: You haven't seen her since 1993.  She says her life is authentic and toxic free, but if it is, then why not just click on 'ignore'?  She worked for your mother's best friend in the last 1980's and told her she was actually an Italian princess who had been abducted by the people who raised her.  Eventually,she would be able to get in touch with the royal family that were her biological kin and return to her rightful place.  She says she's a breast cancer survivor, but that could mean she had a fibrous tumor taken out, you remember how she exaggerated and made things up.  You know she would go on yoga retreats, telling you at a party how she did yoga eight hours a day, ate a mono diet of brown rice and water and would then drink a bottle of red wine and smoke a joint.  You don't know anything about her.

I answered:  The past is the past, she's obviously gotten her shit together.  You can tell me that all you want, but I know the truth and the truth is that next to her I am found lacking.

My response to myself: Okay, can you think of anything that will change your feeling about that? 

I replied:  No. 

I asked:  Are you willing to just let it sit there until the world talks to you and presents how you'll deal with this?  Let's just let it sit there.  Don't hang on to it, just let it sit. You know the world will talk to you when you're ready to deal with it. 

I agreed. 

Now I have this vision of a black ball of ick that jiggles when you poke it with your finger.  I'll probably draw a picture of it today.

End aery-faeryness! 

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If you find a terry washcloth a little harsh, use a baby washcloth. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

An overwhelmed life, being put off

I have a great deal to do, both in my home and in life.  I'm behind on the photo blogs where I participate, my laundry, the emails I need to send.

How am I doing on my "action items"?  I've done dishes.  I've started a load of laundry. 

But, mostly, I'm downloading CDs onto my computer before attempting to figure out how to operate a little pink ipod Scott got a swag a while back.  And it's not a recent model, it's the kind with the little circle on it and a screen.  Not a touch, just a plain ol' ipod, do they even make these anymore?

Zoe was born in 2001, which means I'm clueless as to what's going on in the current music happenings.  I have discovered the joys of Arcade Fire, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, but beyond that?  I' unno.

Ask me about the 80s, oh, I could tell you what year The Reflex by Duran Duran hit #1 on the billboard chart.  (1984 by the way).  I saw The Cure at the Forum during the Kiss Me tour for my 16th birthday.  And it was my first concert, talk about trial by fire! 

90s?  I could do pretty good.  Smashmouth, Third Eye Blind, Blink 182, alternative goes mainstream. Kurt Cobain took himself out, giving us a music martyr for the decade but leaving us with Courtney. Hip hop made a big impact and Eminem made parents scared.  Oh, and the appearance of Britney Spears, marking the comeback of bubble-gum pop. 

Last ten years?  I gots no clue. 

That includes the technology.  I'm still operating with the round, silver things that require a player that won't fit in your pocket if using a portable model.  If I want to change the album, I have to carry a fairly large book with me.  I've learned the hard way that anti-skip isn't really a feature anymore.  And, as I said, the player I"m trying to make work isn't even a new one. 

I like walking the dogs after the kids go to bed, when it's warm enough and I like to listen to music while I take our constitutional.  But my CD player skips, so I need to make this little thing work. 

All I have is the ipod, no instruction book or anything like that.  Luckily, I know how to use the interweb to find information.  Hopefully, for our walk tonight I can be singing along with the Dave Matthews Band.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  That tip about using a toothbrush to exfoliate your lips?  Yeah, don't do that.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Hip Housewife can feel her fingers

Now that the weather in Texas has gotten over the 33 degrees F mark, I'm able to feel my fingers to type again.

I'm going to touch on the subject of a big deal that I'm hoping will happen this fall.

I've been talking about going to culinary school for years, as many people know.  It's really starting to look like that can happen for me in September.  In summer of 2012 there will still be the question of having someone watch Zoe and Will during the day, but those plans won't even need to be made until next February. 

My parents have made the very generous offer to help out with the financing for the 15 month course of study. 

One of the questions I'm asked is what I'm going to do once I've completed school.  The honest answer is:  I don't know yet.

While they were visiting my mom asked me what I thought I wanted to do once I was done with school.  I stammered out a vague answer.

"You know sweetie, maybe you just want to learn to be a better cook.  There's nothing wrong with that."  she said to me.

I took a breath and told my mom I'm trying to follow my bliss. I want to cook.  I don't know if I want to do it professionally or if I'll rent myself out for small parties or work for a caterer.  I may get into a line kitchen and love it.  I may take the leap to apply for a business loan and open up a trailer serving Elvis food. 

I don't know. 

When I'm painting and the kids look at what I'm doing, they'll ask what comes next.  I always answer:  I don't know, the painting has to talk to me.

Once I'm done with my classes, I'll wait for the world to talk to me. 

A few days ago, I had a conversation with an excellent friend about the fact that I really want to start in the fall.  I  it was an exciting but frightening proposition. 

"Are you scared it's going to be hard?" she asked me.

"No, I know it will be hard sometimes.  I'm not afraid to work hard.  I'm afraid I'm going to fail."  That answer popped out of my mouth before I'd even completed the thought. 

But it's the God's honest truth, I'm afraid I'll fail.  I'm afraid I'll get everything wrong, have to remake my cream of mushroom and pea soups a number of times before I receive chef's approval on flavor and texture.

I also know I'm a good cook, I'm good at creating things people like to eat.  I should do very well. 

I'll just wait and see what the world tells me.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If you are having static-y flyaway hair, rub a little lotion on your hands and run them over your hair, it will at least lie down. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's too cold for contemplative thought

So here's some of the facts I have floating around in my head:

 It's illegal to own the issue of Penthouse featuring the photos of Vanessa Williams because an underage Traci Lords is the Pet of the Month.

 Ostriches don't bury their heads in the sand.

 One of the top five shoplifted items in drugstores is Preparation H.

 In India, films under three hours are considered too short for the ticket price.

 If you have gum on your face, use more gum to remove it.

 In ancient Rome, you could buy ground meat mixed with spices and pine nuts, flattened, cooked and served on bread.

 The inventor of the lava lamp was trying to invent a timer.

 Silly Putty was originally developed as a wallpaper cleaner.

 More money is spent feeding the prisoners in the state of California than is spent to feed the children in all the public schools in the country.

 You've Lost That Loving Feeling is the song that has been played the most on the radio.

Richard Chamberlin is gay and has been living at the beach with his longtime companion for years and years.

 An extreme lack of sleep can permanently alter a person's personality. 

Women are generally better able to handle the pain of getting a tattoo than men.

S.O.S pads were first introduced as a giveaway to promote a line of aluminum pots and pans.

 Rob Feenie, the celebrated chef from Vancouver Canada, did not allow his employees to make eye contact with him for a period of time.

 When Van Halen required M&M's with the brown ones removed in their contracts, it was requested to see if the venue was really reading the contract.

 The game Tetris for the mobile phone has sold over 100 million units.

 Clark Gable was obsessive about his personal hygiene and showered several times a day.  He also shaved off his body hair.  However, his smoking habit combined with his false teeth gave him horrible breathe.

 Vivan Vance, known for playing Ethel Murtz, actually hated William Frawley, the actor who played Fred Murtz, with a firey passion She refused to take publicity photos with him and only spoke to him when they had scenes together.

Queen Elizabeth II can strip and service a car engine.

 The voice actress Norma McMillan, known for Gumby, Davey and Goliath and Caper the Friendly Ghost is also the mother of Alison Arngrim, the actress who played Nellie Oleson.

Jane Powell dated my godmother's uncle and attended the family Christmas gathering one year.

 In the state of Texas, it is illegal to milk another person's cow.

Honolulu is the only place in the US with a royal palace.

The call of a kookaburra is regularly heard in the sound effects of a jungle, but kookaburras are only found in Australia.

 Mozart was a Freemason.

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words.

More people are killed by donkeys every year than are killed in plane crashes.

Camels were imported to Australia to carry equipment across the desert, some escaped and are wild now.  However, they have zero negative impact on the environment so they are left alone. 

I'm going to go put my slippers on!  Stay warm everyone!

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  When the weather is very cold, keep your lip balm on hand and use it often!