Thursday, March 31, 2011

I'm about to spew my opinion so be warned

"I have two grandchildren: Maggie is 11; Robert is 9. I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American

Newt Gingrich said that the other day.  Let's take a closer look at this. 

....if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America.......   

I'm assuming he is talking about voting Obama out and getting all this socialist/hippie/communist/Nazi nonsense out of the White House.  I'm assuming he means bringing someone to office who will implement changes that would be positively received by the evangelicals he was speaking to at the time. 

...by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country...  

Again, I'm making assumptions as to what he means, but I think he's trying to say that when his grandchildren are in their 70's that there will not be a majority of Christians in office.  In fact, the majority of people in office will not use religion when making decisions.  But, isn't our government supposed to be free from religion?  I've been told by the conservatives that I'm supposed to use Judeo/Christian ethics when interpreting the Constitution because the men who wrote it were Christian and must have meant for these things in a religious context.  But, if they did, why didn't they include Bible quotes or some type of prayer?  And if they did mean to have our Constitution read as a guide for a Christian nation, why did they include a separation of church and state?  Why did they include the right of a freedom of religion?  If they wanted a Christian nation why not just say that?  Moving on....

.....potentially one dominated by radical Islamists.......
 
Wait a minute.  You just said "secular atheist country"  but it dominated by Muslims?  Wouldn't that make it an Islamist nation?  Maybe he means that since Christianity is the only true faith, Muslims are essentially atheists since they're not doing it right.  Or, he could be using the term "Islam" in place of, oh, "terrorist" or "Arab".  Which I think is more likely.  However, his audience would have accepted this racism because they're scared.  Even though Jesus is a prophet in the Muslim faith, just not THE prophet. Jesus lived in the middle east, he would look like an Arab. If Jesus was trying to board a plane in the US he'd be chosen for a more intensive search.  At any rate, this is a racist statement meant to frighten the people who came to hear him speak. 
......with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.
 
Newt, do you know what it meant to be an American in 1900, 1865 or 1780?   I wasn't alive in 1920, my grandfather was 3, he can't tell me what it was to be an American in 1920.  I don't know what it once meant to be an American 60 years ago.  Without having lived through that era, I can't really understand the mind-set.  I can hear people talk about and I can draw my own conclusions, but I won't understand it without having been there.  

Here's what I think:  Newt Gingrich is on this third marriage.  His current wife is 22 years his junior.  He cheated on both of his previous wives.  He was actively involved in an affair when he was campaigning to impeach Clinton, which got started because Clinton was unfaithful to Hilary. 

So, the adulterous Christian is telling the people he wants to vote for him that radical Muslims are going to take over our country and take away their Bibles.  Oh, it's gonna be a FUN campaign!  Get the popcorn!

Okay, the Hip Housewife will close her yap about her political views now. She'll be getting a new power cord for her Mac this week so she'll be able to update regularly again and will be doing another video.  She'll probably be doing more speaking about herself in the third person because she thinks that's funny.  

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  Lice prefer clean hair.  If there's been an outbreak in your family, keep it dirty while you treat bedding, couches, etc.  and the buggers won't be interested in your tresses


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Summer has arrived at Case de 'burbs

Summer has arrived at my house.  How do I know?  The fact that the temperatures have climbed into the 80's and will most likely crack 90 today is only part of it. 

I know, because yesterday I made a gallon of Kool-aid.  Well, not Kool-aid, the store brand mix that costs a dime for one package and I add my own sugar.  It will be just the first of scores of pitchers full of sweet punch served to the kids that will come over to our place in the coming months.  Yesterday, I had an additional four kids over to play in the backyard with the hose.  Hence, the gallon of punch. 

I know it's officially summer because today I bought a new inflatable pool.  It's the same pool we've had every summer for the last three years.  Three inflated rings stuck together to make a 70 inch by 102 inch rectangle.  We get one every year and at the end of every summer we'll throw it away.  Scott and I will sit in it with the kids on the weekends, drinking beers and splashing. 

I know, because Bluebonnet flowers are blooming and families are out in droves to pose their children in the blooms.  The most popular place to do this is on the embankments next to the highway, which are kept landscaped in native plants, a legacy of Lady Bird Johnson. 

I know because we are starting to receive fliers from school about summer day camps, summer sleep away camps, summer child care that combines babysitting with learning and swimming.  Soon, forms for the next school year will be arriving to be filled out.

I know because the hum of air conditioners is filling the air and teenagers have made their appearances with lawn mowers in fits of entrepreneurial ambition. 

I know because stores are now stocking fans, room air conditioners and beverage tubs.  Bar-b-ques and grills are taking up more space  in the front of home improvement stores than ever. More soda is being stocked with sale prices attached and meats have dipped in price.  Sunscreen is now in a prominent location near the seasonal items with bonus packs being offered.

It's summer, it's only a matter of time until the kids are off school and will be at loose ends all day, begging for Kool-aid and trips to the pool and watermelon. 

That's fine by me.  Bring it on. 

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  Now that you'll probably be spending more time outside, make sure you apply sunscreen.  If you're skin is prone to breakouts, there are lots of foundations that include SPFs of 15 or more.  Don't forget the back of your neck and the tops of your ears.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Envisage 365 online art project is having a giveaway!

I've been contributing to an online art project called Envisage 365 since it's inception in 2008.  This blog was a place for me to post photos during the time I was trying to recover from my breakdown in 2009.  I received endless support from the other women participants and it made me feel not so alone in the world.

Sarah, the owner, has gone through her own challenges to come out the other side in a much improved situation where she's happy, in love and glad to be alive. 

Earlier this week, she tried to enter a giveaway from an Etsy store where she purchased a beautiful embroidered camera strap.  The giveaway contest called for photos of people using their camera strap. Sarah's photo can be seen here:  http://envisage365.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/sarah-201365/

For those of you who cannot click over, it's a picture of Sarah with the strap over her mouth and the caption Taken this morning after discovering that my Daughter had stolen a very sentimental and cherished ring from my Stepfather.This photo represents that Silence surrounding our Mental Illness and struggles withDepression was never acceptable and will be tolerated no longer.
I will help her.”


The store owner refused to post it in the contest, blocked Sarah from her store and eventually dismantled her store and re-opened it so she could stop dealing with Sarah's questions about the fact that there were no restrictions listed, asking for any kind of explanation as to how the owner found it provocative, etc.

Anyway,  Sarah is having a giveaway of her own.  The prize is a large Mason Jar of Homemade Body Wash in your choice of Scent, a small mason Jar of Homemade Sugar Scrub in your choice of Scent, Homemade Lip Balm your choice of Flavor in a Vintage Avon Solid Perfume Jar and a Knitted Scarf in Noro Kureyon yarn.

The subject?  A sexy self-portrait, open to all interpretations.  Chaste, naked, dressed, by yourself, with someone, the subject is up to you!  It's open to anyone over the age of 18 and the panel is placing emphasis on creativity. 

I'm already percolating ideas.  If you want in on this action go to www.envisage365.wordpress.com to read the rules and regs (or lack of) and see if you'd like to try for the prize package.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If you have to treat your hair for lice (oh, just don't go there about that situation) you'll need to do a deep condition once it's completed.  You must trust me on this one.  (hey!  I said don't go there!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Hip Housewife writes a little fan fic (don't worry it's clean)

I could tell you more about the last couple of days filled with allergies, asthma, the return of lice and the never ending battle with the laundry monster, but I would just be repeating myself so I give you something else.  

Fan fic, meaning fan fiction,  is a variation written on TV shows, books, movies, games, etc.  Many times it's erotic but I'm not doing that here.

I like the show "Huge" (  http://www.hulu.com/watch/160704/huge-hello-i-must-be-going  to watch the first episode) about a weight loss camp for teens and all the dramas/tragedies/comedies that go along with that situation.

One of the dramas involves three teens from the tennis camp on the other side of the woods. The three tennis players, young and fit and obviously wealthy, like to hang out in the same clearing in the woods as the fat kids.  They chase the fat kids out of the woods on a regular basis and the larger teens eventually take care of the problem.  The tennis kids run and tattle on them (which the fat kids never did) so no one can hang out in the woods.

I thought of this scenario to solve the problem:

Setting:  a large area in the woods.  About 20 teenagers of varying larger sizes are standing in a cluster facing three slim teenagers in tennis whites.

Guy tennis player 1:  We told you lard-asses to get out of here!

Girl tennis player:  I can't believe you are so stupid.  Does the fat clog the blood flow to your brain?

One large teen steps forward.

Fat teen 1:  You know what?  I think we can settle this.  How about we have a competition for the clearing?  Um, like a sport or something?

The tennis players look at each other with smirks.

Guy tennis player 2:  Sure, you want to pretend to do that, let's go.

Large teen:  Okay, um, you guys can pick our team but we get to pick the sport.  It has to be something we can play here.

The tennis players quickly select the largest kids.

Guy tennis player 1:  Hey, we'll even give you an extra player!  Now it's four on three!  What are we playing?  We don't care, let's send you back quick.

The entire group of teens huddles, whispering, then giggles are heard.

Large teen:  Red Rover.

The tennis teens look shocked.  The fat kids laugh.

Guy tennis player 2:  That's not a sport!

Large teen:  Who says?

Guy tennis player 1:  We are not playing that!

Large teen:  If you want to forfeit that's fine.  But we had an agreement.

Guy tennis player 2: Pick something else!

Large teen:  Okay, tug of war.

Guy tennis player 1:  No!

Large teen:  Buck buck

Girl tennis player:  What is THAT?

Large teen 2:  Connor, come here.  We'll show you.

Connor hold onto a tree while large teen 2 wraps his arms around Connor's  waist, tucking his head into his arms.

Connor:  Now, we have our other players hang on like that and you run and jump on us.  Then we get to run and jump on you.  First team to get knocked down loses.

Girl tennis player:  There is no WAY I am playing that!  Forget this!

She begins to leave, Guy tennis player 2 grabs her arm. 

Guy tennis player 1:  Come on! You have to pick real sport.

Large teen 3:  Wrestling, it's in the Olympics. 

Girl tennis player storms off into the woods.

The group of big teens begins to chant: For-Feit! For-Feit!  For-Feit!

The guy tennis players stomp off into the woods.

 The fat teens cheer.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Making memories as historically inaccurate as they might be

Scott and I took our children to a faire yesterday.  The difference between a fair and a faire is that a fair features animals associated with farms, rides powered by energy that feature falling, displays of handicrafts, various deep fried foods and beer. A faire features people dressed in a vague approximation of Elizabethan English style clothing, rides powered by people that feature spinning, blacksmith demonstrations, various smoked meats and beer. 

Our kids are third generation faire-goers.  My parents attended the Southern California faire when it was first operating in the 60s.  My mom says there were a lot of topless women then.

Scott and I started going regularly in 1991 and maintained a pretty hardcore involvement for about four years.  We never camped at event like some of our friends did, mostly because I didn't want to sleep in a tent without the benefit of air conditioning after wandering around the heat and dust all day. 

That is one downside to faire going, it's usually in the spring/summer (the Texas faire outside Houston happens in October/November because those people are smart) and the sites are very dusty.  I always end up coated in a layer of sweat and dust by the end of the day.  Just the thought of not being able to get undressed and stand in front of an air conditioner at the end of the day is almost unbearable, let alone making that a reality.

But, I've never attended a faire without wearing my costume, called 'garb'.  Most women wear a loose blouse with a drawstring, off-shoulder neckline, two layers of skirts in complementary colors with the top skirt tucked up to show the underskirt and a corset in a pretty fabric that laces up the front or the sides.  This style is referred to as 'peasant garb'.

The corset, or bodice, acts like a push up bra, creating a shelf under the chin if it's being worn by a larger woman.  This cleavage comes in handy for carrying things, a piece of fruit, a dagger, a cup of beer, a bag of money, you can fit a LOT in there if you're in the D cup range or bigger.

This completely historically inaccurate.  Elizabeth I was quite flat-chested and women of the time would have emulated her style, wearing binders to make themselves appear less busty. 

I've never gone for full noble garb, the ornate dress of the upper class, because it's made of velvet and it's just too damn hot to wear during faire season.  And the women's noble garb often involves hoops to hold out the skirts, which make it difficult to sit. 

My kids wear garb too.  I made them costumes out of inexpensive fabric with the trim of their choice.  Zoe, of course, wanted pink with a ruffled ribbon trim.  This made her hat look like a mop-cap.  Several people called her Strawberry Shortcake because that's what she looked like.  Will wanted a black tunic with a wide, blue ribbon trim.  He refuses to wear any trousers but jeans but black denims work fine. 

Our faire-going is very different now that we have children.  Partly, this is because the faire we attend heavily markets itself as being family friendly.  There is no Kissing Bridge, no Puritans shouting against lewdness, no vendors selling ticklers where the man demonstrating the feathers on a short handle would stick them into your cleavage shelf and no booth selling leather bondage cuffs.  There is still beer, but there are only a few instead of one every twenty steps or so. 

But we have a lot of fun, especially because this faire backs up it's family friendly claim with the actions of the cast.  The participants go out of their way to interact with children.  The fairies asked if Zoe wanted to come live with them as their Strawberry Shortcake fairy and she could turn toadstools into strawberry shortcake.  Will ran around with his wooden sword and shield being called 'sir' by the vendors who also asked him if he was out looking for the dark knight. 

Both kids love to watch the blacksmith.  His name is Tom the Blacksmith and he took a liking to Zoe yesterday. He even gave her a gift from his shop! 

The thoroughly enjoyed the Mud Show, a show where a couple of guys jump in a big mud puddle.  One of them comes out wearing an adult diaper at one point, which Will thinks is hysterical.  He screams "He's wearing a diaper!!".  We saw the show twice and got splashed with mud both times. Neither of them minded because their clothes were washable. 

We watched the jugglers, found out that bubbles are fairy eggs, listened to music and ate yummy food. 

There are a few traditions Scott and I still carry on between the two of us.  He gets to apply sunscreen to my chest and I light his cigars and bring him his beer. 

Going to faire makes me miss our friends, especially Stephanie who has a masters' degree in Elizabethan history and enjoys pointing out all the ridiculousness of the attempts to be true to the Elizabethan period. 

My friends Kathye, Susi and 'nise with whom I've gotten into a great deal of trouble.   On the closing day of one faire Kathye and I meandered around, drunk on the beer men bought us, smooched each other on the kissing bridge, flirted outrageously and ended up in the back tent of a sword vendor where one of his employees hit on Kathye real, real hard.  I'm told that during this afternoon I kissed a couple random men, but I contest this version of events. 

So, it's different now that I have children and that's okay.

One thing that has not changed is that te best part of the day is stepping into a lukewarm shower upon returning home. 

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If you are going to go to a faire, go easy on the make-up and heavy on the sunscreen.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Oh, that's just mean!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD2LRROpph0

The above is a video by a 13 year old girl named Rebecca Black. She is involved with an independent record label/production company called Ark Music Factory http://arkmusicfactory.com/, an organization that assists what they call independent artists put together their marketing package.  This is done for a fee obviously, but that's okay.  If a parent thinks their child has talent and want to try and turn them into the next Little Stevie Wonder/Osmond of your choice/Debbie Gibson/Tiffany/Brittney Spears/Justin Bieber that's their prerogative.  Ark Music Factory is one of the places they can seek assistance.

The video featuring Rebecca has gone viral and is being called 'The Worst Song Ever'.  Well, it's certainly not the best song, but I think the worst song is something of an exaggeration.  Yes, there are sections where the lyrics are just lame and I think they over auto-tuned, but the worst?  Ah, no.  I think there are a couple songs on the 1986 Pseudo Echo album that could easily be in the running for that title.

As all viral videos are subject to, there are a lot of comments on the various places the video has been posted.   Comments including "I hope you cut yourself and die."  "You should get an eating disorder so you'll be pretty"  "If anyone should cut, it should be you."  "Wow, this really sucks."

The singer is 13!  THIRTEEN!  She didn't write it, she didn't produce it, she didn't mix it, all she did was sing it and then lip-sync for the video.  Shooting her hurtful comments about how she's ugly and untalented is just mean.  She's a kid.  Lay the fuck off.

And here's the irony, the way I found out about her was the Good Morning America segment about her and specifically about the hurtful attacks targeted at her.

There are 15 million views of her video on Youtube and multiple parodies and covers of the song.

As of 10:25 a.m. U.S. central time, she is number 31 on itunes.

Is she making any money from this?  I dunno.  Did Ark Music Factory work their contacts to promote the video, sending it out to the right people to make her as exposed as possible or is it just one of those goofy things?  Again, I dunno.

And, my daughter loves the song.

The meanies and keyboard bullies (the worst kind in my opinion because, well, just because) actually created her, probably temporary, success.

And I love that chain of events.  Take that meanies!

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  Humid weather will make curled straight hair wilt.  Save yourself some stress and go with a straight style that day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Hip Housewife sometimes dreams of a different kind of life

I wrote the following blog entry in 2006, about the shooting at an Amish school where Charles Carl Roberts IV shot ten girls, killing five of them and turned the gun on himself.  I'll be continuing after the following:

A host on KFI last night was asking people to call in to tell what was their favorite news story of 2006.  The false confession to the JonBenet Ramsey murder, Brittney Spears goes from happily married mom to drunken party girl, Saddam to be executed, Dick Cheney shoots his friend were all mentioned. 

While I must say that I greatly enjoy the train wrecks that Brittney and Anna Nicole are, I think my favorite news story was about the reaction of the Amish community after the tragic school shooting in their community.

Among bombings in Iraq and Charlie Sheen beating up his wife and volcanoes erupting and the continued aftermath of Hurricane Katrinia here was this story.  About people who went through their lives with such a purity of faith and sense of connection to their fellow man.

I had the hardest time wrapping my brain around it.  What do you mean they forgave him?  Where's the wailing and crying and gnashing of teeth?  Where's the grieving family members on the morning talk shows?  Where's the book deal?

After a crazy man came in and killed their children and himself.   They forgave him. They attended his funeral. They mourned the fact that he was dead.  That a life had left this planet was a sad event, no matter who the person was or what they had done.

They invited his wife and children to attend the burials of the girls their husband and father shot.  They started a fund for his children.  They recognized the shooter and his family as fellow human beings.  Not demons or monsters, just other people who live under the same sky. 

No blame was tossed around.  No demands for gun control or political reform.  No lawsuits were filed.   There were no prepared statements to the press.  No dressing it up in black net veils and big sunglasses for the benefit of the television cameras.  Just plain mourning and then plain forgiveness.

The quiet, solemn, unconditional faith of these people was so much louder than all the other jazzy shouting that was going on.

It amazed me. 


After the awful event, I started to wonder how a person became Amish.  Did you have to be born into the community or could you join?  It turns out that any person can be Amish.  One moves to an Amish community for a period of time, sometimes for years, to find out if they are suitable for the lifestyle and if the community agrees that they are a good fit.  A strong Christian faith is the basis for being Amish.

There are Amish communities in 28 states, including one in Stephenville Texas, about 170 miles north of Austin. 

I will admit that there are days when I've been dealing with cars breaking down, no cell phone coverage, making the children leave the computer/Xbox/tv and dealing with day to day craziness I will pause and think about how different it would be have clear roles, chores and a self sustaining household.  There would be cows to milk, crops to tend, bread to make, clothes to sew, children to send to school and then shoo out to play, quilting bees and barn raisings.  I understand the Amish who live in Texas keep bees and craft buggies for English (a term for non-Amish) people.  However, if you request a garish color, say Texas orange and white, you will be expected to pay up front. The Amish don't root for the Longhorns apparently. 

I think about being so tired at the end of the day from work I just drop off to sleep without a struggle.  Really, I think about feeling safe and unafraid.  I know there would be drama and issues and infighting, just like there are in any community.  But I still think how it might be fullfilling in a plain way. 

I wonder if they'd let me wear lipstick.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  Here's an old one, if you have sun freckles you can bleach them with buttermilk. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I did it again!

Well, damn!  I let the blog lapse again.

Now, before you judge me too harshly, I have been trying to dig my way out from under a pile of dirty laundry.  Wait, that's not exactly true.  I have changed the laundry from dirty to clean, but now I have this big pile of clean laundry that needs to go where it lives.  I can get the laundry into the washer, swapped to the dryer and then taken out of the dryer to be heaped in a pile on a piece of furniture in our living room or to languish in a basket. 

Usually, we dress from the piles until things get scattered around on the floor where they are walked on and those pieces go back into the washer for another ride.

Also, it's spring break for my kids.  Zoe and Will are out of school for a whole week.  This year, it's coincided with the time change forward an hour.  I don't know about you but the whole daylight savings thing kicks my ass every year, twice a year.  Falling backwards isn't so bad, but the shift in the spring causes all kinds of strife in our household.  The kids protest starting to get ready for bed when it's still light outside and getting them up at the right time of morning becomes difficult.  Having the week off to attempt the resetting of the schedule their little bodies helps.

Since it is spring break, I'm making sure we have things to do every day this week to keep everyone from going crazy.  Monday, we spent a bunch of time at the Ultimate Moms Club, a place where I pay a monthly memebership that allows me to drop in from 10-2 five days a week.  There's a big yard with a sandbox, playhouse, swings and toys.  The club also features a big playroom, an intern who helps out with the kids, a full kitchen, a big front yard, a garden and will have chickens soon.  There are other kids to play with and other moms to chat with.   I took my sewing machine with me and made the tunics that the kids will need for the Sherwood Forest Faire this weekend.  While I was doing this I ended up giving a spontaneous sewing class for the kids.  They handed me pins and scissors, carefully watched what I did and where impressed with the simple shirts I made.  Then they danced around with the scrap fabric. 

Yesterday, we rode the new Metro Rail train downtown and went to the Children's Museum. Taking the train downtown costs more than it would to park, but  then one doesn't have to deal with parking.  Parking downtown during the week is tough. Street parking is always full, leaving either the pay to park lots or the parking structures. Parking on weekend nights, if you arrive after eight p.m. is frustrating. You can always find a space near the emergency shelter, but it's darker and a little scary for women from the 'burbs.

When any kind of big event is happening the parking issue doubles.  And this week is a good one to not have to deal with parking because SXSW (South by Southwest music festival, a city wide event featuring mulitple shows and events.  It's a huge deal and the city is packed for several days) is getting started.  People are arriving, the tents for wristband pick-up are set up, vendors are passing out flyers and all kinds of excitement is going on. When we got off the train and started towards our destination, I texted Scott "It's hipsters as far as the eye can see!"  I garnered at least a glance from the too-cool crowd in their skinny jeans and fedoras because I was rockin' the victory rolls and saddle shoes while I walked with my kids. 

One of the coolest moments of my life was the first time I was recognized as a local at the Capitol grounds.  If I go downtown on graduation weekend or during tourist season in the summer I'm usually asked directions at least once.  Again, this makes me feel all kickin' and neat-o. 

Between the train rides, the walk to and from the station, playing at the museum and the drive to and from home the outing ate up the late morning/early afternoon.  Woot!  Day two down!

Today, we're getting ready to host a play date at our house and then hosting a play date at our house.  The picking up and readying of snacks will take up our morning. Playing with friends will take up a good chunk of the afternoon.  Boom!  Day three down! 

Two days left and I'll be golden!

Keep me in your thoughts as I continue to fill our days this week. 

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  Ironing clothing is a pain-in-the-ass, but is essential in keeping your look crisp.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

You know, I don't think that was my fault man

I had to go to the doctor today to get my prescriptions renewed.  She likes me to check in every few months to make sure everything is working properly and I'm still doing well.

I left her office a little before five and got ready to leave the parking lot.  I backed out and I'm cruising along at about 8 miles an hour, looking for a CD for the kids.  I like to leave the location via an exit where I can turn left on a quieter street to an intersection where I can turn left with a signal across a very busy street.

As I'm motoring towards the exit I like to use, there's a place where I have to go into a curved section of road into another parking lot.  Basically,  I make a right to go the direction I want to go. As I'm approaching this turn, I see a man on a bicycle in a bright yellow shirt behind me, he's also in the parking lot.  But he's a good distance behind me so I go ahead and make my right.


After I made my right turn, the guy in the yellow shirt on his bike is right behind me waving his arms around.  I frown at this, because where the hell did he come from?  He was back THERE.

I get to the exit I like and he pushes his way through some dead tree branches to come up to my passenger window so he may yell "What? You don't see me?"  I considered yelling "What?  You don't see my bright blue CAR that was IN FRONT OF YOU?"

But I had my kids with me and I didn't want to get into it with him. I said "I'm sorry" he looked at me some more I said "I apologize" and he rode off.

On the way home I really thought about what happened.  It's not my goal to almost hit a person who is trying to reduce their carbon footprint and stay in shape at the same time.  I know that Austin is a big bicycle town and it's important to keep an eye out for them.  So, I thought about it and wondered if I could have done something differently.

I had checked my mirror before I turned, he was very definitely behind me and to my left.  I was going really slow, even if I was driving a fast parking lot speed, it would be 15 miles an hour.  I know a cyclist could easily pedal that fast.  I think what happened is that he tried to get in front of me on my left and didn't make it.  

Then he got mad.  And that's fine.   I understand you get frustrated because cars don't look, don't share the road, won't move enough to the left so you can ride safely.  I know I need to share the road and that I am not the only vehicle on the streets. But, um, aren't you supposed to share too?  Dude, I ask again, did you not see my CAR in FRONT of you?

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If your white anklets are looking dingy and you don't like bleach, boil them with a lemon wedge.  Make sure your dirty socks aren't taking attention away from those kickin' stompers!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cooties!

I know, that's  not a nice word.  After five years of school and multiple notices sent home about kids in her class having them, Zoe finally got lice.

The stigma that only dirty children get lice isn't really hanging on anymore.  Although it must be a little because the information sheet sent home from school states lice has nothing to do with cleanliness or economic status. As a matter of fact, lice like clean hair to dirty hair.  A mom I know successfully prevented lice by washing their daughter's hair once a week.

When I was in grade school in the information sent home covered no less than five pages and advised washing ALL bedding in the house, ironing mattresses and throwing away hats.

Now, parents are given one sheet of information stating the only actions needed are treatment with an over-the-counter shampoo + removal of nits via lice comb, washing bedding in hot water, vacuuming of rugs and furniture and sealing stuffed animals in zip top bags for ten days.

There are also several homeopathic treatments to be found online including tea tree oil, castor oil, mayonnaise, olive oil and using only the fine tooth comb.  All of these require more than one application and can take a number of days to get rid of all the nits.  

Until the mid-1990s the only books available with information about lice were medical texts or studies by entomologists.  Since then, several books have been written directed at parents and teachers.  All of them tell moms and dads that lice are just something kids get, like colds or skinned knees.  I'm honestly surprised we haven't had to deal with them before today.

And dealing with them is a pain in the ass.  I can see why there are shops opening up that do lice treatments.  It's looks just like a place where you would take your child for a haircut, but they apply the treatments and do the combing. 

It involves a shampoo applied to dry hair, left for ten minutes, washed out, a second treatment applied to one inch sections prior to combing out the dead lice and nits, then a final rinse.  Surprisingly, her hair is wonderfully soft after all that!  

I do have to say that Zoe was very good while I put the goo in her hair and combed out nits section by section. Another challenge for me is that Zoe's scalp is flaky,  making it hard for me to tell if I've gotten all the little critters out or if it's just flakes. 

The really fun part was calling my neighbors, whose children were at my house yesterday, to tell them the big news.  Hey, how you doin'?  My kid has bugs.  (Bugs is a fun word to say. Bugs bugs bugs.)

The Hip Housewife and the Hip Husband are going to be checking each others hair tonight, a form of intimacy they haven't experienced before.  They'll also be learning the real meaning of the word "nit pick".


I'm off to soak hairbrushes!

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If you are a brunette, you can give your hair a coffee rinse to increase shine and deepen the color temporarily.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Hip Housewife gives a video how to on pin curls!

I make some goofy faces in these!      


                                     Part one, creating the curls


video


                                      Part two, taking the curls out

video

                                 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I didn't mean for there to be such a delay

Wow, I didn't mean to procrastinate this long.  I apologize!

*alert!  If frank talk about the female body and it's functions makes you feel squicky, skip this!*


On Thursdays, Zoe brings home fliers and such from school in a folder called "Thursday Folder".  This is where I find completed assignments from the classroom, notes telling me when class field trips and parties will take place and other such information.

This last Thursday, I found a permission slip in her Thursday Folder so that she may attend the "Maturation and Hygiene Program" being held for the fourth grade girls soon.  I remember the program we had when I was in sixth grade that took place over two days.  All the girls went with three female teachers, we watched a film about menstruation and fertilization.  Then we had a lesson in how the various protection methods worked.  We got to see an old style pad and belt and were then shown how much easier the pads with the stick-um on the back were to use. We were able to write down questions we were too embarrassed to ask out loud.  I came away with a lot of information and some more questions for my mom, who was very good about answering my queries frankly and without embarrassing me anymore than I already was just asking her anything about THAT.

I'm imagining that Zoe's program will be similar.  It's not like the information is different, the body works in the same way and protection technology hasn't really changed either.  The teachers MAY discuss cloth and sea sponges, but will probably stick with what can be bought on the shelf.

I was a little surprised that this program is given in fourth grade, as I was in sixth.  I have to remember that her hormones have started to move around already, her body is changing in ways her dad and I can see plainly.  I also have to remember that Zoe is the youngest in her class.  She started Kindergarten here because she had already attended Kindergarten in California.  Normally, I would have been told to wait until after she turned six, based on her birth date at the end of August.  There are girls in her class who are ten.  And elementary school here goes through grade five.  Sixth, seventh and eighth grade are taught at middle school.

By the time she gets to middle school, the older girls will be getting their periods.  It makes sense to give the info a little early than too late.

I'm going to have to really try and not grill her about what she learned, does she have any questions, I'm your mom!  Let me help you through this confusing time!

Not long ago, I told her if anything was going on with her body that she was worried about, she could always come and talk to me.   She looked up at me and said "What?!?!?!".  I told her to never mind.

One thing I will tell her, when she's ready to talk about it, is that all women menstruate and there is nothing to be ashamed about.  There's no reason why women shouldn't talk about it, because it's a part of our lives.  It will seem like a very big deal for a while, then it will just be part her everyday existence and it won't cause her to miss a beat.  Especially since the women in our family don't suffer from cramps or clots or any other unpleasantness with our monthlies.

It is alarming when I reach these milestones where I remember that this child is going to grow up.  I may go put some protection in her bathroom so she can check them out in private.  Privacy is essential when a girl is growing up.  I'm going to prepare myself to give her lots in the coming years.

Pray for me.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If your skin gets greasy during your period, use oil absorbing sheets, found at any drug or grocery store for very little money to blot the oil off your skin.  You'll be grossed out the first time you see how translucent the papers become after you blot your face.