Thursday, June 30, 2011

Home is never the same is it?

Anyone who grew up in my hometown deep in the suburban sprawl of the Los Angeles area will tell you there is not a lot for young people to do.  In the mid-eighties there was a teen club called Seventh Street, on Seventh Street, for about five minutes.  There was the mall.  There was a mini-golf place where we went sometimes.  There was bowling where I went with my boyfriend to play video games.  And there was the movies.

Other than that, it was keggers with the party crowd, of which I was not a part.  I went to a few but there was a lot of trashing of homes.   I didn't dig breaking stuff up just for the joy of breaking it.  Ultimately, I was a goth kid who like the fashion and the music but not the more violent, punk lifestyle.

And there was the park to go hang out in after dark, usually you'd bump into other kids from school who were there to do drugs, another thing I wasn't into.  If you drove, you could go to the beach, which I did do my senior year.

Anyway, there wasn't a bunch to do.  In 1986 or '87 the mini-golf course expanded to include a restaurant, go karts and some rides.  It was at least somewhere to go and do stuff.

There's still not enough to do, unlike Austin.  In Austin we can go to the Children's Museum, the Capitol grounds, Zilker Park, Peter Pan mini-golf, any of the bounce house places around, the zoo.  We're not at a loss for entertainment.

My dad and I were brainstorming about what to do today, so we asked the kids.  They said they wanted to go mini-golf.  I looked up the old haunts on yelp and found out the mini-golf/amusement park was rated as dirty, smelly and populated with gangbangers.  It was also noted that you needed to lock your car because the crime rate is high.

This made me sad.  I know that nothing is ever the way you remember it, but to learn that a place where I hung out as a teenager and a young adult was said to be not all that safe and not all that fun.

Then, I looked at the big place in Ontario that was built in the early 90's.  Mini-golf and amusement park rides that were fun.  My friends Kathye and Susi went there with me the day after my grandmother's funeral to ride the roller coaster for my grandma, because she loved roller coasters.  We rode the roller coaster, the Tilt-a-Whirl, the Viking Ship, the roller coaster again, the Tilt-a-Whirl again, then the roller coaster again all in short order because we were the only ones there that early.  Then I felt sick and had to go home.

The reviews were also that it was old, dirty and in bad repair.  The golf course was okay but the people there cussed, smoked and once there was a man there filming girls.  When a mom started to watch him while she went inside to alert someone, he bolted.  Also something that made me sad.  It's never happy to find out that even a possible pedophile is hanging out somewhere I might take my kids.

I got the idea to check for bumper bowling.  There's no smoking in any public place in California now and in the afternoon during the week it might not be so busy.

Yelp listed the closest bowling alley as clean, friendly and a definite place to go.  One reviewer said he'd like to get shit-hammered drunk and go to Cosmic Bowling, where everything glows in the dark with club music playing.  THAT'S who used to go hang out at that bowling alley, young people who drank and walked across the street to the sleazy arcade to buy pot.

We're going to be bumper bowling today.  We'll have fun and I will be able to see my high school from there.  Hopefully I won't have any flashbacks and if I do I hope they are of my senior year, which was pretty good.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  When you are traveling to a different climate, your skin will act differently so be prepared to switch up your routine while you're away from home.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

And we have arrived!!!

The Hip Family made it to the state of California!  I could not have asked the kids to be any better.  Zoe was very nervous on take off and landing, but that's not unusual for lots of flyers.  She was fine during the cruising time, playing with her new paper dolls and drinking her beverage.  Will clutched my skirt and his sister's hand during landings but was happy as a clam for the rest of the flight.  He'd get his backpack in and out, demand I share my snacks, color, take his shoes on and off and announce things he saw out the window.

It was very different for me to have the kids with me.  Once I was done holding their hands, getting their drinks requested, opening their snacks and generally getting them situated there wasn't much time before we were descending and it was time to hold hands again.

The break in Phoenix was perfect.  We had an hour to walk around and have lunch before we boarded again for California.

My dad picked us up at the airport and the grandparent visit had begun!  They arrived at my parent's house and found new cups with the cooler thingies that keep the drink cold and a bulldog puppy named Truman to play with.

I'm currently sitting in my parent's kitchen talking to my mom about the cruise they're going to take from Budapest to Passau, Germany this December.  The plan was to take the kids swimming, but Zoe told my dad that Will needs a floatie and they don't have any pool toys so they are now going to Target for supplies.

In our flapping about at the airport getting luggage out of the car and saying goodbye I forgot to yank the booster seat out of the car, so one of those had to be procured too.

They're heading out the door, we'll see how much the kids are able to talk him into buying.  A Uhaul may be needed.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  You don't need a special product to exfoliate your lips, a washcloth will work as will baking soda.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Hip Housewife is going to fly

The kids and I are jetting to California tomorrow to visit the Groovin' Grandparents.  Yep, we're going to be leaving Casa de 'burbs for Casa de Papa-and-Grammy for three weeks.   We'll do a lot of fun stuff, see old friends and have some In-N-Out!

We've been looking forward to this visit for a lot of weeks and the kids are about to crawl out of their skin with excitement. We're pretty much packed.  I say 'pretty much' because I'm going to do my usual re-packing of my stuff into another suitcase when I realize I need more square footage.

I have all our identifications and I've told Will he can't bring any of his plastic, pretend guns with us.  No, you can't just put one in your suitcase.  No, you can't put it in your backpack and just take it on the plane.  Because they look in your backpack.  To make sure no little boys bring pretend guns on the plane!

And now I'm nervous.  About seeing my parents? No.  I'm nervous about the flight.

I'm a nervous flyer.  I use an herbal anxiety reliever and make sure my reading material is light.  It worked very well when we went to Las Vegas last summer, but I'm going to have both kids with me this time.  Will was on a plane as an infant, but this will be his first plane ride that he can remember.

We have new coloring books and drawing pads along with colored pencils and crayons.  The kids know that they will be able to get a soft drink and a bag of peanuts.  We're flying Southwest, which is very family friendly.  Since they board in groups instead of assigned seats, I can sit with the kids as far up front as we can.

We'll change planes in Phoenix, because you always change planes in Phoenix on Southwest.  You could be flying Austin to Dallas and you'd still have to change planes in Phoenix.  This makes our first leg about 1 1/2 hours in the air.  A doable amount.  We have a nice break in Phoenix for lunch and running around before flying 45 minutes to Ontario California.

This lets me get off the plane with the kids right around the time they'll start to complain in earnest if we were traveling straight through.

Everything is in place for a smooth, non-dramatic trip.

I'm still scared though.  And I feel stupid about it.  I've flown a bunch.  To Hawaii, England, Mexico, Canada and between a whole gaggle of states.  I took the San Jose to Ontario flight when we were living in the bay area I lost count.

When Zoe was about 3 she and I flew down to California from Vancouver.  I dropped her off with my parents and flew out to meet Scott at a music convention in Ohio.  I was fine for a while but was gasping and clutching the arms of my chair on approach.  My trip to the Midwest was horrid.  I missed my connection and had to take 2 more planes to get to my destination.  On the flight back to California we took off in a storm.  We landed in Chicago in a storm.  We took off from Chicago in a storm.  I changed planes in Denver.  The Denver to Ontario route is always bumpy going over the Rockies.  I almost had a panic attack between Denver and Ontario and had the guy sitting next to me had not offered to talk to me, since that's what worked for him mom, I'm sure I would have had a full fledged panic attack.

No, I had the panic attack 2 days later in my parent's formal living room, where I jammed myself between a wall and a large, wooden, ornamental bird cage.  My mom took me to Urgent Care where I received Ativan and was able to get back north.

Since then, I've been scared about flying.  I know I'm not alone.  I know I won't be the only person on the plane who feels the way I do.  I know how very safe airplanes are.  I know that I like Southwest Airlines and if I tell the happy person assigned to our section that I'm a nervous flyer they'll be sure to check on me.

So, good thoughts for the Hip Housewife who will be in the sky starting at 1:30 pm Central time for about five hours, including lay over time tomorrow.

See ya on the west coast!

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If you have dry skin, moisturize before, during and after your flight.  The airplane trip will dry out your skin.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Where's the instruction manual?

We had a bad end to a good day today.

I got my days mixed up, I thought it was Thursday, the day Zoe goes to a movie with her Girl Scout troop. So we didn't go swimming at the Ultimate Moms Club.  During the day a friend came over, they played 'Fashion Show', played with the hose, had hot dogs and watermelon for lunch and everybody got along.

After friends went home I figured out my mistake and treated them to McDonald's for dinner.  My kids have been big into the Mr. Bean cartoons of late.  After watching an episode where Mr. Bean does a puppet show, they wanted to do one too.  The two of them ran around creating the characters and then put the two tub chairs together for a theatre.  I let them use baby powder for smoke on the condition they vacuum it up when they were done.  I watched and laughed, because they were being funny.

Afterwards, I asked them to do their chores but got nowhere with that.  I calmly explained that I was tired of yelling at them and they were sent to bed early after being told they couldn't have any screen time in the morning.

Zoe said Will was going to sleep in her room, something they do occasionally.  After about an hour (no surprise there I hadn't expected them to go to sleep right away) I heard Zoe yell 'Ow!' but that's not really anything to worry about because she yells 'Ow!" a LOT.  But, they needed to go to sleep so I went upstairs to take Will to his own bed.

Upon being informed of this, he started to flail his feet at me when I tried to pick him up.  After I got him picked up he hit me on the back and then pinched me.  I pinched him back.

I went down to get his stuffed animals and blanket, while I was doing this Will threw things around his room.  When I came back in, he hit me in the shin with a plastic golf club.

I broke it over my knee.

He screamed and cried and then told me I was a bitch.

I sat down on the bed and started to talk very quietly, which has to be done because he thinks it's funny when we yell.

I didn't get far, but I did ask him if he loved me.  He didn't answer for a little while and I said I guess he didn't but I loved him.  He cried that he did love me!

I talked quietly to him about how we treat people we love who love us.  I told him we had a lot of fun today, he and Zoe got on great, they played with their friend, we had fun.  I told him that he knew how to be gentle with his voice and his body.  I put him back in bed a few more times while this was going on and finally went back downstairs feeling like the worst parent ever.

I am lucky enough to spend a lot of time with some very accomplished women.  Published writers, professional photographers, women who home school, educate themselves about parenting and would probably have handled that very differently.  They would've known just what to do or would have at least known where to go for  the answers about how to deal with the issues I'm dealing with.

He's a great kid.  He's creative and affectionate and smart.  He acts out when he's tired and when he's frustrated or has his feelings hurt he resorts to hitting and name calling.  He didn't act this way at preschool and he doesn't act this way at the Mom's Club.  He acts this way at home.

The psychologist we took him to recommends a system where the kids earn privileges to build confidence and encourage appropriate behavior.

I laid down some new rules with the kids on Monday regarding how they must listen and good behavior will earn them swimming or dessert or screen time.

I really feel like I'm failing my son.  I'm apparently not building his self esteem, giving him appropriate boundaries or preparing him for the outside world.

And I feel like I'm failing my daughter.  I spend a good chunk of energy on her brother every day.  She's started to ask us to do things for her that she could easily do herself.  I don't know if this is because she doesn't think she can do it herself or a developing sense of entitlement.  Either way I'm not into either of those options.

Or maybe, we're all tired.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  When using curlers, remember a larger curler will give you body, a smaller curler will give a more defined curl.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Hip Housewife did good!

Yesterday was the Hip Husband's fiftieth birthday.  (!!!!)  I've been planning his birthday party for almost three months and the big event was finally last night.

I booked a couple of bowling lanes and a karaoke room at the Highball, one of our favorite restaurants/bars/event spaces in the city.  It's decorated in late fifties/early sixties style.  Lots of gold glittery vinyl on the chairs, red walls and these fantastic wall-hanging light fixtures.  They have good food and an extensively stocked bar. 

We ordered up some Dr. Pepper glazed ribs, fries and onion rings to share with our friends while we knocked the pins down.  The bowling lanes are vintage, from the Rock n Bowl in New Orleans.  The Rock n Bowl moved from it's original location and the lanes, pins, machines, the works were all purchased for the Highball.  This involves manual scoring, which nobody wanted to do so everyone just took turns throwing the ball down the lane.

When we'd tired of that we went into the big karaoke room, decorated in tiki lounge style, for the big dramatic presentation of Scott's birthday gift.

Back in April, I was looking at a Gretsch White Falcon guitar on ebay.  I was trying to figure out if the seller had Bill Me Later through Paypal.  I was trying to do this on my old phone and ended up accidentally buying the thing.  After hearing from the seller that he'd received funds, I asked him for three days to make sure the payment wasn't going to bounce.  In those three days I sent out a lot of emails to a lot of people asking if they'd like to chip in on the guitar.  And I got an amazing response. 

Inside of a day and a half I had enough to cover the purchase price and had it shipped to my house!  Then I had to hide it.  I left it in our front hall closet for a day before getting up really early the next morning to sneak it out to my car.  Then I made and excuse to go out and ran it to our friend Linda's house.

She kept it safe, polished it and got it in tune.  She brought it to the party last night and I gave a pretend eulogy. Then I told Scott he was getting his gift that everyone in the room knew about but him.  Linda brought in the case, Scott opened it up saw that Gretsch White Falcon took a huge step backwards and said "Holy fuckin' A!" 

And we all laughed and applauded. 

Then many of us had some more cocktails and didn't sing karaoke so much as shout karaoke.  We had a big group sing along of "Open Arms" by Journey.  Our friend Eileen and I did "Baby Got Back" and "Come on Eileen".  Our friends Alex and Erin won the award for the night with their energitic rendition of "Total Eclipse of the Heart". 

I served Cupprimo cupcakes and shared out the extras with a couple of random people outside when we left. 

Scott and I shared a cab with our friends down the street.  Their kids were at sleep away camp and our kids were next door, spending the night. We left the Highball around 2.  At our house we sat out back and had a cigar, well, not Eileen.  As we puffed we watched Kevin fall asleep in his chair and drop his cigar. 

Finally, about 3, I took off my black suede, peep-toe, wedgies and called it a night!  To those of you who were there, thank you so much for making Scott's birthday so much fun! 

I'm going to put the video of the gift presentation on YOutube and will have the link here shortly.

I rock!!!

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  No matter how tired you are when you come home from a night out, wash your face!  You don't have to do your whole routine but you must at least rub your face with a wet washcloth. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Hip Housewife is going to take a look at her livestock

So, my 40th birthday approaches.  "Consider the alternative!" my says to me.  I've been talking with other women who have all told me something different.  Some have said it's the best thing that happened to them and they really feel like they started to get a handle on life.  Others have said it sucks and they were depressed for a year.

Upon reaching 40 I will have lived to be older than Heath Ledger, Marilyn Monroe, Sid Vicious,  John Kennedy Junior, Buddy Holly, Kurt Cobian, Janis Joplin, Mama Cass, John Belushi, Anna Nicole Smith, James Dean, Brittany Murphy, Princess Diana, Patsy Cline, Andy Kaufman, Karen Carpenter, Jayne Mansfield, Eva Peron, Mozart, Hank Williams, Malcolm X, Pocahontas, Darby Crash, Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King, Bonnie Parker, Jean Harlow, Gia Carangi, Carole Lombard, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Wilkes Booth, Christopher Marlowe and Jesus.

In August, my youngest child is going to school full time and my time as a stay-at-home mom is going to be over.  I'm going back to school and that will be a new adventure for me, which is exciting but I'm also scared to death.

I'm FORTY, what the hell am I thinking?  There are women I went to high school with who are grandmothers now.  There are women I went to high school with who are taking early retirement.  I have friends who just paid off their house.  I'm still sitting on a mortgage with 25 years left.  We've been struggling to get our credit card debt paid off for a year and yes, there has been progress but it's frustrating.  (Why am I telling you this?  You know.)

My kids are smart and well mannered (mostly) but my son still throws tantrums and they'll both stand inside the house screaming 'MOMMY!!' while I'm carrying in grocery bags.  When I run in the house I find that they're trying to pull something out of the bottom of the grocery bag and want help.  I try to ask them how they could solve this problem without my help and they tear the side of the bag open.

I have dogs that jump up on people and bark for long periods of time.

My dishwasher is on it's last legs. The windows in the house need to be replaced as does the master bath shower/tub.  Our garage is packed with stuff that needs to be tossed out and most of it isn't mine so it's not a task I can complete by myself. Scott's motorcycle would greatly help with gasoline costs but it's not running and getting the cash together to repair it is a challenge right now.

Shouldn't I really have my shit together by now?  My shit appears to be all over the place.  I don't have a skill or an education I can build a career on. I'm a good writer but I'm not published or even bringing any money in with that talent.

Then there's the fact that I know a lot of intelligent, talented and accomplished women.  I compare myself to them and my little life is not all that impressive.  This is the same old whine I've been whining for years. It's just a little more intense this week.

I'm going to go eat my worm pie now.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If your hair is drying out from hot sun and swimming, pile some Aussie 3-Minute Miracle on barely damp hair, braid it if it's long enough, put a plastic bag on your head and top it with a baseball cap or a towel.  Leave it on as long as you can stand before rinsing it out.  Repeat as needed.  I do this 2-3 times a week in the summer.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Hip Housewife cannot be disturbed!

She's having a big pity party and cannot come out!

She's playing the comparison game, which is taking a great deal of her energy and should not be communicated with!

She is currently consumed by self-indulgent thoughts of turning forty and not being the best at anything.  This wallowing in a conviction that everyone around her is better than she is at various things makes quite a mess on the carpet so individuals should really just stay out of the room.

She's wandering around with "Nobody-loves-me-everybody-hates-me-I-think-I'll-go-eat-worms" appetizers hanging out of her mouth like spaghetti and it's pretty gross.  You reeeeeaaallly don't want to see it.

She's looking in the mirror practicing looking like Medusa and no one should be around if she should succeed suddenly.  No one wants to spend the rest of their life as a rock.

She's going to be spending time staring out her back door at the backyard she calls  "the Death Trap" and thinking how embarrassing it is to have people see it, so just stay away and save her from that.

Hopefully, this shindig won't be going on much longer and she'll be back to looking at the world through Lucille Ball's glasses.

Or maybe it's just hormones.

Either way, it's a good idea to just leave her alone for right now.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  Wash your face  (she says in the low monotone of the most depressed goth kid you every knew in high school)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

After another long delay!

Here's an update on the Hip Housewife's bod.

A while back I told y'all about the exercise/detox plan I was doing.  Well, I'm done with the detox part but I'm continuing to eat healthy.  I'm still exercising 4-6 times a week and drinking lots of water. 

And the results so far are that I've lost 8 pounds and two dress sizes and everything is generally firmer.  I made myself a dress and had to take it in quite a bit, it was floating around on me.

I'm excited about this I am somewhat embarrassed to say.  I've also learned that part of why I'm having such good results is my desire to have my trainer be proud of me.  Scott was not at all surprised to hear that I wanted some outside validation of the work I'm doing.  It didn't surprise him that I needed to go to someone and say 'Oooo!  Look!' while I make muscles with my arms so they can tell me that I look great.

It's one of the reasons I'll do well in school, that craving I have for positive feedback and wanting the instructors to give me pats on the head.  It also embarrasses me to say this. 

Hi!  I'm a forty year old woman who needs a lot of positive feedback in order to feel validated!  How do people get to the place where they can give themselves pats on the head and gold stars? 

I'm sure I'm not going to get there today since we have a birthday party to go to and I have a sitting job tonight.  I should go get dressed.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:   With the added shaving you'll be doing be sure to use lotion on your legs every day. 

We've got a busy Saturday in front of us involving

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A general update about the Hip Happenings at Casa de 'burbs

Here's an update on what's been going on around here!

- The Hip Husband has agreed to a makeover.  I'm going to wait a little bit until I start on his closet, really, he just needs a haircut, some more pants and different shoes. There are some hot-pink, leopard skin creepers on ebay that would be kickin'.

-Will had his first appointment with the psychologist, who is iffy on Oppositional Defiance Disorder in general.  He suggests positive reinforcement of good behavior along with a soft, consistent, non-dramatic reaction to negative behaviors.  Will is going to see the good Ph.D. once a week until we leave for California and again after we get back. 

-My knee is better! I walked three miles night before last and had my bootcamp class yesterday with no issues, so I'm taking that as a sign I'm good to go.  I spent three days with my bum in the recliner icing the joint every 4 hours and resting it.  The scab is healing and I've managed to control picking at it.  It's not nearly as impressive as it was last week, but I'll have a scar for a little while. 

-Zoe announced that she is going to be a vegetarian while we were in the car on our way to go swimming.  She said it's because she loves animals.  Then she added "But how will I avoid bacon?"  She's stuck to it for almost a week now.  She'll have milk, cheese and eggs.  It makes it easier for me to cook for a lacto-ovo vegetarian than for a vegan.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that she wouldn't be all that into a vegan diet anyway.

-By sticking with regular exercise and a low-fat diet including as many whole foods as I can I've lost 10 pounds and 2 dress sizes.  I finished a new dress last week and had to take it in by quite a bit. 

-I'm going to be sewing like crazy for the rest of the month making dresses for our trip out west.

-In the last two weeks I've succeeded in cleaning out my closet, scrubbing the master bathroom and bedroom.  This is quite the feat!  Go me!

-Our dishwasher has apparently decided that life is just too much and doesn't want to go on.  It sprays water and dries just fine, but the whole washing thing has ceased to happen.  Now, the dishwasher is used for rinsing and drying dishes I wash by hand.  Time to start pinching pennies to get a new one. 

-The school I'm going to be attending has officially changed it's name to The Escoffier School of Culinary Arts.  I'm one piece of paperwork away from having my application completed.  Orientation on the 19th of August! I'm scared to death!  Help!

-I drove through Wendy's last night to treat myself to a twisted Frosty and found that they are not offering them anymore.  They are now offering something called a parfait that comes in a very small cup and isn't very good.  Looks like I'll have to go a little farther down the street to Sonic.  Or, just have Drumsticks instead. 

-It's friggin' hot in Texas! 

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  Now that it's summer and you'll be using lots of sunscreen, make sure you step up your skin routine if you are blemish prone.  You may need something a little stronger to combat the the clogging of your pores the thick cream will do. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Hip Husband needs a makeover

So, the Hip Husband needs some sprucing up.  The hair is all brown now, but this is pretty much what he looks like. 

I have some opinions of the changes I'd like to make to his hair and face and wardrobe.  Here are my thoughts, feel free to weigh in.
First, there's the bowling shirt/dark jeans/creepers/goatee look.  I refer to this as "elder hipster" and it's a fave of mine. 

There's jeans, an untucked t-shirt and blazer, shown here with an untucked button up shirt. 

 The Gap ad look.  I like the t-shirt with an overshirt and the khakis. 


Like this: 
I think he needs to go shorter with his hair and take himself down to a goatee, mostly because I like him in a goatee.  

What do you think?

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If you are contemplating a major hair change, invest in some makeover software before you make a final decision.