Thursday, July 28, 2011

Trashy looking but responsible

It's hot as blazes here in Central Texas.  We have been experiencing triple digit heat for weeks.  It shrivels up every plant living outside that doesn't have the benefit of shade.  This means that missing the window to plant our garden was a blessing in disguise.  It would have all died if we hadn't been diligent with watering and with the kids and I gone for three weeks, that probably would have happened.

One of the results of all this heat is that lawns require a whole bunch of watering in order to keep them green, which we aren't doing.  Our backyard has gone totally dry, beyond brown to yellow.  When I do dog poop patrol the grass just comes up with the slightest tug. It's just broken off from the roots.

Even the ground is so dry it doesn't want to even absorb any water.  It depresses me every time I look out the back door.  Our yard is all crabgrass and weeds anyway, we're not going to even attempt to grown anything else until the kids are older.  We have two dogs, two kids and lots of kid visitors, it would be an exercise in futility to attempt a well-kept lawn in  our backyard.

But, having grown up in suburban America I'm used to having a lush and plush lawn out front and back.  It shows pride of ownership and a desire to keep up the curb appeal.

 75% of Texas is experiencing exceptional drought conditions, the most severe of five categories.  With a water shortage, it's just irresponsible to use potable water to keep the grass green, no matter how much it drives me crazy to look at it.

Austin is a pretty earth-aware town, lots of front yards are dry and brown.  But in this case it shows a concern for the environment and not a lack of care for the neighborhood appearance or foreclosures.  (In the case of foreclosures, the listing agents will often water the yard) We're not the only ones with crispy yards.  Many of our neighbors aren't watering.  The ones who are watering are out twice a day with their hoses or running their sprinklers a long time in the evening.

I finally couldn't take it anymore two days ago and turned the hose on the yard. That's when I found out the ground didn't even want to soak anything in.  It all ran down the yard in a little river right into my neighbor's backyard.  I gave up.  I turned off the hose and sighed in a resigned manner.

Then fall will come along, our front yard will turn green and our backyard will turn into our own personal meadow.  I'm looking forward to having things green again.  But for now, I have to just clench my teeth and tell myself I'm doing right by not using drinking water to keep a non-indigenous ground cover alive for the sake of appearances.

It's the right thing to do.  It's the right thing to do.  It's the right thing to do.  It's the right thing to do.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:   When it's hot, be sure and drink your water.  You can't have a nice appearance if you're dehydrated, it wreaks havoc on your bod.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Hip Housewife is once again contemplative

I had a bunch of stress build up over the last few days.  Trying to get the house really cleaned so we have a basis to start keeping it up, an attempt to get the rest of the family used to their new role when I start classes next month, which scares me as much as starting school itself.   I'm scared about Will starting elementary school, worrying about the paperwork that hasn't been completed.  I hate looking out at our dead and horrible backyard with the falling down swing set and piles o' poo. 

I have my period and I'm dealing with the fact that I just turned forty, my husband is fifty and all the new suitcases that came with those milestones.  

You know when you get a build up of anxiety and sometimes you look for something to blame it on?  I blame it on myself and end up wallowing around in self-loathing.  This leads to bad choices to seek out things to poke myself with.  I'll save you the details of this particular dance I did this morning and yesterday.

This all finally popped like a zit and I had a huge, unsatisfying cry this morning.

Now, I must ask a question.  Is it narcissistic of me to toss myself my own birthday party a month after the fact?  Is that a pathetic grab for attention or a normal, healthy thing to do?  To want to celebrate and invite friends who live here close to me that didn't get to come to the birthday dinner in California? 

I should just say to hell with it shouldn't I? 

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  Grey hair has a different texture, what you think is frizzies may be that those hairs have gone to the silver side and need to be tamed with a flat iron.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

Okay, so July blogging was a wash

Yep, July was crazy packed with activity away from home and I didn't even attempt to keep up.

Today, I will attempt to share one contemplation I had while on the west coast.

My parents generously gifted the kids and me with a three day trip to Disneyland.  I think it was the best three days of Zoe's life so far.  Will got to meet a bunch of characters and has an autograph book full of signatures, some two or three times.

I have a lot of associations with Disneyland.  Growing up in Southern California, about 30 minutes from the park we visited at least once a year.  Then there was the school trip that happened as we drew closer to summer vacation.  Someone always got sick on the bus ride back.  These ended once I was in high school.

Grad Night, the school organized outing after the graduation ceremony was set up at Disneyland, where you could meet a bunch of boys from other schools, every year but the year I graduated.  That year we went on a boat ride around San Pedro harbor all night, which was boring.

My grandmother's house was positioned so that I could stand at the end of their driveway and watch the fireworks exploding over the park in the summertime.

Scott and I had annual passes for years along with a bunch of friends.  Being before kids it was easy to call and say "Let's go meet at the park." An hour later we'd be walking up Main Street having coffee on our way to the restaurant across from the Haunted Mansion that used to serve popcorn shrimp.  One day Scott and I went during the week and didn't go on one ride.  We wandered in and out of every store and went into every attraction on Main Street, watching the penny picture flip machines and checking out the  theatre that shows continuous vintage Mickey Mouse cartoons.

And all of my memories are good.  My parents will tell you that my first trip to D-land didn't start out well.  I went on the Snow White ride first and freaked out, came out screaming and crying.  Then they tried the Storybook boat ride but going through Monstro's mouth also freaked me out and I tried to jump out of the boat.  Then they tried the carousel and that was much better.  In those photos I'm smiling.

While we were there my folks took the kids back to the hotel at bedtime and I hung out at the park by myself.  I watched Fantasmic, went on my favorite rides which are too scary for the kids.  I got a coffee, took some pictures and made a wish at the wishing well.

Every wish I've ever made at the Snow White wishing well has come true.  I'm not exaggerating.  And, my friend Becky in high school followed my instructions, wishing for a boyfriend.  Later that night, we met some guys in line for something.  She ended up making out with one on It's a Small World and he gave her his necklace before we left.  See?  It works.

Here's how you do it.  Wait until the fish come up, then turn your back, hold your quarter, make your wish and toss it over your shoulder into the water, don't look back to see where it landed and don't tell anyone until it comes true.

I'm going to back in the swing this week, but I've got to get all this dog hair vacuumed up first.

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  When you are going to be out and about during the summer time, don't forget to put sunscreen on your chest.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Nervous but don't really need to be

Happy Fourth of July my fellow Americans!

And a Happy Birthday to my cousin Carolyn and my excellent friend Paul!  Happy birthday you yankee doodle kids.

This morning I woke up at a little before five and couldn't get back to sleep.  When my parents were up at 7:30 I went back to bed, thinking I'd get about another 90 minutes.  I woke up 3 hours later to find the house empty of other people, my parents have taken the kids off somewhere.  They left Zoe's ADHD meds and the kids stuffed animals so I'm assuming they'll be back by bedtime.

Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth I'm taking this opportunity to write and watch the "Hoarders" marathon on A&E.  I will switch over to "The Twilight Zone" on SyFy because I have fond memories of watching Rod's stories all day on the 4th via KTLA channel 5 while the grown-ups bar-b-qued and drank beer.

On to the subject of today.  Since I got on Facebook and started to reconnect with old friends, my visits to Cali include getting together with friends from my school days.  Today, I'm meeting up with two people who were a couple of the best friends I had from those days.  Actually, two of the best friends I've had in life,  Kristi and Will.  We talked on the phone for hours.  I once talked Will to sleep. How funny is that?

My favorite memory of him is from the night we went to a park to ride the merry-go-round.  The metal one where one person pushed you around and around and around. Will could make that thing FLY.  When other people showed up to do stuff they weren't supposed to we beat feet outta there.  Will ran ahead in his billowing black shirt, his long hair flying behind him up the hill towards my car and then down the hill towards where I was walking.  Just for the joy of it, it seemed.

Will, as he prefers now, is remembered by my parents as FriendWilliam, because when I introduce people I exclude the comma between 'friend' and 'friend's name'.  I run it all together in one word.  I do the same thing with my parents.  MomCyndee and DadJeff and HusbandScott, is what I say instead of "This is my husband, Scott."  I say "My HusbandScott".  These introductions are generally followed by "Hi MomCyndee", "Hi HusbandScott"  etc.

I got together with Kristi just before we moved to Austin, catching up was very enjoyable.  I tend to lapse into reminiscing, which I can't decide is fun or pitiful.  She and I complained about our parents, discussed different shades of red nail polish, the episode of 120 Minutes on MTV and we wrote.  We wrote fictional stories about bands and runaways that were really fantasies of what we wanted to do.  We read Bloom County cartoons and talked about boys.  She was a good girlfriend.  And her parents didn't like me, which was a bonus.  We also went back and forth being friends, which made our times becoming friends again that much happier.

Again, it was high school and that's what you did with your friends you knew would still like you.

When I meet up with old friends for the first time in a long, long time I have a level of excitement mixed with a goodish amount of anxiety.  I do that little preparation in the back of my mind that there is going to be something they have to get off their chest about something I did to them.

Then they'll say "Whew!  I'm so glad I was able to tell you that.  I feel better.  So, how are you?"  leaving me to try not to cry.  I know that I owe some people apologies.  I know that.  I've given some of them to the people I've been able to get in touch with.

But, it's been twenty-two years since high school.  Most people I know have enough distance to know that it was just high school.  There is no other way to describe it.  I was high school.

This weird alternate reality where everyone is insecure but no one will admit to it.  (Ewwww, I'm going to interject here that one of my parent's bulldogs just farted.  *glaugh*)  Our hormones were raging, our bodies had turned on us, started to change and let out discharge every 28-30 days that would stain our pants.  Every girl got her period but no one wanted to talk about it.  And god forbid you started your cycle and didn't have protection with you.  There was the nurse's office, but it closed at random times leaving you with paper towels.

I'm rambling.  *Ahem*

My point is that I'm very much looking forward to seeing friends tomorrow that I loved very much then and I love very much now.  How many more times can I use the phrase 'very much' do you think?

Oooooo!  The episode where William Shatner gets obsessed with the fortune teller in the diner is on!

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If you are shaving more in the summer, make sure to change the blade regularly.  A man's razor is good for about 10 shaves.  So, a woman's needs to be changed out about every five.  Just get the cheapies and use them for a week and toss 'em.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hey, cut that out!

This is my parent's bulldog puppy, Truman.  He's six months old and cute as can be. My children love him.  He's not going to be a show dog because, I've been told, he has no spread of rib.  Bulldogs are supposed to be barrel-chested with turned in shoulders and narrower hips.  Somewhat like the v-shape body builders work to achieve.  Truman's ribs aren't popped out like they should be for the breed standard, so he's going to live in the lap of luxury with my folks.   (When I'm reincarnated, I want to come back as one of my mom's pets.)

There are many tasks that have to be completed to keep things safe from Truman because he chews on things.  He chewed on the textured wallpaper.  He chews on shoes and shoe laces, usually while you have the shoes on your feet.   He chews on toys.  He chews on furniture legs.  He chews on the dishwasher rack when I'm trying to put dishes into it.  There are a couple of metal dumbells holding down an umbrella stand on the patio and he tries to chew them.  He chews on plants.  The closet doors have to be kept closed because he will chew on the bottoms of the hanging clothes.  I was laying on the couch looking at a book.  The book was hanging over the edge of the couch and he chewed on the pages.  He'll chew on your knuckles.  Or your arm. Or your legs. 

When he's not trying to chew things he tries to eat things.  He tried to eat a bottle cap.  There was a plastic bag that fell on the floor for a few seconds but in those few seconds he tried to eat it. There was a little bit of the top of a chip bag that he tried to eat.  He tries to eat the kids smaller toys.  If there's any little piece of paper or plastic on the floor, he tries to eat it.  I understand he ate some sidewalk chalk and had some colorful eliminations for a couple of days. 

He also likes to poo in inappropriate places, like on the living room rugs.  There is a portable fence around the living room furniture because he poops there.  He'll poop outside but only when there are no indoor rugs available.

But he's cute and affectionate and loves the kids. 

Amanda's beauty tip of the day:  If you step in dog poo in your favorite shoes, wearing gloves, first scrape off as much as you can then,  carefully, clean the soles with a rag you are willing to throw away so as not to stain the uppers.