Okay, so that last entry

was apparently a Winnebago full 'o bullshit.

I went off to my therapy session today and surprised myself by telling my therapist I was still dwelling on the whole Facebook snub by the crazy woman I hadn't seen in 18 years. I've continued to think about her and what her life must be like. I have to stop myself from looking her up on Google almost every day.

I occurred to me as I was saying it that this was not a good thing. I needed to get this nut cracked. I also knew that I'd been giving myself a hard time over the last week. I knew there was a connection between the two, but what was it?

What did Crazy Woman represent to me?

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Endlessly optimistic, so if you're feeling at all cynical you might want to skip this.

I worked at a church in South Austin this last Sunday. Non-denominational and specifically ministering to the LGBT community. Easily one of the greatest, warmest, most welcoming pockets of energy I've ever walked into. (I know, I know, I get aery-faery sometimes. I like it!)

There was a sound system set up so I could hear the sermon while I was working the child care room. The minister's topic was "Modern Day Prophets". She had put a request out to the congregation asking them to write down their thoughts. The first one she received was about the Prophet synthesizer.

The next week she guilted the members into actually writing down their thoughts. The names that popped up were Martin Luther King, Harvey Milk, Maya Angelou, Barack Obama, Cindy Sheehan, JFK.

According to the dictionary a prophet is:

1. a person who speaks for God or a deity, or by divine inspiration.
2. (in the Old Testament)
a. a person chosen to speak for God and to guide the people of Israel: Moses was the greatest of Old Testament prophets.
b. (often initial capital letter) one of the Major or Minor Prophets.
c. one of a band of ecstatic visionaries claiming divine inspiration and, according to popular belief, possessing magical powers.
d. a person who practices divination.
3. one of a class of persons in the early church, next in order after the apostles, recognized as inspired to utter special revelations and predictions. 1 Cor. 12:28.
4. the Prophet, Muhammad, the founder of Islam.
5. a person regarded as, or claiming to be, an inspired teacher or leader.
6. a person who foretells or predicts what is to come: a weather prophet; prophets of doom.
7. a spokesperson of some doctrine, cause, or movement.

It got me thinking, especially in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti and Pat Robertson's statements, about finding spiritual messages around every day.

I've long said that the devil is in the details. And I think that swings the other way too. (Don't worry I'm not going to witness to you or anything, I'm just trying on these rose colored glasses so I can see how this light effects my brain.) Where do I look for the small prophets around us all the time?

Well, children. They feel every feeling and outcry exclusion and injustice whenever they encounter it.

The teachers who counsel our children to be good to each other.

Mothers who clearly say to their kids "Some people have brown skin and some people have yellow skin and some people have pink skin. Isn't that neat?"

The intense friendship between Calvin and Hobbes, who accept each other 100% for just what they are and wouldn't have it any other way.

Individuals who freely give money to a homeless person with a generous heart and desire to help their fellow man.

The people who perform small, good deeds for other persons. Catching a child that's running away. Holding a door open for a person with full hands. Texting 'Haiti' to 90999 to donate $10 to the earthquake relief fund.

So many people texted to donate $10 that over 10 MILLION dollars was raised. One million people did a small, good thing.

The outpouring to the very small, very poor country has renewed my belief that people really are good at heart. We're just encouraged to forget that.

I can tell you from experience that when you are a woman traveling alone with small children, there is no end of assistance available to you. Other moms will hold your diaper bag while you change the baby or hold the baby while you pee, standing with their feet right outside the door where you can see them. Men will help you lug your suitcase up onto the shuttle bus and then a couple more will stand up so you can sit with your kids.

Little details, little deeds, small prophecies.

Maybe I'm being naive and simplistic but I'm kind of liking how this feels. So, for right now, I'm going keep my pink sunglasses on.

Settling in......

I've found myself very inspired by Depression era women of late. I've taken to saving containers to re-use for leftovers instead of purchasing bags or boxes. I make those leftovers work.

Yesterday, I made laundry soap. Half a bar of Ivory soap, half a cup of Borax, half a cup of washing soda mixed with a bunch of water and I have over a gallon of detergent. I'll get close to 70 loads of laundry clean with this stuff. The math says the cost of the suds is between one and two pennies per load. Three days ago, I made dishwasher soap. Borax and baking soda in the cup, vinegar in the rinse aid dispenser. My next concoction will be fabric softener.

I'm not quite up to doing homemade meals every night, but these are projects that make me feel groovy and good. Like I'm at least attempting to make a difference in consuming and being nice to the earth.

While I'm not back up to what I would consider "The Amazing Amanda" level, I am getting back into doing my job as homemaker well. The living room gets picked up every night. The dishes are done every day. I at least attempt to win small battles with the never ending war of laundry. I'm trying to get more fruits, veggies and whole foods into our diet.

I actually toyed around with the idea of doing Alex Jamieson's detox diet. (It's the diet Morgan Spurlock's girlfriend put him on after his 30 day Mcdonald's binge.) But I told myself the truth, which is that there is no way I could go right into a 100% vegan diet with no refined/processed flour or rice, sugar, coffee, caffeine, honey or maple syrup and keep it up successfully for 8 weeks.

I'm proud of myself that I'm able to only take on what I can actually do. Can I drink 14 glasses of water a day? Probably not. can I drink at least one really big cup of water? Sure. I have cups I've saved from Sonic that hold 44 ounces. That'll be good for now.

I help Zoe with homework and spelling words and, now, her multiplication tables. Zoe's in third grade. Having her multiplication tables memorized is a prerequisite for fourth grade. And they're just something you have to learn. There aren't many tricks, you just have to memorize them. Her class is now having a daily test where they have sixty seconds to answer twenty basic multiplication equations. This week is 2's. She brought the first one home with only four completed. I just went right down the quiz and had her answer "0 X 2 is?". All the way down the line.

This exercise is really uncomfortable for me. I had a lot of trouble learning my times tables and I'm still not sure on the eights and twelves. I'm going to try some flash cards and hold them up from behind the couch like a game show. We'll just have to see what is going to work for her.

But, for right now, I'm going to get another load of laundry in and put some pin curls in my hair.

Trying something else new

My friend Katie had a hot wax, no-strip, hair removal kit up for grabs the last time our playgroup got together. I said I'd give it a try.

Last night I got a chance to get out the instructions.

Melt and then stir to a honey-like consistency and proceed confidently. Okay, I'll give it a try. Melting was easy. Stirring was easy. I spilled a little on the counter but the container was very full.

I got it into the bathroom and applied to a small spot on my bikini line. Might as well go for the gusto.

I did it exactly the way I was supposed to, spreading a thick layer on, waiting for it to be no longer sticky but not brittle.

I held the skin taut and pulled quickly. Hey! That hardly hurt! Whoo hoo!

I went to bed that night with the idea that I'd check to make sure everything was okay before I went ahead with the rest of what I wanted to clean up.

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Amanda's beauty tip for the day: If your lipstick bleeds but you don't like the look of lipliner. Maybelline makes a clear lipliner that will keep your lipstick inside your lipline but won't leave it's outline when your lipstick rubs off. And use a little vitamin E oil to moisturize your lips.

A switch in colors

(I'm going to sound very artsy-fartsy, flighty today)

I've been really drawn to the color orange these days. I did the painting with no plan, just knowing I wanted to do something with orange. I didn't plan for it to be the finished product seen here, but I really dig the O'keeffe thing going on with it.

Joyful photo for today (x-posting to Pafuts)

We're very happy with the decision to add a furry family member. We've renamed him Gibson. Zoe says he goes to her room in the night to look at her and give her a kiss. When Will cries Gibson gets upset and has to make sure everyone is okay. He's just a great dog. Be prepared for lots of pictures and posts about him.

Amanda's beauty tip for today:

You don't need toner. Honest, you don't.

Making changes (x-posted to Pafuts)

Even more spanky!, originally uploaded by Pafuts.

I saw in the new year with a small change and a big change. Well, some people will call both a big change, but let's see what you think.

On the second of January I went and got bangs cut. I like them, but think they need to be heavier. The place I went to had no stylist who had ever heard of Betty Page. I found this very amusing. I'm going to live with them for a few weeks and then see how I feel.

The BIG change is that we adopted a dog on the third. We'd been discussing a furry family member for a long time. Really, since we'd moved here. Scott was very clear that he wanted the kids to have a dog. We knew we wanted a rescued dog and one that was older.

We'd gotten in touch with a mixed breed rescue organization and even had a home visit. But, another family was selected for the doggie that visited. When I got back in touch to inquire about another dog, I was told they would not adopt any dog to a home with kids under 8.

So, we started over. I emailed a few groups to ask about age restrictions. One said any family would be considered as long as the dog was a good fit for the family and vice-versa. This particular group, Austin Pets Alive, had animals available for adoption at a big pet supply store near us. I told Scott about it and we went up, pretty much knowing we'd come home with a dog.

We kept telling the kids we needed to see if a dog would pick us. Well, we walked up to the pens. Will pointed at a white doge with a black spot over one eye and said "That one!"

And that was the one. Spanky came home with us four hours later. He was obviously someone's dog before he came to be in a shelter. He sits next to you as you eat at the table, resting his head on your knee hoping for a hand out. He's incredibly patient with the kids, sleeps on the couch or our bed. He likes to play with balls and ropes. He's everything we'd hoped for in a new family member.

The first 19 hours have gone well. We'll see how the next 9 years go.

Scott and I aren't sure that 'Spanky' is the right name for him. Suggestions are being taken....

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DSC_0003, originally uploaded by Pafuts.

Wow, it's been almost a year. Dang.

I'm going to be shifting around what I'm doing with the Lipstick blog. I'm still trying to find beauty to photograph every day but now I'm going to be posting them here instead of a separate photo blog I don't own. (Why didn't I think of this before?)

Life has been crazy for us right now with Zoe out of school and the holidays just ending. We should be back to something resembling normal this week. Hopefully, I'll be able to blog a little more regularly at that point.

Part sixty-two

I spent most of the last days of November and the first days of December feeling good. This was new. And I was getting okay with it.

I was still internally rolling my eyes at the outlook I was trying to achieve, but I was doing better.

I was making it a point to notice little moments. I was finding things funny again and wanting to write about it. I was doing a few blog entries about my opinions on stuff.

As Will was back in pre-school, I used Tuesday and Thursday morning to either book myself for jobs or do things I liked. One of my favorite things to do is go to little restaurants by myself and sit at the counter. The servers are chatty. You can see the interactions between them and the kitchen staff. I think it's really fun.

As a family, we were researching getting guinea pigs.

On the 8th of December I'd taken Will to the bank with me. When we came out there were three ravens on the grass. They were the first ravens I'd seen since moving here three years before. I'm a superstitious soul, mostly because I like to be. I hold the belief that Raven (or Crow) brings you exactly what you need in the way you least expect it. I had the distinct thought "Whoop. Somethin's comin'."

At first, I was thinking horribly pessimistically. Bad stuff, because that's what I'm comfortable expecting. Then I realized this may be a test. In fact, probably was a test. So I started to think that no matter what, it would ulitmately be good for me. Nothing coming down the pike yet, but I know it will show it's face when I'm not looking.

I also entered a short story contest sponsored by the Austin Chronicle. The maximum word count was 2,500, which isn't very much.

If you'd like to read it, it's behind the cut:

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I'm going to start cross-posting more things here from my Pafuts blog, along with fiction I'm writing. Just letting you know what will be coming up. It's a big deal to share my fiction writing, so play nice please. :)

Part sixty-one

I'm continuing to try and be comfortable with optimism and contentment.

I was talking with my excellent friends Amanda and Birgit about it. I was describing the part of myself I called Nellie.

Birgit commented that I sounded like I was mocking her. I agreed. I wasn't comfortable with that yet. I still thought it was hokey and saccharine-y and dumb. It felt all WRONG.

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