Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fiddle Faddle

A quick update on the mundane-

1. I've been on this new form of birth control (Yasmin) since Sunday. The first couple days were fine and I thought I was going to get away scot-free...until two days ago. It seems like my body isn't what it used to be when it comes to the onslaught of hormones. When I was in high school I got on the pill and everything was, in fact, sunshine and rainbows. No mood swings, no nausea, bigger boobs and no weight gain and no babies! Now, well, lets just say I feel like I'm reliving my pregnancy all over again. I feel lethargic, nauseous although I'm not outwardly puking just feeling exhausted and unable to eat anything for fear of upchuckery, slight headaches, and although the nausea is there all I want to do is eat Eegee's. Anytime I crave Eegee's this hard I fear I'm pregnant because in Tucson Eegee's is kind of like the pregnant woman's holy grail for that first (hell, second AND third if you're me) trimester. Every woman I've known here that's been pregnant can attest to this fact. So here I am, the girl with the phantom pregnancy. I'll be calling the gyno and scheduling an appointment for Paragard. Because hormones are the devil and I can't afford, both financially and physically, to eat at Eegee's three (or four) times a day.

2. Jack is actually using some words now! Finally. He's also discovered that he can open the fridge and we've had a few instances lately where one of us will be doing something, turn around and there Jack stands with a pack of Tillamook cheese slices hurting for some sharp cheddar and we're like "wtf?! How did you get those?! Oh yeah, you're getting smarter. Like the velociraptors in Jurassic Park."

3. I'm on the job hunt...and it sucks. In case you've been living under a rock, the pickin's as far as jobs in this economy be slim. I'd like to get a job at Buffalo Exchange because well, duh! Except for the fact that Greg pointed out- "you'd probably just spend your whole paycheck in the store anyway." But I feel that's selling me a little short. It would probably only be about half of my paycheck. I may write this in the application. "This would be good for the both of us."

4. Our AC went out yesterday and today it's been told that the temps are going to climb up to 101 degrees in our dear desert town. This makes me a sad panda.

Here's a song

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An Ode To Eliot

I was going to do another decor inspired by something, and it was going to be T.S. Eliot but it ended up sort of going in about nine different directions. So instead of just a decor I just decided to throw in everything that I saved in my folders that reminded me of him. Here you go-

First, the man-

The interior stuff-

I want a bookcase/hutch like this (found at Etsy) so bad it hurts! I love the look of books behind glass and a place to keep the random treasure/knick knacks you find along the way.

In practice, these look really awesome-

See. (Anthropologie)

A desk lamp for all those late night musings (Anthropologie).

Doorknob (I think changing the knobs/handles on something instantly perks up whatever piece of furniture/cabinet/door lacks in character).

I WILL have a gramophone one day. And if not, I WILL have one tattooed on my arm.

The Clothes-

The Toddler-

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Shins and Me

I had a hard time deciding which band I'd choose for today's "________ and Me". I have so many that I love and when I think about them I sputter off like an over excited or over romantic idealist. I've waxed poetic about Morrison and found love and existentialism with Radiohead, but I must keep reminding myself to save the best for last (a method I've used since I was a kid in the lunchroom and people looked at me funny for scraping the cheese off of my pizza and only AFTER eating the crust, devouring the marinara laden cheesy goodness). Anyway, this Friday I've decided to love on the Shins.

I'd like to say I was different from about 89% of the population and discovered the Shins in an independent record store, but like nearly everybody else I was turned on to them by somebody who promised "it'll change your life." That person was Natalie Portman. I sat in my room on my 17th birthday and watched Garden State and ate copious amounts of Chicken McNuggets, while my parents worried if I was delving more into my fluctuating bouts of depression ("are you sure THAT'S what you want to do for your birthday?"). But I wasn't upset or depressed in that moment. Quite the contrary in fact, it was comforting. I was watching a movie that expressed so much of what was going on in my head and when Natalie plugged Zach Braff into her world with her headphones, when "New Slang" became an audible revelation, I was hooked.
The next week after I got paid from my minimum of minimum wage job of slinging grinders and iced fruit beverages at Eegee's, I got out of school and decided that I needed to buy the album. I took the city bus downtown and found that album in that independent record store.

Punk lifers manned the cashier and looked at me like I was the greenest, most precious little girl in the shop, with my short mousy brown bob and my lack of tattoos and life experience. I fingered through local punk LP's, the alternative and blues sections and after about a half hour or so I found what I was looking for.

I had my friend Samantha (see Pixies and Me), who came along with me, help me choose between "Chutes To Narrow" and "Oh, Inverted World". And being girls who spent their free time scrawling poetry in composition books we based our decision on the only thing that meant anything to the hearts of day dreaming girls- lyrical content. To this day I think the Shins lyrics read like poetry and it's what sets them apart from any of the other bands in my c.d. case.
Like the Pixies my moment came in the back of the city bus (I hold a soft spot in my heart for public transportation, but that is another post entirely). I watched the city morph into familiar neighborhoods and once my stop came (all too soon in my opinion) I spent the remainder of my day listening.
That weekend my family went up to Phoenix to visit more family. A dear friend had passed and we all came together to remember and celebrate a life that brought us so much laughter and memories. It was a peculiar trip. Remembering a life, celebrating a new one (my cousin had semi-recently given birth), relishing in family from out of town, sharing secrets and inside I felt a shift as I watched all of the adults in my life and some of my peers. I couldn't explain it and but I knew inside that something was changing. Everybody around me was in a new stage of life and there I sat, senior in high school, nothing new but the thoughts in her head. I decided that this would be the last of my carelessness. I was growing up and I was okay with that, I was ready to change from the youngest girl in the family to my own woman.
That week when I got back I lost my virginity. I started making my own decisions of what I'd be dong with my free time, with my high school career, with my friends.
The Shins were there for those months of changing. That album marked a sort of spiritual puberty where I decided to make so many of my own decisions and deal with the consequences.
Those lyrics that I sought out based on just what I read changed into feeling. I understood them so much more. I went back to Toxic Ranch to buy "Oh, Inverted World" and this time the clerks didn't look at me with smirking eyes. I was cultivating my own life experiences, without prompting from friends or parents or Natalie Portman.
"one wound up punch of intuition
lays flat my whole take on us.
you're the girl on the wing of a barnstormer
the tidal rabbit who came of age before her time."
The Shins were a gateway drug for my mind. They changed the way I looked for music, the way I listened to it. My writing started to change. I wrote more and more poetry and it was actually good (I was given pamphlets to colleges that were concentrated in poetry and writing by a local published poet who told me to "follow this through"). And later on as I went through heartbreak, they caught my fall.
"I find a fatal flaw
In the logic of love
And go out of my head
You love a sinking stone
That will never elope
So get used to the lonesome, girl
You must atone some
Don't leave me no phone number there"

But they caught it in a different way. Instead of feeling too sorry for myself, playing the victim, the more I listened to them the more I realized that this is just life, filled with heartbreak and growing pains, revelations and the mundane. The best you can do is carry on and maybe, just maybe you can turn it into art, a song, a poem, a melody.

"lucked out and found my favorite records
lying in wait at the birmingham mall.
the songs that I heard,
the occasional book
were the only fun I ever took.
and I got on with making myself.
the trick is just making yourself."

Yes, perhaps the trick is just making yourself. I'll always love the Shins for showing me that.

But this one is for you Ms. Portman. You were right.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

One for me...

and one for my homies.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Amanda's Rules for Surviving an Arizona Summer

I've been an Arizona native my whole life (born in Phoenix, moved at 6 to Tucson) so sweltering summers are all I've known and yet the heat manages to donkey punch me every time it arrives. I've learned a few things through living in the desert that I've had to learn the hard way:
1. Ease into your car if it's been parked more than ten minutes. You will burn your rump if you're wearing shorts or a skirt otherwise.
2. Avoid playground equipment or your child will burn their rump and you'll feel like an asshole.
3. Heat stroke sucks.
4. Snakes come out a lot this time of year (I almost stepped on a baby rattlesnake during a jog a couple years back).

So if you plan on visiting Arizona during the summer or if you actually live here and just want to commiserate here's Amanda's Rules for Surviving an Arizona Summer.

1. Wear Sunscreen

This should pretty much be a given. Out here you get sun exposure sitting on the toilet, so it's inevitable that without sunscreen you will burn. And burning/sun exposure/UV rays equal skin damage and skin damage equals premature aging not to mention the worst possible outcome- skin cancer. I don't mean to diss the sun so much, the dude has his benefits in moderation, but you should protect yourself before venturing out around here (or anywhere for that matter).

2. AC, AC, AC!

If you have to go out to get the kids out of the house or if you're getting cabin fever yourself, venture out into places that blast the AC. Most cities have indoor play areas which I'll be using during the day more than the actual park (see #2 of Things I've Learned the Hard Way). We visit The Tucson Children's Museum to get Jack's wiles out. It has indoor and outdoor play areas, interactive activities and in the summer the outdoor activities tend to be water play related. The membership fee is a pretty good deal and it's tax deductible. Check it out!

3. Wear As Little As Possible

Now is the time to start exercising your right to wear sundresses, sandals, shorts, skirts, tanks and tunics. Overload on the clothes and it's going to be boob sweat city. Wear light fabrics.

4. Get Your Hair Out Of Your Face
Right now is about the time that the ladies of Tucson do the annual shearing, lopping off their hair due to the oppressive heat, which is actually a pretty good strategy if you're in the market for a shorter do. However, if you're trying to grow your hair out, I'd recommend putting it up. My favorite angle on this is the messy bun.

It looks cute, relaxed and chic. You can make it more casual for day or gussy it up for night, add a side braid or a barrette or headband and viola!

5. Burt's Bee's Lip Shimmer

I recommend this because it has flattering shades for everybody and the peppermint in it gives you a quick little pick me up on your lips that's pretty refreshing. Watermelon and rhubarb are my go to's

6. Otter Pops

I've been down with OPP (Otter Poppy Pops to make that pun work) since I was but a young lass and now that I've got a Costco membership we buy those suckers in bulk. They last about two weeks around here.

7. Pools and ice water
Because if you aren't IN a body of water or drinking the equivalent of a body of water evaporation may occur.

8. Getting Wasted Again In Margaritaville If all else has failed and you've put the children to bed and are left thinking "it's still effing hot and I'm about to lose it", well, there's always the power of a margarita with lots and lots of ice. Or pina coladas. Or mojitos...or...

So stay cool, stay calm. Fall is only about 4 months away.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Suki was a kid, she liked to hang out at the art school

Saturday night I went to support a dear friend* at an art exhibit. I left feeling semi-nervous because I have mixed feelings about art exhibits. I fear having to stand there and wax poetic about art that I just plain don't like (stuff like a blank canvas with a tiny red dot in the center or equally ridiculous). But once I got there I was very happy to see that all the art in the room was wonderful. They were all expressive, beautiful and you could tell that a lot of love went into them. I wished I could purchase quite a few actually.

I also took it as an opportunity to do an outfit post, so here's a "What I Wore" for Saturday-

Dress, shoes, belt- Buffalo Exchange
Fun Fact- My toenails have consistently been painted red for the last 3 or 4 years. I'm thinking of branching out to coral for the summer, and in the winter I mix it up with a deep, deep purple/plum.

*If you'd like to see some of the aforementioned friend's work you can see it here on his site-

Mo' hormones, mo' problems

I've had my IUD out for a little over a week now and I must say- I feel AMAZING! Best thing I've done for myself in awhile. I feel I owe a great deal of thank you's to Rebecca Woolf who gave me the idea (she was also on Mirena and experiencing the same symptoms as me). And maybe I'll give myself a little credit for following my gut and not just convincing myself that I was merely blowing things out of proportion. Since getting Mirena removed the following has happened-

*I've had no mood swings. I'm PMSing right now as we speak and yet, no tears, no cursing of life, no husband wondering what he married, more patience all around.

*My sex drive is back with a vengence.

*My hair feels softer.

*I haven't been craving red meat like I was perpetually craving, which is awesome because I've been trying to stear clear of as much unnecessary meat as I can.

*I have more energy.

*Greg has even noticed the changes. This morning as he left for work he kissed me and said "happy to have you back." This was the one time I got semi-teary as I was equally as happy to have myself back as well.

Now, I've been trying to figure out what to do about this whole "now able to procreate" state I'm in. We've decided, very firmly so, that there will be no more babies until we're financially ready to care for two children without too much stress. But we still want to pretend we're making babies so we've reached that fork in the birth control road. I have a prescription for Yaz (or Yasmin, I'm not entirely sure) waiting for me at Walgreen's that I've yet to pick up because I've been rocking the shit out of my newfound stableness. I don't want anymore hormones, though I'm not quite ready to insert the Paragard IUD just yet (mostly because the pain of doing so REALLY blows). But something must be done, so I'll be starting my experiment of being back on the pill today. I feel like I'm 18 all over again.

Hopefully it gives me some awesome cleavage.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Pixies and Me

I'm going to start a new segment (I know I say that often because I fear stagnancy, but I'm dead set on this one) on here that I've been meaning to to do for a long time be it on here or somewhere else, but here would be better. I love music. I live on music. I need it. And I have so many memories built around songs and albums that I love. So I'm kicking off my _________ and Me segment with the Pixies.

I remember the day I was introduced to the Pixies. I can still smell the chlorine in my hair, the juxtaposition of my dry skin (too much chlorine in a pool always drys me out) and my wet swimsuit still clinging to my body. I had just gotten out of my two hour swim practice and my body felt like air, a balloon only weighed down by a hunger built up from non-stop swimming. I walked out the Archer Center's swimming pool and opened the double doors to see the skaters from my school doing their own version of after school practice. Ollies and ill fated jumps off of a ten stair punctuated with cigarette/weed breaks. I knew all of them and chit chatted as I waited for my bus. One of their girlfriends went on to become one of my best friends. She let me read one of her poems/passages five minutes upon meeting her and I was smitten. We were inseparable from then on out.

Sam and I, Graduation 2006

But that's for another day.
The one skater that changed it all was Jorge. He was the most genuine of the lot, the most kind. We became fast friends during those before and after swim practices as I waited for the daily after school bus to take me back home where boys with raging hormones and ripped jeans were forbidden. Broken decks=broken hearts. But not Jorge. Jorge was the older brother I never had or knew I needed. He'd listen to me wax on about my lovelorn ways and he'd remind me after each story to not sweat it. To smile. To live on. And one day after a more brutal beating to my teenage heartstrings, he asked me a question- "have you heard of the Pixies?"
"No, I don't think so."
"Take this home," he said, as he handed me Doolittle.

"Borrow it for as long as you want," He said, as I got on my bus.

I took out the Dashboard Confessional c.d. (not helpful for lovelorn teenagers) that had previously dominated my c.d. player and popped in Doolittle and settled into my seat at the back of the bus waiting for the first song.

"Got me a movie
I want you to know
Slicing up eyeballs
I want you to know
Girly so groovy
I want you to know
Don't know about you
But I am un chien andalusia"

For the first time in a long time the corners of my mouth inched up to more than a smirk. It was crazy, it was nonsense, it was exactly what the doctor ordered. Music to push me out of my hoodie clad wallflower box. Music to shake me up, to get the blood flowing in places other than my heart (I had no problem with that on a daily basis, I was all heart and no guts). An exorcism of my angst.
I listened to that c.d. all day on repeat all weekend. But before I gave it back I made my dad drive me to Borders to pick up my own copy. I didn't want to be without it. I haven't been since then.
"Thank you so much for this," I said as I handed back the over loved disc to Jorge a few days later.
"I'm glad you liked it."
By my junior year I started changing, my music taste started changing, my clothes (partly because of Sam whose fashion eye is awesome, and I should really get her on here), my views, etc. But the Pixies still remained my solid foundation, the gospel I needed at the end of the day to free me up. I kept them faithfully within reach, and years later, as my stomach began to swell with baby ("hey/what do you know/your lovely, tan belly is starting to grow!"), people told me to play him classical music through headphones on my belly. I did, but he kicked and squirmed and wriggled around a lot more when I played "Where Is My Mind" for him. "That's my boy". Kick drum lover, bass line dancer.
Since becoming a mother and moving up to an area where moms in vans reign supreme and I'm on the outskirts of the playground with matching mother-son Converse, I have left many of my friends downtown. Not to say we've forgotten about each other, but we're all in different places and we try and see each other when we can. So imagine my surprise when last Friday, out on the town at the burlesque show, I turned around and there was Jorge. I hadn't seen him since shortly after Jack was born.

"OH MY GOD!!" I squealed. We hugged and laughed and I bought us rounds of gin and tonics and margaritas, tipped the bartender extra hard out of my jubilation, and we got to catching up. We talked about Jack and Greg and family life, about Mexico and the land he's been exploring as a ranch hand, about ex's (we ran in the same circle so I had dated his best friend, he had dated mine, we all remained distant friends, etc) and long lost friends and then I heard something that stopped me mid-sentence, something from the other section of the pub, something faint that grew louder, I knew I knew it and then it became clear.

It was too much. Too coincidental. Too nostalgic. Too amazingly awesome.
We looked at each other and laughed. At life, at where it's lead us and how good everything was in that moment.
"I'm in a good place," I said.
"You showed me these guys and it changed my life."
And just as quickly as the moment came it ended, like all good things do. We made plans to have a barbecue so he could see Jack and Greg again, and said goodbye over the sunrise.
Yesterday, after I had had to much of motherhood (Jack tantruming all day) I took a drive out to the store to pick up some rum and pina colada mix (I was also missing Ixtapa a lot) among other things, though those two were of the utmost importance, and I breathed. I put Doolittle in my c.d. player and everything melted away, only this time I didn't feel so nostalgic for once, I just felt happy in the moment and I drove. And that is exactly what the Pixies will always mean to me.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Flotsam, jetsam

The Martin household is still sick with whatever it is that's been on our backs for the last week+. Greg and Jack wake up hacking and grouchy and I wake up just plain grouchy because if you've ever dealt with a sick toddler while you yourself aren't feeling so hot, well, you know. You just know. That being said, those of you that know, could you send reinforcements? Are you getting this signal? S.O.S. Anyway, what has been coming out of their noses and lungs has been what has taken refuge in my dome piece and has now become a full fledged sinus infection. Every time I bend over or cough it's like a giant pressure/headache monster giving my head a hug.
So there's that. Since my head feels like a beetle laid eggs in it, and not the good beetle, not like the Paul McCartney Beatle, I decided to interbrowse at my favorite stores and play little games like "If I had to decorate my house in only an aesthetic derived from The Life Aquatic, how would it look" and "What Would I Wear/Bring to Coachella", to distract my head from my own head. Here's some of the by-product (the husband thinks I'm losing my mind)-

"Decorate In A Life Aquatic Theme"*

* I chose The Life Aquatic because it could very well be an aesthetic Greg and I would use for our house (once we buy) one day. We both have a strong love for the movie, Murray and the colors seen throughout the movie- light and turquoise blues, yellows, oranges and corals, etc. I'd kill to have Wes Anderson decorate my house. A girl can dream as big as she wants damnit!

Greg doesn't like the couch, but I chose it for it's color and how much it reminded me of the movie.

A doorknob

Among other things...

And in other news, I finally won the battle with The Pit. I'm tearing the sucker down at naptime since Jack no longer plays with it so much as he steals things I need (cell phone, toothbrush, car keys, etc) and throws them into it and since there's about 100 balls in there covering the aforementioned items up, I lose my mind trying to find them. And I may or may not have a celebratory drink over it's demise. You won the battle but you lost the war mofo! Moms always win. Period.

Here's a few songs-

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Wink and a Smile

Friday night I went out to partake in one of my absolute favorite activities- a burlesque show! My love for burlesque has been longstanding starting in early high school when my former drama club geek self finally found her sexuality, mixed the two and grew visions of giant feather fans, shimmy belts and seamed stockings. In fact-

Here we have me and my grandparents at my high school graduation where I was clad in a pencil skirt, corset (with a white button down underneath for the grandparents/parents/principal), red satin pumps and lame ass attempt at a victory roll with my bangs (they were too short).

Anyway it was something I missed very much so when I saw this

I made plans to get gussied up and go out despite getting my IUD plucked from my person that same afternoon (not nearly as horrible as having one put in though, thank the lawd).
There is just something absolutely magical about a burlesque show. You can feel the energy in the room, the excitement and watching the girls put out a piece of their imagination in such an awesome I-Am-Woman-Hear-Me-ROAR way is exhilarating. It reminded me why I still have a section in my closet it has touched

and it rekindled the place in my heart that it changed.

What I Wore-

I'm not to happy with this pic as the dress kept creeping up in the pic giving me a lumpy front. Ce'st la vie.
Dress- Ross

Shoes- Buffalo Exchange