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January 2009
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March 2009

My Stimulus Package...

I bought a new handbag.  That's the bad news.  The good news is that I went to the outlets and lived like a real live frugal person!  Maybe not, but you know, you can't expect me to turn into Mother Theresa overnight.  In fact, I made a big leap.  I really wanted the salmon-colored leather, but I went plain so that I could match both pink and red.  That right there, that is a major concession!  I was practical.

Photo 165
So speaking of Ashley, this morning Rebecca St. James comes on the radio and I squealed, "Yay, it's Ashley." 
My ten year-old:  "Mom, if your book does get made into a movie, do I have to see it?"
"I don't like chick flicks."
"Tough.  I don't like the Lego store and I've spent more time there than you'll spend at my movie.  Capiche?"
My thirteen year-old:  "Do we have to wear a tux?"
"Listen, it will most likely be in your living room.  No, we can't afford a tux.  We've been to the Lego store and Mama has a new handbag." 

Ruffles & Pink Forever!

The older I get, the more liberal I get.  Not in the ways of my faith, like the sanctity of life, value in all human beings, personal responsibility, or that Jesus still matters in a world gone haywire.  However, I read a "rule" the other day that women over 40 shouldn't wear ruffles.  You know what?  I'll wear ruffles if I please.  And I'll look good doing it, thank you very much.

This is why Betsey Johnson is my hero.  She wears whatever she pleases, has a pink house and her doggie looks just like mine!  She's a girl's girl.  But to be that person, she's had to do what she likes, not what she "should" do.  She's a grandmother, so she should dress in a flowered moo-moo and get out of the way for all the "beautiful people", right?  Instead, she's still dressing 20 year-olds and she is getting rich doing it.

If we're going to have "rules" for fashion?  Let's go back to the good ones, like either decolletage or legs.  Not both, please.   But leave my ruffles out of it.  Betsey

A Sweet Spirit Covers a Multitude of Sins...

Whoopi Whoopi Whoopi Goldberg was deemed "the worst dressed" at the Oscars.  And you know me, I'm the first to say blech!  But honestly, I didn't even notice Whoopi's outfit as being garish because I thought her tribute to Meryl Streep was so beautiful, I was lost in the moment.  I didn't expect it out of Whoopi.  She's usually battling up a storm with whoever gets in her way.  Whoopi To quote one of my favorite movies, "Whoopi, you make me want to be a better (wo)man.  : ) 

When Everyone has Rights

I haven't watched the Robomom's dad on Oprah yet, but I heard he was on it, talking about his daughter's lack of responsibility.  Seriously, I don't know what her issue is, but it's clear she's dealing with some deep-seated issues and has no reality about what she can and cannot handle.

But I have to stick up for her parents here.  Because I know they are doing everything to curb their daughter's troubles, but when it comes right down to it, you cannot control another human being.  And if she's going to make another trip to the baby doctor, she's a grown woman.  There's nothing her parents can do.  Of course, I'm sure they'll take the brunt of this, "Why didn't you?  Why don't you?"  Meanwhile, her mother is staggering trying to take care of the six at home, while Robomom still has time to get her nails done.

I'm not saying that they haven't enabled her in their own way, but we all do that with family in some way.  We pick up the slack where maybe we shouldn't and it sometimes gets out of control. 

I don't know.  My heart just bleeds for this family.  I mean, what now?  So she screwed up and bad and this time, it's too big for Mommy and Daddy to fix it for her.  But what now?  See, that's the point of my ill-fated work in progress.  What do you do when someone doesn't show up for their life?  How do YOU handle it? 

It's a question this girl's parents are dealing with right now, and it's a bit late for an Intervention, so what now?  When mental illness doesn't hurt another (and I would argue this is going to hurt a LOT of people) but when mental illness doesn't hurt someone else, that person is virtually free to wreak havoc and this time, the entire state of California will foot the bill, so maybe the functioning crazies out there will get some notice. 

I guess Sean Penn is walking the streets.  I'm just glad he's not bent on procreating in mass quantity.

I Shop, Therefore I am...

No wonder I got an "A" in philosophy, huh?  Everyone does something to cope/escape.  Some people drink (thinking about that one this month), others play video games, some read, some write, and yes, some shop.  Honestly, I'm sort of OCD when it comes to shopping.  I go in pursuit of the perfect shoe, the perfect handbag, etc.  Usually, it's to reward myself for a job well done (book finished) but not always.  I don't shop often, but when I do, I'm on a mission.

This month, it's because my purse is the only thing I can organize right now, and I need one that fits a wallet.  My current one has a built-in wallet and it is driving me nuts.  Let me give you a rundown of my disastrous life at the moment.

Kids were off for a week.  Came home to a flooded bottom floor.  Something had broken away from the house and it just rained right on in -- so we need new carpet, new drywall and I paid $2k for some stupid industrial dryers for a week and antibacterial spray so we didn't smell like an antique aquarium.  Two bedrooms and one bathroom are out of commission.  Which means, two kids and all their stuff, are elsewhere.

My current book is not acceptable, so I will either be writing it again, or trying something different.

My Wii Fit is on the blink and says I gained five pounds.

The laundry is about three days behind, which is 2 years in people years.

So I do what I do best.  I find a purse.  So far, with no luck.  But when you can't succeed in one area, you simply have to do something you can feel slightly successful in -- granted, not so much when the Visa comes in, but I am so behind.  There is not one room I can look at, or hide out in that doesn't look like my slob 13 year old self lives there. 

So the search is on.  It's much more than a handbag, it's my sanity.Bottega

And the winner is...HUGH JACKMAN!!!

Does anyone really care about the Oscars this year?  I mean, if you're out there, speak up. As for me, not so much this year.  I really can't think of any movie from the year that sticks out.  Wall-e was great film-making, but it wasn't my favorite.  And I didn't see the Dark Knight, so here's my picks based on Kristin-logic.  Or lack thereof, as the case may be.

Best Actor
    Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler because his beloved 18 year old dog died this week.  That just breaks my heart.  Plus, it's a come-back story.

And definitely not Sean Penn, because he so pathetically goes after roles where he thinks he can win one.  Dude, I still see Spicoli, what can I say?

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
    Heath Ledger, because even the posters scare me.

    Kate Winslet -- because she's been nominated a jillion times, and she is a fabulous actress.
    And really, does Meryl need another one?  We all know she's the Queen.
    Angelina doesn't get one just because she's already got that body and Brad.  Please, get off your greedy horse.

Supporting Actress
    Okay, this is a tie for me because I LOVE Amy Adams, but I think Taraji Henson deserves it for Benjamin Button.  She really stood out in that movie, and looking at Brad's shriveled self, it was hard to get attention, you know?  Marisa got hers already for My Cousin Vinny, right?  Nuff said.

Animated Film
    Wall-E was good film-making (oh and I saw Steve Jobs I think going down for the Oscars in a tux on Friday.  He must have had a party.)  But my vote is for Kung Fu Panda, because you know, the Panda had a duck for a father with no explanation.  I so loved that! 

Art Direction
    I have to give it to the Duchess, which is one of my favorite films of the year.

Cinematography.  Oh please.  Austrailia isn't nominated, and Hugh Jackman in the outback is all the cinematography anyone needs. 

Documentary Short, Documentary this, that, whatever.  Look it's a crowning achievement and all, but none of us will ever see these movies and so it makes the whole International award giving kind of stupid.  Not to mention, it's always some normal person like you or me in a rented tux or a gown without Spanx.  At the very least, they should hire these poor people a stylist if they're going to make them stand next to people who have been on a cleansing diet for five days and eat only ground flax seed in their coffee.

Best Picture:  I couldn't care less.  But I'm rooting for Slumdog Millionaire because I sure enjoy the Bollywood films when I'm at my Indian restaurants.  They're colorful, and that's good enough for me this year. 

The really bad thing is I can't judge the writing this year and that's usually my favorite category.  Some of my favorite films of all-time have won:  Moonstruck, A Fish Called Wanda (nominated that same year), Pillow Talk, Gone with the Wind, The Philadelphia Story, Casablanca, Miracle on 34th Street, Sabrina (nominated), To Kill a Mockingbird, Terms of Endearment, Amadeus, The Accidental Tourist (nomination -- this is my favorite book too!), Fried Green Tomatoes (nomination), Sense and Sensibility!!

I don't think any of the movies this year have staying power.  Meaning, I'll want to watch them in 20 years.  Heck, I don't want to watch them now.  (Except Doubt, so it gets my vote).  Benjamin Button just seemed like a bad copy of Forest Gump to me, only the clips from history didn't seem to make a difference to the story. 

Naturally, I'll tune in to see Hugh Jackman.  Yay, eye candy for those of us who don't care!  And naturally, I'll diss on the gowns.  I will say my favorite Oscar gown ever belonged to Cate Blanchett in her buttery, yellow Valentino.  And I loved Helen Mirren's dress the year she won for the Queen. 

Tell me your picks, anyone care about a particular nominee?


Why I love the Wii Fit

So I was always that girl in aerobics.  You know the one.  The entire class is grapevining left and she's going right, totally getting in your way and causing cursing to occur?  I tell you, so much bad energy in aerobics.  I didn't need that.  So I did what any conscious, yet klutzy individual would do.  I quit going.

This year my mom bought me the Wii Fit for Xmas.  It's been holed up in the sty my boys call a room, so I haven't used it.  Today, I made them bring me the Wii and I went back to it.  Do you know that little bugger keeps track of you?  I mean, it said I gained 5 pounds.  I think I just had heavy clothes.  Do you think I might have a faulty Wii Fit?

But here's what I love about it. 

1. The other little Miis don't laugh at you when you're going the wrong way.  (Word of warning here though, your kids or friends might.) 

2.  I have never been able to ever keep a hoola hoop up and here at the Billerbeck household?  Yeah, I'm queen of the hoola-hoop.  Take that!

3.  No one has to know that I get winded doing that little island jog.

4. When I end up a snowball on the ski jump?  I don't get cold.

5. I can press A and make the annoying trainer go away. 

6.  I can practice my balance, which is really bad from multiple sclerosis, and use a child's head to cheat the system if I want to make myself feel better.

Now I want to get that cute little pink silicone pad that goes over the Fit Board.  IMG_2121

Confessions of Another Shopaholic...

I was wrong.  I admit it.  It won't be the last time.  I went to see Shopaholic (for twenty minutes, more on that later) and Isla Fisher is perfect as Rebecca Bloomwood.  The chemistry between her and the hero is fantastic!  It also looks like whomever turned the book into a screenplay did it so well.   But now onto the darker side of the day...

I took my daughter Elle, since Darcy abandoned me to go ski.  I hate to ski.  What is the point of spending a fortune to go down a hill.  Do you know how many shoes I could get for a day's worth of skiing?  Don't know if I've mentioned this, but Darcy asked me to marry him at Squaw Valley.  He had dreams that we'd be on the ski lift and he'd pop out the ring, and I'd say YES, oh Yes!  

Here's the way it actually went.  I've mentioned I hate to ski, right?  So after Darcy took off with his brother (both of them are the kind of skiers who go straight over cliffs and live to tell about it) -- I went up to the bunny lift.  I actually had my first taste of Tejava at the top of that hill and it was love at first sip.  But I digress.  I remember I was reading a Thomas Hardy  book at the time, one I hadn't read before.  I don't remember what it was, but I knew I wanted that book way more than I wanted to be cold and barreling down a hill at break-a-heel speed.  So I went down the hill, and you know, justified, "That's enough.  Whew!" I said, wiping he sweat from my brow.

I had this amazing sense of accomplishment.  After all, I'd made it to the lodge, and isn't that the goal?  So I settled in with my book (can't remember how I had the book on the lift).  Oh wait, yes I do.  I took my skis off, took them back to the car and sat in the lodge with my book.  This was in the BC (before coffee) era so I didn't have coffee.

So Darcy comes swishing down the hill and his brother keeps trying to leave, so I'm like, "Darin, really, you don't have to go anywhere."
"I'm going to go," he says.  And off he goes.  
"Did I offend him?"
"No," Darcy says, then he looks down at my feet.
"Where are your skis?"
"Oh um, back at the car.  You know, I'd just had enough."  I do not mention I went down the hill once.  At $70, I think that's like a buck a yard or something.

Anyway, I have now ruined his magical plans and so he has to propose on a bench.  He says he knelt.  I don't remember that.  I do remember the Tejava, which makes me feel so wrong inside.  

Back to Shopaholic.  I have to see it with my mother who will completely understand the two kinds of money.  The kind that buys pretty things that last three weeks, and mom money, which buys brown sturdy things that last forever.  I took Elle, and she lasts twenty minutes and wants to go.
"We just got here!"
"I don't like movie."
"Too bad."
"Mom!  Mom, let's go  There's too much swearing."

Honestly, I don't remember any swearing and she might have used that one just to get her way, but here's the final knife in my back..."Mom?  Now that we're out of the movie, can we go to the Dollar Tree?"
"The dollar tree!!!  Who are you?"

So I make her a deal, I'll match her $1 and we'll go to Target instead so I can get a hard copy of Matt Nathanson's CD.  So like a true Shopaholic, I have paid for the movie -- and I did not get my money's worth!  Not to mention, my child must have been switched at birth, and let's just see how she likes the shoes Grandma will buy for her.  Little traitor.

Valentine's Day is SADISTIC!!

So tomorrow is the most hated of all holidays because it puts so much pressure on people.  Like, have you been dating long enough?  Is it safe to get him a card?  Do I sign "love" or just "your friend" -- really, it's an excuse to obsess.

I've been married 18 years, and I can tell you, Valentine's Day never leads to anything good.  Because I expect, Oooh, oooh, he'll be thinking of me and do such and such.  No, he won't.  Because he's an engineer and he doesn't speak romance.  But here's the thing, neither do most men. 

The most romantic Valentine's Day I ever had was with this incredibly handsome, I mean, like shockingly so, why is he dating me kind of handsome.  He showed up at my house bearing red roses.  He took me to the most romantic candlelit restaurant.  We laughed all night, he drove me home chastely in his Porsche -- I mean, it was "Flashdance" come to life.  Except I can't dance.  But then, the following week, he dumped me and went back to his ex-girlfriend (who he's now married to, and they have three kids.  LOL)

Romantic date #2. In high school, THE most gorgeous guy asked me out.  This guy had manners, he brought me flowers when he picked me up in his mommy's Cadillac.  He charmed my mother and wow, we just had a great time.  He and my BFF's date were the only one to know who sang "Shock the Monkey" at the time before Peter Gabriel was really on the scene.  They both ended up no the floor doing some strange dance that forced all eyes and attention on us.  Next thing I heard, he slept with a girl known for putting out.  Okay, I have to admit, at this point in life, I had no idea girls did that before marriage.  But here's the real kicker.  Next time I saw him after high school?  Mr. Successful Hottie who all the girls worshiped?  He was sportin' a perm and working at the Price Club asking for your membership card.  (In case I need to translate for you non-Californians, he was as gay as they come.)

Oh. My. Goodness.

Now, my Valentine's Day consists of buying my children cute cards and my best girl friends, dirty, funny cards about why you don't need a man.  But after all this, that's what I'm here to tell you.  Anyone can be married.  Anyone.  But you could be marrying Drew Peterson (guy whose three wives have died mysteriously), your romantic date with the gorgeous guy COULD be Ted Bundy the second.  Am I saying this to scare you?  No, I'm saying this because I think in the Christian realm, we are so desperate to get married and taught it's the only acceptable path in life.  And that just isn't true. 

My best friend never got married.  I am so jealous of her life.  She travels all over the world.  She has something to do every Saturday night and she lives a full, incredible life. 

This is no diss on my husband, by the way.  He will get me a nice, engineer-approved card, bring me flowers and candy (though I think flowers are a waste of money and I certainly don't need the candy.)  But you know, he is as thoughtful as he knows how to be, and that's romantic.  Here's what my DH does that makes Mr. Darcy wane in comparison.  When I come home with a new handbag...he never, ever says, "Why did you get a new purse?  Didn't you just buy one?" 

So girls, if you're sitting home on Valentine's Day, here's what I want to offer up to you.  Call your girlfriends, tell them all to buy anti-romance Valentine's Day cards, make them dinner and watch a good chick flick.  Because life as a single is not all that depressing.  Don't believe me?  Girl, I could tell you "Christian" marriages with guys so hooked on porn, they don't sleep with their wives.  "Christian" marriages where a guy would rather play with his video games than come to bed and Christian marriages where a husband just doesn't consider his wife.  Do you want that more than being alone?  Then, take your time to make sure you're the person YOU want to be first.

One more irksome thought, I hate the phrase, "Put yourself out there."  What does that mean?  Go stand naked on the street corner?  Go live life.  Get out there and be social, but don't think marriage...or the perfect Valentine's Day will solve your problems.  It's a myth.  K?  K.

Here's my Valentine's Day laugh for all the single ladies: