Goal Oriented

One of my favorite Austin blogs, Hipstercrite, written by Lauren, posted about five and ten year goals as revisited by someone past the ripe age of 25.  This makes me hyperventilate a little.  Here at the house-sitting house, where there is cable, I fall into the trap of watching HGTV.  On these home buying shows, perfectly composed nearly-30's purchase townhouses for half a million dollars and look like they walked out of a Talbots catalog.   I missed the instruction manual on how to be that perfect.  I still dream about the perfect pair of boots to wear to a concert to not get my toes stepped on while still looking feminine.  Not cardigans with rosettes.

At 26, I've had to do a lot of restructuring of my long term goals as I realize some of my initial goals, like, marrying a millionaire so I can be an agoraphobic eccentric novelist, are not going to pan out.  How does a person make goals when they keep changing?  With Lennon telling me all about his explorations of DC these past few days, it's had the effect of reminding me how much I would love, love, love to run the education program at a museum.  Like, say, one of the fifty thousand Smithsonians up in DC, (and I'd love to live there again).  If I could get to that position, and write for some (any!) publication, and have a closet full of pretty shoes, and a garden that actually produces a tomato, I'd like to think I'd feel accomplished in life.

But, if I ever should get engaged again, that could throw a wrench in things - having to accommodate a husband's career and what not.  Sounds like a hassle!  I really do want children, but I certainly see enough of them during the day, and when they start to get cranky I send them home, (like today!  goodness kids get cranky when you ask them to clean things as a service project), and then I can go spend my take home pay on a new dress instead of baby things.  I'm O.K. with this arrangement at present.  That, and coming home to Bella.

Do you have a five or ten year plan?


Working Girl

So in two weeks I start my new position at the Ann Richards School for Girls.  The focus of the school is on developing female leaders, and I'll be doing less running around over a giant campus than I did at Reagan.  This all means that I can dress more like my former-teacher-self.  But, most of my three year old teacher items are getting a little threadbare, and some probably don't even fit anymore.  I'm scared to try on my khaki pants.  

My high heels have been in retirement for a long time and I'm eager to break them out again.  I'm also interested in dressing "nicer" at this school, because I'm genuinely worried about what the principal is going to think when she sees my tattoos that were concealed beneath a cardigan at my interview.  It wasn't an issue at Reagan at all, but at ARS, I'm nervous.  I would like to counterbalance any negative associations they might have by looking like I run the Boys and Girls Club there, (wait, I do - and I love it).  

Charcoal DressFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

These heels are too high to wear functionally for me, but I do like the color.  And I'm in love with this dress, and will probably save my nickels to buy it in the next few weeks.  I've had a pair of black patent Cole Haan pumps for years that are already whispering to me that they want to be worn with that dress.

khaki workFashion Trends & Styles - Polyvore

I was in Target yesterday and found a dress really similar to this one for $40 as opposed to $100, but they were out of my size, and it wasn't nearly as "neat," it had a bunched elastic waist, and the thing I like about the Modcloth dress is how smooth and pressed it is.  Plus I certainly wouldn't actually be getting Christian Louboutin shoes, but certainly any color would match.

Is it normal to be fantasizing about work-wear in the summer?  Maybe it's because I've been wearing t-shirts and pedal pushers all summer while working with the teens at the community club - I'm essentially a camp counselor.

Any suggestions for shopping for affordable work clothes and shoes?  I still don't want to run around in stilletos, but maybe I can give my flats and tennis shoes a rest.

House Sitting

I am in love with this garden.  When I get home from work I come out and water all the plants and pick things that are ripening.  It was also necessary to share with the world how big Rufus's feet are.  He makes Bella look dainty. 

 I made pesto with the basil leaves from the herb garden.  I'm growing some basil in a pot on my balcony but it's still just a sprout.  This is enough pesto to maybe last till it's full grown.  Also, I really had to fight the urge to draw faces on those adorable baby tomatoes.  I may yet lose.


For two weeks I have a big back yard to play in - that's something I don't get in an apartment.  Tonight I used Swiss chard from the Keep Austin Beautiful gardent at LBJ High School to make bow-tie pasta with chard, garlic, olive oil, and sliced cherry tomatoes from this backyard garden.  Tomorrow I'm going to make string beans that I picked from this vine right before taking these pictures.  I got eaten up by mosquitoes while taking these, but it seems the trick is to not itch them initially and then they go away.  I'm opposed to spraying bug repellent on myself if at all possible.

It appears that this summer I have taken on too many projects and extra work, and without time to do all of it, I end up in a state where I just want to scream and can't do anything.  This is sad, because everything I'm supposed to be doing, I like.  But I agreed to do too much, all on top of needing to writewritewrite articles to recoup all of my moving expenses.  Being a grown-up is hard.  Maybe that's why I like the doll house look of this workshop.  I gave myself a "vacation" tonight to take pictures and cook, but really, not accomplishing anything just makes me more anxious, (well, not accomplishing anything extra - I did go to work all day).  So, tomorrow will be a day of grinding paces (post-work - arg).

Dress: Blue Velvet Vintage in Austin
Pearls: my grandma's
No shoes: the Arkansas in me

Starlight Station

For the next two weeks I'm playing momma to a basset hound along with my lab, Bella.  He has the biggest feet I've ever seen, yet somehow he makes less noise than Bella does.

Today I start running the teen program at East Club, and I'm finished with Reagan for good - all except for cleaning out my office.  But I don't have my new one at Ann Richards yet, so for now, everything can stay there because I don't want to bring it home and have it clutter my apartment.  The fun thing about East Club is that it's going to be all field trip based, so I'm taking the kids everywhere from the Urban Roots farm to Barton Springs to Caritas (went there last week with Reagan kids - very awesome) to career day at Old Navy to touring the Austin Film Studios.  Today is introductions day, though, and I hate those.  They make me anxious.  I'm going to post these pictures I like and try not to be anxious.

Dress: I can't remember the brand - but it's from the boutique Indigo in Little Rock.  I love orange.
Cardigan: Gap
Shoes: BCBG Girls
Locket: my grandma's
Bracelet: my great grandma's
Railroad car: Starlight Station in Killeen (it was packed Sunday night when I drove by on my way home to Austin!)

so while I was on here, Lennon dropped my sunglasses (he was being sweet and holding them) and stepped on them.  Then they looked like this:

and I also like to pretend I'm an airplane.  Maybe I'll do that now to relieve my first day jitters.

The spring flowers are all gone now and I miss them terribly.  But I'm watering a garden for the basset hound's mommy and daddy, and I get to eat all of the summer tomatoes and green beans out of it while they're gone - that may be better than flowers!

Matt Pond PA + Wintersleep

I really like Wintersleep, and after seeing them play with Matt Pond PA, I like that band too.  I wrote up this review for Venus Zine and took photos as well.  You can read that here.  Now go listen to "Mirror Matter," it's my favorite song!


Matt Pond PA:

It was the night of couples at the Mohawk.  I took creepy-spy pictures (that were really cute) of couples cuddling, dancing, dipping, and just being everywhere.  They are always everywhere when you're not one!  Even HEB - I vote they designate a singles shopping day, sort of like senior citizens discount day.

On soulmates:

"And please don't laugh at me now, but I think the reason it's so hard for me to get over this guy is because I seriously believed David was my soul mate."

"He probably was.  Your problem is you don't understand what that word means.  People think a soul mate is a perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants.  But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.  A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake.  But to live with a soul mate forever?  Nah.  Too painful.

Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave.  And thank God for it.  Your problem is, you just can't let this one go.  It's over, Groceries.  David's purpose was to shake you up, drive you out of that marriage that you needed to leave, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light could get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you had to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master and beat it.  That was his job, and he did great, but now it's over.  Problem is, you can't accept that this relationship had a real short shelf life.  You're like a dog at a dump, baby - you're just lickin at an empty tin can, trying to get more nutrition out of it.  And if you're not careful, that can's gonna get stuck on your snout forever and make your life miserable.  So drop it."

"But I love him."

"So love him."

My Computer is in the Hospital

Last night my computer contracted a nasty virus, so two scans and a few tears later, I took it the computer hospital that is the Best Buy Geek Squad.  Hopefully my laptop, and all the photos I've been trying to make time to post, will be all well by Wednesday.  Until then I'm on my work laptop, which of course doesn't have any of my image or writing documents on it.  But, at least it's a nice backup to have. 

Daniel Johnston at Mohawk

Saturday night I was really lucky to get to go see Daniel Johnston perform at the Mohawk.  I wish I knew more about him prior to seeing the show, other than that I think about him everytime I pass the sushi place on Guadalupe with his graffiti art on it, but my copy of The Devil and Daniel Johnston just came in from Netflix today. 

The entire patio was packed and breathing in water from sweat and humidity, sort of like standing in a giant, soggy sponge.  Good shows are always worth it, though.  I've never liked being completely front row, so the new-used zoom lens I got has been really helpful and handy.

One Feature + One Review

I got to interview country/blues/R&B singer Mary McBride for Venus Zine, and it was published last week.  It was my first phone interview and I was really nervous and also paranoid my cell phone would die or cut out.  After learning the hard way that New York time is not the same as Austin time, though, I got it sorted out.  Read the article I wrote here

Glen Hansard is still my favorite singing Irishman, but the Villagers were good and had the added benefit of sounding a little similar.  Although the lyrics were all dark and creepy - I seem to keep getting the creepy albums.  Wintersleep was dark, too, but every time I listen to their CD now I love it more and I saw them live Monday night - GREAT.  Once those photos get posted on Venus I'll post the set here.  Till then, you can read my Villagers album review, here!

Bike Theif Blues

My list of things-to-save-up-for just got longer - my bike was stolen today!  I knew I should have gotten a U-Lock, but they're expensive and I've used a chain lock for four years without issue, and the chain is so much easier to wrap around any random thing I find. 

So, my beloved Trek mountain bike that I got as a graduation present from my master's program is gone.  Thank goodness for renters insurance - for only $11 a month and four years of  price inflation - I'm basically getting the original cost of the bike back after my deductible.  I saw this Linus Mixte bike at The Peddler back when Lennon was buying his new bike, and have not-so-secretly wanted one ever since, so I've got my sights set on it.  It's more than what insurance is giving me, so I'll hold off on it for a bit, but now I know what my next major purchase will be. 

Until then, no more bike trips to HEB, the library, or joy rides around Hyde Park.  Very big frown face.  The jerk who stole it cut my chain off and left it on the ground beside the bike rack at my apartment.  I hope it breaks on him or her.  I feel like this is a huge induction into Austin - I'm a bike thief victim!  That makes me a full fledged citizen.

The Ever Living Ghost of What Once Was

I work in a high school, but not as a teacher anymore.  Last week after summer program ended for the day and all the custodians had left, I stayed after to take pictures with these blue lockers. 

I've spent most of my weekend cloistered away writing articles to earn money so I can pay for tires, travel to weddings in Missouri and Atlanta, and lots of other things that have nothing to do with purchasing the frivolous items on my wish list: new camera lens, record player, squishy head phones, (so I can write in a coffee shop when I get bored of my house - and ear buds are not made for comfort), and I haven't gone thrifting or traveled in a long time... practical purchases are no fun!  Maybe one day I'll give up non-profit work in exchange for a pay check.  Maybe.

These lockers are frivolous as well - the students aren't supposed to use them, although there are locks on a few and I found a backpack in one.  Most of the students here carry children's backpacks with super heroes on them and never seem to have books or a pencil.  I'm yet to understand this.  I'm also 100% in favor of e-text books, if such as thing has been invented yet.  You'd never accidentally take home your science book instead of your math book again!  (I did this in high school, a lot.  It was my legit excuse for not having my homework).

Dress: Forever 21 clearance ($7!)
Necklace: my grandmother's

I don't believe in ghosts, or at least I tell myself that.  I do believe in metaphorical ghosts.  Several years ago a teenage girl was murdered in this courtyard on a stairwell by her ex-boyfriend, so while schools are typically creepy when you're in them alone, this one has an added chill of being a past murder scene.  Not that I believe a teenage girl would want to stick around school post-mortem for any reason, but there's always something left behind by occurrences in a place, something barely perceptible.  And, no matter how much we move forward, people never fully shake off all our old ghosts, do we?

mewithoutyou at Emo's on June 15th

A while back, I bought a ticket to go see mewithoutyou at Emo's.  I thought it was poetically perfect for my first concert to see both single and by myself.  I wasn't on assignment for these photos, so I wanted to experiment taking pictures without a flash.  I set the camera to "raw" mode and upped my ISO, but raw ended up being a disaster when I got home because my computer couldn't read the files - I had to download a converter and the whole process took forever.  Anyway, these are the pictures I got.  It was hot and I didn't fight for space at the very very front, and I know that's a terrible thing to not do when wanting pictures, but Monday I'll be on assignment for Wintersleep and Matt Pond at Mohawk, so watch out for my elbow if you'll be there. 

Mewithoutyou put on one of the most fun live shows I've seen in a long time - possibly since Ludo in Little Rock.  After I'd squeezed out of the crowd to the cooler area to watch, they brought out trumpets and trombones and had a symphonic encore that I'm now slapping my own wrist for not photographing, (but by that point I also realized I'd broken my camera lens - so these are the last pictures from this lens you'll see for a long time).  I have mewithoutyou's most recent album and I like it but I don't love it.  After seeing them live I'm going to go back and acquire their discography.  So much energy on stage, (and sweat - with no complaints, unlike when I saw Modest Mouse live).  At one point, he knocked the microphone off the stand while playing guitar, so instead of stopping, he got down on the ground to play and continue singing prostrate. 

I've got my research cut out for me before Monday's concerts to work on my shots!  I can practice at Daniel Johnston tomorrow night. 

Keane's EP Night Train Review

I really like Keane.  I really, really do.  Ever since I first heard them playing in a boutique in a Spanish mall while studying abroad in Malaga.  I thought they were Coldplay, apparently a lot of people did.  When I found out they were NOT, in fact, Coldplay, I got a CD of theirs, and subsequently several others.  I like them.  But please explain to me the first track on this EP...? 

And I know it's personal preference, but I do not like hip hop interludes - sorry, Lennon.  I really liked three songs from this album, but that was it.  I hope they keep those three and move on from the rest.  The Rocky musical tribute was really too much.

Read my review at Venus Zine here.

Through the Thorns to the Stars

A facebook friend posted this, and out of incessant curiosity I started watching it.  Then I started laughing, then I started crying, then I laughed some more while simultaneously crying.  Carla Zilber-Smith was a writer/singer/actress/blogger I'd never heard of till now, and now I'm ticked about that.  I hope her family puts together a book from her writings.

"Live the s*** out of your life" - Mac, her 16 year old son writing out an abridged version of her guiding principle in life for her final blog post and eulogy.

Now I want to go out and work on worrying less and having more fun per the suggestions in the eulogy.  And I think Carla would tell me to start making googely eyes at whoever I want; being embarrassed is lame!

It also makes me think about what I would miss most, and what I would regret not doing.  I feel good right now, though, like I'm actively pursuing everything I want to be doing. I'm writing - a lot - even working on my poetry book that I'm putting together and editing, making plans and trusting I'll have fun, even if the plans are by myself, getting up early for runs, reading on my balcony, cooking healthy hippie food, and getting ready to start my job at the Ann Richards School for Girls - which I am BEYOND ecstatic about.  As long as I tell the voice in my head that worries about the growing old alone thing to shut up and shove it, I feel very, very good about where I am and where I'm going.  That's nice, (now if only the flowers I planted would sprout).

Black Eyed Susans

These photos were taken in Copperas Cove.  My missing head was not an attempt to be artsy... we can just leave it at that.  Need more practice.  In other news, I finally got my Austin library card - it's like I actually live here now!  That prompted me to spend three hours of my Saturday there, finding books on Dracula for me and books on poetry for the curriculum I'm writing for AISD over the summer for extra $, (I love writing curriculum, 100% serious - it may have been my favorite part of teaching).  I also got to be the creepy girl who sat in on children's hour to see Jungle Jim present his own creepy crawlies.  A scorpion fell off his shirt a foot in front of screaming six year olds.  HillARIOUS.  Ok, I screamed a little too.

I've also been having the best no-boys-allowed time with my step-sister, my co-worker, and friends from church.  Except I still make googely eyes at cute waiters who work at Spiderhouse and then feel like a jerk later because I knew better to lose a grip on my googely eyes, but whatever. 

My friend Alyssa and I have put ourselves on the waiting list for the no-skills-necessary Super Social Kickball Team league.  I really want to play, so if you know anyone who's taking up space on a team but is not excited about it, tell them to step off  and make room for us, please!  I have some serious non-coordination skills to contribute!  I'm also great at costumes.  And drinking a beer instead of doing anything.  (kidding... sort of). 

Shirt: from Blue Velvet Vintage in Austin
Skirt: from Buffalo Exchange
Belt: Francesca's, Little Rock branch
Necklace: hand made by my 10th grade sweetie and jewelry apprentice Christopher Wiken
Shoes: BCBG girls, a la four years ago

Little Time Capsules: London's Tube

These vintage film posters and advertisements were recently uncovered in a London Underground tube station at Notting Hill.  The passage is closed to the public, as it's been out of use since the late 1950's, but getting to look at the pictures is like seeing a little time capsule.

It's like a preserved graphics museum.  Although looking at images of this old subway station tunnel makes me think of Celia's watery ending from the movie Atonement... my step-sister Courtney is reading the book now, and has made me want to pick it up.  Or, at least re-rent it, if nothing else for the emerald dress.

Celia's final hours hiding from an air raid in a soon-to-be-flooded tube station.

Identity Crisis + Why My Mop Turns Me On

My blog has a bit of an identity crisis. Or at least according to search engines, it does. But I'm not going to let the mechanics of Google pigeon hole me! When I set out to write a blog, I wanted to incorporate everything that I like so I would enjoy writing it: that includes music, fashion, cooking, (although I've been a lame duck on that one), books, writing, poems... and sometimes the news, which I occasionally glance at.

I often wonder, like a kid in the corner of the cafeteria without many friends, if this blog would be more popular if I picked one genre and stuck with it - like just music stuffs, (although I'm usually the last to pick up on the "it" bands, so I'm not much of a taste maker, more someone who gets really excited and jumps up and down when I see or hear something I like, which is typically after everyone else has jumped ship), or just outfit photos, but doing just outfit photos is boring to me. Granted, I like looking at blogs that are just outfit photos, and I do have an expectation that clothes and fashion inspiration are what I see when I go to those sights, and I go to them because I like them, but it makes me realize that I give potential readers very little expectation when they arrive.  I like to think of this blog as sort of a grab bag of goodies.  (no baddies here!)

So, I can either make it a plan to make my blog popular by focusing my efforts on one genre, then doubling those efforts for more and better content, or I can keep puttering along posting all the things I get excited about.

Hey! Wait! That's my THEME! "Things Amanda Gets Excited About." Maybe I should just rename this blog?

Until then, here's an outfit picture:

and just to keep it eclectic, here's a video:

And if your name is Elizabeth my awesome coworker who brought me Sonic today, or Scott from Little Rock, you'll know why I posted this particular gem.

I also have to share this next video.  I'm going to spend a chunk of my Friday night cleaning, and if you want to know why, Sarah Haskins of Target Women will TELL YOU!  (oh no - feminist humour!  my blog is all over the place!).

I'm seduced by my cleaning products. Who needs men? (again thanks to Elizabeth for that video tip).

Ok, I'm finished feeling silly/procrastinating. My dish sponge awaits. oh-yeah.

Cee Lo Green: What Part of Forever

Ok, so you may be one of those Twilight haters, but I'm writing a CD review for the Eclipse soundtrack, and this song may just be my new favorite song of all time (for the moment).  It makes me smile.  And wiggle my feet under the table.

Addendum: my high school friend Lee just told me this song was written originally by Rob Kleiner, which is pretty damn cool, because he's in a band that several other of my high school friends have gone through, of which one guy is still in as the bassist - the band is Tub Ring, and if I get my wish, they'll tour through Austin in the near future.

Double addendum: really, copy right infringement?  You tube video sharing = free advertising. Get over yourselves, Time Warner.

Triple addendum: new video, maybe this one will stick.