Sunday, January 31, 2010

5K Training Update

I have been following the Couch to 5K running plan for the last few weeks. One of my big goals that seemed pretty out of reach in the past has been to actually run an entire 5K. I have a pretty decent 5K time walking and pushing the kids in a double jogging stroller, but I haven't run a 5K since my dad forced me to run one with him (and my sister) when I was about 12. I did win a 3rd place medal for my age group... because there were only three of us entered.

My original "get serious" goal was to run the Fall Frolic that the school sponsors every fall. But I decided that the time is NOW and set a goal to try to run the St Patrick's 5K in March. Couch to 5K is a plan to help new runners go from "the couch" (not running at all) to being able to run a 5K in about 8 weeks.

I started off pretty well. I actually skipped week 1 because I am in pretty good shape, just not a good runner, and week 1 didn't seem like much of a challenge. I did fine starting with week 2.  I found a free podcast on ITunes with Christian songs and cues for each week of the Cto5K plan. The music, however, was lame. It honestly sounded like a random guy with recording capability and a guitar singing his own songs. 

When I moved up to week 3, I decided I needed to get more serious about the cue podcast I was using. I really need music that motivates me.  Luckily, lots of people have successfully done Couch to 5K and lots of people create playlists with cues for each week.  I found one that I like and that works well for me, though I haven't recommended it to friends because some of the songs are the unedited (profanity laced) versions.  Pretty cool that I don't have to bother with keeping track of the time between when I start to run and am ready to stop.  I would have a hard time if I had to literally count down the seconds until I got to be finished running. 

This weekend I was supposed to start week 4. Because the time involved is only 8 weeks, there are a few times where you really jump up quite a bit in the amount of running you are doing. Going from week 3 to week 4 is one of those places. Last week, while running week 3, I felt pretty good. For the first time in... forever?... I was feeling like being ready to run a 5K in March, let alone this year, is actually possible. I was feeling that I can do it.

And now, a problem. I am having serious trouble with my feet and ankles. I'm sure it's form related, in addition to the newness of running. Doesn't help that I have pins in one kneecap, very high arches and historically weak ankles. I was taped daily for 3 years in college in order to work out, practice and play softball. Why it didn't occur to me that this would happen is beyond me. So, I'm in "athlete mode" now. I've hit the store for athletic supplies that "remind me of my youth" -- Mineral Ice, anyone?

Now my motivation is lacking. Or at least the positive mindset is faltering. I have found that if I take more than 2 days between runs, it is really hard to keep up with the progression of the Couch to 5K. I haven't successfully run now since Thursday, which means that more than likely I will have to restart week 3 again (or maybe even week 2) when I am able to run again.  In the meantime, I keep making attempts. I do my stretching and warm up walking and make it through about a minute of running, feeling like I'm running with concrete legs and feet, before the pain is enough that I have to stop. And once again my goal of running an entire 5K seems so far away.

My plan is to take this entire week off from running attempts. Hopefully at least with that time off I will feel more comfortable overall, if not when I start trying to run again. I will probably register this week for the St Pat's 5K and, if it comes to it, I'll be prepared to walk/jog it. It'll still be progress towards the goal.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Facebook Conclusion? Lessons Learned...

Today was day 2 of my "email Facebook daily asking for my account to be reinstated" plan. And this afternoon I convinced my husband to start a Facebook group called "Reinstate Amanda ______ _________'s Facebook Page!" in order to try to gather support for my cause. Astonishingly, Eric's little group, sort of a joke, had 30 members only a few hours later, some of whom are people who don't even know me! It was silly, but it made me feel loved.

So, maybe the mental energy worked because... I'm back on Facebook! I hestitantly logged on and am sure that at least a day or two will pass before I lose the fear that my every keystroke is being monitored somewhere in the world by a person planning to steal my identity.

To conclude my series of blogs about my Facebook adventure, here are a few things I've learned over the past few days:

1) Apparently Facebook has a bad reputation for disabling accounts without any explanation, and some of the time those accounts are never reestablished. Something to keep in mind when you start thinking of Facebook as an eternal keeper of photographs, memories, email addresses or important correspondence.

2) Facebook *may* bend to peer pressure. All I know is that I sent 2 emails yesterday and 1 today and have a tiny group of vocal supporters on Facebook and I am back, while a google search using the words "facebook", "account" and "disabled" shows many many cases that didn't resolve nearly as quickly. Just sayin'...

3) For a "big" social networking site, there are some pretty stupid problems they have that are readily apparent to an outsider. The first being the lack of even a standard email indicating they are taking action related to an account. The second, which I just learned, is this (and I'm kind of shocked by this one): Once you set up a security question and answer on Facebook, you can't change your question or the answer! Seems strange. I hurredly created a security question post-hack and, in fact, the answer I created for the question isn't even factually correct - luckily I remember what I picked as my answer! - and now that I have access to my account again, I thought I would again change my password and security question just to be safe. And I just read in the "help" section (again, not so helpful) that if a security question is established, it can't be changed.

4) View your Facebook page from the eye of a thief. Example: If your security question is "What is your mother's maiden name?" it isn't a good idea to have your mother's facebook page that includes her maiden name linked to your account under "relationships". Also not a good idea to make public your entire birthdate with year.  I have already gone through and weeded out info that may be used by a hacker to access other sources. 

Alright, time to let go of this Facebook stress for the night! Goodnight everybody!

Friday, January 29, 2010

I've been disabled by Facebook, but not while in London

Yesterday I blogged the story of the hacking of my Facebook account.  Someone used my account to ask for money (it went something like "Oh, poor me, I'm in London and I've been mugged. Send me money."). I thought it was all taken care of this morning, but early this afternoon my facebook account was disabled. Supposedly that is a result of the hacking and is some official measure they take while they investigate the security breech. At this point, I have no idea. The end result is that I don't have access to facebook anymore and my account doesn't currently exist. I have no way of knowing when, or if, I will have access to my account again.

I've been doing some websearching, in an effort to figure out if I will actually get my facebook page back eventually and have found that being disabled by Facebook is fairly common. And apparently it always happens without any kind of notification or warning. Doesn't that seem like a pretty major failing of such a large social networking site? What if I wasn't online at all yesterday and I didn't realize that my account was hacked? I would have attempted to log in today, found my account disabled and had no idea why. As it is, I received no response at all to the email I sent the "support" team, following a link in the barely-helpful-enough-to-escape-being-not-helpful "help" page. I continue to wonder if I will get my page back.  Or maybe it will be a couple of weeks, in which time I will realize that Facebook isn't worth it anyway...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Getting hacked on Facebook

I spent the morning in Stay At Home Mom world. Bubba was at preschool and I was home with Little Man, then we headed back to school to help out another mom get fundraising packets set up. Home for lunch. Not a very exciting morning. 

Just after lunch my phone rang - my friend, Korina... "Hey Amanda, I thought you'd want to know that it looks like your Facebook got hacked. Unless you were just robbed in London, of course."

I had seen "spam" posted on pages through hacked facebook accounts. You know, where a friend posts on your wall something like "Check out my new website! ___________" and then it's a link for an obviously fraudulent site? And then the person gets embarassed a few hours later when they discover it and apologize profusely and I laugh a little to myself.

So I logged on to Facebook and, as I did, my phone rings again. My dad, calling from work on the other side of the country. Frantic, because my uncle just received an instant message from me on Facebook saying that Eric and I had been robbed, I'd been hit over the head, Eric's ankle was broken and... we need money right now. I assured him everything was ok and apologized that he was worried, and he didn't seem to believe that I am actually fine. Dad, I am fine!

Stranger than strange, I logged on to my Facebook page (and was, frankly, surprised that when someone hacks into your account they don't change your password so that it takes longer to correct things) and saw open instant message windows of some of my friends chatting with "me". And, there it was! I watched as "I" recounted the story of my mugging and how I became stranded and... how I need money right now... to two different facebook "friends" I haven't talked to in "real life" in about 10 years. 

I immediately set to work changing my password and security info and, in the meantime, tried to post a status update warning people to steer clear of "me" for awhile. That status update, along with my most recent real statue update - about considering going to Haiti this summer to help with rebuilding - were immediately erased. Almost as fast as it posted, it was gone.

Password changed, security info changed, the next attempt to post a status warning stuck. So hopefully now no one else is being contacted by "me" asking for money.  And hopefully no one actually sent the fake me money. Unfortunately for the hacker, I don't actually know many people with money to send people in an emergency! Lutheran school teachers, stay at home moms, missionaries and assorted social services workers are not exactly prime targets for money scams.

I'm not in the process of trying to figure out what other damage has been done to my facebook account. So far I know:

* At least 4 people were contacted via IM and told a story about me being mugged/robbed in London, Eric and I being injured, and needing money to get back "home"
* The 2 people who I know caught on to the scam were "unfriended" by "me" and I can no longer find them via a friend search to re-add them as friends. I don't know how many friends I had before, so I don't know if other people were "unfriended" or not.
* The link to this wonderful blog was erased from my profile page. Hackers? Are you reading this? Do you have something against my blog?
* My "thinking about Haitian missions" and "my house is full of crazy" status updates from the last couple of days are gone. Thank goodness they left "Sleep Talkin' Man"!

Anyway, that's all for now. As my dad said on the phone, "The strangest things seem to happen to you!" Definitely true. And, as always, it could have been much worse.

Edited to add: In case anyone else has this happen to them, I found my two unfriended friends on my "blocked user" list. After "unblocking" them, I had to re-request their friendship, but otherwise that was pretty easy to resolve.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A witness to God's love

My heart has been very heavy for the people of Haiti since the massive earthquake that happened there about two weeks ago. Having young children, I am especially touched by the plight of the country's many orphans and adoptive families who are in other countries and have had to struggle to find their children, whom they were waiting to pick up and bring home at the time of the earthquake.  I have been following the public information provided by God's Littlest Angels, a Christian orphanage and school operating in Petion-Ville, south of Port-au-Prince.  GLA has recently been profiled on the national news because the US and Canada has finally issued humanitarian parole visas for the dozens of children who were already adopted but awaiting paperwork in order to be picked up from Haiti and taken to their new homes. 

Isn't it funny the way God's timing works? This weekend, we had friends come for a visit from the town where we used to live.  They recently brought home their two sons from Ethiopia.  This was our first chance to meet the boys.  The visit was scheduled just prior to the Haitian earthquake and was really an "info gathering" mission.  Other friends of ours who live here adopted children through the same agency a couple of years ago and were the ones who helped get our visiting friends started with the process. And the older children living here still remember Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia and the language spoken by the boys. 

We definitely looked forward to the visit from our old friends and seeing their two children that we have watched grow into teenagers.  And, of course, we were excited to meet the two boys.  But, even more so, this weekend was a gift to me and I really felt God's blessing as I prepared for our friends' visit.  Difficult to explain.  In some ways, our friends weren't really here to see us. The important part of the trip was for our friend's 8 year old boy to meet the Ethiopian children of our friends living here, to speak Amharic, to see a family that looked like his new one does, and to communicate without the stress of a new language.  Our friends got to ask their son some important questions with the help of a teenage "interpreter".  I wasn't a part of those conversations, but I sensed some necessary emotion and healing happened. And, what a blessing to be able to provide food and a place to land while that important "work" took place! What an amazing experience to see this family interact with each other in such an early stage, and to see their love for one another already!

I was brought to tears this morning when our friend told my husband (via facebook, of course!) that he felt like now that they made this trip to Kennewick he feels for the first time like they are actually "home" from Ethiopia. I cannot express my joy at being used by God to help facilitate that, even if it was only by making skillet potatoes and eggs!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mopping with DJ Casper

One of the things on my "To Do" list today was to mop my floor. I was not feeling it today. At all. I decided to start doing other things on my list and, in the meantime, turned on my IPod for background music.  When I ran out of things to do other than mop, I cleared everything out and swept the floor. Nothing unusual, just very boring and not at all what I want to do on a day that screams "Get into comfy clothes and bundle up under blankets on the couch and watch 'You've Got Mail'". 

No joke, as soon as I started mopping, the Cha Cha Slide by DJ Casper started playing on my IPod!

And there I went, "sliding to the left" and "sliding to the right" as I mopped the floor. It actually made the whole experience enjoyable! I will most assuredly be Cha Cha Sliding my way through floor mopping in the future. A warning to those that might try it: it does take a little longer to mop when you do it this way. It's sort of hard to mop and also pull off "Hands on your knees! Hands on your knees!"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

On Birth

Where to begin?

The beginning... I am a mom, which means that I have been a pregnant woman. Twice, actually. During my first pregnancy, Eric and I were a pretty average American pregnant couple. I saw an OBGYN,  took Lamaze at the hospital where I planned to give birth, took prenatal water aerobics classes once a week, and had a vague sense that I wanted to attempt to have my baby without pain medicine but an ingrained fear of what kind of pain that might mean having to bear. I had a very healthy pregnancy - some problems with sciatic nerve pain in my hip, and an "irritable uterus" after being in a car accident at 30 weeks. I happily registered for gifts and had multiple baby showers. I "went with the flow" and didn't question much.

My daughter was born via c-section at almost 41 weeks when I went in for a standard "past due date" ultrasound and non-stress test and they discovered she was breech. Not a single contraction. Time from when we discovered she was breech to the time she was born: about 3 hours.

Honestly, just like I had a routine pregnancy, I had a routine c-section. Some itching from the meds, but no trouble breastfeeding, healed quickly, L did well. We were home in the standard 3 days. I remember waiting to go in to the OR to be prepped and telling the nurse and my mom, "What happens after this? I didn't read anything about c-sections while I was pregnant!" My first post-delivery gift was a book about c-section recovery from my mom.

I've learned in the almost 4 years since then that my story is becoming the "standard American pregnancy" story. Pregnant women do not, in general, educate themselves about c-sections -- the recovery, the reasons a c-section might happen or, most importantly, the things we can do to avoid one. I do not believe all c-sections are unavoidable, by the way, but I think MANY are.

Yesterday on Facebook I posted this article about increasing c-section rates.  I actually thought twice about posting it because I didn't want to offend anyone.  Women are as defensive about their c-sections as they are about their parenting decisions. And, despite common stats that put the US c-section rate at 30-35%, a quick mental check of my friends who have had kids within the last 5 years puts the percentage of women I know who have had a c-section at closer to 75%. No kidding.

The sad thing about c-sections that is not mentioned in research based articles, is that often women who have c-sections really regret their birth experience, especially if they later find out their c-section was not medically necessary or they or their child suffer from one of many possible c-section related complications.  I felt regret  about mine, and my experience (missed frank breech presentation) is one that is typically placed in the "medically necessary" category (though I now disagree).  Eric and I missed the chance to experience childbirth together with him as my partner. Instead my daughter was born while my arms were strapped to an operating table and Eric was peering over a curtain at my exposed body organs.

In my case, and in the case of many other women I know who had c-sections, it becomes a case of "If I only knew then..." After my daughter was born, Eric and I immediately knew we wanted to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). We spent my second pregnancy researching VBACs, natural childbirth, ways to reduce likelihood of a c-section, ways to avoid medical interventions during labor, etc.  Both Eric and I became very passionate and pretty knowledgable about those kinds of things. And the funny thing is that we experienced a surprising amount of negative response from friends who could not understand why I wasn't "ok" with my c-section and/or why I didn't "just do what my doctor tells me" and have a repeat c-section.  Um... because it's healthier for me and baby to have a natural birth?

It's a controversial topic, one written about more eloquently by others. I just wish that more women were educated about the facts related to c-sections and birth while they still have options to get to that birth experience they want for themselves. Instead, in our culture, it does usually end up as an "If I only knew then..."

Friday, January 8, 2010

Lovin' Fresh Friday

I'm not very good at using coupons at the store, but I do like a good sale! Today I say HOORAY! for Yoke's Fresh Friday!

I got all of this...

for only...

That's right! $10.06!! 2 gallons of milk, 8 good sized bananas and 3 boxes of organic cereal!

I'll say it again, HOORAY! I love you Yoke's Fresh Friday!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Dusting your hutch is NOT a workout!

Today I have a little rant about a pet peeve of mine.  Those of you who do not live in Stay at Home Mom World may not be familiar with this phenomenon, but I think any SAH's reading this will relate. You either DO this, or it drives you as crazy as it drives me. (If any of my friends are reading this and do what I am about to describe, know that you personally do not drive me crazy, but I do think you're in a little bit of denial!)

Here we go... I can not stand it when people...

count cleaning the house as a workout!

I used to be on a discussion board for new moms trying to lose weight after baby. In that group, as some people do in "real life", we set goals for working out. Either days of the week ("I'm going to work out 3 days this week") or minutes ("I'm going to work out for 120 minutes this week"). Often "regular" people do this too. It's pretty common for people to set a schedule to go to the gym or run or whatever 3-5 days a week. Or, for stay at home moms, even once a week is sometimes a victory!

I think that is why it's so easy for the moms to enter into this crazyland of denial where everyday tasks suddenly count towards health related goals.

It is true. I have actually read workout posts from women that consist solely of info like the following:

"For today's workout I dusted my entire house and also vacuumed."

Seriously? All I can think is, "Man, that lady must have a gigantic house!"

I know I shouldn't care - it doesn't hurt me if random mom thinks she's done 20 minutes of cardio because she mopped her floor - but as someone who actually DOES work out, it does offend me a little bit. And it scares me that there are actually people out there who really think they are exercising simply by existing in their everyday world.

I live in a 2 story house and have walked up and down my stairs about 10 times in the 7 hours I've been awake today. Count 10 minutes of cardio for me!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Goals for 2010

I'm about a week late here, but I have been thinking about some goals I have for 2010. Not "resolutions", more like things I'd like to do or work on for this year without the "fail" if some of these things don't happen, or don't happen as often as I would like.

1) Increase my focus on being "healthy and strong"

Eric and I often talk to L about being 'healthy and strong'. Better than talking about not eating junk food because of the chance of getting fat, we talk about how eating nutritious foods help us become healthy and strong. And how our minds can also be healthy and strong. So now it's my turn too. Instead of worrying about my weight or what size pants I'm wearing, if I'm "cheating" by eating a cookie, I'm going to try to spend this year focusing on making choices that make me feel better. I'm continuing to struggle with that distinction when it comes to cutting out sugar and refined flours (doctor prescribed nutrition plan) - I still feel like I'm "dieting" which automatically puts me in a mindset where I think about cheating or sneaking foods I shouldn't be eating, which leads to me eating those things, which leads to increased symptoms of yuckiness (joint pain, tiredness, etc.)
As I recently posted, I'm starting a new workout program, which I think will be good because it is in no way supportive of losing weight and being thin, but instead focuses on strength, flexibility, balance, agility, etc. All good things that will help me be a better mom too!

2) Cut back on tv & movies

I'm planning to make it a goal that at least one weeknight a week, Eric and I spend time actually engaging with each other instead of lounging in front of the tv, reading books, or spending time brainlessly on the computer. Talking, playing a game, doing a puzzle, whatever. Just some time for us to be together while we actually are, in fact, together!

3) Add some adventure

We don't really have the budget for serious adventure, but I want to try to do at least one thing a month as a family or just me and the kids that I would consider adventure. Things outside of the norm of our every day life. So maybe it'll be a day trip to someplace new or spending a few days building vegetable garden beds while the kids "help". Whatever it is, it'll be family time spent doing something new and exciting!

4) Put some money into savings

I'm the family budgeter and also am the one who spends a majority of our flexible funds each month on groceries, cleaning supplies and other necessities. One of the goals for this year is to move from "just getting by month to month" to actually being able to stash a little bit away at the end of each month. Or, simply writing those end of the month bill checks without feeling like I want to puke would suffice!

5) Become an intentional friend

I'm six months in to being brand new to this area and have started meeting and making some friends. Friend making is a weakness of mine (as in, I'm not good at it). I'm hard to get to know, and I know it, which makes me uncomfortable around new(er) people because I worry they are struggling to understand the puzzle that is my unique brain.  But, enough of the excuses!
Isn't it wonderful to have intentional friends? You know, the ones who actually reach out and ask how you are doing? Who think of you at random times and say a prayer for you, or bring you a book or plate of brownies because they thought you might need/want them?
I am going to be one of those friends this year, not only to hopefully get to know my new friends here better, but also to reconnect with some old friends who I've lost touch with.

6) Read more good books

This one is actually a carry-over from 2009, but it's my blog so I set the rules! My mommy brain has really seemed to benefit from reading good books as often as possible. Well written books, books on topics that I find interesting, books that "everyone" is talking about. I love to read and, most of the time, reading is also a good way for me to wind down before bed. (A recent exception being The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad, which caused me to have really weird dreams three nights in a row that were loosely related to the book.) I plan to keep up with the good habit this year.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pride in being a Puppy

Before we moved here, I found a pretty nice weight lifting class at our gym that was tough, but not too tough, and made me feel like I was actually building muscle. I was sad to see it go when we moved out of state in late June 2009. Our new gym is a no frills, open 24 hours weight lifting and cardio club. No classes, minimal trainer interaction, but affordable and near our home. Since we joined, I've been doing cardio workouts there but have been missing the weight training.

Since I know the instructor of the weight lifting class I was taking sometimes stole workouts from Men's Health magazine, I decided to look in my free Shape magazines for workouts I could use when I go to the gym.

I was reading an interview with some buff trainer (or celebrity, I don't remember) who mentioned CrossFit being a challenging workout with lots of variability.  I spent a couple of days checking it out and have decided to go for it!

In short, every day I'll be checking in for the Workout of the Day (WoD) which will no doubt be impossibly hard as it is geared towards adventure racers, marines, police and firefighters and extreme athletes. Luckily, they also scale down the workouts multiple times for "The Pack" (most people who have been doing WoDs for awhile) and "Puppies" (newcomers to CrossFit). I also recently discovered that pregnant athletes/maries/police/etc. and children are also Puppies. So, I guess I'm in good company!

Each workout of the day seems too simplistic when you look at it on paper, but then when you do them, they are really difficult. Full body workouts, varied daily, mixed in with varied cardio. I'm supposed to record not only the weights used, but also the time it takes to complete. Speed increases the cardio benefits and also shows an improvement in how much rest time is needed.

Yesterday for my very first WoD my Puppy-scaled workout was three sets of: 20 assisted pull up, 20 assisted dips, 25 squats for time. I ended up weighting the pull up/dip machine so that I was working against about 70lbs. Pretty lame. And even with that, I couldn't do all 20 in any set without failure. But, then again, when was the last time I did pull ups or dips? The goal is then to work towards eventually being able to do pull ups unassisted and then to move on to the real CrossFit unscaled exercise: Muscle Ups. (By the way, in watching CrossFit exercise demonstration videos, there is a remarkable consistency in the "hardcore rock"-ness of the accompanying music. I think maybe I need some Korn on my IPod before I can do an unassisted pull up!)

So, I did my sets yesterday, got remarkable sweaty considering I was only actually working out for 15-20 minutes and now today I am sore all over! Luckily they build some rest days into the program, because after tonight's WoD -- 5 rounds of: 400m sprint for time, 15 sit ups, 15 hip extensions -- I'm not sure I'm going to be able to move tomorrow!

The end goal? Keep myself interested in working out by changing up the exercises every day. Feel the day after soreness that comes from a good workout. Increase my muscle tone and self confidence. Impress my kids with my huge biceps!

Monday, January 4, 2010

On Fabulousness and Lack of Privacy

Back to school time for Eric means back to blogging for me! I'm entering 2010 feeling pretty good -- those vitamin D suppliments must be working their magic...

This morning I got a glimpse of what life might be like for celebrities.  The kids were busy eating breakfast so I decided I could spare a moment to go to the bathroom all by myself (a rare treat for a mom with 2 toddlers). The next thing I know, the door flies open and my 3 year old daughter is taking my picture with our digital camera! Talk about invasion of privacy!

On a similar "celebrity related" note, I was thinking this morning about some of the people I know who are, at least in my mind, "fabulous". You probably know people like this, if not in real life, then from television. Women who are in shape, fashionable, and always seem put together. We used to live in a town with many more of these people - Eric and I still call them "Bend Moms" for this reason. I think it's much harder to be "fabulous" when you are a mom than if you are, say, a young single woman with a well paying job and living in a trendy location.

Anyway, this morning I was thinking about those fabulous people and, in particular, fabulous moms. I admire the "put together-ness", not necessarily the "fashionable-ness", though my interest in that is probably only lessened because I am so hopeless in that area. I was wondering to myself, "How do these women BECOME fabulous?"

Is it magazines? I've been treated to a handful of free Shape magazines lately (long story) and wonder if I read more magazines whether I would suddenly have fuller, shinier hair and a desire for trendy high heeled, pointy toed shoes.

I really don't know the answer. How do people learn what is fashionable?

I realized, in thinking about this, that there is a major barrier to my attaining fabulousness, which is that I don't really care that much. I don't care enough to spend time every morning flat ironing my hair and applying a level of makeup that is actually discernable to passersby. The best I can hope for is an outfit that fits, without stains, and a little bit of mascara. Luckily, my husband and children seem to like me this way!