Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve

When I was still young enough to have no doubts that Santa was real, on Christmas Eve I was awoken by Mom. I was confused because those were the days when all of us kids would congregate in one of our bedrooms and watch the clock until it turned 6:00 and we could wake Mom and Dad up. We didn't know that 6:00 came after 5:59, just that when it said 6:00 that was the time that we could start opening presents. It was long hours waiting and wondering if the next minute would show 6:00.

Santa was a big part of our lives, bringing gifts to Baby Jesus in the Nativity scene, coming to Grandpa's a little early before he started his trek across the rest of the world, and posing for pictures in the parking lot at the mall, just for Sam.

So when Mom woke me up, I wasn't sure what was happening. She left me a letter to read with the terrible news: There was no Santa. The letter actually said he was real, in spirit, but I knew that didn't mean anything. I was shocked. After I read the letter twice, I ventured out of my room. Mom and Dad showed me what they had been doing every Christmas Eve since I was a baby. They were filling stockings up with candy and other goodies, and bringing out the big toys, the ones from "Santa." I helped in bewilderment until it was time for them to roll out my present. They told me to go back to bed and get some sleep. That was the first Christmas I remember not gathering the kids together to watch the clock. I couldn't bear to watch them wondering if Santa had come, or what he would bring them. Believing.

But when the next morning came, JD and Karen were so excited, seeing that Santa had eaten some of the cookies and milk we had left, and Rudolf had nibbled on the carrot. There was the same note that we would see each morning for the rest of our lives. A smiley face with a Santa hat that looked so much like Mom's signature smiley face. The other kids were so happy with the magic of Santa coming down our chimney and bringing them gifts and filling their stockings before he moved on to the next house. I had been part of it, and I was excited, too.

That was the year Christmas became about giving gifts to each other, and not about getting, and now my favorite part of Christmas is finding the perfect gift that immediately reminds me of the person I got it for, wrapping it, and watching them open it.

Now all the kids know about Santa, but he still brings us gifts that we aren't allowed to see until Mom and Dad are awake. The last few Christmases I spent at home, Mom and Dad were waking me, pulling me out of bed to see what Santa had brought. When I texted my mom to let her know that I couldn't have any candy in my stocking this year, she texted me, "Better tell Santa." I knew she would.

I'm 29 this year, heading into my thirties, but part of me still wonders how he always knows what to bring me that will bring me a little happiness and magic. I guess I still believe a little, and I'm always sure to put out my fire on Christmas Eve before I go to bed. Just in case.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

You circumnavigate, girl!

Watson on her awesome pink yaht, aptly named "The Pink Lady."

Jessica Watson left from her home country of Australia today on a quest - to become the youngest person to sail solo and unassisted around the globe. She seems to be the first female teen to attempt the feat, and whether completed with assistance or not, would beat Zac Sunderland at being the youngest person to make the trip. Sunderland and Briton Mike Perham, both 17, completed the trip this summer during seperate months "assisted," meaning they had to get outside help fixing their boats during their attempts.

"The first leg of Watson's journey will take her past northern New Zealand, then Fiji and Samoa. In a trip expected to last about eight months, she plans to pass around the southern tips of Africa and South America," according to the Associated Press.

Let the criticisms fly.

Andrew Cape, navigator of PUMA Ocean Racing, second place winner of the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race, stated in a letter he wrote to Watson, "I do not want to shatter your dreams but to undertake such a voyage requires more experience than you currently have. Obviously you have to start somewhere to gain experience but to head straight into the Southern Ocean on your own is foolish."

Cape also said that he thinks Watson has a 33 percent chance of having a successful voyage, 33 percent chance of damage to her boat or crew, and 33 percent chance of losing her boat or crew.

Karen Brooks of The Punch writes that Jessica's attempt is merely a grab at the 15 minutes of fame; a foolish decision that doesn't need to be made in order for her to enter adulthood.

"If she breaks the record, will we then approve 15, 14 and 13 year olds making the journey for the same reasons? To fulfill their dreams? To make history?" Brooks says.

In fact, 13 year-old Laura Dekker's dreams of attempting the same trip have been suspended, thanks to a Dutch court. On the topic, NPR's Frank James writes, "We can predict there'd be a 12-year old next and after that maybe a 10-year old. There could even be a seven year old eventually, like Jessica Dubroff, the girl who wanted to be the youngest to fly across the country and wound up dying in a plane crash with her father and flight instructor.

Megan's two cents:

As long as there's no pageant-mom reason for Jessica's attempt, I say live it up, girl. Live your dreams.

Despite all the controversy,

Jessica, the Awesome Amigas salute you!!


A tour of the Pink Lady with Jess

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mancession and fatties on the runway

Mancession - as annoying as a Staycation

To go along with Andrea's post on The Superior Wife Syndrome, the current recession crisis has created a new word combination, or wombo - "mancession."

In an article by Kim Peterson on MSN's MoneyBlog, she describes how more men have lost their jobs in this recession than women. This is due to most of the layoffs being in the manufacturing and construction fields, while women work in more secure fields, such as healthcare and education. However, women may get the short end of the stick, in that they make less money, are more likely to work less hours or are working part-time positions without benefits.

Case in point, me. I work two part-time retail jobs without benefits. I also relocated to southern California and am living with Lisa for free in order to make more money. The Central Valley is not the place to be if you are looking for a full-time job in fields outside of healthcare, education or tomato truck driver.

Fatties on the runway at London Fashion Week

According to an article in UK's The Telegraph, "Mark Fast’s decision to use larger models at London Fashion Week provoked a row between his management team and caused one stylist to walk out" on September 21st.

Photo by Jane Mingay, The Telegraph

Here's what happened:

Designer Mark Fast decided to use three plus-size models - a size 12, size 14, and size 12/14, whatever that means - on the runway to challenge the idea that only skinny women could wear his dresses.

This decision led to a "team change" (p.c. way to say they fired a team member/had someone quit) in order to make the dream happen.

"We wanted women to know they don’t have to be a size zero to wear a Mark Fast dress," Amanda May, Fast's managing director, said. "Curvier women can look even better in one.”

Fast found one of his models, Hayley Morley, at All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, a runway show which features models ages 18 to 65, from sizes 8 to 16.

Megan's Two Cents:

Kudos to Fast! But sadly, my first thought after seeing the photo of the model in grey was, "She's fat!" And I'm a fat girl saying this. Isn't that awful? I think it's because the dress shows off the worst parts of a plus-size woman - our underarm jobbies, or "wiggly bits," as a British lady would say.

Now, my second thought - when will the runway world show a size 20 (which I am)? Or, heaven forbid, 22?

This is the closest we've got so far:

(warning: partially-nude women at this link)

Lane Bryant Models Start a Body Image Revolution

These Bodies are Beautiful at Every Size - Glamour Magazine

Monday, September 28, 2009

Micro-Managing Marriage

According to the October 2009 issue of Redbook, there is a phenomenon that has most likely always existed, but now a name has been coined. Social psychologist, Carin Rubenstein wrote the book called The Superior Wife Syndrome.

I believe in this syndrome, but not necessarily in the way which Rubenstein reported, “Wives run the show while their husbands sit back and take it easy. Women are the CEOs of their households, and their husbands are more like employees.”

What show? And under what circumstances? One, I would never consider myself to be running the show over on Adoline Ave., but I certainly saw my mother run a 7-bedroom house full of six children, most at different schools, with different extra-curricular activities, one of whom had severe disabilities, and still manage to make an after-school snack and dinner at 6, with all eight of us sitting around the table, whether we liked it or not.

However, having been married, I no longer consider my father to have been sitting back and taking it easy. It was difficult to see at the time, since my life consisted only of me in my eyes, I went to school, I came home, and then my father came home and turned on the game, or read the newspaper. Whether or not he actually did these things, I cannot be sure, because, as a teenager, I had little use for either one of my parents, failing to realize they were the ones keeping me alive by feeding me and providing a car, gas, shelter, and other teenage necessities.

But what about life outside me, me, me? My father went to work every day, for some years commuting a couple hours a day. He made good money, and worked hard, and provided a very good life for me and my siblings.

So back to Superior Wife Syndrome. Unfortunately I have run in circles where the wife, or more often, the Baby Momma, supported a lazy, uninterested-in-work, drug abuser. So the significant other runs around taking care of the kids, cleaning, trying to support the household while the husband would “sit back and take it easy.” These are not the readers of Rebdook, and not the households this article is referring to.

So who are these lucky men? They’re not men like my father who worked 40+ hours a week to support a family of 8, and they’re not really the Baby Daddy either. Well, the gist of the article is not an argument for whether or not this pattern exists. It was more unoriginal, about how this can build resentment in both partners, how it affects relationships, and how to break the disorder.

Certainly the media, and by media, I really mean television (Everybody Loves Raymond, Desperate Housewives, even Family Guy) has portrayed men as too incompetent to help out around the house. I won’t lie; I think my dad played that card, too, sometimes. But in reality, is it really men’s incompetence or the unwillingness of the women in the house to let the men do some things?

An example: As a young child, I had chores. I thought it was very important for me to do my chores, or the bathroom would not be clean, the floor would remain covered in crumbs from the boys eating popcorn in front of the TV, or we would have no clean dishes. But when I say I was a young child, I mean it. Like, four years old. How good is a four-year-old at cleaning the bathroom? The point was not to help the house get clean; it was to teach me the importance of housework, to learn how to clean, and to feel that I was helping out the every-expanding family. I was a part of the home.

A quote from the Redbook article by a woman who we shall call only Mrs. New Jersey for the purposes of this blog stated: “If my husband was in charge, our living room would have stadium seating, our TV would be sitting on beer boxes, and all dinners would consist of something wrapped in bacon!”

First of all, I would love for all of my dinners to be wrapped in bacon. But second of all, so what? By not giving our husbands a share of the responsibility of the home where we spend so much of our lives, we are taking away the little (or large) pieces of himself that we love so much that we wanted to share our home with him. I’m not saying go back to the bachelor pad of his single days, but build a home with the responsibilities together.

I think Mrs. New Jersey may be underestimating her husband, but even if she’s not, can she give up a little responsibility and let him run with it? She wouldn’t be the first one to have a television set on beer boxes, or stadium seating, although I think that’s an exaggeration. Maybe if she would include him in setting up their home, he would surprise her. Maybe she can give him some space to do his own thing, and would it be so bad if he set the den up like a movie theater? Or even mounted deer heads on the wall, decorated with foam fingers, or other stereotypical “guy” stuff?

The other point I want to make is, is Mr. New Jersey really sitting back and taking it easy? Or is he working 40+ hours a week helping to support her life style of non-beer-box television sets?

I am a firm believer in marriage being a partnership. At 28, I won’t pretend to be a marriage expert, but I have seen successful marriages and unsuccessful ones. I think I have a pretty good handle on some of the important pieces of a successful marriage, and some of the detrimental characteristics of an unsuccessful marriage.

My husband and I both work full time. I also go to school full time and he has a lot of social responsibilities aside from his job. We are very busy, and we split the mandatory responsibility and the joy of having a home together. We both cook, we both clean (him more than me, I admit), and we contribute to the household budget. I wouldn’t want him micro-managing our home and I wouldn’t want to do it myself. I also wouldn’t sit back and take it easy if he did all the work, because I would still be working full-time, going to school full-time, and spending time with my friends and family. I want to be part of our home, and I want my husband to be part of our home.


Yorio, Nicole. (2009, October Day). Are you a wife-in-chief? Rebook, p. 102-105.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wearing your president

Making political statements on the red carpet has never gone out of style.
This one, though, was considered the worst fashion choice at the Emmy's, held September 21st.

The girl?
Victoria Rowell, daytime soap opera star.
The dress?
Made by an unidentified designer (Heck, Rowell may have sewed it herself) of a fabric available on, commemorating President Obama's visit to Ghana this past July.

And now, the inevitable question(s):
Why did she wear that to the Emmy's?
When asked who the designer of the dress was, Rowell told reporters, "a statement," smiling as she explained her support for Obama's health care reform plan. As a foster child who watched her mother struggle to get her children approved for health care, Rowell represents one of 25,000 youth who emancipate from the system annually without health care coverage.
Was it appropriate for the event?
Critics disapproved, but what do they know? They tell us not to watch certain movies that become cult classics, not to read books that make us think. I, for one, think that the perfect place to talk about a cause that you are passionate about is in a public setting.
Did it accomplish its purpose?
I would overwhelmingly say yes; it bumped up her c-list status to b-list.
Case in point - 70,000 pages currently in search results on google for "rowell obama," constituting a brand-new buzz among fashionista journalists and fans of the late Mr. Blackwell.
As for this journalist, looking up my hotmail account on lead me to discover who Victoria Rowell is - a strong woman who used her celebrity to start a non-profit helping kids in foster care; a woman who posted the Obama dress picture as the first in a photo slideshow on her Web site.
You go, girl!



Thursday, September 24, 2009

Remember, You are never alone

Just a short clip that means a lot to me at the moment.

Sidenote: Been meaning to share it for a while - the day it was posted felt like one of the loneliest days of my life.

Thank goodness, I am never truly alone.

P.S. If you ever have the opportunity to be in a race, do it. I'll never forget the Spirit Rally relay race I participated in at BYU-Idaho, running a lap around the track to a cheering crowd, and cheering teammates :) It's wonderful how similar Sister Dalton's experience captures my feelings.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The New Craft Corner-Andrea's Bruschetta

Tonight, after a day of fasting, I made bruschetta for the first time. I've had it before, and I like it, but I don't really know how to make it. From my not knowing, I made the best I have ever had.

8-10 servings

1/2 baguette sourdough bread

1 tomato

3 garlic cloves

shredded parmesan cheese



balsamic vinegar

olive oil

Brown 8-10 slices of the bread in a frying pan in butter.

Meanwhile, chop the tomato and garlic. Mix with parmesan cheese, basil, and parsley, being careful not to mash. Add a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil. When the bread is done, top with the tomato mixture. It is heavenly.

I am not a chef, nor a recipe writer, but I am a good cook, and I never measure. Use the unmeasured ingredients with your common sense.

Try it and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Christian Siriano line at Payless

I am fiercely in love.

With a shoe!

(Probably doesn't help that I work there.)

Oh, and did I mention I deal with these kinds of customers...

(at both Lane Bryant and Payless)


Monday, September 7, 2009

Marketing-Promoting the Gay Agenda?

This May Levi’s launched a White-Knot for Equality campaign to align with its new Memorial Day to Labor Day white clothing line. The White-Knot for Equality is an organization that is pro-gay rights. The symbol is a white ribbon tied in a knot (

Several celebrities have been seen sporting the white knot which prompted Levi’s to ask permission to use White Knots as part of its marketing. Levi’s has also signed on with Logo, a gay cable television station and with the movie, Milk. Levi’s premiered a commercial where a man walks off with a beautiful woman after putting a pair of Levi’s on, and aired an identical commercial where the same man walks off with a hot guy after putting the jeans on.

August 3rd Ron Prentice, executive director of Restoring Marriage and Protecting California Children (www.protectmarriage .com), accused Levi’s of helping to push the gay agenda, asking do they want his money or his vote. Are they selling clothes or gay marriage?

Is Levi’s trying to push the gay agenda, or making good marketing sense?

Campbell’s, Ford, American Airlines, Pepsi, Apple, Ikea, and Chevrolet have all been “exposed” as pushing the gay agenda. This has lead to boycotts and bashing in blogs and forums for organizations like Restoring Marriage and Protecting California Children.

Has it also lead to an increase in sales?

In 2005 the American Family Association boycotted Ford for buying corporate ads in gay publications. Most sources agree that Ford decided to pull the ads, and then reversed their decision, but Ford’s reasons are unclear.

In fact, these kinds of ads have seen a 28% increase in recent years. Which leads me to wonder, are Ford and other companies pushing the gay agenda or trying to increase sales?

G. William Domhoff, Professor of Sociology at UC Santa Cruz states that money rules in America ( So when gays start bringing in the money, regardless of the gay agenda, morals, or conscience, companies will advertise to the LGBTQI population.

As someone once told me, “This is the way capitalism works, if [you] don’t like it, perhaps [you] should explore immigration opportunities in North Korea.”

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fresno Magazine-Everything I'm Not

So I've lived in Fresno for a few years now, and I have grudgingly grown to love it. I like the diversity, the culture (yes, there is culture here, if you can come a little ways south), the people and the Tower District specifically.

Fresno Magazine is not a clear representation of Fresno. It should really be called North Fresno Magazine. Or Sprawlville Magazine. It features ads by plastic surgeons, upscale restaurants, and stories about makeovers, apparently.

Fresno Magazine's mission statement is: To celebrate the Fresno area by building community pride & awareness through a shared creative voice.

Sounds good, right? But featured in the last edition was the first of the "Fabulous At Any Age" series. A well-deserving woman was chosen for a makeover.

I'm all for a makeover. I have been known to cut and/or dye my hair, and buy a new wardrobe. At 29, that's really all I need.

It wasn't enough for the first woman in the series of five. Protecting her name, Ms. X, a stay-at-home mom, was given the works-hair, make-up, clothing, even dental work. And plastic surgery.

Fresno Magazine submitted the press release, stating, "[Ms.X] wants to regain her confidence and feel like a woman again." They announced the unveiling to parade Ms. X's new look at a local restaurant.

Did I mention Ms. X is 23?

Fresno Magazine is a world of plastic surgery, botox, and fake tans. I don't want to be hypocritical, so I'm being a little careful. I am not against any of these things, but note the name of the blog.

You can be fabulous at any age (even 23!). With a little "work."

The Mission Statement-by Megan and Andrea

This is the blog of 5 friends. We work, we are educated, we are strong. We possess and own our inner beauty. We are passionate about life and don't care if our viewpoint challenges the status quo. We think for ourselves and value education and family. We wear our clothes more than once, and believe our bodies are beautiful. Our names are Andrea, Megan, Karen, Lisa and Amy. And we are real women.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Everything Happens For A Reason


A friend of the family went to jail for shoplifting. His wife was understandably disappointed, but bravely stated, That's okay. Everything happens for a reason.

Right. The reason is he got caught stealing.

It's not that I don't believe in God, or that I don't think He has a plan for us. I'm not sure I believe in a specific plan for each of us-maybe-but at least the plan that we should all return to live with Him.

However, I like to think that I have to be a little more accountable for my own actions, for what happens to me, and around me, and exercise my free agency.

I believe that God is all powerful, but I know He doesn't force us to do things, therefore, He isn't behind everything that happens, and if something bad happens to me I can't always blame it on Him and say it must've happened for a reason. I feel like that's a cop-out, and I can't respect that. When a drunk driver killed my friends mother, what was the reason for that? "It happened for a reason" would hold up great in a court of law. The reason is, he chose to drink more than a safe amount, and then chose to get in his car. Then he chose to drive her way, and he killed her. What kind of comfort would "Everything happens for a reason" bring her children?

I am always dismayed at the number of people who try to comfort mothers who have lost their children, tell themselves everything will be okay when it really won't, and make the excuse for some mistake they have made by saying, "Everything happens for a reason."

I like to make the best out of things, meaning not repeat mistakes, grow, learn new things. My divorce, losing my brother, losing my job, car, home and boyfriend all in one year. I am so much stronger. Do I think these things "happened for a reason." No. They just did. God didn't cause these things. My husband made poor decisions, my brother had a kidney disorder, and a number of occurrences happened causing me to start over with nothing.

I like to think I did pretty well with these things. I got back on my feet, and now I have just about everything I had and more.

This I do have to give God credit for. I could not have done it without Him, but I like to give myself a little credit, too.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Today's Craft

Since the internet was down, and I was tired of using a bobby pin as a bookmark, I decided to get crafty and make one. I asked Hank if he wanted one, and he did. So I got out my crafts and got to work.

I wasn't sure which direction to go in, so I pulled out beads, feathers, cards, paper, and ribbon. I decided to start with birthday cards. and a photo.

I used an old birthday card for Hank's, and a photo of my junior high friends (not the Amigas) for mine.

I cut the picture and the card to an approximate bookmark size. Since there was part of a message from my mother on the birthday card, and gibberish on the back of the photo, I cut and pasted a piece of construction paper to the back of each. I tied a black ribbon through the heart hole in mine, and string through Hank's. I added the letters DRDELCORE from square beads I had, to Hank's, and tied mine.

Voila! Beautiful bookmarks. I like crafts. Now back to my book. I'm reading Gone With the Wind. If you haven't read it, read it now. I'm curious to see what other women think of it.

A Letter From the Editor

If you want to know how to bag a man, or what celebrities are wearing, you are in the wrong place. This is the blog of Andrea, Megan, Karen, Lisa and Amy. We will vent, complain, and write useful information for real women.

To be honest, we like clothes, men and fashion. We also value education, work and money. We like homemaking, cooking and crafts. We are real women.

As the oldest, and most outspoken, I will make the assignments.

Karen-Recreational advisor
Amy-Home designer

Thanks for reading!