Monday, January 26, 2009

The Problem with Women ... is Men

Saturday I went out and was able to see the comedy show Defending the Caveman - which by the way I might say was hilariously funny and I highly recommend it.

It did occur to me that the entire play might present a polar opposite to a book I just read - The Problem with Women ... is Men. Because that book focuses on the evolved man, and not your man's man.

The caveman starts off with saying, quite bluntly "all men are assholes." OR at least, that is how they are portrayed in so many facets of society.

I laughed, because even in the introduction of The Problem ... Orlando states "I realized I found the typical male behavior absolutely appalling: rude, condescending, obnoxious, bull-headed, and selfish." Which I believe is his way of saying the typical man is an asshole.

When you listen to the Defending the Caveman, you start to feel like men aren't really assholes (at least most of them aren't. In my opinion some still are) but they are just really misunderstood. And what most women want is a man who thinks and acts like a woman. A feminized male if you will. Which again made me laugh. Orlando mentions in his book, that as an evolved man, he and others are questioned about their sexuality - mostly people wondering if they are gay.

Now I have to tell you, the fact that I read The Problem and ended up seeing Defending the Caveman in such close proximity was completely unplanned and coincedental! The book I was lucky enough to win from Blogging Momma. Defending the Caveman was part of a bachelorette party and I didn't pick the location. But I appreciated being able to watch both of them around the same time.

Now, when I first read the book, I saw some pretty appalling examples of male behavior. And I instantly thought to myself, I have such an evolved husband. There are no two ways about it.

After reading the book, I'm not sure Orlando would agree with me on that! I think he would agree my husband is pretty darn close. Orlando has some guides to know if your man is evolved or not - and even he says "No one can give an Evolving Man a prescription to put him on the
'correct' life path. Evolution is 'an inside job'" However, the guides have a lot of fashion information in them. My husband can certainly match his clothes and he knows appropriate wear for work, leisure, formal, etc. However, he doesn't know what french cuffs are (frankly
before reading the book, neither did I). He doesn't know designer names and he doesn't own a lot of shoes - only a couple pairs. Just what he needs. He also fails the literature section. He's not a
reader. I doubt he ever will be. He's smart enough to pick up most literary references that might come up in conversation though. And when he doesn't know something - he'll ask me about it later. Which, I'd like to point out, totally makes him evolved in my mind!

Now, what hit me the most during Caveman is that he talks about mens interests and womens interests. And how they often don't intersect. And men go shopping as if on the hunt - walk in knowing what you need to kill (a new shirt), you focus in until you've found what you will kill
(the shirt on the rack) and then you kill it (grab shirt and go home!). Women go in as gatherers - you know you need clothes. And you look around and you gather information and you have to touch things - well, everything! And you go from store to store and you get what you like
from that one and get what you like from the other one, etc, etc. Now, clearly in the play, it's much funnier and I'm retelling it poorly. But that describes me and my husband perfectly! See, what I realized a long time ago is that my husband doesn't want to shop with me because he has
a problem with me. He doesn't want to shop with me because he has a problem with how I shop. I do not take offense to this and drag him to the mall with me every single time because I think we must shop to bond. That said, there are times where he does go with me - because he loves me enough to want to spend time with me even when I'm shopping! That, that right there, tells me he is an evolved man!

I really think though, my husband is evolved because he rocks! He cares about me, he listens to me, he has manners, he talks to me (like really talks!), he does housework, he parents his children, and well, I could go on and on. He is just a fabulous guy and in my eyes, he is evolved!
Now that I've written all of this out, I think Orlando would say my guy was evolved too.

However, if you did not have an evolved man in your life - I think you should pick up The Problem with Women ... is Men. I think you should read it and really take to heart what Orlando says. Because when you read the book and sit back and really think about it and take in the book, I believe the book is not so much about making sure the guy in your life knows all the info Orlando lists (although much of it is very helpful and just wise to know), but I think it's about
making sure the guy in your life wouldn't be afraid to know all that good stuff. Sure, my guy doesn't know what French Cuffs are, but should he ever need to have them on a shirt, he wouldn't shush someone for telling him about it, or pointing it out. Sure he doesn't read much
great literature - but he's not afraid of it. And that to me speaks volumes about my guy and how great he is. And I think the point is to have a guy who you knows loves you and cares for you - and doesn't just talk the talk, but also walks the walk.

I really enjoyed reading The Problem on so many levels. I think Orlando is a wise guy and has some really great information in this book!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Barely here ...

I'm here. I'm just sick and crabby and whiny (although, I am generally feeling that way most of the time sadly) and don't have much to say.

I'm pretty much sitting on the couch, sleeping, using kleenex like they will go out of style next week, and watching as the kids trash the house and leave huge messes everywhere.

My 9 year old commented that the floor looked extra messy and that her brother and sister must be making extra messes (love how she blames them LOL!) I informed her that the reason it looks so crazy around here is that I usually clean up the toys that are left out after they go to bed. The look on her face then was priceless. And then she said you really do help a lot. I think she finally gets it now. She is the biggest fan of telling me I never help them when it's time to clean up their toys. I hope to not hear that criticism for a good week. I will say this, after that conversation she picked up 95% of the living room for me. Bless her sweet heart - which I will remember when I want to scream the next time she tells me I don't help out enough LOL!

I've been doing some knitting, but again, can't show you pictures. I have other things I want to show, but I can't show you. It stinks when I am only crafting gifts that I can't show here lest the person receiving them pop on and see their present ahead of time.

I've also finished all the Weeds episodes I can find. I think my love affair with the show might be ending. If I can find season 6 (or has it even aired yet?) I'll try to watch it and see, but it seems like the craziness is too much even for me. Which, I might point out I do with lots of shows ... it seems I can only take about 4 seasons of a show before my love for it begins to slowly fade? But I have taken much of my sick time to catch up on Lost. I have now finished season 2. At the rate I'm going, I'll be caught up in 2 years! =) Assuming I don't fall out of love with it around season 4 ;-)

Anyway, if you have time go check out There's been a bit of a redesign and it's pretty awesome now. Even more awesome than it was before. As hard as that is to believe. But it's fun. And you should visit.

Monday, January 19, 2009

National Day of Giving

Today, in addition to being Martin Luther King, Jr Day, is also National Day of Service.

I think that is fabulous and really great. Despite that, I am not doing anything special or out of the ordinary today. Mostly because I had my head in a cave and was unaware of this day until, well, a few hours ago.

My contribution today is going to list a few ways that we can all help out - year round and not just on one day. I think if today you start thinking about ways you can help out that is a good step for National Day of Service. So here are ways you and I can give back:

  • Give food to local food pantry
  • Volunteer a few hours at food pantry
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  • Bring a few dinners to a family you know is struggling
  • Bring food to an elderly neighbor (or shovel their driveway, mow their lawn, help them plant flowers, etc)
  • Call the local school and see where they need help.
  • Call your town - can you help fix up a bad lot, help clean up parks/playgrounds, pick up trash at the local forest preserve, etc.
  • Call a local animal shelter and see if they need any supplies or if you can help out for a few hours taking care of animals.
  • Call your local library and see if they take book donations or need help reshelving or if they need help with story hour or anything like that
  • See if Habitat for Humanities is doing any projects in your area and help out there.
  • Do you have a hobby that you can use to give back. If you are a photography, offer to take pictures of kids with Santa at a community Christmas party. If you are a knitter, make hats and scarves to be passed out to those who need them.
  • Most place run school supply drives in the fall - watch for school supplies to go on sale and bulk up then with the intent to give them.
  • Do you own a business? Run a food drive - give customers a discount on services if they bring in food (or coats or shoes or toys or whatever the need is in your community)
  • Start a Dining For Women Group
  • Start a book club and every time you meet, members bring a book that you donate to a place in need in your area
  • Offer to babysit for the single mom who never gets a break for free.
  • Play Bunco with the girls? Next time ask people to bring canned goods with them.
  • Visit Volunteer Match and see what they recommend for you
  • Knitters can find ways to give back with their knitting here and here
  • Here is a great page with ideas for crafters who want to give back.
  • Make some items or donate supples to The Preemie Project
  • Here is a page with patterns for chemohats
  • If you are a photographer, sign up with Flashes of Hope
  • See if you can help out Project Linus
  • Help Soldier Wishes out
  • Soldier Angel has many ways you can help out
  • Mark Eat So They Can on your calendar now so when October rolls around, you can be ready!
  • Host a Bead Party
  • Go check out Random Acts of Kindness foundation and get some great ideas!

There are a TON of ways you can give back to with your time and talent. This list is not complete in any way, shape, or form. But hopefully it is a list that will get you thinking about ways you can help out.

And please, leave comments on other ways to help out (I'll add any ideas to this list)- and if you are doing something today or what you plan to do this year in order to give back.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What I've been doing ...

I've been busy lately - just not here LOL!

I've been working on my resolutions, trying to keep up with housework (instead of trying to always catch up), knitting - but I can't show pictures because it's a gift, reading to the kids, playing with the kids, playing games on the computer (so bad, but I LOVE it LOL!), and thanks to our recent netflix subscription, I've watched the the first three seasons of The Office and the first season of Weeds.

I have definitely been on the computer less though - which probably isn't a bad thing! Anyway, soon, I should have pictures to share some things. But everything I want to talk about are gifts and I can't show those here. Bummer.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

More on Resolutions

One of my resolutions this year is for our family to pay off all our debt. I talked more about my debt over here. So when I came across Angie's Debt Buster Club, I knew I had to join!

All of our debt is one credit card. Most of it is debt from when dh started up his side business. The business has been unable to repay us what we loaned to it, and so we have been unable to pay off this debt (I want to chime in here and say though, the business has saved us much more than this amount and so I don't regret dh starting it. BUT we will never do that again unless we can do it without taking on debt)

Here is the info:
Debt: 14,624.22
interest: 303.47 is at a HUGE 11.15 APR and the rest 14,495.09 is at 6.11 APR (total of 83.15 in December)
Minimum payment: 229.19

I believe last year we paid off 6000 of this debt. Also, they are only applying our payments to the 6.11% APR. Blech.

We have already mailed the January payment of 300. We have it set up in our bank account to auto pay citibank 300 every month. Last year, when we had extra we sent it in. I believe last Jan, the min payment was 290 and we could only scrounge up 10 dollars extra to pay that month! (but hey, still, paying over the min - no matter how small helps so we tried to not get too depressed about it LOL).

So this year we need to find 14,624.22 + interest to them. 9,000 more than last year!

Where will the money come from?
Good question. One we haven't entirely worked out. We know where some will come from:
  • Cut back on spending. pull a few areas of the budget back as far as possible.
  • I have already told where I worked last summer, that I am willing to work again this year.
  • grow more food this summer to lower food costs
  • Cut way back on savings
  • Mortgage payment is dropping this year. The bummer - we don't know by how much. We can shift the difference to the credit card. (and no, not because it's an ARM - we have a standard 30 year loan. However, our mortgage companies pays our real estate taxes. Taxes didn't go up as expected last year so we have enough in our escrow that they are lowering our contribution. We fully expect to go under the required amount this year and for it to increase next year - which is what happened in 2008 LOL)
Aside from that, it will mostly be giving up things. I wanted to attend blogher. That is now out of the question. I turn 30 this year. We talked about having a nice party for it. We are giving that up. The kids will have no birthday parties this year - which is fine. We keep it to every other year anyway, and they all had them last year. I had planned on taking some sewing classes - again, they will all have to wait. Gas has dropped - so we plan to pay less this year for that than last year - which will be good! We don't have much we can sell around here - but I am planning on putting a few things on craigslist. Also, we need to declutter the house, so maybe we'll find a few more things to sell? I think, though, most of it will be small and will probably just go to the goodwill! I might reopen my etsy store - with completely different products though! We'll see. I'm not completely sold it will be worth it.

The good news is that we have a bit of savings set aside. Although we are following Dave Ramsey's baby steps, we decided given the current climate right now, we needed to have more than 1,000 in savings even though debt is paid off. Because dh works with advertising and he's watching competitors go out of business more often than we feel comfortable with, we built up some savings at the end of last year - enough for 2 months of expenses. We are hoping the economy turns around and that if we get debt down low enough, we can just pull out the money from savings. We don't have saved what we owe, but we could pull out 5,000 and pay off any remaining debt if we feel dh's job is secure!

At this point though, we know that we probably won't make much of a dent into savings until the second half of the year. Medical deductibles reset in January. Also, life insurance is due. And car insurance. And our dentist appointments are all in January. The only thing we won't be worrying about in January? Christmas expenses because we save a bit for those all year and had the money we needed in December. ::phew:: But most of "extra" income comes in September and October - my dh works a second job and his business operates then (so I guess really he works 2 extra jobs on top of regular day job) and I also make some extra money then as well. But, every month, anything we can pay on top of that minimum balance is good I think!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Pretty things

Tonight I was lucky enough to get lots of pretty things. The knitting group I'm in had our holiday party tonight. This is my first holiday celebration with the gals ... and it was even more fun that I expected. And also, a TON more food than I expected. Next year, I will not eat dinner before I go. The food - so yummy!!

Anyway, onto the pretties!

Pretty things!

Pretty things Part 2

Seriously, how lucky am I? I didn't even know I was going to come home with all these goodies. I knew about the grab bag, but a few members went above and beyond and passed out gifts for everyone.

I am SO glad I stumbled upon this group (even if the first night I showed up was the one night they met in a different place LOL!). Seriously, I found out about them through the library craft night, which I showed up to in June I think after having a horrible, awful, terrible day with the kids. I HAD to leave the house and that was going on so I went. And there I found out about the knitting group. I admit, I was nervous to go at first (because I'm a nerd like that) but now, now, I look forward to knitting night with much anticipation and my only complaint - that it's not weekly LOL! =)

Friday, January 02, 2009