I've Moved!

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I love the word "redirecting."

When I was a teacher, it was a new buzzword referring to dealing with a kid's crappy behavior by "redirecting" them to something less likely to make them act crappy.

But it also has a tech-y meaning and that's the one we're talking about here.

After all the rigamarole of the last few months, I've decided to merge my 2 blogs and this is the one that's taking the hit. For now, I'll have readers redirect themselves. But in a couple of weeks, I'll just have it set up to move automagically to my other blog.

I am grateful to everyone who's read a single line of this blog and I really mean that. It's been such an interesting experiment and it's been a part of my moving to a different place in life that I'm quite enjoying.

Please come visit me at www.realATLhousewife.com - unless you are judge-y and think that reality TV is ruining our country and that there's no value in parsing out the silly details of popular culture. If that's you, you might not like it.

Thanks again!


30 Calls Challenge: It's Been a Week. I'll Say That.

Ugh, not a very successful day.

Everything today has been stressful, partly because it actually was, and partly because I have a crummy attitude. I'll spare you the details because who wants to read what basically amounts to "waah, waah, waah!"?

But I did make one phone call - as well as answering two! - so that's something. I actually called my insurance company so that counts for two, right?

This has been a good experience so far. Any time you can reflect on what you're doing in your life is worthwhile. What I've realized is that as much as I dislike making phone calls, I think my real problem is taking them. My friend Val put it best (and I'm paraphrasing): I resent having to drop whatever I'm doing at that moment because so-and-so feels like talking to me. Word.

I'm still working on it. The whole thing. Trying to make them and take them, and text and email less frequently. We'll see how this ends up.

There's so much changing in my life right now that I almost wonder why I picked such a bleh thing to blog about. Maybe because, unlike everything else, dealing with phone calls is so uncomplicated.

Stay tuned, but don't call me tonight.



30 Phone Calls in 30 Days

It's August, everybody. Yiiikes.

Know No Phone
My kinda phone booth.
For anyone who's ever been a teacher, August feels the way January does to the General Population: a time to start over, do better, know more, etc. Even though I haven't taught in a long time, it's stayed with me.

So I've set a goal for myself and I think sharing it with readers might help me achieve it. My goal is to make at least one phone call a day for 30 days. 

A little background...

If I could, I would text or email everything that needs communicating. Or, my real preference, talk face-to-face. I wish I never had to use a phone again. I hate talking on the phone.

I've tried to figure out why and I think it comes down to 4 things.

Ever since my first child was born, the act of placing a phone to my ear magically transforms the phone into a magnet. A magnet for interruption (1). It seems no matter how completely BONKERS I go on my kids when they interrupt, things haven't improved much in the last 15 years. I can't stand being interrupted by my own kids, but I also really don't like to be on the phone with someone when their kids or their spouse interrupt them (2). I think it's rude, but not everyone agrees and they are wrong so it's a little frustrating.

Then there's the cell phone factor. There is the tiniest little delay on a cell call that seems to be the cause of the awkward, stumbling quality they have (3). I feel like a cell call is sort of like a 4-way traffic stop, with the constant "You go," "No, you go," and then you both go at the same time, and all parties offer an ungraceful chuckle, and then you do the whole routine again.

Finally, I think I may be going a little deaf (4). I've always had a preference for listening to music very loud. What others might consider ear-drum-shattering loud. Like every other thing we do in our youth that returns in our 40s to bite us in the ass, I fear my years of headbanging have made me what you might call "hard of hearing." Just as the sharp edges of my vision have softened, so has my ability to hear the whole range of sounds. Damn you, middle age!

So here I go. My first phone call will be to the financial advisor whose number has been on my to-do list literally since April.

I'll be back tomorrow so stay tuned!

Photo: Know No Phone by Justin Marty.


Frank Ocean's Sexuality Matters to You. (Really.)

I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that a good number of my readers don't know who Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator, or Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All are. That's okay. As a life-long hip hop fan I can't help but pay attention. You don't need to. But stay with me.

OFWGKTA is a sort of alternative hip hop collective, with a changing roster of artists who work together sometimes. Tyler is generally considered their de facto leader. I first heard them a couple of years ago and was wholly unimpressed. Their gross-out lyrics, mostly violent and juvenile, really turned me off.

Then in 2011, when Kanye West and Jay-Z released Watch the Throne, I was intrigued by the haunting voice that introduces the song "No Church in the Wild" and weaves the chorus of "Made In America." When I read that it was Frank Ocean from OFWGKTA, I gave it the 'eyebrow raise, mouth turn down, shrug' that accompanies bits of information that make you say, "Hmh. Interesting" before you go on about your day.

Fast forward to about a week ago when Frank Ocean quietly made history. In a long post on his Tumblr, he released a statement*, intended to accompany the liner notes to his album (which dropped today!) that reveals that a past love was a man. It's beautifully written and well worth the read. Predictably, the media went crazy; blathering about how hip hop is a macho boys club and this is a really big deal.
Partly, that's true. Hip hop is pretty notoriously anti-homo. But have you heard of any male country stars who are gay? Are you aware of a country song in which a man reminisces about his feelings for another man? I'm not. And I don't exactly recall "rock music" - whatever that means these days - greeting gays without a gasp of scandal. On Global Grind, Russell Simmons wrote about the "courage" of Frank Ocean. Yeah, it's still kind of revolutionary to be an openly gay or questioning musician.

Except that it's not.

What's interesting - and inspiring - about Frank Ocean revealing that he loved a man, is how little it matters to younger folk. Here's the conversation I had with my 15 year old when I picked her up today...

Me: Hey, you know Frank Ocean?
Her: Yeah.
Me: Did you hear his big news?
Her: No. What?! (looking shocked, expecting me to tell her he died or something)
Me: He's gay. Maybe. Or bi.
Her: Oh my Goddd, Mom! Ugh (eyeroll). SOO?!

I get so overwhelmed sometimes thinking that the world is going to hell. Handbasket and all that. My head gets all cloudy with thoughts of our horrible elected officials; the ever-widening gap between the classes in our country; agribusiness and the danger to our food supply; obesity; AIDS; too much trash; plummeting air quality, on and on and on.

And then a hip hop star (and that's what Frank Ocean is: a star) reveals he once loved a man, and teenagers don't care. 

And for a minute, the clouds part.

*Click on it and it enlarges. But you'll still need your cheaters.
Photo of Frank Ocean: BET.com


The 5 Reasons You're Still On Facebook

Jezebel has a story today about a study that reveals what anyone with a teenager has known for a long time: kids today think Facebook blows and cool people like Twitter. Facebook has had a slight stink of "over" on it for awhile now. Weren't people already making jokes about what happens when your mom joins Facebook back in 2009? In 2012, we just accept - hell, expect! - that our grandparents will "like" our posts about having a case of the Mondays.

Knowing all this, why are so many of us still daily users of Facebook? I'm about to tell you why. Get ready, because it's about to get real.

I thought I invented the word "facecrush", but according to Urban Dictionary, I did not. Whatever. My definition of a Facecrush is a little different. This is not a crush like the one you might have on the ex-husband of an old friend, not that neighbor you always kind of had a thing for, not your kid's cute teacher who friended you on Facebook. No. My definition of a Facecrush is a person you don't actually know in real life but whom you find yourself Facebook-crazy over. For a period of time - usually 2 to 3 months, according to my research - the two of you can't get enough of each other's posts. You're liking stuff all over the place, posting videos you hope they'll think are funny, and generally vibing with each other - without any sexual overtones. (Again: totally different animal.) Then one day, you realize it's dwindled to almost nothing between you and your Facecrush. Without the benefit of a real, everyday actual friendship, you end up throwing out a random sympathy "like" from time to time, the online equivalent of the awkward nod across the room.

Deriving at least a little pleasure from the misfortunes of others is human nature. I'm sure there are humans who've overcome this nature but those people aren't reading this blog, are they? There's something a little satisfying in seeing that the high school bully is now a lives-at-home loser. Something enjoyable about seeing a formerly high and mighty co-worker you couldn't stand desperately kissing up to people, hoping to "network." And let's just say it: seeing that someone you never liked is fat now? That can put ME in a good mood for days

You probably know someone who just had a baby. If they live far away (or in my case, more than 10 minutes away), how will you see the baby? Facebook, that's how. New parents take a lot of pictures. BAM. You're welcome.

Need to know who to call to fix your HVAC? Forget Angie's List; Facebook that mess! When you need advice about contractors, restaurants, babysitters, laptops, vibrators whatever, Facebook makes it really easy to ask every single person you've ever met. In 2009, I crowdsourced whether or not I should take a certain job. Mostly everyone's advice was wrong but that's okay.

How else are your supposed to know when a famous person dies?

What else? Got a number 6?


"Calling All the Basic Bitches!"

It's Saturday and I typically don't post anything on the weekends BUT! I came across a video. That I need to post about.