How’s your New Year going so far? I like Charlie Brown’s approach to New Year’s Resolutions: “You know how I always dread the whole year? Well, this time I’m only going to dread one day at a time.”

This week my eight-year-old made Chili Cheese Nacho Casserole all by herself by watching the following Betty’s Kitchen video:

We like watching Betty’s videos. Southern accents like hers always sound so cheerful and soothing. The next time I have to hear bad news I hope it’s delivered in an accent like that. :)

This week I also discovered the music of Janelle Monae (I found out about her on a Top Music of 2010  Facebook post of a 53-year-old bishop, of all things). She’s 25-years-old – about the same age as Lady Gaga – but much more worthy of admiration, I think. She came out with her first album in 2010.

She was raised in a working class family and makes music for working class people, she says. In this video of her song Tightrope you’ll see her Michael Jackson inspired dance moves (unfortunately I can’t embed it here so you’ll have to click the link). She wears tuxedo suits like that every day as a uniform as a way to honor her working class parents. He mom was a janitor and her dad was a garbage collector and always had to wear uniforms.

Watching that video almost makes me want to get my ears pierced so I can wear white earrings like that. Her shoes are awesome, too, of course.

If that music style isn’t to your taste, then check her out here, where she puts on a black dress and sings with a symphony (for a better quality recording click here, although you can’t see the black dress there):

If I didn’t know better I’d think she was the singer from Pink Martini in this song.

She also sings in a folk style in a couple of songs on her album. She’s very versatile and a welcome addition to the playlist I listen to while exercising and cleaning.

One of my daughters received a Nintendo DS for Christmas and as it turns out I’ve ended up using it too. I’m taken with the New Super Mario Bros game because it’s similar to the Donkey Kong game I recall playing 20 years ago when I worked at Parker Brothers and had to be familiar with that video game in order to answer consumer questions. I had forgotten that I’m pretty good at these handheld video games and in the evenings I often find myself discussing Mario Bros strategy with the girls, which is fun.

John Grisham’s Confessions novel finally came in for me at the library, after many months on the waiting list, so that rounds out the fun for the week.

Tip on (as Janelle sings in Tightrope, which is shorthand for “stay balanced”).

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