Saturday, May 31, 2008

attitude of gratitude.

Just heard Jimmy Buffett's song, "Attitude of Gratitude" yesterday on XM Kids while driving around with my two. I'm going to begin building an ipod playlist of upbeat, high-quality, message-oriented songs like this one just for them. Several Laurie Berkner songs immediately come to mind ... "I'm Not Perfect," "I'm Me & You're You," "I'm a Mess," "Mahalo," "Moon Moon Moon," "Smile." Some Sara Hickman and Jack Johnson, naturally. Bob Marley's classic "Three Little Birds." A good version of "You are my Sunshine." And an Amy Grant/John Hiatt song I heard the other day, "Thank Someone." Got suggestions? I'm open . . .

. . . and to illustrate my 'tude of 'tude, here are my top ten things I'm thankful for today:

1. a great, fun, easy day with my kids.
2. my dear friends.
3. summertime.
4. clarity following months of hemming/hawing.
5. the Texas Hill Country.
6. mother/daughter weekends at Kickapoo Kamp.
7. Build-A-Bear Workshop.
8. the guys at our neighborhood Jack in the Box, who occasionally and for no apparent reason other than pure kindness, give me my diet coke for free.
9. feeling courage, freedom, happiness.
10. a primo parking spot at the mall. :)

So, what are you grateful for today? & don't forget song suggestions!

Friday, May 30, 2008

daily must-do's.

Interesting post from Simply Stated, the blog over at Real Simple mag's website . . . titled "Things to do every day" and written by Gretchen Rubin, it poses the question: What are your bare minimum daily must-do's?

Gretchen's list of seven includes wearing sunscreen, going for a ten-minute walk outside, and touching and talking to everyone in her house with affection.

Here's my draft list to complete "Well, if nothing else, then at least I ...":

1. drank three glasses of water.
2. thought about my intention for the day and my bigger-picture goals.
3. told everyone at home I love them.
4. connected with a friend.
5. pet a dog.
6. sang.
7. paused and breathed.

So, what's your list look like of everyday things you've got to do just to feel human?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

world's worst working mom? it ain't me, babe (or you, either).

Having a bad day . . . one of those 'I'm the world's worst employee *and* the world's worst mom' days . . . where you're spread so darn thin, you're practically all cracks (no wonder stuff is continuously slipping through) . . . when you find yourself fantasizing about driving off to an undisclosed location, and beginning to believe your family and your company would be better off for your disappearance??

Put down the car keys and fear not, working mom. It could be worse.

And just to prove it, you can go to Worst Working Mom Moments, a whole section of Mommy Track'd [The Working Mother's Guide to Managed Chaos] dedicated to collecting cringe-worthy slices of real working-mom life from the moms themselves.

As if reading tale upon tale of working-mom woe doesn't raise your relating spirits and self-esteem enough, every submission is accompanied by a "Been There" button, which tallies the number of clicks it collects from commiserating mommies.

So, what's your worst mommy moment? I can't choose between runaway stroller due to lack of parking brake or the second broken arm within ten months because I turned my back at the JC Penney photo studio. Ah, memories . . .

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

how to be happy, lesson #6.

Don't let other people determine your dreams.

Studies show that people who feel they're responsible for their own position and decisions in life express one-third more life satisfaction than people who don't. (Kean, Van Zandt and Miller, 1996)

Same song, second verse: Too many people choose their goals based on what other people think. Think about what you really care about, what matters to you, and establish meaningful goals to achieve what's important to you. You don't need to succeed at every single thing you try in order to feel happy, but you do have to believe you've got control over your own life.

by David Niven, Ph.D.

the power of two: help the environment.

From the ABC World News Tonight series "The Power of Two" . . . 

Two powerful things you can do to help save the planet:

(1) Eat less beef; and
(2) Get an energy audit.

Here's the video story:

Here's some basic information about environmental vegetarianism:

And here's some essential information from the U.S. Department of Energy about home energy audits:

Small changes can lead to big differences!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

a woman worth remembering.

Since it's Memorial Day and all . . .

Irena Sendler, who died May 12th at the age of 98, was a Polish social worker who helped save 2,500 Jewish children from the Nazis during World War II. An activist in the Polish Underground and Warsaw's Zegota Polish anti-Holocaust resistance, she provided the children with false documents and sheltered them in individual and group children's homes, protecting them from the horrors of the Warsaw Ghetto, which was rampant with disease, starvation, and continual deportation to concentration and extermination camps.

From the 1939 German invasion of Poland to her 1943 arrest by the Gestapo, Sendler helped the Jews by offering them food, shelter and false documentation. Once arrested, she was severely tortured and sentenced to death. Zegota saved her life by bribing German guards en route to her execution. She was left unconcious and with broken limbs out in the woods; her name was listed among the executed on public bulletin boards. She lived in hiding for the rest of the war, but continued her work for Jewish children.

In 2007, Sendler was among the nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize, which ultimately went to former Veep Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In 2005, Ana Mieszkowska wrote Mother of the Children of the Holocaust: The Irena Sendler Story, which unfortunately has gone out of print. But recently, the Hallmark Hall of Fame announced it has begun production of a movie based upon the book.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


My sweet husband and I celebrated our 13th anniversary by going to see Kat Edmonson live last night at Eddie V's Edgewater Grill ... can't gush about her enough. We got lucky and were seated just next to the stage, where we thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment (and the eats weren't awful, either).

Here's her "Be the Change" video, which is awesome, but vocal jazz is really her genre; you can listen to some samplings at her MySpace page:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

we must accept finite disappointment ...

... but we must never lose infinite hope.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

OK, you've probably wondered about it already, so I guess I should come on out with my little confession. I've not been opining and pontificating about the Democratic nomination contest *not* because it hasn't been fascinating and *not* because I haven't been following it - I mean, really, a black man and a white woman are our choices? Have I died and gone to heaven? The truth is, I've not been blogging about the competition between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama because I call this a feminist blog, but I, ladies and gentlemen, am a Mama for Obama.

Which just goes to show you how really easy it still is to stumble into that old standby, the "feminism means anti-male" trap. Feminism is not about joining the She-Woman-Man-Haters Club. Feminism is about having options unfettered by discrimination, and about women supporting each others' choices, regardless of whether they're the same ones we would make for ourselves.

So, having reminded you all and myself of that fact, I'm coming clean: I'm backing Barack for president. I'm not going to go into all the whys and wherefores right here and now, but I will say when Clinton and Obama first emerged as the key contenders for the nomination, I was leaning toward Obama, but still extremely supportive of Clinton. The better of two goods, I thought. Win-win, right? But as the tete-a-tete (d)evolved, I became more and more disillusioned with and disappointed in Senator Clinton and her campaign for a vast variety of reasons, most of them having to do with doing politics the old way (mud treatment, anyone?) vs. creating a new way to run a political campaign (I think it's connected to the fabled "high road" I've heard tell of). Bottom line for me: Every time Senator Obama talks about going backward vs. moving forward, I find myself nodding until my neck aches.

All that finally put out there, Senator Clinton did a sit-down, town-hall-type meeting with a few weeks ago (May 3rd), and I must say, if I had seen more of this Hillary and less of the mean-dog-with-a-bone-no-snarls-barred-think-my-bark-is-bad-wait-until-you-feel-my-bite Clinton, then she might still have stood a chance of gaining my support. Click through and be surprised by how relaxed, personable, genuine and funny this trailblazing woman can be.

There are nine excerpts from the interview posted at MomLogic - begin here with Senator Clinton's Mother's Day wish, then scroll down the page for more clips.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

the power of two: improve your health.

ABC World News Tonight ran a nifty five-part series last week entitled, "The Power of Two." Essentially, every evening they covered a different life topic - your health, the environment, your money, eating and fighting hunger - and offered up just two simple actions you can take to make a real difference.

Two powerful things you can do 
to improve your health:
(1) Get your family medical history; and
(2) Exercise your brain for 15 minutes a day.

Here's the video story:

Here's how to compile your medical family tree:

And here's a daily crossword
(typically takes me about 15 minutes):

Small changes can lead to big differences!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

how to be happy, lesson #5.

Remember, you always have a choice.

Interviews on life satisfaction levels indicate that people who express a sense of autonomy, of making decisions for themselves, are three times more likely to feel satisfied with their lives than people who don't. (Fisher, 1995)

The fact is, you don't *have* to do anything at all. With the exceptions of being in prison or threatened with imminent death (or both, I assume), you don't have to do anything at all. You *choose* to do - or not to do - things.

So what's the difference between 'I have to do the laundry' and 'I choose to do the laundry,' when regardless, the laundry must eventually be done? It's the difference between acting because you feel forced into it and acting because it holds something valuable at stake for you. You do the laundry because you value being clean, smelling good and looking presentable, or you do the laundry because you love your family enough to provide them with clean clothes and linens.

Don't lament your responsibilities as unavoidable and burdensome. Remind yourself of the positive effects your actions bring about. When we see all the options we really have, we can begin to appreciate the choices we make.

by David Niven, Ph.D.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

go green by not going at all.

As many of you know, since the beginning of the year, I've been working part-time at the office of an environmental ad agency. And, as many of you know, I've been struggling with the transition from full-time work-at-homer to part-time office worker/part-time work-at-homer. And, as many of you, I've been struggling with the skyrocketing price I'm paying at the pump - not only shelling out more, but also more frequently now, since I'm driving into downtown three days a week.

So, combine all of the above, and it's not surprising I've been thinking about the real costs of my commute - not only to my work freedom and flexibility, but also to my bank account and to the environment.

Of course, I'm not the only one thinking about the commute/gas/global warming connection. Recently, the Washington Posts' On Balance blog featured a post by guest blogger Brian Reid about how telecommuting might lift a big burden off of employees and the planet. In "The Green Argument for Telecommuting," Reid writes:

The folks at, a site focused on working from home, estimates that getting the 40 percent of Americans who could work from home off of the roads and into a home office would save 625 million barrels of oil a year, spare the atmosphere from 100 million tons of carbon dioxide and save us all $43 billion in gas costs. ... Teleworking even one day every two weeks should theoretically cut gas usage by 10 percent, which is hardly marginal.

Maybe I'll forward this information to my environmentally-oriented employer to open negotiations for a two-day in-office workweek ...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

how to be happy, lesson #4.

Accept yourself.

A self-esteem study showed that people who are happy with themselves minimize defeat, treating it as an isolated incident that indicates nothing about their ability, while people who are unhappy with themselves magnify defeat, permitting it to become symbolic of who they are and using it to predict the outcome of future events. (Brown & Dutton, 1995)

You are not how much money you have, what you do for a living or where you live. You, like everyone else, are an almost inconceivably complex blend of abilities and limitations, strengths and weaknesses.

Rather than dwelling upon something you think is wrong with you and resolving to improve it, try resolving to accept yourself -acknowledge that with all your faults, you're still a complete, good person. Accepting yourself doesn't mean ignoring your faults or never trying to improve, but rather believing in your own innate value -first, last and always.

by David Niven, Ph.D.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

juggle much??

Regardless of the number of rings in you Cirque de la Vie (Circus of Life for you non-Frenchies), here are some hopes from me to you for the non-Mothers' Days of the year  . . . just click through to

Wishing you all a terrific Tuesday!!  :)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

thankful thursday.

My top ten today:

1. My sleek, silvery, brand-spanking-new MacBook Pro, with which I'm blogging right now (it's not up and running with perfect smoothosity quite yet, but is that a glimmer of light I see at the end of this long, dark, computers-gone-crazy tunnel?).

2. So much happy music.

3. Frozen grapes (amazingly addictive, yet healthy).

4. National Scrapbooking Day, an exceptional excuse to spend the day being creative with your girlfriends.

5. Mother's Day, which should come around more than once a year ... 
I'm thinking seasonally (celebrating Mother Nature, maybe?) ...

6. Easy, cooperative-kid mornings.

7. New candles (beach walk and sun & sand from
Yankee Candle).

8. Grace.

9. The dove family nesting in our big oak out front (we've named them The Hooties).

10. Remembering to breathe.

So ... what are you grateful for (did I mention I'm thankful for comments to my blog?)?  ;D

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

celebrate the everyday - may.

It's May, 2008. How will you celebrate being a woman?
Remember, where there is connection, there is power.
Where there is power, there is hope for change. For ourselves, and for our world.
We are all connected. We are all powerful.

Until my next post, be well, be happy & be hopeful.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

how to be happy, lesson #3.

Turn off the TV.

Surveys show watching too much TV can triple our hunger for more possessions and reduce our personal contentment by about 5% for every hour a day we watch. (Wu, 1998)

Too often, we watch TV because it's what we usually do, rather than because there is something we really want to see. Ask yourself when you're watching TV, "Is this something I really want to see? or am I just watching from force of habit?" Don't turn on the TV just because it's there and that's what you typically do. Turn it on only when there's something you really want to see, and when the program's over, turn it off. Your newly liberated hours can be spent doing something with your family or friends, or (gasp!) finding a rare quiet moment just for you. Choose active fun over passive distraction.

by David Niven, Ph.D.

Which reminds me of a posting I read the other day from Austin organizing czarina Lorie Marrero's Clutter Diet Blog. She writes about a favorite book, Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel and Charles Mann, which features photographs of average families from 30 different countries around the world with all of their possessions. Every family was also asked, What is your most valued possession? and their answers are sometimes surprising ...

So, what's your most valued possession? I'm still mulling over mine ... but please share yours!