Monday, February 23, 2009

follow me . . . please?

OK, I try to avoid blog begging, but . . . Blogger has come up with a new "follow this blog" feature (see "Skirt-Chasers," right), and hey - I'm not proud - I want some followers (in addition to you, my dear friend Susan K. - thank you for being a trendsetter!)!

I know this little blog o' mine has followers . . . Won't you please be brave, and publicly declare your penchant for my posts? Just click the "follow this blog" link to the right - it's quick, it's simple and it will make my bloggin' day!

[photo note: Sally Field giving her famous "you like me" Oscar acceptance speech - this is how I'll feel with followers, I just know it!!] ;D

Friday, February 20, 2009

Oprah honors you.

And now this, from a "What I Know for Sure" piece, penned by Oprah for O magazine (and saved and now shared by me):

"[W]hen you live life in the fast lane . . . you end up speeding through, just moving to the next thing, doing more and more and filling your schedule until there's no time to even think about what you're doing. And as busy as I am, I often look in wonder at those of you who do all that you do and raise children and prepare meals every day and run a household.

"I bow to your endurance."

That's right. Oprah bows to you. And you. And you. And me.

So just leave the toys/dishes/laundry for later. You deserve a sit-down and a glass of wine. :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

once in love with Amy . . .

Amy Poehler has done it again.

I personally never believed she could do something as awesome as the infinitely memorable Pregnant Poehler Does Palin's Alaskan Rap a la Saturday Night Live, but she's come up with something new - something not as uproarious, but definitely as cool.

It's called Smart Girls at the Party, and it's an original digital TV series that "celebrates extraordinary individuals who are changing the world by being themselves."

Awesomely cool, huh?

Created by Poehler and friend Meredith Walker - former senior producer for Nickelodeon's Nick News and former head of talent for SNL - along with recording artist and performer Amy Miles playing tunes, the series to date consists of eight brief (like eight minutes or so) episodes. Each features Poehler's interview with a real girl with a unique talent, community interest or point of view, offering spirited truths about topics as diverse as feminism and praise dancing.

The interviews are at times light-hearted, at other times serious, and Poehler is brilliant at honoring the girls' originality while still keeping the viewer smiling. Well worth a watch.

Smart Girls at the Party is released by Austin-based ON Networks, a digital media innovator "leading the change in how digital TV programs are created, distributed, consumed and sponsored." You can watch SGATP through either ON Networks at, or its syndication partners, which include iTunes and Adobe Media Player.

Catch the episode featuring Smart Girl Cameron The Writer here and now:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

happy heart day.

Whitman's got nothing on Oprah. Her website,, currently features some new and intriguing research on matters of the heart. Here's a Valentine's Day sampler for you:

Date night's nice, but not necessary: Peter Fraenkel, Ph.D. - director of New York City's Center for Time, Work and the Family at the Ackerman Institute for the Family - advises, "Don't try to schedule time together. Schedules are more work, and you don't need more work." Rather, Dr. Fraenkel counsels couples to come up with a list of things they can enjoy together in under a minute: share a long kiss, a good joke, even a quick text message. Initiating three 60-second "pleasure points," as Fraenkel calls them, every day has proven successful in helping couples feel a better sense of connection throughout the week and feel less stressed about finding time for one another.

Developing the divorce vaccine: Marriage researcher James V. Cordova, Ph.D.- an associate professor of psychology at Worcester, MA's Clark University - has created a concept called the Marriage Checkup, which serves the same purpose as a medical checkup, but for your relationship rather than your body. Noting that couples typically wait until the relationship is breaking down to see a counselor, Cordova's program is designed to prevent "sickness" before it requires treatment. The Checkup begins with a series of questionnaires that rate satisfaction levels with topics like sex or parenting. "We give couples feedback, teh same way a doctor does from blook work or an x-ray," Cordova explains. Still under development, the program seems promising in terms of enhancing relationship satisfaction and intimacy levels.

Erosion counts as change, too: Richard A. Mackey, professor emeritus at Boston College's graduate school of social work, studied heterosexual couples married over 20 years without ever having seen a counselor and found one key to their long-term success was understanding it's fruitless to insist their partner make big behavioral changes. Rather, they requested little modifications (rather than "Stop being such a slob!" they try, "Can you please put your dirty clothes in the hamper?"). Over two decades of asking one another for such slight alterations, many spouses (particularly women) had successfully nudged their partners into making significant changes without suffering alienation.

Friday, February 13, 2009

stumping the competition.

It's a Texas two-fer: last year, Uno the beagle of Austin was named numero namesake at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show; this week, Stump the Sussex spaniel of Houston became his successor for the silver cup.

Ch. Clussexx Three D Grinchy Glee, or Stump (so-called due to his tree-like coloring and stubby legs), not only is the first of his breed to win the Westminster Best in Show, but, at 10 years, also is the oldest winner in the competition's 133-year history.

Stump also stumped the odds in other ways. Four years ago, he retired from "show" business following a near-death infection; Stump spent 19 days with the miracle-working veterinarians at Texas A&M University, who saved his life. His owner/handler, Scott Sommer, decided the week before the Westminster to bring Stump to the big show, just for kicks.

Stump proceeded to kick some serious tail, plodding past a giant schnauzer, a standard poodle, a puli, a Brussels griffon, a Scottish deerhound and a Scottish terrier - not to mention the almost 2,500 other pooches competing - to prove the old man's still got it.

Maybe Stump's just been pretending to chew on his favorite Grinch doll toy while he was actually chewing on tips from his roommate, J.R., a Bichon Frise who won the Best in Show honor in 2001 . . .

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

a dearie worth remembering.

She was a trained classical pianist who turned herself into a hybrid jazz-cabaret singer, famous for her little-girl voice and vocal viewpoints. And, incredibly, she used her real name.

Well, two-thirds of it, anyway. She was born Marguerite Blossom Dearie in East Durham, NY, in April 1926. She died Blossom Dearie in New York, NY, last Saturday at the age of 82.

Blossom Dearie switched from classical piano to jazz upon joining a high-school band. In the mid-1940s, she moved to New York City to pursue her music career, and began singing with the Blue Flames as part of the Woody Herman Orchestra, and the Blue Reys as part of Alvino Rey's big band. In 1952, Blossom moved to Paris and created her own vocal group, Les Blue Stars, which eventually evolved into the Swingle Singers. She met and married Belgian flautist and saxophonist Bobby Jaspar; the union was brief. In 1954, she released her first solo album.

She subsequently returned to the States to sign a six-album deal with Verve Records, and during the 1960s, became a fixture at NYC and London nightclubs. In 1974, she founded her own label, Daffodil Records, and received enhanced exposure via television, including a series of appearances on The Today Show.

For me, she was the voice behind some of my favorite Schoolhouse Rock! episodes, including "Figure Eight," "Mother Necessity" and "Unpack Your Adjectives."

Blossom continued performing in clubs until 2006. She died peacefully in her sleep, but might never have forgiven the overrated and pretentious music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, of whom she spoke frequently but not glowingly.

Enjoy Unpack Your Adjectives while Blossom is no doubt unpacking her wings while someone peels her a grape:

Monday, February 9, 2009


Today, I am . . .
  • ramping up to an extremely full workweek - ten interviews to schedule, conduct and transcribe, then write two stories around them, in addition to another pair of writing projects.
  • trying not to let the overwhelm take over.
  • scheduling some "connection" time for myself every day - today, I'm going to my holistic chiro; tomorrow, I'm scrapbooking; Wednesday, I'm sharing a date with my husband; Thursday, I'm doing my loop at Lady Bird Lake; Friday I'm still thinking about.
  • looking forward to seeing four old friends of mine (one high school, three college) and their families for a very kid-friendly Valentine's Day supper.
  • feeling the evil repercussions of the heavenly cheesecake and chocolate cake I consumed over the weekend;
  • ready to dance.
  • beginning to embrace being a big sister (even though we're halfsies).
  • happy for my husband (and myself) that his l - o - n - g hearing is finally over.
  • going to make breakfast for supper - but waffling between easy cheezy eggs or weight watchers fritatta.
  • appalled that I mistook my blog for a Pisces; I believe it's really an Aquarius (still a water-y albeit air sign).

Friday, February 6, 2009

circus of irony.

Big - really, really big - news over at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey . . . and at the White House, no doubt.

On the eve of President Barack Obama's inauguration, Ringling Bros.' first Asian elephant born from artificial insemination (!!) arrived at a whopping 250 pounds, and almost square (39 inches high, 41 inches long). The big, big bouncing baby boy was named, honorably, Barack.

Baby Barack is the 22nd to be born into the Western Hemisphere's largest herd of Asian elephants - 54, including 13 over the age of 45 and one older than 60 - all under the care of the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation. The Center was established in 1995 to ensure future generations have the opportunity to experience the endangered Asian elephant species, and includes a 200-acre, state-of-the-art facility designed for the elephants' reproduction, research and retirement.

Barack - the pachyderm, not the President - is the first calf for mama Bonnie and an as-yet-undetermined donor daddy.

I'm all for elephant conservation, and the circus, for that matter, but does it strike anyone else odd that they named an elephant - the Republican party's mascot - for our new Democratic leader??

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

great day for grateful.

Of course, every day is a great day to be grateful. Here's my baker's dozen for today:

1. Beautiful Austin "winter" weather.

2. Yankee Candle's "Good Morning" scent.

3. Pink carnations.

4. Lady Bird Lake.

5. The world's cutest dogs, Daisy & Kirby.

6. The Ting Tings.

7. Oprah's Soul Series podcasts.

8. Weight Watchers.

9. Girl Scout cookies.

10. Party napkins.

11. IKEA.

12. Scrapbooking.

13. My favorite new mantra: There's no place like here.

Monday, February 2, 2009

one little word 2009.

Among my favorite blogs to frequent is {A} by scrapbooking celebrity (yes, Virginia, there is such a creature) Ali Edwards. Not only do I love Ali's approach to scrapbooking, but also her approach to life. I'm continually awed by her dedication to living an authentically creative and subsequently beautiful, meaningful life.

My favorite thing about Ali is she is all about the story. She's got an incredible eye for design and an amazing way with words, and perpetually promotes telling your story through the coupling of images and language. Hence, scrapbooking!

Anyway, a couple of years ago, she introduced me to the concept of "one little word" - adopting a single word to serve as a sort of life theme for the year. Here's how Ali explains it:

The idea behind the one little word concept is to give yourself something to focus on throughout the year. As I stated in my newsletter back in January 2007, "A single word can be a powerful thing. It can be the ripple in the pond that changes everything. It can sharp and biting, or rich and soft and slow."

I first boarded the One Little Word bandwagon two years ago, the year I turned 40. My word was embrace. It was my mantra as I dove into a new decade of life. I embraced where and who I was wholeheartedly. It was a great year.

Last year, my word was rest, something I aspire to but rarely practice. It was my mantra as I steamrolled through the year like it was steep and slick, losing traction until it was driving me rather than the other way around. Eventually, I crashed and burned. It was a bust.

So while I am not saying OLW will change your life this year, I am saying it can. And it's definitely an interesting experiment, whichever way it goes.

So, having mulled it over for a month, I've finally chosen my 2009 OLW: Connect.

This year, I want to connect. Connect with myself. Connect with my creativity. Connect with my instincts. Connect with my spirit. Connect with my husband. Connect with my kids. Connect with my work. Connect with the family, friends and colleagues who energize and inspire and move me. Connect with the moment. Connect the dots. Connect the ends to complete the circles.

Not touch base. Not ring up. Not plug in.
Something a little more human. Something a little more real.
A connection.

It's my mantra. Time will tell.

So, what's your One Little Word for 2009? Do tell.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

celebrate the everyday - february.

It's February, 2009. How will you celebrate being a woman?

February 6National Wear Red Day
February 9 - Full moon [the Snow Moon]
February 14Valentine's Day, League of Women Voters Day, National Condom Day
February 15Susan B. Anthony Day
February 24Mardi Gras!!

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.