Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Today . . .

. . . I'm feeling discouraged about my daughter's two-day turnaround regarding fifth grade. Funny, the downhills are typically my favorite part of a roller-coaster.

. . . I braved an Austin August morning to go running around the park.

. . . I wish we would just break the dang days-over-100-degrees record already [five more scorchers to go!].

. . . I wish thirtysomething would come out on DVD already.

. . . I'm cooking Picante Crockpot Chicken for supper.

. . . I feel like something is calling me, but I don't know what yet. No, it is not the Crockpot Chicken.

. . . I'm grieving for my birthmom, whose birthday is tomorrow.

. . . I'm mourning the final passing of the greatest generation of Kennedys [Robert, Edward & John pictured above].

. . . I don't want to perform a three-month analysis of my spending.

. . . I should probably go get my new driver's license while my hair is cooperating.

. . . I'm a little hormonal, I reckon.

. . . I've got my health, my creativity, my family & hope, among many, many other wonderful things.

. . . I may be grumpy, but I'm still grateful. :]

Friday, August 21, 2009

global girl power.

Forbes' annual list of the world's Power Women isn't about fame or fortune - it's about influence. And yes, gals, size matters.

Putting together this year's list of the top 100 most powerful women worldwide, Forbes considered two qualities: how many media mentions the women got; and how big of an organization or country the women lead.

Number one for the fourth consecutive year is German Chancellor Angela Merkel [above], leader of the world's fourth-largest economy. Runner-up at number two is Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chair Sheila Bair, who has overseen the orderly takeover of 77 banks to date this year, while fighting big boys like Fed Chair Ben Bernanke and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for more power for her agency.

The list is largely corporate, with numbers 3, 4 and 6-10 all big-business CEOS - Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo, Cynthia Carroll of Anglo American, Irene Rosenfeld of Kraft Foods, Ellen Kullman of DuPont, Angela Braly of WellPoint, Anne Lauvergeon of France's Areva, and Lynn Elsenhans of Sunoco. Number 5 is Singapore's Ho Ching, who leads Tamasek, the city-state's sovereign wealth fund.

At number 36, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the highest-ranking woman U.S. government leader, followed by First Lady Michelle Obama at number 40, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (#51), newly sworn Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (#54) and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (#56). Poor 16-year Supreme Court veteran Ruth Bader Ginsberg didn't make it into the top 100 this year [time to work that publicist, Justice G!].

Of course you're now wondering, as I did, but what about Oprah?? Well, Forbes opted to give women media figures their own list this year, based upon how much money they earn, how many media mentions they receive, how big of an audience they reach [size still matters!] and how many Facebook/Twitter followers they've got. Topping the Most Influential Women in Media list by a landslide is, naturally, Lady O, followed by ABC's 63-year-old Diane Sawyer and 79-year-old (!) Barbara Walters.

Rounding out the top twelve of a list of 30: talk-show hostesses Ellen Degeneres and Tyra Banks [#5 - really?!?], NBC's Meredith Vieira and Ann Curry, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, domestic goddess Martha Stewart [#9, and Tyra's #5 - something's gone terribly awry!], spunky chef Rachael Ray, The Ladies of The View, and blogging post-mistress Arianna Huffington. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow [to whom I'm offering a special shoutout, because I love her] ranked midway at 15th.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

thankful thursday.

Top ten things I'm thankful for today:

1. air-conditioning.

2. feeling more balanced following a decidedly less-balanced period.

3. summertime's looseness.

4. back-to-school time's structure.

5. silly jokes between friends that make you laugh aloud later just thinking about them.

6. clean, folded, put-away linen laundry [the sort of laundry I find most vexing].

7. our darling dogs and the little daily routine we've got going.

8. our neighbor's willow tree that gives our driveway afternoon shade from the searing sun [example of a willow above, but with a much more verdant environment].

9. warranties, insurance and helpful service people.

10. lists - I love 'em!!

Hopeful bonus gratitude:
11. rain [well, I would be really, really grateful for it, if it would just come . . . ]

So, what are you thankful for this Thursday??

Saturday, August 15, 2009

trust. gratitude. inspiration. blog.

I heart this notion from Brené Brown's Ordinary Courage blog: weekly tgif - trust|gratitude|inspiration|friday - postings, where she asks and answers the questions:

Who/what are you trusting today?

Who/what are you grateful for today?

Who/what is inspiring you today?

Plus, her whole "twinkle lights of joy" theory [above] is amazing.

Today, I am trusting more work will come along.

Today, I am grateful for a little less work and a little more life [and sleep].

Today, I am inspired by this blog!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

a champion worth remembering.

Say what you like about the Kennedys - they've been called everything from American royalty to murderers - but the upside of their legacy for America can't be denied.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver - sister of JFK, Bobby and Ted, and mother of California first lady Maria [pictured above with her mother a few years ago] - died Tuesday at the age of 88, leaving behind her husband, five children, 19 grandchildren, her brother Ted and her sister Jean. And the Special Olympics.

Eunice was a social worker, activist and celebrity - all roles she played to the hilt to help transform our country's view of the intellectually disabled from institutionalized freaks to friends, neighbors and athletes.

Or, for Eunice, sister. Her older sister, Rosemary, was mentally retarded, underwent a lobotomy at 23, and spent the remainder of her life in an institution. She died just four years ago at age 86. Rosemary was somewhat of a Kennedy family secret until Eunice revealed her condition to the nation in a 1962 article she wrote for the Saturday Evening Post.

In 1968, Eunice organized the first Special Olympics. Held in Chicago, the two-day event drew more than 1,000 participants from 26 states and Canada. Today, Special Olympics is the world's largest athletic competition for mentally disabled children and adults, with more than 1 million athletes from over 160 countries participating each year.

Commonly regarded as the most intellectual and politically minded of the Kennedy women, Eunice also worked to help solve the growing problem of juvenile delinquency. She began her career as a social worker at a West Virginia women's prison, worked with Chicago's juvenile court and led the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation (named for her oldest brother, killed in combat during WWII), created to improve treatment of the mentally disabled.

Eunice was born the fifth of nine children to Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. She married R. Sargent Shriver, the first director of the Peace Corps, head of LBJ's War on Poverty, George McGovern's vice-presidential running mate in 1972 and a presidential contender four years later. Sargent was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease six years ago.

Together, the couple had five children: Maria Shriver, wife of California Governor Arnold Schwarznegger; Robert, a Santa Monica city council member; Timothy, who chairs the Special Olympics; Mark, a Save the Children executive; and Anthony, founder and chair of Best Buddies International, a volunteer organization for the mentally disabled.

Talk about a lasting legacy. Though almost all of the first-generation Kennedy children are gone - U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, 77, is suffering from brain cancer; Jean appears to be healthy at 81 - the second generation seems to be carrying forth with the credo so deeply held by their grandparents: Much is expected of those to whom much has been given.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

a role model worth remembering.

Confession time: I had never heard of Naomi Sims until she was already gone.

I might say it was because she hit her professional-profile peak about the time I was an infant. But the truth is, I strongly suspect I had never heard of Naomi Sims because I'm not a black woman.

Which is not an excuse. She was dubbed the first black supermodel, before Beverly Johnson and way before Tyra Banks or that other notorious Naomi.

But fascinatingly, Naomi Sims - having spent the late 1960s and early '70s modeling the haute-est couture, gracing the covers of mainstream publications like Life, the New York Times fashion supplement and Ladies' Home Journal, and appearing in a national TV campaign for AT&T - retired from her model life after only five years.

"There is nothing sadder than an old, broke model," she told the Times in 1969. "And there are many models who have nothing at the end of their career." Sims made sure her career was just beginning as she left modeling behind.

In 1973, she launched her own business. As a model, she had found that many studio assistants knew next to nothing about doing black women's makeup and that almost all wigs were designed for Caucasian hair. Sims began experimenting on her own, baking synthetic hairs in her home oven to try to create the right texture to look like straightened black hair.

Within five years, her designs were being produced by the Metropa Company, with annual sales of $5 million. During the '80s, the Naomi Sims Collection extended into cosmetics and fragrance, even opening boutique salons. Meanwhile, Sims also authored five books about modeling, beauty and success. Sims was married for 18 years to Manhattan art dealer Michael Findlay. Their son, Bob, survives her, as does Sims' granddaughter and one of her two older sisters, Betty Sims.

The product line she originated survives her as well, still going strong over 30 years later, a household name among black women.

One of which I'm not. And though I had not heard of Naomi Sims until she died last Saturday at the age of 61 from cancer, I'm happy to know about her now.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

salut sotomayor!!

Just in case you've been buried under sand or otherwise piled up on (as I have been for about a month), let us now seize the moment to celebrate Sonia Sotomayor, who has been officially sworn in as the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice ever and just the third woman in the court's 220-year history.

Sotomayor took her public oath of office last Saturday from Chief Justice John Roberts, with her left hand resting upon a Bible held by her mother, Celina, and Sonia's only sibling, her brother Juan, standing beside her as a witness.

The Senate vote almost a week ago to confirm Sotomayor as the court's 111th justice was 68-31. America's longest-serving senator, 91-year-old Robert Byrd (D-WV), despite his tenuous condition following a lengthy hospitalization, was brought in in a wheelchair to vote for Sotomayor. The only senator absent from the floor was Edward Kennedy (D-MA), who is currently suffering from brain cancer.

President Obama applauded the Senate's favorable vote on his first Supreme Court nominee as "breaking another barrier and moving us yet another step closer to a more perfect union."

Today, at a White House celebration held in her honor, Sotomayor echoed the President's sentiments, saying, "It is our nation's faith in a more perfect union that allows a Puerto Rican girl from the Bronx to stand here now. I am struck again today by the wonder of my own life and the life we in America are so privileged to lead."

The court is scheduled to hear arguments September 9th in a campaign finance case. The whole court will convene the day prior for a formal welcoming ceremony for Sotomayor.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

you are beautiful.

You are beautiful. What is it about those three little words that makes it almost impossible for us to accept them graciously?

At best, we squirm uncomfortably. At worst, we not only disbelieve it on the inside, but we reject it on the outside, too.

Oh, no. I'm not. My sister, now she's beautiful. Or Christie Brinkley, she's super beautiful. Or Meryl Streep, she's got a certain je ne sais quoi beauty about her. But me? No, no. I'm OK, I guess. But I wouldn't say I'm beautiful.

Luckily, plenty of other people would.

Enter Operation Beautiful.

Around the beginning of the summer, Caitlin Boyle, a 25-year-old urban planner from Orlando, FL, stuck a yellow Post-It note up on the mirror of her doctor's office women's restroom. It read, 'You are beautiful.'

Caitlin photographed it and blogged about it, requesting her readers to do the same thing. Post-It. Mirror. Beautiful.

Two days later, based upon the dozens of photographs of Post-Its she was already receiving, Caitlin launched, where she posts the photographs of notes women send her.

They read 'You are beautiful,' 'You're amazing, just the way you are,' 'You are enough,' 'Smile - you are more than your weight, or 'Your butt looks terrific in that outfit.'

They're being posted on diet books, food and drug products in stores, on gym lockers, under windshield wipers, and on doctors' scales.

Boyle says she is dumbfounded by the huge response Operation Beautiful has gotten.

"To me, it's crazy," she says. "but when people participate, they realize they're not just helping a stranger feel better; they feel better, too."

So, what will your note say today, and where will you put it??

Friday, August 7, 2009

hughes? hughes?

"Life moves pretty fast.
If you don't stop and look around once in a while,
you could miss it."

Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller,
written & directed by John Hughes

Well, Mr. Hughes didn't miss a thing.
But he will be missed. Godspeed, righteous dude.

Monday, August 3, 2009


ah, austin august . . . we're baking or poaching daily, depending upon the humidity. either way, getting things done is a challenge. time for a reality-based to-do list . . .

do the pool.

do not worry about what you look like in your swimsuit.

do give thanks for Willis Haviland Carrier, who invented modern air conditioning.

do chase down the ice cream truck.

do a movie matinee with your honey.

do commiserate with your compadres in sweat.

do -it-yourself dixie cup + juice popsicles.

do use your windshield sunshade.

do seize a siesta.

do be impressed with Samuel Bert, who introduced the snow cone at the 1919 Texas State Fair.

do the stuff you wanted to do over the summer, but haven't gotten around to yet.

do a raindance.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

celebrate the everyday - august.

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

August 1Girlfriends Day
August 2Sisters Day, Friendship Day [so if you've got a sister-friend or a friendly sister, then it's your day!]
August 5 - Full moon [the most unromantic Sturgeon Moon ... see sturdy sturgeon, above]
August 8The Date to Create, Happiness Happens Day [get creative! get happy!]
August 15Best Friends Day, National Relaxation Day [sounds like a spa day for BFFs!]
August 18Cupcake Day
August 26Women's Equality Day, National Dog Day [no connection whatsoever ... ]

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.