she was elizabeth anania until her firstborn,
died in a car accident.
to honor her son, she took his last name:
elizabeth edwards was . . .
. . . born with the first name mary
[but ever preferred her middle name].
. . . the daughter of a navy pilot.
. . . an english & law school graduate of the
university of north carolina at chapel hill.
. . . a lucrative bankruptcy/public-service law
attorney until her son's tragic death.
. . . a stay-at-home mom to her daughter Cate, &
later, to a younger son & daughter.
. . . chief policy adviser for her husband, senator
& democratic vice-presidential candidate john edwards.
. . . the self-described "anti-barbie," for both
her real-woman figure & real-woman intellect.
. . . "the most refreshing political spouse since eleanor roosevelt," according to o magazine.
. . . a steadfast spouse, standing by her man through
multiple layers of highly public lies about his infidelity.
. . . a proponent of same-sex marriage.
. . . an opponent of the iraq war.
. . . a fearless ann coulter aggressor.
. . . a healthcare advocate.
. . . a six-year cancer survivor.
. . . the heart of her family, according to them.
she died december 7th at the age of 61,
encircled by her dear friends & family,
including her estranged husband.
she left an amazing legacy
for her children & our country.
smart, savvy, brave, inspirational, resilient,
full of faith & the definition of grace.
rest in peace, elizabeth,
in the open arms of your beloved son.
"the days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. we know that. and yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength & patience as we would like. it's called being human. but i have found that in the simple act of living with hope, & in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days i do have are made all the more meaningful & precious. and for that i am grateful."
[our newly created seasonal shelf reflecting autumn, 12.1.2010]
just in case
your december has been too full
to note it,
i've been gone.
gone from the blog.
i didn't plan my bloggy absence.
it just sort of happened, amid
the fullness of december.
full of joy. full of light. full of song.
full of giving. full of toasting. full of twinkling.
just plain full.
so now, as we roll [almost literally] into the new year,
the fullness of december is finally ebbing
& the blog returns to room of its own.
so here i am. again!
i thought i'd begin [again] by sharing
three of our family's december traditions.
1. our advent calendar. our advent calendar is no family heirloom, but it does remind me of the one my grandmother made & we used growing up. bought at hallmark [full disclosure: i'm wholly hooked on hallmark, especially around the holidays], ours is super-simple, made of felt with little ornaments that stick on with magnets. the kids argue annually over who gets to stick up december 1 & who gets to stick december 25 up. with no treats to be gleaned, the magic of our advent calendar is all in the countdown. oh, & the star on top plays "jingle bells." gotta love the jingle.
2. jefferey, our house elf. jefferey comes to us direct from the north pole every december 1 to enhance the celebratory environment of our home & observe our family. each night, he returns to the north pole & reports to the big guy on how we're doing; then, when he returns to our house, he perches himself in a new spot, to be searched for & rediscovered each morning. sadly, jefferey hitches a ride with santa come christmas eve to return to his snowy home for another 11+ months. we miss him, but realize not everyone gets the honor of hosting a house elf, so we feel blessed by his presence during his yearly 24-day stay.
3. my christmas-tree pins. i'm not sure which year i decided to begin collecting pins shaped like christmas trees, but it's probably been a decade or more. i've got just about 50 tannenbaum brooches now － from plain silver to multi-hued swarovski crystal-laden － so i don a different one every day of december. i guess maybe i'll go for a final collection of 62, so i can do a full rotation every other year ... though it's getting more & more challenging to find christmas-tree pins that are different from those i've already got & also attractive [the world is chocked full o' ugly holiday jewelry, believe you me].
so, do you have daily traditions for the month of december? do share.
thanksgiving is my husband's favorite holiday.
why? because we spend it
in a pocket of just us
here at home.
no extended family.
no extensive expenditures.
the morning consists of
watching the [dvr'd] macy's parade,
& eating whataburger taquitos.
during the afternoon,
i concoct some microcosm of most folks'
thanksgiving day feast:
this time around,
a turkey roast,
smashed sweet potato bake,
green beans with walnuts,
marie callendar's provided
the pecan pie for hank & me,
a slice of pumpkin for the big girl,
a slice of apple for the little boy.
a cold snap blew through,
so by evening, it really felt like
the holiday season had begun.
we watched the 1994 remake of miracle on 34th street, which
we hadn't realized was produced & written by
the late, great john hughes.
i love the 1947 original, but
this version is also good
all on its own.
this house believes.
so bring on the jingling.
a few weeks ago, big girl turned
"twelve-teen," as my mother always called it,
& she wanted her birthday party
to feature an owl theme.
[we always do themes at our house;
last february, little boy celebrated
turning seven with a pig party,
complete with pink snouts & little curling-ribbon tails!]
well, birthday express doesn't have
owl-themed party paraphernalia, so
i turned to etsy.com, the e-marketplace
for handmade goods.
& wow, did etsy deliver!
our homemade invitations [above] were actually
from paper source [not etsy-associated];
an owl placecards paper-piecing kit
i simply put together & stuck onto
squares of colored cardstock.
i wrote the invite language into a word doc text box,
prettified the formatting, printed, cut out,
& stuck it onto the back. it read:
~ for our friend [name, so it was personalized] ~ please come to our hootenanny celebrating [big girl]’s twelve-teenth birthday!! sunday, october 24th, 2010 5 - 7 p.m. the cards’ home @ [street address] ~ little critters to pet ~ owlish games to play ~ ~ pizza supper to eat ~ good times to enjoy ~
~ plus, cake! ~ please rsvp – we want to know whoooo’s coming … [number] or firstname.lastname@example.org it’s gonna be a hoot – don’t let it fly by!
here's what the table looked like all decorated.
orange & green are her favorite colors,
so i went with a brightly autumnal color way.
the centerpiece [at top] is mostly what i typically have
out on the table, with some owlish accents added:
white cakeplate with jim shore seasonal angel &
two little jack-o-lantern votives
+ orange-with-pale-blue-dots bookend owl
by i sew lucky, a la etsy －
one of big girl's favorite birthday gifts －
& a melty-bead owl from michael's
made by one of our kids a while ago.
we served fruit salad [ocean bowl, right rear]
& veggies with dip or hummus [fiestaware, left rear].
later, we ordered pizza for the main course.
but the piece de resistance definitely were the owl cake pops,
courtesy of sarandipity sweets @ etsy.
they came through usps from atlanta, expertly packaged
with disposable coldpacks & thermal bubble wrap,
each individually wrapped & tied with
a little polka-dotted ribbon. not one so much as cracked.
such attention to detail
[can you see the teensy candy beaks & feets?],
& full of the moistest, chocolatiest cake
stuck into colored dixie cups
full of "harvest blend" plain m&m's,
they were a huge hit.
here are some of the goodie bags,
assembled by me, decorated by little boy/brother.
he did an awesome job making sure
every owl bag had its own expression/personality －
wackadoodle owl, sad owl, sleepy owl,
singing owl [my favorite], chubby owl.
he was so, so happy to help
with some part of the party,
& big girl/sister was actually happy with his work,
which thrilled him even more.
the goodies within the bags included
tootsie pops [remember the 70s commercial
with the owl who discovers how many licks
it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop?],
dark-chocolate molded owl pops
c/o mandie's candies via etsy
[gobbled up too quickly for photo procurement],
& a handful of other treats,
along with these darling owl-themed
a different design for every guest,
by global pendants from － you guessed it －
big girl said all her friends wore their
new owl jewelry to school the next day.
she loved her etsy-assisted owl party,
& i love her.
rosie o'donnell read the following blog post out loud
on her satellite radio show [rosie radio] today.
& as the mom of a little boy
who has mostly girl friends,
whose favorite toy story character is jessie the cowgirl,
& who draws big red lips on everything
from jack o'lanterns to snowmen,
i felt on listening to this
both a little ashamed
& profoundly inspired.
this is the mom i want to be for him.
& i do fairly well.
but this has inspired me to
be braver. more open-hearted. even more accepting
of who he is & who will become.
Or he’s not. I don’t care. He is still my son. And he is 5. And I am his mother. And if you have a problem with anything mentioned above, I don’t want to know you.
I have gone back and forth on whether I wanted to post something more in-depth about my sweet boy and his choice of Halloween costume. Or more specifically, the reactions to it. I figure if I’m still irked by it a few days later, I may as well go ahead and post my thoughts.
Here are the facts that lead up to my rant:
My son is 5 and goes to a church preschool. He has loved Scooby Doo since developing the ability and attention span to sit still long enough to watch it. Halloween is a holiday and its main focus is wearing a costume. My son’s school had the kids dress up, do a little parade, and then change out of costumes for the rest of the party. Boo’s best friend is a little girl Boo has an older sister Boo spends most of his time with me. I am a woman. I am Boo’s mother, not you. So a few weeks before Halloween, Boo decides he wants to be Daphne from Scooby Doo, along with his best friend E. He had dressed as Scooby a couple of years ago. I was hesitant to make the purchase, not because it was a cross gendered situation, but because 5 year olds have a tendency to change their minds. After requesting a couple of more times, I said sure and placed the order. He flipped out when it arrived. It was perfect.
Then as we got closer to the actual day, he stared to hem and haw about it. After some discussion it comes out that he is afraid people will laugh at him. I pointed out that some people will because it is a cute and clever costume. He insists their laughter would be of the ‘making fun’ kind. I blow it off. Seriously, who would make fun of a child in costume?
And then the big day arrives. We get dressed up. We drop Squirt at his preschool and head over to his. Boo doesn’t want to get out of the car. He’s afraid of what people will say and do to him. I convince him to go inside. He halts at the door. He’s visibly nervous. I chalk it up to him being a bit of a worrier in general. Seriously, WHO WOULD MAKE FUN OF A CHILD IN A COSTUME ON HALLOWEEN? So he walks in. And there were several friends of mine that knew what he was wearing that smiled and waved and gave him high-fives. We walk down the hall to where his classroom is.
And that’s where things went wrong. Two mothers went wide-eyed and made faces as if they smelled decomp. And I realize that my son is seeing the same thing I am. So I say, “Doesn’t he look great?” And Mom A says in disgust, “Did he ask to be that?!” I say that he sure did as Halloween is the time of year that you can be whatever it is that you want to be. They continue with their nosy, probing questions as to how that was an option and didn’t I try to talk him out of it. Mom B mostly just stood there in shock and dismay.
And then Mom C approaches. She had been in the main room, saw us walk in, and followed us down the hall to let me know her thoughts. And they were that I should never have ‘allowed’ this and thank God it wasn’t next year when he was in Kindergarten since I would have had to put my foot down and ‘forbidden’ it. To which I calmly replied that I would do no such thing and couldn’t imagine what she was talking about. She continued on and on about how mean children could be and how he would be ridiculed.
My response to that: The only people that seem to have a problem with it is their mothers.
Another mom pointed out that high schools often have Spirit Days where girls dress like boys and vice versa. I mentioned Powderpuff Games where football players dress like cheerleaders and vice versa. Or every frat boy ever in college (Mom A said that her husband was a frat boy and NEVER dressed like a woman.)
But here’s the point, it is none of your damn business.
If you think that me allowing my son to be a female character for Halloween is somehow going to ‘make’ him gay then you are an idiot. Firstly, what a ridiculous concept. Secondly, if my son is gay, OK. I will love him no less. Thirdly, I am not worried that your son will grow up to be an actual ninja so back off.
If my daughter had dressed as Batman, no one would have thought twice about it. No one.
But it also was heartbreaking to me that my sweet, kind-hearted five year old was right to be worried. He knew that there were people like A, B, and C. And he, at 5, was concerned about how they would perceive him and what would happen to him.
Just as it was heartbreaking to those parents that have lost their children recently due to bullying. IT IS NOT OK TO BULLY. Even if you wrap it up in a bow and call it ‘concern.’ Those women were trying to bully me. And my son. MY son.
It is obvious that I neither abuse nor neglect my children. They are not perfect, but they are learning how to navigate this big, and sometimes cruel, world. I hate that my son had to learn this lesson while standing in front of allegedly Christian women. I hate that those women thought those thoughts, and worse felt comfortable saying them out loud. I hate that ‘pink’ is still called a girl color and that my baby has to be so brave if he wants to be Daphne for Halloween.
And all I hope for my kids, and yours, and those of Moms ABC, are that they are happy. If a set of purple sparkly tights and a velvety dress is what makes my baby happy one night, then so be it. If he wants to carry a purse, or marry a man, or paint fingernails with his best girlfriend, then ok. My job as his mother is not to stifle that man that he will be, but to help him along his way. Mine is not to dictate what is ‘normal’ and what is not, but to help him become a good person.
I hope I am doing that.
And my little man worked that costume like no other. He rocked that wig, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
in this month of thanks-giving,
i'm grateful for you, boo's mama.
you rocked your blog, & it might just
change some minds/hearts/lives.
one of my favorite bloggers, kelly rae roberts,
has just had her first baby,
& today, she & her little family
are "finding [their] beautiful."
i read that, & thought, i need to get me some of that. finding our beautiful.
life around here has been
overall, it's good.
but lately, daily doses
of anxiety, overwhelm,
i can see us all wearing down.
so much stress makes
the beautiful much more
elusive than usual.
so today, the beautiful is
fixing the fence.
previewing holidays @ hallmark.
playing with trains.
change your thoughts & you change your world.
[norman vincent peale]
think pink: ok, ok － giving football equal time: the nfl has been supporting breast-cancer awareness all month long with a special designation for october games, pregame & in-stadium initiatives, pink ribbon/nfl shield pins for coaches & game staff, team efforts &, of course, plenty of nfl/pink ribbon fan gear for sale.
on one hand, i,
like you, i suspect,
loathe when it
begins to look a lot
even before hallowe'en.
on the other hand,
i much prefer to
get a jump on the holidays earlier
have the holidays
jumping up & down on my skull later.
which is how i became
a christmas binder person.
yep. each year about this time
i begin putting my binder together,
complete with tabbed & pocketed dividers
[this week | priorities | gifts | home |
eats | cards | traditions | new year]
& printable forms to complete,
courtesy of my christmas binder guru, cynthia ewer of organizedchristmas.com.
i discovered the "oc" about five years ago,
& began following ewer's christmas countdown plan.
the countdown begins six weeks before december 1,
& ends on 12.1, in order to give you the whole
month of december to just enjoy the holiday season
[or, in my case, to give me the whole
month of december to complete the countdown stuff
i haven't quite gotten around to just yet].
over the years, i've shaped the countdown
to fit my family's holiday
[gift closet inventory? yes.
"black friday" holiday sales planner? uh, no.],
but i still follow the basic countdown.
each week has a theme －
get organized | reality check | gifts & giving |
get cooking | decorate | celebrate －
with accompanying checklists, printable forms
& tip-filled, thought-provoking articles to read.
the site is delightfully comprehensive,
which is one of my favorite things about it －
stuff doesn't slip through the cracks of
& my other favorite thing about organizedchristmas.com?
yep, checklists, forms, articles －
the whole holiday tamale
is available for the sampling,
&, if you likey, then help yourself
to the santa-fied organizational smorgasbord.
so, how do you keep it all organized during
the most wonderful time of the year?
& if your answer is some sort of snort
of preposterocity, then you might want to
join me, &
embrace the binder.
truth be told, i can't wait.
my name is kristen card, & i'm an utter gleek.
but no matter how warped a time
the gleeksters offer during tonight's episode,
it can't compare in fright factor
to last week's glee-full horror picture show:
a gq cover shoot spotlighting glee stars
lea michele, diana agron
& some guy with his clothes on.
this has been beaten to death
by the media, with [ironically] a pair
of arguments arising against the,
of the photo session theme.
argument #1: these young actresses portray
underage girls, so to dress them up
& shoot them as super-lolitas
first response: these actresses
are not teenagers, they're adults,
& as such, can choose to wear
as much or as little clothing
as they desire & be just as sexual
as they want to be.
argument #2: many children watch
the show, so it's irresponsible for
two of its big stars to pose for
what amounts to soft-core porn.
second response: it's irresponsible for
parents to let their children
leaf through what is clearly a
magazine intended for adults.
adult males, even.
[i'll skip over my thoughts about
the responsibility of parents
who let their children watch glee.]
so here's my question: does it have to involve children being traumatized to be inappropriate or offensive?
because even if a pedophile or
an eight-year-old never sees this spread
[pun intended; here's looking at you, lea],
i － a 43yo mom attracted to adult males －
am still offended.
offended because it's sexist.
perversely, profoundly sexist.
but somehow, that doesn't seem to be much of an issue.
not enough of one to create a fuss about, anyway.
is this what we've come to?
a society where overt, arguably obscene
sexism is so ubiquitous, we just
accept it as part & parcel of our cultural scenery?
is it not worthwhile enough to mention
that this use of media
debases more than half of
the american population
by reducing two amazing young women
who are talented actors & gifted musicians
to naughty-schoolgirl stereotypes
with so little self-respect that
they will expose themselves,
fondle their breasts,
spread their legs,
perform oral sex with a lollipop,
& apparently share a guy
[who seems to wear more & more clothing
with every ensuing picture, btw]
to gain attention?
because that's the story that these photos tell.
so, to the gq eds,
i didn't know you were
vying for periodical
property with the likes of
maxim or playboy
[gentlemen's quarterly? really?].
to the photographer, terry richardson,
just a little research into
you & your career
explains a lot about these photos.
& to ms. michele & ms. agron,
i assume you're proud
of being part of a tv program
known for its intelligent
& progressive approach to
some of today's most divisive issues.
you should be.
so how disappointing it is that while
you stand up, strong & tall,
when it comes to doing the right thing
for america's gay community,
you chose to lie down
when it came to doing right by women.
i'm way allergic to them, so i don't hang with them,
i'm a dog person of necessity,
but i heart the kitties. i do.
that fact established,
the sheer volume of "funny" cat ephemera
out on the interwebs
produces a knee-jerk reaction in me.
i eschew kitty videos.
i mean, how many really, seriously
hi-larious feline youtube moments
can there be out there?
ok, found one.
i don't even know why i clicked through,
but this had me laughing out loud
all alone on my couch, almost to tears.
ricky gervais meets puss.
[please note video contains some puss cuss,
so turn it down, folks.]
napping against breast cancer － what's not to love? "fur" realz, y'all － purina cat chow is raising/contributing funds for komen for the cure via a cat nap for the cause campaign.
visit www.facebook.com/purinacatchow, "like" the page & register to take a 20-minute cat nap for the cause, & purina will donate $2 to komen per registrant, up to $150,000 [plus the company's 2010 contribution of $200,000]. click. zzzzz. cure.
i guess a woman nicknamed "la stupenda"
by puccini's people
is likely to have been heard of,
even by non-opera fans the likes of me.
dame joan sutherland died this week at her swiss home,
at the age of 83 following a lengthy decline.
she was australian, the daughter of a studied mezzo-soprano
& a tailor who died on her sixth birthday.
her mother trained her until she was a teenager.
a little later, she trained under pianist, vocal coach
& conductor richard bonynge.
oh － & they got married, too.
it was bonynge who persuaded sutherland
to sing a coloratura repertoire.
she became a key force in the revitalization
of the early-19th-century italian opera
of the bel canto ["beautiful song"] style －
an approach to singing exemplified by
evenness throughout the vocal range
& exquisite agility.
in 1959, sutherland debuted
what became her breakthrough role －
as donizetti's "lucia de lammermoor."
her 'mad' scene garnered a twelve-minute standing o.
sutherland was among the
first ladies of international opera,
singing in almost fifty operas,
performing close to 225 times at the met,
recording dozens of albums,
winning two grammy awards,
being dubbed dame commander of the british empire,
& being called "the greatest voice of the century"
by colleague & friend luciano pavarotti.
sutherland retired in 1990,
following a stellar 40-year career.
she spent her 20 years of retirement
gardening, knitting, needlepointing,
occasionally judging vocal contests
& holding master classes,
& spending time with family.
sutherland leaves behind her husband of 56 years,
their one son, Adam, his wife, Helen,
& two grandchildren.
some sort of seismic shift has begun
within the tectonic plates of my life.
with my body.
with my work.
with our [my husband's & my] creativity.
with our kids.
with our relationships.
it's like the universe just became bored
with the lovely little landscape of my
has picked it up, & is about to start
so while the little flecks of white plastic & glitter
currently covering the foundation of my life
still lay fairly undisturbed, i feel the need
to document what it looks like & why
it looks good to me just the way it is.
10 things i love about my life today.
1. seeing my husband perform. he's a musician, a singer/songwriter/rhythm-guitarist with a band of over 30yo. i fell for him as a fan, & still thrill watching him up on stage & listening to his plummy voice. *swoon.*
2. big girl's crunchiness. our almost-12yo vegetarian/environmentalist/animal activist. her granola tendencies can be trying & tiring, but you can't deny her well-developed sense of justice & compassion.
3. little boy's eye. our 7.5yo artiste. he checked out an all-dog version of cinderella at the library last week, & upon first seeing the canine princess in her ballgown ensemble [thanks to her fairy dogmother], his assessment: "the dress is pretty, but the hat's just too much." hello, project runway?
4. my dog sentinels. our pups sit directly behind me almost all day long, alternately gazing out my office window & alerting me to potential dangers [a neighborhood cat, the ups guy, etc.], or napping soundly. they're super cute.
5. my cheerleading squad. my recent entry to become a national ivoice for ivillage didn't make the grade [boo!], but i discovered how much & many people around me think i'm amazing & believe in me [yay!]. huge slab o' awesome.
6. the weather. we're actually experiencing an autumn season for austin, which is practically unknown in this below-the-mason-dixon-belt section of the country. long britches in september? get out! [& we have been.]
7. our family routines. rituals & traditions we do now that sadly won't last forever ... weekend whataburger breakfasts, duck pond visits, playing bat-&-ball, the family bed, themed hallowe'en costumes.
8. my three words. my almost daily status update on facebook almost always begins, "my three words for today:", & it's become rather a trademark for me. i like it. [see? three words.]
9. our home. is big, beautiful, full, comfortable, sometimes messy, often with disorganized spots, a work in progress. [i've read that the way you describe your home is reflective of your inner life ... so, how do you describe your home??]
10. the anticipation. something's coming ... something good? as scary as looming change may be, i may be ready for a smidge of 'new', a little shakeup. just be gentle with us, please, universe. shake with care.
think pink: if you read your sunday funnies religiously like i do, then you probably noted many of the comics had been pinkwashed last sunday, 10.10.10. the rose-colored panels were part of cartoonists care!, a movement by more than fifty king features' cartoonists to observe breast-cancer awareness month.
the accompanying website, comicsgopink.com, offers an opportunity to contribute to one of eight breast-cancer organizations, or to bid for an original drawing.