Friday, February 26, 2010

life lesson from fgotus to flotus.

When it comes to ensuring your own happiness, First Grandmother Of The United States Marian Robinson was a good example for her daughter, Michelle Obama - of what not to do.

"She said being a good mother isn't all about sacrificing," says the First Lady. "It's really investing and putting yourself higher up on your priority list." Obama says Mrs. Robinson put her own two children first, sometimes to her own detriment.

"She encouraged me not to do that," says Obama.

The First Lady says women should do what makes them happy, because if mama is happy, then everybody's happy.

"I've learned to make choices that make me happy," says Obama. "I've freed myself to put me on the priority list and say, 'Yes, I can make choices that make me happy, and it will ripple and benefit my kids, my husband and my physical health. That's hard for women to own. We're not taught to do that, but it's a lesson I want to teach my girls."

image source: comite des amis lyonnais de barack obama


Offering a big presidential-in-law HOLLA!! to FGOTUS [fuh-GO-tus] - the unofficial acronymic nickname for Marian Robinson, First Grandmother Of The United States.

According to an recent Associated Press article, the First Lady's 72yo mom - despite originally being less than thrilled with the move from her native Chicago to DC - has created rather a happy life for herself in and out of the White House.

Mrs. Robinson spends plenty of time watching over her young granddaughters, Malia [11] and Sasha [8], attends many White House functions, and with "Michelle's family," traveled abroad for the first time last year - via Air Force One - to Ghana, Russia and Italy, where she met the pope.

But she also rooms solo up on the floor above the First Family's living quarters, has formed her own circle of friends, goes shopping on her own, and enjoys visit to the Kennedy Center, as well as an anonymity the First Couple is a little envious of.

"She's quite the lady about town," President Obama said. "But the nice thing is that she just walks out the gate and goes."

A little in-laws-in-the-White-House history: Both Woodrow Wilson and Harry S. Truman had live-in mothers-in-law during their presidential terms - Wilson's was his second wife's mother, and his wife's sister lived with them, too; Truman's MIL lived with them despite her open dislike for Harry.

image course: something within

Thursday, February 25, 2010

living the o life.

OK, so everybody knows I'm an unabashed Oprahphile. But writer/performer/director/yoga teacher/Chicagoan Robyn Okrant has kicked my O-bsession up a notch, living her "best life" according to Oprah's abundant advice for a full year and writing a book about it, Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk.

In a recent online article for wowowow, The Women On the Web, Okrant reveals the top ten most important lessons she learned during her O time, including:

Stop using the word "just" to describe yourself. My sister does this whenever she leaves me a voicemail - "It's just me," - and to my sweet husband's credit, he's the one who noticed and winced at it first. You're something special (this means you, Nini!), so if you've got to use it, then say, "I'm just amazing!"

Build up men. According to Oprah, "The truth is, men do need to be made to feel like they're winners. They need to be built up." According to Okrant, "Instead of being insulted by my stream of compliments, ego-boosting and gratitude, the men in my life seemed happier, more amenable to change and more relaxed." Worthwhile effort? Worth a try ...

Be conscious of waste. "Ask yourself, 'What can I do without?'" If you're interested in decluttering your life, then this is a good question to ask both before and after you acquire more, more, more.

Be nice. Okrant clarifies: Be genuinely nice.

Support other women rather than criticizing them. Quoth Okrant, "My gut response was defensiveness and finger-pointing: I even judged Oprah for judging me for being too judgmental." She eventually recognizes many of us have a bad habit of criticizing other women's choices and priorities, and realizes the woman she's most critical of is herself. Hmmm, sound familiar?

Reconnect with nature. Accepting and relating to the world around us helps keep us present. And presence is a gift, to ourselves and others around us.

So, has Oprah or another guru ever influenced you with a jewel of wisdom? Do share. :)

image source: apartment therapy

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

getting better all the time.

Another interesting insight from the February issue of O - "100 Things that are Getting Better." Just to prove we're not 100% headed toward hades in a handbasket, the feature outlines things on the upswing, from floral arrangements to tights.

Here's a dozen that caught my eye and my concurrence:

2. Shapewear - I'm not into spanking, but I'm all about Spanx.

18. Dads - The number of stay-at-home pops has grown from 98,000 to 143,000 nationwide within the past seven years.

20. Hillary Clinton - The global goodwill she's building as Secretary of State makes me very pleased she didn't go for VP [see #29].

25. Marriage - The American divorce rate has dropped steadily since 2006, and is now at its lowest point since 1970.

29. Our reputation around the world - According to the Pew Research Center, our image is rising in Latin America, Africa, much of Asia and western Europe [see #20].

39. The news - Only about 5% of newspeople were women in 1973 [the year I turned five]; today, 42% of journalists are female.

51. Office chairs - Ergonomically and ecologically friendly is the trend.

61. Wanda Sykes - Golly, how I love lesbian comedians [Ellen, Rosie, Paula Poundstone, anyone?]. Seriously.

73. Street food - Here in Austin, airstream trailer food courts are popping up like yummy, edible wildflowers.

75. Animal shelters - The number of abandoned and euthanized canines and kitties has fallen from 17 million to 5 million. Still 5 mill too many, but improving.

78. High heels - I've forever followed the comfort-over-fashion credo, but I like to pump up my peds now and then as much as the next girl. Finally, shoe designers are finding ways to merge stiletto style and sole solace.

88. Headache treatments - As a lifelong migraine sufferer, I can testify to the success of both my daily preventative and my as-needed treatment meds. Much more effective than narcotics, and - bonus! -I can function during and remember my recuperative period.

So, what around you is improving? what still can use improvement?

image source: maggie's austin

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

oh, that Oprah.

And now, this reflection on self-care and being gentle with yourself from the sagely Ms. O, in her February O "What I Know For Sure" column:

"Keeping my word is a mandate I live by. I can't tell you the number of times I've committed to doing something, then later wanted to get out of it but ended up doing it anyway because, for me, backing out is never an option.

And yet at least a hundred times last year, I made a vow to myself about working out, meditating, getting more rest, managing my schedule better, and opening my heart to joy. And each and every time, I fell short.

Without trust, there is no relationship. The same is true for our relationships with ourselves. Break enough promises to yourself, and soon you no longer believe your own voice.

So I've stopped with the all-or-nothing promises to myself. And I'm getting better, each day, at doing something good for my body, mind and spirit.

Making a priority of taking care of myself is - for sure - going to make for a better me. I suspect the same is true for you. And that's the sweetest valentine I can offer."

So, what promises have you been breaking to yourself? What can you do to change it? What are you doing today to be good to your body, mind or spirit? What sweet valentine can you offer yourself every day?

image source: life with lia

Monday, February 22, 2010

confessions of a repeat slogger.

Forgive me, readers, for I have slogged. Again.
It has been a full month+ since my last post, and that one was an utter bummer.

For both of these blogging sins, I'm heartily sorry and beg your forgiveness.
Today, I sit ready to try, try/type, type again.

So, what's happening with me that I tumbled off of the blogging wagon so readily?
How about a little catchup? Since I've been 'gone,':

- I spent a weekend in Vegas with my honey, completely geeking out by seeing Donny+Marie and Bette Midler within a 24-hour period ... exhilarating and exhausting;

- I've spent many hours at the side of my dear friend Irmtraud, who has been battling breast cancer for the past three years but who now is slowly succumbing ... grueling and heartbreaking;

- I spent a weekend up in DFW, belatedly celebrating my mom's birthday, seeing my hubby sing and watching our kids frolic in the several inches of snow they got ... taxing and illuminating;

- I got and got over a mean little cold ... miserable and merciful;

- I helped my honey celebrate his band's thirty-year anniversary with a huge hootenanny both on- and off-stage ... fun and fulfilling;

- I've been piecing together the puzzle of Summer 2010, including day camps for both kids, a Hawai'ian vacation for my sister and me (she's hitting the mid-century mark), a visit to my in-laws' in Oklahoma, and a potential family trip elsewhere (possibly the Pacific Northwest?) ... tangly and contrary;

- I witnessed the inch+ snow we got here in Austin, the most in a quarter-century ... beautiful and messy; and

- I'm prepping for our son's lucky number seven next weekend - a piggy party, complete with egg-carton snouts and curling-ribbon pig tails for all ten little guests ... pink and silly.

So, it's been a full February.
But no excuses. Color me a recovering slogger, and let's keep moving forward.

Blog on.

image source: sharing nature's garden (thanks, diana!!)