Monday, March 29, 2010

monday morning gratitudes.

no better way to get a week underway than with a laundry list of gratitudes ...

1. best. showerhead. ever. the speakman anystream, people. write it down.

2. method cleaning products, especially their new laundry detergent. cleans with a light, fresh scent, without toxins, and my heart's pumping for the pump [four pumps = a full load] - buh-bye, bulky jugs!

3. rupaul. i can't make it through a full episode of rupaul's drag race - too much drag queen/drama queen action for even me. but the back half is worth a gander ... rupaul is absolutely fabulous every show [including as his natural 50yo male self], and the moment when he lets one contestant know they're leaving is priceless - "you're fired"-equivalent catch phrase? "sashay away."

4. dancing with the stars - the girl can't help it. predictably hating nicole "pussycat doll" scherzinger - oversexed ringer. unexpectedly loving niecy nash - all that and an unabashed cheeseburger.

5. modern family - feels so good to have some watch-worthy sitcoms programmed into the dvr again! i've got a huge gay crush on cam/fizbo [though the actor, eric stonestreet, is apparently stone-straight, so unsure about all that ... ].

6. the phosphorescent green sheen on all outdoors of welcome, welcome springtime.

7. the top-secret duck pond we've discovered - only ten minutes from home with a sonic in-between, & with a new gang of ducklings weekly to be cooed over, counted & named [hello, newest additions: duck 1, duck 2 & speckles!!].

8. decluttered kids' spaces. updating of daughter's room decor still in progress, but earning taste trust through awesome area rug choices: priceless.

9. my sweet husband. double nickels & some kind of wonderful.

10. a yard that has be mowed, edged, weeded, trimmed, pruned, mulched & blown clean - all by someone else. :)

image source:

Friday, March 26, 2010

a texan worth remembering.

It's the end of an era, as far as I'm concerned.

First Ann, then Molly, then Lady Bird. Now Liz. One by one, our strong, loud, independent, hilarious, yellow-dog yellow roses of Texas have been lost to the ages.

Liz Carpenter - White House press secretary, activist, author, Democratic Party Girl, dangerously quick wit, feminist, Force of Nature, & Texan by the grace of God - died last Saturday of pneumonia at age 89.

A sixth-generation Texan, Liz - nee Mary Elizabeth Sutherland - had relatives who died at the Alamo, wrote the Texas Declaration of Independence, served in the Civil War, fought for women's suffrage, and founded the Central Texas town of Salado, where she was born.

She was the middle child of five, moved to Austin when she was seven. She found two of her lifelong loves - her future husband, Les, and journalism - at Austin High School. The couple went to The University of Texas, and Liz found a third lifelong love - politics. She was the first woman ever elected vice president of the student body.

Les and Liz married and moved to Washington, DC, to open up their own news bureau. Liz began by covering President Franklin Roosevelt's administration and New Deal, but really came into her own when then-Vice President Lyndon Johnson hired her as his executive assistant, serving chiefly as his press secretary.

It was Liz who wrote the 58 words delivered by newly sworn-in President Johnson on the November day President John Kennedy was assassinated:

"This is a sad time for all people. We have suffered a loss that cannot be weighed. For me, it is a deep personal tragedy. I know that the world shares the sorrow that Mrs. Kennedy and her family bear. I will do my best. That is all I can do. I ask for your help and God's."

Liz transferred to First Lady Lady Bird Johnson's staff as director and press secretary. She was the darling of the press corps. The Secret Service code-named her "Springtime." And she and the First Lady developed a close friendship that lasted longer than 60 years.

And that was only the beginning. Liz went on to help launch the National Women's Political Caucus, lead the Equal Rights Amendment Initiative, serve on the International Women's Year Commission for President Gerald Ford, serve as assistant secretary of public affairs under the Secretary of Education for President Jimmy Carter, and serve on the advisory committee of the White House Conference on Aging for President Bill Clinton.

She wrote five books, was honored by The University of Texas with the Liz Sutherland Carpenter Distinguished Visiting Lectureship in the Humanities and Sciences, battled breast cancer twice - and won, and planned her own funeral, complete with two rehearsals so everyone playing a role knew just what to do. She will be cremated and her ashes, mixed with wildflower seeds, will be scattered on a hill in Salado.

Liz is survived by her daughter, Christy, of New York, her son, Scott, of Washington state, a grandson named for her late husband, and a step-granddaughter.

So many folks have so many wonderful things to say about Liz Carpenter, but I especially like this quote from Cathy Bonner, former executive director of the Texas Department of Commerce and founder of Dallas' Women's Museum:

"She was a feminist's feminist, a mentor's mentor and a stand-up comic's comedian. I loved her wisdom and her wit, her Texas soil and salt-of-the-earth sensibilities, and her loyalty to family, friends and yellow dogs."

For decades, she was Austin's grand dame, and for her whole life, she was a dame who was grand. I hope she and Lady Bird, Molly and Ann are all together up above, swapping stories, laughing until they cry, and watching over the Texas women they left behind in awe and gratitude.

image source: jennifer hill robenalt

Monday, March 22, 2010

a new dog-itude.

from a recently received viral emessage [thanks, Di!!] ...

excerpt from a dog's daily diary

8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 am - Getting petted! My favorite thing!
11:00 am - Naptime! My favorite thing!
1:00 pm - Playing out in the yard! My favorite thing!
3:00 pm - Milk Bones! My favorite thing!
5:00 pm - Suppertime! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm - Fetching the ball! My favorite thing!
9:00 pm - Watching TV with my people! My favorite thing!
11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!

A darling dog-themed reminder to be present, happy & grateful?
My favorite thing! :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

jasmine the dog, wonder mum.

I simply can't resist passing along the touching story of Jasmine. Jasmine the greyhound was found seven years ago by the English police, abandoned, cold, filthy and malnourished.

Taken to the Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary and nurtured to good health, she has since taken care of 15 rabbits, 15 chicks, 8 guinea pigs, 5 fox cubs, 4 badger cubs, 2 stray puppies and a tiny roe deer fawn.

"She simply dotes on the animals as if they were her own, it's incredible to see," says Geoff Grewcock, who runs the sanctuary. "She takes all the stress out of them, and it helps them to not only feel close to her, but also to settle into their new surroundings. As soon as an animal is brought in, she walks over, takes a sniff or two, and then licks and cuddles them. It is quite amazing."

You can read the whole story here. And thanks to my big sister for sending it along to me!! :)

image source: the daily mail

Friday, March 19, 2010

bird + french fry = :)

Just bought this print from Etsy's Studio Mela [tagline: surround yourself in positivity].

Love it.
Happy Friday, all!! :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

the love monk.

Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh [English pronunciation: Tik- N'yat-Hawn] talks - OK, full disclosure, yes, with Oprah via O magazine- about the four mantras he concentrates on during his meditation practice:

The first one is, Darling, I'm here for you. When you love someone, the best you can offer is your presence. You cannot love if you are not there.

The second mantra is Darling, I know you are there and I am so happy. Because you are fully there, you recognize the presence of your beloved as something very precious. To be loved means to be recognized as existing. You embrace your beloved with mindfulness.

The third mantra is what you practice when your beloved one is suffering: Darling, I know you're suffering. That is why I am here for you. Before you do something to help, your presence already can bring some relief.

And the fourth mantra is when you suffer and you believe your suffering has been caused by your beloved. You are hurt, and you want to punish him or her for having made you suffer. The mantra is to overcome that: Darling, I suffer. I am trying my best to understand. Please help me. You go to him or her, and you practice that. In this way, you have expressed your trust. You don't want to punish anymore, and you suffer less right away.

Invaluable love relationship insight from an 83yo virgin. Wow.

image source: buddhachannel

Friday, March 12, 2010

what a wonderful world ... of women.

Monday was the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. Many countries honor the occasion with a national holiday, including Vietnam, Russia and China. But not here in the good old U-S-of-A, no sir – er, ma’am. Here in America, the best we can do is hold a media event at the White House … which is nothing to sneeze at, I realize, but still, it’s not exactly a national holiday, now, is it? Heck, it’s not even a Hallmark-created holiday.

Lowered expectations, anyone?

Anyway, the State Department commemoration was kind of cool. President Obama and the First Lady welcomed women of the Obama Administration, members of Congress, women’s organization leaders and high-school students to their albino abode. Women working to help women all around the world were honored. And Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got all girlfriend-y.

Yes, ‘Chelle and Hill actually managed to make light of the dark 2008 duel between Clinton and Barack for the Democratic presidential nomination. The First Lady briefly stumbled over Clinton’s job title: “Let me thank my dear friend, Senator – Secretary Clinton. I almost said President Clinton,” quipped Mrs. O to laughter and applause.

“But let me thank you for your friendship,” the First Lady continued, “for your support … and for your indispensable advice in getting me through this first year and helping me figure out how to get my family settled in our new life in D.C.”

But the tone of the event turned serious as the President noted the challenges America still faces along the road to gender equality:

“Even as we reflect on the hope of our history, we must also face squarely the reality of the present – a reality marked by unfairness, marked by hardship for too many women in America. The statistics of inequality are all too familiar to us – how women earn just 77 cents for every dollar men make; how one in four women is the victim of domestic violence at some point in her life; how women are more than half the population, but make up only 17% of the seats in Congress, and less than 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs.

“These, and any number of other facts and figures, reflect the fundamental truth that in 2010, full gender equality has not yet been achieved.”

So that's the bad news – a misnomer, since it's not really "news," now, is it? And the good news? The ten amazing women who earned the U.S. State Department's 2010 International Women of Courage Award:
  • Dr. Lee Ae-ran of the Republic of Korea, for promoting human rights in North Korea and aiding the refugee community in the Republic of Korea;
  • Shukria Asil of Afghanistan, for promoting governmental responsiveness to meet women's needs;
  • Androula Henriques of Cyprus, for fighting human trafficking;
  • Jansila Majeed of Sri Lanka, for strengthening rights for internally displaced persons;
  • Jestina Mukoko of Zimbabwe, for documenting human rights abuses;
  • Sister Marie Claude Naddaf of Syria, for working for social services for women;
  • Ann Njogu of Kenya, for seeking social transformation and being at the forefront of reforms in Kenya;
  • Sonia Pierre of the Dominican Republic, for ending discrimination based upon country of origin and the human rights abuses of statelessness;
  • Colonel Shafiqa Quraishi of Afghanistan, for integrating women into the government and police force; and
  • Shadi Sadr of Iran, for advocating for women's legal rights and an end to execution by stoning.
Please click on their names and learn more about this extraordinary, global top ten and how each is making a difference in the world for women.

image source: associated press

Thursday, March 11, 2010

slice of life with seven-year-old boy.

Evening. I'm in my home office, on the phone.

My 7yo son walks in, holding a pair of brown fleece sweatpants in one hand. His expression is beseeching - he clearly wants to ask or tell me something, but knows the rule: Don't talk to Mommy while she's talking on the phone.

He begins to gesticulate with his free hand, drawing huge, backward letters in the air, and stretching his little mouth every which way as he silently articulates his urgent message.

I've no clue what he's so desperately trying to get across. I shrug my shoulders, shake my head a little and point to the phone - I'm on the phone. Don't interrupt.

But he's determined to try, try again. His gestures grow even wilder, his mouth distorts even further. His blue eyes are wide, pleading, as he waves the pants around in the air.

He's not giving up. Finally, I surrender.

"I'm sorry, can you hold on just a minute?" I ask my friend. "What is it?" I hiss at my little boy.

"I just want to know whether these pants are clean for St. Patrick's Day," he says with relief.

St. Patrick's Day is over a week away. The pants are brown.

"Yes, those are clean. But ... "

"Thank you!" he sings as he skips off to the living room.

I laugh at his emotional extremes and his utter randomness ... and return to my logical, grownup, boring-ass conversation.

Love him. Love my life. Lucky me. :)

image source:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

smitten with sandra.

Oh, Sandy. So, so many reasons to love you . . .

... maybe it's because you've got such a natural beauty & way of being out in the world, your lack of pretense, your straight talk, your easy hilarity & talent for physical comedy ...

... maybe it's your unlikely choice of a brawny biker for a lifemate, or the clear, deep love & affection & respect the two of you hold for one another ...

... maybe it's because you have five dogs, two of whom have missing legs, and they all sleep up on the bed with you ...

... maybe it's because you stood by your man, fighting with him for and winning custody of his five-year-old daughter ...

... maybe it's because you let your little stepdaughter choose the gown you wore for the Oscars - a gown which garnered you rave red-carpet reviews ...

... maybe it's because you gave the best acceptance speech of the evening as you won the Academy Award for Best Actress ...

... maybe it's because of the huge mom holla! you included in that spectacular speech & in your Oprah interview the morning after, honoring "the moms who take care of the babies and the children, no matter where they come from," and thanking your own mom, Helga, for "reminding her daughters there's no race, no religion, no class system, no color, nothing, no sexual orientation that makes us better than anyone else. We are all deserving of love."

"The good mamas are often tough mamas," you said. This is one tough mama's who's writing that down, Sandy ...

... maybe it's because you won a Razzie & an Oscar within 24 hours, & accepted both with grace & humor ...

... or maybe it's just because you're an Austin girl like me.

No matter the reason - I'm utterly smitten along with the rest of America, & wish you happy, happy congratulations, & many, many snickerdoodle pies to come.

image source: yahoo!

it's women's history month ...

... so it follows a woman should make history at the 2010 Academy Awards. Huge kudos to Kathryn Bigelow, who became the first woman in Oscar's 82-year history to win Best Director.

It was a beautiful, full-circle moment when Barbra Streisand presented the golden man to Bigelow for her work on "The Hurt Locker." It was a worrisome, nerve-wracking moment a few minutes later when her film received the Best Picture award, and Bigelow looked like she was about to either pass out or throw up on stage. Luckily, she did neither - just stayed stunning (she's unbelievably 58yo!) and gracefully entered into the annals of women's history.

Oh, and bonus - her wins were both over her ex-husband, the titan-ic James Cameron and his favorited film, "Avatar."

image source: associated press

Monday, March 8, 2010

one more Olympic moment.

So many inspiring women, so many incredible performances.

And then there's this headgear side-by-side from Yahoo!'s Fourth-Place Medal blog: Canadian speedskater Kalyna Roberge & not-quite-look-alike Cat With Lime Hat.

I laughed aloud upon first seeing it, and it still makes me giggle.
By the way, Roberge won the silver medal in the 3,000-meter relay in Vancouver.

Happy Monday!! :D

Friday, March 5, 2010

girls gone gold - vancouver edition.

OK, so two years ago, I actually achieved daily blogging coverage of the girl-against-girl action of the Beijing Summer Olympics. I don't remember how I found time to do it, but I do remember being extremely exhausted by the time the closing ceremonies came around.

I *love* the Olympics. So by last weekend's closing ceremonies, I was still exhausted from staying up late every night with my guy Bob Costas [side note to Costas: Let a little grey into the hair, man. It's past time, it looks good - distinguished, authoritative - on men, and it will help distract from the work you've had done around your eyes and the frozen-eyebrow botox effect you've got going on.], catching up with all the day's medal-centric agonies and ecstasies. But because I've been slogging (slacking + blogging), I hadn't a single post to show for all my TV time.

But I just can't let all the amazing women of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics go without some official kudos from a blog they'll likely never read, but a girl who thinks they're the total bomb, just the same.

So five days later, here's my quick list of a dozen+ women Olympians who stood out like crimson maple leaves in the snow ...

Shelley-Ann Brown, Kaillie Humphries, Heather Moyse, Helen Upperton - The Canadian women bobsledders achieved a 1-2 finish in two-woman bobsleigh, with Humphries and Moyse winning the gold and Brown and Upperton coming in second for the silver. But the women's real Olympic spirit shone through in the way they rose above the cutthroat competition involved in securing a Canadian Olympic bobsleigh spot. Rather than holding grudges, they held onto each other, goofily indulging an interviewer's request for a few bars of the Black-Eyed Peas song "I Gotta Feeling." They definitely had one, so why not??

Clara Hughes - The first woman ever to win multiple medals at both the Winter and Summer Olympics, Hughes won a bronze medal in the 5,000-meter speed skating competition ... to add to the gold she won in the same race in Turin, the silver she won in the team pursuit there, the bronze she won in the 5,000 in Salt Lake City, and the two cycling bronze medals she won in Atlanta. This was the 37yo Canadian's final Olympics.

Hannah Kearney - The 23yo moguls skier won the U.S. Olympic team's first Vancouver gold, upsetting homegirl/defending Olympic and current world champion Jennifer Heil of Canada, who won the silver.

Anastazia Kuzmina - Kuzmina became the first Slovakian ever to win a gold medal at a Winter Olympics when she completed the 7.5-kilometer biathlon sprint in 19 minutes, 55.6 seconds. She missed one shot, but sped around the 150-meter penalty loop fast enough to make up for it. It was the 25yo's first Olympic games, where she also won a silver in the 10-kilometer biathlon pursuit.

Kristie Moore - Almost six months pregnant, 30yo Moore was just an alternate for the Canadian women's curling team, but she got a little ice time during the Canadians' 6-2 win over Sweden. Moore is only the second athlete ever known to be pregnant during Olympic competition - 90 years ago, Swedish figure skater Magda Julin won a gold medal at the Antwerp games while in her first trimester. The modern-day Swedes ultimately swept off with the gold, but with a silver medal to show for it, Moore has a magnificanet memory for her child's baby book.

Maria Riesch - 25yo German skier Riesch won two gold medals in Vancouver, including one in the slalom. Her younger sister, Susanne, was also a contender for the medal stand following the first slalom run, but crashed and earned a "did not finish" for the race. When Maria completed her race, rather than celebrating her victory, she immediately went to embrace her devastated sister. "This is the greatest day of my life and, at the same time, my sister's world is falling apart," said sister Maria. "I just felt so sorry for her, I had to console her."

Joannie Rochette - Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette [above] was the embodiment of Olympic heroism during the Vancouver games. The 23yo's mother, Therese, suffered a fatal heart attack in Vancouver just 60 hours prior to her daughter's competition. Rochette harnessed her grief to perform her short and long programs amazingly, both she and her homeland crowd brimming with emotion. She won the bronze and the hearts of millions worldwide.

Angela Ruggiero - The 30yo captain of the U.S. women's hockey team not only led her girls to a silver medal in Vancouver, but helped the team win the gold in Nagano (1998), another silver in Salt Lake City (2002) and a bronze in Turin (2006). The U.S. women's ultimate loss to Canada was Ruggiero's final Olympic tournament, but as a recently elected member of the International Olympic Committee, she'll be connected with the Olympic games for the next eight years.

Shannon Szabados - Szabados made the difference for the Canadian women's hockey team as they took their third Olympic gold over their arch-rival, the Americans. Named goalie of the tournament, the 23yo Szabodos made 28 saves during the game. Paired with Marie-Philip Poulin's two goals, Szabados' shutout equaled gold for the hometown team.

Hannah Teter - The snowboarder won a silver in Vancouver to go with her gold in Turin, but her athletic ability isn't the only thing about Teter that reaches above and beyond her 23 years. Teter is a unique and generous soul, contributing her prize money to charity, selling syrup to support a Kenyan village, peddling panties to raise funds for Haiti, and planning to live off of 100% solar and wind power once she returns to her cozy Vermont yurt.

Lindsay Vonn - Despite an injured shin and utter busts in three of her five skiing events, Sports Illustrated cover girl Vonn became the first American woman ever to win an Olympic gold medal in downhill. She bronzed later in the Super-G, but seeing the 25yo's sobbing jag of relief + disbelief + overwhelming joy as she embraced her husband/coach following her golden run was an Olympic moment to remember.

Kim Yu-Na - The South Koreans don't call her The Queen for nothing. Kim reigned supreme over her figure-skating competitors, winning the gold by more than 23 points and shattering her own world record by over 18 points. South Korea's first non-speedskating Winter Olympics medal-winner, 19yo Kim will no doubt retain her royal nickname and her status as her home country's most popular athlete.

Hall of Shame:
Women's Ski Jumping - Wondering why we never witnessed the women's ski jumping event? Don't blame NBC; it never happened. Apparently, women can do high-impact snow-skiing events like aerials and ski cross, but according to Olympic organizers, they essentially just aren't good enough or there aren't enough world-class women ski jumpers to justify an event at the games.

Yet last year, women had their own event at the Nordic World Ski Championship. Hmmm ...

Come on, seriously? It's 2010. You guys have got four more years to quit playing gender games with the Olympic games and move into the 21st century.

See you in Sochi.

image source: associated press

Thursday, March 4, 2010


This morning, Good Morning America featured a short film created by students from Austin's Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, wishing Austinite Sandra Bullock good luck at the Oscars this Sunday - she's nominated for best actress for the first time for her star turn in The Blind Side. Bullock was a founding member of the Ann Richards School Advisory Board and is a big supporter of the school.

Check out the love from some hometown girls to another:

I give money to the school each year, but this makes me want to go volunteer!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

a friend worth remembering.

I hit a dubious milestone this week, and it hurt.
I lost my first close friend to breast cancer.

Her name was Irmtraud, a German name which translates into "whole strength."
Wow. No coincidence there.

Here's what she was ...
Dear friend.
Generous soul.
German sister.
Passionate gardener.
Animal lover.
Life lover.
Fierce spirit.

And so much more.

Thank you, my friend, for letting me join you
along the final section of your journey.
For letting me be there for you.
For seeing me as the person I hope to be,
even though I often can't see it myself.

Love & miss you. So much.

image source: the sugar monster

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Following a February respite, my Twelve [eleven??] Little Words concept returns - a new how-I-want-to-be word every month to meditate and reflect upon.

March's word: open.

open heart.

open mind.

open spirit.

open to the Universe & whatever it has to offer.

open to acceptance.

open to love, regardless of whether or not I believe it's deserved.

open to letting go.

open to forgiveness.

open to playfulness.

open to new perspectives.

open to new ways.

open to new challenges.

open to different.

open without judgment.

open to help.

open to helping.

open, sesame.

image source: micagoto

Monday, March 1, 2010

celebrate the everyday - march.

It's March, 2010. How will you celebrate being a woman?

March 1Beer Day
What day *isn't* Beer Day?
March 4Do Something Day/National Grammar Day
Do something to promote good grammar!
March 8Day for Women's Rights & International Peace/International Working Women's Day/Girls Write Now Day
As a working woman writer for peace, I figure I'm covered.
March 9Organize Your Home Office Day
I'll be filing, filing, filing [I prefer piling, piling, piling].
March 10International Day of Awesomeness
Celebrate you & your like, total awesomeness today.
March 12Girl Scouts Day
Mmmm, Samoas ...
March 15Napping Day
Schedule a little down time for yourself today.
March 17 Campfire Girls Day
Mmmm, s'mores ...
March 20Vernal Equinox
Welcome, Springtime!!
March 23National Puppy Day
Go sniff some puppy breath.
March 25Letting Go of Stuff Day
Declutter your body, your budget, your bedroom, your business.
March 27Earth Hour
8:30 - 9:30 p.m. wherever you are. Lights out, environment in.
March 29 - Full moon [the Worm Moon]

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.

image source: