Tuesday, August 31, 2010

moms know best.

another inspirational video to pass along
via the amazing brene brown . . .

the best advice from moms for moms:

how about you? what wisdom would you give your about-to-be-a-mommy self?
are you following your own sage counsel as a mom today??

Monday, August 30, 2010

a survivor worth remembering.

before august comes to a close,
i just must honor the late, great
oscar- & tony-winning actress,
patricia neal.

the husky-voiced, southern-drawled beauty
was born patsy louise neal
in packard, ky, to a coal mine manager &
the daughter of the town doctor.

patsy grew up in knoxville, tn,
where she discovered acting at the age of ten,
watching an impassioned speech about
"demon rum" at a local temperance union contest.
patsy subsequently wrote a note to santa claus
which read, "what i want for christmas
is to study dramatics."

drama she wanted, & drama she got.
& not just on stage & screen.

the producer of patsy's first big broadway break
insisted the patrician-looking new actress call herself patricia.

at 20, patricia neal won a tony award at the first
tony awards ceremony & was a cover girl for life magazine.

at 23, she fell deeply in love with
48yo married-with-daughter gary cooper.
they carried on a torrid but tormented three-year affair,
during which patricia became pregnant & had an abortion.

she later called it the greatest regret of her life.

gary cooper stayed with his family.
patricia neal left to create her own family.

in 1953, neal married british author roald dahl,
even though she didn't love him at the time.
together, the couple had five children &
thirty years of troubled marriage.

in 1960, their third child, theo,
four months at the time,
was severely brain-damaged
when his pram was crushed between a nyc taxi & a bus.

in 1962, their oldest child, olivia,
seven years at the time,
died of measles encephalitis.

in 1964, neal won the best actress oscar
for her performance in "hud."

in 1965, neal was 39 & three months pregnant
when she suffered three strokes
that left her in a coma for three weeks.
when she awoke, she was speechless & semiparalyzed.

her husband basically badgered neal into
learning to walk & talk again.
six months later, she gave birth to a healthy daughter.

but she lived the rest of her life with a limp,
bad vision in one eye & a terrible time memorizing lines.

nevertheless, within three years,
neal was once again nominated for an academy award
for "the subject was roses."

she went on to earn three emmy nominations, as well,
including one for originating the role of olivia walton
in "the homecoming:a christmas story,"
the pilot for the cbs tv series, "the waltons."

& she spent the rest of her life
raising funds for brain-injured children & adults,
establishing the patricia neal rehabilitation center
in her hometown of knoxville.

in 1983, neal discovered that dahl,
a chronic philanderer, had been having
a longtime affair with her best friend.
neal divorced him.
dahl married the "friend" & died seven years later.

twenty years later, patricia neal passed,
on august 8th in her martha's vineyard home,
succumbing to lung cancer at the age of 84.

her family was with her, & noted "her
indomitable grace, good humor &
self-described stubbornness" to the final curtain.

she is survived by her children tessa, theo, ophelia & lucy;
her brother, pete & sister, margaret;
ten grandchildren & one great-grandchild.

"a strong positive attitude," neal once said,
"will create more miracles than any wonder drug."

apparently, ms. neal. apparently.

image source: art, movies, wood & whatnot

Sunday, August 29, 2010

four simple goals.

inspiring idea today from
elsie flannigan's a beautiful mess blog . . .

with one-third of the year left to go, establish
four simple goals to aim for before 2011.

elsie's "rules" for the 4sg:

1. choose simple goals that will make your life richer & happier on a daily basis. choose things you might not otherwise get done, but which aren't difficult to achieve.

2. don't choose result-oriented goals; choose activity-oriented goals. for example, rather than "lose ten pounds," choose something like "eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day." see what i'm saying? positive actions rather than just end result!

3. choose goals that are personal, that you believe will truly make your life richer just by doing them! they can be daily, weekly or one-time experiences.

4. choose a reward for every goal as you achieve it! it can be a small or large reward.

ok, so my four are:

1. drink a pitcher of water every day.
2. get outside - a half-hour or more five days a week.
3. do yoga - @ home with video or a class, one or more times a week.
4. put creative time on the calendar - & honor it!!

how about you? what are your four simple goals for the rest of 2010?
let's share & cheer & celebrate each others' good intentions & successes!!

image source: isavo.com

Saturday, August 28, 2010

who wants cake??

i just completed i was told there'd be cake by sloane crosley
a quirky assemblage of essays, some more enjoyably so than others.

but one insightful paragraph hit my funny bone - the wry portion,
not the silly side - so i thought i'd share it ...
regarding expectations following high school:

you had to do more - go to college, pick a major, get a boyfriend,
a job, an interesting scar, a dream house, an educated position on the death penalty.
suddenly, you had more mail, more keys, more passwords, more toiletries.
and all for less praise.
people are less quick to applaud as you grow older.
life starts out with everyone clapping when you take a poo,
and goes downhill from there.

a rather pessimistic perspective, yes,
but funny, no?

today, praise someone who deserves it! :)

image source: cake central

Friday, August 27, 2010

what a week.

it's been back-to-school week here in austin.
it's also been the worst of our summertime weather to date.

yesterday, it hit a record 107 degrees F. zoinks.
recess is hell ... almost literally.

searing heat aside, it's been an energy-zapping week.

big girl began middle school.
little boy began a new elementary school.

kids full of dread, unsureness, worry.
mama full of conflict, sadness, worry.

of course, five days, a handful of crying jags,
about a hundred school supplies
& thousands of deep breaths later,
we're all ok.

still standing.
but ready for a rest.

one chill weekend, coming up.

meanwhile, for the mamas like me
who feel maybe they've earned another
epaulet or badge or other sort of insignia
on their invisible superwoman uniforms

recently, here's a reminder of the
essential importance of not necessarily
making the world safe for mankind,
but of just making your children's world
a little more manageable for them:

"changing the world is good for those
who want their names in books. but
being happy is for those who write their names
in the lives of others, & hold the hearts of others
as the treasure most dear.”
~ orson scott card ~

image source: life photo archive via google

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

three is a magic number.

okay, not magic, exactly.

but for the first time, the supreme court of the united states
has three women serving on it at the same time.

which means for the first time, there are an equal number of women
serving as supreme court justices as there were
singing in the girl group the supremes.

221 years after the court was established.
45 years after "stop! in the name of love" was released.

of course, none of the women justices are black - yet.
baby steps, gals. baby steps.

so i realize i'm a little late with my bloggy holla!
for new justice elena kagan.
but i was llunching with llamas, y'all.

so mea kulpa, justice kagan [i know you know your latin],
& congratulations on your new job!

some elena ephemera ... she:

is the u.s. supreme court's 112th justice.
is the court's 4th woman justice.

is the first appointee since 1972 to join the court
with no prior judicial experience.

is a new york city native.

is the middle of three children,
& the only daughter.

is the daughter of an elementary-school
teacher mom & an attorney dad.

has two public-school teacher brothers.

essentially forced her orthodox rabbi
to perform his synagogue's first ritual
bat mitzvah [because it was equally as important
as the commonly performed ritual bar mitzvah].

graduated summa cum laude with a b.a. in history
from princeton university, where she also served
as editorial chair of the daily princetonian.

received princeton's daniel m. sachs class of 1960
graduating scholarship, one of the university's
highest general awards.

earned her master of philosophy at oxford university.

graduated magna cum laude with her juris doctor
from harvard law school, where she also served
as supervisory editor of the harvard law review.

clerked for justice thurgood marshall,
who nicknamed her "shorty." [she's 5'3".]

worked as a professor at the
university of chicago law school,
an associate white house counsel
& policy adviser under president bill clinton,
a professor at harvard law school
& as its first female dean,
& as the first female u.s. solicitor general.

argued her first case before an appellate court
- the u.s. supreme court - less than a year ago.

experienced some key professional moments
during the clinton administration's offensive against
the tobacco industry, as she worked to push
anti-smoking legislation through congress &
defend the fda's authority to regulate the industry.

was a teenage smoker.

is the same age as my big sister [50].

so ... who gets to be diana ross
justice ginsburg? justice sotomayor?
or does kagan step in, step up &
take the cake?

[is it disrespectful to playfully equate these
amazing, brilliant, ultimately successful
women leaders to the best of motown?
if so, then mea kulpa ii, your honors ...
& i'll stop! in the name of feminism.
] :)

image sources: yahoo! news, www.ne.se

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

georgia on my mind.

i've been thinking of & wanting to write about
georgia o'keeffe
since our new mexico journey.

i've appreciated her work for decades,
but knew little about her as a person & artist
until we visited santa fe's georgia o'keeffe museum.

amazing, fascinating woman.

& while i might eventually
offer some highlights of her long life here,
today, my full life here & now is moving forward,
holding me firmly in its current.

next monday,
our big girl begins middle school &
our little boy begins a new elementary school.

transition city, here we come.

meanwhile, i'm beginning several new
ambitious professional projects,
following a fairly fallow [& thankfully
so] summer season.

yet, among ms. o'keeffe's cache of
thought-provoking words of wisdom,
i discover appropriate inspiration
for us all.

for them:
"i've been absolutely terrified
every moment of my life ...
& i've never let it keep me from doing
a single thing i wanted to do."

& for me:
"the days you work are the best days."

image source: posters of santa fe

Friday, August 13, 2010


omg. i forgot to mention the hummingbirds.

at the crest of sandia peak,
we naturally stopped off at the gift shop/snack bar
[typically, our family's favorite element of a hike]. ;)

out on the patio was a hummingbird feeder
literally swarmed by dozens of the little buzzers.

it was amazing.

but beyond amazing was the fact that
you could walk right up to the feeder
&, if you were patient & still, eventually
a hummingbird or two would perch
upon your finger while it supped.

seriously wild.

here's the flipvideo
[still developing my calm camera hand] ...
the best hand-sitting happens within the final minute
[of course], but just the swarming
is extraordinary & entertaining.

animal planet, baby.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


the number of miles
our little family drove
over nine days
during our first big road trip.

austin to santa fe
& home again
[home again, jiggity jig].

up to taos to hike & lunch
with llamas ["yah-mahs"].

down to albuquerque to ride
the world's longest aerial tram
& hike to the crest of sandia peak.

along a piece of the rio grande
for a little river rafting &
teensy-weensy toad catching.

a couple of impressive churches.
a couple of beautiful museums.
about a dozen quesadillas.

the plaza. turquoise. kokopelli.

& crystal mesa farm.
lovely. home of ...
donkeys [duke, trooper, puff &
the rowdy girls].
goats. sheep.
geese. ducks.
chickens & a new-found rooster.
a pig in a pigloo.
& olive,
the world's happiest
golden retriever.

far-off coyotes.
close-up snakes.

& the wonderful willey family.
marie, walt, chance & merit,
a thousand thanks.

& all that was just NM.

the road trip?
its own fun.

roswell. rattlesnakes.
paisano pete, the world's largest roadrunner.
old pete, muleshoe's life-size mascot.
the skunk trio of prairie dog town.
the goliath wind farms of big spring.

mad libs. audio books. traveling music.
a big honkin' speeding ticket [zoinks].
wally the worm. his theme song.
& the ghost of spongebob squarepants
at the schlotzsky's in lubbock.

overall, a terrific success. :)

here's my trip haiku:

new mexico road trip.
summer driving, adventure.
llamas were the best.

image source: ozzu webmaster forum

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

celebrate the everyday - august.

it's august, 2010. how will you celebrate being a woman?

august 13the only friday the 13th of 2010
here's hoping it's lucky for you!

august 15best friends day/national relaxation day
girlfriend spa day, anyone?

august 18cupcake day
hey, cupcake! snowcap, please. mmmmm.

august 21national homeless animals day
spay & neuter, spay & neuter.

august 24national waffle day/full moon [the sturgeon or cricket moon]
ah, waffles by moonlight ...

august 26national dog day/women's equality day
"outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend.
inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
words of wisdom from groucho marx ...
whom i might vote for, provided the opportunity. ;D

remember, where there is connection, there is power.
where there is power, there is hope for change. for ourselves, & for our world.
we are all connected. we are all powerful.

until my next post, be well, be happy & be hopeful.

image source: hey, cupcake!