Thursday, May 27, 2010

a first-baseman worth remembering.

um, i mean first-basewoman.

dorothy kamenshek - or dottie or kammie to her gal pals - was likely the best woman baseball player ever.

but what may have made dottie best known among modern generations was her inspiration for the lead character of the 1992 film a league of their own, about the all-american girls professional baseball league.

the movie character - dottie hinson played by geena davis - was a composite. but dottie was the league's clear superstar.

dottie, named among the top 100 female athletes of the century by sports illustrated,
played first base for the rockford [illinois] peaches from 1943 to 1953.

the ohio southpaw was only 17
when she was picked as a peach.
the league's expectations were clear:
look like women. play like men.

which meant shoulder-length or longer hair,
full makeup on the field,
and sliding into bases
in short skirts and bare legs.

strawberry city. and dottie was the mayor.
dorothy kamenshek stole 657 bases during her ten-year baseball career.

she was also the league's top batter,
with a career average of .292.
with 3,736 career at-bats,
she struck out only 81 times.

dottie led her team to four league titles.
she was chose for seven all-star teams.

she was once recruited for
a men's professional team, but refused
the offer, believing it was intended
as a publicity stunt.

dottie retired from baseball in 1953.
the league disbanded in 1954.

dorothy kamenshek went on to earn her degree
in physical therapy at marquette university.

she moved to practice in california, where
she became chief of therapy services for
los angeles county children's services.

she retired from her second successful career in 1980.

dottie died ten days ago at the age of 84
of stroke-related causes.
she never married and left no survivors.

just an inspirational legacy for women athletes
about how a different kind of diamond
can be a girl's best friend.

image source:, yahoo!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

hither & yon.

here & there. all over the place.
that's me right now.

exhausted from all the may mayhem.

a lot
disappointed in yesterday's big blowout
final fifth-grade all-day field trip
with big girl.

swimming = swell.
games = lame. [& it was mostly games.]
lunch = ick. [seriously *ick*.]

a little
depressed, because my big girl
won't be at elementary school
ever again
as of next week.


upon my high-school graduation,
my mother told me,
"life is just a series of endings."
[mom's sort of a pessimist.]

of course, it's true, though
i think of it as
"life is full of change; it's the only constant."
[change = endings + beginnings]

and though i know
old endings necessitate new beginnings,
the endings are getting the better of me.

feeling too many
too soon.

mama needs a cupcake.
who's with me? :\

image source: blognetnews

Friday, May 21, 2010


15 years ago,
we became a family
of two.

beautiful happy day.

i had a nasty cold
& am feeling more run over
than just run down.

big girl was tardy
completing some forgotten homework.

the two of us shared a lunch
of soup, fruit,
& all my children.

15 yellow roses
came to call.

little boy finally got
his happy meal toy at mickey d's.

we had leftovers
for supper.

sweet husband put together
the final pieces of the kids'
new study space.

i fell asleep
sitting up on the sofa
just like my mother.

we laughed.

we are a family
of four.

we are love.
we are blessed.

beautiful happy day.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

as seth & amy might say, *really*??!?

if you're a mom, then there are 27 countries where it's better for you to live than the united states.



greece, italy, ireland, iceland, bosnia, croatia, herzegovina, slovakia, the baltic states, latvia, lithuania, montenegro, singapore.

all better spots to be a mom than the u.s., according to save the children's 11th annual mothers' index.

really!? really.

so how did the u.s. of a rank so low?

1. one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world - 1 in 4,800 women dying of pregnancy-related causes.

2. an above-average under-five mortality rate - 8 in 1,000 births.

3. one of the lowest preschool enrollment rates in the developed world.

4. the stingiest maternity-leave policy, in terms of both time and money, among wealthy nations worldwide.


the very best places to be a mom? norway, australia, iceland, sweden, denmark, new zealand, finland, the netherlands, belgium & germany.

norway's women are well-paid, have easy access to contraception, & are provided with one of the world's most generous maternity-leave policies.

the very worst? equatorial guinea, eritrea, sudan, mali, congo, yemen, guinea-bissau, chad, niger & afghanistan.

afghanistan has high infant mortality, low female life expectancy, & the world's worst primary education rate for girls.

another great reason to be grateful i'm not an afghan woman.

but 28th, america? really??!?

image source: gil hanson

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

two more weeks.

may comes in a close second to december at our house
as far as extra stuff to remember + do.

birthdays. anniversary. travel.

track & field. field trips. class parties.

special events. staff goodies. teacher gifts.

it's easy to become too deeply entrenched in all that outer
& neglect to tap into all this inner - my center, my needs, my deeper self-care.

i simply forget to feed me.

good morning, tuesday. i'm hungry.
now, soul, what do you want to eat?





healthy eats.

portion control.



decluttering + settling.



getting out in nature.

this is my food for thought, my menu for action.
just for now, just for may.

because summertime is just around the corner.
goodbye, busyness. hello, slow.

image source: photo by aaron straus @

Monday, May 17, 2010

get out of your own way.

ah, monday. here we are again.

another awesome mother/daughter weekend at kickapoo kamp with my big girl, my best friend & her daughter, lovely cabinmates, & oddly cooperative weather.

today, serious catchup work to be done.

housework. laundry. workwork. exercise. eye checkup. etc. etc. etc.

so for today, one of the funniest videos of all time.

call it crazy. call it dumb. call it zen. call it monday.

& enjoy!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

the secret of the octogenarian girl sleuth.

it all began with a dime-novel genius who ran a sort of fiction factory.

and a dark-blue convertible.

now, amateur girl sleuth nancy drew is celebrating her 80th anniversary [though she's aged only two years - from 16 to 18 - in the series].

and over the years, her car has also been green, yellow and maroon.

edward stratemeyer of the stratemeyer syndicate created nancy, but died just two weeks following her debut on april 28, 1930, in the secret of the old clock.

his daughters, edna and harriet, stepped up and ran the syndicate for another 52 years.

nancy's author, carolyn keene, was just a pen name for various ghostwriters. the first carolyn keene was mildred wirt benson, who wrote 23 of the first 30 books. harriet stratemeyer adams wrote volumes 31 and 33-56.

since her debut, nancy has solved over 500 cases - but in the classic series [volumes 1-56], never solved murders. over 200 million nancy books have been sold worldwide.

the first 34 volumes were reduced from 25 to 20 chapters, and were revised to omit racial stereotypes.

all three women supreme court justices - sandra day o'connor, ruth bader ginsburg and sonia sotomayor - have noted "daring, intelligent, with tons of initiative" nancy as an early influence.

oh, yeah - and oprah's a fan.

happy happy anniversary to everyone's favorite amateur girl detective, her best friends bess & george, her beau ned and her dog togo - sleuth on, nancy!!

image source: nancy drew sleuth unofficial website

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

a barrier-breaker worth remembering.

ladies and gentlemen, miss lena horne

has passed.

she of the flashing eyes and teeth
was the great-granddaughter of a freed slave

who became the first black performer to sign
a significant contract with a big hollywood studio
[seven years with mgm],

a contract that specified that she would never have to play a maid.

lena was born in brooklyn on june 30, 1917.

her parents - a gambler father and an actress mother - split, and lena was reared by a suffragette maternal grandmother and paternal grandparents who were early members of the national association for the advancement of colored people [naacp].

at 2, lena was the covergirl for the organization's monthly publication - a sign of times to come.

at 16, she became a chorus girl at harlem's cotton club.
she was briefly a broadway dancer.

at 19, she married her first boyfriend, louis jones.
she was briefly a pittsburgh housewife.
they had a daughter and a son, and divorced.

lena returned to performing as a singer,
eventually and accidentally landing her mgm deal.

the studio typically put her in movies just to sing a song or two,
so they could easily cut her colored self
from the picture whenever it played in the south.

two 1943 movies gave her a name - "stormy weather," in which she sang the title tune which became her signature song, and "cabin in the sky."

world war II gave her superstar status - black soldiers couldn't put betty grable's picture in their footlockers, but they could put up miss lena.

she married again in 1947, this time to mgm musical director and white jew lennie hayton. they wed in france, and kept their interracial union a secret for three years.

she was briefly blacklisted by hollywood in the '50s, but continued to thrive via cabaret gigs and records.

1957's lena horne at the waldorf-astoria became rca victor's best-selling album ever by a female singer.

lena was a vocal civil rights activist, beginning with her insistence that she and her band be allowed to stay wherever they entertained, including upscale whites-only hotels.

she was at the civil rights march on washington, and was a key fundraiser for the naacp and the national council of negro women.

lena's final film role was as glinda the good witch in 1978's "the wiz," an all-black adaptation of "the wizard of oz."

in 1981, she set the standard for the one-person musical show with her tony-winning lena horne: the lady and her music.

lena died in manhattan on sunday night at the age of 92.
she leaves behind her daughter and five grandchildren,
her husband and son both having died in 1971.

[lena once confessed the only man she ever really loved was openly gay pianist and composer billy strayhorn.]

she was stunning and fierce and elegant.
she was one-of-a-kind, and not about to let you forget it.

here's lena, upon turning 80:
"my identity is very clear to me now.
i am a black woman. i am free.
i no longer have to be a credit.
i don't have to be a symbol to anybody.
i don't have to be a first to anybody.
i don't have to be an imitation of a white woman
that hollywood sort of hoped i'd become.
i'm me, and i'm like nobody else."

image source:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

if you want to wear leg warmers, wear leg warmers.

i just can't get enough of kelly corrigan [author of the middle place & her latest, lift].

what a woman. what a writer.
and what a lister.

being a woman, writer & lister my own self, she sure gives me a level of creativity & inspiration to aspire to.

hell, she gives me a level of living to aspire to.
dare me. watch this:

oh, honey, who's looking at you??

Monday, May 10, 2010

monday morning message from the universe.

tap, tap. the universe at my shoulder.

good morning, it says.

hope you enjoyed yesterday. mother's day. a holiday just for you.

because it's monday. holiday over.

time for you to hold your big girl's hair while she pukes.

just a little reminder what motherhood's really all about.


happy mother's day.

i spent a great mother's day hanging out & running around with my two miraculous, crazy little blessings.

i hope you enjoyed the same.

but regardless of the quality of this particular mother's day for you,

regardless of whether your holiday was

deep-tissue massage or
deep trenches of motherhood

thoughtful, touching moments or
thoughtlessness & "MOMHE'STOUCHINGMYSTUFF" moments

fun-filled or
freakin' frustrating

regardless, here's the mother's day note you deserve,

yesterday, today & the other 363 days of the year.

because it's sooo not about one dang day per solar orbit.

here's to you, mom:

Friday, May 7, 2010

extra ordinary days, please.

i recently read a wonderful new york times article about the profundity of the everyday by katherine russell rich, a stage 4 cancer survivor of 17 years & counting.

"when i was told i had a year or two, i didn't want anything one might expect: no blowout trip to the galapagos, no perfect meal at alain ducasse, no defiant red maserati. all i wanted was ordinary life back, for ordinary life, it became utterly clear, is more valuable than anything else."

as we dive into mother's day weekend, my sister mamas, i wish you all the gift of many, many ordinary days, & the presence to revel in & be grateful for them.

got kleenex?? watch this [well worth the sniffles]:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

knit graffiti.

so, i'm driving into downtown austin for a client coffee, and i see this series of vibrantly patterned knitted covers over a set of usually plain blue rectangular panels [an art piece erected seven years along south lamar boulevard].

and i think, wow, what are those? they're AWESOME.

once i'm home, i go to to see whether i can uncover what these colorful covers are all about.

voila et merci, austin american-statesman. an article all about austin's "yarn bomber," magda sayeg.

magda sayeg is 36, a wife, mother of three [ages 7-15], and a cafe and bookstore co-owner.

sayeg is also a self-confessed "knit graffiti artist."

she creates colorful knitted pieces to cover everyday public objects, like street lights, signs or poles.

sayeg began knitting in 2005 out of boredom.
her first knitted piece was a cover for the doorknob of her former houston women's store, raye.

today, sayeg spends up to 12 hours a day knitting, as much by hand as possible, but occasionally using a loom for quicker production. she also repurposes old blankets and crocheted pieces for her art.

the coverings i saw were part of a commissioned project sayeg did for art week austin.

[the original blue panels, by the way, are known as moments, an art installation created by architect carl trominski. honestly, they don't move me on their own. sayeg apparently got trominski's ok before beginning her project, and has even called it a collaboration between she and trominski. nice girl.]

this month, sayeg will show over 100 original pieces in rome, including knitted long pink tubes to cover florescent lights so they evoke a lightsaber-ish glow. she also plans to cover a smart car [much like this mexico city bus she covered in 2008].
"i'm questioning the assumptions of knitting," sayeg says. "and i question the assumptions of graffiti."

for a craft typically intended to keep folks warm, knitting as done by magda sayeg is unquestionably coooool.

see sayeg and associates installing the panel coverings:

image source: austin american-statesman

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

must-share, must-see story.

it's got everything - the power of love, forbidden friendship, surprising connections, just a tad of tragedy, longing, fulfillment, a happy ending & a spectacular moral.

amazing story, courtesy of OUR WONDERFUL WORLD.
aren't we lucky to be here now, with the ones we love??

fewer than three minutes to a renewed perspective:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

an activist & advisor worth remembering.

white-girl confession: i didn't know a thing about dorothy height until her death late last month.

color me embarrassed [i.e., i'm a pink girl now].

because not only was dorothy irene height considered to be the grande dame of the civil rights movement, but she was also the first modern movement leader to treat equality for african-americans and equality for women as one and the same.

for example ... she was one of the chief organizers of the 1963 march on washington.

she was among those who insisted that dr. martin luther king, jr. be the final speaker of the day, so that his words would be well-remembered.

she sat just a few seats from the podium as dr. king delivered his inspirational "i have a dream" speech [that's her, above right, in the hat]. later, she mentioned being a little disappointed his talking points didn't address equal rights for women.

wow. amazing, miss dorothy.
and that was just one historic, progressive moment of an amazing life.

dorothy height was born in va and raised in pa.

dorothy was a teen when she commenced her activism career path, protesting at anti-lynching demonstrations.

dorothy was accepted at barnard college, but when she arrived, was denied entrance because the school had already admitted its quota of two black students for the year.

75 years later, barnard college designated miss dorothy as an honorary graduate.

she earned her actual undergraduate degree and her master's degree in educational psychology at new york university.

miss dorothy served as the president of the national council of negro women for forty years.

she helped found the national women's political caucus.

miss dorothy had the attention and ear of first lady eleanor roosevelt and every sitting president since.

she was awarded america's two highest civilian awards - the presidential medal of freedom in 1994 and the congressional gold medal in 2004.

she visited president obama in the oval office 21 times since january 2009.

she died april 20, 2010, of natural causes at the age of 98. she had three dozen honorary doctorates.

president obama eulogized her, wept openly at her funeral, and ordered u.s. flags flown at half-staff on april 29th in her honor.

miss dorothy never married. she loved knitting, sweet potato pie and stylish chapeaus.

amazing, miss dorothy.
amazing miss dorothy.

image sources: freedom's song, associated press

Monday, May 3, 2010

monday morning, mama.

here's a little first-monday-morning-of-may wakeup call for we women,
& one little lady especially ...

from my magical friend & 2010 state musician of texas, ms. sara hickman.

happy first monday of may, all!! :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010


time for my one little word for how i want to be - may edition.

may's word: connected.

connected to my knowing self.

connected to nature, as we experience our final approach into summertime.

connected to my body - in terms of both fitness & sexuality.

connected to my sweet husband - in more ways than one [nudge nudge, wink wink].

connected to my tween-y daughter - as she transitions from elementary school to middle school.

connected to my young son - as he switches schools.

connected to my extended families - both first & birth.

connected to my amazing circle of dear girlfriends.

connected to my passions.

connected to my courage.

connected to play.

connected to creativity.

connected to the universe & whatever it has to offer me.

connected to my senses.

connected to my here & now.

image source: qixtepr

Saturday, May 1, 2010

celebrate the everyday - may.

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

may 1lei day/national dance day
might i suggest a hula?

may 2national play your ukulele day/world laughter day
shouldn't lei day & uke day be one & the same? funny.

may 4respect for chickens day
the best i can do is not eat them for a day ...

may 5great american grump-out day
chicken for supper might help cheer me up ...

may 6no diet day
i can do that.

may 7no pants day
ok, shouldn't no pants day happen before no diet day?

may 11eat what you want day
this sounds suspiciously like no diet day redux ...

may 15international day of families
spend your saturday hanging with the fam.

may 16national sea monkey day
why not international sea monkey day?

may 19turn beauty inside-out day
because inside-out is how beauty really happens.

may 25cookie monster's birthday
mmmmm. coo-kee.

may 31what you think upon grows day
think upon your best life today!

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: brian hofer