Monday, December 5, 2011

claus with pause.

in the spirit of celebrating the season
[rather than preparing for a season to celebrate a day],
i settled in this first monday morning of december
& put together a list [yes, another list!]
of how i intend to spend this holiday,
as inspired by my favorite life balance guru & dear friend
renée trudeau.
[read her original, inspiring e-newsletter.]

renée suggests some themes for a new way of experiencing the holidays;
they all sounded delicious to me, so
i created an intentional sampler for the season
to help me celebrate with savor . . .

i'm calling my 2011 holiday plan [wait for it . . . ]
"claus with pause."

here's what i want for christmas
[oh, & some material stuff, too, of course!]:

:: unscheduled time — for napping, walking, yoga-ing.

:: creative expression — via decor, food, gifts.

:: spiritual practice — via gratitude, music, being out in nature.

:: abundant giving — of money, blankets & toys.

:: family connection — by expressing affection, appreciation & lightness.

how about you?
how do you want to experience the holidays?
& how do you plan to get there from here?

image source: yvi`s torten & tortenfiguren @

Thursday, November 24, 2011

'tis a season.

i've been considering christmas.

of course, it's difficult not to
think of the holiday of holidays,
since it's been beginning to look a lot like it
since mid-october.

so i've been thinking about
how it's called the holiday season,
this annual span from
thanksgiving to the new year.

so this year, i'm trying to treat it as such.

rather than a timebomb-like countdown
to a single explosive day
of extreme merriment & overindulgence,

i'm trying to think of it as a season
that starts with abundance & gratitude,
& finishes with a fresh start,

with some giving, receiving & caroling in-between.

at the risk of seeming banal,
i'm trying to enjoy the journey.

avoid getting caught up in the
anticipation & expectation
as much as possible.

just be here now,
moment by seasonal moment.

live it like it's
more about the presence
than the presents, yo.

so here's my mantra for holiday 2011
[feel free to adopt or adapt as you like]:

find the joy.
share the jolly.
breathe deep

& believe.

image source:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

obama likes girls.

a few months ago, the winners of the
inaugural google science fair
were announced.

from over 7,500 entries
from over 10,000 students
from over 90 countries,

three were chosen.
& they are all american girls.

how cool is that?

lauren hodge [above left]
won the 13-14yo age group
for studying the different levels
of carcinogens in grilled chicken,
depending upon the type of sauce used.

naomi shah [above right]
won the 15-16yo age group
for working to prove that
tweaking indoor environments can
improve air quality &
lessen dependence upon asthma medication.

shree bose [above, center]
won the 17-18yo age group & grand prize
for improving ovarian cancer treatment
for patients who have developed
a resistance to some chemotherapy drugs.

how cool is that?

earlier this month, these three amazing young women
visited the white house & the first couple.

about the same time, the president addressed a dinner
hosted by the national women's law center honoring
the women freedom riders of the civil rights movement.

he eloquently spoke of the importance of
continuing the fight for equality for women & girls.
"when women succeed," he said, "america succeeds."

sadly, american women still lag behind men
overall in science & math, & we still earn
only 77 cents for every man-earned dollar.

but, as the president duly noted,
this trio of bright, innovative girls
proves how america is still
"a place where ideas are born, where dreams can grow,

& where a student in a classroom
or a passenger on a bus
or a legal secretary in an office
can stand up & decide to change the world."

how cool is that??
really, really, really cool.

you go, girls.

image source:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


two days ago,
for the second time,
we walked the austin komen race for the cure.

5K with my family & fellow jazzercisers.

our oak hill jazzercisers walk-for-the-cure team
came together for the first time last year,
spurred by the loss of one of ours --
a dear friend of mine --
following a brutal battle
[is there any other sort?]
with breast cancer.

it took her breasts.
then it took her eyebrows.
then it took her life.

but it never took her spirit.

irmtraud fought to the bitter end, february 2010.

then last summer, one of our instructors
was diagnosed & began treatment.

rosi had completed chemo &
was scheduled to begin radiation the day after
she walked with us a year ago.

it was a long, hard 3.1 miles for her.
followed by a long, hard year.

but she wasn't alone.

here she is during the last leg of last year's walk,
getting a little help from oak hill jazzercise owner,
fearless leader & fabulous friend, grace.

breast cancer has sadly touched so many lives . . .
do you know anyone who doesn't know someone
who has suffered from this dread disease?

yeah. me, neither.

but it seems for every story of surrender
there's a story of survival.

happily, that was rosi's story this year.
here are she & grace again, at the 2011 walk.

what difference a year makes, huh?

blessedly, she's in full recovery &
we're all praying she stays there,

for next year's walk
& many more to come.

or for the cure & ensuing celebration,
whenever it comes.


a huge shout-out to
my amazingly generous family & friends,
who contributed $1,080 to support us & the cause.
i owe you. & you awe me.
thank you!!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

monday morning mirth.

mommies come up with such clever ways
to showcase their babies nowadays.

i've been enchanted by mila's daydreams,
as captured by her amazing mama, adele.

& i've been envious of clara's photo project,
as captured by her amazing folks, sherry + john.

but today, i'm lol'ing at young arthur,
apparent movie buff in-the-making,
as captured by his amazing mum, emily,
via the blog "arthur recreates scenes from classic movies."

fairly self-explanatory, really.

at top is arthur's recreation of, yes,
the godfather.

here's the blair witch project:

& alien:

for more giggles, go to arthur + emily's blog.
so very clever, & faster + cheaper than netflix.

happy week, all!! :D

Thursday, November 3, 2011

what i've got.

still thinking about gratitude today . . .

& focusing on being grateful for what i have
rather than concentrating on what i lack.

i'm so very thankful i have . . .

:: a sweet & loving husband.
:: two beautiful, bright & loving children.
:: two still-healthy septuagenarian parents
who brought me up to be who i am today.
:: a close & caring relationship with my sister & brother.
:: many, many birthfamily members who are bonus blessings.
:: a extra-special connection with my birth-aunt & half-sister.
:: three good, spotty dogs.
:: many, many fabulous friends, both near & far.
:: overall wellness & some wonderful folks who help me keep it.
:: a dream house in a great neighborhood.
:: my honda element, aka the happy-mobile.
:: a flourishing freelance career.
:: a cache of exceptional clients.
:: so much inspiration, i don't know what to do with it all.
:: oprah. gayle. ellen. rosie. renée.
:: ann. molly. ladybird. linda.
:: michelle o. elizabeth w. gabrielle g.
:: ella. sara. ingrid.
:: martha. pat. irmtraud.
:: my natural talents.
:: my god-given gifts.
:: aha! moments.
:: music, music, music.
:: a seeking spirit.
:: a well-developed sense of optimism.

& much, much more. but this is a good beginning.
so, how about you? what have you got that you're grateful for today??

image source:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

awww & awe.

& it's november.
the month of gratitude.

i'm kicking it off with
three things i'm grateful for today:

1. the power of the internet to connect our world
with fabulous, fascinating & fun information,
especially via video.

2. this hilarious, poignant video of
a little birthday girl's extreme dedication & love
for her puppy pinata — just under two minutes of

3. this beautiful, spiritual video of
a murmuration of european starlings signaling the beginning of winter
above ireland's river shannon — just under two minutes of

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

& you're welcome. :)
so, what are you grateful for today? please share [videos welcome]!

Friday, October 28, 2011

say yes, say no.

so, i'm currently enrolled in & enjoying
a four-week telecourse with my dear friend,
author & life balance coach renée trudeau.

it's called a new way of being
let go, embrace flow & love your life.

sounds amazing, yes? oh, yes.

yet, i'm realistic. i realize four hour-long conference calls,
a handful of emessages & a facebook group
aren't going to magically transform my life
or transport me into a new way of living it.

still, it's providing me with refreshed perspective,
some aha! insights, & many tasty concepts for my
spirit, intellect & psyche to chew on.

for example, during our latest class/call,
renée mentioned, as her new way of being,
things she was saying "yes" to
& others she was saying "no" to.

inspired, i put together my oui/non list du jour:

today, i say yes to
:: the fall weather front
:: morning minutes
:: following my gut for my girl
:: being softer & more structured simultaneously
:: pacing myself
:: a poncho-like sweater
:: a pedicure
:: approaching the holidays
:: three days of single parenthood
:: a glass of wine
:: scrapbooking
:: breathing
:: healing
:: abundance
:: love.

today, i say no to
:: humidity
:: contempt
:: hardness & harshness
:: resentment
:: scrambling to keep up
:: homework over sleep
:: mirror abuse
:: the why's of what's not working
:: worries about the past or the future
:: operating from fear.

so, what are you saying yes or no to today??

image source:

Monday, October 24, 2011

hello, monday. {linkup!}

i'm linking up with lisa leonard
to tell this monday hello!

hello, final week of october — you've been a monstrous month!

hello, slowly improving weather.
[hello, rain? please???]

hello, appreciation for great clients.
[hello, new projects? please???]

hello, prepping for a creepy critters party —
pumpkins & spiders & skulls [oh, my!].

hello, putting final touches on hallowe'en costumes.

hello, putting christmas[!] binder together.

hello, empowered ease, morning minutes, decluttering,
oprah's lifeclass & universal guidance.

hello, three days of single-parenthood.

hello, return to scrapbooking.

hello, dearest girlfriends.

hello, dad's 80th year.

hello, new day for libya.

hello, old right for americans to peaceably assemble.

hello, monday — it's gonna be a good week, dangit!!

so, what are you saying hello to today?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

a teen mom.

a teen mom . . .
that's me.

not a mom who's a teen,
but as of today, a mom of a teen.

yep. big girl turns "lucky" 13 today.

& i don't like it.

not because we're already experiencing
a taste of teenage angst/attitude/hormones,
& realizing we're facing several years
of the same — & no doubt worse — ahead of us.

not because her growing up
means i'm growing old ... er.
[see "cruel irony of moms & daughters
going through 'the change' simultaneously."

but because she's 13.

how is this possible

when she was just awakening us via baby monitor
with the sweetest little babbling sing-songs,
live from the crib at the crack of dawn,
bright & shiny as a penny in the brand new day?

when she was just riding in the front of the basket
& wowing the cashier at target
by answering the question about her favorite dinosaur
with "a pawathauwapholuth [parasaurapholus]"?

when she was just pressing her preschooler ear
to my big belly, "listening" to her little brother?
"does it sound like the ocean?" i wondered.
"it sounds like a little bird," she chirped.

how is this possible
when i was just feeling her
roll around in my round belly

i'm unnerved by how this occasion unravels me.

from seemingly nowhere, i'm reminded of
kahlil gibran's words of wisdom on children:

your children are not your children.
they are the sons & daughters of life's longing for itself.
they come through you, but not from you,
& though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

& i realize that until just about now,
i thought that poem was philosophically lovely,
but not really true.

i mean, of course she came from me —
look at her eyes, look at my stretch marks!
of course she belongs to me —
see how she needs me, see how i take care of her!

of course she is my child.
who else's??

today, i get it.

she has begun to shed the skin of being my child,
& today, i'm beginning to feel it.

what i'm feeling today are the first twinges of her
coming through me
into her own self.

& just like our first labor together,
i work to breathe through the pain.
breathe through to the other side.

welcome to the world,
my amazing, beautiful, brilliant, miraculous

teen girl.

image source: her & me, 11.98.

Monday, October 17, 2011

set your dvr!

in one week, american teenagers spend
31 hours watching television,
17 hours listening to music,
10 hours online,
4 hours reading magazines,
& 3 hours watching movies.

that's almost eleven hours a day of media consumption.

& the collective message our young women & men
overwhelmingly get through that media is that
a woman's value & power lie in her youth, beauty & sexuality.

the documentary miss representation
challenges the media's extremely limited & frequently demeaning portrayals
of women & girls,
& exposes how the media contributes to the under-representation
of women in positions of power & influence in america.

today, the u.s. is 90th worldwide for women
in national legislatures.
women hold only 3% of executive positions
in american mainstream media, while
65% of women & girls have eating disorders.

the oprah winfrey network [own]
will air miss representation
this thursday, october 20th, @ 8p CDT,
followed by the doc club with rosie o'donnell.

rosie will talk with the filmmaker,
jennifer siebel newsom, about her movie
& the call-to-action campaign seeking to
empower women & girls to
challenge limiting labels in order to
fulfill their real potential.

not sure it's worth your dvr space? watch the trailer:

image source:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

this i believe.

we think we are raising them,

but they are raising us,

teaching us new flight patterns

day by day,

& pushing us to be better

than we think we are.

~ gina ~

image source: eyeshoot photography@

Thursday, October 13, 2011

3 women 4 peace.

last week, the 2011 nobel peace prize
was awarded to three women
"for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women
& for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work."

liberian president ellen johnson sirleaf, 72,
is africa's first democratically elected woman president.
she accepted the presidency in 2005, following
almost 15 years of civil war & a quarter-million deaths in her nation.
known as "the iron lady," sirleaf holds a harvard university master's degree
in public administration & is up for reelection this year.

liberian peace warrior leymah gbowee, 39,
led her country's women to defy warlords,
their use of child soldiers & rape as "a toy of war."
she inspired a huge group of chirstian & muslim women
to stage a 2002 sex strike, refusing to engage with their husbands
until the violence of liberia's 14+-year civil war was over.
gbowee is the executive director of the women-focused peace-building organization
women peace & security network africa, & a mother of five.

yemen's arab spring activist tawakkul karman, 32,
leads the human rights organization women journalists without chains.
she has braved prison many times to fight for
women's rights, media freedoms & political prisoners' release,
& is a leader in the uprising against yemen's longtime president.
she has not left sanaa's change square, the center of demonstrations,
for four months, for fear of assassination by the president's gunmen.
karman is the youngest peace prize winner ever,
the first arab woman ever to receive the nobel & a mother of three.

the 2011 laureates bump the number of women winners
to a whopping 15 in the 110-year history of the nobel peace prize.
they're the first women to receive the honor since 2004,
when kenyan ecologist wangari maathai won.

the american foreign press called the choice
to award the peace prize to the trio of women's rights activists
"a celebration of women's growing empowerment
globally & especially in deeply conservative & tribal communities."

united nations chief ban ki-moon called it
"a testament to the power of women's leadership ...
& the vital role women play in the advancement of
peace & security, development & human rights."

united states president barack obama said,
"the[se] three women are all not only examples of
remarkable determination & spirit, but also a reminder that
when we we empower women around the world,
everyone is better off.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

deb & abb.

it's been just over ten years
since we lost the world trade center.

it has been only two-&-a-half weeks
since we lost abby.

abby was the last living search dog
from the search dog foundation
who served her country courageously at ground zero.
& the only sdf search dog there
who lived long enough to see the tenth anniversary of 9|11.

this video, created as a tribute to that sorrowful occasion,
features debra tosch — abby's handler & the executive director of sdf —
talking with deep expertise & emotion
about her & abby's deployment to the world trade center
on september 11th, 2001.

for more info about abby, click here.
for more information about the foundation, click here.
to contribute to the sdf & its wonderful work, click here.

image source: search dog foundation.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

tuesday morning gratitudes.

it's been a while since i blogged gratitudes.

the truth is, i've not been feeling the thanks lately.

i've been too caught up in my teen-next-week daughter's
sudden spiral into adolescence/puberty.

seriously, it's like they flipped a switch at the first day of seventh grade
& BAM —
she's suddenly a puddle of insecurities, rather than
the full of awesome girl
of days apparently past. for a while, anyway.


so it's taken me a couple of months
& a handful of therapy sessions
to begin to get some perspective about
her hitting her "change of life" dangerously close to
the point at which i'll likely be hitting mine.

as a dear friend reminded me recently over lunch,
this is only the beginning of what will probably be,
at minimum, a five-year process.

"pace yourself," she counseled.

great idea. just not the natural response for a go-go gal like me.

but against my nature i will need to go
in order to get us both through to the college years. & beyond.

deep breath. giant step backward. look around.
ah, there it is. the rest of my life. still here, waiting patiently to resume.

& oh, i'm grateful for it.

:: for the ceaseless sea of laundry.

:: for the perpetual meal-prep/dish-wash cycle.

:: for the dreadful trips to the grocery store.

:: for the trashy backyard riddled with poop.

:: for the gacking & the wrestling & the insistent bell-ringing.

:: for the disorderly pile of shoes & outdoors in the front foyer.

:: for the glasses sitting in the kitchen sink half-full of dirty water.

:: for the always rumpled handtowel which somehow grows ever-filthier
with the drying of presumably clean hands.

:: for the turning of hundreds of inside-out socks.

:: for the freakouts, the meltdowns & the crackups.

:: for the reminders. & the reminders. & did you forget the reminders?

:: for the many, many unsaid thanks-moms.

for all of it, i'm infinitely grateful.

because without all that,
i wouldn't have them.

image source: zooz jewelry @

Saturday, October 8, 2011

hard to do.

when people walk away from you,
let them go.

it doesn't mean that they are bad people.
it just means that their part in your story is over.

~ t.d. jakes ~

yeah, i've had my share of breakups.

romantic ones, oh, sure.
but some significant platonic ones, too.
& overall, i've found the latter much harder.

maybe because i feel once you love someone,
you can almost always, eventually, be friends.
because the love was built upon something to begin with, right?

naturally, there are extremes & exceptions.
people who aren't really who they purport to be
while you're falling in love with them, for example.

but in your garden-variety romances —
which seem to be mostly the sort i've had —
i've found my theory holds up fairly well.

of course, with friends —
"just" friends, platonic friends, girlfriends —
you can't break up & still be friends. duh.

of course, it's unusual for friends to experience
an actual breakup — a moment or conversation in which
someone actually recognizes the relationship
no longer works for them & walks away from it.

much more often, it's simply a series of
invitation regrets, unreturned calls, unreplied-to e-messages.

because breaking up is hard to do. from both sides.

i've had a handful of women i considered dear friends
break-up-without-actually-breaking-up with me.
& i think it's that amorphous drift —
without explanation, without definition, without clarity —
that makes it particularly difficult for me.

it's the not knowing —
what i might have done or not done,
what i might have been or not been —
that gets me.

that brings these women to mind again & again.
often not for months or even years,
but inevitably, a reminder triggers thoughts of them
& musings over just what the hell happened.

& once again, i must override my self-centered insecurities [redundant?]
by listening to my sweet wise woman self —

i simply was no longer the person
who could give them what they need or
they were no longer the person
who could provide what i need
in someone we call "friend."

still, for a while, they contributed greatly to my life,
in myriad ways — in beauty, in laughter, in support.
so regardless of why we're no longer friends,
i'm still grateful for our time together,
for the part they played in my story.

i wish them well. i wish them happiness.
i wish them health. i wish them ease.

& i still hold a spot for them in my heart.

image source:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

riding in cars with dogs.

just a little reminder today
from photographer chris becker,
who developed his 2009-10 canine bliss series
in automobiles cruising along the coast of maine:

"much of the work i produce as a photographer
is complicated & can be interpreted
in any number of ways.

so i like that this series has a straightforward purpose:
to make the viewer smile, laugh &
remember to live in the moment."

smile. :)

laugh. :D

remember to live here now.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

one day at a time.

it is only possible to live

happily ever after

on a daily basis.

~ margaret bonanno ~

image source: crate&

Monday, October 3, 2011

when september ends.

ring out the bells again
like we did when spring began
wake me up when september ends

[green day]

well, september, you were sort of a disappointment.

a month ago, i urged you to come
with better weather
with doable everydays
with self-care space
with change.

but no.

you came with wildfires.
you came with anxiety & negativity & temper tantrums.
you came with exhaustion & frustration & tears.

seriously, september.
you had your moments,
but mostly, you sort of sucked.

so off you go. we'll try again same time next year.

& helloooo, october.

already, you seem you hold more promise than your sister.
just your mild-enough-to-open-up-the-windows-overnight climate
helps me hold on to my faltering optimism.

& just in time, too.
what with the calendar filling up the way it is,
& with us perched atop the slippery slope
into christmas the way we are.

already, your cherubic pumpkins
your beaming sunflowers
your jauntily capped acorns
are lifting my spirits & easing my troubled mind.

you offer hope, october.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

your best day.

the best day of your life is the one
on which you decide your life is your own.

no apologies or excuses.
no one to lean on, rely on or blame.

the gift of life is yours.

it is an amazing journey
& you alone are responsible
for the quality of it.

~ dan zadra ~

image source: david macdonald.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

four-legged hope.

several months ago, i wrote about big girl's & my volunteer efforts for
austin pets alive!
an amazing rescue organization helping our hometown become
a no-kill city for homeless pets.

thanks in large part to apa!, austin hit no-kill status
[a minimum of 90% of homeless pets coming into the city shelter
leaving alive to forever homes]
for the first time last february.

this past summer, austin achieved & has sustained
the highest animal-save-rate of any urban community in america.

despite more than 20k dogs & cats impounded at our city shelter each year,
it looks like our hometown will save an annual average
of over 90% of them for 2011 —
which is particularly stunning considering only three years ago,
about half of all pets impounded in austin were killed.

just last month, the city shelter hit its highest save-rate to date
96% — putting down only 56 animals total in august;
two years ago, in august 2009, the shelter killed 600 homeless pets,
more than ten times what had to be done this year.

of course, crossing the official 90% no-kill status line
doesn't necessarily mean we're truly no-kill;
the city shelter, with the help of austin pets alive! & the austin humane society,
is aiming toward being a community where
NO healthy or treatable animals are killed.

but while the work goes on, three-thousand cheers for austin,
where the hope still lives for pups & kitties awaiting their forever homes.

image source: our apa! puppy love, skipper inkspots, three months.

Monday, September 26, 2011

au revoir, amc.

now that it's over,
it's time to come clean.

for 75% of my life,
i've been an almost-daily watcher of
all my children.

i was raised as an as the world turns watcher,
as that was my mother's soap of choice for decades.
so i'm not sure how or why i picked up on amc —
especially since it was on a different network [abc] than atwt [cbs].

but i believe it was the hooker with a heart of gold storyline of
donna [said hooker],
chuck [the dr. to whom she gave said heart of gold],
& billy clyde tuggle [her super-duper evil pimp with what may be
the best evil pimp soap name ever]
that originally attracted my eleven-yo attention.

& for the next thirty-three years,
i've watched & videotaped & dvr'ed
the escapades of pine valley, pennsylvania's dysfunctional fictional families.

i've literally cheered & wept through
the lies, the infidelities, the catfights, the kidnappings,
the amnesia, the facial reconstructions, the impostors, the evil twins,
the unlocked doors, the relentless eavesdropping, the supercouples,
the angel visitations, the multiple resurrections,
ten of erica's twelve weddings — & eight of her ten legal marriages —
& so, so much more.

for over half of those years,
i've had company in my daily indulgence.

my sweet husband got hooked almost twenty years ago,
watching every evening alongside his besotted bride.
we created our own game of forecasting storyline conclusions —
the farther out timewise & the farther out ridonkulous-wise,
the greater the "win."

i'm proud to be married to the man who predicted well in advance both
harold the dog's cross-country return to reveal natalie's secret identity
as her psycho sister janet, at the altar & about to wed natalie's true love, trevor!
& the ultimate revivification of the heart of pine valley,
sweet stuart chandler, whose often-evil twin brother adam
had, in a drug-induced haze, accidentally gunned him down two years earlier.

all our children [see what I did there?] — all two of them,
now almost-13 & 8.5 yo — have been watching all their lives.
i was watching amc while we were still hospitalized post-partum,
& big girl has been known on many occasions
to correct or remind us of past storyline twists & turns.

but before you get all judge-y up in here
[wha?? she let her innocent children watch that daytime filth?!],
let me just note that amc provided our family with
not only limitless moral lessons —
eventually & without exception, every deceit or act of deviltry
came back around to bite the wrongdoer on the booty, bigtime —
but also abundant fodder for conversation/education about social issues:
divorce, alcoholism, drug addiction,
teenage pregnancy, std's, HIV/AIDS,
homophobia, racism, promiscuity.

in fact, big girl's only voiced concern
at the conclusion of our first big sex talk
was her ten-yo worry that the actors on amc
might accidentally have real sex during their scenes abed,
even though they're not really in love with one another.

[i eased her fears by letting her know
a) having accidental sex isn't really possible; &
b) everything the actors do on amc is pretend — including being naked.]

& so now, every day at noon, i am grieving.
grieving the loss of my mealtime companion, my daily indulgence, my stories.

but hope remains.

the final television broadcast ended with a trio of cliffhangers —
one more promised back-to-lifer,
a fabulous nod to gone with the wind,
& a dallas/sopranos gunshot/blackout mashup —
which may be resolved with the still-pending return of the show
in january, online, via the production company prospect park.

so here's to soap matriarch & amc creator agnes nixon.
& here's to resurrections.
to my guy tad, the next-generation father-figure.
to jackson's wry expressions & cara's ten-pound eyelashes.
to dr. david hayward's johnny-cash-with-brown-accents wardrobe.
to dr. angela hubbard, the wisest minority character of all.

& here's to hearing the self-explanatory words,
"i'm erica kane,"
haughtily uttered once again.

here's to another forty-one years, all my children.
& at least another thirty-three for this fan,
who counts herself among them.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

love over fear.

my dear friend & inspirator [i just made that up — & i like it!] renee trudeau
has just launched a challenge/movement/psa
that is so very appropos for what we all face, day in & day out . . .

natural disasters. manmade atrocities.
contempt in the name of politics. mockery in the name of religion.
economic uncertainties. everyday incivilities.

it's a lot to deal with.
so, how do you deal with it?

love? or fear?

quoth the wise & wonderful renee:

we always have a choice in how we interact with each other & how we see the world.

we can come from fear —
where we constrict, shut down & cut ourselves off from others,
or we can come from love —
where we expand, open up, connect with & trust others.

our daily interactions are a reflection
of where we choose to hang out & live in:
the house of fear or the house of love.

i choose love.

& that's what renee's challenge/movement/psa is all about.

encouraging us all to mindfully choose to come from
a place of love rather than a place of fear in our daily doings.

to choose love
in traffic
in line at the drive-through or grocery store
in high-pressure meetings
in temper tantrums at the mall
with our partners
with our parents
with our children
with ourselves.

that's right — choosing love isn't just about doing unto others.
it's about doing right by you, too.
because the more you show you some love,
the more you can show others the same love, kindness & compassion.

the more you can ease into the flow of life.
the more you can trust the universe is working for you.
the more you can feel there is more than enough for everyone.
the more you can have a soft & open heart. every day. all day long.

& who doesn't want some of that?
[i do! i do!]

so, how will you choose love today?

suggestions for starting:
:: read renee's challenge & faq's about it.
:: visit her live inside out community & share stories about it.
:: get an i choose love tee [at cost] & clearly wear your intention.

image source:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

loving. hopeful. optimistic.

my friends, love is better than anger.

hope is better than fear.

optimism is better than despair.

so let us be loving, hopeful & optimistic.
& we will change the world.

~ jack layton ~

image source: typeposters @

Friday, September 23, 2011

full of awesome.

i recently discovered a blog
i feel i should have known about,
being a self-described suburban feminist & all.

pigtail pals' cutesy-wootsy name
belies its noble & serious calling/mission/tagline:

redefine girly.

pigtail pals was created originally as a children's clothing company
by melissa wardy, a mom-preneur working with the intention
"to show girls they may be bold, adventurous & heroic, just like boys!"

according to her website,
"a pigtail pal doesn't wish upon a star & wait for her prince to show up.
a pigtail pal gets into her rocket ship & finds that star all on her own!"

melissa found a following of like-minded parents
wanting to preserve childhood through media literacy & creative play.

today, she works her blog & social media
to fight the marketing & sexualization negatively affecting childhood.

melissa, you go, girl.

i discovered her work through the following post, which itself is
full. of. awesome.

feel free to print it & tape it up on your bathroom mirror. i did.

there was a time when you were five years old,
& you woke up full of awesome.

you knew you were awesome.

you loved yourself.

you thought you were beautiful,
even with missing teeth & messy hair &
mismatched socks inside your grubby sneakers.

you loved your body & the things it could do.

you thought you were strong.

you knew you were smart.

do you still have it?
the awesome.

did someone take it from you?
did you let them?
did you hand it over, because someone told you
you weren’t beautiful enough, thin enough, smart enough, good enough?

why the hell would you listen to them?
did you consider they might be full of shit?

wouldn’t that be nuts, to tell my little girl that in another five or ten years,
she might hate herself because she doesn’t look like
a starving & photoshopped fashion model?
or even more bizarre, that she should be
sexy over smart, beautiful over bold?

are you freaking kidding me?

look at her. she is full of awesome.

you were, once.
maybe you still are.
maybe you are in the process of getting it back.

all I know is that if you aren’t waking up feeling like this about yourself,
you are really missing out.

image source: me of her, age twelve & still full of awesome.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

who we are.

tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11.

i know that it has, at times, frayed.

yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country &
the determination of the american people.

the cause of securing our country is not complete.
but tonight, we are once again reminded that
america can do whatever we set our mind to.

that is the story of our history,
whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people,
or the struggle for equality for all our citizens;
our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, &
our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.

let us remember that we can do these things
not just because of wealth or power,
but because of who we are:

one nation,
under god,
with liberty & justice for all.

thank you.
may god bless you.
& may god bless the United States of America.

u.s. president barack obama
on the occasion of the elimination of osama bin laden.

image source: denise gould.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

just be you. be just you.

dare to be what you are

& learn to resign with a good grace

all that you are not.

~ henri-frederic amiel ~

image source: daily mail.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

relentless summer.

it's the last day of august 2011.
thank goodness.

for me, this summer has been a relentless parade of
rather stressful stuff.

:: a loved one's cancer diagnosis, surgery & eventual cure.
:: a ton of work that took 'til mid-august to complete.
:: a weeklong international family vacation.
:: three texas road trips.
:: tween puberty -> body-image issues.
:: third-grade leap -> labeling issues.
:: giant puppy [40+ lbs. @ 6 mos.] training.
:: searing heat [75 & counting days of 100+*F].

all somehow good [except for maybe the weather],
but still stressful.

so i didn't intend to put the blog on hold for a month,
but i have.
i guess maybe the blog & i, without really realizing it,
were both craving a break.

but we're back. & looking forward.

i hope you're still here.
& i hope you missed me.
because i'm still here & i missed you.

& i intend to do some serious back-blogging come september.
which reminds me . . .

come, september.

come & bring the autumnal equinox.
bring non-record-breaking, non-broken-record,
good old-fashioned double-digit temperatures.
bring our world a color other than brown.

come, september, & bring new, doable everydays.
bring new friends, new colleagues, new business.
bring new comfort, new commitment, new confidence.
bring new communication & connection, one day at a time.

come, september, & bring health, happiness & good dogs.
bring spots for resting, reading & creativity.
bring space for nesting, organization & clarity.
bring dancing, stitching & learning italian.

come, september. come & be a seasonal leader.
bring something new, something improved, something different.
bring change — & i'll do my best to bring
grace & gratitude to go with it.

how about you? what do you wish for september
to bring when it comes?

image source: lettergirl @ etsy.

Monday, August 1, 2011

awfully smart for a dumb blonde.

"to all you girls who think you're fat 
because you're not
a size zero,
you're the beautiful one.

it's society that's ugly."

~ marilyn monroe ~

image source:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

an extraordinary first lady worth remembering.

she called herself an ordinary woman.
a midwesterner, yes.
an almost-professional-dancer, sure.
a lawyer's wife, okay.
but ordinary?

not betty ford.

she was born elizabeth ann bloomer in 1918 in chicago.
she always wanted to be called elizabeth,
but got betty for life.

she moved with her family to michigan at the age of two.
at the age of twelve, she went to her first dance
with the boy who, twelve years later, became her first husband.

in-between, she modeled
& danced.
dance was a lifelong passion for betty,
beginning at eight with lessons,
& culminating at 20, when she spent a winter in new york
under the tutelage of modern dance pioneer
martha graham,
even performing in graham's dance troupe at carnegie hall.

but ultimately, she returned to michigan
& married her old sweetheart, an alcoholic like her father.
three years later, she decided to file for divorce,
but when he went into a coma, she cared for him
for another two years as he recovered.
they finally divorced in 1947.

within months, betty met grand rapids attorney
gerald rudolph ford, jr.
by the time he announced his run for congress,
she was already smitten.
they married in late 1948 &
honeymooned at republican party campaign rallies.
gerry won, & the fords were off to washington.

quipped betty later, "we came to washington
for 2 years & stayed for 28."

the fords had four children within seven years.
betty was hospitalized for a pinched neck nerve,
& began taking prescription painkillers.
gerry kept getting reelected & became house minority leader.

in october 1973, president richard nixon announced gerry
as his vice-presidential nominee for appointment
following spiro agnew's forced resignation.

betty was thrust into the high-profile political wife spotlight.
her first interview was with barbara walters.
walters' first question was about betty's perspective
on roe v. wade, which effectively legalized abortion.

betty's answer?
"i'm delighted, because i'm glad
they have taken abortion out of the backwoods
& put it into the hospitals."

delighted? did i mention gerry was a republican?

regardless of betty's progressive views
& penchant for being honest about them,
her husband became vp.

ten months later,
watergate forced nixon out
& the fords into the white house.

& betty kept on being betty.

she candidly disclosed
she had a nodule in her right breast.
it was malignant. she underwent a radical mastectomy
followed by two years of chemo.

she forthrightly revealed
she slept with her husband "as often as i can."
she straightforwardly said
if she were younger, she'd probably try pot.
& she frankly told the press she "wouldn't be surprised"
if her teenage daughter were to have premarital sex.

more than all that, she continued to
champion liberalized abortion laws,
she lobbied for ratification of the equal rights amendment,
& she promoted putting more women into
policymaking government positions.

by the end of 1975, she was ranked as
the nation's most admired woman.

when gerry lost the presidency to jimmy carter
the following year, his voice failed him,
so betty read the official concession statement
with smiling grace.

the fords moved to california,
where betty tried to fill her empty calendar & nest
with pills & vodka tonics.

in 1978, confronted by her family, betty divulged
her use of alcohol & prescription drugs
had become a dependency.
she entered rehab at long beach naval hospital.
& her experience there led her to found
the betty ford center in rancho mirage.

she authored two memoirs,
received the presidential medal of freedom,
& stayed married to gerry for 58 years until his 2006 death.

betty ford,
recovering addict,
cancer survivor,
& extraordinary first lady for all of thirty months,
died july 8th at the age of 93.

she left behind her sons, mike, steve & jack,
daughter susan, seven grandchildren &
seven more great-grandchildren.

"america had been a nation of shame-faced secrecy
in so many of its domestic affairs.
the 1970s was when that began to change.
betty ford was that transformation's joan of arc."

[rick perlstein, the new york times]

image source: david hume kennerly, betty atop the cabinet room table, her last full day as first lady, 1.19.77.