Friday, April 29, 2011

friday funny for you.

oh, cody.

wills + kate.

i got up in the middle of the night
almost thirty years ago
to watch diana wed charles.

& i got up in the middle of the night
to witness catherine wed william.

lovely occasion.
well worth the lost slumber
to see the boy
who walked behind his mother's casket
so overcome by grief
it was palpable quarter-way around the world
become the man
walking down the aisle with his stunning bride
so overwhelmed with joy.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

a tina, tiny prayer for all our daughters.

this week, i'm preparing for big girl's & my
fourth annual kickapoo kamp
mother-daughter weekend. woohoo!

next week, i'll be feeding my family
great gift ideas for my
twelfth annual mother's day. woohoo!

so with all this motherly slash daughterly energy about,
today i must offer the brilliant tina fey's epic
"the mother's prayer for its daughter"
from her new book, bossypants.
[above, tina with daughter alice, circa 2009.]

however bossypanted she may be, it's undeniable:
the woman is a genius.

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her

When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, dammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.


image source:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

dreamy slash sensible.

"borrowing" a great idea today
from a favorite bloggeress –
mary beth over at salt & chocolate.

she calls them dreamy/practical lists.
but just to avoid litigation,
i'm going to call mine a dreamy|sensible list.
derivative? sure. plagiarism? nope.

anyway, mary beth seems like an awfully sweet person
on her blog, so i'm sure she'll understand
imitation is the truest type of flattery &
she won't mind even a dibble.

so, what is a dreamy|sensible list?
it's a lovely way to create a to-do list
that balances stuff you want to do [fills your cup]
with things you need to do [drains your bucket].

[following my cryptic liquid-transference metaphor yet?]

if you're like me, then your to-do lists tend to
overflow with need-to-do items . . .

daily chores to complete.
household projects to tackle.
work next-steps to take.
emails to send.
calls to make.
appointments to schedule.
errands to run.
items to buy.
bills to pay.
paperwork to deal with.

you know the drill. & this list – the "sensible" list –
is about as delightful as said drill.
it's an abyss of a list, all have-to's & shoulds,
that can wear you down with its
relentlessly self-perpetuating nature.

can i get an amen?

but, if you're like me, almost nothing gets done –
no matter how well-intentioned you may be about doing it –
if it doesn't make the cut onto the to-do list.

& since fun, creative, playful stuff
isn't what we traditionally put onto our to-do lists,
then it rarely, if ever, gets done.

again, an alleluia?

doesn't exactly promote the whole balance concept, does it??

well, hello, dreamy list.

here's the dreamy-list deal:

rather than creating a single list
for the day, week or weekend,
try creating a pair of side-by-side lists,
one sensible, one dreamy.

[being me, i try to include an equal number
of items on each list.]

now, get-er-doners, red pens at the ready . . .
& check off!!

[again, being me, i try to alternate
back & forth between the two lists.]

for example, here's my dreamy|sensible list over last weekend:

:: get sno-cones @ bahama freeze.
:: go to the pool.
:: go to the movies, see "rio."
:: easter!
:: austin pets alive! site visit – walk pups @ petsmart.
:: finish letter to big girl in our mother/daughter journal.
:: read magazines/book.

:: purge playroom.
:: purge playroom.
:: purge playroom [no joke – a HUGE project, definitely three items' worth].
:: do laundry.
:: go to target.
:: update finances on mint.
:: strong week prep [calendar, paperwork, plan].

full disclosure:
i didn't get around to two dreamy items &
didn't complete one sensible item,
but still . . .

a fairly balanced weekend overall.
& it was good.

thank you for the inspiration, mary beth!!

image source: the escapist.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

the new wonder [how she'll keep her top up] woman.

now, you know me.

of course i'm not going to let nbc/david e. kelly's
new wonder woman series come around next autumn
without some sort of mention.
i've just been mulling over my feelings about the whole thing.

because, well, you know me.

i can be rather a purist,
especially when it comes to cherished bits of my childhood.

i mean, i never really accepted anyone but farrah
as charlie's blonde angel.
i like cheryl ladd & all. but please.

so i'm a tad torn between my loyalty to lynda carter
[the original television wonder woman]
& my piqued interest in quirk-meister kelly's
spin [pun fully intended] on the amazonian icon.

so while i continue to work through my emotional superheroine baggage,
let's just chat about the costume.

it's been quite the controversy.

because there are real wonder woman purists,
the super-serious-big-bang-theory-dc-comics kind
of diana prince fans,
who are easily outraged & extremely outspoken
whenever someone messes with their sheroes.

so when they nabbed a peek at the new wonder woman's costume
[as modeled by selected lead actress adrianne palicki],

all manners of geek fury let loose.

& i'm with them.

seriously, latex pants?
demi-cup bustier?
& high-heeled blue [the original wore red] boots?

yeah, yeah. we know ginger rogers did everything
fred astaire did, except backwards & in heels,
& how terrific that was & all,
but it was also the 1930s.

how is a girl supposed to fight 21st-century evil using her powers of
super-strength, super-stamina, super-speed & super-agility
while wearing a poured-into-it, cheapo version
of a "sexy" hallowe'en costume?!?

well, the outcry from comicbook land was loud & oh-so-clear.
&, apparently, listened to by the show's producers.

because recent photo releases from the set
reveal some realistic changes to ww's threads.

pants a flexible, breathable material? check.
boots red? check. heels flat? check.
top wardrobe-malfunction-proof? well, you can't have everything.

so here's to double-stick tape,
to mixing gold & silver accessories,
& to the wonderfully womanly wonder woman –

long may she bring the amazon ideals
of love, peace & sexual equality
to a world torn by the hatred of men.

[yes, her actual mission statement, circa 1941.]

image sources:, the hollywood reporter.

Friday, April 22, 2011

a trailblazer worth remembering.

july 19, 1984. my 17th birthday.
& the day the first woman nominated
for national office by a major political party
accepted the bid for
vice president of the united states.

when geraldine ferraro began her acceptance speech
at the democratic national convention being held in san francisco,
it launched eight minutes of cheers and tears.

but it was still 1984.
& nbc’s tom brokaw, during convention coverage, described her as
“the first woman to be nominated for vice president …
size six.”


sadly, brokaw served as microcosmic insight
into america's perspective at the time:
not ready for leadership sans y chromosome.

come november, the democratic partnership of mondale-ferraro was buried by the republican reelection of reagan-bush.
later, geralidine ferraro wrote of the defeat,
throwing ronald reagan out of office [at that point] . . .
would have required god on the ticket,
& she was not available.

geraldine ann ferraro was born on august 26, 1935, in newburgh, new york,
the fourth child & only daughter of
a first-generation italian-american mother & an italian immigrant father
who owned a restaurant & a five-&-dime store.

by the time geraldine came along, her parents
had already suffered the death of one son in infancy,
& another in a car accident when he was three.
geraldine was born two years later & was named for him [gerard].

when she was eight, geraldine's father died of a heart attack.
[over forty years later, during her vp run,
geraldine would learn from a newspaper article
her father had been arrested for running a numbers racket,
& had died the morning of his court appearance.]

so geraldine & her remaining brother were raised by their single mother,
who worked as a seamstress to send her children to private schools.
at her catholic boarding school, geraldine was voted most likely to succeed &
earned a scholarship to a private college.
she was an athlete, worked as editor of the school newspaper,
& became the first woman in her family to earn a college degree.
“delights in the unexpected” said her college yearbook entry.

geraldine became a public-school teachers in queens,
& applied to fordham law school,
where the admissions officer warned her
she had better be serious about her studies,
as she was taking a man’s place.
she taught by day, attended law school at night,
& in 1960, was one of two women graduating with law degrees
in a class of almost 180.

geraldine married businessman & realtor john zaccaro,
but kept her maiden name to honor her mother.
she spent the next 13 years
having & raising three children,
doing legal work for her husband’s business,
working pro bono for women in family court,
& dabbling in local politics.

in 1974, geraldine accepted the position of
assistant district attorney for a special victims bureau,
investigating sex crimes, crimes against the elderly, & domestic abuse.
the job led her to develop an ulcer, become a social liberal, &
befriend then-new york secretary of state mario cuomo.

in 1978, at cuomo's urging, geraldine ran for congress & won.
she served ny’s blue-collar ninth congressional district
in queens for three terms,
gaining the friendship of another political powerhouse,
then-united states house speaker tip o'neill.

characterized as everything from "spirited" to "strident,"
congresswoman ferraro was a self-proclaimed "tough democrat"
who called it like she saw it &
wasn’t intimidated by money or men.

she doggedly fought on the hill for
equity for women in wages, retirement plans, & pensions,
the equal rights amendment, abortion rights, & a nuclear freeze.
but she wasn't a straight-party follower, & tended toward fiscal conservatism.
yet her personal experience with the special victims unit
kept her perspective progressive.

"no matter how concerned i am about spending," she said,
"i’ve seen firsthand what poverty can do to people’s lives,
& i just can’t in good conscience not do something about it.”

then came 1984.
having worked her way up through the congressional ranks &
with vehement support for a female running mate from women’s groups,
geraldine was tapped by mondale for the vp candidacy.

the gesture was profound. the campaign was painful.

her qualifications were questioned.
her husband’s finances were scoured.
she faced down hecklers almost daily.
barbara bush implied she was disingenuous, calling representative ferraro
"a four-million-dollar – I can’t say it, but it rhymes with ‘rich’."

within five years following her vp run,
ferraro's campaign finances were investigated &
found faulty & slightly shady,
her husband pled guilty to trying to defraud a mortgage broker &
their son was convicted for dealing cocaine at college.

ferraro ran for one of new york's u.s. senate seats in '92 & '98,
but didn't even get the democratic nomination.
still, she insisted,
"anytime a woman runs, women win."

she returned to law, advocating for women
raped during ethnic conflict in the former yugoslavia.
she was inducted into the national women’s hall of fame in 1994.
she wrote three books.
she was named as an ambassador to the united nations
human rights commission during the clinton administration.
she co-hosted cnn’s crossfire for three years.
she ultimately joined a public-relations firm
offering guidance to clients concerning women’s issues.

meanwhile, she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma,
a blood cancer she continued to battle for a dozen years,
becoming a typically outspoken speaker on her disease &
supporter of the multiple myeloma research foundation.

she died of complications due to the disease march 26th.
she left behind her husband, her three children & her eight grandchildren.
& a glass-ceiling-shattering legacy to women leaders,
from her friend hillary clinton
to her fellow female vp candidate sarah palin.
&, as president obama noted, well beyond:

"geraldine will forever be remembered as a trailblazer
who broke down barriers for women, &
americans of all backgrounds & walks of life. ...
[my daughters] sasha & malia will grow up
in a more equal america because of
the life geraldine ferraro chose to live."

give 'em hell, gerry.

image source: ny daily news.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

why i blog.

consider how fish swim & birds fly.
they do so because it is in their nature.
for it is the swimming & the flying
that makes them fish & birds.

likewise, it is the speaking of one's heart
that makes a human being human.

for even if no one hears us,
it is the act of speaking that frees us
by letting the spirit swim & fly
through the world.

~ mark nepo, the book of awakening ~

image source: rachel ann austin, birds & lupine.

Monday, April 11, 2011

a monday kind of gratitude.

last monday [remember, i'm backblogging!]
was such a stereotypical monday for me.

we had spent the weekend up in dallas,
where sweet husband had a gig saturday night
& where my folks & sister live,
so our whole family [both pups, too] went for a visit.

mostly, it was fine.

but the gig was poorly promoted,
so not terribly well-attended.

& my tea-partying parents both breached
our no-political-rhetoric armistice
[for example, my mother griping about
the sole spanish-language performance of
toy story 3 on ice, & my father joshing
off-the-cuff, "i want a free lunch -
i must be turning into a democrat!"]
several times over our two-day stay.

& on our way home, little boy had to stop
four times [within 200 miles] along ih-35 to pee,
lengthening our travel time considerably.
& i got crabby about the long ride
in the crowded car, still stewing
about not being prepared with a
snappy retort to my folks' commentary.

& then came monday.

we overslept. by about an hour.

big girl forgot her clean clothes for gym class,
so her dad made a special delivery to the middle school.

i forgot my monday cardio class begins
a half-hour earlier than it used to,
so i missed half of it.

i got an email containing the news that
my late birthmom's husband remarried last fall.
but this email wasn't from him, & even though
we've been in loose contact with one another,
he's never mentioned his new-ish nuptials.

oh, & i was having a terrible hair day.

it was a monday, through & through.

so with that laundry list of laments,
i wasn't exactly feeling the old attitude of gratitude.
& it would have been simple to slip into a monday malaise.

but i didn't. [!]

because - thanks to the brilliant brene brown
i now understand i don't have to be feeling the grateful
in order to glean the key benefit of gratitude: joy.

whenever i'm not feeling especially grateful,
i can still practice gratitude - say, by
listing three blessings of my life,
or thinking of how a not-spectacular situation
could have been way worse,
or searching for something beautiful to snap an instagram of -
& reap the reward of joy.

which is not to say practicing gratitude
will instantaneously turn that frown upside-down.
because - again, according to dr. brown -
happiness & joy are different animals
[neither perpetual, both necessary, &
frequently mutually exclusive].

quoth bb: "happiness is tied to circumstance,
& joyfulness is tied to spirit ... ."

so while we must note & create the experiences
that bring us happiness,
we also need to cultivate the spiritual practices
that lead to joyfulness -
particularly gratitude.

so here's what i lovelovelove about this information:
it means i can have a crapass monday or a crapass month
or even a crapass year [spectre of 2002, i see you lurking],
& still live from a place of joy
simply by practicing gratitude.

so today, i'm grateful it's monday again,
the fresh beginning of a new springtime week.

& you??

Sunday, April 10, 2011

helping keep austin pets alive!

so, big girl's passion is animals.

she's a vegetarian wannabe.
inquire with her about our family pets, &
be prepared to have your ears animatedly talked off.
for gift-receiving occasions, she consistently requests
contributions to the world wildlife fund in her honor.
likewise, she spends her own money on
donations to area animal organizations.
she can almost always name that dog breed.

so naturally, she has wanted to volunteer
at the city shelter or humane society for years.
but even with adult supervision, their minimum age
for volunteers is 14 & 13 respectively.

she is 12.
& was almost physically pained by the idea of another year of waiting.

enter austin pets alive!

austin pets alive! is an amazing grassroots group
of almost all volunteers,
founded three years ago & led by dr. ellen jefferson.
apa!'s ultimate goal: to make austin a no-kill city.

with tons of sweat equity, tech smarts & limitless energy,
apa! has already achieved incredible progress toward this goal.

when the organization began in 2008, the kill rate
at the city shelter was over 50%

more than half the animals coming into the shelter
were being put down.

which is not a criticism of austin's city shelter -
as apa! is quick to note, they're doing the very best
they can with what they've got to work with.

apa! teams go to the city shelter every day,
& identify & rescue healthy, treatable pets
who have been targeted to be euthanized the next day.

at our city shelter, this automatically includes
all puppies & kittens younger than six weeks old -
because if they're not weaned, then the shelter
simply doesn't have the resources to take care of them.

in february 2011, thanks to apa!, the kill rate
at austin's city shelter was 8%
. eight percent.

a kill rate of 10% or less is considered "no-kill,"
as there will always be some animals too damaged to save.
so within three years, apa! helped austin become -
for the first time ever - a no-kill city.

big girl & i went through apa! volunteer training last month,
& have begun going to the new apa! headquarters
[for 2.5 years, apa! found foster homes for all of their rescues]
to help walk dogs, going to area petsmarts -
apa! sets up daily for six hours in front of several locations -
to help the adoption counselors with their duties,
& we've been assigned a "little" [kendal] via apa!'s
big brothers/big sisters program
[we visit her to provide her with extra love, treats & walks].

we must do only dog stuff, as i'm allergic to cats,
but the ways to help at apa! are canine, feline & neverending -
from overnight shifts bottle-feeding baby kittens
to helping rehabilitate & train good dogs with bad behaviors.

austin consistently ranks among the country's pet-friendliest cities,
based upon factors like average number of pets per person,
prevalence of pet-friendly venues & natural spaces.

with austin pets alive! at work,
we will soon be taking our pet-friendly status to a whole other level.
it's a matter of life & death.

image source: me & my big girl, glory & norman, currently available for adoption at apa!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

the hokey pokey is *not* what it's all about.

all of life is about growing 
to your own personal potential.
all of life is about growing 

to greatness.

anybody pretending to be anything
other than who you really are,
you will never, ever
reach your personal potential.
you cannot do it.

~ oprah winfrey, "master class" ~

image source:

Friday, April 8, 2011

a violet-eyed fury worth remembering.

here i am again, binge bloggin' the backblog.
& i'm not sure why.

i've got plenty of blog fodder backed up
& ready to be written.
i just haven't gotten around to it.
& i'm not sure why.

sure, there's the whole "full life" thing,
but . . . well, it's full. & it's good.
& i love it [mostly].

& i love my blog, so here i am. again.
prepare for a parade of posts.

let's begin with a bang -
an homage to a woman whose whole life was one big bang
[no double-entendre intended].

dame elizabeth rosemond taylor.
[please don't call her liz. she never liked it.]

she was larger than life & just as beautiful.

born in 1932, to american parents on british soil,
giving this violet-eyed girl dual citizenship
to match her double rows of eyelashes
[a genetic mutation that sure worked for her].

she moved to los angeles at age 7,
made her cinematic debut at age 9,
& shot to stardom at age 12 for her role as velvet brown in national velvet.

her last adolescent role was as amy in 1949's little women.
her first adult role was as kay in 1950's the father of the bride.
her game-changing role as a dramatic actress
was as angela in 1951's a place in the sun.

she won best-actress oscars for 1960's butterfield 8
[starring opposite husband #4, eddie fisher] &
for 1966's who's afraid of virginia woolf
[starring opposite husband #5/6, richard burton].

she was nominated three other times.

she was the first hollywood star
to earn a million-dollar paycheck,
for 1963's cleopatra.

at 50, she transitioned from screen to stage
for the 1982 revival of the little foxes.
the following year, she reunited with burton,
professionally, to do noel coward's private lives.

[insert obvious "private life" segue here.]

eight marriages, seven husbands &
who knows how many in-betweeners.

the official lineup:

1. conrad "nicky" hilton, jr. - married 1950-51.
she was 18. he was an heir. he beat her. she left him.
2. michael wilding - married 1952-57.
english actor 20 years her senior. they had two sons.
3. mike todd - married 1957-58.
producer 23 years her senior. her first true love. they had one daughter. his plane, the ironically monikered lucky liz, crashed, leaving her at widow at 26.
4. eddie fisher - married 1959-64.
popular singer, a friend of mike todd's & the husband of debbie reynolds. disregarding the scandal, elizabeth converted to judaism for him, & stayed a jew the rest of her life. her jewish name was elisheba rachel.

5/6. richard burton - married 1964-74 & 1975-76.
welsh actor & her greatest love. they were both married when they hooked up on the set of cleopatra [he was marc antony, natch]. their romance was a decade-plus-long headline of brawls, booze & bling. they adopted one daughter.
7. john warner - married 1976-82.
u.s. senator from virginia. the rather lonely life of a political wife didn't agree with her, & triggered her struggle with weight.
8. larry fortensky - married 1991-96.
construction worker. they met at betty ford & married at neverland ranch. clearly, a doomed union from the get-go.

she amassed a collection of jewelry worth over $150 million.
she received some noteworthy pieces from mike todd,
but richard burton was the man who gave her
the 33.19-carat krupp diamond,
which she wore as a ring the rest of her life, &
the 69.42-carat pear-shaped taylor-burton diamond,
which she eventually sold, using the money
to build a botswana hospital.

she designed a line of perfumes that grosses about $200 million annually:
passion, white diamonds, black pearls & violet eyes.

she was among the first a-listers to come out
in the public fight against hiv/aids.
she helped launch the american foundation for aids research
[amfar] in 1985, &
in 1991, created her own organization,
the elizabeth taylor aids foundation.

the academy honored her work in 1993
with the jean hersholt humanitarian award.
queen elizabeth ii appointed her in 1999
dame commander of the order of the british empire.

she loved animals.
her first horse's name was an iteration of her own: betty.
she always had canine companions.
she once had a pet chipmunk named nibbles.

she was the voice of maggie simpson,
uttering the baby's one & only word: "daddy."

she arranged to be 15 minutes late for her own funeral.

she survived
five back breaks
three hip replacements
two bouts of life-threatening pneumonia
two stints at rehab
an emergency tracheotomy
a benign brain tumor
cardiac surgery &
skin cancer.

but finally, at the age of 79,
she fell to the congestive heart failure
she had been fending off for seven years.

she left behind her four children,
ten grandchildren & four great-grandchildren.

she tweeted under the name dameelizabeth.
among her final twitter posts was this:

give. remember always to give.
that is the thing that will make you grow.
that is the thing that will give back to you
all the rewards that there are.
don't do it for yourself, because then it becomes selfish.
because then it becomes about yourself...which is wrong.
giving is to give to god. helping is to help others.
every breath you take today should be
with someone else in mind. i love you.

elizabeth taylor knew what she liked & she went for it:
working. loving. sparkling. smelling good. giving.

she lived with passion.
she lived with compassion.

she lived, sister, she lived.

& she made our world more beautiful.

image sources: cinematic passions, harpers bazaar,,,, manolo's shoe blog,,