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.