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.