Wednesday, February 29, 2012

stuff i luff.

leap day.
i wish i could say i did something extra-special
with my extra day of 2012, but i didn't.
i wish i could say i leaped [leapt??], but i didn't.
i took a chicken potpie to friends with a new baby.
not leap-ish, but greatly appreciated.

apple, the company.
my 5yo ipod classic's battery finally refused to recharge.
i took it to a live person at the apple store at the mall.
he gave me a brand-new ipod classic for half-price.
so so so much better than calling voices halfway around the world
for wholly unsatisfactory resolutions.

anthropologie + ingrid michaelson.
love both. don't spend enough time with either.
missed my opportunity to buy tix to ingrid's austin album tour stop.
then, an anthropologie emessage pops up: store concert series.
first 150 replies see her for free at their austin store during sxsw.
we're in. it's on. thrilling.

the right help at the right time.
two new, amazing women have come into our lives
to help walk our teen girl across the fiery coals of adolescence.
they will strengthen her physically & emotionally,
while school & family continue to work mentally & spiritually.
it takes a village, people. god bless us, every one.

mandola's italian market.
our latest date-nite indulgence.
caprese salads [one with prosciutto, one plain],
split a bruschetta [pronounced broo-sketta, by the way],
a couple of glasses of house wine & oh, the buttery bread . . .
il mio cuore canta!!

louise hay's heart thoughts: a treasury of inner wisdom.
a beautiful new edition of this collection of
affirmations, meditations & spiritual treatments
designed to help the inspiree move from old habits to new practices
with ease & peace.
louise hay is brilliant.

i heart organizing.
the perfect bloggity inspiration for a
type a, optimism enthusiast, linear-leaning, color-lurving,
hoarding: buried alive junkie such as myself.
jen jones is the wisconsin-based blogger/designer/organizer,
& even though i'm envious, i still like her & love her work!

image source: katie daisy.

Monday, February 27, 2012

number nine.

today, my big boy turns #9.

he is my sunshine boy.

my parenting respite from the teen
drama & trauma that is his big sister.

a breath of fresh tousled-hair air
just as i find i've lost my breath in exasperation.

& i worry.
i worry about how much environmental stress he feels.
i worry about how much pressure he feels to be the happy child.
i worry that he, too, is holding in rage that will spew & spill
like vesuvius, coating us all with paralyzing ash,
once he discovers a voice for it.

but then i see him skipping off to recess,
arm-in-arm with a new friend.
i watch him put on a huge, goofball, dance number
first thing in the morning to my ipod mix,
between cheesy eggs & hair-brushing.
i listen to his sing-song playing, hour upon hour.

& he seems occasionally stressed, but not often.
& he seems naturally happy, not put-upon happy.
& if he's inwardly rageful, then i guess
there's not much to be done about it
until the volcano blows.

i smell his sweet neck & i feel his arms around my neck
& i hear him concur:
i'm not sure i'm ready for nine, he murmurs. i've enjoyed eight.
he understands more is expected of those to whom more years have been given,
& he'd rather keep it simple & so, so sweet.

me, too, baboo. me, too.
let's just savor nine while we've got it.

image source: him as hercule poirot, christmastime 2011.

Friday, February 24, 2012

breast cancer.

is it just another unfortunate product of aging that
breast cancer seems to be invading my space
with growing frequency??

our odds of contracting breast cancer
rise along with our number of years . . .

according to the national cancer institute,
an american woman's chance is
1 in 233 in her thirties,
1 in 69 in her forties,
1 in 42 in her fifties,
1 in 29 in her sixties,
& 1 in 8 over her lifetime.

so at almost 45yo, i've got a 12.5% chance
of being diagnosed with breast cancer sometime,
but only a 1.45% chance of it happening between now & 50yo.

my cousin faced those same odds up until two weeks ago,
when she was told she has breast cancer.
she began treatment yesterday, with her first chemotherapy session.

she has four kids under twelve,
one of whom is a preschool-age ethiopian orphan boy
her family adopted just last year.

she had a clear mammogram last november.

meanwhile, my dear college friend
just underwent an elective double mastectomy.

she has known for years she carries the breast cancer [brac] gene.
her doctor estimated her lifetime chance of getting the disease
at over 84%.

as she so very logically noted,
"if the weatherman says there's an 84% chance of rain,
then i'm taking an umbrella."

but logic has little to do with going from thirty years as a d-cup
to a flat plain of chest scarred by
two t-shaped incisions where your girls were.

she's got expanders, she's getting implants,
next summer, she'll even tattoo new 2-d nipples
onto her permanently perky reconstruction projects.

& while these women i love do what they can
to beat this insidious disease to the tko punch,
komen for the cure, america's biggest & best-known
breast-cancer organization, showed its ass-for-hire.

komen succumbed to political pressure & announced its intention
to eliminate about $750,000 worth of grants to planned parenthood.

the media pounced. the public denounced.
komen excused, apologized, abandoned & reversed.
which was the right thing to do,
in lieu of having done the right thing to begin with.

the fact is, planned parenthood provides over 770,000 american women
with breast examinations & paid-for mammograms & ultrasounds each year.
women who need & otherwise could not afford to pay for such life-saving services.

i don't know what komen was thinking, but i do know
i'll be thinking long & hard before returning with my family
to the komen austin race for the cure next autumn.

with the support of my wonderful friends & extended family,
i've personally & proudly raised about $2,000 for komen
through my family's participation at the race the past two years.

now, i'm wondering how to best raise funds
for planned parenthood of the texas capital region,
breast cancer resource centers of texas, or
the md anderson cancer center, where my cousin is currently being treated.

they say what you pay attention to grows.
so the last thing i want to pay attention to is breast cancer.

but it seems to keep popping up like some goddamned whack-a-mole from hell.
i guess you just must put down the mallet & walk away,
unless & until one of them chases you — or someone you love — down & attacks.

image source: zena musings.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

dogpaddle, captured.

seth casteel of little friends photography
is a genius. & is going global.

a friend [hi, suzy-cute!] posted a link
up on my facebook page which led me to casteel
& his mostly canine catalog of fabulous photographs.

enjoy . . . & click here for more or here to buy:

"barking bubbles," above.




"i'm a seal"


"1, 2, 3"

Saturday, February 18, 2012

going home.

To me, Whitney was The Voice.

We got to hear a part of God every time she sang.

Heart is heavy,

spirit grateful

for the gift of her.

~ Oprah Winfrey ~

Sunday, February 12, 2012

such a waste.

typically, i'm sick of being tired.
today, i'm tired of being sick.

three half-written posts will be forthcoming
once one full-on cold ceases to be ongoing.

but meanwhile, a shadow of sadness overlays my illness.
whitney houston dead @ 48yo.
god gave her an amazing & unique gift,
& she squandered it on an abusive man & an addictive lifestyle.

my husband & i spent our time at the breakfast table this morning
explaining to teen girl & big boy what was so special about ms. houston.
[because, honestly, she fell off her rising star about 15 years ago,
before either of our kids were born.]

here's an excellent example — whitney singing the national anthem
at the 1991 super bowl, at essentially the peak of her career.

if you're like me, you'll watch it in awe,
then say a little prayer that whitney houston
has found her true voice again among the angels.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

an r&b matriarch worth remembering.

professionally, she was known as the matriarch of rhythm & blues;
personally, she lived a whole lot more blues than rhythm.

etta james was born jamesetta hawkins in la on january 25, 1938.
her mother was 14yo & unwed; her father was never known.

she was raised by her mother's landlady, mama lu, a good, churchgoing woman.
which is how jamesetta began singing at la's st. paul baptist church at the age of five.

but at twelve, jamesetta's mama lu died &
she was sent to san francisco to live with relatives.
mostly unsupervised, she quickly turned into a wild child,
drinking wine, smoking weed, hanging around with gangsters & pimps,
& apparently attracted to abusive boyfriends.

but jamesetta kept on singing.
at 14, she formed a girl group; they called themselves the creolettes.
musician johnny otis mentored the teens, changing their name to the peaches
& giving the lead singer her stage name by reversing jamesetta into etta james.

at 15, etta cut her first record with the trio,
a response to the hit "work with me, annie" by hank ballard & the moonlighters;
originally titled "roll with me, henry," the suggestive title was changed to "the wallflower."
it rose to #2 on the r&b charts in 1954,
& earned the girls an opening spot with little richard's national tour.

by 1960, etta was signing with chicago label chess records,
home to chuck berry, muddy waters & other big-name black artists.
she enjoyed a string of hits, including her iconic "at last;"
she became chess' first big female star.

but etta's career grew quieter as she began a struggle with drug addiction
that lasted the rest of her life —
from heroin in the 60s to cocaine in the 70s to painkillers as recently as 2010.

her husband, artis mills, took the rap when they were both arrested
for heroin possession in 1972, and served ten years.
etta was also arrested for drug use, check fraud & forgery,
but was sentenced to treatment rather than prison.
sadly, it never really took, & there were many return trips to rehab.

still, etta kept on singing.
she toured with & opened for the rolling stones during the late 70s & early 80s.
she performed at the opening ceremony of the 1984 olympic games in la.
she toured, recorded more than 40 albums for various labels,
won six grammys — including a lifetime achievement award —
& 17 blues music awards. she was inducted into
the rock & roll hall of fame in 1993, the blues hall of fame in 2001.

in 2008, etta enjoyed a renewed sense of celebrity
when beyonce knowles played her in the movie "cadillac records,"
a fictionalized account of the rise & fall of chess.

but her decades of hard living caught up with her
in a combination of conditions, including dementia & leukemia.
complications of the cancer were what finally silenced etta's versatile voice.

she died january 20th at the age of 73.

etta is survived by her husband of 42 years, artis,
her two sons by another relationship,
& four grandchildren.

she might never have spoken truer words
than when she told the la times
"when i'm singing the blues, i'm singing life."

here's one of the only videos i can find of
ms. etta james performing her biggest hit, "at last,"
here in austin @ austin city limits, july 2005: