Monday, May 5, 2014

an open letter to planet fitness.

Mr. Chris Rondeau
CEO, Planet Fitness
113 Crosby Road, Suite 15
Newington, NH 03801

Dear Mr. Rondeau,

I'm a professional business writer and self-confessed grammar geek from Austin, Texas, and I'm writing to both express my distress about and request a couple of corrections to your company's marketing language.

I'm distressed about Planet Fitness' use of the phrase "Judgement Free Zone." While I understand and fully support your philosophy of offering an environment where gym members can exercise without feeling self-conscious, I must alert you to two blatant grammatical errors within the phrase "Judgement Free Zone."

Error #1: Misspelling of Judgement

In American English, judgement is generally considered a misspelling of judgment for all uses of the word. In British English, judgment was traditionally preferred, but judgement has gained popularity over the past couple of centuries, so today, both spellings are common – in Great Britain. There is a web-based myth that judgement was the original spelling and judgment is a 19th-century American invention; this is simply untrue.

Error #2: Lack of hyphenation between Judgment and Free

In the phrase "Judgement Free Zone," judgment and free work together as a single adjective describing zone: a zone that is free of judgment, or judgment-free. This compound modifier must be hyphenated. Without the hyphen, both judgment and free are working as separate adjectives, each describing zone – so you are effectively saying the zone is both a judgment zone [the opposite of your actual intention] and a free zone [wholly inaccurate, as your members all pay dues to work out in such a 'zone'].

I urge you, now armed with these corrections, to change your company's use of Judgement Free Zone to Judgment-Free Zone. Any company that can invent and trademark a clever term like lunk for its own marketing purposes can surely take care that all its marketing language is grammatically correct. Planet Fitness – the self-proclaimed "most innovative health club brand in the United States" – deserves no less.

Thank you in advance for your contribution to proper English use.

Best regards,
Kristen Card

Monday, April 28, 2014


this week, people magazine made oscar-winning actress
lupita nyong'o the cover girl for its annual 50 most beautiful issue.

she may not be the first person of color to hold this particular honor,
but she's definitely the first person of this particular color.

"what is fundamentally beautiful is compassion for yourself & for those around you,”
nyong'o said early this year. "that kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul.

“i hope my presence on your screens & in the magazines may lead you, young girl,
on a similar journey [as mine], that you will feel the validation of your external beauty,
but also get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.
there is no shade to that beauty."

i hope ms. nyong'o knows it is not only young girls of dark beauty
whom she inspires. this middle-age white mama is moved by her, too.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

four sentences to joy.

i’m a big believer in the power of gratitude –
of practicing gratitude my own self, & of sharing my gratitude with the people who evoke it,
to lift them up with the knowledge & acknowledgement that what they were or did for me
made a positive difference. it mattered.

plus, expressing thanks is just good manners, y’all.
remember the essentials, please & thank you?
well, it seems to me that we’re currently living in a acquisition-centric culture
where please is the order of the day & thank you is wrongly losing rank.

for example, when’s the last time you wrote an actual pen-to-paper thank-you note?

no, the pen & the paper aren’t really the point.
but truly, isn’t a handwritten missive,
arriving in your metal mailbox via a human postal-carrier’s hand,
more meaningful than its e-quivalent?

yes. yes, it is.

so, just in case you may be a tad rusty,
here’s all you need to create a perfect thank-you note:

:: a small sheet of paper or notecard

:: a fitting envelope

:: a first-class stamp

:: a writing implement

:: someone to be thankful to for something, & his|her mailing address

:: a greeting – something like dear wendy, works perfectly.

:: sentence 1 – a statement of thanks for
whatever it is your grateful for, simple & straightforward.
thank you very much for the generous gift card you sent me for my birthday.

:: sentence 2 – say something about the item, deed, what have you,
that you especially appreciate. is my favorite spot to shop, so the gift card will
definitely be put to good use – maybe on several online occasions!

:: sentence 3 – say something about the person that you especially appreciate.
you’re such a kind & thoughtful gift-giver;
having someone like you remember & celebrate my birthday each year
really makes me feel like someone special.

:: sentence 4 – reiterate your thanks & add another personal note, if possible.
thanks again so much – i hope we can
catch up in person over the summer … over margaritas??

:: a closing – something like all the best, kristen works perfectly.

into the envelope, seal, stamp, address, mail. done & done.

& well done! you just added a dose of humanity &
a slice of joy to the world.

because gratitude begets joy.
put four sentences together today & make someone happy.

[regarding the image at the top: in 2010, canadian author yann martel
received a thoughtful thank-you note in response to his award-winning novel,
life of pi, from father of two & free-world leader barack obama.
this particular note doesn't follow my four-sentence formula,
but is a fine example of a beautifully & elegantly written thank-you nonetheless.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

happy easter day.

or, as my grandfather, pops, used to exclaim,
happy easter, egg!!

here's hoping yours is full of wholesome smiles,
cute little bunnies & chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.


Friday, April 18, 2014

have yourself a cozy little easter [egg].

truly, what is more uk-ier than an egg cosy?
well, other than a tea cosy. but so much less obvious.

tiny. whimsical. unnecessary. sort of froofy. oddly humorous.
they're like something a monty python sketch might revolve around.

nevertheless, they're out there, in many different iterations,
awaiting homes abundant with chilly soft-boiled eggs
for them to work their warming magic on.

here's a selection of egg cosies i found @,
ready for their biggest yearly season: easter.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

big finish.

performance poet jesse parent,
addressing his namesake issue – parenting – particularly of a daughter,
at the 2013 salt city slam team selection finals.

watch it all the way through – the punchline really delivers.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

a day worth celebrating.

ten days ago, doris mary ann kappelhoff – aka doris day – celebrated her 90th birthday.

i heart doris – her delightful singing, her sunshiney ways,
her support of the gay community & her serious dedication to animals.

so in honor of doris' induction as a nonagenarian,
here are ten tidbits you might not have known about her
[one for every decade to date, plus one in hopes of her reaching 100yo!]:

:: she danced first. as a teen, doris teamed up with jerry doherty to perform locally in her hometown of cincinnati as a dancing duo. but a 1937 car accident injured her legs & stunted her future as a pro dancer.

:: while recovering, she discovered a talent she didn't know she had. "during this long, boring period, i used to while away a lot of time listening to the radio, sometimes singing along ... . but the one radio voice i listened to above others belonged to ella fitzgerald. there was a quality to her voice that fascinated me, and i'd sing along with her, trying to catch the subtle ways she shaded her voice, the casual yet clean way she sang the words."

:: her first job as a professional singer was in a local cincinnati restaurant, the charlie yee's shanghai inn.

:: in 1939, she adopted the stage surname "day" while working for barney rapp, at his suggestion. rapp felt "kappelhoff" was too long for marquees, & he enjoyed her rendition of the song day after day.

:: in 1953, she won the oscar for best original song –– secret love from her starring role in calamity jane.

:: she feels her best film was 1955's love me or leave me, a bio pic about singer ruth etting.

:: during the 1956 filming of the man who knew too much, she became concerned about alfred hitchcock's lack of direction. doris asked hitch about her performance; he answered, "if you weren't doing what i liked, you'd know." at the movie's premiere, hitchcock was asked how he got such a great performance from her; he answered, "it wasn't me; it was doris."

:: among her myriad accolades: member of the ohio women's hall of fame [1981]; cecile b. demille award for career achievement [1989]; presidential medal of freedom for entertainment achievement & her work for animals [2004]; hit parade hall of fame [2007]; grammy for lifetime achievement in music [2008]; first legend award ever presented by the society of singers [2010]; grammy hall of fame awards for recordings of sentimental journey [1998], secret love [1999], & que sera, sera [2012].

:: she's been married four times: to trombonist al jorden [1941-43; they had her only child, son terry]; to saxophonist george weidler [1946-49]; to producer martin melcher [1951-68]; & to maitre d' barry comden [1976-81].

:: she actively lobbied congress on several occasions for support of legislation designed to safeguard animals, & in 1995, she originated the annual event spay day usa.

happy happy birthday, ms. day – wishing you many, many more! :)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014

unequal pay = cray cray.

today, two days beyond [un]equal pay day, musician pharrell williams of "happy" fame
sat with one of my personal heroes, ellen degeneres, & talked about
why he named his latest album "G I R L".

the predictable reason? he likes women. well, duh.
the not-as-expected reason? he's fed up with gender inequality.

"still to this day, what is it – like 73 cents to a man’s dollar?
what is that?
the last i heard, the whole reason this entire species can come into existence
is through the portal of a woman’s body."

ok, who loves pharrell? mmhmm – raise those hands up high, ladies.

seriously, it's 2014. are we really still debating
the appropriateness of equal pay for equal work?

yes. yes, we are.

because these, ladies & gentlemen – & especially the gentlemen:
heads up, please – are the facts:

:: women must work about 60 extra days to earn
as much as men did by the previous year's end.

:: the pay gap – women's 77 cents to every man's dollar – hasn't improved since 2002.

:: at our current pace of progress, we can expect pay equity around 2058.

:: the average american woman loses $431,000 over the course
of her career due to the pay gap.

:: the u.s. is ranked #23 globally in terms of gender equality
[which includes pay equity]. burundi is #22.

:: thanks to u.s. senate republicans, the paycheck fairness act is still not law.

as president obama says in response to those who claim pay equity is a "non-issue,"
"it's not a myth. it's math."

& it's not a women's issue, either. it's an issue about the american family.
because how many working women are working mothers, their paychecks going
to help house, feed, clothe, keep healthy, educate & otherwise support their children,
who, incidentally, will be the future of our country? most of them.

again, the inspirational president of these united states:

"the time has passed for us to recognize that
what determines success should not be our gender,
but rather our talent, our drive & the strength of our contributions.
so, today, let us breathe new life into our founding ideals.
let us march toward a day when, in the land of liberty & opportunity,
there are no limits on our daughters' dreams &
no glass ceilings on the value of their work."

amen, mr. president. you & pharrell go get 'em.

p.s. my new mantra: my body is a portal of life.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

love s'more.

last month, honey maid began airing an awesome commercial celebrating
the diversity of families, the blessed blindness of love & what wholesome really means.

haters hated, like they do.

honey maid responded with perfection.
authentic, beautiful, creative, meaningful perfection.

just watch – while i go add "honey maid graham crackers" to my weekly shopping list.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

god woke up.

& he was groggy
so he got a nice cup of coffee
& went to site
under an apple tree.
he sat there
drinking his coffee,
listening to the birds,
when all of a sudden
it hit him.
he was happy.
god was happy!
& he wished there
was just someone to see it.
he'd gotten such a bad rap
all these years
for being pissed off
all the time.
& he really wasn't.
maybe a little cranky.
but here he was,
mellow yellow.
the birds were singing
& he was at peace.
buddha told him it
could be this way,
but he'd never really
believed it until now.
life really was easier,
sitting under a tree.

~ cynthia rylant ~

happy national poetry month, everyone!
here's hoping it's as happy as god with a cup of coffee under a tree.

image via desktop nexus.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

call me point b.

if i should have a daughter, instead of “mom,” she’s going to call me, “point b.”
because that way, she knows that no matter what happens,
at least she can always find her way to me.

& i’m going to paint the solar systems on the backs of her hands, so she has to learn
the entire universe before she can say, “oh, i know that like the back of my hand.”
& she’s going to learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face,
wait for you to get back up just so it can kick you in the stomach.
but getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs
how much they like the taste of air.

there is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by bandaids or poetry,
so the first time she realizes that wonder woman isn’t coming,
i’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself.
because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers,
your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal.
believe me, i’ve tried.

“and baby,” i’ll tell her, “don’t keep your nose up in the air like that.
i know that trick. i’ve done it a million times. you’re just smelling for smoke
so you can follow the trail back to a burning house, so you can find the boy
who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. or else, find the boy
who lit the fire in the first place, to see if you can change him.”
but i know she will anyway, so instead, i’ll always keep an extra supply
of chocolate & rainboots nearby.
because there’s no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix.

okay, there’s a few heartbreaks that chocolate can’t fix.
but that’s what the rainboots are for. because rain will wash away everything if you let it.

i want her to look at the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat.
to look through a microscope at the galaxies that exist on the pinpoint of a human mind.
because that’s the way my mom taught me. that there’ll be days like this,
“there’ll be days like this,” my mama said.
when you open your hands to catch & wind up with only blisters & bruises.
when you step out of the phone booth & try to fly,
& the very people you want to save are the ones standing on your cape.
when your boots will fill with rain, & you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment,
& those are the very days you have all the more reason to say, “thank you.”
because there’s nothing more beautiful
than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline,
no matter how many times it’s sent away.

you will put the “wind” in “winsome… lose some.”
you will put the “star” in “starting over… & over…”
& no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute,
be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life.

& yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting, i am pretty damn naive.
but i want her to know that this world is made out of sugar.
it can crumble so easily, but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out & taste it.

“baby,” i’ll tell her, “remember, your mama is a worrier, & your papa is a warrior,
& you are the girl with small hands & big eyes who never stops asking for more.
remember that good things come in threes, & so do bad things,
& always apologize when you’ve done something wrong.
but don’t you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining.
your voice is small, but don’t ever stop singing.
& when they finally hand you heartache, when they slip war & hatred under your door
& offer you handouts on street corners of cynicism & defeat,
you tell them that they really
ought to meet your mother.”

sarah kay is a spoken word poet – half-japanese, half-jewish, all new york. & 100% amazing.

this performance was the opener of her talk at the 2011 ted conference.
click here for the whole talk
[it's only about 20 minutes & includes another poem performance.]

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

happy birthday, ms.

happy happy birthday to my fellow feminist + writer, ms. gloria steinem.

she turns 80yo today, & i must say, if this is what being an octogenarian
looks like, then i'm happy to be over halfway there!

she is spending her birthday riding elephants in botswana.
seriously – isn't that how we all want to spend our 80th?

inspirational as ever, ms. s.
cheers to you – keep on keepin' on!

"the truth will set you free,
but first it will piss you off."

"i have yet to hear a man ask for advice
on how to combine marriage and a career."

"writing is the only thing that, when i do it,
i don't feel i should be doing something else."

"like art, revolutions come from
combining what exists into
what has never existed before."

"we've begun to raise daughters more like sons;
but few have the courage to raise our sons
more like our daughters."

"i'm keeping my torch, thank you –
& i am using it to light the torches of others."

"the future depends entirely on
what each of us does every day;
a movement is only people moving.
to feel its warmth and motion around us
is the end as well as the means."

"a feminist is anyone who recognizes
the equality and full humanity
of women and men."

Monday, March 17, 2014

i feel lucky.

happy happy st. paddy's day t'ya!!

ok, that's the best brogue you'll get out of me,
as my ancestry is german, german, german, german, german, polish, german & german.


nevertheless, i mich glücklich.
that is, i feel lucky.

blessed. grateful. whatever.
but today, let's call it lucky.

:: lucky to live in austin, texas, especially in the springtime.

:: lucky to live in a beautiful home i feel more & more at home in all the time.

:: lucky to live with our wonderful four-family all together for the time being.

:: lucky to live with three good dogs who keep me company & make me smile.

:: lucky to live in a strong, resilient, reasonably healthy body.

:: lucky to work for myself, from my own home office, with some amazing people.

:: lucky to have the creative gifts & practical talents i have.

:: lucky to have plenty of healthy, caring family.

:: lucky to have so many beautiful, brilliant, loving friends.

:: lucky to be here now. & now. & now.

:: lucky to be 46 going on 47.

:: lucky to be me.

:: lucky to feel so, so lucky.

how about you? how are you feeling lucky today?

Friday, March 14, 2014

find a way . . . to dance.

i lurve me some dancing . . . with the stars.

yep, hubs & i have been fans since season one.
we've got our fave pro dancers [derek! cheryl! tony the bologna!],
our pro-dancer nemesis [mark – boo.], & a huge host crush
on hilarious zen-master of ceremonies tom bergeron.

we're appalled at the elimination of harold wheeler & his amazing orchestra,
unsurprised at the elimination of co-host brooke burke-charvet
[well, a little surprised that she lasted seven seasons], &
annoyed at the inclusion of olympic-champion ice dancers
meryl davis & charlie white as contestants ... ringers much??

all of that aside, one of the things i love about this show
is that the celebrities i start out supporting are rarely the same
ones i end up rooting for. something about this competition –
it is, despite all the sequins & spray tan,
physically, mentally & emotionally grueling – 
brings out people's true colors, & they're often unexpected.

for example, a couple of seasons ago, i went into the show
thinking kellie pickler was an overhyped hick idiot,
but by the finale, i was 100% team kellie; i was thrilled when she won.

so here's my "team kristen" short list going into season 18;
i'll let you know how i'm feeling mid-season & toward the finale
to see how – & why – my choices might change . . . [listed alpha by surname]:

:: funnyman – & now skinnyman – drew carey [dancing w/cheryl burke]
:: wonder years winnie & mathematician danica mckellar [w/valentin chmerkovskiy]
:: marathon swimmer diana nyad [w/henry byalikov]
:: paralympic snowboarder amy purdy [w/derek hough]
:: beyond descriptors billy dee williams [w/emma slater]

how about you – are you a dwts diehard?
are you outraged by the orchestral ousting?
& who are your picks this spin around the dance floor?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

love this photobomber.

our big boy turned eleven a couple of weeks ago.
i was sure i wanted to blog about it,
but i wasn't sure what i wanted to say.

then, a couple of days ago, a fellow blogger inspired me.
she posted about one of her sons, who has adhd
along with one of the world's biggest hearts.
she closed with this:

sometimes it is necessary to diagnose & label
in an effort to explain & understand limitations
in each other as we make our way through life.

but it is far more important
to see into each others' hearts &
to appreciate the gifts & strengths we possess
to connect with & improve our world.

& that is what i want to make sure my tween boy knows.

that no matter how much he struggles with math –
or whatever other academic challenges might pop up –
his success [or lack thereof] with
prime numbers or probability or word problems

means nothing

compared to his success at kindness, helpfulness, friendship,
creativity, compassion, gratitude, joy, self-care,
love & wholeheartedness. & he is
already wildly successful at all of those.

being a good student – that is, a student who does his best
& who doesn't give up [just keep swimming!!] – is important.
but not as important as being a good human.

& at age eleven, our boy is already an unqualified success at that.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

real-world princesses.

as a final frozen followup & in celebration of international women's day today,
i offer a sampling of award-winning artist david trumble's prototype
for disney's "world of women" collection:

ten real-world princesses who sparkle all on their own:

equality princess rosa parks.

jungle princess jane goodall.

trailblazer princess gloria steinem.

princess 2016 hillary clinton.

defiant princess malala yousafzai.

to view the rest of the potential collection, just click here.

i definitely think i'd begin my collection with the defiant princess malala ...
which one is your favorite? & what other women do you believe belong in this collection?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

the 'frozen' covers i just can't let go.

oh, i could just go on & on about the hilariously inexplicable
john travolta | adele dazeem gaff at the academy awards.
but the rest of the interwebs has beat me to that punchline
about a thousand times already. or almost 23 million [!] times,
according to a current search of google. oy.

while ms. dazeem did a wonderful job at the oscars
of performing the winning empower ballad let it go,
there have been countless covers of queen elsa's showstopper
bouncing about the same interwebs ...
some of them magnificently memorable & shuper share-worthy:

a musical parody from ohio traffic man bob herzog, urging cincinnati viewers to take a break from being cincinnati drivers during extreme winter weather:

a frozen/passenger mashup by youtube sensation sam tsui:

an amazing "africanized" version from nigerian singer alex boyé along with utah’s one voice children’s choir:

the incredible vocalist/impressionist christina bianco's diva mashup:

& last but most, the original, extraordinary idina menzel along with jimmy fallon & the roots – with kiddie instruments:

Monday, March 3, 2014

let it go? no way, sister.

just some posts to sing the praises of disney's now academy-award-winning frozen.

we loved this movie.

even my cynical 14yo daughter –
who, along with me, was extremely disappointed with the much-hyped brave
[our favorite thing about that movie was merida's hair] –
even she loved this movie.
like, fist-pumping, that-was-awesome kind of movie-love.

& it wasn't just the amazing songwriting,
or the broadway powerhouses behind the voices,
or the romantical plot twist we actually didn't see coming,
or kristen bell [whom we love for her obsession with sloths & correct name spelling],
or elsa's hair, which gave merida's auburn curls some serious competition.

it was all of that – & something more. much more.

josh gad, who voices olaf the hilariously endearing snowman,
encapsulated frozen's appeal beautifully:
"in frozen, the idea of true love is explored
through the arc of a relationship between siblings,
& siblinghood is something that resonates in a deeply profound way."

"frozen is not about the prince & princess for once,"
echoed fellow mom-with-daughters emma chaney to buzzfeed.
"it's not a traditional story between a man & a woman;
it's the sisters who represent true love at the end,
& that's an excellent message for my girls."

amen, sister. amen.

frozen is coming out on dvd march 18th.
we. can't. wait.