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.