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.