Monday, April 20, 2015

Friday Afternoon Flashback

When I was in 4th grade we saw a movie basically every Friday afternoon. Our teacher was a hardass but she teamed up with a few other teachers and, if I remember correctly, each and every Friday at least 2 classrooms full of us squeezed into one classroom and waited for the lights to be turned down low and the excitement to begin.

Even talking about it now brings me close to panic.

We weren't getting the latest Disney fare or a documentary about kittens. We saw movies about pollution, water shortage, disease, environmental decay, fire, and I'm pretty sure brimstone - though no religion. I have vivid images burned in my brain of puffing smokestacks and ankles puffed up by elephantiasis.

To say that I have been anxious since birth is not an exaggeration. Afraid of the dark, afraid of snakes, afraid of making a fool of myself, afraid of nuclear annihilation. I had plenty to worry about on every afternoon of the week and for an entire school year, in the name of education, my teachers poured burning pitch on my little flame of fear and watched it leap 10 feet high and white hot.

In their defense I don't think they actually saw what it was doing to me. It counted as educational material. It was vaguely activist in nature. The crazy gross stuff probably amused and delighted a lot of my classmates (who I can only assume now watch a lot of reality TV) and I sat frozen and silent in the corner and concentrated on not crying or screaming or passing out. From the moment we were told to line up I strategized where to sit and what I could hide behind and began telling myself entertaining stories that could divert my mind's eye while my actual eyes stayed glued to the screen just the way Mrs. Fitch liked them.

I went on to fear listening to the news and, even now, am pretty much unable to turn off my reaction to any sensationalist delivery of even scientific information. I'm smart enough to know I'm being manipulated but anxious enough not to be able to fight the feeling, if you'll pardon the expression.

Last night I went to see Jane Goodall speak. She's the chimpanzee lady, you know? The gorilla lady died so if you're going to hear someone speak you go listen to the chimpanzee lady. The last three sentences should make it pretty clear how much I knew about Dr. Goodall going in. I bought the ticket because I knew a friend really liked Goodall's work and suddenly several friends did and we decided to go as a group.

At dinner as we discussed our anticipation (for the sake of dignity I didn't contribute much). One friend piped up, "I think this talk is going to be a lot about climate change. That's what she's seems to be focusing on."

WHAM! I was right back in Mrs. Fitch's 4th grade classroom being told to line up for the movie. Suddenly I was planning what stories I might distract myself with in my head while still paying enough attention to contribute to the conversation later but not paying so much attention that I'd have a panic attack and ruin everyone's night. When we arrived there was an informative slideshow playing and I watched the panels carefully to glean as much as I could.

When the lights went down I started to cry.

I did not have a panic attack and I was able to listen to the whole thing with all my attention. I could not, however, stop crying. Dr. Goodall is highly optimistic but she's open to the fact that her optimism might be misplaced. She has a plan to do her best to bring her optimism to fruition. She travels 300 days per year carrying out that plan and she's been doing that since the year I graduated from college.

I graduated from college a long time ago.

Climate change is still a thing.

Her program asks activists (mostly kids) to do one thing for people, one thing for animals, and one thing for the environment. She does not ask that you do everything. She does ask that you do something.

I'm still kind of crying over it. But I think I can do something while I cry.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Photo Challenge: NEXT

Here we are, challenging ourselves again. This month is crazy busy for me with all kinds of things. I'm feeling overwhelmed. It's nice to have our photo challenges to ground me in time and space. Cyber space, at least.

I'm aiming the next prompt at Our Lisa because I know she took photos recently of something really SPECIAL. So there you go!

Please enter by 9am Tuesday April 21st for posting on April 22nd. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and SPECIAL. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The  appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Photo Challenge: FORGET

Oof. And then I forgot what the prompt was when I promoted the challenge on Monday. My brain is on overload. Oops!

Enjoy these from the FORGET challenge and scroll down for a prompt which I hope to hell I can remember!

It is impossible to forget that this is Our Bethany's boy. It's written all over him. (Look at his hand!)

Speaking of things that are impossible to forget...I was too afraid to even ask Our Ana about the story behind this.

Something from Our Sara for a holiday that is all about remembering and moving forward.

I wonder if someone forgot something when they painted or just didn't care?

Our Janet never forgets her sense of humor.

I'm just going with whatever pops into my head. That is NEXT. So, whatever that may mean to you, please bring it!

Please enter by 9am Tuesday April 7th for posting on April 8th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and NEXT. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The  appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.

Monday, March 23, 2015

100 Word Challenge

I’m spinning from one thing to the next. I’m wondering how to keep track of everything. I remember how this used to feel. It was constant when I was 14, 20, 24. Then I consciously worked to stop it. I smoothed out a linear path in front of me and I plodded along it. Recently, though, the opportunities have been so obvious and so numerous that I’ve got a foot on this path and another on this one and yet another over there. I have a lot of feet. I walk a lot of paths. I’m lucky.  I’m scared.

Casey Carey-Brown's 100 word blog post challenge. I came in at 99 words. Go me! Also, from decision to posting was less than 10 minutes. Hurray!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

What the Hell is Going on Here?!

It's been an emotional week on a number of levels. I haven't done one of these posts in a while, despite the fact that I've been saving links to share for ages, so now seemed a good time.

I loved this quick bit of advice. I hope she got her proportions right!

I save stuff from Whatever Etc. ALL THE TIME. You really need to check in on her regularly. It's a Tumblr so it's easy to skim over things you're not interested in but she's always saying smart, funny, relevant, intriguing, important stuff. Do the world a favor and keep your eye on her, please.

OK, one more, even though I could have linked every word of the above to a post from Lindsay I want you to read I am separating this one out because if it changes the way you see one young woman then maybe you'll see other young women differently, too.

I am constantly contemplating cutting the cord of my cable addiction. (Not until Sons of Anarchy is over, no, wait last season of Justified, no, then Mad Men, AUGH!). Free legal streaming services?

If I did not have a dangerously extensive stationery collection already I'd be buying all of these greeting cards.

You have more than a month to submit an essay for this amazing sounding anthology put together by two internet celebs. This reminds me, I need to submit for this!

This is an article by a colleague about how far to push your kids. I kind of wonder about this in terms of myself. It feels like other people are always pushing themselves harder so am I lazy? Or do I just know where I function optimally?

Is it crazy that I want to do this little science experiment?

This is not how I envision a love letter from Johnny Cash but it's one of those cases where it's kind of awesome to be wrong.

I don't know about this experiment on motivating children. I have to believe there are nuances not being tracked for her. This podcast bears me out on that, too. (Seriously, take the time to listen to that podcast. It's incredibly important.)

This is a check in with the life story of an amazing girl that much of the internet adores and roots for.

I'm not sure everyone understands this stuff about dog training. Please remember that every trainer should be able to clearly articulate what will happen to your dog when she gets something right and what will happen when she gets something wrong. You are entitled to ask that before you hire them. I encourage you not to hire them if you are uncomfortable with the answer and I encourage you to be uncomfortable with any answer that involves pain for your dog.

Did you know that SCOTUS thinks it's ok to fire a woman for breast feeding? Fuck. All right, to be perfectly clear what they said is that it is not discrimination which...fuck.

This set of photographs about how New Yorkers eat dinner (it's not instagrams of people's food in restaurants) is interesting. I hope the project continues. I want an even wider variety of subjects.

It has begun with miscarriages causing legal trouble for women. This is out of old sci fi novels. It's insanity. Please make it stop. (Vote.)

Do you talk to your kids (if you have them) about money? I seem to have an ok handle on money matters but I never feel like I do. That seems like an important part of the puzzle.

Usually I end on a high note but, you guys, let's end with impact. A cop drew his gun on kids having a snowball fight. A snowball fight! Unarmed children playing in the snow. Stop the motherfucking madness. (Vote.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sir Robert Smellyfart of Lower Snaggletoothington

After being given 6 months to live over a year ago Bobby finally left us last evening.

I was thinking this morning that the popular phrase "man's best friend" is misleading. They are our friends but, most of the time, it feels somewhat different. To me Bob felt like an actual friend. He was good company, good comfort, casual fun, and always up for a laugh and a bite to eat.

He was one of the greats and our world is immeasurably diminished by his departure.

As is our custom, please give your pets (and yourselves) extra treats and love today just for being here. Being here is the most important part.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


The thing is, for a story to be interesting it needs a hook. You want some conflict or a tragedy or at the very least an incredibly silly mistake you can build up to and then paint as a lesson for your heartwarming ending. My trip to Oklahoma for Misti's wedding was basically perfect. I mean, yes, one of the dogs took a cat claw to the eye and we had the OKC equivalent of snowmageddon on the day before and day of the wedding but those things didn't touch us.

The most important thing I want to say about it is that I had a glorious time. I haven't had that much fun for so many days in a row in a very long time.

Secondly....well, it's that I realized how much a lazy person like me values work. This is not to say that I want to be busy all the time because I do not. I emphatically do not and I emphatically was not during this visit. I'm talking about what a comfort and, really, joy it is to work with the people you love. I love some people I don't work all that well with but for the most part I love people who are, almost literally, on my team. So, I met a bunch of Misti's team members and it turned out that we all found uniforms that fit and knew when to ask for coaching and when to just put our helmets on and get the job done. More often than not that job was eating more artichoke dip which was just fine by all of us.

I don't have any pictures of the ceremony. There was a professional for that and I was having too much fun hanging out with my teammates. I do have great memories and a soul full of gratitude that I was able to be part of the enormous team that celebrated Misti & Mark's wedding.

Oh, and there was that time that Dion and I almost got in a car accident but, really, totally not worth telling.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Photo Challenge: ELSE

I have never completely forgotten about a photo challenge before. First time for everything! Even while promoting it and thinking about it and considering it I completely forgot to post it. I've been having a little trouble getting myself together lately. I blame it on Daylight Savings. For now.

Good things happening in this one. Sorry it took me so long to show you! There is a new prompt below. I promise to try really hard not to forget when to post it.

The house was full, there were two dogs, Mistiridiculous was making her bouquet, and Sammy decided that somebody needed to to pay attention to him or ELSE. Luckily I was there to capture his majestic profile.

Our Janet always finds the most interesting slivers of the world. The ones screams, "OR ELSE" to me.

When someone moves out of New York I always check in with my own devotion to the place. I can't imagine leaving but I can imagine surprising Our Alisun by showing up to camp on her couch for a week. (Just kidding, Alisun!) (Maybe.)

I told Our Cindy, "Show us the puppy or ELSE!" No I didn't. But I would if I'd thought of it.

I think the new prompt is obvious. FORGET. I will understand if we get only submissions of my face.

Please enter by 9am Tuesday March 24th for posting on March 25th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and ELSE. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The  appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

They Pass In The Blink Of An Eye

Last night I walked into my apartment after work and as I was taking off my gear the following happened inside my head. It took less than two seconds.

"I should call Auntie Blanche.
"That doesn't sound right. Why?"
"Because I haven't heard from her in a while."
"Right, we haven't."
"Wait, it's because she's dead."
"Oh. Fuck. Guess I don't have to call."

There are a lot of factors that may have contributed to causing this but it's better just to sit back and think, "Well, that happened."

And it'll probably happen again.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Photo Challenge: LUV

This was a funny one and it yielded some results that are really brightening my day. I hope they do the same for you. New prompt at the end of this post!

When I saw this from Our Sara with her niece, Olivia, I felt like it was a bullseye on the LUV prompt!

Realized as I was posting this that I used this same photo in Ed's birthday post but kept it because I think it shows how much I LUUUUUUUUUUUUUV him.

Our Cindy says Tulips have always been her favorite. I did not know that but I'm glad I do now.

Love, LUV, Lurve, Our Janet has them all.

I've been highly attuned to other people's selfishness lately. I hate to think what that means about what I'm not seeing in myself. To combat that the new prompt is ELSE. I'm thinking of it as someone ELSE but it could be or ELSE or frankly anything ELSE you can think of! I trust you. You're going to surprise me.

Please enter by 9am Tuesday March 10th for posting on March 11th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and ELSE. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The  appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Alpha & Omega

Yesterday is the day I chose to celebrate Ed's birthday. He spent a lot of the day alone but he got plenty of treats and love and I even sang him happy birthday. That part, I'm sure, was the weirdest for him. He's 6 now. Sort of. As best we can estimate.

I estimated at the very oldest age possible given the clues so that he'll always seem young for his age. I'll always be able to say he had a good run. In the afternoon that sort of logic played out. My good friend, Steph, posted that she'd had to say goodbye to her first dog, her boon companion, her little old man, Charlie. Charlie, truly, had a good run. In fact I'd say he had a great one. He was a big personality who found exactly the right family, people with long enough arms to embrace every inch of him. He loved and was loved in return in a way some people (and dogs) only dream of.

I'm so happy for my guy hitting his stride and I'm devastated for Steph because I've been in her shoes and, it seems, I'll be there again...someday.

You folks know the drill. This is another one of those times that call for Treats for Everyone. Please give your pets food and love and play and songs just for existing. It's the only thing we really require of them and they're doing it well.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Photo Challenge: SWING

I think I might just be getting in the SWING of this whole 2015 thing we seem to be intent on doing. What about you?

My picture makes me a little nostalgic and it seems that Our Janet's does too!

I can just picture Our Sara swinging down the city streets as she passes this scene by.

This actress is part of a production that I saw in its beginnings over 20 years ago. Girls like her have been swinging their arms through the park like this all that time.

Our Ana should know never to swing the car when I'm on the ride. Even if the bar clicked tightly shut!

Leave it to Our Cindy to produce one shining moment of clarity in a slightly fuzzy set. We need that.

This just came to me and I'm going to trust the instinct. The prompt is LUV. And specifically LUV and not love so whatever makes that different...if it is different. I'm open to hearing that it's not.

Please enter by 9am Tuesday February 24th for posting on February 24th (I'm leaving town on the 25th so the challenge will go up early.) Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and LUV. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The  appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Another of Those Days

I ran into Michelle on my way home from our early morning dog walk on Sunday. She asked me if I was coming into the park.

"No, we're on our way home. I've got 3 dog training clients in 3 different boroughs then I have to get home to walk Ed again before I go over to Putnam's and rehearse with Carolann 'cause I'm singing a couple of songs in her set tonight."

"Wow, long day."

"Yes. Woof." GIANT PAUSE. "But, you know, it's all stuff I say I love to do so I better sac up and enjoy myself!"

And I did.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Idealism in Days

My life coach used to have us do this exercise where we'd write up our perfect day. It was always a little thorny for me because I tend to set that sort of thing in stone which leads me to gigantic emotions when they don't come to fruition exactly as I'd imagined. I did the exercise, though, and I enjoyed it. Dreaming those days even felt really good. And on days like today...

7:30 alarm goes off
7:35 respected colleague offers chance of a new client
7:50 out of bed
8:05 long, mostly uneventful walk with the dog
9:00 feed pets and self 
        check email and social media
10:10 nail salon
10:45 bank
11:05 vocal warm up and run through of current show
12:15 water, tv, check email and social media
12:45 lunch
1:10 blog
1:30 power nap
2:00 check email and social media
2:30 long, mostly uneventful walk with dog
3:30 shower
        prep for show
4:50 head to venue
5:00 arrive at venue for set up
6:00 change into show clothes
6:15 sound check
7:00 doors open
7:30 show begins
8:30 drinks and nibbles with audience
10:00 home, feed pets
10:30 short walk with dog
11:00 bed, read, sleep, dream of a perfect day