Thursday, May 28, 2015

Home. Here.

Right after 9/11 my emotional reaction was that I could not leave New York City. It became of paramount importance to stay put as long as possible. If I left, I thought, they (who?) might not let me come back in.

I was not, of course, able to articulate that very well. I had numerous conversations with friends and family where they said, "Just come home." "You're welcome here." "Why don't you come visit?" It made me so angry. Why did they not understand? With time I understood that there was no way they could understand and I wasn't helping them any. I mostly let go of the anger. (I am terrible at letting things go. I'm trying to work on it.)

In the past couple of months several of my friends have gone through some awful stuff. They aren't my stories to tell but they've been my stories to listen to and support and help where I can manage. So often there's nothing anyone can do.

Well, wouldn't you know, I have bitten my tongue bloody on more than one occasion. At some point all I want to say is, "Come home." "Come here." "Sit by me." That's all it means, sit by me so I can keep an eye on you and feed you candy and make sure that you know that you are loved.

Just like me so many years ago, though, they know they are loved without having to sit on my ratty old couch. I have to trust that.

Another Channel

It's been so long since I posted on Kizz & Tell that some of you may not even know what that is. For anyone that needs an intro or a refresher, Kizz & Tell is my sex and reproductive health blog. I thought it might have been on permanent hiatus until a topic came to be (so to speak) this week. Remember that it's a blog about sex written by me. If you even suspect that you might be uncomfortable with those topics (sex, me, me & sex) please do not click through.

If you're comfy cozy with all that, I wrote a post about the cyclical nature of desire and I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Photo Challenge: APPRECIATE

This was a quiet one. I like the quiet ones. I don't mean that like, "Nobody participated" because clearly people did! I mean that the photos rolled in quietly with some peaceful and lovely (or disturbing images) and it all felt very quiet. It was cool.

I'm not sure if, initially, Our Bethany APPRECIATEd the gift of a birthday photo shoot but I hope she sees its high value now. I love this photo.

I hope Our Cindy would agree that it's wonderful to be loved but it's important also to be APPRECIATEd.

As I think Our Janet said over on Flickr, you have to APPRECIATE the clear warning!

This picture represents a middle ground that can't always be summited. My dog tolerates children but doesn't love them. A is a deeply empathetic kid who has been taught about respecting the feelings of dogs. When they get together they play training games and they both have a stupidly good time and really love being together. I APPRECIATE it more than I can say.

This next prompt is purely personal. HELP! That's it. I'm so busy I just need HELP! But you could interpret it in less dire ways. You can do anything you like. That's what's cool about these challenges.

Please enter by 9am Tuesday June 2nd for posting on June 3rd. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and HELP. 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, May 06, 2015

Photo Challenge: LEVEL UP

Oh, I think you're going to love these. I do!

Quick shout out to Our Janet for always ALWAYS tagging her photos. I went into the group to draft this post and the only way I could tell where the last challenge ended and this one began was by checking her tags. Thanks for keeping me in check, Janet!

I'm kicking this week off with this photo from Our Bethany for 2 reasons. One is know, let me let her son, Fynn (not pictured), explain. Secondly because I pretty much insisted that she offer up this photo for this specific prompt and then I didn't use it. Sorry!

Our Cindy caught me by surprise with this one. She's been making her own ghee for ages and I was thinking that she'd leveled up in ghee expertise then I really looked at the photo. Leveled up. LEVELed up. Got it.

Many moons ago my mother, who Our Alisun knows, tried to get me to level up my cat guardianship. I still have to hide the leashes in the freezer. Clearly Alisun's cat is more evenly keeled.

Ha! I love it when Our Janet goes literal. Before I embiggened the photo and saw the comment on it I was thinking what a big up-leveling it was to drink one's wine from a crystal goblet!

The only time I get really serious about selfies (ussies?) is when I'm hanging out with my younger generation friends. I don't know what they think about it but they seem to have fun. We took a regular one first and then I felt we needed to level up.

Last but certainly not least, in the past month Our Lisa has gotten her braces off and leveled up to her 2nd degree black belt. She's getting more done before June than some people do all year! (People like me!) Congratulations, Lisa!

You know, I was mulling over Mothers Day when this came to me but, really, it could apply to anything. Next prompt is APPRECIATE.

Please enter by 9am Tuesday May 19th for posting on May 20th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and APPRECIATE. 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, April 22, 2015

Photo Challenge: SPECIAL

Have I told you lately that I love you? I do! Sorry I don't say it enough.

Our Lisa got her braces off! You can see the special level of excitement in her eyes. Congratulations!

New chickens are always special. Our Cindy's chickens are fuzzy little treasures!

We have a special tradition of making faces in selfies. I forgot about the tradition and still managed to make a weird face!

In a week and a half I start a new level of training for my work with dogs. I'm excited. And nervous. But excited. And, you know, pretty nervous. First day of school is always a little funny. So, I'm calling the next prompt LEVEL UP. That's weird enough for you, right?

Please enter by 9am Tuesday May 5th for posting on May 6th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and LEVEL UP. 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, 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.