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

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Photo Challenge: To Do

You know what I didn't put on my To Do list? Reminding people to join this photo challenge! Guess I'm still getting into the swing of things this year. Enjoy these pics and scroll down for the next prompt!

These are the pants that Our Bethany wore while doing all of the things on the list that allowed her family to embark on their nomadic adventure.

My guy does not have enough to do these days. He is more upset about it at some moments than at others.

This is the window where Our Bethany put all of the things that needed doing after they were done. I think of it as The Accomplishment Window.

You know what? That's not a bad prompt. SWING. Let's use it.

Please enter by 9am Tuesday February 10th for posting on February 11th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and SWING. 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, January 15, 2015

I Didn't Think Anyone Would Do Anything

The end of 45.

I turned 46 last Friday. Had a fine time. Took some pics to post here but haven't posted them because I wanted to say something to go with them. Today, though, I really want to tell you this other story...and include the photos of me at 45 (top) and newly 46 (bottom).

This morning I wasn't in a great frame of mind. I hadn't slept well and I had a lot of thoughts. So many thoughts. I got to the subway and remembered that I had to put more money on my card. When I approached the credit card only machine it was out of order. As I turned to the cash and card machine a man stepped to it and punched some things on the keypad. He'd been standing by the turnstiles a moment before and clearly made his move as I tried to use the downed machine. A second later he stepped away from that machine and there was a code on the screen about an audio transaction in process and not being able to use it. I knew he'd caused that.

And right on cue he asked if I wanted a swipe. (If you don't live here it's a transit thing, it's illegal to sell swipes on one metro card at a markup but it's a pretty common scheme. The thing where you fuck up the machines to force people to buy your sweep is something I've suspected but not seen so clearly until today.) I said no and scowled at the stuck machine for a bit until he approached another customer. Bless her heart he offered her a swipe and she replied, "That's so nice of you!" I didn't hear him run down the price points because I had figured out that I'd have to go aboveground again, cross a busy street, go down into the station on the opposite side, use those machines, and come back to get on the train going in my direction and I was pretty mad about it. Even though I was kind of glad to be mad. It was distracting from my other thoughts.

While I did that I dialed up the city agency for transit complaints. In my head I was thinking, "They won't give a shit!" but I dialed anyway because I had to tell someone. I had to do something that felt right. Before they picked up, though, I was in the station on the other side of Flatbush Avenue and I'd forgotten that side has a manned token booth! (No tokens, though.) Someone to tell!

So I told the attendant. She held up a finger but didn't look at me. She got a piece of paper and a pen. She was quiet a long time. I thought, "She does not give a shit." Right before I walked away she waved me closer and handed me that piece of paper with a phone number on it. She told me that was the number for the transit police in this district and I should call them. They knew about this guy. She went on to say she thought he was doing it like a career, which was stupid. Then she asked me was he dark skinned? About 5'11"? What was he wearing? I could vouch for the skin and the height and even that he was thin and had a hood up but that was it and I started to get all the usual guilt over that. What if they asked me to ID him? I couldn't because I hadn't really looked at his face because I was trying to avoid contact with him and because I didn't think anyone would care.

I didn't think anyone would care.

I wanted to call to make myself feel better but there didn't seem to be any point in gathering specific information because I was absolutely sure that no one would listen to me and do anything about the problem. I got surprised. In a really good way. I wish I'd been more help.

The beginning of 46.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Photo Challenge

Aaaaaaaaand we're back! Happy new year! I'm excited for these photos and all the pictures to come in 2015.  Here we go!

What? Someone offers a pic of a giant dog nose and I'm not going to feature it? Our Ana totally knows me!

There's something about the combination of hard edges and soft focus in this that draws you in, right? I think Our Cindy is practicing her hypnotism!

I'm having a bit of a crisis of confidence with certain aspects of my photography. I'm proud of this one. Thank you for letting me share it.

This makes me feel like Our Janet is clairvoyant! It's like she knew the prompt I was going to add for next time!

I find this both super spooky and totally romantic. It makes me want to do something like go speed dating in this room. Do they do that there, Our Sue?

It's hard not to go with a prompt that has to do with the weather. It's just that my feet are so cold! I'm not going to fall for it, though. Since it's a time of making plans and starting fresh let's make the prompt TO DO. See where that takes you!

Please enter by 9am Tuesday January 27th for posting on January 28th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and TO DO. 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, January 08, 2015

Wrapping It Up Another Way

Another beloved meme, first lines from each month. Before I even start to populate it I want to say that I'm scared that the first post of most months will be the photo challenge. I love the photo challenge and am committed to it but I let it carry the blog a lot, I think, and I should have supported it more.

January: I am thrilled to be starting my blogging year with one of our photo challenges.

February: In the past few years I have been learning about addiction.

March: Several months ago someone stopped following me on a social media platform I use  regularly.

April: Today is National Dog Fighting Awareness Day (NDFAD).

May: Heh, I opened up this page and realized that I haven't submitted my FAITH photo yet

June: I used to work for a billionaire.

July: Forgive my tardiness, please!

August: Little did we know that on the day before this photo challenge came due we'd get awful news about a boy shot down by police and the death of the kindest clown.

September: When I was in New England a few weeks ago MamaKizz gave me some photo albums with the understanding that I would scan them so we could keep them safe and look at them whenever we wanted.

October: If all goes according to plan I will have all of Sunday to myself.

November: This is one of the ones where I twist the rules.

December: Stay tuned for a very special announcement at the end of this post, please.

That September one might be my very favorite in a long time.

Photo Credit: Sara Gardens.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

End of the Year Meme - Early or Late?

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
Performed a house concert. Had paying dog training clients. Produced a Listen To Your Mother Show. Attended jury duty in Federal court.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I crossed off almost everything on my list of things to do in 2014. The things that didn't get done were mostly shows not seen, which is fine because I saw a lot of shows I didn't intend to see! I've started a list for 2015. Oh, and I've chosen my word for the year, Forward.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, and I gave that kid a blanket and I let him blurp up half digested milk all over me and it was good.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, I was once removed from the grief this year. Fortunate.

5. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
More confidence. More consistency. 

6. What countries did you visit?
No travel this year. Travel budget was spent on dog training school and was totally worth it.

7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
June 22nd was the day we completed our dog training course. December 10th was the night of my super fun but somewhat ill-fated house concert.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Not only completing the initial stage of learning to be a dog trainer but putting that learning into practice both on my own and as part of a community.

9. What was your biggest failure?
This is one that comes up in all different contexts. I have trouble speaking out about things I know in a kind way when I am challenged. I default to being defensive and my argument is always diminished by that.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I burned myself a couple of times. I took steps to work on the breathing/acid reflux issue and feel better.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My dog training course. Any dog walking I paid for so that I could continue to do my learning and my own dog wouldn't suffer. Both of my trips to New England this year.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Everyone who has spoken out and protested the unchallenged killing of black citizens.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Darren Wilson and all of his compatriots who allowed their prejudices (unconscious or not) to strip others of their humanity. Anyone who donated money in support of Wilson.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Same as last year, "Food, training, health care, and accessories for the pets." Seriously, I did the math at tax time and I spend a lot of money on these guys. I don't begrudge it but it's a sobering number.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Dogs and talking about dogs and nerding out on training information. Completing a super fun concert in a home I adore.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
Someone Else's Dream by Carolann Solebello

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?  Happier
ii. thinner or fatter?  Thinner
iii. richer or poorer?  Tiny bit richer perhaps

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Performing, fiction writing.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Scheduling, worrying, being a know it all.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Though the experience was not at all the same I think I'd still describe it as I did last year, "I spent Christmas in New England as happily usual. Super low key this year, in a good way. Much time for eating and knitting and chatting."

21. There was no #21. I don’t know why there was no 21.

22. Did you fall in love in 2014?
Heh. This was my answer last year. "Nope. I'd like to in 2014, though." You all saw my smitten temp tattoo, right? So I guess I'm right where I was a year ago on this one.

23. How many one-night stands?
Zip. Nada. Zilch. A big goose egg. (Probably just fine.)

24. What was your favorite TV program?
The Good Wife.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
This is somehow an even tougher question in the year that Michael Brown and Eric Garner died. I mean...hate...um...I have a lot of strong feelings. I don't know that hate is the right word but it's in there somewhere.

26. What was the best book you read?
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and/or The Magicians Land.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Karyn Oliver and The Ya Yas.

28. What did you want and get?
Real, honest to goodness clients.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Still Alice.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
On the evening of my 45th birthday I asked a very few friends to go to a wine bar I'd never been to before in our neighborhood. We had a couple of drinks and then I got a ride home where Pony Express and I ordered in food and watched TV. It was exactly what I wanted in that moment.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
As I said last year, more kissing. More writing. Winning the lottery.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
Comfortable, presentable, able to withstand dog drool.

34. What kept you sane?
Another that will not probably change, "Friends and dogs." At least I hope it doesn't.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I would probably actually have changed this one this year but, since Craig Ferguson ended his run on the Late Late Show last month, I have to stick with him. I let my crush run rampant since I'm not likely to watch his game show as faithfully as I did his late night one.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The unchallenged deaths of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford and so many others. Also the subsequent lack of legal investigation of their killers.

37. Who did you miss?
Auntie Blanche and Emily. They've both been gone a long while but this year brought them up for me a lot.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
I finally go to meet in person some folks I've known only online for many years. Adding this face to face component to our friendships was deeply satisfying.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014:
If you think it's going too slowly, SLOW DOWN! (That's a dog training maxim that I find relevant to pretty much every area of life.)

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
From Susan Werner's I Can't Be New

I can be your girl through the best and worst times
But I can't be the girl you notice for the first time
There's so much I can do
But I can't be new

Monday, January 05, 2015

(Photo) Challenging News!

I suddenly decided that next week is the week for the next prompt. Surprise! And by next prompt I mean, there is still no prompt, just share something you love or that you think is interesting or dammit just share something to share it and get in the groove. There are no bad reasons.

Photos due in the Flickr group by 9am on Tuesday January 13th for posting on Wednesday January 15th. Good times!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

New Year, New Word

I'm a sucker for rituals. I love them. I love little rituals like the order in which I wash myself in the shower and I love grand rituals like the weird Christmas tradition we have of singing happy birthday to my grandfather who died in 2000. Rituals keep me pointed in the right direction while helping me to feel like I can explore places off the beaten path.

Anyway, last night I was going to a masquerade party. I didn't have the means or the motivation to go all out but I wanted to look a little special. I don't remember what it was but something reminded me that I have a whole huge bunch of temporary tattoos.  I sifted through them and found I couldn't choose between two of them because they felt perfect for the concept of holding/wearing/intending the things you want for the new year at the moment that year begins.

This one is for my word of the year, FORWARD. You would have laughed to see how long it took me to work out which arm to put it on because I wanted to be certain sure that the greyhound was pointing toward my fingers. That's where the words come out, you know.

This one...I don't know if I'm ready to talk about it but I guess I am ready to show it so here it is.

Or maybe the new year just makes me sentimental. One never knows.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ringing Out the Old

I've been quiet here but I've been thinking about you. I've wanted to write but not had time or space to sit down and do so.

I find that with a deadline I get absolutely obsessed with finishing things. Sometimes the things I'm freaking out about finishing have nothing to do with the deadline. There's no need for me to finish the book on my bedside table by midnight but for two days I've been itchy about it. I'm not going to wear the hat I'm knitting to tonight's party so why do I feel like the last thread needs to be woven in by the time the ball drops? Sometime between the 2nd or 3rd glass of wine last night and the dog park this morning I was able to let those things go.

Fortunately posting something to the blog stayed with me. I want to be here. I want to say one more thing, anything, before we head into the new year and say the next things.

This Christmas season I was wildly grateful to have the friends that I have. We had opportunities to make people's lives better and we did it with speed, efficiency, and grace. We had members who needed help, a lot of help, and they've been needing a lot of help for a while and together we figured out how to keep giving it. We celebrated the season. We enjoyed our families. We didn't exert the pressure on ourselves or our loved ones that it's so easy to use. I am proud to know them all.

My apartment is a mess. My animals are insane. I haven't looked carefully over 2014 or decided what I think about 2015. But I have a party to go to tonight and a tradition to observe and some things I'd like to do before it's time to get gussied up. Tomorrow is another day. The first day of another year (something someone pointed out we can say about every day) and I'm ready to move forward into it.


That might just be my word for 2015.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Photo Challenge: THANKS

Stay tuned for a very special announcement at the end of this post, please. Take your time, though, don't rush by the pretty pictures by me and Our Cindy.

There's so much to be thankful for in the only snap I took of a party at my house last week. The surprise guest on the left, the laughter of those two goofballs in the middle, my house all spiffed up by Queen Bee. My cup of good fortune runneth over.

If it were my job to title Our Cindy's photos (and it's totally not) I'd call this one Perspective. Or maybe Perspective On Clarity? No, what about Clear Perspective? I'd call it something, though, because I'd want to find it again because it's very cool. (I am terrible at this titling job.)

This dude is crying out for me to be grateful. Well, he's crying out for everything but that is, I suspect, because his thyroid is way out of whack again. He's a mystery. Should have died before he was 6 and he's chugging away into his 15th year now so I'm not making any predictions, I'm just enjoying him while I can.

Our Cindy claims this shot is from a camping trip but this does not look like camping to me. Regardless of the living conditions I really want to know what this young chef is saying. I expect she has wisdom to impart.

Here is the Very Special Announcement: There is no prompt. Also, it's not two weeks until our next display. I'm going to take off from the photo challenges for the holidays. I am including my birthday in the holidays so the next photo challenge will be posted on 1/14. I'll remind you before then, don't worry. In the mean time please keep taking pictures and noticing the world around you and being grateful for it as I am grateful for you.

Happy snapping!