Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Photo Challenge: SAFE

This prompt became a study in pairs. I think that's kind of cool. (And then circumstances changed before I hit publish and it wasn't all about pairs!)

You know the drill; enjoy, explore, and scroll down for the next prompt.

Our Bethany seems to have captured how reading with a child makes the adult feel safe, too.

My craft was not impeccable when I took this shot on the first day that same sex marriages were legal in New York but I think the emotion manages to shine through.

I am somewhat concerned about the proximity of the photographer to the explosives in this one by Our Lisa.

I was recently told that I must be more vigilant about wearing my sunglasses. I have taken this news with much roaring and gnashing of teeth. Please help me out by playing with the prompt SUN (or SON if you prefer).

Please enter by 9am Tuesday July 29th for posting on July 30th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and SUN (or SON). 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, July 14, 2014

2014 LTYM Videos Are Here!

It's funny that I haven't shared the Listen To Your Mother videos here yet, I know. I'm not sure what happened. I think I fell down the rabbit hole of making sure all the people I had to notify (the ones whose videos are represented here) were taken care of that I didn't let you know, too. I'm realizing that there were people I promised to email about it, too, that I never got in touch with. I'm sorry about that. Luckily online video is forever so you haven't missed anything.

Many links to give you:

  • The entire LTYM channel where you can access over 1000 videos of stories on the theme of motherhood. 
  • The 2014 playlist which includes this year's crop of tales from across the nation. 
  • The 2014 NYC playlist so you can see our show from the comfort of your own living room (with all the parts where I was raising and lowering the mic stand edited out). 
  • I'll embed my video (if I'm capable of that) so you can comment here or on YouTube.

If you watch the other videos I would consider it a personal favor if you reached out with comments to the readers. I know how exciting it is to see your view count go up and to hear the "me too" moments that listeners have and I would love for all of them to experience that.

Thanks for sticking with my stories, even the ones that aren't video-worthy.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Photo Challenge: No Prompt

Forgive my tardiness, please! Apparently Mercury was retrograding especially strongly in my life today so I haven't had all the tools to put this together until now. Onward and upward! Technically downward if you want to scroll down for the next prompt.

I love the light and shadow in this one by Our Ana. It speaks to the personality of cats, I think.

Welcome to Our Sara and thank her for bringing us a whole different animal for a post full of them!

Mr. Smith is one of my favorite dogs. He is perfectly not this picture.

Our Bethany is a brilliant sneaky portrait taker. Her kind intensity is mirrored in her subjects.

I thought we should end on a laugh. This shot of Our Lisa's Henry, stuck in a tree, makes me giggle. Outraged at his plight!

There have been some horrible stories bouncing around lately. Some high profile and political, some local and frightening in their arbitrariness. After thinking about it for a while the only prompt I can entertain is SAFE. See what you can make of that, ok?

Please enter by 9am Tuesday July 15th for posting on July 16th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and SAFE. 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, June 25, 2014

Now What?

I graduated from my force free dog training course on Sunday. We met with two final clients, we got feedback, we received our diplomas, we had a party,'s over.

Now what?

Now I work toward getting 300 hours of practical experience so that I can take the CPDT test, which is the only national accreditation test for positive reinforcement trainers. You have to know science to take it. Science I have been taught but that I will need to work really hard on. You have to work with a lot of clients. In January of 2014 they tightened their requirements so that instead of having five years to complete the 300 hours you have 3. That's 100 hours per year. My goal date is May 31, 2016. I'd sure like to get it done faster than that, though.

So, it's not like I don't know what I have to do. There are vague plans to do so. This morning in the park, though, a dog owner approached me and asked for my services and I didn't have a business card to hand him or a website to send him to. I didn't miss the opportunity, I gave him my personal email, but it wasn't terribly smooth. The plans have to stop being vague. The outreach needs to start being active. I can't let fear hold me back, right?

In the shot above Bu and Ed look worried. If the fear holds me back they might get fewer treats and that's just unacceptable.

*Please disregard my filthy yoga pants, the grossness of which I somehow enhanced when I processed this photo.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Happy Birthday To Her

Usually on this, the third Saturday of June, I would already be eating fried clams and slathering my scantily clad self in makeup for The Coney Island Mermaid Parade. This year we're taking a different path. Though, like the first year we marched, the parade lands on Alita's actual birthday she asked if we could forgo it in favor of the Relay for Life. She wanted to honor a friend whose cancer had killed him by participating and we couldn't do both. So instead of getting sunburned and silly in sparkles she'll be walking her portion of the relay and then we'll meet for sushi. I've just baked the cupcakes and I'll do some minimal decorating. It'll be easier to transport them since they don't have to be carried through the parade as well. Tonight at dinner I can meet one of her friends, hear about the relay, and watch her blow out her candles a 13th time.

Am I disappointed to miss the parade? Well, a tiny bit. The thing is, though, when someone wants to do something honorable and selfless like this it sweeps the disappointment to the side. I am always proud to know this kid but today I'm feeling even a little bit luckier. She continues to be a kind, thoughtful, strong person. I think that's awesome. I hope I can be as good a human as she is.

Happy 13th birthday you wonderful young lady! I can't wait to celebrate with you tonight.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Izzy was a flirt and an independent soul. She was good to Ed but didn't indulge his bossier, bad boy side. She was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks ago and we thought there would be more time. Last night her pain was too great and her people helped her go.

And it sucks.

Treats for everyone in Izzy's memory and honor, please. Fuck cancer right in the ear.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Photo Challenge: SOUL

Hey, we even have a new photog in the mix this time. Exciting! A good time to remind everyone that comments and feedback (here and on Flickr) are love.

Our Bethany goes straight for the windows. I want to know how she got this awesome shot.

If ever there were a soulful pup it is Our Sara's boy.

I need to ask Our Ana what happened when you answered that woman's question.

One of the people in this picture has plenty of soul. (Technically I did not take this picture, Our Misti did. But I set it up and handed her my phone.)

I keep coming back to Our Alisun's pic and wondering if it's a good thing or a bad thing for people to keep off your soul. What do you think?

Here is the place where I usually put a prompt. You know what? It's summer (or it will be in the middle of our prompt period)! Nobody needs homework. We're going prompt-free for this one. Can't wait to see what you put on offer!

Please enter by 9am Tuesday July 1st for posting on July 2nd. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE. 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, June 04, 2014

Photo Challenge: MEMORY

What was I going to say? I don't remember.

From a trip Our Bethany recently took to her past. This is one of many smiles.

Apparently this isn't the first time Our Janet has entered this one into a MEMORY photo challenge. I love it every time!

This was a moment during the last little bit of practical preparation before I left for London for a year. The fact that it was 20 years ago baffles me. 

I would make up memories to go with this shot of Our Ana's

Next prompt it SOUL. I can't even explain. 

Please enter by 9am Tuesday June 17th for posting on June 18th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and SOUL. 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, June 03, 2014

Strapping Old Man

I used to work for a billionaire. People either idolize this guy, vilify him, or have no idea who he is so I don't spend a ton of time talking about him. Sometimes I'm met with surprise that I wouldn't have a nice chat with that first group of people, though. Why wouldn't I want to give them the gift of a little insight into the inner life of their idol? Well, there's some truth to that saying about not wanting to know how the sausage is made.

Speaking of sausage...

After I'd been in the job for some time my boss was scheduled to have a common outpatient procedure with his urologist. Apparently even a billion dollars should only be split among so many heirs. There are a few things one must do to prepare for this procedure in order to facilitate recovery. The great thing about being a billionaire is that you don't have to do those things yourself. Which is how I found myself wandering the streets of Manhattan's Midtown West looking for a jock strap.

By far the saddest and most humiliating stop on this tour of unlikely establishments was a fancy mountain climbing and camping store. My hopes had already been dashed at several nearby drug stores. I mean, they sell slings for your arm and no skid pads for your cane why not this slightly more intimate no skid sling that I needed? I slunk into the high end store and began to wander. I had no idea where the jock straps might be kept so I bounced from the water bottle section (surely not!) to the shoe section (I don't know, maybe they'd be lumped in with the socks) and finally found myself listlessly wandering the men's clothing section (why didn't I start here?) hoping to ambush a display of rugged intimate apparel.

Just as I was about to depart the store and pound the pavement some more I was approached by a sales associate. He was, of course, not just any sales associate. He was gorgeous. He had the fitness required at such an establishment. His hair was braided in this incredibly compelling way. He was a little taller than me but not much. His skin was smooth and dark. When he spoke he was genuine and kind. "Can I help you find anything?"

Oh god no. My mind raced. Well, yes, but before I tell you please know that it's for my boss. He's having a...procedure. I'm an actress! I just needed the money while I'm getting back on my feet from going away to school. But...yes...I am hoping that you have this item....for my boss....he's very old, this is just the way he does things I wouldn't do this normally in a job. I mean, I would, I'm a good employee! I know this is weird, though. I'm not this weird normally. I mean I am but...I get his hearing aids cleaned, too!

What came out of my mouth, though, was the simple truth, "Yes. I was wondering, do you sell jock straps?"

His eyes widened. So did mine. "No, we don't."

"Thank you!"

I raced out of the store cursing fate. I hope he didn't get reprimanded for not asking me if there was anything else he could help me with. The most beautiful man I'd had the pleasure to address in, probably, years and this is what happened.

My tenure at that job was riddled with indignities but the jock strap incident had to have been the first  that punctured my soul.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

She Left Wearing My Socks

I had a friend visit.

It's one of those feast or famine relationships. We live across the country from one another and we're not made of money or time so the last time I actually laid eyes on her was in the summer of 2011.

She is cool. Like, one of the Cool Kids kind of cool. But as we sat across from each other eating fancy bread with European butter this morning she said, "I'm so amazed by you." And I know her well enough to know that she wouldn't have said it if she didn't mean it.

These last 24 hours have been marvelous fun. My heart is full of love and inspiration. I am grateful for all of my friends, the ones close by and far away, the ones I see all the time and the others who connect more occasionally, for the deep and wide conversations and the quick one liners.

Our feast has lifted me to higher ground.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Not As Wrong As Other Things

It feels a little bit wrong to come in here and do a links post after a lot of time away but, given recent events, a links post also seems right.

I've been listening to some podcasts. I'm still not totally sure where they fit in my life but The Moth stories are cool and the best place to get a regular dose of Paula Poundstone is on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. Today I was listening to Moth stories and heard a story told by Kemp Powers that I thought was integral to the #YesAllWomen and #NotAllMen discussions. It may not seem like it at first but I think that if you stick with it you'll agree with me. Right after that came a story by Lynn Ferguson, who I knew primarily as Craig Ferguson's sister and one of the voices in Chicken Run. She is, of course, a writer and performer in a her own right and she was telling a story with, seemingly, a lot of triggers for me. In the end, though, it's a story about making informed decisions and having those decisions respected by the people around you. So I guess that makes it pertinent to these hashtag discussions as well.

In response to the mass shooting in Isla Vista that was based on a man feeling he was owed romantic and sexual involvement and, if he did not get it, a violent response was justified there are a lot of links to point you toward. This Tumblr for instance is relatively unnecessary proof that this sort of assumption and response is widespread. A note about how dangerous it is even for women to point out this sort of thing. A real life example of a man not even seeing his actions as violent objectification.  Margaret Atwood being succinct on the subject. A note on using the label "mental illness" as a shield. And finally, not directly related to the Isla Vista incident but an important insight into how we treat rape when prosecuting it.

Now you want some happy links? Me too. Afraid I can't promise anything, though.

Here is a dog behavior to which I have not yet been exposed. Maybe I can avoid this one.

On using Romeo & Juliet as role models.

No prison time for this dude and yet, unmarried people are seen as imperfect in our society.  So, make sure you get married at all costs and if you happen to marry this guy is full of risks!

I have not read this yet and I totally should because I do think that the net neutrality legal wranglings are shaping up to be one big clusterfuck.

It's interesting how similar the mainstream and counter culture looks become as time moves on.

I read this post on potty training a human because I thought it was going to go in a new and different direction. It didn't. What was funny for me, though, is that with very little editing this could have been a chapter in one of my dog training books about potty training a canine. The big opportunity she missed here is teaching the kid to go on cue.

A woman decided to show the world that having an abortion is not scary. She, in fact, made a video of her abortion experience. I haven't watched the video yet but I feel it deserves sharing because knowledge is power. I remember a friend recounting her experience to me, right down to the furniture in the waiting room, and how demystifying and helpful that was for me.

Because Fuck Cancer here's a post about what to bring for a chemo appointment.

Woof, hard to end on a high note but I think I can manage it. Some guy left a bartender a $1000 tip for her dog's surgery. I hope that guy got whatever he wanted that day because that was a wonderful thing to do.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Photo Challenge: SYSTEM

Here we go again! This one got interesting in a very cool way. I always feel like a genius when I give a prompt that people interpret in several ways. I know, however, that it's just dumb luck.

Flight system by Our Ana (A system that almost failed this week.)

Filing System by Our Lisa (This expression on Henry makes me laugh so hard.)

Weather System by Our Bethany 

In The System by Me (Adoptable here.)

The chances of me coming up with another super awesomely interpretable prompt right away are minimal. Let's go with MEMORY for obvious Memorial Day reasons.

Please enter by 9am Tuesday June 3rd for posting on June 4th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and MEMORY. 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, May 19, 2014

Dog Toys

Mentally I am on a break. Physically I am going about my business as usual. Here is a video of a special toy I bought for my dog.


He gets to use it sometimes, too.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I Am A Storyteller

I didn't know that today would be a blogging twofer for me. I didn't know I'd get these two opportunities at all. It's residual goodness from my long ago Year of Yes perhaps. Last week Leah was talking about storytellers and blogging and who is still telling personal stories. She decided to use a short interview format to highlight people who are still telling the real stories of their lives and she invited me to be interviewed. Surprise, my post came out today! 

I'm having a lot of fun today and it's all because of bloggers. Thanks, you guys.

I'm a Guinea Pig

I met Neil Kramer last year at BlogHer. We got to know each other a little better during the prep for LTYM NYC this year. He launched a blogging experiment last night and I asked to be part of it. I wound up being the first test subject. It was fun...and weird...and fun. Go ahead and read it and see what you think.