Tuesday, December 31, 2013

On The Way Out


I just made some pate (how do you put the damn accent over the e?) and cleaned out the fridge (one after the other, they weren't connected). I have clean sheets on the bed. I took a deeply cleansing shower. In a little while I'll get dressed, don my new hat that I made with my own two hands (and two other sets of hands more expert than mine), and head out to a neighborly get together. From there we'll head to the local art and architecture school for the annual letting off of steam (whistles). It's going to be a good night. I'm looking forward to it.


I'm looking forward to 2014, too. 2013 was good to me, don't get me wrong, but it was, perhaps, so good to me that I'm excited about what's going to happen next. I'm still going to be careful what I wish for, there's actually some guaranteed heartache built in to next year, but I'm ready to buy my ticket and take the ride.

Bobby and gift wrap

 Wishing you a happy night and a glorious new year!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Boom, Done!

DeliciousTo recap, this year I started out with a goal of writing 15 minutes a day. I kept that up for over three months. After that I wrote consistently but not every day. In July at Blogher I attended a session on finishing long writing projects. Before we left the room we declared our goals publicly. Mine was to have the first draft of my novel done by Christmas.

As Christmas neared I began to get antsy. I had trouble writing every day then trouble even writing consistently. It seemed obvious that I was afraid of the success of finishing but that didn't make it any easier to conquer. Finally I got myself in front of the pages for about an hour a day and one day, the Wednesday before Christmas, I came to the end of the book. I was so surprised, and still not a little afraid, that I went back and re-read the last two pages to be sure I was finished.

A full week before my deadline I finished it.

Even the day after I finished it I was thinking about how much it will have to change in the next revision and how that revision will certainly not be the final one. I resisted the urge to dive right in. I know at least enough to know that this project needs to cool a bit before I go back at it. I also need a chance to cool a bit. I want to savor the fact that I did it.

I wrote a novel.

Damn. I didn't know I could do that. I suspected but I did not know.

Now I do.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

So Many Questions to End a Year

UntitledHere is, possibly, my favorite wrap up for each year. It's not easy - last year I had to amend my post - but it's comprehensive in a way I find useful. In other years I've grabbed it from another blogger's rendition but this year I went back to my own archives and found it. I guess I must have finally made it my own.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Called myself a dog trainer and was called one by someone who knows. Performed at a new venue, The Duplex.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I crossed a few more things off my life list, which was nice. Walking a meditation maze, for instance, was such a small, simple thing but wonderfully satisfying. I am headed out in the next few minutes to meet Sara and make new plans and notions for 2014.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
At least one Facebook friend/former college classmate. My boss gained another grandchild. A former colleague.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank goodness.

5. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
More time away from my desk job and therefore more time doing the things I'm finding happiness and success in - dog training, writing, performing. 

6. What countries did you visit?
I stayed here in the US this year. Had a fabulous trip to Chicago, though!

Untitled 7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
A sort of vague idea of the 2nd weekend in June because that was the reprise of my cabaret show at The Duplex. It was an epic rain storm, a completely fabulous time, and a gigantic success.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Finishing the first draft of a novel. More on that in a later post.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Still being in my desk job - not a failure exactly but a slowness that's become obvious since I recently realized I'll have been in this job I called temporary for 9 years come March. That's a long time. Not even close to temporary

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I still struggled with my breathing some but no huge illness or injury. My eyesight, though, is getting pretty bad and needs some help.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
All of the dog training classes I took.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Every state that passed marriage equality, Pope Francis (to some extent), everyone who achieved a goal they thought was nuts. (Does that last one apply to you?)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Same community member as last year.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Food, training, health care, and accessories for the pets.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Performing, training dogs, finishing a novel.

Untitled 16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Bury My Lovely by October Project - It was hard to learn this one.

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

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Dog training, performing

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying, office work

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
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 2013?
Nope. I'd like to in 2014, though.

23. How many one-night stands?
Zero. Again, such a slacker.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
New Girl, Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad and many more.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Still pretty much the same as before.

26. What was the best book you read?
I'm going with three. I can't choose. Ocean At The End of the Lane, Culture Clash, Homeland

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I sort of rediscovered a lot of stuff as I learned to sing it. So, Carole King, October Project, Bobby Darin, Carolann Solebello.

Untitled 28. What did you want and get?
A spot in the NYC Listen To Your Mother show.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Either Enough Said or Dallas Buyers Club

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I performed my cabaret show and had dinner with my parents and a friend. Pretty awesome celebration! I was 44. Still am...for a couple of weeks.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Less time in the office. More kissing. That's two but they could go together.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Jeans + Color = Good enough.

34. What kept you sane?
Friends and dogs.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I've got to stick with Craig Ferguson. I almost switched to Eddie Izzard for variety but I'm still watching Ferguson 5 shows a week and I'm not watching Izzard that much so...

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The mayoral election here in NYC and the continuing reproductive rights hell.

37. Who did you miss?

38. Who was the best new person you met?
My friend and fellow dog trainer, Alison.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013:
With persistence and commitment I can accomplish all my goals. (When I apply this to dating it kind of turns my stomach but for other stuff it works!)

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
From Carolann Solebello's song, Falling is Easy:

I am not proud, but I’m not ashamed
Finding myself here at sea
But fate is unkind so I can’t be blamed
For letting you happen to me
Falling is easy
Make no decisions and lay down your guard
Falling is easy
Getting back up is so hard

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Photo Challenge: FAREWELL

This is it, you guys, the final photo challenge of 2013. Thank you so much for continuing to play my reindeer games. I'm looking forward to what we will see through our lenses in the new year. Please scroll down for the first prompt, to be posted on New Year's Day!

My dog is a good traveler. Things were getting hairy in the car so he offered to take the wheel. I think he's a good example as we point ourselves toward 2014.

Mom's picture
Our Janet took this photo not knowing that a few hours later her mother would pass away. I am honored that she shared this memory with us.

Our Cindy is good at mindfulness. She works at it and that attention has paid off. I like to think of her stopping for a moment in an ordinary day to mark the sun's departure.

river burial
Our Bethany's boys gave a Viking funeral to a bird who passed away near their home. I think of his tiny pyre floating peacefully out onto the water and it's the perfect farewell to 2013.

I'm going simple with the 2014 kick off prompt. Let's make it GO!

Please enter by 9am Tuesday December 31st for posting on January 1st 2014 (!). Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and GO. 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.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

How We Did Today


Today, as you've probably heard, is the anniversary of the Newtown, CT shooting where 20 young children and 6 adults were murdered by a mentally unhealthy gunman using weapons with high capacity magazines. It's one of those horrors that, as much as you support changing the circumstances that made it, it's hard to feel...worthy of saying anything on the subject.

I will say this; I don't want it to happen again but I'm pretty sure it will.


By chance I honored the kids of Newtown both living and dead by spending time with one of my favorite kids. She towers over me but she's still, for me, a kid.


In years past we have gone to Macy's and visited Santa. She's 12 now. The possibility that she would want to visit Santa every year for the rest of her life was slim. I knew that.


Last year illness and busy-ness kept us from that tradition so we addressed the idea of change with a by-blow. This year she told her mother and me that she'd rather not do the Santa thing because it felt "kind of creepy." If you're uncomfortable it's no good. Carmencita suggested we meet for breakfast and see the tree at Rockefeller Center and maybe some store windows to give ourselves jolts of each other and holiday spirit.


Today dawned cold and snowy and as windy as you ever hope it not to be. The child woke cold and stormy and as reluctant as you ever hope her not to be. But we persevered (and nudged and cajoled) and we met and it turned out to be lovely. Turns out that if you cover the bridges and tunnels with snow (and fear) the crowds at all the attractions are much thinner. It was lovely!


As we stood in front of the tree taking selfies Alita continually, but genially, berated her mother. "Moms don't take selfies." "See? You don't even know how to do it." But when the shutter clicked she smiled every time. She's opinionated but she is in no way sullen. I appreciate that more than I can say. When she leaned her chin on my shoulder for our annual in-the-ornament shot in Bryant Park it was officially the perfect new tradition.

She makes me grateful. My heart goes out to the families of Newtown.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Humbly Submitted

Neil Kramer is kind of a blogging legend. I had the pleasure of meeting him in person this summer in Chicago and we had the nicest chat. That conversation gave me the inspiration to join in Neil's Eighth Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert.

The rules state that one can post one's video on one's blog or on YouTube  or send Neil the audio file. I know how to do the first two but I'm not sure my files are small enough to email. Below please find the entry that Sara and I (and a couple of guys you may recognize) recorded last night. We did four versions. This is #2 of 4 but all 4 are on YouTube. I may work on sharpening my editing skills by making a gag reel from all the outtakes not included in those four versions but that won't be done before Neil's concert!

We had such a good time doing this. We already can't wait until next year!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What Am I Doing Wrong?!

Every time I work on video I remember that I'm related to a professional videographer and can't help but wonder if he shakes his head sadly when he sees my beginner efforts. I was just going to share this on social media to get feedback from my dog training-savvy friends but I decided to share it here as well because, who knows, maybe fresh eyes will see something.

A few years ago Ed and I took a tricks class and one of the tricks we worked on was skateboarding. He, of course, did super well but it was a short class so we only got as far as getting him to move with the board, sometimes getting three feet on. Only a couple of times has he ever had 3 feet on the board and pushed off with the 4th, which is the goal. I'm pretty sure that the hang up we haven't gotten over is due to the way I'm working. Maybe where I'm putting the treat is confusing, maybe where my body is placed is giving him conflicting cues, maybe it's something else.

Last night I finally took a little video of us practicing and cut together the "useful" bits into what you see below. I reduced the volume on most of the sound because I'm not really talking to him (is that the problem?!) and there was ambient noise* in the apartment but I haven't replaced it with anything else. I'd be interested to hear what you see and think but, of course, positive reinforcement suggestions only, please.

*I was watching Hill Street Blues. It holds up over time, truly a great series. You should go back and watch a bit of it.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

10 Things About Snow

Winny & Sonny Loving the SnowIt's that time of year again. I think I can manage ten things!

1. It's the first "real" snow of the year.

2. I'm excited about it.

3. Wearing glasses in a snow shower is bullshit.

4. I remain firmly on Team Umbrellas Are Not For Snow (unless you have a baby in a front carrier and are protecting it because I'll forgive you the umbrella when you aren't running me over with your SUV-sized stroller).

5. Black ice is not just a hazard to vehicles.

6. Your boots may be waterproof but, depending on the temperature, there may be ice at the bottom of that puddle and I bet your pants aren't.

7. The snow is much prettier from 37 floors up.

8. I had the same number of people give me the stink eye for being late for work as I did ask me, "You don't get a snow day?"

9. I don't know if "smaller flakes mean more accumulation" is an old wives tale or not.

10. The dogs are loving the snow (see above).

Photo of my friend, W, and her dog, Sonny. He was so happy about the snow we could barely get him to sit still!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Feeling Understood

Present at CreatonThe holidays can be stressful. Over the course of this weekend I realized that the calm I was feeling was the fact that I haven't done anything toward completing my holiday tasks. Once the veil of ignorance was lifted my anxiety levels skyrocketed. At times like this it's the little things.

This morning I woke up to an email from Our Bethany. She recently returned from a family vacation with a new camera. Apparently in the middle of the night as she processed and uploaded her photos she thought of me.

"Just added a bunch of snake pics to my flickr feed, sorry!  Will be putting set links up on FB, so you can avoid those.  Telling you they're gorgeous really won't help, will it?"

It seems kind of silly, doesn't it? But if you're me it's living proof that Bethany knows me and cares about how I feel. She probably even knows that I know that being so frightened even by pictures of snakes makes me feel silly but it doesn't lessen the fear one little bit. When she was posting those pictures she thought about her audience and she spent a few minutes taking action.

It was a really kind thing to do. I am grateful on many levels.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

12 Long Years

I saw 12 Years A Slave yesterday. It's a true story based on the memoir of a free black man in the 1800s who was kidnapped and sold into slavery until his rescue 12 years later.

My movie going companion and I have had this flick on our list for a while but kept allowing ourselves to put it off. Earlier this week we put our viewing on the books and I insisted that we stick to it. My reasoning is that, as tough a watch as it is, it's an important story to see and to know. We could have read the book, I still might, but either way bearing witness to a first hand account of the truths of slavery in America is something we owe ourselves and our fellows. Racism isn't over and the more we know the better equipped we are for the necessary conversations.

So, obviously, those are all the reasons I think you should see it, too. Yes, there are physically graphic scenes. Yes, there are emotionally graphic ones. Yes, it's possible that you will feel wildly uncomfortable in your seat through much of the film. You should still go see it. Then you should come back and read the spoilers (below the row of asterisks) so we can discuss them. Before you see the movie this is all I want to say.

Oh, and one more thing, it's 133 minutes long. Don't be like the ladies sitting behind us and schedule something directly after the movie, not check the run time, and make a noisy exit 15 minutes from the end. Someone might stab you with an umbrella. Just sayin'.


Lupita Nyong'o is beautiful. She plays a character whose master is obsessed with her. As a result she is repeatedly physically injured in a variety of ways. Somehow, despite the injuries she remains stunning in a way that puts the audience in the position of her master. We can't help but love her no matter how broken she gets.

One of the injuries, well it's not just one injury but one instance of her being injured is a whipping. It is graphic on a lot of levels. It is wrenching for many characters but it is especially physically disgusting. I mean, that's what whipping does to a body. Remember when Mel Gibson made a movie about Christ and there was the extended flogging scene and people were vomiting in the theatres, fainting and having to be carried out, running out of the cinema traumatized? I've seen both. They are at least equally awful. Hear about anybody having any of these extreme reactions while watching 12 Years a Slave? Yeah, me neither.

Alfre Woodard has one scene and she deserves some kind of award. She plays a slave whose master fell in love with her and actually married her so she is mistress of the house with slaves of her own. She enjoys hosting slaves from other plantations for tea on Sabbath. She loves having people wait on her. She lived through all that they did, though. The actress rides a line of understanding that is both gorgeous and horrifying.

The movie is produced by Brad Pitt's company, Plan B. I'm often impressed by the choices his company makes. Pitt makes a short appearance late in the movie at a pivotal juncture. He is, basically, just being himself in some period clothes. It's distracting and I wish they'd made a different casting choice.

I wonder what it was like for all the actors to make this movie. It feels like one of the ones that could bring you to a place of insanity, having to live in that world every day.

A lot of people in the theatre reacted vocally to the movie. The reactions sounded, though, kind of exasperated. I'm pretty sure they weren't exasperated at the story but more at the fact that someone was "making" them watch it. I think that's telling about how we view the hard stuff. Nobody wanted to have to see something that we wished hadn't happened.

There was one black person in the room. It was an art cinema on the Upper West Side of Manhattan on a Friday afternoon. Of course the long time ticket takers are all black.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Photo Challenge: TOGETHER

We got some cute ones here, you guys. Enjoy! And please scroll down for the last challenge of 2013. Yes, really. I checked the calendar thrice to be sure.

Scooter Love @mrevolution42
It's a good thing Our Cindy and her beau are wearing helmets otherwise the abundance of cuteness might crack them over the noggins!

Table Manners
Our Lisa is a kind and tolerant mother, daughter-in-law, and cat minion. She and I are both impressed that her father-in-law allowed this sort of shenanigans and we thank him for the photo op.

I was afraid that, with all the extra security measures, people would be prevented from jumping onto the course and running alongside their friends for a block or two. I'm glad that didn't happen.

Our Janet was on a trip for her husband's first birthday since he took that title. This is what she and her traveling companions sent him to make up for her absence. If I know Dave he loved it. (Apologies for my inability to center video and for the fact that, due to other tech challenges her video is uploaded from my Flickr account. We just had to do what we had to do to get this into the challenge today!)

As this will be the last prompt of 2013 I'm going with FAREWELL. Keep in mind that I'm loose about this stuff. You can do FARE, you can do WELL, you can do FAREWELL, maybe WELL FARED, or anything else your crafty little brain comes up with. I'm open to crafty. I like it, even!

Please enter by 9am Tuesday December 17th for posting on December 18th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and FAREWELL. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The new appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Better Out Than In

ColdReading a friend's blog post I suddenly realized that I wasn't absorbing the words. I'd gone to a different place. It happened to be the place where someone said what feels like the worst thing ever said about me. I'm still not entirely sure why it was the worst but I know it must be the element of truth it contained.

A little later I was reading this post that was specifically geared toward Thanksgiving and that thing someone said about me came up again. It wasn't said on a holiday or by a family member but it had that same edge and certainly the longevity of one of those horrible family things that only scabs, never heals. I encourage you to read both of those posts and to remember that we might be on either side of the table in the latter. Then I hope you'll share the worst thing ever said about you (no attribution necessary) because, as many a grandmother has noted, better out than in.

"I'm not like that. I'm not made to be alone like you are."

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Month End Report

As big a task as it seems there's nothing death defying or world changing about NaBloPoMo. From some angles it can seem like a lot of work for an insignificant result. It feels good, though, and I'm always glad I've done it. This year it was like getting back into a groove that I missed very much.

It seemed fitting to end the month with a little something along the same lines. It's a super duper short video of the new "trick" that I've been teaching Bu. It may not seem like much but it represents a connection I've managed to make with this goofy animal and, perhaps, the first step toward something larger.

Thanks for sticking with me while I take these small steps forward.

Friday, November 29, 2013


Annual Dog In The Clean Living Room Photo

Today I had my annual post-Thanksgiving Open House of Gluttony. It was a fantastic day filled with firsts. First time the roasting pan was clean before the first guest arrived. The first time the tablecloth was in the hamper the same day as the party. The first time attendance of a number of guests. The dishwasher is chugging along. There is only one dish soaking and it honestly needs soaking I didn't just leave it in the sink "soaking" because I couldn't face another dish (I had so much awesome help). There's plenty of food and yet there's also a little space left in the fridge. The whole event feels like a miracle.

On the day of one of the early open houses Emily saw the clean, slipcovered couch and struck a pose in the center of it. She looked so fabulous I made that picture a tradition. I might have let the tradition go when she died but on Eddie's first Open House Day he jumped up in exactly the same spot and struck exactly the same pose. Today's pose isn't exactly the same but I think it follows the spirit of the tradition if not the letter of it. I'm a sucker for continuity.

Hope your day had some miracles, too.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Truly Grateful

Love Affair

Queen Bee and I started our day at the dog park. We met up with Michelle and braved a cold wind. Ed has real trouble with the cold. He gets cold easily and there just aren't enough coats to fix it...at least not coats that he won't also pee all over. It turns out that Michelle had also not dressed quite warmly enough (I don't know if it would be possible to dress warmly enough). She decided to kill, or warm, two birds with one stone and stuff my dog into her coat. She first did this a couple of Halloweens ago when we had a hell of a snow storm and things were incredibly chilly. Ed seems to love it.

This, my friends, is what Thanksgiving love looks like. I'm grateful for it in all its many forms.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pretty Sure

UntitledI'm pretty sure this marks the first NaBloPoMo since maybe the first one where I've genuinely almost forgotten to post. I just sat down after a day of fun, fellowship, and food to check Facebook before I rested my eyes for a moment and suddenly I realized. Yikes!

Yup. This is all you're getting today. It was a lot of fun, fellowship, and so much food.

Hope you had the good stuff, too!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This Is For That

This is to tell you that for my NaBloPoMo count today I actually wrote over a Kizz & Tell.

The usual disclaimers continue to hold true. If you're uncomfortable reading about my body or about me in general as it relates to sex then it's your responsibility not to click through. Be nice to both of us when you make your choice, deal?

Monday, November 25, 2013


JesusI'm new to the podcast world. As with most things I've arrived at this place kicking, screaming, with my fingers stuck in my ears, yelling LALALALALALALA as loud as I can. Until, in the brief silence as I drew breath, I listened and realized there was something I wanted here. My recent obsession is with Plus One, a show on Kevin Smith's Smodcast Network. I am new enough that I have avoided running my mouth here to let you know how perfect is this technology...that you have already been enjoying for many a year now.

Today, though, I'm listening to an episode of Plus One that I simply must share. Quick background, Plus One is Smith and his wife, Jen Schwalbach talking about science, weather, and their lives. Since I'm deep in the back catalog I'm hearing about what they were doing during the release period for Smith's 2011 horror movie, Red State, which was inspired by the deplorable Westboro Baptist Church. Smith decided to release the movie without the help of a studio and part of his marketing plan was to screen it in towns across the country and have a live Q&A to go along with it before a wide release into regular cinemas. At a Q&A in Kansas City, MO two former members of the WBC, relatives of King Daddy Asshole Fred Phelps, were in attendance and they wound up doing a portion of the Q&A with Smith. In this episode of Plus One (#15 The Phabulous Phelps Phamily Phuntime Hour) they share that Q&A.

It's fantastic. To hear these two young people, Josh and Libby, talk about coming into their own and deciding that all they had been taught about not just life but eternity was wrong enough that they needed to leave is beautiful. It's also a little painful and weird but in a way that reminds you that they're human. We're all human. All we can do is keep learning and keep trying to do better.

Logistically, you can fast forward to the Q&A part if you like. In the intro the normal marital bickering escalated to a point that flipped my own personal Only Child of Divorced Parents switch decisively so if you're sensitive to that you can skip right over it. However, stick around for the wrap up because the things that Schwalbach and Smith have to say about the experience of meeting these young people and seeing how they were treated by a huge group of Smith's fans is important. Like, important enough that I'm refusing to spoil it here by explaining.

I know, I know, I'll be having a housewarming for my place in the 21st Century in a couple of weeks. I just have to finish a review of the rotary dial phone first. But seriously, listen to this podcast, you'll learn stuff.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


This is the final Sunday of NaBloPoMo and I haven't done a poetry prayer entry yet. I won't be doing one today either. This series of photos is, perhaps, my favorite series in all the time I've been documenting the NYC Marathon. I think it is sort of poetic.


And then she was gone.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Beware the Assumption

Doubled Up

The walk home from the greenmarket was slow going today since I had done some Thanksgiving shopping. Butternut squashes and gallons of cider are heavy, you guys. Coming up to one cross street I felt someone come up behind me. I thought it was just a passerby but there was no passing. Just when I started to feel twitchy about it I heard a low chuckle. Creepy! As a self preservation measure I told myself he must be talking on the phone. Yet there were no words. Until...

"Got on a coat and pants."

Yes, yes he does. And he's still too cold.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Taking Bets

UntitledSo.......I am not much of a housekeeper. (Surprise! Not so much.) Of late I've managed to keep things relatively clean but not especially organized or uncluttered. This would be fine except that a week from today I'm having a party in this space. It would be nice to have some surfaces available for folks to rest their drinks on.

I've got most of the day tomorrow and all day on Sunday not counting necessary naps. Arguably I also have Monday evening after work. Queen Bee arrives Tuesday night. Place your bets. Do you think I can get the joint party-ready by bedtime on Monday so I can sit around in my PJs eating ice cream with my friend once she gets here?

I'm not sure what the safer wager is.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Oh Stuff, I Find You

UntitledI link to stuff as a service, partly to you but mostly to my memory. I hope we both benefit.

I assume that, whichever side you're on, you're as sick of the debate about drug testing welfare recipients as I am. However, a politician who voted for drug testing people who receive government assistance has been busted for cocaine possession. He can bite my heiney.

The word "heiney" always makes me think of Shirley Feeney, of Laverne & Shirley fame.


Feministing writers did a discussion post about Mellie's rape in last week's episode and it's interesting. For the most part they hold out hope for the show's creators to elevate this choice to something worthy of a real life human being but they aren't sure yet. In so doing they outline a shit-ton of ways that rape is presented to us in fiction that we take for granted. Really good read.

I grew up in a time where Grace Jones simply appeared in things. Whatever she was cast as we were led to believe that she was really just GRACE JONES in all caps all the time. It seems that she still is and that is just as marvelous as it ever was.

I had no idea until this week that Mario Batali had a political bone in his body. I knew he valued wonderful food and that he supported a local botanical garden and that was about it. Also, the orange crocs, I knew about those. While I was watching the Lady Parts Justice telethon on Monday they announced that he would match donations for a portion of the evening. That seemed cool. Apparently he also took those views to Twitter this week. Who wants a Batali cookbook for Christmas?

Untitled A champagne vending machine exists. I feel like it had to have been invented by someone who wants to marry me.

On Tuesday I went to hear a former college classmate and dear friend, Ken Nintzel, talk about his art installation at BAM. It was wonderful and he was great and I'm even more entranced by the exhibit than I was before. This photo of him answering a question is pure delight.

I have to admit here that I'm a hypocrite. People are always telling me that I should be in my New Year card photos and then it comes time to make them and I forget to put myself in. I'm sorry. Someone remind me in October of next year, please. In the meantime, if you think you're going to get away with that shit just because I do think again! Here are some great reasons for sending photo cards and for you being in them. Do as I promise to do next year, ok?

There are many things in this gift guide that I want. Not all of them but many of them.

A lot of the time when people make comedy out of real life it makes me too uncomfortable to find it funny. This is not one of those times. Pro-tip: Just because we can live our private lives in public doesn't mean we should. (Note that I'm not including the video that some guy made where he tells his girlfriend that he's cheating as a prank. Spoiler: It doesn't turn out well for either of them.)

Hey, you guys? I'm going to sing on the internet. I decided to join Neil's Eighth Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert. You can, too!

Our Suebob wrote a piece recently that explores how and why education might fail a lot of people. The system of it, that is. It's from her own experiences. I found it particularly riveting because my experience of the same system was so different from hers. I was not a kid who was actively seeking out learning in other places, even though I did a lot of learning outside the classroom. It's an important thing for us all to read, I think.

Ok, that's enough. I need to go off and write some other things. I feel pounds lighter having shared all this information, though.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Photo Challenge: SELECT

If this blog post blows up when you open it please accept my most sincere apologies. Life has just been like this for a couple of days. It'll pass, right? Right?!

On to the pretty, pretty pictures! (Scroll down for the new prompt.)

I'm grateful to Our Bethany for offering this one up because the weather is bitter and I needed a reminder of those hot, berry-sticky days of summer.

S'mores truffles
Surely Our Janet knows that now I want to stuff all of these into my mouth. I wouldn't even use the tongs.

I wonder if Our Lisa was singing selections from Mary Poppins while she did this.

Derby Fare
All the fish are fresher where Our Alisun lives now.

You will not be surprised to learn that I'm willing to use all the powers at my disposal to charm a child, even the power of the ill-advised selfie.

The next challenge period will cover Thanksgiving, Chanukah, and the first headlong rush toward Christmas. That's a lot of responsibility for one little challenge. Let's go simple. TOGETHER is the prompt.

Please enter by 9am Tuesday December 3rd for posting on December 4th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and TOGETHER. Check out the wonderful work in our Flickr Pool for inspiration. Also, let me know if you have any questions. The new appropriate email for that is Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I Do Care

Day 1 of 30There's a book called Nobody Cares What You Had For Lunch. It was early in the bubble of books from the blogosphere. Maggie Mason wrote it and it contains inspiration for blogging, things that are, presumably, more interesting than one's lunch.

Here's the thing, though, I'm really excited about my lunch this week! I had a hankering for meatloaf so I just made it. Real meatloaf with ground beef instead of ground turkey and I accidentally overdid it on the condiments I mixed in which makes it basically dessert meatloaf, which I love. I've serving it over mashed taters, both white and sweet, and honey roasted carrots. It's relatively clean eating without being especially good for me but it tastes divine!

What about you? What are you having for lunch? You can tell me because I care. Today I really do.

*Picture is not of my lunch. It's too good to wait and take pics of.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Jerry Lewis for Labia

Lizz Winstead, Sarah Silverman, and a vadge full of their friends are doing a telethon to raise money for women in Texas who need abortions. It is happening right now and will go on until 10 tonight. There is a whole lot of funny going on. My favorite joke so far came from Winstead when she talked about people who say, "I don't want to pay for your birth control." She said, "The weird thing is they don't want to pay anything for my birth control and I would pay any amount for theirs!"


Watch if can. More importantly donate. Choice is vital and when you take away women's bodily autonomy you're violating our civil rights. You cannot be anti-choice and pro-woman, they do not fit in the same, you'll pardon the expression, box.

Pass the word. Pass the laws. Pass your credit card number.

Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can choose.

*Full disclosure, the live feed is a little choppy, they're in a basement, they want all the money to go to the women who need it not to overhead. Stick with it. It's worth it.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Not Often


It's not often that I just don't know what to say. Today's one of those days, though. I got a lot done. Cooking, cleaning, snuggling with the pets. I even conditioned my hair with coconut oil. It's soft like baby's hair now! Oh, and I learned how to unknit a row of knitting. It's called tinking because...well, I won't give it away. Nothing special for a Sunday. I've been waiting for a nothing special Sunday for a long time now. Glad to have this one. Hope you had  good one, too, whatever kind you wanted.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Plans Best Made


I had a lot of plans for today. And then things turned out differently. I'm putting this picture here to remind me what follow through looks like.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Eat This


After working very hard at doing something that made me violently angry I treated myself to this. Turkey meatball slider with cranberry horseradish sauce by @MightyBallsNYC. It was even better than I expected. I deserved two.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Used To Be

A couple of months ago #ThrowbackThursday came on someone's birthday so I posted an old picture I had to Facebook. I got hooked. I love looking at old pics and showing them to the people who were in them. So every Thursday it's a little treat to myself to scroll through my scanned photos and find something to share.

street perf spring 1993

This is from the middle to late nineties probably. I was a dance teacher. It wasn't my only job but it was my highest priority. In the spring semester we usually had our classes perform at a couple of local street fairs and this was one of them.

As I said on Facebook today, this somewhat casual looking scene used to be an important part of my job. My life and my job do not look like that anymore. I'm working toward changing that. This weekend part of my on the job training looked like sitting at a stranger's kitchen table with pieces of liver laid out in front of me and a barking dog across the room. I'm excited about that picture. I am retroactively excited about this picture. I am not at all sure how I feel about the way things change.

But then, I never am.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

This Kid

WItchy PooI only met this kid a few years ago when she came to join Lilybainne's family. Of course I liked her right away. She's outgoing, sunny, thoughtful, and intelligent, what's not to like? It takes some time to get to know someone, though, and with the way my blogging has been changing I haven't written extensively about her...yet.

For the past two years KL and Lilybainne have come to see the PUPkin and cheer Eddie on. It's a treat to have people outside of the regular neighborhood crowd support us and I'm really grateful they make the trek. This year I spoke to them briefly before I headed to the stage to get ready but had to go too quickly. I get pre-show jitters, you guys.

The sound guys had a glitch and we were a little late starting. Then suddenly it was fixed and Kath wanted me to start NOW so I asked her where the cards were. The cards, you see, have the names and numbers of each contestant on them and I can't announce anyone without that information. Kath told me they were at the registration table, of course, and told me to get them. I had barely gotten two steps up the grand staircase toward registration when Kath's voice boomed out over the speakers, "Hey you guys, I don't know where our emcee went but we need to get started!" Instantly my plan needed to change.

I waded three more steps into the crowed until I could lock eyes with KL standing at the top of the first flight with her mom and a friend. "Hey!" I yelled, "I need you to go up to the registration table, up there," I pointed like I was working a Greek amphitheater, "tell them that Kizzy said to give you the cards and then bring the cards down to me, please? OK?"

This effusive storyteller of a kid looked me straight in the eye and nodded firmly twice then took off like a rocket. I bounded back on stage and reclaimed the mic from Kath.

I had barely gotten through our list of sponsors when KL appeared in front of me like a vision. No hovering on the edge of the stage asking others for permission to complete her assigned task. No dawdling on her way up or down. No hesitation or convolution to her at all. She handed me the cards, I thanked her, and she melted into the audience again like an extremely helpful apparition.

She's got a great way about her, this kid. She's got confidence but not arrogance. She's intensely creative and wildly generous. I wouldn't call her fearless, I mean, she's not crazy, but she is brave. She is a joy to be around and she took a huge weight off of me on a day when I was feeling unsure of myself. There was no way to thank her enough there on stage or afterwards in the crush of clean up. There probably isn't a way to thank her enough here, either, but I want to try.

I want you to know how great these kids I know are. They impress me at every turn and in ways I don't expect. I am endlessly grateful to have them around and wish I remembered to tell them more often. (New Year's resolution?)

If you see this kid on the street please know that you are having a brush with greatness...and act accordingly.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Against the Norm

Post Short WalkWhere I live we dog people pride ourselves on our martyrdom to our pets. Dogs need exercise and you can't just open the door and let them run around Brooklyn on their own. Dog groups have even used it in a couple of legal cases. We remind angry anti-dog folks that the very fact of our being around helps to make places safer because we're out and about every day watching what goes on in our neighborhoods. When we're at the top of our game we're out for long stretches in the most extreme weather. Was it so cold they said it couldn't snow but it did anyway? Well, we were out there for three hours! Even though I hate the cold I often feel that if I don't keep up with the hard core folks that I'm being judged.

Enter Eddie.

Ed is not especially fond of rain. He hates the cold. He's so small that extreme heat is hard on him because he not only gets the sun from above he gets reflected heat from the ground below. He's a delicate flower and over the past year I've been learned how I need to adjust my thinking and pay attention to what he needs.

For example today:

It's supposed to be in the 30s and snowing any minute. When I woke up the ground was wet but I couldn't tell if it was raining. My phone said it was 52F and the TV said it was 40F. I resigned myself that I ought to go to the park but I'd play it by ear. Bundled the dog up in 2 coats, carried him down to the sidewalk, and let him loose. It was, in fact, raining but it was closer to the higher temp. The dog was so unimpressed. He made it very clear that we should not go to the park, we should go in the exact opposite direction, just around the block. When we got to the entrance halfway around he decided to go in. I forced him to go all the way around in hopes of properly emptying him out but he was in no way unclear about the fact that we needed to go inside ASAP. Rain! Cold! Two coats! Unacceptable!

Usually we leave about 6:25 and get home between 7:00 and 7:25. We were home before 6:45. Now we're playing fetch and snuggling on the couch.

I feel spoiled.

*Photo taken in the lobby on our way in taken in a brief pause in his frantic rubbing against the walls to dry himself off.

Monday, November 11, 2013

For These Kids


Have you thanked a veteran today? I am privileged to spend time in the dog park with a veteran almost every day. I am thankful to my brain for remembering to express my appreciation for her service this morning since we see each other before sunrise and I'm not at my best then. After a short talk about her experiences we, at her request, talked about other things. It was the right thing to mention the day, though, I'm sure of it.

Thank you to all the veterans who have fought to make it possible for the kids in this picture to find it perfectly normal to be the best of friends. I am sorry you had to fight.