Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Photo Challenge: WELL

As usual I am defeated during a 24 hour heavily political news cycle. I am so disheartened that I want the entire world to take a vow of silence until we fucking shape up. No more talking until your actions aren't crazy and mean. No exceptions! Even me!!

Fortunately we've got photo challenge results today and the prompt is interestingly good for these feelings, WELL. So, I'm going to practice what I'm preaching and not even comment on these. They speak for themselves. I will break my vow briefly at the end to toss a new prompt at you.



A Favorite Activity

by Me


Today I like the idea of taking action NOW. I always like photography that captures a moment, records something for prosperity. So the prompt is NOW.

Please enter by 9am Tuesday February 11th for posting on February 12th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and WELL. 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, January 27, 2014

Picked Over: My Relationship With Listen To Your Mother

I am cross posting this on the LTYM NYC site. Many cities have auditions coming up soon and it can be a challenging time for both auditioners and proctors. Maybe my story can help. That's kind of what LTYM is all about. 


LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER is in 32 cities this year and the submission and audition process has begun in earnest. I’m hearing a lot of folks say they couldn’t possibly audition. It’s hard for me not to dismiss people’s anxieties about trying something like this and just push you, like your least favorite aunt, to ignore your feelings and try. ‘You’ll regret not trying,” I’ll yell at you as you leap off my busily patterned couch, brushing cat hair off your behind and rush for the door.

Perhaps it would be more productive if I told you my story instead. LTYM is all about personal stories after all and the story of my relationship with this movement is three and a half years old now because in July of 2011 I went to an open mic hosted by this gorgeous blogger/mom/actress/writer/woman named Ann Imig in the middle of Blogher’s annual conference. The room it was held in was freezing but made warmer by the fact that it was packed with people who were hoping, in the brief few hours we had, to get up and share their voices.

I didn’t get picked.

When I happened upon Ann in a hallway between sessions the following day I screwed up my courage, gave her my card and improvised a stilted little speech about my qualifications in case she ever thought about bringing LTYM to NYC because, you know, I really admired it and all and I’m very good at a lot of things and I have experience with theatre and all so, you know, if there’s anything I can do please don’t, you know, hesitate to know? Ann was very gracious and thanked me and we parted ways.

She never called.

What I didn’t know then is that a few hours before my SNL-meets-Your-Worst-Anxiety-Dream speech in that hallway Ann had hosted a breakfast for people interested in bringing LTYM to their city. Amy Wilson, Holly Rosen-Fink, and Varda Steinhardt, New Yorkers all, had been at that meeting taking the first steps to bring the show to our city.

I found out about the auditions for LTYM NYC 2012 quite late. With great trepidation I secured myself an audition time then wrote feverishly for a few days. I wrote about my Auntie Blanche and my good friend Alita and I printed out pictures to go with my speech and I edited and edited and edited to get the piece to time. I loved that piece. I loved it with all my heart as I love the two women it honors. I poured everything into it, I’m telling you. On the appointed day I arrived at the audition space early to put on some makeup and a bra, since I figured those two things might help to showcase my talent in a brighter light, and I worked hard to minimize the shaking in my hands and knees as I met the ladies of the panel. You know, I could have done better, but the writing was solid and I felt they truly saw me before my time was up.

I didn’t get in.

I’ll be honest, I was crushed. I got the no thank you email which made it clear that the shows are small and that each show tends to shape up in a way that tells an overall story so that rejection doesn’t mean the panel didn’t love a piece or a performer it just means that it didn’t fit for them at this time. Intellectually I knew that but emotionally, of course, all I saw was the word rejection in 48 point font, bold, italicized, and underlined. I’d tried. I hadn’t gotten in. I was done with them. Done I say!

Until, of course, I got the announcement for the show. I didn’t want to go, the wound was too raw. Then again, wouldn’t I be a big old baby if I didn’t go? I didn’t want these talented ladies to think I couldn’t take rejection like an adult. I should go. On the other hand, they didn’t really know me from Eve so how would they even know if I went and didn’t they have enough to do that they wouldn’t care one way or the other?

Finally, after just barely managing to get a ticket to the sold out event, I went. All by myself. I dressed up (bra and makeup!) and hiked uptown to peer through the fence at the playground I so desperately wanted to swing on. And you know, I saw right where they’d chosen a piece that would have been too close to mine in subject. I understood the story their cast members told as a whole and why it hadn’t been my time. Still, I wasn’t ever going to audition for LTYM again.

That summer at Blogher, though, I did go to the annual LTYM open mic. If I got picked that night I was going to read the piece that hadn’t made it into the NYC show. I didn’t get picked but as I was filling out my card to toss in the hat the woman running the table introduced herself as Holly, one of the producers of LTYM NYC. She remembered me and thanked me for auditioning and said she hoped they’d see me again the following year. Now that felt pretty damn good. I was memorable!

In 2013 I started earlier and I wrote a few pieces and, frankly, I didn’t love any of them quite as well as I loved the one I’d written in 2012. I honed the one I felt was most “me” and I went into the audition confident in the way one can only be when one doesn’t ever expect to get picked.

Guess what happened.

I got picked and I read my story in one of the biggest theatres I’ve ever had the pleasure of working in to a supportive and appreciative audience of hundreds. I was in the company of strangers who had become friends; brilliant women, writers, and storytellers. We laughed, we cried, we nodded in agreement...and then we took the stage!

This year I’ve been picked again. The LTYM NYC team has asked me to join them as a producer and I happily agreed. We’re scheduling auditions now and I know that the choices we’ll have to make will be heart wrenching. Fortunately I also know that not being picked isn’t the end of the world, sometimes it’s the beginning of something completely different.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Poetry Prayer #27

I found this e.e. cummings poem in a post about literary-inspired tattoos. I love it.

i like my body
by e.e. cummings

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which I will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh...And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill
of under me you quite so new

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I've Been Saving This For You

Me & My BoyEverything is back. Operator error! My apologies.

Since it's snowing like a bitch out there I figured you might want some stuff to read.

Here is a great description of the best way to get a kid to read a book. (Please note: Some parents may currently be using this method under the erroneous assumption that it's the way to get a kid not to read a book.)

With so many ways to leave a short comment on the lives of our friends I think it's really easy to fail to see our own patterns. I know it is for me. This post on avoiding being a "social media one upper" is a nice call to recognize our patterns and make sure we're saying what we think we're saying.

In light of a recent court case about first amendment rights as they pertain to abortion clinic protestors here are some real life accounts of how protestors actually speak to and treat patients and escorts.

Today is the 41st anniversary of Roe v. Wade and, though it's been gutted in a lot of ways, I am celebrating it. Blogher had a post asking people where they stand on the question of choice and so far only three of us have declared ourselves one way or the other. If you're on the Blogher network it would be great if you could join us. If you aren't on the network now is as good a time as any to mount up!

Jessica Bern is single again and getting philosophical about it.

If you like dogs you might get a kick out of picturing your living room like this.

I'm working my way through a rewatch of Hill Street Blues and loving it. Brooklyn Nine Nine mentioned Cagney & Lacey and I'm so eager for that. Turns out I'm not alone.

One of many MANY commentaries on the idea of increasing the minimum wage. I chose this one because it points out that a lot of people find the very idea of paying (someone else) a living wage absurd.

Untitled Emma Thompson being awesome as usual.

Several of these links are from Lindsay. You should probably just follow her and save us both some time.

Two things in the last week have made me interested in dating again. I can't remember what the other one was.

I'm really just putting this in here for JRH but if you loved Veronica Mars like we loved Veronica Mars...

I'm late to this story. I hope you are not. And, frankly, I hope you're as outraged as I am. A woman, a medical professional, is being kept alive against her own wishes as an incubator for her fetus. Her husband is having to sue to take her off life support and the state is fighting him. This is so incredibly anti-choice it's off the charts.

A few days after the Golden Globes someone told me how angry jokes like this made them because they were spoilers for the movies. So, here's your warning, this is just about the best joke ever written and it contains an unsurprising spoiler for Gravity.

On photography and policing other people's experiences. (Also a choice question, in case you're looking for continuity.)

Speaking of photography I'm going to leave you with these cool real life pictures inspired by some famous animation.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Write, Right?

UntitledWriting is weird.

Fortunately I like weird.

For the entirety of last year "Write" was on my to-do list. For most of the year I knew that meant spending 15 minutes or more on my novel so I didn't have to be more specific. This year I have some ideas but I haven't dug in yet. My long term first draft project is going to be some essays about a previous job. I need/want to revise the novel, too, but am reading a book that I made a feature in my writing even though I'd never read it before. I want to finish the book before I go back in to revise. It's a good placeholder to enforce a fallow period before I pick the book up again but also enforces a re-start date. There's that secondary project that came up while I was working on the novel. I'm plugging along on that slowly but have passed the pure inspiration point so it's a little harder to get my words in. Let us not forget that there's Listen To Your Mother as well. For the last 2 years this part of the season has seen me frantically writing essays for that (32 cities, probably one near you, have you booked an audition slot?). This year is no different. I've got two under my belt and am not sure whether I'll toss them both up for the panel to look at or choose one specifically. I should probably ask them what they prefer.

I've kept "Write" on the to-do list every day. (I have lists titled by days of the week in an app so I can check in and check off what I do every day. Don't you?) It's harder to check off when I haven't previously decided what "counts" as my writing for the day. These days I'm writing a lot of stuff for LTYM that's not for my performance, either. As well as learning to make our website bend to my will (Dear Wordpress, Suck it! No love, Kizz) and a few other things. Several nights I have looked at that "Write" item and had to think, "Did I write today? I feel like I wrote all day. But did I write today?"

In the face of that first world inner turmoil I was going to put up a link post today. There are so many lovely and/or important things I want to share with you (did you know that legalizing marijuana increases the price so leaves the door open for a war on poor people who continue to buy on the street while richer folks skate? did you know that Emma Thompson still wins everything? did you know that I'm freaking out about the net neutrality ruling?) and I have saved and saved the posts about them until I had time to put them together in a post. This morning, though, Bloglovin' unceremoniously dumped me out of their system and now claims they don't recognize me. It's like going to your high school reunion and having your name tag made out with a hyphenated combo last name of you and a girl you used to sit next to in English (happened to me).

The silver lining there is that I got to use that time to sit down here, put words on this screen, and reach out to you guys...whose blogs I'm not reading because Bloglovin' stole all my urls. It's nice to chat.

How are things by you?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Photo Challenge: LIGHT

I've been working hard to find my word of the year, light, in life. The practice is good. These photos help a whole lot. (Bobby Darin singing this song also helps if you need a boost.)

This one from Our Bethany is working several different definitions of LIGHT.

Morn in'
The one Our Cindy chose  for some unfathomable reason reminds me a lot of another one she posted long ago.

The crisp coolness of this shot from Our Janet reached out from the screen and grabbed me!

It's not your computer, this one of mine is permanently out of focus which, I hope, brings more attention to the LIGHT.

Sunrise on Vineyard Haven Harbor
As usual Our Alisun is bringing bits of my homeland to the challenge.

Light 2
This perfect combination of soothing and dangerous comes from Our Sueb0b.

Our Ana slid in just in time to see us properly off into the sunset. As it should be.

Since just after Christmas I've been fighting a rolling tide of illness. Never enough to knock me all the way on my ass but certainly enough to keep me in a weird crouched position health-wise for weeks. I would like the whole thing to go away. Therefore the next prompt is WELL. Make of that what you will!

Please enter by 9am Tuesday January 28th for posting on January 29th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and WELL. 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.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Counting Up

On Wednesday at knitting I was 44.


Then on Friday after drinks and dinner I was 45.


So far there's a similar feeling to the new number.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Siphoning Some Rage

Oh, I was going to write you a rage filled post. A ranting and a raving I would go. I was so looking forward to it. But then something happened.

You see this morning my life looked like this.


We slept in since there was no way Eddie was going to go more than around the block. I dawdled hoping against hope that someone would cancel the world so I could slot myself back into that picture and go back to sleep surrounded by fur and body heat.

Didn't happen.

So I went out into the world with the 12 million or so other New Yorkers and we were huffing and puffing through scarves and blinded by fogged glasses and in some cases willing to body check each other out of the way because apparently all is fair in love, war, and Polar Vortex. I was well bundled and still I was cold. My legs were cold, my toes were cold, my nose was cold when I decided that seeing out of my glasses was more important than whether or not I frostbit an extremity. When I get cold I get angry. The colder the angrier. By the time I got to work I was so enraged I could barely speak. It would be funny if I were exaggerating.

That's when I started crafting my ranty post. I was pretty far along with it, really enjoying myself, until a friend posted that she and her kids had blown bubbles at the bus stop to watch them freeze. At that point I got the idea that maybe I should do a little something to siphon off the rage. Maybe the thing I could do was to buy some bubbles at the nearby drug store and photograph them freezing then buy myself a cocoa. Maybe then the day wouldn't be warmed solely by the flames of my fury.


As I walked to the drug store I realized that this was in keeping with my word of the year, LIGHT. I was taking on the challenge of looking for a little light in an emotionally dark day. Oh goody for me. Two drug stores later I realized the real challenge was looking for some fucking bubbles. Finally at a CVS on a neglected end cap labeled Party Supplies I discovered one lonely six pack of bubbles. I bought it. ($2.99!)

As my friend had mentioned in her post it was hard to catch the bubbles in photos because the wind popped them or carried them away. I wound up in one of those little half phone booths blowing my bubbles into the enclosed space and trying to catch them on the wand. Still the wind thwarted me. I caught one and saw the freezing phenomenon on the wand where the remnants of the popped sphere stood up. I saw many more bubbles fly off down the street, staying airborne and intact for a surprisingly long time, once as much as half a block and up to the second story of a building. I also saw several people give me the side eye but that was ok. I noticed that the bubble juice was freezing on my jacket. Then I noticed that my hands hurt like a bitch so I fumbled the lid back on the bottle and walked into the coffee joint.

There I paid the price. My hands really hurt as they warmed up and I worried that the rage would come back, that I would have wasted my time. I was in the fun coffee place, though, and everyone was super nice. I got my cocoa and there was enough money on my gift card for it. I tipped generously. I put my gloves and my mittens back on and headed the two blocks back to the office feeling just a little lighter.


**I think photographing frozen bubbles might be a 2 person job. You need a bubble blower and a picture taker. Maybe 3 people - bubble blower, picture taker, and mitten putter onner - 'cause it was really hard to put my mittens back on when I'd stiffened my fingers up to much.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Snowstorm: A Photo Essay

Initially there was protest. He got up, wandered into the living room, then returned to bed. After he was suited up I invited him to join me. He stayed like this, shivering sadly, until I carried him down stairs....and out to the street....and nearly all the way to the corner.


This is what greeted us in the foyer. The wind had been, and continues to be, fierce so snow depth ranged from nil to several inches.


The sidewalks have been littered with the Christmas trees of extremely disciplined and productive people. Now those trees have become art.


The fancy sections of Clinton Avenue are, of course, absolutely picturesque. Before this photo we stopped to thank the maintenance staff of St. Joseph's college for their swift and thorough work, otherwise Ed might not have walked at all. (They have snowblowers and a tiny plow.)

It's cold and the going is rough, not for the faint of ankle or the scantily clad. My mantra on the walk was gratitude to Lisa for making it her mission to keep me warm. I was as warm as one could be. (I also used 2 freshly baked Scooter Snacks as hand warmers for a while.) I was guilty but grateful that my little dog prefers short walks in the cold. (OK, he'd prefer no walks but that's impractical.) Streets were slightly plowed, cars made their way slowly along, everyone seemed to be acting quite responsibly. It was a snow day miracle!

Willoughby Avenue was quiet and beautiful. Can you see the two tiny gentlemen walking down the middle of the street? They were out on a shoveling mission, probably looking to earn some extra dough. They seemed happy and made the day feel homey and comfortable.


It wasn't a blizzard but it was a proper snowstorm. The kids got a snow day and we're hunkered down inside riding out the truly sobering temperatures. (It's not like Canada, Minnesota, and the Dakotas but it's fucking cold for here.) Hope you're warm, safe, and having fun!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Photo Challenge: GO!

I am thrilled to be starting my blogging year with one of our photo challenges. As I say nearly every time, this is one of my favorite things to do and I am enormously grateful to everyone who participates. Please enjoy the photos that have been shared this time and scroll down for where we're off to next!

Going for a spin
From my perspective Our Lisa is happily on the GO all the time. I love her whole family's enthusiasm.

Our Cindy has spent much of this year GOing new places with this dude. Can't wait to see where they GO next!

You GO, girl! Let's make 2014 fabulous in every way.

I've had success picking a word-of-the-year before. I was kicking around the idea of it this week but nothing was coming to me. Of course the minute I decided it didn't matter and I didn't have to choose one it came to me. LIGHT. I'm thinking of it as LIGHTening my load, shedding LIGHT on the subject, feeling LIGHTer in my ways. I like it as a prompt so let's use it! (Our Janet can tell us if we've used it before. I'm curious, but I'm also happy if we're repeating it.)

Please enter by 9am Tuesday January 14th for posting on January 15th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and LIGHT. 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.