Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ethel Merman Would Have Loved This

We're nearly there. Listen To Your Mother NYC is happening on Sunday. We've had our final rehearsal. We've encouraged everyone we know to come. We've submitted all our materials to the correct people and told everyone where to meet.

Of course LTYM is much larger than just our one show. Several cities' shows have already happened. I've watched them scroll by on social media and felt so excited for them because I can't wait, then jealous of them because I'm nervous and they're past that part, then sorry for them because they're done. It's over. Then what?

On Monday I'll be asking myself the same question. Hopefully after I wake up from a blissful three hour nap. It's just like any other show I've ever done. It's nothing like any other show I've ever done. It's not even like LTYM last year. How could it be?

I absolutely cannot wait to have these stories told to a wider audience. I envy you all the experience of hearing them for the first time. Yet, I want this to last forever, this time shared with such extraordinary people.

I know I can't have it both ways and I will make peace with that. I hope you can join us. It's going to be one hell of a ride.

NYC Show info is here. Sunday May 4th at 5pm.

Information for the other cities in the movement this year is here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Photo Challenge - BREATHE

It's photo challenge day, hurray! I do love this day. Life is so hectic it's nice to have a check in. We've got some lovely photos for this one, as usual. Please enjoy all the shots that were submitted and scroll down for info on the next one!

You'd think that the process of blowing out the candles would remind us to BREATHE on our birthdays but, especially as we get older, I think we don't. My girl here? She knows from breathing.

I miss the nights where Our Bethany and I would sit and BREATHE on her stoop but I love seeing where her road is taking her now.

Conquering the hill...
Glad to see that Our Ana could BREATHE through this challenge. I'm not sure I could. Athletics make me tense.

I really enjoyed how Our Cindy chose to observe Lent with 40 days on her yoga mat and how she helped herself to get on the mat by taking a photo of her practice every day.

breathe (3/30)
I love that Our Janet has a tangible reminder of our prompt and how important it is. 

I was looking for a synonym for leap to use as a prompt. My first Listen To Your Mother Show as a producer is in the middle of the prompt period and that sort of encapsulates the show for me but I felt it was too literally. The next word that came to mind was FAITH. Now, that word has a ton of baggage. I immediately thought I should think of something different. Which made me realize that I shouldn't. So, FAITH is our next prompt. Interpret that as you will!

Please enter by 9am Tuesday May 6th for posting on May 7th. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and FAITH. 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.


Listen To Your Mother is coming up quick. May 4th, 5pm, Symphony Space. Buy tickets here. Learn about our cause here. Learn about our cast here.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Too Many Treats To Dispense

Usually, I worry about our old pets as we head into winter. This winter was so harsh I'm surprised that more bad news didn't come. Counterintuitively it's been these recent days of thawing that have brought heartbreak.

Last week Chili and her family said goodbye to Toeses. He lived to be 21 and one day, which is a damned good run but it is never long enough. I believe he is the happy cat on the right in this pic I took in 2008 but I'll wait for familial confirmation.

Cat Bed

Last night unexpectedly our neighborhood matriarch, Lelu, passed away. She became ill in the evening and was rushed to medical care but they weren't able to help her. It's fortunate that she didn't suffer but it's a terrible and unexpected loss. Her head butting method of begging in the park will be deeply missed.


You know the drill and how important it is. Please give treats to all your dependents just for being there. We will accept breathing as the most amazing trick today. Any signs of life are worth rewarding.


Listen To Your Mother is coming up quick. May 4th, 5pm, Symphony Space. Buy tickets here. Learn about our cause here. Learn about our cast here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

You Already Know About Listen To Your Mother, Right?


It's funny how we're not always operating under the influence of the truth, isn't it? I feel as though I've been telling everyone about Listen To Your Mother. You know, don't you? You've met everyone in the cast and you know what each of their stories is about. We've talked about what your plans are and you're buying your tickets tomorrow, right?

Then I look at this space and realize that I haven't said much of anything here in several weeks. In my defense I've been a little busy producing a show. Why don't I tell you about it?

I love it. I really love it so much.

Here's the thing, it's not just for me to love. It's for you and anyone else who wants to come to love it, too! Which is my way of asking if you will please help me spread the word. Each of these stories is so special. The readers are brave and crazy and the best of everything. I want them to have an audience that lives up to what they're bringing.

May 4th, 5pm, Symphony Space. Buy tickets here. Learn about our cause here. Learn about our cast here.

Photo Credit: Neil Kramer. Taken at LTYM NYC's first 2014 rehearsal. Missing one cast member who had to leave early.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Computer Picked A Winner!

Thor (& Loki)Thanks for spreading the word about dog fighting, folks! I'm going back to the shelter to walk some dogs today and it helps knowing that we're trying to stop this happening to anyone else.

The winner is....Angstgirl! Will you please email me your mailing info at Kizzbeth117 at gmail dot com?

P.S. Stay tuned for more information on Listen To Your Mother NYC. You can buy tickets here.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Photo Challenge: Woo Hoo!

Clearly we were all out doing so much celebrating that we could barely make it back to Flickr, right? Because we only had a couple of entrants I'm doing more than one shot per photographer. Enjoy these fun shots!

I so admire Our Bethany's ability to connect with people. Even as this man is on the move he's clearly touched by her.

This young reveler recently turned 7. From the get go we've called him the Happiest Kid On The Planet. It still applies.

Dogs and kids and water, oh my! Our Bethany grabbed a one in a million moment!

Candy and hitting something with a stick. It's no wonder these three kids are so happy! 

These prompts are always about where I am in the moment. In this moment I'm so busy. I know that we get a lot of reinforcement from society for being as busy as we can possibly be but it's just not my thing. I like a lot of down time. I'm excited about and committed to the things I'm doing, though, so I'm working on doing better in this busy state. Here's the reminder I need: BREATHE. I think we've had that prompt before but it's worth repeating. 

Please enter by 9am Tuesday April 22nd for posting on April 23rd. Tag your photos with PHOTO CHALLENGE and BREATHE. 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.

P.S. Don't forget the Dog Fighting Awareness Day Giveaway, either!

P.P.S. Stay tuned for more information on Listen To Your Mother NYC. You can buy tickets here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Are You Aware Of The Perils Of Dog Fighting?

Today is National Dog Fighting Awareness Day (NDFAD). I'm aware. I hope you are, too. The ASPCA kindly invited me to join them in raising awareness and spreading the word that Dog Fighting isn't something we will stand for. It happens everywhere. It's not the only way to be cruel to an animal but it's one in which a large number of animals can be harmed at one time. The ASPCA and other organizations work long and hard to rescue dogs from deplorable conditions that surround dog fighting and they need our help. Whether you are able to assist with adopting, fostering, volunteering, donating, or spreading the word every little bit does, indeed, help.

I live in New York so dog fighting has been a tangential item in the news here a lot lately. You see come this fall Michael Vick (arguably the world's most famous dog fight enthusiast) will be playing for one of our local football teams. I've written some pretty emotional things about him in the past. I've also tried to come to terms with the fact that if I think that the dogs who were abused at Vick's Bad Newz Kennels can change their behavior enough to live in private homes and if I believe that behavioral theory teaches us that most animals learn in similar ways then I have to believe that Vick can also be reformed.

Of course having that potential and living up to it are not at all the same. I can't yet say for certain what Michael Vick, or any dog fighting enthusiast, would have to do to prove to me that they've changed but I can say that I haven't yet seen that from this particular guy. I am still too cautious to believe that any animal (or human) is safe in his care. In casual conversations about Vick's football career I've often said that I think it's perfectly fine that he be re-hired by the NFL and that he continue to play. The only thing that needs to change is that his take home pay should be the same hourly rate as the lowest paid person in his home stadium. I'm talking filling out a time sheet and everything. The balance of whatever the NFL chooses to designate as his salary should go directly to organizations using force free, scientifically based methods to help dogs (and perhaps people) who are learning to live life outside of the fight ring.

I get a lot of grief for both thinking that Vick could reform himself and my personal solution to his continuing to pay back for the harm he's done. I stand by it, though, because real learning doesn't happen in a 30 minute television-friendly format. Real learning takes time, patience, and expertise. None of that comes cheap. Neither is it guaranteed but I believe in it. I believe that people who abuse animals are more likely to commit violence against other people. I believe that animals...and humans, can change. I believe that we need to be more committed to making those changes within each animal's individual boundaries.

Thor & Loki
The first step, they always say, is admitting you have a problem and that's where NDFAD comes in!

In honor of the day the ASPCA is giving this gift package to one lucky reader. It will contain:

1 Anti Dog Fighting T-shirt
1 No One Wins in a Dog Fight Magnet
1 Orange "Fight Cruelty" Tote
1 ASPCA Pet Frisbee
1 ASPCA Orange Wrist Band
1 ASPCA Action Magazine: Inside the Dog Fighting Ring

I will add to that haul one pet toy (doesn't have to be for a dog!) because thinking about dogs fighting makes me sad and thinking about pets playing helps to counteract that.

We're going to work the honor system on this one. Please take one action to spread the word about dog fighting. It can be on social media, in person, or by regular post. You can tell your co-worker, your kid, your fitness class, a stranger on a train, or that one troll who keeps leaving weird posts on your blog. Leave a comment on this post letting me know what action you took to spread the word and I'll pick a winner randomly on Friday morning. Entries close at 9am!

Please, go spread the good word!

*Photos taken by me of adoptable dogs at an NYC Shelter. I am not comfortable sharing the name of the shelter publicly but am happy to talk with you about it privately if you have questions.