Friday, December 3, 2010

Remember to Remember

Something popped off the TV the other day that I can't shake out of my mind. It was a story about a woman who, while on a safari vacation, wrote a desire in her journal. She noticed that the kids clothes were torn and filthy. She wrote, "I'd like to see if a women's group would like to begin to sew little dresses." The crazy part is that she didn't sew! And now she has a warehouse of volunteers stitching dresses and pants that are sent to 16 countries in Africa and the U.S.

Remember to remember. It is a line from The Secret, a book about the universal law of attraction. Remember to remember the little thoughts you have, the little desires, and signals from the universe. Rachael O'Neil listened and she is helping thousands.

Video from NBC, Making a Difference:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The P Word

Pat downs! Ooooh you cheeky monkeys, you thought I was going to use the other p word right? And I will but not in this entry, although, being a graduate of the School of Womanly Arts, I encourage you to use it.

Today I'm thinking about those pesky pat downs that hundreds of thousands of people will experience next week as they travel to their Thanksgiving destinations.

I traveled through Dulles, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Miami airports last weekend hoping for a pat down. It was all in the name of research to report back to you. However, my lack of success in obtaining the airport touchy-feely is for all women who read my blog. So share it and pass this one around!

The way to avoid a pat down is to look eager for one! I had my "I'm ready" face on with a big smile for all security types. There were even eyebrow lifts and a conversation about wanting a pat down. Being forward is a guarantee they'll wave your ass through!

If only I could talk with someone at the TSA about those body scans! Homeland Security is really missing the boat by not allowing us to get a copy of our scans, similar to the system at an amusement park when you ride a roller coaster. People could pay for their picture - goodness knows we all look better in silhouette. And we could pose.

Lastly, I leave you with a quip if an airline gestapo goes up your leg to the nether regions. Tell 'em they'll have to pay you should they wish to get any closer to your "p".

Stay tuned for my turkey blog next week about the call in number at Butterball... Feeling very THANKFUL to all my friends reading Workin' That Skirt.

Few sites for travel advice: (how to get through quickly)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Winking Witch

"At first I thought you were some crazy lady.” My witch cackle filled the air. "But, nahh, you look good,” said my garbage man this morning while the white sanitation truck passed with honking horn. I was walking home from the bus stop in full Halloween regalia. My shirt says: THE WINKING WITCH…COME AND SIT FOR A SPELL.

Now here’s the thing, anyone who knows me for five minutes, realizes I love to dress up. However, the last thing I wanted to do this morning was get up and put on a costume for the kids’ school parties. Gigi has a parade and David has a shin-dig for which I volunteered to orchestrate the freeze-dance festivities. I have been in bed all week with some kind of nasty bug that included a fever, sleepless nights, and a cough that has gotten my abs in shape.

Being ill is terrible and so I pose the question: How does one work her skirt when she needs to take to her sick bed? Well, Monday, I felt the stirrings of a cold brewing and I mustered up the energy to make homemade chicken noodle soup with dill, leeks, carrots, and parsnips. Soup was on hand whenever I needed nourishment. I also slept in the cutest, coziest pj’s. I showered and did my hair every day even though I didn't feel like it. I retired to the guest room and watched countless hours of TV and read half of THE FALL OF GIANTS, which is a thousand page book. The kids came in at regular intervals to cuddle (they already had the virus).

In my weakened state, I didn’t care very much about doing things "according to plan" and realized a few life lessons. Because I didn't have the energy to be the go-between with my kids sibling rivalry, they didn't come to me. Hmmm, staying out of their disputes is my next plan of action, or in-action. Saying "no" to volunteering or to a project that will max me out was easy because I was taking care of myself. The most enlightening reward was through my son David Dean, who is 7 years old. He stayed home one day with a "sore throat,” which might have been a sympathy move, but I didn't care because he is the best hugger. We watched movies about Greek gods/goddesses, ate ice cream in the morning, and snuggled all day. He said to me something I will never forget, "Mom, you know, I want to have kids one day and you are teaching me how to act when I have kids.” I asked him what he meant as I scooped more ice cream in his bowl. He replied, "You are showing me that even though you feel sick, you can still have fun and that it is OK to break the rules to make yourself feel better.” How’s that for some crazy lady?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Got Your Number

Her face could be used in a Fibonacci diagram. You know, the ratio of phi, the golden number which indicates divine proportion. Sally Blenky-Tchassov has divine proportion and she's coming to DC soon, hailing from her competitive dancing tour and her husband Alex's teaching studio in NYC. Sally and her hubby are our guests of honor at the gala for the Noyes Children's Library on Friday, November 5th. Wanna get dressed up, hear the RKO Orchestra, and dance with Alex and Sally Blenkey-Tchassov? Go to because even though the fundraiser last weekend raised 50% more than our goal, we still need $70K this year and $70K next year and I can't even begin to do the percentages for how much more we need to raise.

I'm baffled by numbers, being a creative-type. However, there's an Einstein quote that makes me laugh - "Do not be troubled by your difficulties with Mathematics, I can assure you mine are much greater." The Fibonacci material is fascinating - Mr. Fib is best known to the modern world for spreading the Hindu-Arabic numeral system in Europe. Fibonacci sequences appear in biological settings, such as branching in trees, arrangement of leaves on a stem, the floral spirals of a sunflower, the flowering of artichoke, the arrangement of a pine cone, and even the ratio of our bones. Some say it indicates beauty.

On a not so scientific note, Glynis McCants uses numbers to deal with connections we have with people. She says that everything in the universe has vibrations and when you talk with someone, you are left feeling with "that person lifted me or that person drained me." The book, Love by the Numbers: How to Find Great Love or Reignite the Love You Have Through the Power of Numerology, has exercises to calculate your life path number and then use that number to determine the type of people to work with, love with, and avoid. My life path number is 8 which she says is all about making money. Hooray!

“If you really want something in this life you have to work for it. Now quiet, they're about to announce the lottery numbers” Dan Castellaneta quotes (American Actor and Writer, b.1958)

* Love by the Numbers

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tin Roof, Rusty

“What a way to go, in a bubble bath with candles and a caved-in ceiling,” I thought while I enjoyed my moment. It had been one of those days with the kids fighting over everything from “her donut is bigger than mine” to “I want to carry the flashlight.” After getting those little people who call me mom, mommy, mamo, or mama down to sleep, I just wanted to settle into a nice, warm bubble bath.

But things didn’t go quite as planned. I had the water running and needed a candle to go along with the solace. Off I scurried down the stairs to our kitchen to get a match. Back upstairs in my goddess oasis (the bathroom), my feet were met with slush slush slush. The faucet had somehow wiggled around to face out of the back of our claw foot tub. It was running full force all over the floor.

Into action I went with phase I: Towels on floor to soak up the mess and down to the laundry room to wash it all away. However, on the way to the washing machine, there was water dripping out of the kitchen ceiling. Uh oh.

Phase two: Gather basin to collect drips, put out pots, pans and measuring cups. Notice that the water is rusty brown and inching closer to the light.

Phase three: Get in bath, enjoy the moment and know that if I crashed through the floor, what a way to go.

Drip, thump thump, ding, ding. It is quite musical hearing the remnants of my luxury. The ceiling of our kitchen is the original tin, 125 years old. "The insurance will cover the damages," I tell myself. Dan is about to come home from a boys weekend trip in Oregon and he's been traveling for 12 hours. What a wonderful reception for him. I wait up in my new silky gown and matching robe. Might as well look like a goddess, whether I have to run out of the house for help or into a Dan hug upon his return to our -- love shack, baby love shack. Tin roof, rusty! (How cool that I get to use that line from the B52's, in context?!)

What a way to go.
You've probably heard me chat about my NY city weekends to attend my friend Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts. Now, I'm posting a blog entry about working the tools. For more "goddess" stories, go to There is a monthly membership fee but well worth it! Mwah!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What's In A Name?

While watching the news last night, I was tickled by name of the Chief of Defense for England - Sir Jock Stirrup. Really, his parents named him that?! With our last name, even though we love the name Will, we couldn't go there - Will Bragg! Dan knew a guy in high school named Mike Hunt. Imagine that announced at the restaurant, "Mike Hunt, your table is ready." Tee hee. He also knew a girl named Fern Forest who had a brother named Lief. You know the line from Shakespeare,
"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Some people have names that fit their profession. The urologist who did our son's circumcision is named Dr. Dix Poppas. Then there's Harry the Hairstylist to the stars (Gisele Bundchen to Al Pacino). In my digging around, I ran across veterinarians Dr. Jeffrey Fisch (Clinton Veterinary Center) and Dr. Russell Katz (Pelham Animal Hospital); lawyer Sue Yoo (Sullivan & Cromwell LLP); food blogger Shernell Cooke (; psychiatrist Dr. Edith McNutt. !!!!

Going a step futher, take people's professions and apply them to what car they would drive. Keanu Reeves in a Matrix. The Greek epic poet Homer would have a Honda Odyssey, and a firefighter a Chevy Blazer. An entomologist would crawl through traffic in his Mitsubishi Spyder. A meteorologist would drive a Honda Element, an astronomer would have a Mitsubishi Eclipse and an optician a Ford Focus. Picasso would paint the town in his Nissan Cube, an ornithologist would use a Ford Falcon and his lawyer would drive a Honda Civic. A warden at a correctional facility would drive up in his Ford Escape. In honor of Columbus day, Christopher Columbus might drive a Ford Explorer.

I drive a Quest minivan and since I'm on the reinvention tour, it has served me well over the last few years. However, we are going to get a new car and I want something with a little more sport and sass. I'm looking around and took a Road and Driver car quiz to find out what would work best for our needs. It said a minivan. Ughhh! But the sports car quiz based on how I feel says that I should be driving a Lamborghini. That's the name that would make me proud, but I'm not sure it will work with carseats.

quiz at -

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hello, Petal!

Years ago I lived in London and became fascinated by everything Anglo - love the way their intonation goes up at the end of a sentence, enjoy their subtle wit, adore the luxury of tea time, and am charmed by their Brillo-pad way of saying English phrases. "Easy peasy. Isn't that lovely-jubbly! Daft as a brush. Brilliant. Mind the gap. In a tick. Right, right, carry on." A dashing British chap nicked-named me "Petal" and I thought he was into me. He invited me to fancy dress parties and took me out for fabulous dinners but I soon realized that "Petal" is a term of endearment. Therefore, my crush became my dear friend, Davy Do Right, and I settled for a long-term love affair with tea.

The origins of Afternoon Tea can be found in the castles and English high society of the mid 1800’s. Anna, The 7th Duchess of Bedford is credited with starting the tradition of Afternoon Tea, in 1840. The Duchess was feeling peckish between meals, with what she described as “a sinking feeling”. She asked her maid to bring her a tray of bread, butter, cakes and tea to tide her over, until “high tea”, the main evening meal. Afternoon Tea soon became a ritual for Anna, and she began to invite friends to Belvoir Castle to join her.

Bringing that tradition here would require a steamroller campaign over 11,000 Starbucks stores in the U.S.** However, hosting a gathering that is not-your-granny's tea party seemed more up my ally. Thai and Toasted Brulee exotic tea leaves were acquired. Check. Finger sandwiches, scones, sweets PLUS fabulous date appies. Check. A playlist with Lady GaGa, and Bonjovi to honor the guest of honor. Check. Champers and vino. Check.

Hi, my name is Cyndy and I'm a tea drinker. Coffee is rarely a part of my day now because the caffeine is not good for my dizzy condition (See entry - Get Your Head Examined from 6/23/09 Guess that makes me a tea totaler. Not really, I still enjoy a vodka. So if life seems to be giving you one thing, whether it is a unfulfilled crush or a desire to have a warm drink in the morning, explore your options. There is probably something better for you on the horizon.

Pip Pip, Cheerio, Petal!

** Starbucks store number is according to Wikipedia

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Project Run-aways

It's Fashion Week in NYC and the glamazons are catwalking what we'll wear next Spring. The hemline index indicates that "skirts get longer as the financial concerns heighten."* I think this means it's time to pack up those hot pants girls in order to avoid the DON'T list. A few other "what not to wear" items came up recently that are not to be missed!

My parents were here last weekend and my dad revealed that he purchased a men's body shaper to wear under his clothes while he attended his high school reunion. (Not worry, after a little prodding, Dad laughingly gave me permission to tell all.) The man-spanx looks about as big as something my 7 year old would wear. Daddy Dean said, "I had to put Vaseline on my hips to get it on." It's a step in, pull up procedure. He also said he lost 20...
...twenty dollars, that is.

From the get-slim tee site we ventured to another "don't" item. The Snazzy Napper...
Really, do people buy these?!? It reduces street cred to a "0" but the video on their site is hi-larious.

I cringe admitting that I adorned my neck with a duck whistle last weekend. We did a DC Duck Tour and as we passed people on the street, especially intense business people on their cell phones, it was a blast to quack. Take the tour if you come to DC. However, hide the quacker when you get home, and go for a glam slam with a retro look, wearing a maxi skirt in a courageous color.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back at it...

Helllloooooooo! It's been a while and I'm back at it. Yesterday, I was complaining about the drains of early morning-get-out-the-door, back-to-school, back-to-life, back-to-reality. Then I got a call from Dan telling me Discovery was in lockdown because a crazy man was wielding a gun in the lobby. As things were unfolding, he would call or send a text of his whereabouts. Then a shocker - he told me they were going up to the top floor. I was immediately transported back to 9/11 in NYC. (Sadly, the people who went up never came down.) While Dan was "Mr. Calm", I was a bit histrionic, relaying the news from CNN - "The terrorist has explosives on his back. Get out of that building!" You know the rest of the story and when I picked up my hubby/lover/buddy/best friend at the Metro, I hugged him tighter than ever before.

Sure puts my disgruntled morning diddy in perspective. Maybe it's not appropriate to mention a longing for the meandering summer we experienced after what happened. However, I've been showing signs of PTF - post travel funk. PTF* is a low-grade irritability after a trip, voyage, or prolonged vacation (i.e., Summer). Symptoms include the inability to unpack or put away laundry, reapplication of sunscreen throughout the day, longing to get to the beach early even though you are hours away from the coast, or a tendency to pick up the phone and ask for reception. If any of these traits apply, here are some exercises to help. Wear your bathing suit under your clothes all day. Or, imagine where you would like to go on your next fantasy trip and research it. Try pretending that chefs are arriving at your house to prepare dinner and when it is time to eat, go to a restaurant. Pack your luggage for an exotic vacation to determine what you are missing, and go shopping for those items.

Today when I woke up, I was incredibly grateful for the normalcy of the hustle-bustle-get-out-the-door routine. Then I reapplied some sunscreen.

* The Gist magazine, August 2010, Eric Weiner @

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Is the Universe Friendly?

An accident rocked my world last week and whatever I write seems inapt. Here I post a letter of gratitude and a few thoughts...

Dear Mane & Roger,
How fortunate to have brushed up against you. Since last Wednesday when I had the horrendous experience of hitting a pedestrian, my shoulders have been heavy. How quickly life can change. The gentleman who ended up on the hood of my car is physically OK, according to a police update. There's consolation in that matter. And yet I find myself breaking down in tears and searching for answers. It is an awakening to mortality.

There's a line from a Gwendolyn Brooks poem that echoes in my head, "Exhaust the little moment. Soon it dies." Life is short and this experience underscores how important it is to live the day like it's the last. Einstein was asked what he thought the most important question was that a human being needed to answer. His reply, "Is the universe friendly or not?" I believe life is definitely on my side as evidenced by your kindness and support at the accident. I'll never forget having Mane's arm around my waist, holding me. And Roger's calm demeanor was grounding.

With never-ending gratitude,

This incident reinforces a way of thinking to live big because we only have one time on this planet. It is the basis for workin' that skirt. It is the reason why I do things like burlesque dancing. Or dressing up in a costume to save the town library. Or hugging people who I barely know. Or being a massive flirt with practically everyone I encounter. Or taking classes to be a better parent. Or being part of the pleasure revolution. Or Or or. My friend Jill, who happens to be a minister, calls it living full out.

It is also a reminder to be present in my life as it unfolds, in the moment, and listen to what is needed. Since the accident, my body craves some feel-good endorphins; I've been running and swimming laps. And, I've also eaten a bunch of brownies.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Love It When We're Cruising Together

Riding past the town of Gross Proud and seeing signs for the Hungry Mother State Park were just a few noteworthy points about our RV trip to the Cecil Family Fish Fry Reunion Hoedown Hootenanny Shindig. There was also the false start when the engine in our rented Cruise America motor-home was seemingly on fire and started smoking, filling up the cabin and leaving a trail behind us on Route 66. Gigi yelled, "It smells like bacon" as we evacuated. On most road trips, parents are bombarded by the usual, "How much longer until we get there?" Instead, we heard, "How much longer will we be stuck here?" After several hours on the side of the road with the RV rocking every time a semi rolled by, a tow truck arrived.

Outfitted with a new rig, we set out again for TAKE 2, six hours after we originally started. It was during this leg of the trip that the rules of the road became evident. A few examples are on the video at right or the below link - "assume the RV stance" & "suspend reality without seat belts."

The Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River beckoned as we ventured along the country roads, passing Davy Crockett's birthplace, the Cross-eyed Cricket Campground, and the world's largest fireworks store. Our final stop was at a "fairytale in stone" known as the Luray Caverns. “The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”
- Don Williams, Jr. quotes (American Novelist and Poet, b.1968)

For RV Rules of the Road and pics from the Fish Fry, watch the VIDEO by clicking on this link...

Music credits for video - Cruisin by Smokey Robinson, Country Roads by John Denver and Connect by Foxy Shazam.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Say "YES"

Do you ever have a yearning to do something and you hold yourself back? It could be something on your wish list or a dream you've had since you were a child. You never got around to doing it because you got sidetracked, or were afraid, or, or, or. Maybe it is a mid-life awakening but I'm living loud and proud with those buried desires. It is about saying "YES" to the dreams that empassion you. I am feeling called to perform.

Our little town, it's a quiet village (you know the tune from Beauty and the Beast?)... Kensington, Maryland has a super-quaint children's library but because of county budget cuts, there are threats to close it down. A committee was formed, a foundation created, and fund raising ensues. Last weekend was the Storybook Parade and they asked for volunteers to be characters, one of them being Fancy Nancy. I said, "YES!"

Last June at a dinner party, the hostess had us a play the game of truths. You write down three things about yourself, two are true, one is a lie. The crowd has to figure out which one is not real. Dan said that he almost got stampeded by a pack of elephants, had a criminal record, bicycled across the country. I said that I used to be in meetings with Ted Turner, had to break my legs to get Dan to marry me, and that I am a burlesque dancer. One was a falsehood last year but now they are all true. I said "YES" to taking classes in NYC and performed last night with a group of foxy ladies, sparkle shoes and all!

Try it. Say "yes" to something you normally would not do. Put yourself on a "yes" diet every day. Yes to a new phone app. Yes to a crazy eye shadow. Yes to a project at work that you want to do. Yes to a class you want to take. Yes to fake eyelashes. Yes to downloading new music. Yes to trying a new food. We only have one time to go around this planet. Work that skirt!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Picture This

The gang was all in white, lined up for the family picture. The brother got pissed off at his sister, picked up a pile of mud, and wiped it all over her lily-white top. Mayhem ensued and the shots the photog got were the best ever. That episode of Modern Family jogged a memory about our "sitting" a few months ago. We were dressed accordingly and feeling a bit stiff. After 20 minutes of posing, Dan had the brilliant idea to pull out the wigs. Viola, the personalities emerged.

Capturing that "moment" is key and I wanted some professional advice considering summer travel is upon us. My friend and professional Mapplethorpe, Josh Lehrer, has some enlightening tips. Papa Josh has shot portraits of the big guns such as Donald Trump, Richard Meier, and Tina Brown. His conceptual work has been on bigger-than-life Times Square billboards. Currently, the walls of the Mandarin Oriental in Vegas are adorned with Papa's work. Here are his thoughts on creating artistic memories.
  • Do the opposite of what the camera instructions say. If they say to put the sun at your back, try the sun facing you for something more interesting and dynamic.
  • Family shots - Don't worry what the kids are doing. The parents freak out and get themselves in such a tizzy that they end up looking haggard. Take care of yourself. Let the kids be kids. Trust the photographer to get the great shot.
  • Travel pics - Put your subject in the extreme foreground with the pyramid in the extreme background.
One final idea - say "money" instead of "cheese." Saying "money" makes the corners of your mouth go back in a more natural way. And if you believe that you conjure what you say out loud, it's much better to picture more money than cheese any day.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

In the Zona

Have you been carded lately? It was a thrilling experience last weekend when I was out with my friend Heather in Scottsdale. (They card everyone who looks like they are 30 years old!) Lucky for me, the guy had bad eyesight. There is a standing policy that if asked to show my ID, the requesting person gets a smooch on the cheek. However, in my giddiness of such a special moment, I forgot to give him an appreciation peck.

There were lots of other unique moments about our trip to Arizona. Dan's parents took us to a fancy-smancy ranch and we got to see a horse swim in a equine pool. See picture >>>>

At the Museum of Musical Instruments, Marcia and the kids played haunting sounds on the Theremin.
Watch Marcia on this video. >>>>>>

There was also a workin' that skirt moment - I saw an older woman at Target who made my jaw drop. Her hair was adorned with pearls, she had on silver high heels, straight white denim jeans, a white shirt and a smile that could make the midnight sky look like day. Cashier gals were praising her and then saying to one another as she walked away, "She looks better than you and me combined." "That woman sure knows how to do it." "Dottie, ooohhhhh, eeeeee."

Seeing "Dottie" made we want to give her an award, or at least some props* that acknowledge her brilliance and sparkle. I could have showed my gratitude with a big smooch but I have a bad reputation at Target. (See entry "Get Your Head Examined" when I accidently dropped the shopping cart down the escalator - So instead of getting arrested for kissing a stranger, I planted a big appreciation kiss on someone I know, my friend Heather. >>>>>>

* Props, short for Propers, -The entire word "propers" is used in the song "Respect", written by Otis Redding and most famously recorded by Aretha Franklin in 1967. At least, I think it is ("all I'm askin' in return honey is to give me my propers when I get home"). according to Urban Dictionary

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Urban Drifting

Urban Drifting is where you walk along without a goal or mission. It is a phrase I learned last weekend at The School of Womanly Arts in NYC. How great to allow yourself to slow down! I had to try it out and here's a video of what was discovered >>>

p.s. Would love your thoughts on my new, fabulous logo created by the extraordinary designer Katherine Leyton.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Crazy Like Me?

The list of things to do was playing in my head so loudly in the middle of the night, I had to get up to make some Sleepy Time Tea. I'm going out of town later this week, have work to do, kids to run around, and a ladies "coffee" to throw. Everything was groovy until last week when a friend said the coffee is actually a "big deal" in town and since I'm hosting, get ready. I've been prepping and tidying like a Whirling Dervish. I even cleaned the top of the frig! Who is going to look there? Yesterday, there was a baking disaster and there is still more to prepare. Poor Dan is even in on the action hanging and re-hanging pictures on the walls. Does anyone else get crazy like me when you are prepping to host?
(coffee cake disaster)
Can we make a pact that if you come to my house, you'll forgive a little mess because the food will be great and we'll have a good time? Let's all unite. And if you are at the shin-dig, don't look in our closets!

P.S. Check out this video which made me laugh while I was trying to keep my swagger on!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Flower Power

Little did I know that being a chaperone on David Dean's field trip to the Phillips Collection would be so inspiring. Georgia O'Keefe was the artist they were there to visit. What's the big deal about all the flower paintings? Ms. O'Keefe became a giant of twentieth-century modern art and the first American woman painter to gain unanimous respect from both critics and the public. While there's the thought that the flowers symbolize a woman's bits and pieces, it was revealing to learn that she was a groundbreaking artist in the early 1900's because she cropped her subject matter to make abstract art.

Her hubby was a photographer and the technique of cropping his pictures most likely gave her the idea to do the same with her paintings. The docent had the kids look through a piece of paper with a pin hole and try their hand at sketching what they saw. <<<<

I went back with Gigi and her interpretations were fab - a pop sickle (see painting at left), a crab, clouds. Here's to a woman who worked her skirt in a time when women were not encouraged to do very much of anything. She lived until she was 98 and completed more than 800 oil paintings. She said, "You get whatever accomplishment you are willing to declare."

Video on Georgia O'Keefe to get a glimpse of the real woman...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Love that belly

Here's my first gratitude through lippy post - I love this girl and give her belly kisses all the time. This one was yesterday at the butterfly garden planting to honor Jazzy, whose light continues to shine in profound ways.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mom Fantasies

Nothing like a beach weekend with your college girlfriends to provide a much needed recharge from all the mom duties. This year we wanted to play up the theme HATS AND TATS. I brought a bunch of tattoos and on the drive to FloBama, we stopped at several truck stops looking for trucker hats but there were only baseball caps. We came up with our trucker names. I'm Lou Dean, a derivative of Cyndy Lou and my dad's name. Surprisingly, a grocery store had seven hats to complete the mission, plus everything essential for the weekend - brownie mix, Fluff, and red lipstick (I forgot my tube at home). Lip prints started showing up on random objects and will continue to do so. The purchase of Revlon's LOVE THAT RED inspired a campaign for gratitude through lippy. I'm curious to see how life changes by being BOLD and wearing red every day. Check out my blog posts for daily pics and a whole new round of Workin' That Skirt, Year 2.

The trucker babes took a break from pool lounging (rainy afternoon) and decided to see the movie DATE NIGHT. It captures what it is like be with someone for a long time with work, activities, and kids getting in the way. There is a scene where Tina Fey and Steve Carell are discussing their marriage and Steve tells his wife that is OK to have fantasies. She admits to him that she does and he starts to get a bit excited. He wants to hear about it. She tells him that she imagines being in a luxurious hotel room. (He leans in closely to hear her .) She says she is on the bed all alone. (He starts wiggling in his seat.) She needs a drink and goes to the mini-bar. (He starts to froth a bit.) She pulls out a Diet Sprite and drinks it... all by herself...without anyone asking her to get them anything, take them anywhere, do anything for them. (He is confused.)

In honor of Mother's Day, I wish you all the fantasy-come-true of finding time for yourself. And to my sweet mom, here's a big RED kiss! Wishing you the day of your dreams.

There was a card I found that outlines other mom ultimate fantasies:
  • I sleep past dawn.
  • Housekeeping standards are reduced nation-wide.
  • My hair looks good every day!
  • The kids decide to quit soccer and start their own business.
  • Chocolate becomes a vitamin.
  • Chicken fingers cause weight loss.
  • I can have it all..with a glass of Merlot (for me, Vodka drinkie).
  • I have my own private carpool lane.
  • I get an "A" on my science project.
  • Ketchup is declared a vegetable.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spring Chicken

I called my grandma & pap-paw the other day and learned they had a tift over a woman who was flirting with my gramps. The other woman offered to let my grandpa use her dock (they live on a lake). Evidently, the other woman made a comment my grandma didn't like. Granny was mad as a hornet.

Now, my grandma is no spring chicken, she's about to turn 86, but she has a lot of spring in her step. We were talking about her upcoming birthday and how almost all of her eight brothers/sisters, and friends are dying. I asked her why she was still kicking it strong and she said she thinks it is because she loves life. She doesn't sit around and mope. She tends to her garden of tomatoes and corn and peas. She socializes. She plays cards. She goes to church. She loves her huge family. She gives grandpa hell and makes him get out of his favorite chair to do a little this and that. She has been workin' her skirt for 86 years and I dedicate this entry to granny, who will always be a spring chicken...

Basil SPRING Chicken Roulades - HOW TO VIDEO >>>

Basil Chicken Roulades with Mustard/Yogurt Sauce
Grocery Items: 6 thinly sliced chicken breasts, plain (Greek) yogurt, Dijon Mustard, Chives, Bunch of Fresh Basil, Bread Crumbs, Parmesan Cheese, Shallot, Veggie & Rice

Preheat oven 400, either butter baking dish or spray with non-stick Pam

Dipping Sauce to serve with meal -1/2 c plain yogurt (Go Greek if ya can + 1 tbs Dijon mustard (I use coarse mustard + 2 tsp chivesMake production line: 6 thinly sliced chicken breasts, bunch of basil chopped, 1 shallot, chopped, 1 cup bread crumbs + 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, mustard/yogurt sauce - 1/2 cup plain yogurt + 1 tbs Dijon mustard

Dip chicken breast in sauce, roll in bread crumb/parm, lay flat on baking sheet and layer basil + shallots, (drizzle melted butter on top of basil if you want to be naughty), roll breast, put on baking sheet, repeat

Bake at 400 for 35-40 minutes

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hey, Lekker Ding

Isn't it crazy when the world collides, like wearing a very popular nail polish color "Dutch Tulip" and meeting a bunch of people from Holland stuck in New York City because volcanic ash is grounding them?! I was in "the city" for my Womanly Arts conference - imagine 300 women digging for treasure in a massive clothing swap with the likes of Gucci and Tocca. There was also an inspiring talk given by money expert Barbara Stanny. She lost her inheritance from her father, the R in H&R Block, and rebuilt a fortune by following the steps of successful women earning six figures. I'm about to take her class. Here's her website for more info - And, speaking of classes, I took a burlesque class and learned a thing or two about tassles.

After a full weekend of "conferencing," it was time for a tip toe through the tulips with some girlfriends. We went out for dinner/drinks and encountered the Netherlanders as we were heading home to our hotel. They ribbed us about our super white teeth and we teased them about losing the coolest island on the planet (New York City was formerly known as New Amsterdam). They gave us nicknames that resemble bowling leaguers. I was dubbed "Shirley" and later given a more attractive moniker, "Vonda." The Dutch taught us how to say "lekker ding" which supposedly means "good looking" but without accurate translation, wonder if it really means "Shirley." Here's to workin that skirt with girlfriends!

The cutest video from a colleague is below- he produced it with his 6 year old daughter singing an original song, "Hanging With My Girls" She is a pro, especially at the end!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My "Friend" Came to Visit

My "friend" came to visit last weekend and it made me want to twirl around, wear white, kick the seashore, and do leg kicks. You know the saying and you know the ridiculous ads for that most glorious time of month that my buddy in LA refers to as, "the time I'm bleeding like a stuck pig." Sorry to be graphic but let's get real. And finally Kotex has. Check out these hilarious ads.
A real friend, a human, did come to visit last weekend from Sag Harbor, NY. Liz Joyce is a Jim Henson award winning puppeteer and one fine singer. She performs Minkie the Monkey shows at her Goat on a Boat Theater in the Hamptons and if you have any connections to the children's TV world, bring 'em on. >>>> see Minkie Time promo >>>>

Although I coaxed her down to Maryland with puppet show performances, we also had an extraordinary night at our local and only restaurant in Old Town Kensington - Cafe 1894. It was Boovie Night (book/movie club) but we didn't talk so much about Girl With a Dragon Tattoo because there was a piano player and Gina B's crutches became microphones while Liz belted out the Boss' 10th Ave Freeze-out. That's when I actually did leg kicks in my white pants and twirled for joy that my friend came to visit.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Bee Charmer

A Southern peach exudes a thing or two about beauty that makes her one nice piece of fruit. Here is the know-how that came rushing back as we enjoyed a bluegrass hootenanny.
  • The higher the hair, the closer to heaven. While the days of Final Net are thankfully over, they served their purpose. Many a gal had pageant hair and some had to support a tiara back in the day. Now it is about BIG SEXY HAIR and it is inspiring. I bought the hair spray as a consolation.
  • If there's music, shake your money maker. My pappy doesn't walk around, he jigs like there is a soundtrack playing through his day. There were lots of people feeling the music, including my Gigi who was workin' her skirt on the dance floor.
  • Wear lipstick - the redder the better. It makes your teeth look whiter. Now if you know me for 5 minutes, I'm re-applying my Plum Dandy or Viva Glam. Mama n'em told me "presentation is everything."
  • Find your nature in nature. The sign at the Wetlands said, "You may touch the beaver... very very gently." Had to get a close-up...
  • There are lots of uses for the phrase "bless your heart." We have an 80 year old relative who pats a man's bottom instead of hugging him while she bestows her blessing. I figure, when you're 80, you can do whatever you want. She initiated Dan into the family at the Cecil Family Fish Fry a few years back and he liked it enough to stay. It is especially useful to use the line when someone needs a hug OR OR OR if you find them offensive. There was a lady at the bluegrass festival holding a 3 month old baby with a litter of other toddlers around her. She asked the snake wrangler at the reptile exhibit, "Do you have a small python, I have little kids." I sent her a bless your heart thought, as much for her question as for her Mohawk. (She's not in this picture but there is the python.)
  • Charm and good manners open a door as good as an ivy league education. There is no other way to explain the opportunities I had in my career - working in London, Hong Kong, promotions, management positions. It's about respect for others in this "me" world. More times that I can shake a stick at, my kids hear my recording, "Say, thank you. Say please. Try again with your manners." And at the hoedown, we got extra BBQ sauce! It made me repeat one of my favorite movie lines from Fried Green Tomatoes, "You are a bee charmer." Towanda!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hot Dates

The air is frisky with Spring and it's making me woozy. It could also be the pollen. Or maybe it is the mating-ritual-laden series on Discovery, "LIFE." Whatever the reason, I'm feeling generous. After teasing my hubby for being a "nancy boy" on the Disney roller coaster (see video on "Is there Magic" entry), it is time to do a tribute to the man who still gives me the vapors. Danny, I loves ya.

A woman sat on my kitchen counter not long ago and found a note that Danny B had written to me. It was on the inside of the cabinet door on a post-it note and she sniffed it out. In a dumbfounded tone, she asked, "Do you still have sex with your husband?!" She was shocked and I realized it meant that she is not so hot for teacher anymore. As I look around, this issue is pretty common.

I get it, after a few years, the thrill is gone...unless you work at it. One of my bestest friends recently gave me inspiration. She encourged me to show up in a wig and trench coat for an airport visit to deliver various items to Dan as he scurried from one city to another. Although I didn't do it, it was a brilliant idea that I'll keep in my back pocket.

Ok, your partner bugs you, doesn't give enough, has changed since you met. But you're with this person and if you committed, you gotta work that skirt to keep the love alive. For my man's birthday, I sent him flowers, baked him whoopie pies, and took him out on a date. We write each other notes and text each other. I want hot dates until I'm 100.

Here is my HOT DATES appetizer that will make your love fawn all over you...I promise, it's the best and people rave about it. Watch the video>>>>>

24 dates
goat cheese

Pit the dates, spread in the goat cheese, stuff in a walnut, wrap in bacon (seam-side down).
Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes...broil a little longer if you need a little crispness.
Serve up those hot dates and watch your friends melt with happiness

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wanna Play?

People sometimes ask where workin that skirt comes from. It's living large and sizzling up life. Kids inherently know how to do it - they wear costumes, get absorbed in a sport, they lose themselves in an activity. Watching my little people inspires me to get into that zone.

Gigi's play date with her friend Emma gave me a perfect opportunity to work that skirt. I was in my sweat pants cooking grilled cheese sandwiches when the girls started getting fancy in dress-up clothes. They invited me to join in the fun and I said, "YES!" Instead of checking email, putting dishes away, folding laundry, blah blah blah, I got dolled up in a fab number. There were applications of makeup, jewels, heels, and ooo la la sparkle lotion. We turned it into a "little ladies who lunch" party by unraveling the sparkle tablecloth and adorning it with the "plates and tea cups from China" that Nana gave us. We danced to princess music and spun around until we were dizzy. I think I liked it more than the four year olds.

A lot of adults need an excuse to cut loose, such as a birthday party or a special occasion. Something gets lost between the time we are three years old and being a grown up. Inhibitions creep in. Put-downs crop up. But there really isn't any time for it. We have one life to live on this planet. Play big no matter what you are doing even if it means frolicking in a fancy dress on a Tuesday afternoon with two little girls.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Capture the Magic


Once upon a time there was a family that took a trip to a faraway land. After their plane ride, they checked into a Caribbean hotel, ventured forward on a 30 minute bus ride, and entered a place where dreams come true. However, wet, cold, pouring rain threatened to ruin their expedition. The mother had a brilliant idea - explore the kingdom in bewitching ponchos. They made their way through Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Frontierland, and Fantasyland. Then the parents went in search for Liquorland, much to no avail.

The children were even more wide-eyed as the voyage continued. An elevator ride in a terrifying tower caused Gigi's leg to shake uncontrollably. And the family was attacked by a T-rex! Along the way, they met some fantastical characters. David Dean battled Darth Vader with a lightsaber. A princess with a really, high-pitched voice coveted Gigi's headband. Nose-kisses were given to each of the children by a giant mouse and his girlfriend.

Before they could return home, the father's mission was to "capture the magic." He seized a moment of enchantment by recording a video during a trek up Mt. Everest. It indicates that the children are thrill seekers, however, the father screams like a "Nancy Boy." The mother is overjoyed by the wondrous hooting and hollering of the father. Of course, he says he was playing it up for his young son. With mission accomplished, they return to Prospect Street and LAUGH happily ever after.

VIDEO - Roller coaster, wa who who who

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My "Sweet Mama's Chocolate Chip Cookies"

My mom and dad came to visit from Atlanta and something really overwhelmed me. It wasn't the rodents running around on the table during the dinner with cousins from Baltimore. Nor was it surprising that Gigi sat STILL while getting her first mani-pedi for her 4th birthday. And I wasn't even shocked to learn that at Mt. Vernon where George Washington lived and decorated the interior of his house in extreme colors, he "allowed" Martha to design ONLY one room (which I thought was in the best taste - white on white). The amazing thing is that I'm flooded with appreciation for my parents because of the love they give my kiddies.

After endless hours of Legos and makeup applications to grandma AND grandpa, we did something I used to do with my mom in our kitchen on Vesta Brook Lane in Morrow, GA - hold a dough throwing contest. Roll the cookie dough in a ball and use it as target practice in your child's mouth. Ok, so the USDA recommends cooking the eggs before eating them but body-builders eat raw eggs. My research revealed from Yahoo Answers that, "The average person would come across a contaminated egg only once in 42 years." Supposedly if you get cage-free eggs, the chances are even lower. I've been eating batter all my life and never gotten sick from the incredible edible egg. Fingers crossed because I'm 43 and my time could be up. However, I'll take the risk of one pukey day to eat more oodles of dough balls.

My mom created this recipe by modifying several others and it is the BEST. They are called "Sweet Mama's" because my mom deserves all the props a daughter could give her sweet mama.

VIDEO - Sweet Mama's Chocolate Chip Cookies >>>>>

RECIPE - My "Sweet Mama's Chocolate Chip Cookies"
Preheat oven 375 degrees
Blend wet ingredients with mixer on medium for 5 minutes, until super creamy:
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
1 c butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Add and blend until doughy on low:
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt

3 c flour (pour in 1 cup at a time)
Stir in, by hand, 1 bag of chocolate chips and 1 c chopped walnuts
Bake for 8-10 minutes on 375. Make sure you take them out when they are a tad gooey.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Reinvention Convention

I joke that I'm on the Madonna Reinvention Tour because I'm looking for my next career move. The bullet bra inspires a transformation. Will I continue being a producer, or become a pastry chef, a teacher, a burlesque dancer? I know women who were born again by following a dream...a dream of starting a mommy-bootie camp business, selling multi-million dollar homes, or owning a spray-on tanning boutique to the stars. Some people just want to transform a little, by losing weight, getting promoted, having a child, traveling. Whatever the passion that is brewing, say YES.

I recently attended The School of Womanly Arts Reinvention Night. My friend, Regena Thomashauer, who has inspired me lots and lots and lots over the years is doing amazing things with conventions full of hundreds of women getting jazzed by re-imagining their lives. There we are in Regena's dressing room, goofing around on the set of the show we created for Rainbow Media. That's not my real hair. Wigs are fun!<<<<<

The best line in NYC about reinvention was that it is like "throwing your saddle on the back of the unknown and taking a ride on a nameless longing." Last year, on the train/bus rides back and forth to NY city, I started writing, which was the impetus for this blog. Recently Cheryl Richardson, the lifestyle makeover coach, who did a series on Oprah, attended a Womanly Arts class and she raves about it. (See picture of Cheryl and link >>>>) The Womanly Arts have helped me over the years get rid of anger and have more love. How can that be wrong?!

If you are curious to see what is it like to walk into one of these Womanly Arts get-togethers, check out the video below (that I shot and edited). And if you're surrounded by people who want to cut their nuts off, join me in the Mastery class where you will be embraced by women who are tapped into their pleasure.

Womanly Arts Reinvention Night

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Taming Chaos

We have the "cleanest home in America" according The Cleaning Authority. They must have a criteria that when it is time to tidy, one simply moves junk into another location, like a closet or a basket. This marketing ploy was sent by a DC cleaning company and upon opening the brochure, it teases, "Your home isn't the cleanest? It could be..." While making fun of me, they're also playing into a dream that I could actually be organized even though I'm not a label maker.

When I first got the flyer, it cracked me up. I thought, "Who wants that award?" But after perusing covers at the magazine stand, it is evident that neat-nicking is a big desire for people. Oprah's issue is all about de-cluttering. Real Simple gets ya organized, filed, and stashed. It really hit home when a friend said she did a lot of "straightening up" during the blizzard. All the while, I was hoarding recipes and trying them out for snow parties and video blogs (see entry titled MISO HAPPY for aphrodisiac cooking video).

There is truth to the phrase spring cleaning. The swelling of the buds signals change is in the air. Last weekend a frenzy of getting-it-together overtook me. I went through toys to give away to Goodwill. I'm in the process of converting our paper calendar to the computer. I even beautified my lingerie by getting see-through drawers so that I can admire my pretty panties. And for off-season stashing, the under-the-bed shoe organizer is sure to do the trick.

But the magazine tear sheets, school papers, work folders, and mail are entangling me in chaos. Gotta file because the tax deadline is looming. It stresses me out just typing this entry while I think about when I am going to pre-clean before the housekeeper comes tomorrow. Maritza, the sparkle fairy, is coming to spruce up the house with her magic vacuum before my parents arrive on Friday morning. Let's see how long the pine smell lasts but as Dan would say, "Cyndy, you like your piles." Maybe I should just hang an air freshener and have a dance party.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

MISO HAPPY - Love You Long Time

How was your Valentine's Day? Some people think it is a Hallmark holiday but I feel that any chance to get sexy & exchange presents is FAB U LOUS! We geared up a week before V Day by hosting our dinner club with an aphrodisiac meal. I was Chef Cupid in the kitchen serving up miso-glazed cod with wasabi mashed potatoes and bok choy with green onions/sesame oil/cashews. The goal was to get everyone flaming with love.

If you want a new recipe for fish, this is the one. We had it at Proof in DC and I felt I needed it in my life on a regular basis. Recipes are below and here's an attempt at Culinary Seduction (the show I always wanted to produce). Keep in mind I just recently learned how to edit and only started shooting with my new HD camera this January. Forgive me a bit and you'll have a great menu with booty facts about food you might never have heard before, i.e. Potatoes were called "testicles of the Earth" by Spanish explorers. I credit two books, Intercourses and Seduction and Spice. Hope you get lucky!


bok choy with cashews

wasabi mashed potatoes

chocolate dessert of your choice - ya gotta see Gina B for her decadent chocolate souffles

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Kiaser Snowze

Our grocery store is completely empty with the exception of people blitzing for the last box of hot chocolate. No milk, no veggies, no bananas. I had to use several of my womanly charms to convince the butcher to grind for me (grind meat, you saucy monkey!). Today's storm is affecting 50 million people. Our lights are flickering. A power line is hanging in the middle of Prospect Street. The winds are expected to be 45 mph this afternoon. Thirty inches of snow hit us last week and another ten are coming down as I type this entry! We've already spent a week blowing snow, creating forts, and snowball fighting. What is one to do with all this snow?

Snow Ice Cream recipe
1/2 c half & half or whole milk
1/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
4 c clean snow

stir, stir, stir

add choc sauce and/or choc chips if you want

eat, eat, eat

Monday, February 1, 2010


There's a video on YouTube about social economics that every person should see. The staggering facts: "If Facebook was a country, it would be the world's 4th largest. 1 in 8 couples married last year met via social media. You Tube hosts a billion views a day." Digital media is mass media now. We are wi-fi, SMS, itext, and stay connected on a jet. However, the nagging need to update one's status makes me wonder if we are following technology like a bunch of lemmings.

A friend of mine said yesterday, "I'm a map person" and I completely understood. We have a GPS but mine is a techno-bitch. The robbers who broke into our car last summer must have know about her nasty disposition which explains why they left the system in my car. (See Dreamweaver entry.) The GPS lady screams at me when I don't get follow directions properly. She starts with a determined, "Turn in 53 feet." Why can't she provide directions in lingo that I understand? How about, "hang a ralph at the second right" or "turn in 2 blocks"? As I progressively get turned around on one-way DC streets, she yells "recalculating" over and over again until the urge to press on makes me want to jump off a cliff, like a lemming.

People are migrating to have the next, new, or best electronic game - iphone apps, Wii, DX, PSP, Xbox, PS3. "Deuce" (that's David Dean's game name) currently seems obsessed with Mario, Speed Racer and Lego Star Wars. "Can I play the Wii now?" "When can I play the Wii?" And to think that we bought it so that I could get fit? We decided to reset game time to be only on the weekends. After school plays is now old school play. Deuce is using his imagination, playing with actual Legos, dressing up, coloring, and light saber fighting with Gigi.

I feel pressure that we are being pushed into the sea as more and more gadgets arrive at the shore. The great digital divide is happening with the trendsetters and the trend followers. The best way to stay a "shiny happy person" is to set tech limits, according to New Scientist magazine, which I read at the gym while simulating a run on the treadmill with Black Eyed Peas Now Generation blasting in my ipod earbuds.

Logging out...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Homey Don't Play Dat

When you pay someone to do a job or service for you, don't ya think they should appreciate the hard-earned money you are giving them? My Southern upbringing influenced the notion that if money is exchanged, kindness and a thank you are in order. But there are times when that doesn't happen...

Moving to a new city requires one to re-establish the support system of doctors, dentists, babysitters, "go-to" stores, and beautification experts. One of the luckiest connections was with my hairdresser of three years, but because of a recent incident, I broke up with him. The conflict started last year - after growing my hair for months, I went in for an easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy trim. A few weeks after that appointment, I pulled a 360 and went in again with a picture of a shoulder-length January Jones style. My stylist became a scene-king and chopped my hair several inches shorter than the picture! Why couldn't he just re-cut my hair, take my money and send me on my crazy way? As I left the salon feeling ugly, a line from the past popped into my head - "I don't think so! Homey don't play dat!" Bye bye.

With this new found courage, I took a hard look at other providers in our life. We haven't been thrilled with our pediatric office for a while. The doctors are amazing but the front desk rudeness is unnecessary and the gestapo nurses require a bleeding, wheezing child to get in the door. Forget that Gigi had a fever for 3 days of 104! Forget that David Dean had strep 4 times in 3 months and we want another strep culture. Forget about calling after hours if a certain doctor is on call - she'll hang up on you if it is not an emergency. (It happened!) Finally, I said, "I don't think so! Homey don't play dat!"

Our children have never seen "In Living Color" and they don't know Homey D. Clown but they have heard the line over the years. It is especially useful when the kids are fighting. Just last night Gigi recited it but she thinks the phrase is "mommy don't play that," which works just fine for me.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Worst Rule Ever!

by Brooks Kenny, a guest blogger who is workin' that skirt -- Brooks sizzles up a room with her laughter, she encourages anything that is fun, has been known to juggle three nannies in one month, and is one of the most generous people I know. Here's her story of a tea party for Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday --a day the kids are off from school, parents work here and there, and we all sleep in a few extra minutes. It is a day filled with opportunities. Ours started with my Sean (3) drooling on me in my bed. About 5 minutes later, I feel a tap on my shoulder. It is my beautiful 5 year old, Paige. Her first words, "Mom, can you get the tea ready for our breakfast party? It is Martin Luther King's Birthday...and, it is my Lamby's birthday too." (Can't forget her first lovey, Lamby!) "In 5 minutes," I say with a yawn. "Pleeeseee...Moooom!" When I arrive in the kitchen, I search for drinkable tea for my young kids (red raspberry, best choice, add lots of sugar). I take out our tea cups (yes, Grandma, the breakable ones). When I approach the family table, I couldn't help but smile.

Paige and Sean had stacked books on each of the 6 chairs around the table. On each stack of balancing books was one of their guests - another lamb, a doll, teddy bear. I poured the tea. Pete made the eggs and toast. As we ate, I asked Sean and Paige what they knew about the day we were celebrating. Sean said "Martin Luther King JUNIOR never gave up. He tried and tried."

Paige said, "Mom, do you know about the rules they had when he was alive, before he went to heaven?" "Yes," I replied. "But, tell me what you mean." "Well," my determined daughter said, "people with brown skin were not allowed to play with people with white skin. And, people with brown skin could not go to good schools, eat at restaurants, or play in the same pools as people with white skin." I asked her what she thought about that rule. She said, without hesitation, "Mom, that is the worst rule I have ever heard of. Does that mean that if I lived back then, I would not be able to be friends with Diana?" Diana is Paige's closest friend at school. Diana is more than friend to Paige. She takes care of her. She walks with her hand in hand to P.E. (Paige is scared of dodgeball - who can blame her?). I put my arms around her and said, “We have a lot to be thankful for. We can thank Martin Luther King, Jr. that Diana is your friend, and that you get to play with her every day at school. And that we can treat everyone we know with kindness.”

So, tonight, I thank Martin Luther King Jr, for having a dream and for giving our children a world where treating people who are different from us is "the worst rule ever!"

Brooks is a mom, wife, and the Chief Marketing Officer of Lotsa Helping Hands, a business that helps organize community support to families who have experienced an illness or death, care giving for an aging parent, and assistance to military families who feel alone when a spouse is deployed.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pants on the Ground

The new year brings about pressure to make resolutions and somehow in all the commotion of the holidays I forgot to think about changes for 2010. How pressure to lose weight or save money. The only thing I want to do this year is keep my pants OFF the ground.

The blizzard-like conditions in December made lots of people disheveled for a while. Just before Christmas, it was a close call when an SUV practically mowed me over at the grocery store parking lot. The driver probably wanted my cart because there were not ANY to be found. The only way to get a buggie was to emulate Reed Timmer from Storm Chasers and track someone as they exited the store, follow them to their car like a tornadomonger, and wait while that person finished unloading. Inside the store was complete mayhem also. A guy in the isle beside me warned not to leave my buggie because someone stole his with all of his food items when he walked away. Maybe the perp had "poor visibility" but I'm thinking, "It's DC - no cart left behind." And don't forget the biggest snowball fight in DC's history. Hundreds of people had fun and games until a bystander took a hit in the shoulder and pulled out his revolver. Turns out he is actually a lawman and the whole city had their panties in a wad.

While these cold winter months encourage me to do everything counter to the typical resolutions, I somehow feel inspired by Larry Platt who performed last night on Atlanta's American Idol. He has what the Italians call Fuoco nelle vene - fire in the veins. The man is 60-something years old and sang his original song "Pants on the Ground." He's got it right - be proud of who you are. POTG!