Tuesday, April 4, 2017

day96 : stay away from plastics!!! as much as possible ...

'red alert cocktail dress ...' (2006)

I'll tell you what me scares me is plastic. Plastic bags and plastic bottles and these things. Why does my water have to be in a bloody plastic bottle? The landfill and the ocean. And I don't know, I'm just terrified with the proliferation of plastic. 
Helen Mirren

'plastic for dinner (video) https://youtu.be/Ltw0x_S4Ok8

I am with Helen Mirren, our addiction to plastic terrifies me!!!

Eliminate the uses of plastic as much as possible - the more that is learned about the effects of plastic on our bodies and our planet, the more horrific the situation is.

I honestly don't know where to start to talk about how bad plastic is for us ... 
  • Plastic chemicals can be absorbed by the body—93 percent of Americans age six or older test positive for BPA (a plastic chemical). 
  • Some of these compounds found in plastic have been found to alter hormones or have other potential human health effects. 
  • Buy food in glass or metal containers; avoid polycarbonate drinking bottles with Bisphenol A
  • letslassothemoon.com
  • Store food in metal or glass containers, reuse glass jars for leftovers.  They also make great carriers for lunch ...
  • Avoid heating food in plastic containers, or storing fatty foods in plastic containers or plastic wrap. 
  • Use natural fiber clothing, bedding and furniture
  • When possible, shop in bulk, this lessens plastic packaging
  • Skip the disposable razor


The growing consumption of bottled water raises questions about the product’s economic and environmental costs. Among the most significant concerns are the resources required to produce the plastic bottles and to deliver filled bottles to consumers, including both energy and water.

Transporting and Recycling Bottled Water 
More energy is needed to fill the bottles with water at the factory, move it by truck, train, ship, or air freight to the user, cool it in grocery stores or home refrigerators, and recover, recycle, or throw away the empty bottles. The Pacific Institute estimates that the total amount of energy embedded in our use of bottled water can be as high as the equivalent of filling a plastic bottle one quarter full with oil.
www.5gyres.org : MORE OCEAN, LESS PLASTIC:
The 5 Gyres Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that empowers action against the global health crisis of plastic pollution through science, art, education, and adventure.

and to emphasize Helen Mirren's point, watch this short video from ATTN: about our 'addiction' to plastic. Below is the link to twitter 

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Sunday, April 2, 2017

day 95: be authentic, brave, wonky; not perfect

'torqued and tethered ...' (2013) exhibited at the SSAC
Striving for perfection is
the greatest stopper there is. 
You'll be afraid you can't achieve it. 
It's your excuse to yourself for not doing anything. 
Instead, strive for excellence, doing your best. 
Laurence Olivier

Trying to be perfect is a trap. Perfection is the enemy of the individual, the authenticity and the unique.  It is also an impossible objective, unattainable, and can only fuel the fires of the inner-critic.

So don't chase perfection. Instead aim to always give it your best shot, be brave, take risks, get out of your comfort zone.  By taking risks one grows and learns more about themselves, they discover their talents, their fears, their passions.  And if you are afraid of making a mistake or an error you will not take risks, you won't stretch yourself and you will miss out on enriching your life and being more you! and that would be a loss for both you and the rest of the world because each of us has much to offer, if we are only allowed to explore, flounder, fall, get up, dust ourselves off and take again.


come on, be imperfect! i dare you! XXXX
love, mom






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Monday, March 27, 2017

day94: have passport ready and waiting!


Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, 
we may even become friends. 
Maya Angelou

I can not stress enough the importance of travel;
going abroad, living in different climates and cultures, figuring out how to navigate not know the native language, trying different foods and flavors.
Traveling offers so much to the traveler and to their own native country upon their return.  as Maya Angelou so explains in her quote, by traveling one sees the common thread of humanity.  

I also believe that traveling exposes us to uncomfortable situations that help us to expand our empathy and compassion for those who are different.  I believe if you are ever in a situation where you can not understand the language, even the most basic information is unattainable to you, that you will be more understanding of others who are having difficulties, be it with language, culture or customs.

And seeing the world can be done on the cheap.  Don't think that you need loads of money to see the world, there are Youth Hostels and train passes.
Take advantage of any travel opportunity, abroad or here at home.  The United States offers many different cultures and cuisines within its own borders.  However I do believe there is something profound about not standing on your native land, physically being out of your comfort/native zone.

I also believe it is important and a good practice to learn hello, please and thank you in the native tongue of the country that you are visiting! (merci)

Below is the poem Gate A-4Naomi Shihab Nye (1952)
I feel as this poem addresses some of the reasons I believe it is so important to travel. Enjoy, love, mom.


Gate A-4
Naomi Shihab Nye, 1952

Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning
my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement:
“If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please
come to the gate immediately.”

Well—one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.

An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just
like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. “Help,"
said the flight agent. “Talk to her. What is her problem? We
told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”

I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke haltingly.
“Shu-dow-a, Shu-bid-uck Habibti? Stani schway, Min fadlick, Shu-bit-
se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly
used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled
entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for major medical treatment the
next day. I said, “No, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just later, who is
picking you up? Let’s call him.”

We called her son, I spoke with him in English. I told him I would
stay with his mother till we got on the plane and ride next to 
her. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just 
for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while
in Arabic and found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I 
thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian poets I know
and let them chat with her? This all took up two hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling of her life, patting my knee,
answering questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool
cookies—little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and
nuts—from her bag—and was offering them to all the women at the gate.
To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the mom from California, the
lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same powdered
sugar. And smiling. There is no better cookie.

And then the airline broke out free apple juice from huge coolers and two
little girls from our flight ran around serving it and they
were covered with powdered sugar, too. And I noticed my new best friend—
by now we were holding hands—had a potted plant poking out of her bag,
some medicinal thing, with green furry leaves. Such an old country tradi-
tion. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and I thought, This
is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in that
gate—once the crying of confusion stopped—seemed apprehensive about
any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those otherwomen, too.

This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.


Naomi Shihab Nye, “Gate A-4” from Honeybee. Copyright © 2008 by Naomi Shihab Nye. 


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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

day93: you have the right to feel safe!!!


You have the RIGHT, 
the responsibility, in fact, 
the OBLIGATION to yourself 
to feel/be safe,
to be respected,
to be heard,
to feel good about who you are and what you do!

If there are people in your life that challenge any of these rights, 
you have the obligation to either walk away from this toxic person/relationship, or if you can't leave the situation, then you need to get help from someone who has power in the situation.

You have every right to ask for and receive what is due to you. In our society, we are still burdened with the theory that a woman is a bitch if she demands to be treated fairly and stands up for herself.  these views are changing, but there is a long way to go and with the current political landscape, women have been dealt a major setback. 

So I want you to remember that you have every right to feel safe, heard, appreciated, respected, and I hope you are fortunate enough to feel loved, by other people than ME!! Because I am sure you know that I LOVE you both to the moon and then to infinity!!!

love, mom


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Saturday, February 25, 2017

day92: remember to relax and just let go ....

click here to see button on dazzle shop

When I let go of struggle,
 I float.

let go of struggle, relax, go with the flow ... simply this!
love, mom


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Friday, February 24, 2017

day91: WD-40 is your friend ....

'tools ...' kitchen table series, pen and ink (2017)


“Single ladies, we are not Damsels in Distress…

we are Divas that Impress!” 
Mandy Hale

Don't be a damsel in distress!! 
Know how to do things around the house and with your car.  
Be self sufficient as much as possible.  

One way I have always kept true to this idea is that I try never to travel with more than I can carry.  I always wanted to be able to move my luggage by myself.  That doesn't mean never being helped with my luggage, porters can be very helpful and do remember to tip them.  But what I do mean is that if need be, for what ever reason, that I could move myself and my luggage by myself.  Or at least I could move me and what was important by myself (I think this practice was harder when I was traveling with little ones :).

When thinking about car maintenance,  I believe it is prudent to call  AAA when you have a flat tire, but know how to do other small automotive fixes.  Learn how to fill your car's wiper fluid, how to change the wiper blades and check the oil, to name a few. I would change the headlight bulbs in our van, however the cars are getting more and more electronic making it more necessary to go to a garage for even moonier repairs, however learn to do what you can.

And lastly get to know the phenom of all household maladies ... (drumroll please): WD-40.  

This is can can be your savior in the kitchen, bathroom, garden, garage, car, basically anywhere.  
It is truly astounding how many things this little can can do.  Below is a partial list of what this oil can do.

So there are just a few suggestions to help you be a DIVA that IMPRESSES.  It is also satisfying to be able to take care of your surroundings and not need to wait to be saved!!

love, mom


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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

a toast to you ....

happy valentine's day!
Love is the 
greatest refreshment in life. 
Pablo Picasso

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

day90: Laundry, life hacks


'laundry day ...' (2017) embroidery and collage on a teabag

My theory on housework is, 
if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, 
or block the refrigerator door, let it be. 
No one else cares. Why should you? 
Erma Bombeck


It may interest you to know that this whole idea/blog/book sprang from a thought that I may be sending you off into the world without some basic knowledge of everyday things, such as laundry, shopping and other mundane activities.  And as I am nearing the end of my allotted 100 days I figured that I should begin to share some of my personal wisdom to do with housekeeping (you can stop laughing now). Even though I tend to adhere to the philosophy of Erma Bombeck (Joe H. will confirm this), I do have some tricks of the trade that I wish to pass on to you.

Today's topic: laundry
  • first of all, if you can, dry your clothes outside, on a clothesline!!! especially sheets!! The sunshine and fresh air give clean laundry the best smell, ever!! When I stayed in Holland we didn't have a dryer and each and every load was hung outside to dry and I LOVED it!!
  • wash all the elements of a set of sheets together, this way they will fade,wear or change color, if washed with some errant colored item, all at the same time. 
  • when storing a set of sheets, put all the folded parts of a set into one of the pillowcases, this way the set stay together and is doesn't take up as much space in the drawer.
  • you can take the small remnants of a bar of soap and throw it in with a load of wash for a little extra cleaning power, and then you don't need to throw out the scrap of soap. (you know me, reuse, recycle whenever possible.)
  • If you are a hurry to dry something that you just washed, first just dry that item with a few other pieces of clothing, not the entire load.  and/or if you need it dried ASAP, put the wet item in with a clean dry towel, that will help the drying to go faster.
  • If you can, stay away from dryer sheets, they seem to cause more harm to the clothes than good and isn't does sound like they are really that good for us humans! You can now get dryer balls or I love the lavender pouches and even a tennis ball will help :)
  • and lastly, a quick review of the basics: 
  1. wash similar colors together and in COLD! Cold stops colors from running. And even though you have a load of white and colors that you want to wash, and you think that nothing should run and you want to put everything in together, remember your lighter colors and whites can/will get dingy, they will start to look grayish. 
  2. Try not to do small loads, it is a waste of energy. 
  3. use warm water with whites and if you want to you can use bleach, most washers have a specific place to pour the liquid bleach so that it will be even dispersed during the washing cycle.
  4. when doing hand washing you can use the rinse cycle on the washer to get it rung-out, the washer's spin cycle is way more superior than our attempts of wringing out the excess water.
  5. be careful, as certain items should NOT be dried, like bras, athletic-wear, certain sweaters or other items that can shrink.
  6. when drying a sweater, lay it out on a clean, dry towel, as hanging it up can make it stretch and get misshapen.  
Of course there are many, many things about doing laundry but these are a few that I wanted to pass along. 

I will end by sharing with you that I love laundromats :) 
When we lived in Brooklyn we didn't have a washer and dryer so on laundry day I would gather all the clothes, handfuls of quarters and a good book and head around the corner to the laundromat.  It was a wonderful and peaceful time, with the purring of the machines, the smell of fabric softener and the warmth of the dryers.  I would read or sketch but mostly I would people watch.  And then after my loads were washed, dried and folded I would stroll home very content, knowing that all my laundry was done.  
I never get that feeling when I do the laundry in the house.  Even though it is much more convenient to throw in a load here and a load there, I never feel as though I have ever finished doing the laundry. Just one of those funny things about your mama!!

Happy washing! 
love, mom


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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

get back into the swing of things with self acceptance!!!

“I don't know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, 'Well, if I'd known better I'd have done better,' that's all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, 'I'm sorry,' and then you say to yourself, 'I'm sorry.' If we all hold on to the mistake, we can't see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can't see what we're capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one's own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that's rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don't have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.” 


Well you two girls are now back at school and getting into the swing of your second semester meaning I need to get back into the swing of our 100days of motherlove.  So to get us all into a proper state of mind I thought a good place to start is with these wise words from Maya Angelou, about self forgiveness and self acceptance.

Self acceptance is a wonderful and powerful place from where to live!! I believe that our society works hard to erode our sense of self and well being in many ways. Self doubt and insecurity gives others immense power over you.  These undermining principles are the basis of advertising and most marketing.  Think about most magazine publications, their success comes from selling you the idea that you are not doing something 'right' and that they can offer you a better way; a better way to look, speak, organize your home, to exercise ....  That is why there were hardly any magazines in the house when you were young and there was never a fashion magazine.  

Be aware of external messages that make you question your inner-wisdom, your true knowing and what you heart tells you.  You alone know your heart's desire and you alone can do your heart's biddings. My hope for you both is that you do not second guess yourself, and especially I pray that you don't get into the habit of constantly criticizing yourself!!

  Much of that negative inner dialogue has been handed down to you through family and environment, and for that I apologize.  But I hope that you can be aware of this internal negative thinking and reprogram it now, not years from now, which is what I am doing.  Each person is born with an inner compass that can get warped by outer forces and can lead to so much heartache and wasted energy.

So today I say to you both, that you are so wonderful!! and have so much to bring to this world!!! Please do NOT find comfort in cutting yourself down and being critical of yourselves.  Sadly the world as we know it is overflowing with critical and negative messages, coming at each one of us continually, so it is paramount that you are not also receiving these kinds of messages from yourself.  Be kind and forgiving to yourself.  Being self-critical is not a success way to motivate yourself (see day 53 if you need a reminder), it is mostly hurtful and a waste of energy.  

I say take that energy and put it into practicing self acceptance and tap into your own inner knowing and bring to the world all that you are capable of doing!!

Know that you both are amazing AF!!
love, mom





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Saturday, January 14, 2017

day89: you are what you eat, so eat simply ...

'eat your veggies ...'
“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine 
or the slowest form of poison.” 



This idea of eating well and making healthy food choices is nothing new in our household, however there are a few thoughts about food that I wanted to reenforce!

First...
Stay away from anything artificial; 
artificial colors, flavors, preservatives & sweeteners.
Avoid processed foods;
bleached flour, trans fats & additives.
Steer clear of...
hormones and/or antibiotics

Sadly these rules are not so easy to follow in our society/culture.  Even if the packaging claims to be healthy, that might not be the case.  The best thing to do is to read the labels and check the ingredients, and/or stick with unprocessed food, real food, that doesn't need a label!!!

The food you eat is what fuels your body and what you eat or don't eat will influence all aspects of your life, from your day to day activities to the quality and duration of your lifetime!!
Your choice of diet will affect you in a myriad of ways; certain foods can make you calm or jumpy, focused or distracted, smarter or not, energized or tired, and the list can go on and on.
And as much as I could write for pages and pages about nutrition and healthy choices, I am going to list a few things here that I believe are very important and which I want to emphasize:

1. stay away from all foods labeled 'diet', 'fat-free' and 'sugar-free'!!
 these labels mean that something that natural has been taken out AND something manmade has been added to compensate for what was removed!!! And these additives are foreign to our bodies and can cause more problems and issues when the body attempts to digest it.
It is now known that the additives that are added to make foods fat-free are not digestible and can deadly effects on the body.  I want to stress the importance from staying away from sugar substitutes, especially for you two. When you were both little if you had anything 'sugar-free' you would get stomach aches!! and the really scary thing is sometimes it does even say 'sugar-free' but if you look at the ingredients, there is no sugar, but there would be one of these: aspartame, sucralose, neotame or saccharin.

2. eat and use REAL food
(this is along the same lines as rule #1) Eat REAL food and cook with REAL food!!!
Use real sugar (you don't need to eat loads of sugar but I believe real sugar is better than a sugar substitute) Eat real butter, real ice cream.  Or if you are going to choose a substitute make sure it is a natural substitute,
that it comes from a natural plant!! and NOT a chemical plant!!! 

3. try to eat whole foods, not processed foods
the more 'processed' a food is the more of its natural goodness is lost.  The best thing to do is eat 'whole foods':
 foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible, before being consumed
Remember that whatever process that your food has endured, such as bleaching flour so it is white, that food is going to bring that process into your body. 
 It is the same with coffee filters!! Buy unbleached coffee filters, there is no difference except that the bleached filters most likely will add bleach to your coffee!!! 

4. what you put in your body is what your body uses ...
so if you put junk your body, your body only has junk to help it do all the amazing things that your body does!!! and it is truly amazing when you think of it ... breathing, moving, thinking, feeling ...

5. don't always trust expiration dates
I know you aren't going to take my word on this so I am quote some experts:



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