Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Gracias: Part One

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
- William A. Ward

For a lot of months now, I've been wanting to let Ethel know how special she is. Ethel works at my office. She is in her 80s and runs a program where she gets volunteers to lead book discussion groups with students in New York's public elementary schools. Ethel is sharp: she's up on art and culture, dresses to the nines, and knows children's literature like nobody's business. Simply put, Ethal is Da Bomb when it comes to living life to the fullest.

The thing is, like most folks, Ethel does not know what a prize she is. I needed to let her know.So today, I brought a dozen hot pink roses into the office and left them in a vase on her desk, along with a thank-you note. Needless to say, Ethel loved the flowers and the hand-written message.

Gracias: Part Two

I have a fantasy and it goes like this: In my home, there is a room just for writing cards and wrapping presents. Since our home office is multi-purpose, I figured I could take a step in the direction of my dream. On lunch break last Friday, I went to American Greetings. I got a great box of rainbow thank-you notes (see pic above) and a book called Thank-U-Grams: thank you postcards for all ages and all occasions. Marianne Richmond, the artist of the impossibly cheerful cards, has a way of inspiring me to want to send as many thank-yous as possible.

The way I figure, the more thank-you cards I have around the office, the more I will recognize all the reasons I have to show my gratitude. And, as Tom Peters advises, "Celebrate what you want to see more of."

PS................I like Mike Robbins' Appreciation in Action. In this monthly e-zine, Mike offers "new perspectives on how to experience greater appreciation." Sez Mike: "Each issue offers insightful tips for acknowledging yourself and others effectively, and for creating positive environments of appreciation around you."

Who would you like to appreciate this week?

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Dear Hair,

I bet you can't believe the number of different cutters you've had over the years, including Yours Truly. Remember all those times the stylist would ask me with an arched, quizical eyebrow "Who cut your hair last?" and I had to sheepishly admit to the deed? Don't be mad, Hair. I used those tiny pelican-shaped sewing scissors to keep your unruly strands in place. I can't run to the salon every time a new layer shows up that throws off the whole schema. Sometimes I have to take matters into my own hands. Just think of me as a Vigilante Stylist.

Wasn't it weird when you went from straight to wavy when I was in college? Wasn't it tortuous when I slept in pink foam 'n' plastic rollers at night to create smooth curls for school or a party? I can't imagine folding myself around foam and plastic for eight hours straight. Ouch!

I'm sorry, Hair. I do owe you an apology for that one.

The worst now will be getting highlights once a year, an occasional 30-second blow-dry, maybe a few styling products on humid days like this one. Thanks for being there for me over the years, Hair. I appreciate how steadfast you've been.

Your Owner

Saturday, June 17, 2006


When I was five and six, I used to go next door to Andrea's house. She was a rebellious teenager in the early 70s. She had her own huge bedroom and the central thing I remember was a wood vanity table with a mirror. When Andrea opened up the vanity drawer, I would look in and see Heaven - tube after tube of lipstick, little plastic cases of eyeshadow, mascara, blush, bottles of perfume. As someone who played beauty parlor 24/7 in my own home, this was Nirvana, and a big step up because it was the real deal: Andrea got to wear this stuff outside the house.

Andrea would spend time putting makeup and perfume on me. All the while, we'd be listening to a Rod Stewart album. The music sounded dangerous: that raspy voice, that hard driving beat.

Then she'd slide open the door to her closet. It was stuffed with clothes and the whole bottom of it was lined with shoes. Shoes. Surveying the selection, I picked a pair to try on. They were Candie's. You may not know this, but Candie's did not originate with Jenny McCarthy's trashy ads. They came from the 70s. Andrea had a pair made of light, laminated, fake wood. They had a clear plastic strap that went across the toes. The piece de resistance was the bunch of brightly-colored plastic fruit that perched atop the clear toe strap. It was 3-D fruit, the kind a dog might mistake for the real thing.

When I tried on Fruity Candie's - again, Heaven. I felt big, glamorous, showy, and a bit shy. I walked around the room, listening to Rod Stewart. I was hot stuff; my beauty parlor pals would be jealous.

I remember feeling sad and empty when it was time to leave Andrea's room. When I put the shoes back in the closet and she slid the door shut, I felt sadder still. I could have looked at those shoes forever.

When I got home, my mom complained about the stench of the perfume I was wearing. The magic of Andrea's was wearing off. Still, the spirit of the Fruity Candie's shoes stayed in my heart.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


I love making lists and I'll tell you who's Queen of them: Barbara Ann Kipfer. This amazing woman has advanced degrees in linguistics, archaeology, Buddhist studies, and physical education. For more than 30 years, she's been writing and editing dictionaries, thesauri and other word books. Here are some of her gems:

  • 14,000 Things to be Happy About
  • 5,001 Things for Kids to Do
  • The Wish List
  • 8,789 Words of Wisdom
  • 4,000 Questions to Ask Anyone and Everyone
  • 201 Little Buddhist Reminders: Gathas for Your Daily Life
  • Instant Karma: 8,879 ways to give yourself and others good fortune right now

I'm also a big fan of Jeffrey Yamaguchi's 52 Projects: Random Acts of Everyday Creativity.

Project #3: "Get your camera. Get on the train. Take the train to the end of the line. Take photos."

To view more projects and submit your own, go to What's Your Project?

Here's Project #100, submitted by Jeffrey himself:

"Make a list of 100 things. It can be a list about anything, but it should be personal. 100 books you'd like to read. 100 things you'd like to do before you are 40. 100 things that define who you are as a person. 100 people in your life. 100 things to do before the summer ends. 100 places you'd like to visit. 100 loose ends you'd like to wrap up. 100 questions about your family history you'd like to find the answers for. 100 ways to make your life better. When you first start out making your list, it will seem like it's going to be very easy to get to 100. About halfway through, though, you'll wonder if you are actually going to make it. As you get closer to 100, you will start to get very selective and contemplative with your choices, realizing you only have so many more spaces to fill on your list. Reaching 100 is a celebratory milestone, but of course, doing everything on your list is the time to really break out the champagne."

There's also the fun 'n' funky website 43 Things, where you can list your goals, find other folks who share those goals, and publicly chart your progress. Goals include: learn how to drive stick shift, visit China, play the piano, learn the Thriller dance, and sleep under a palm tree.

Finally, there's David Silberkleit's A New Adventure Every Day: 541 simple ways to live with Pizzazz.

Adventure #390: "Randomly give small anonymous gifts to strangers, simply to loosen up the hold that money has on youf life. Pay the highway toll of the car behind you. Leave one dollar inside a returned library book. [...] You mights even find that more money comes back to you than what you gave away."

Friday, June 02, 2006


Tommy the Clown is the Father of Krumping and Clowning and the subject of the 2005 docunentary, Rize. Krumping, which Tommy describes as "the raw, natural and expressive freedom of the body," is fast becoming an international movement with Tommy at its helm.

ET: What are three great things about being Tommy the Clown right now?

TTC: (1) Being able to make a difference in the lives of young people, especially those at risk. (2) Travelling throughout the world, spreading the freestyle dance movement and encouraging people to dance. (3) Connecting to my fans through my website Tommytheclown.com and my MYSPACE page. I enjoy speaking to the young people!

ET: What's challenging about being Tommy the Clown?

TTC: Getting corporate sponsors to understand the movement.

ET: What are a few projects and goals you are working on right now?

TTC: Tommy the Clown and the Hip Hop Clowns live stage shows is my immediate project. I am working on taking it nationally and abroad. Also, we are in the process of hosting The Battle Zone in Japan this summer.

ET: Who are three people who have inspired and supported you along the way and can you say a bit about each of these folks?

TTC: (1) THE KIDS. I wouldn't be Tommy the Clown if it wasn't for them. They inspire me to keep the movement going. They were the reason I started clowning. (2) Snoop Dogg has been an inspiration and he encourages everything that I do. He has come out to The Battle Zone to perform, not as a paid artist but as a supporter of what I am doing. He understands Tommy the Clown. (3) Anie Dizon, my manager, has been a constant support and believes in my vision of impacting the lives of young people throughout the world. She has been relentless in the pursuit to make it happen!

ET: What would you like your own life to look like 5 years from now?

TTC: I would like to move into film/television, not to focus on my own life but on the lives of others.

ET: Where do you think the Krumping Movement will be 5 years from now? What would you like it to look like in terms of scope and content?

TTC: Though I have been dubbed the Father of Krumping, I really encourage freestyle dancing. My vision is that young people will be empowered and will have discovered a new way to channel that energy, rage, or passion onto the dance floor.