2016: sideswiped by a sleeping driver and it all went downhill from there... ish

Last New Years Eve, Hal and I woke up to a crash.

"Oh, fuck. What the shit?"

Those were 2016's first words.

Oh fuck. What the shit. 

It was pitch black outside when Hal disappeared out the front door. I waited for him to come back and when he didn't, I went outside, too.

There he stood, hands on his head, next to a rattled woman who, in her words, had fallen asleep behind the wheel on her way home from work, crashing into four parked cars in front of our house.

(One of them was ours.)

"Good morning," we mumbled to each other under our breath.

"And Happy New Year?"

We turned to one another -- having just the night before discussed our hopes and dreams for 2016 -- our excitement over a new year and all that it had in store for us -- and everyone -- and we laughed.

"What if this is a sign of what's yet to come?"

"Nah..." we both chuckled. "It's just a car, you know?"

"It's just a car."

There have been several times over the last twelve months where we've brought up our first morning of 2016 -- I tend to live by signs and yet, I SO desperately wanted that CRASH BANG SMASH sign to be a false alarm.

"This is going to be a great year," we mumbled as the sun rose over the flashing police lights.

This is going to be a great year, we repeated, over and over, as one by one, cars were towed...

This is going to be a great year, we said to ourselves in our heads as we swept broken glass off our driveway.

This is going to be a great year.

A great year.


Spoiler alert: It wasn't.
Everything at every turn felt like a battle in 2016. Personally. Professionally. Alloftheabovey. Hal was out of work for half the year, coinciding with my career refocus -- decreased income -- elevated workload and a sort of paralyzed ability to focus on anything outside of the election. Heroes fell... my marriage barely made it through the summer. Puberty happened. I lost my voice on several occasions from yelling so much. I smoked more cigarettes than I should have. Cried so often I stopped wearing eye makeup. Lost fifteen pounds because I was unable to eat -- sick to my stomach over he who shall not be named and EVERYTHING he said/did and represented during the campaign. I was finally -- for the first time in my adult life -- able to talk somewhat openly about past experiences I've spent the better part of my life suppressing. I was also heartbroken -- and still am -- by the election and have spent the last two months in a sort of angry daze, oscillating between deep sadness, rage and hyperactive optimism -- if that's even a thing? It feels like a thing.

At the risk of dumping every TMI detail in this post -- I came here today to possibly (hopefully?) end on a high note. Because, while 2016 was certainly a battle, there were moments of pure magic... there are always moments of pure magic -- sweetness and light in the margins of sadness and darkness and life. 
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I watched my babies grow -- transitioning out of preschool (Bo and Revi) and into middle school (Archer.) We went on local and not-so-local adventures.
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I was inspired by my children (and all children) more this year than ever before. There was the birth of my kids' first cousin and my first nephew, Zephyr.
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There was hope. And poetry. Rainbows. And Magnolia. 
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2016 was an entry level course on how to balance advocacy with creativity, professionalism with autonomy, anger with action. 2016 was the fire under my ass I needed to push MYSELF forward.
2016 was the year I realized I had to fight for myself or risk losing her. I embraced my inner "fuck no!" and simultaneously recognized how to say YES to myself. In short, 2016 was in preparation for 2017. Because falling down HAS ALWAYS BEEN the prologue to GETTING BACK UP.
And, yes, 2016 was INDEED a series of smashed cars on the side of the road. But, in the end, it gave us new perspective on where NOT to park. So at least there's that.
"At least there's that," we say, kicking the last of the glass off the curb, bruised and battered, yes, but VERY MUCH STILL STANDING. Taller than ever even.


...And that in itself is something to celebrate.


Happy New Year, friends. Wishing you love, light and EVERY FIST TO THE SKY. May you find peace while continuing to fight the good fight. May you realize your immense, unapologetic power. May you THRIVE. 
With love, gratitude and solidarity,


P.S. In full circle... "and scene" action, my eyeglasses, which I have worn ALL YEAR just broke. And to that I say, here's to NEW VISION, FRIENDS.  2017!!! My eyes are blurry with anticipation for you, woman! AND MY NEW GLASSES WILL BE THE SHIT, JUST YOU WAIT. JUST YOU WAIIIIIIIT!

On Raising Daughters: From the Archives

Several people have asked if I would link back to some old posts on raising daughters. Here are a few from over the years that may or may not be helpful. (ED: One of these days I'm going to have a better archival system. I realize this blog is old school and it shows.)

In the meantime... 

Teach a Child to Fish - November, 2010
On Power and Powerlessness - March, 2013
Colors - September, 2013
Rock, her Gypsy Soul - November, 2013 
Talking to Strangers, November 2013
Dressed Up - March, 2014
Raising Our Kids to be Brave - March, 2016
We cannot shelter our Children from the things we want them to stand up to  - March, 2016
Use this Speech as a Resource - April, 2016
Pubic Service Announcement -- July, 2016
How to Raise a Better Rejector (And be one, too) - September, 2016

Here's to raising the future...

Happy Holidays to all. 

"...I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow..."

...Oh, what did you meet my blue-eyed son ?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded in hatred
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

I was so moved by Patti Smith's performance of Bob Dylan's A Hard Rain's Gonna Come -- even more so after I read the essay she published days later in response

...The opening chords of the song were introduced, and I heard myself singing. The first verse was passable, a bit shaky, but I was certain I would settle. But instead I was struck with a plethora of emotions, avalanching with such intensity that I was unable to negotiate them. From the corner of my eye, I could see the the huge boom stand of the television camera, and all the dignitaries upon the stage and the people beyond. Unaccustomed to such an overwhelming case of nerves, I was unable to continue. I hadn’t forgotten the words that were now a part of me. I was simply unable to draw them out...

When I arose the next morning, it was snowing. In the breakfast room, I was greeted by many of the Nobel scientists. They showed appreciation for my very public struggle. They told me I did a good job. I wish I would have done better, I said. No, no, they replied, none of us wish that. For us, your performance seemed a metaphor for our own struggles. Words of kindness continued through the day, and in the end I had to come to terms with the truer nature of my duty. Why do we commit our work? Why do we perform? It is above all for the entertainment and transformation of the people. It is all for them. The song asked for nothing. The creator of the song asked for nothing. So why should I ask for anything?

When my husband, Fred, died, my father told me that time does not heal all wounds but gives us the tools to endure them. I have found this to be true in the greatest and smallest of matters. Looking to the future, I am certain that the hard rain will not cease falling, and that we will all need to be vigilant. The year is coming to an end; on December 30th, I will perform “Horses” with my band, and my son and daughter, in the city where I was born. And all the things I have seen and experienced and remember will be within me, and the remorse I had felt so heavily will joyfully meld with all other moments. Seventy years of moments, seventy years of being human...


...And what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
And what'll you do now, my darling young one?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin'
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
And the executioner's face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I'll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin'
But I'll know my song well before I start singin'
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.."


280. A Hard's Rain Gonna Come by: Bob Dylan, performed by Patti Smith

"...It was always about doing the right thing -- following my conscience..."

IMG_6001 Great Aunt Dot, pictured this past spring 

I mentioned my great aunt Dot in a GGC post a few weeks ago -- her presence in my life this year has been monumental and my first thought, after dropping the kids at school the day after the election, was to call her.

She will know what to say. She will mourn with me. She will tell me to get back up and fight. 
I was right. She did all of those things and more. And because she was so helpful -- and IS so helpful to me, and has been for the last several months -- I asked if it was okay if I interviewed her for a post...

And she said yes.
As someone who has devoted her life to civil disobedience -- who has learned how to channel her anger into action -- what advice do you have for me and for the millions of women who are angry and looking to channel that anger into REAL WORK?
Dot: Anger is definitely a motivator, but it can cloud clear thinking when it comes to action. Fine to release it, running, beating on pillows, screaming under water, throwing rocks. But railing against "them," shouting epithets, blaming---not useful or helpful--quite the opposite. Direct action needs to be carefully planned and specific to an issue. In this shocking and unexpected situation it's especially important to re-group and figure out what caused it--how it happened--what did WE do or NOT do to bring this about??? Something different is required of us now. Something different happened, so the old ways won't work. We have to stop and really examine what happened. To make sense of it we have to step way back, see the big, big picture… reframe it from an objective perspective…
So---stepping back---one way of looking at it is: we've been tripped, tricked--he's upped the ante on us, dared us---so if we step up to the challenge, we have to keep (Trump's) feet to the fire...
Dot: It's not about protest only anymore, it's about being pro-active, going for what you want, being congruent, using personal power for the common good.
Rebecca: You spent several decades organizing peaceful protests and marching for causes that were important to you. What results did these protests yield? Did they succeed? Fail? Can you explain?
Dot: How does one measure success..? Fail how? It's not a contest, not about winning or losing, but about acting congruently, in accord with one's conscience… doing what feels right and appropriate to do.

You can read my post in its entirety, here.  


Also, for those interested, Aunt Dot leads yearly international retreats and in March of 2017 she will be leading a trip to Morocco. For more information go, here. 

Steve Burns from Blues Clues and Steven Drozd from The Flaming Lips made an Album. And its Amazing.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to interview Steve Burns of Blues Clues fame about his new band, Steven Steven (with Steven Drozd from The Flaming Lips) and their new psychedelic kids album, Foreverywhere, featuring the single, The Unicorn and Princess Rainbow which you AND your kids will maybe probably love: 

You can read my entire Steve Burns interview over at Mom.me. Spoiler alert: he's the loveliest. 


For more on Steven Steven and Foreverywhere, check out their website here and their youtube page, here. You can also follow them on twitter

Herstory: Books for Children that Inspire Action

I decided, that this holiday season, my focus, when it comes to my children (and all children), will be books, specifically books about extraordinary women and girls who refused to accept inequality, bigotry and fear as status quo. It started with the purchase of I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes her Mark by: Debbie Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley. It was recommended by a reader and while I knew Fable would appreciate it -- I didn't realize how deeply and profoundly it would resonate with her.
shared with Fable's permission
A few days later, I once again went shopping... purchasing a larger selection of books for Fable and her younger sisters as well as those in the extended family. (I also made a list of books we don't-yet-have but would like in our book shelf, for next time we go to the library.) At home, I created a stack of books that inspired ACTION, LEADERSHIP and DISSENT in small children. Because saying NO to what is so is often the only way to say yes to what is right. Because children NEED to know that their voices matter -- that by speaking out and standing up, they can AND WILL change the world. Because there IS such thing as superheroes. Because I would much rather my kids FIGHT and CHALLENGE me than acquiesce and fall in line. Respecting adults is one thing. Blindly following them is quite another.
Surrounding children with brave voices who speak directly into the microphone and refuse to accept or normalize inequality and fear-based government is necessary and important right now. Reading is power. Books change lives. Education is the key to lasting change. And now, more than ever, we are all in need of heroes.
I cannot WAIT to see what our children do. I have already, in the last four weeks seen NOTICEABLE change in my children and I marvel every day as they harvest their truths and find, in four very distinct and unique-to-them ways, their power. Books, films, these things matter. That said, please go take your family to see Moana. If ever there was a time that we needed this film, it's now. I will say nothing more. It is INCREDIBLE. I SOBBED. IT'S PERFECT.
"See the line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me
And no one knows, how far it goes
If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I'll know, how far I'll go..."

"Don't give up, stay strong, be yourself and fight for your rights." - Wesley Pfleeger, 10

A couple weeks back I was introduced to Bright Lite -- a for pre-teen girls by pre-teen girls magazine, based in Los Angeles that features editorial penned by girls aged 8-12 directed at girls aged 8-12. My friend's daughter has contributed to past issues and she thought I might be interested in writing about Bright Lite/attending an editorial meeting with Fable re: possibly contributing. (We unfortunately were unable to make the last meeting but will be at the next one. Fable even has her list of pitches ready to go, which is JUST THE BEST.) Anyway, I am so excited by what Bright Lite is doing -- giving girls around the world  a voice and a platform, and  I am honored today to share an interview I did with two of the young ladies behind Bright Lite magazine.

Internet, meet Stella Bonstin (11) and Wesley Pfleeger (10). Wesley is the art director of Bright Lite magazine and Stella is a contributor. 

GGC: Can you tell me a little bit of backstory? What inspired Bright Lite? And how did you come together to make it happen?

W​: Well, the inspiration for Bright Lite came from my mom. She wanted to help me with some insecurities I was having, so her and her friend Ami made Bright Lite happen... We made Bright Lite as a place for girls all over the world to come together and put their art out there in the world and to be able to express themselves and connect with each other.

unnamed Stella (left) and Wesley (right)

GGC: How does it feel to see your work -- and the work of other girls your age -- in print?

It's really exciting every time a magazine comes out because it's so interesting to see everyone else's work. Even your own work looks really cool and it feels exciting.

W​: It makes me really proud to know that girls really worked hard and tried their hardest to put work into Bright Lite. It makes me feel so happy and I love it when I see the magazine all laid out with all the work of different girls from all around the world. I'm very happy we can all share it and know that everyone tried really hard to put their work into the magazine.

GGC: What are some of the most important issues facing young girls today? 

S:​ Women's rights!

W​: Yeah, women's rights definitely! 

S:​ Also, some girls might feel insecure in their bodies and seeing models and celebrities, they might feel insecure. That's why Bright Lite is so special because it's not like other magazines where they are focusing on beauty. 

W​: Yeah! Like fashion magazines are always about fashion and perfection, and Bright Lite is more about expressing yourself and is a place where you don't need to be all perfect.

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GGC:  How are you working together to make positive change within your community and beyond? 

W​: We are trying to do more workshops with girls that maybe don't have as much access to the arts. We want to make more places and opportunities for girls to connect and feel comfortable. We are trying to do stuff with the libraries in LA and I’m excited about that.

S:​ I feel like Bright Lite is really good for the community cause girls can really express themselves (here). 

W​: We are really trying to make our own community where girls can come together in a safe space and express themselves.

GGC: Self expression can be a revolutionary act -- with that in mind, what acts of self-expression have helped YOU redefine who you are? What acts of self-expression have inspired you?

S:​ Dying my eyebrow was fun and I felt like it showed ME... and I could be creative and it was weird and, yeah, people were a little bit judgmental but it doesn't matter cause it was what I wanted to do...

W​: Well, I really liked it when I dyed my hair and I dyed my hair because I really wanted to be creative and I liked that it really showed how I felt. I think dancing is my true form of self expression.

S:​ Also for me, art. If I'm in a bad mood i'll draw something that I feel can express my feelings.

W​: I mostly express myself through art or dance. If I’m feeling happy I draw something beautiful and creative, and if I’m feeling happy, I dance my best and I do well...

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GGC: For parents of young girls who may be interested in submitting their work, can you give me a run-down of what it is you guys are looking for? And where future contributors can go to submit their work? Is there an age requirement?

W​: We are looking for everything...photography, art, music, poems. To us, we want to see how you express yourself... 

S:​  There is a recommended age, which is about 8-14, but it's really more about the content. It has to be appropriate for 8-10 year olds. If you're a 16 year old and you want to contribute, feel free, but younger girls are going to read it, so keep that in mind. And if you're younger than 7, maybe you can get someone to help you with your submission like a friend or an older sister.

GGC: What is your advice for other girls looking to start their own magazine?

W​: Work hard! Do your best and always pay attention to what you're doing. You need to be very efficient and you really need to try your hardest. You need a lot of help and a lot of people and a lot of support. Know that it's very hard and it will probably take over a lot of your life. It's always worth it in the end, but a lot of it will feel like homework.

S:​ Doesn't everything feel like homework!?

GGC: If you could give advice to the world right now -- specifically young women and girls in the United States, what would that advice be?

W​: Don't give up, stay strong, be yourself and fight for your rights.

S:​ Stay strong and do what you can to help others. Because if you're just watching things happen, then you're not helping... and those things that you might be watching won't ever get solved if you don't do something and take action.

GGC: Any last thoughts/words of encouragement? 

W​: Well, I think that Bright Lite is a very good example of girls helping each other to express themselves. I really think that it will help the world in many ways. Especially for young girls to help (us) stay strong and for (girls) to know there will always be hope for them, no matter what. Girls should always be strong about what they want and do what they want to do. We should never back down from something, whether it's someone that is being mean, or something we are being teased about, we should always be strong and do our best.

S:​ Just realize that everyone is fighting their own battles... try to stay strong and be kind to people.

For more about Bright Lite, check out their website here. Click here for info on how young girls in your home/school/community can submit an article/poem/story/journal entry/list/anything that feels important to them. You can also follow Bright Lite on Instagram. And read this piece about Bright Lite in BUST magazine. Oh! And here's a lovely interview Wesley did with Girls at the Library -- a fantastic site about the love of reading. WHO RUN THE WORLD? Indeed.  
e224a0c002d2371ac77f7fdf3f663070_original Keep rising, warrior sisters! We are with you!