just be nice

Two weeks ago... Part 3 a.k.a. In conclusion

Ok - so by now, you've heard the saga of Chip and the Corolla.

A few weeks ago, I felt like I was having a rough day. If you haven't read Part 1 or Part 2 of this blog yet, it will help put this all into context.

With that - I know that we're all busy, so I'll sum it up to say, my dog had to have surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, and my car died. On the same day. And I love them both.

Today's post is about what happened just after these events...

In the minutes following, I hopped on a train to Brooklyn, and started working on a new CD.

Yep. A little bit weepy, and a lot stressed-out, I went to work. Because that's what you do.

You have a rough day? You go to work.

You have a great day? You go to work. 

My friend, Chris, is producing my next CD, and is a dog lover. (We're working at his new studio, which is beautiful, and I'll be sure to show videos and photos next time.) So, he totally understood that I was upset.

I arrived at the studio, trying to hold it all together, and told Chris what was going on.

He paused, gave me a sad smile, and said, 'Ok, so...let's make some f***ing great music.' 

That did it. It broke the sad and scared spell.

I laughed, he laughed, and we did.

We went to work.

And the songs that we worked on sound amazing. And I can't wait for you to hear them.

So here's the thing. 

Sometimes sad, unfortunate or scary things happen.

Your dog has cancer.

Your car dies.

And then there's a silver lining.

The surgery that you hoped would work, saved your dog. You realize how much you've learned from your dog, and you're grateful.

You got a new beautiful car. You think back on the hundreds of thousands of miles that your other car supported you through, and you're grateful.

And at the end of each day, whether it's a great day or a terrible one, I make music. With people that I know, like and trust. It's my job, and it is awesome.

Coming to this realization, after my emotional roller coaster of dogs, cars and studios... I started laughing as I hopped into the shower the following morning.

Not like, crazy person laughing, just a chuckle.

Because I thought to myself: "Well, today is going to be better, and if it isn't...I'm sure it will be fine."

So there we have it.

Healthy dog.

New car.

And new understanding of how things are really never that bad.

One final thing...my first road trip ever in my Corolla, back in 2004 when it was brand new...I landed in Colorado.

And yesterday, I finished driving, and this morning, I'm typing to you on my first road trip in my new car...from Colorado.

Seems like this is all working out just fine.




When do we change?

I sang at my first elementary school today. I've done small performances before, but just one or two songs. Today was my first official program.

I talked with the kids about folk music, and troubadours and Pete Seeger, and it was awesome. (Thank goodness, because I was super nervous! Who knew 7 year-olds could be so intimidating?)

But these kids are kings and queens of the just be nice party.

Seeing these sweet faces look up at me as we sang about peace and hope- I thought- when do we turn?

When do we change into cynical people?

And can we change back?

I believe we can.

And I believe we owe it to our kids to be more like them in that way.

When talking about taking care of the planet, they came up with idea after idea of how we can conserve energy and produce less waste.

There was no political debate on global warming.

When we talked about ways that we can all look out for one another, they had such genuinely kind things to say- and other students nodded in agreement.

There was no discussion of whether or not the person in need deserved our help.

This openness should be celebrated and encouraged, not squashed out.

Let's be more like the second graders at Osborn Hill today. They are my new heroes.

Be kind, Kristen


Just Be Nice- the movement

It seems that more and more people are wanting Just Be Nice buttons for our kindness party. This is very exciting! The biggest response I'm getting? From schools!

If you're a teacher, a student or a parent and would like folk songs and kindness in the classroom- get in touch with me and we'll make it happen!

Be kind, Kristen



There is a yoga class that I love to take. It's at 9:30 on Thursday mornings. (In Westport if you'd like to join me!) It's relaxing to start, kills me somewhere in the middle, reminds me that flexibility is fun, inspires me to try head stands, and then relaxes me again at the end.

I leave a bit of a sweaty mess, but feel amazingly clean, and really peaceful.

I want this peace for so many people. It's why I thought bringing yoga mats to the reservation would be a good idea. It's why I annoy Bryan to come to classes with me (I've succeeded exactly once.)

In these moments, right after leaving class, I find empathy for evangelists and fundamentalist Christians. I've met and dealt with a lot of born-again missionaries through the work that I love to do with Simply Smiles. We agree on certain things and disagree on most others.

But if what they feel about religion is as peaceful as I feel when leaving this yoga class, I can almost understand a bit better.

Replacing one hot topic with another...

I think that all world leaders need to get into yoga. And I think it will change the world. And maybe end a war or two, or all.

Peace and Just Be Nice!

(A pretty tree for you to peacefully daydream in...)