Sunday, March 21, 2010

The First Crack of Spring

The weather has been truly superb with long, bright sunny days, refreshing spring breezes, and the sound of children running and laughing in the sunshine. This weather inspires all of us to make grand efforts to enjoy the extra hour of light, linger a little longer in the park and spark up well needed conversations with our friends and neighbors.


Admittedly, however, I love winter weather. It's good for my soul because I love being inside nestled under a warm blanket in front of the fireplace losing myself in a daydream. Also, I was quite pleased with the amount of snow we received this year in light of the global warming epidemic. It just felt right, it felt like winter should feel. With that being said, I am very pleased to see spring rushing ahead and jumping in line like an eager shopper at a sample sale who just scored the hottest item of the season...

The other day, my husband and I with our three daughters in tow, went to 3rd street park to linger. It was packed with mommies and daddies and their vibrant and stylish urban babes relishing the sun and running around joyfully. I dare say that spring fever is among us.

And then there it was, The First Crack of Spring...

No the sun did not suddenly shine brighter, and no I'm not referring to little blooms on branches or tulip bulbs pushing through the earth, instead I'm referring to the sighting of a full moon in pure daylight and not the one that helped guide Christopher Columbus through the night. It was a father of two accompanied by what appeared to be his wife and another couple. When they walked in, I couldn't help but notice the dad because the sun seemed to rest on what looked like a pale colored belt, or so I thought. As he moved closer, I noticed that what appeared to be a belt from afar was in fact, quite the contrary. It quickly became very apparent that his buttocks were perfectly perched atop the rim of his expensive jeans like a belt that lost it's way or a sash that felt down.

Now just to be clear, I don't take extreme pleasure in finishing this story nor do I feel very proud of my reaction, but I have to say, that it was probably the hardest, the longest and the loudest that I've laughed in months. Anyway, what took it over the top, was the fact that no one in his entourage seemed clued in, or perhaps they just didn't care.

It gets worse...


The dad got into the sand box with his children and took the spectacle up a notch by bending over. A woman in the sand pit with her son obviously shocked and disgusted, snatched her son up so quickly. But interestingly enough, stayed right there in the sand box staring at the full moon in awe and although she was but two feet away from the spectacle, she said nothing. At this point, I was in pain due to uncontrollable laughter. I could barely stand up straight when calling to my husband to come over and share my discovery. You're probably thinking that if I could call my husband over, then perhaps I could have alerted the dad that his buttocks were hanging out, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. It was just too funny.

As I watched the woman in the sand box still gripping her child and the dad on to bend number 7, I was in tears. And when the dad with his sun beaten, hanging buttocks finally left the park with his family and friends, on his way to what I assume an early dinner on 5Th, other people just arriving to the playground, couldn't help but notice the first crack of spring either...

Two things I'm sure of: (1) the guilt of not alerting the dad about his perfectly perched buttocks will pass and (2) there will be plenty of cracks in the near future letting us know that spring has arrived.



Happy Spring!



Barefoot in Brooklyn

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A PEEK INSIDE: BAREFOOT IN BROOKLYN Interviewed by Stooshculture.com

http://www.stooshculture.com/2010/02/crystal-granderson-reid-brooklyn-style.html

I was recently interviewed by Stoosh Culture, a new blog that I follow. Take a peek at my favorite things, read why I love Brooklyn and get to know my style. Enjoy!

Barefoot in Brooklyn

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Babes: "Pigeons Are Great Sharers"

Recently, my eight year old inspired what has now become a new section of my blog, "Out of the Mouths of Babes". We know that children say the darnedest things and probably more often than not, their outbursts are more profound than those of us who have lived some decades because their thoughts are less likely to be clouded by prejudices or ill gotten experiences. Their words are usually straight from the heart, asking for no more than another person to bare witness to the purity behind them and/or to recognize their deliberate intent to drive you mad or send you falling off your bottom laughing hysterically.

So... On a routine drive through downtown Brooklyn on my way to dropping my daughters to school, my eight year old blurts out "Wow!". Nothing else, just "Wow!".

Knowing that this outburst of "Wow!" might be a complete set up, I dove right in. To be honest, I am rarely disappointed at the outcome her feathery thoughts but before I responded, I had a thought. I thought, I must teach my child how to successfully begin a conversation because these short baiting words that may or may not lead to an earth shattering revelation, are just no way to communicate in a fast paced society of people who half way listen. She must learn to effectively engage those she wished to converse with.

(Note to self: talk to daughter about how to properly initiate a conversation...)

So with a deep breath and a loaded, what's wow, I fed her need to share and I waited as her thought flooded in. She continued with, " I wish people were more like pigeons". Immediately I thought this time I'm wrong, my child must be exhausted and is talking crazily. My mind went straight to what pigeons are best known for; loose bowels, lack of inhibition, and poor table manners, but because she is known for thinking out of the box, perhaps she was trying to say that if people were more like pigeons, we'd be more relaxed... But I digress.

She noted that while we were waiting for the light to change she'd been paying attention to a large group of pigeons atop one of downtown Brooklyn's municipal buildings. She noticed that when one pigeon would join the group that the entire group would shift over to make room no matter how crowded the ledge. She also noted that an elderly man on the street scattered what looked like bread crumbs all over the sidewalk and that she was impressed with the speed in which the pigeons flew down to receive this generous gift while at the same time, making sure everyone was able to enjoy the feast. She concluded with, "Pigeons are great sharers".

I was left open mouthed and pensive as I silently uttered "wow". I found her thought truly profound. The fact that a child was able to identify such a valuable quality within a group of pigeons and the fact that she can already contemplate that the ability to share and be gracious to one another might be a rarity among our own, was even more fascinating. Chime in and let me know what the babes in your life are saying out loud and what animal you wish people were more like.

Right now pigeons have my vote.

Barefoot in Brooklyn

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Amazing Things Will Happen


Here's a quirky fact about me, I love finales. It doesn't matter if it's the series finale of Mash (in syndication) or Tina Turner's final, final concert. You can say that I have an affection for the art of people watching. I want to know what people will say to an audience of devoted viewers or fans, or people like me, who may be tuning in possibly for the first and well, the last time, just to see how they will wrap it all up.

I remember watching the final episodes of some of my favorite television shows like the Cosby Show, Friends and Will & Grace and feeling like these people took great pride in characterizing these families or friends and in turn, became framilies (plural of "framily") themselves. I found all of those episodes extremely touching and can honestly say, that because of the genuine emotions that they displayed when their shows ended, I continue to support those individuals in the projects that they take on.

I believe that there is something so human and so natural about ending one phase and beginning another. I find comfort in the fact that everything must change. It's a sign that we are moving forward. Perhaps it's my belief that change is necessary for growth or that I really enjoy being present for those transitional moments in time, even when it's on television.

I tuned in to Conan O'Brien last Tonight Show appearance to see what he would say knowing that he would have the attention of all those who've loved him during his many years on television and the attention of people like me, who've never watched him on television before but needed to know more about the person, who for the past two weeks, had been sharing the front page of the NY Times with Obama and Haiti. The following is what he had to say:

"Please do not be cynical, I hate cynical. For the record it is my least favorite quality. It doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen!". (Conan O'Brien)

And he was right, an amazing thing did happen. I have joined those who have loved him for years and I am now a fan. Here's to good people. Go Conan! Co-Co, Co-Co, Co-Co...

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Lucky Ones


I went out to celebrate a friend's birthday with a group of my very close friends. You know those friends that after years of going through it together, and by it, I mean real life situations: college escapades, dating dilemmas, engagements, wedding celebrations, child birth, purchasing first homes, celebrating first birthdays, losing loved ones, losing jobs, getting new careers and so on, become something more than friends. They become part of their own definition, a definition that heavily lingers between friend and family. I'm going to call them "Framily".


Let's see if "Framily" sticks.


The ones with whom days seem like hours and hours together seem way too short. Well, me and my "Framily" got together in celebration of a friend's birthday and even though his actual age remains a mystery (although I'm sure he's at least seven years my senior), his presence on this earth is undeniable. We talked loudly about our children, grumbled about our frustrating work weeks, shouted excitedly about our summer plans to be in the same place at the same time and we laughed. Sometimes hearing only fragments of one another's words, but that didn't matter. What mattered most was that we were sharing this experience together.


We made light of one another's idiosyncrasies. Those qualities that make for hilarious conversation, and those interesting things that make each of us unique from the other and the very reason why we love being together. We reminisced about the last time we did all of this, which fortunately was a mere three weeks ago, and set a date to quickly make this happen all over again. And then we danced.


We danced and let go of our frustrations of the week, we let go of the natural anticipation of what tomorrow might bring, if only for a little while, and embraced a DJ that was mediocre at best. And we truly enjoyed the moment. Together we clapped to samba beats, learned new and provocative dances, laughed at our dancing mistakes and some of us finally accepted that although we've been given bodies that can move, after watching the truly skilled dancers demonstrate some amazing and well controlled dance moves, we realized that our bodies just don't move like that. But the beauty and the comedy there, is that we will always keep trying.


When it came time to leave, we gathered outside of the venue and danced some more on the sidewalk. We made up a few songs, for no reason, and rejected all of them because they were just awful. We laughed some more at our own silly comments and jumped around like teenagers ready for the next thing to do. When we finally said goodnight, each of us ready to return to our safe homes where are sleeping children laid in their comfortable beds all while being looked after by doting relatives, we huddled up and acknowledged the beauty of our lives and the amazing friendship that we share.


And with our thoughts all on the same thing, at the same time, we said a prayer for Haiti. And in that moment, we stood still...All of us knowing that we are The Lucky Ones.



Barefoot in Brooklyn



Please take a moment to appreciate all the people in your life who make you feel this way and make an effort to help the people of Haiti whose lives will never be the same. Please make a donation to an organization you trust. Below are a couple of organizations doing really great things in the effort to help Haiti.


http://www.redcross.org/

http://www.ri.org/


I hope you will also consider supporting an organization that I co-founded in 2008, BE FREE GLOBAL http://www.befreeglobal.org/


BE FREE GLOBAL will provide micro grants to not for profit organizations around the world dedicated to improving the lives of children. Please take the time to support BE FREE GLOBAL's initiatives and other like minded organizations.



Saturday, January 9, 2010

Introspection: Product vs Packaging


Humor yourself for a moment and imagine yourself as a product. A product is defined as a thing produced by labor. Consider all the things that make you you, and the work that goes into it. Contemplate what you're made of. Are you full of stuffing or air or are you a piece of ceramic or crystal? Perhaps you're full of water or another liquid substance. Think about your most memorable life experiences and how they've shaped you emotionally. Dig deep into the memories of your upbringing and begin to uncover the lessons you live by. Discover how you truly function. Hear yourself speak and for the first time listen to your word choices. Examine the tone your voice takes when using those words. Determine what, if anything, can break you and what is the best use of your assets.

Now think like a editor of a chic magazine whose job it is to call it as they see it, and then take a moment, in fact, take a few, to critique your packaging. I mean really pay attention to your outer layer, what you represent to the world from day to day. Keep in mind that the rest of the world may never have the pleasure of truly getting to know you, aside from the 2-3 minute interactions with you during the hustle of the day. Be aware of how you approach outside situations, how you interact with the person at the news stand or the person you buy your must have machiatto from at your favorite cafe. Notice the expression on your face when you catch a glimpse of your own reflection in a store front window. Pay attention to your thoughts and emotions while taking in the outside world. Take notice of how you are being received by others.

Now sit with this product and it's packaging... Then repeat this exercise as many times as you see fit.

No matter what the results of this personal exercise reveal,

Whether you are a walking contradiction, meaning not ready to show your true self, yet are deceivingly very well put together...


Or you're like a Vera Wang wedding gown, designed with gorgeous materials inside and out, have very little production issues and offers a flawless presentation from beginning to end...



What I've learned on my journey with introspection, is that when you accept that you are the sum of your experiences and recognize that having this all important knowledge can give you control over your end product, all that's left, is to make the decision to begin the necessary work to ensure that your packaging will eventually mirror it's contents.

Barefoot in Brooklyn

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Barefoot Committments

There are New Year's Eve traditions that we all seem to succumb to:

The practice of creating wish lists for the coming year with the added pressure of shedding our tattered skin like a snake in nature hoping to breathe, live and look differently. We inhabit the idea that different is somehow better...

The belief that we will wake on January 1st cleansed of all that went wrong and rid ourselves of things that make us feel a "certain" way. And then somehow attain the miraculous ability to replace those "bad experiences"' with something incredible, having done nothing more than putting pen to paper and creating a last minute wish list that tradition tells you will effectively help you begin anew...


My blog is about committing to and making grand efforts toward turning words into actions with the hope of realizing a better me and you. I plan to inspire unique thoughts about the world we live in, bring laughter to those who are guarded, encourage kindness toward others, provide a humorous and romantic perspective to otherwise mundane situations, share my unique views on humanity, parenting, relationships and fashion, and make "introspection" a necessary call to action by sharing my everyday experiences and interactions and remaining open to the possibilities.

Be it on subways, sidewalks or stoops, our interactions and the stories of those we meet speak to our very being and if you remain open, you will notice that without pretences and the burden of fear, we are all Barefoot and I just happen to live in Brooklyn.



Barefoot in Brooklyn