In wine there is truth

Ginny Lambrix is a DTBF contributor who has made a name for herself in the wine industry. . . literally! VML Winery, established in 2011 in the Russian River Valley, was named after her. Today, she oversees winemaking for this winery and for all the brands of Truett-Hurst.

Ginny’s DTBF story is about her path to sustainable viticulture and her love of wine.

Read “In Vino Veritas” by Ginny Lambrix

Ginny DTBF tee

Ginny wearing a DTBF tee in the vineyard (2009)

I raise my glass and offer a toast. . . to living one’s truth!

Also, we just announced the discovery of a stash of DTBF tees. If you’d like to purchase our tees (short and long-sleeve available), check out our re-uploaded boutique and inventory sale.



Maya Angelou’s daring


“Angelou was little known outside the theatrical community until “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” which might not have happened if writer James Baldwin hadn’t persuaded Angelou, still grieving over King’s death, to attend a party at the home of Jules Feiffer, a cartoonist and writer. Feiffer was so taken by Angelou that he mentioned her to Random House editor Bob Loomis, who persuaded her to write a book by daring her into it, saying that it was “nearly impossible to write autobiography as literature.”

“Well, maybe I will try it,” Angelou responded. “I don’t know how it will turn out. But I can try.”  (Excerpt from an A.P. article)

And the rest, as they say, is history. Aren’t we lucky that she dared to try?

What a book title, too.  “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” Beautiful, powerful, resonant. As she was.

“She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace,” said her son, Guy Johnson.

She dared to sing her song, and out of the cage she flew.


From the Summit of Everest


Happy 2014! Here’s to new beginnings and daring adventures!

Our new DTBF story comes from Alison Levine, a history-making adventurer, explorer and mountaineer. Levine has climbed the highest peak on every continent, served as the team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, and skied across the Arctic Circle to the geographic North Pole. This, and a lot more.

Read about what it was like to reach the Summit of Mount Everest in her DTBF story, “On the Edge with Alison.”




Then Again and Miss Representation

Don’t you love it when you read back-to-back great books?  I’ve been on a nice roll lately, and not just with books, but also with movies and documentaries. In this post, I offer two recommendations.  (I will share more in future posts, as well.)

Diane Keaton‘s memoir “Then Again” is beautifully written and very insightful, not to mention, poignant, funny, and entertaining.  Yes, you’ll read about her acting career and her relationships with Woody and Warren and Al, but more, you’ll read about her mother, Dorothy. Much of the book is comprised of journal entries and letters that her mother wrote over the years, so as Keaton explains it, this memoir is really written by both of them.  Keaton, like her mother, kept everything in the recording of her own personal history, stashing every letter and even keeping some of her phone messages. When her mother passed away and Keaton began to pore through her many journals, she decided to weave together a combined memoir, using much of this wonderful source material.  I, for one, am glad she did.

“A poem about women living in one another’s not uncomplicated memories. . . . Part of what makes Diane Keaton’s memoir, Then Again, truly amazing is that she does away with the star’s ‘me’ and replaces it with a daughter’s ‘I.’ ”—Hilton Als, The New Yorker

Miss Representation is a documentary by Jennifer Siebel-Newsom that explores how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.  Among the people featured in this film are Condoleezza Rice, Katie Couric, Margaret Cho, Rachel Maddow, Jane Fonda, Gavin Newsom, Rosario Dawson, Cory Booker and others.  It premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and aired on OWN: Oprah Winfrey’s television network.  Since then, it has grown into a movement, with its own action oriented website and a list of educational resources, including the option of purchasing DVDs for K-12 and university audiences.

The term “media literacy” is unfamiliar to many people, which is a shame, given the amount of media saturating our daily existence. Even if we think we’re well aware of media bias and how the mainstream (or as some might call it, the “lame stream”) media works, there is much to learn from watching films like this one.  I particularly recommend it for girls in junior high school, when much of what the media depicts can become particularly impressionable.  You’ll be amazed by some of the statistics this film offers. (It also has a fabulous soundtrack, featuring songs from Metric.)

Click here to watch the trailer. 

To watch the film, you can add it to your Netflix queue, get it through iTunes, or purchase it from a film distributor. You can also look for a local public screening…or even host one of your own.

“A searing critique.” – Fortune Magazine

“Oprah stamp of approval could make Miss Representation the Roger & Me of media reform.”  – Bitch Magazine



DTBF contributors up for a Grammy

“…as cliché as it may sound, I am finally daring to be my fabulous self, however it may turn out.”

So writes Terri Lyne Carrington in her DTBF story, “Full Circle.” Well, she’s doing a great job at it!  Terri Lyne’s “The Mosaic Project” is up for Best Jazz Vocal album at the Grammy Awards this Sunday.  It’s an album she produced and which features the talents of other fabulous female jazz artists, including the ever lovely Dianne Reeves, another DTBF contributor (“Talking to the Devil.”)

We celebrated their album when it came out last July.  This Sunday, we’ll be applauding them again.


Renewable marriage contracts. Why not?

Mexico City legislators just proposed legislation requiring prenuptial agreements for all marriages  there. The agreements would not only cover child custody issues, but also the expected duration of the marriage. The reason for this proposed legislation? The huge number of nasty and costly divorce proceedings taking up room and time in the capital’s district courts. (There was an average of 40 divorces for every 100 marriages performed between 2009-2010.)

The Roman Catholic Church has reacted harshly to this proposed legislation, calling it “absurd.” The Rev. Hugo Valdemar, spokesman for the Catholic archdiocese for the capital region said, “This is a proposal made by people who do not understand the nature of marriage.” I don’t know where he’s been lately, but anyone can attest to the fact that divorce has become an increasingly common occurrence. I can’t speak for Mexico City, as I don’t live there, but I’d say as many as 95% of the people I know who are fifty and over have experienced divorce. I’m sure none of them expected that going in, but it’s still a fact and I think it merits attention and discussion.

The proposed legislation in Mexico City suggests an estimate on the duration of a marriage contract that is no less than two years, and as long as “’til death do us part.”  Personally, I think this suggestion makes great sense. Marriage, by civic standards,  is a contract, despite what the Roman Church might state, and I think that having a discussion about the terms of this contract, prior to signing it, is a prudent and sensible thing to do. Isn’t that the understanding with any contractual agreement that we sign?

I’m not married now, but I’ve written here about almost doing so when I was 24 years old (see “I Canceled My Wedding.”) Fortunately, I opted out in time, rather than ignoring my second thoughts and going through all the paces, which would have led to watching the marriage sour and a likely, eventual divorce. That relationship lasted a total of seven years, so that’s a time marker that has stayed with me.

Since that experience, I have often opined that marriage contracts should be offered in definite year increments, with the option of renewal. Seven seems like a good number, due to the concept that our cells and our bodies completely change in seven year increments, and that we subsequently live our lives in seven year cycles. At least, that’s a known hypothesis. (Thus, the “seven year itch.”) Why not make marriage licenses into renewable seven year contracts?  Then, when the time is approaching for renewal, you can revisit what you have, discuss it with your partner, and decide if you’d like to renew.

This contractual arrangement is also likely to keep people from taking their marital relationships for granted. I’ve been with my love Henri for nearly ten years now. He agrees with my renewable contract concept and when we got to our own seven year mark, we happily agreed to a renewal. For us, it’s not a written contract that we share, but one of mutual understanding. We also don’t have children (not counting our kitties, of course.) If we did, I agree with one columnist who suggested twenty years as the possible minimal term for a couple who wants children.

People get married for many different reasons. Why not revisit our approach to marriage and treat it as the contract that it truly is? Discuss all the terms. Agree to them.  If “’til death do us part” is the way you want to go, then so be it, that can be the length you determine. Romance is wonderful, but at least honest communication and mutual understanding will be part of the deal before you both sign on the dotted line.

My guess is that couples will be happier and their relationships healthier by approaching marriage in this way. There will be a lot less divorce and a lot more happier marriages in the world.

A celebration of female jazz artists

We’re very pleased to feature DTBF stories from two renowned jazz artists, “Full Circle” by Terri Lyne Carrington and “Talking to the Devil” by Dianne Reeves.   Today, Terri Lyne has just announced a new musical collaboration with Dianne and many other notable female musicians, including Dee Dee Bridgewater, Sheila E., Cassandra Wilson and many more.  It is entitled “Mosaic Project” and is a celebration of female artists in jazz.

Here is an excerpt from her website:

“Terri Lyne has recorded an ensemble CD with some of the world’s top musicians, performing music that celebrates different aesthetics in music and in life.  “The Mosaic Project” is a celebration of female artists with Terri Lyne being joined by some of today’s most celebrated female instrumentalists and vocalists in the world, ‘women with voices,’ coming together to support and celebrate each other from a musical and social perspective.”

Check out “The Mosaic Project.” You can order it, watch a special behind the scenes video about it,  and download a free MP3 from the album.



For International Women’s Day

March 8 is International Women’s Day.

Cause to Pause.

Cause to Celebrate.

Let this day be a reminder to spread the love to your sisters far and wide.

And to take action to help the ones who need it.


Johanna  & Patti