Thursday, November 17, 2011

Huffington Post 3 Part Video Series - Here Come the Brides.



Click on link to watch videos

Sarah and I were featured in a 3 part internet docu-series on The Huffington Post. It was about our wedding, as you can probably tell from the above photograph. We got married in the great state of New York. Yay New York!

It was one of the happiest days of our lives and we were thrilled and honored to share it with The Huffington Post. And we hope you all enjoy watching the videos!

#Hendo

ROLL VIDEOS - HUFFINGTON POST - HERE COME THE BRIDES

Monday, November 14, 2011

Our Midwest Run is ... done

It turns out I really love the Midwest. I mean, I was always a fan of the accent, in fact I have often been accused of having one. I believe it's my blend of Long Island with 4 years in central PA that gives me my Midwestern sound. Debate if you must.

Everywhere we go, people are nice. And the Midwest people were as well. The only difference was that every single person we met on this run was hilariously funny. I mean like full blown colorful character funny. All of them. In fact, I could claim Detroit to be one of my favorite cities on earth based on the people alone. There were too many broken windows around town for me to threaten to move there, but Detroit has some serious character(s). Double entendre intended.

Watch this video from our appearance on uDetroit.com. Four songs plus interview w Pam Rossi. The interview starts out a little awkward, but we pick up steam and it ends up being 45 of the most hilarious minutes we spent together the whole trip. Charo reference courtesy of Sibby's twisted brain.

#Hendo/Posh Spice (roll video)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Facebook is Annoying Me Because...

We have a band page on Facebook. It is http://www.facebook.com/antigonerising. But there is ANOTHER annoying Antigone Rising Facebook page that seems somehow linked to Wikipedia that has 1,930 likes and whenever anyone tries to tag our band or add photos of our band, the post and/or photos end up on this bogus wiki nonsense jackass page that we have no control over.

I google it every which possible way to figure out how to get rid of it. But I can't. And I don't have time to shake a solution out of my computer like I once did. But MAN, it is SO annoying.

I try to report the page as "duplicate or miscategorized" and then it asks which page it's a duplicate of....and the only option it gives me is of the bogus page!

If anyone has any suggestion that leads to the removal of this annoying page, we will give you free things. I mean, we have lots of things. So you can choose the things you want for free.

And no matter what you do, DO NOT LIKE the bogus annoying page. It's the one that DOES NOT have a photo of us on it and has around 1,129 likes. You need to LIKE the one with our photo on it that has over 4,000 likes. Please.

#Hendo

ps- this is a link to the annoying bogus page that I really don't want you to click on. https://www.facebook.com/antigonerising#!/pages/Antigone-Rising/108165915877542
You can also just go to FB and search Antigone Rising - two musician/band pages pop up. The real page has a photo and over 4K likes. The fake one has no photo. And I deeply despise it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Gracefully Blog.

Ok. So here it is. The long awaited, maybe too long awaited that you forgot you even wanted it, blog entry about the song Gracefully.

This may be a bit of a blabber blog, too...all over the place. Prepare for take off.

Warning: If you don't like knowing what songs are really about, if you like to interpret them for yourselves and keep it that way, then don't read this blog. Ok? ok. Here we go:

When we entered the studio to record 23 Red, it was initially going to be a 5 song EP. That's right. 5 songs. We asked Gary Philips, our producer, to help us pick the best 5 from about 18 or 19 songs. I believe the initial top 5 songs were No Remedy, Everywhere is Home, Borrowed Time...and...I can't remember what the other 2 were now. But then we did the Kickstarter Fundraiser and suddenly we had a real budget. One that would allow us to record 8 songs...so we added 3 more from the list.

Then we wrote Gracefully by accident and had to add it to the CD as the 9th song. And it just didn't make any sense to go in and record only one song. I mean, all that set up and rigamarole (really a word, go ahead and google it like I just did). So we ended up recording Gracefully and Say You Want to Leave. 10 songs. Full length CD. We went a little over the budget there. But we figured all our fans donated so graciously, we couldn't possibly put out an 8 song CD. I mean. Who does that?

So Gracefully...the song. It came about because Nini thought the CD needed a song with a tempo change on it. All the songs on the CD were in 4/4 time. You know. Tap your foot along and count to 4. She thought the CD needed a song in 6/8 time...or 3/4 time. I'm not totally sure what the difference is between those two time signatures. But tap your foot along to Gracefully. Or Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway. Or Goo Goo Dolls Iris. You'll see. It's in 6...or 3. Go ahead. Tap your foot and count. The 1 comes after the 3 or 6. Not after the 4.

So that was Nini's objective for writing it.

My objective was a little different. Mine was based on a conversation I had with my neighbor the night before we wrote the song. She was at my house and told me a really sad story about someone we both knew who had just been re-diagnosed with cancer. And the friend had kids. And the diagnosis was very grim. My heart sank...and I knew I was going to make Nini write another depressing song with me the next day.

**Good spoiler alert**The friend beat it again and is totally fine. Yay. Phew. Why can't I ever write a song about that? Hmm. Note to self. Write a song about that for once.

Now back to the story of writing the song.

So I show up at Gracewood to write with Nini, and she's strumming a chord progression in 6/8 getting ready for the task at hand...I lay the story on her about my neighbor's friend and we end up talking about our own kids and how that's our worst nightmare come true...I mean, anyone's worst nightmare come true...Nini starts singing placeholder words like fall with the fall, all in the all...and I tell her they're not placeholders, and we debate that for a few minutes...and then I say Gracefully at the end of those "placeholder" words...probably because we were writing at Gracewood...and then we realize we have the start of a real song.

(the ...'s are starting to get on my nerves too...)

So we decide the song is about teaching your kids one final lesson. Even if you were dying, you can still teach them one final lesson. Whatever it is you have to do in life, no matter how hard or difficult, do it gracefully.

Fall with the fall. You know. Sometimes you just have to go with it. There comes a time when you just have to accept it and go with it. And always remember, it's all in the all. You know, give it your all, even when you're falling with the fall. Make the most out of everything you do. Even dying. Wring every little drop out of life while you still have it. This stuff makes total sense to Nini and me, if nobody else.

Just hold your person's hand, and both of you, do it gracefully.

I'm a great believer that blog posts should never be too long. But I haven't even touched upon the intensity of the recording session when we tracked Nini's lead vocal. The session was so intense we had to stop a few times. It was making our stoic producer, literally, cry. And we sent Nini on the most intense roller coaster ride of emotions in the vocal booth. You should go read Nini's blog post about it. She blogged immediately after the session. Read it here: Worktape: In The Studio, Gracefully. It's the 3rd post down.

Alright. Nap time is over for the babies. I don't even have time to spell check. I'm just going live.

...#Hendo

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Times Two (the book ) & 23 Red (the CD)

Times Two is available online and in bookstores everywhere:


Antigone Rising's new CD, 23 Red, is due out in record stores and on iTunes everywhere on August 2, 2011.




Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It Takes One to Know One - Marriage Equality in New York State

I've come to blog here the past several days attempting to say something that hasn't already been said. I've spent quite a bit of time calling Senators, asking all my friends to call Senators, reading other blogs, posting comments, participating in certain threads where my time could have been better spent smashing my head into a brick wall, etc. You get the point.

The long and short of it is this.

There's nothing I can say here that hasn't already been said on various Senators personal Facebook pages (Senator Dean Skelos, Senator Greg Ball), or on The Huffington Post comment section of Sarah's Op-Ed, "My Children Have Everything...Except Married Parents.

I've read many inspiring posts from people all over New York who are in favor of Equality. And, unfortunately, I've read some posts from people against Equality. Thankfully, the posts against Equality are outnumbered, at least on the places I'm surfing the web (which are all the places I've listed above).

Usually the anti-equality posts are religiously fueled, and more often than not contain grammatical and spelling errors...I'm just saying. And I've yet to read a single post from that side of the argument that is strong enough to deny any human being their civil rights.

What those posts against Equality have done for me, however, is they've reminded me of what it was like growing up gay.

I've said it before, and I meant it, I didn't realize I was gay until I was nineteen. My brain couldn't even internalize the thought of being gay, that's how abhorent a concept it was for me. I buried it so deep down that I never once had a conscious inkling of it until I was in college. 

I learned to fear being gay from the world I lived in. Nobody ever told me directly, "Kristen, don't be gay. It's a very bad thing." Yet, the noxious homophobic gas pumped into our society's air that I was breathing in on a daily basis made me know for sure that it was a really really bad thing to be.

I knew it.

You knew it.

And some people still think it.

So I'd like to share this story from my childhood with all the people who are posting against Equality. Even though I know none of you read my blog. This is my attempt to say something that hasn't already been said - or - This is me bashing my head against a brick wall again. Here goes:

Dear People Unwilling to Give Me My Equal Rights,

When I was growing up I was a tom boy.

Every kid has "their" reason for why they feel different. The kid with the acne, the kid with the hair that's too curly, the too fat kid, the too skinny kid, the kid with the thick glasses, the poor kid, and on and on.

Anyway. I was the kid who felt awkward every time my girlfriends wanted to do girly things. I didn't want to wear makeup or carry a Le Sports Sac. I wasn't comfortable with designer jeans, or leg warmers, or capezios. Every day I wore my Lee Jeans and Pro-Keds. That was my uniform, day in and day out. While it doesn't sound that bad, every day I got dressed I thought about how different I felt.

I know. Whoopeeding. I wasn't picked on. I would have picked on you first. And I wasn't bullied. I would have bullied you first. Think about that for a second, anti-equality person posting on the internet.

I was an athlete. I loved sports. I played every season. I lived for it.

One season, my high school coach was a lesbian. We didn't know this because she was "out." We knew this because she looked like a dyke - I'm just going to use the word. She was very stereotypically lesbian looking in every way.

She threatened me to my core.

But I was 15 years old and I had coping mechanisms in place to be sure I was not affected by her existence at all. 

What I did was write a "funny jingle" for everyone on the team to sing. It was a song about how gross and abhorent our scary lesbian coach was. And I would sing it.

The memory is so overwhelming for me that it stops me dead in my tracks. Fifteen year old me felt I had to sing a song about the grossness of my lesbian coach so that my teammates, and I for that matter, wouldn't catch on that I was a lesbian too.

Fear. Breeds. Intolerance. Fear. Breeds. Hatred. Fear. Breeds. Bullies.

Much worse things have come from fear than a really bad jingle sung in a high school locker room.

We have an opportunity to alleviate some of the fear that maybe your fifteen year old son or daughter or niece or nephew or neighbor might feel one day. That alone should be enough reason to vote for Equality.

#Hendo

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I think I've Just Been Proposed To...

A few weeks back, we confirmed an in-store appearance for our book, Times Two: Two Women in Love and the Happy Family They Made, at a Barnes & Noble on Staten Island. I could seriously digress and lose the entire point of this blog if I revealed how I envisioned this in-store appearance to go. But the really really good news is that I was TOTALLY wrong.

I'm totally wrong most of the time now anyway. I think it's a hormone that goes off after pregnancy that makes you wrong 85-90% of the time. And the more adamantly right you are in a situation, the more definitively wrong you are. At least that's how it's been for me since the babies were born.

Upon arriving at B&N, a man with press credentials introduced himself and started snapping photos of Sarah and me at the book signing table. This, of course, made us look important to all the people who came out to our book signing. And, quite frankly, it made us (read: me)  feel important - which, I've learned as I'm maturing, counts for a lot.  Snap away, Papparazzi.

Shortly after the bulbs stopped flashing, a woman from The Staten Island Advance introduced herself. She said she may be doing a story in an upcoming issue about the Marriage Equality bill about to be voted on in the NY State Senate. Sarah began chatting with the writer, not realizing her discussion was actually "the interview" and every word she uttered was completely on the record.

Not even 12 hours later, The Staten Island Advance hit newsstands worldwide (this slight exxaggeration continues to make me feel important, so roll with me) with a front cover headline that blared the following:

"Former Staten Islander and her Partner "Married" but State Law Says Single" with a photo accompanying the article that looked like this:

Staten Island Advance 05.18.11/Hilton Flores





I strongly suggest you read the (front page, did I mention) article yourselves to draw your own conclusions, but Sarah was quoted with the following statement: 

"We've been holding [off on] getting married until it is legal in our state," Ms. Ellis told the Advance. "It would be amazing if it happened. It it's passed, we are going to get married instantly."

She's obviously talking about me with regard to who she's going to marry instantly upon this law passing, right....?

Assuming that's the case, SKE, my answer is a resounding YES, under one major condition. ROLL VIDEO:



LET'S DO THIS ALREADY NEW YORK STATE!

#Hendo

ps-As of this moment, our story is the most commented article on SI Advance.com this week BY FAR in comparison to the other online articles. Many comments are supportive, some are people who "feel badly for my kids," and that's when I stopped reading the comments. I tweeted the following out to the people who pity my family:

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bob Brody's Lettertomykids.org

Sarah and I recently wrote a guest blog for Bob Brody's Letters To my Kids. It's such a brilliant idea he has, to share your history with your kids via letters, so I was totally thrilled when we were invited to submit our own letter. The whole point of our guest blog, of course, was to promote our book, so in the end our blog ended up leaning more toward Times Two excerpt shaped to be a letter, which is totally fine. The blog will expose our book to a universe of people who never would have known it existed, so we're grateful. I am also grateful that the invitation forced me to write a letter to my kids, though! So I'm posting the initial letter I wrote here as today's blog post on Hangin' With Hendo! 

We should all be writing letters to our kids. It's the best gift we could ever leave them. Thanks, Bob, for reminding me of that.

Dear Thomas & Kate,
So, now that we're heading into your third mother's day on the planet, I thought it would be a good idea to write you a letter outlining the expectations of this momentous holiday.  That way, as we move forward together as a family, there will be fewer misunderstandings. We can just refer back to this document as a reference.

Mother’s Day, as a rule, is particularly stressful on the children of the mother - in your case, the mothers. My brother, sister, and I never quite got it right growing up. Your Nana always felt like she ended up planning the entire day, even though we always came up with the unique idea to barbeque hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill...Every. Single. Year. 

Growing up, it was always one of those holidays that would sneak up on me. As such, I swore I would never put any undue pressure on my own children regarding plans for Mother's Day.

That’s how I thought I’d be.

Before you were born.

Now that you’re here, I feel very differently about Mother’s Day. In fact, I probably feel very much the same way my mother (your Nana) feels about it. OWED.

See, I met your mom and we fell in love. We decided together we wanted to start a family. And when I say together, I mean literally. There was fertility drama on the road to conceiving you both, none of it was fun, much of it required hormonal manipulation via drugs, and oftentimes we experienced cramping (severe, by the way). But somehow, miraculously, you were both conceived on the very same day in May of 2008. 

Since the moment of your "twinned" conceptions, Mommy Sarah and I have been convinced that the two of you must have a serious pact with one another. We actually believe you two have traveled through many lives together. Now, you know Mommy Sarah doesn't really buy much into that type of "mumbo jumbo," so to get her to agree with me on this theory must mean you two really have some deep connection with one another.

In fact, we write all about your connection in our "family book," as you like to refer to the memoir your mom and I got to write thanks to the “miraculousness” of you both (Times Two/Free Press). We make it very clear that  "[You] remind us on a daily basis that from the moment [you] were conceived, this was [your] story. Not ours." 

While those words really do ring true 364 days of the year, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge in writing that, "This is your story…except on Mother's Day."

On Mother’s Day, the story is about the “miraculousness” of how your two moms got pregnant on the exact same day! It’s about how we went through nine months of pregnancy elbowing each other out of the way as we ran to the bathroom ill from morning sickness. It’s about our swollen ankles (thankfully gone), carpal tunnel (I still show signs of it), still visible varicose veins (Mommy Sarah will be annoyed I mentioned those), and the 180 pounds we collectively gained together to bring you here healthy and viable.

So. Take note. Do not show up on Mother’s Day with cards whose envelopes are still wet from just having been sealed. Even more importantly, do not show up with conjoined mother’s day cards. We both pushed, so we both earned our own individual Hallmark moment. Do not plan a barbeque without paper plates and plastic forks and knives. We’re not doing your dishes, and quite honestly we’d much prefer your company than lose you to cleaning up after the party.

If none of these things seem attainable to you, all I ask for Mother’s Day is that on a year-round basis you always be safe, you always be kind, you never be afraid to call us if you’re in a bind, and know that no matter what is happening in your life, you can always, ALWAYS tell me. And if you can’t tell me, you can tell Mommy Sarah. But I’m probably a better first bet.

I love you with all my heart,
Mommy Kristen



Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Mob Wives?

I'm actually a little nervous to even blog about them...for the same reason I try not to blog about Real Housewives of New Jersey.

But, these ladies aren't even mob wives. I don't mean to scrutinize or nit pick, but wife indicates to me that one is married to someone in the mob. And all the "husbands" (who are actually their fathers) are in jail. So. Who cares?

This show would have rocked in 1986...when there was a mob.

This show is so lame that even the Gotti daughter isn't on it.

And WOW. As if it wasn't hard enough for Staten Island to convince us it's not such a bad place...

If this blog sounds like I won't be watching it again, you don't know me very well AT ALL! I will be watching, and I will likely lie in public that I am watching. But I'll blog about it for those of you not watching who secretly wish they were watching. This is serious train wreck TV.

And I hope I don't piss Sarah off by telling you that SHE WENT TO SCHOOL with one of the mob wives! How exciting is HER life?! Sarah's book comes out AND Mob Wives starring someone in her year book premier's all within 2 weeks of each other? Someone send our house an oxygen tank!

#Hendo
This is the one I'm most scared of, personally. #Shecrazy.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Stuffing A Ballot Box: The Gift That Keeps on Giving...

@lizbrooks & Dena meet the U.S. Women's Soccer Team

A few years back, our tour manager (@lizbrooks, whom many of you know and love) stuffed a ballot box to win a contest to meet the United States Women's Soccer Team. I'm talking about the Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Brandi Chastain team. And she didn't really stuff a ballot box (I can feel Liz's eye roll from Passover in Wellesley, MA as I type).

Basically, it was a contest to get people to sign up for the US Women's Soccer Team email list. So we emailed the Antigone Rising list and told them all to sign up and say "Liz Brooks sent me." And a good majority of our email list (for the love of Liz Brooks) did so. And she won the contest. Which led to her being flown out to a US Women's Soccer Team practice. Liz got to bring a guest, so she brought Dena (AR's drummer), and this led to Dena and Liz becoming friends with many of the players. This led to Antigone Rising being invited to perform and play at the team's annual Go-Girl-Go Celebrity Golf Tournament Event in California, which also led to the band becoming great friends with the soccer team's marketing guru, Jen, who birthed the whole email list contest idea in the first place!

And now, six years after Liz "stuffed" the contest's ballot box, Jen has sent the following email out to her personal list of friends. I encourage you to copy and paste Jen's email, change the names where appropriate, and send it out to your very close group of friends. And you should cc: Liz Brooks on your correspondence!

An email sent from the computer of Jen Rottenberg:

To all my friends:

I hope you all are well and for those I haven't talked to in a while, let me know what's up in your lives!!

The reason for my mass email: my friend Kristen Henderson and her partner Sarah Kate Ellis have just had their book, Times Two (Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/143917640X/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=hanwithen-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399349&creativeASIN=143917640X), published.  Now, I may be a bit biased since I know the authors and many of the "characters" in the story, but Kristen is a great songwriter and it turns out she and Sarah are excellent authors as well.  To be a good friend, I ordered my copy on Amazon and when it came in on Monday I thought, "well, I'll wait until the weekend when I might have some time, to start reading this," but I started thumbing through it and then I found myself reading and I just kept reading...I can't tell you how few books I've had a chance to read lately, but I kept coming back to this one all week until well, i'd finished it...it's a great, easy read...and a poignant story of two women, how they met, fell in love, and somehow unconventionally created a conventional family.

Some of you have taken bold leaps into motherhood yourselves and I think Kristen and Sarah's story will resonate with you. Some of you have met Kristen and her bandmates, or heard their music at my behest, and so this book may feel familiar. And, even if you haven't done either, I hope you all will purchase the book (look, making it easy, here's the link again: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/143917640X/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=hanwithen-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399349&creativeASIN=143917640X) ...in just the same way that the somewhat mainstream success of "The Kids are All Right" helped breakdown stereotypes, mainstream awareness of a book like this will help further chip away. So, order it! And, forward this email to all your friends and send them out to purchase it...let's make it a best-seller!!!

And, when you get the book, be sure to quickly flip to that glossy section of pages in the middle, you know, the ones in every memoir, that include photos of the principles...be sure to check out the photo of Kristen on stage, as I am honored that of all the thousands of photos that exist in the world of her performing over the past couple of decades, she chose an image from one of her two performances at MY golf tournament to include in Times Two! :)

Buy it! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/143917640X/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=hanwithen-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399349&creativeASIN=143917640X

All my best,
Jen


#Hendo

Monday, April 11, 2011

Author Interview for Times Two

Our publisher did this author interview with Sarah and me a few weeks back! Check it out, and please spread the word that our new book Times Two, is available in bookstores and online everywhere!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Times Two Satellite Radio Tour for April 5, 2011!

Let's toast to Times Two, IN BOOKSTORES TOMORROW!

I'm going to live blog from our satellite radio tour tomorrow...at least I'll try to. It probably won't be totally live blogging because the radio interviews are live...and they're literally stacked one after the other after the other.

Basically, what's happening is Sarah and I will be sitting in a studio at MTV (shout out to Emily and Gretchen and Jill for pulling this whole thing together for us, btw). Every ten minutes, we get beamed out to a new market/station and we just start answering questions.

Do you all recall a little while back, Paula Abdul was doing one of these satellite tours (on tv) and she started talking gibberish to one of the markets still thinking she was on somewhere else? She got "confused?" Click here to roll the video. Sarah and I are thinking about drinking mimosas tomorrow morning to celebrate the release of our first memoir (can you say franchise? though I have no idea how we'd follow this one up...) and see if we can pull a Paula Abdul in the studio.

I'M JUST KIDDING GRETCHEN. AND EMILY. AND JILL. AND EVERYONE AT SIMON AND SCHUSTER AND FREE PRESS. AND MOM.

It is good to know that you're reading my blog, though.

Here's tomorrow morning's schedule of events, should you happen to be in one of the markets Sarah and I will be beamed into (with mimosas in hand):

Portland, ME “Morning Show,” WJBQ FM 9:30-:40am EST
Kansas City, KS “The Buzz” KRBX FM 8:40-:50am CST
State College, PA “Morning Show” WBVH 9:50-10:00am EST
Seattle, WA “Jackie & Bender Mornings” KBKS-FM 7:10-7:20 PST
Rapid City, SD “Morgan & Murdoc” KDDX-FM 8:20-:30 MST
Albuquerque, NM “McKenzie & Kiki” KKOB-FM 8:30-:40 MST
Las Cruces, NM “Trinity & Joey” KHQT 8:40-:50 MST
El Paso, TX “Johnny Kage & DJ Kavi” XHTO-FM 8:50-9:00am MST
Harisburg,/Mt. Jackson VA “Morning Show,” WSVG 10:00-10:10am EST
Santa Cruz/Monterey/Salinas, CA PST “Morning Show” KRXA-AM 7:00-7:10am PST
Orange County/Riverside/Inland Empire, CA “Morning Show” KCAA 7:00-7:10am PST

I did my best to get EST/CST/MST/PST times right. I had to google a few of these markets...I get fuzzy around MST markets. Sorry MST peeps.

The book comes out tomorrow. Did you buy it yet? Well, go buy it! And if you already have, please tell your friends to buy it. Or just buy it for them. Really. Every purchase gets Sarah and me closer to being best selling authors. Hah. What a hoot that would be.

#Hendo

Purchase Times Two




Thursday, March 31, 2011

SOCIAL WORKER SUNDAY (RE-POSTED FROM 02.06.11)

A Norman Rockwell moment (photo by Denny)

"I mean, how straight should we make it?"

"Did you just hear yourself?"

"I meant...how much do we have to straighten up for this person."

"I'm not straightening up. I'm not doing anything. She can come here and write her stinking report." Biting lip, stairing around the room, thinking, thinking, thinking, "Do you think we should take the crib tents down?"

"They sell crib tents at Buy Buy Effin' Baby! She's going to judge us because we don't want our babies kamakazi diving out of their cribs?"

"Can I make a suggestion...." mom chimes in from couch. "Will you at least move the alcohol off your counter. I think that would be a good idea."

In our defense, it's not like the babies can reach the alcohol (in case the social worker happens to read my blog). But yes, we do have an ocean's worth of unopened Jack Daniels in a bottle that's still got the seal on it (again, in case the social worker happens to read my blog). It ended up in our house after the Perrotta/Ellis-Hendo Block Party last summer. It was a freakin' Noman Rockwell moment in our neighborhood, and all we have to show the social worker from it is an ocean's worth of Jack Daniel's that never got opened.

She won't see the bouncy castle we rented. Or the terrifying (that's me projecting) clown that was face painting. 

"We'll move it to the basement." We both agreed.

So this is the day we've been waiting for. A rite of passage for all new parents. The one when a social worker comes to our house and deems us fit to raise our own kids.

I remember my brother Tommy telling me what it was like when he and his wife were deemed fit by....hey, wait a minute...they didn't have a social worker come to their house to judge them? Oh, right. Of course not! They have their civil rights. Silly, silly, silly me.

Now, before you post to my blog that you're sick of me and my sour grapes (that's aimed directly at all my Tea Party readers. C'mon, I know you're out there), I would like to remind you all of the following:

If a married couple uses a donor bank to create a family, just like Sarah and I did, they do not have to adopt that child. To be clear - the husband, or father, does not have to adopt his own child. Because that's what that child is. His. No social worker comes to visit their house on Super Bowl Sunday.

Let's go one step further because, at the very least, I've got my right to free speech...

If a heterosexual/unmarried couple uses a donor bank to create a family, just like Sarah and I did, the woman can list her male boyfriend as the father on the baby's birth certificate. And guess what? No social worker will come to their house, assuming they even live together. Not even on Super Bowl Sunday.

Now go enjoy your buffalo wings.

#Hendo

ps-Neighbor Sara who has been through this degrading experience herself and partner Sarah who lived it with me wanted me to add this fact to the blog. We actually had to PAY the social worker for the visit...write a check for the humiliation. So...that too. 

READ THE BLOG POST ABOUT THE BABIES ADOPTION DAY HERE:
A DAY LIKE TODAY

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dinosaur Towels & The Like Button

In the ten free seconds I found for myself yesterday (exaggeration), I figured out how to copy and paste some code into the back end of this blog that makes a "Like" button appear at the bottom of my posts. While I love that many of you leave comments, I also understand that not everyone has the time or inclination to leave one. So now I've got this "Like" button for all the people who mean to post to my blog but just can't muster up the energy. All you have to do is click "Like" to help boost my self esteem.

#Hendo

ps-Depending on your definition of free time, I did manage to make it over to TJ Maxx yesterday to impulsively buy a set of dinosaur towels. Two out of three members of my family were thrilled about it when I returned home. One is not sure how we will integrate dinosaur hand towels into our everyday living. I say to that one, lighten up...

TJ Maxx - T Rex Towel - "LIKE"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Please, Just Be Doctors.

Whenever I tell my friends that I want the babies to be doctors or lawyers, they act SO shocked. Even...offended. My friends actually get pissed at me because I don't want my kids to go through the same hell I've gone through for "my art."

So, let me just spell out exactly what I did and you can imagine how you'll feel when your kid does the same thing to you.

I went to (according to me and everyone who went with me) one of the best universities of higher learning in the entire country (Ray, Bucknell!) and got a liberal arts degree. It cost my parents plenty of dough, and will probably cost you about a million duckets by the time your kid decides to mess with you.

I graduated with honors (this is my blog, I can say whatever I want), and shortly thereafter got a job in advertising. I quickly climbed the corporate ladder because I was...innovative...charismatic...quite frankly, to paraphrase Charlie Sheen, I was a winner. While the others were getting measly raises or no raises at all, I was getting 10% increases and job offers from competitive advertising firms...and taking them.

with Sarah Mclachlan - Lilith Fair
But I was bored. Unfulfilled. I had A DREAM. My art was calling me....so I moved into an apartment on Bleecker St. in the West Village with my sister and I started a band. We were both still working in advertising when we began selling out clubs in New York City. And eventually we won a coveted spot on Sarah Mclachlan's Lilith Fair tour. Yes, I'm exaggerating. We won 2 dates on the tour. But more than 1 date makes it a tour. Don't question me. My blog. My rules.

We had grown so popular that The Today Show featured us (ok, it was The Today Show in New York, the one that airs at 5am). And after we performed in the plaza, I jumped on a subway so as not to be late for my day job. I got to discuss my morning's performance with my colleagues around the water cooler before heading to my cubicle to revise media plans for my New York Life client.

This is all true stuff, people.

I had a fat salary with fat benefits. I could go to the podiatrist if I felt like it and get opinions about bunions. I'm not saying I did (or didn't). I had a matching 401K plan. You know. The whole nine yards.

And then. I quit. Just like that. Done.

Cashed in my 401K. Put the down payment for a van on my personal credit card. Put $10K of recording studio and CD duplication costs on another credit card cause they sent me checks and I thought that would be a good idea. Let my cobra lapse. Stopped going to doctors. Toured the country relentlessly, playing 260 shows a year. Never. Saw. My. Home. Slept in Motel 6s. Every night. Until Priceline.

Chased ghosts. And paid minimums on all my credit cards. For ten years.

Then Jason Flom signed us to Lava Records.

ONE IN A BILLION CHANCES THAT HAPPENS TO YOUR KID. TRUST ME. ESPECIALLY NOW. THE MUSIC INDUSTRY DOESN'T EVEN EXIST, PEOPLE. IT'S THE SNUFFLEUPAGUS  OF CORPROATE AMERICA.  YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT I GOOGLED THAT SPELLING...

Yes. A lot of neat things happened when I was signed to Lava Records, like getting to be on THE REAL Today Show. When you google me, shit comes up. I know. But I'm not RICH from it. I'm not worry-free because of it. I don't have a nest egg. I can't retire in five years like all my other fellow Buknellians who went and formed Lending Tree.com and did SMART things.

 Yes, I love what I do. Yes, I think that's what is most important. But maybe....JUST MAYBE...I could have loved being an anesthesiologist. So I am going to push them...just nudge them a little in a different direction. Pardon me for trying!

#Hendo.
ps-It's clearly NOT working.
Thomas drums in the studio wearing a doctor shirt....SO CLOSE, yet SO FAR! (photo by A. Vontobel)






Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Day Like Today

We woke up to the sound of Thomas and Kate debating in their cribs. They're the Hannity and Colmes of 2 year olds. Actually, I take that back. They're the Siskel and Ebert. Neither of my kids is like Hannity.

After taking them out of their cribs, I announced we were getting dressed up today because we had to go meet someone.  Then Sarah added, "He's like Santa." And I said, "Except he might not have a beard, he'll be dressed in black and there's a chance he's a woman."

"That's right," Sarah agreed. "He's a Judge and he's a very nice man, assuming he's a man. He could be a lady too."

And so that's how this day started.

We got dressed. We ate breakfast. We piled into the car. We map blasted how to get to the courthouse in Mineola. I've only lived here my whole life and gone to Mineola a million times...I was nervous. I didn't want to be late.

We got to the courthouse and sat down in the courtroom with all the other families about to adopt children. The (male) Judge entered the room and began telling some story about the best adoption he'd ever overseen. I drifted off and snapped back to attention when he said, "...and now that you're all about to become families..." It was like he tossed a cold glass of water in my face. 

I've been struggling with why this adoption process is making me so...well...sick to my stomach. If I'm just plain honest about it, it's because this process reminds me of how ashamed I was to be gay. And it reminds me that I'm not equal. And in that lack of equality, it reminds me that I should probably still be ashamed on some level.
 (For those of you in need of back story, refer to the following blog posts: Civil Rights & Vitamin D (posted 11.23.10) & Social Worker Sunday (posted 02.06.11)).
 
The good news is, I'm not ashamed to be gay anymore. It's a bit like a scar. Sometimes the scar hurts when it rains. Like today. But I'm not ashamed.

Days like today make me think of all the kids who are still ashamed. And it makes me think of the parents of those kids who have taken their own lives because they were so ashamed. And it makes me think of my own kids who stood in front of a Judge today and were told that they were not a family until today. They had to miss their Music Together class to be told that. Their teacher is going to let them make up the class. But still.

I can't really spell this whole thing out because I haven't processed it totally. All I can tell you is that a day like today reminds me that I'm different than you are. And I just want to stop being reminded of that already.

#Hendo.

 Nothing says "celebrate" more than breakfast at the diner with a plastic fire hat:
Sarah and me at the courthouse with the Judge, our lawyer, Sarah's parents, Thomas, Kate and puppy


Me with our son, Thomas



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Soundtrack to Times Two, Oh Yes There Is.

Sarah and I have written a book. Sorry if that's redundant, but I don't want to leave behind any potential first time visitors to 'Hangin' With Hendo', as I'm sure my blog is inundated with first time readers on a daily basis.

If we're to believe google analytics, which @lizbrooks does, then often enough we do have first time readers. I just personally can't imagine where you're coming from, so it shocks me and makes me think google analytics is full of crap. @lizbrooks, fortunately, begs to differ.

As I was saying, Sarah and I have written a book. A memoir, even. It's called Times Two.

It's out April 5th in bookstores everywhere. Unlike me. I'm just out. Everywhere.

Anyway, this blog was not meant to be a tangent about the outness of me or my book. I'm reeling my artist back in.

The point of this blog is to tell you about the book's soundtrack.

Now many of you are saying, "Kristen's book has a soundtrack?"

And I'm here to tell you, "Damn straight, Kristen's book has a soundtrack!"

Here's how. And here's why.

When it came time to name chapters, I was force feeding the babies daily doses of The Beatles. Music, that is. In fact, I wanted to name every chapter after a Beatles song...rename the whole book after one, even. It felt like my inner genius was percolating, overflowing, and I couldn't wait to share my brilliant idea with our publisher.

Before getting to our publisher, a very good writer friend suggested I take a deep breath and "maybe not do that." She suggested, instead, that we give the book "the best title you possibly can without limiting it to a Beatles song title" (sound advice) and that we name the chapters after "any songs that we happen to love. Not just Beatles songs."

So, I handed Sarah my iPod, loaded with about 20,000 of my favorite songs. She began taking it to and from work on her commute, scrolling the songs for appropriate song titles that would work as chapter titles. OK, in a few cases I did step in and direct. But overall, Sarah ended up picking 14 of my all time favorite songs as titles for our book chapters. And I'm telling you, that's a jaw dropping coincidence because Sarah truly has absolutely no way of knowing that The Pretenders, "Talk of the Town" was my end all be all song in 1983. I mean, seriously, we tell each other everything...but if you're going that deep with your person you're in major co-dependent hell. #therearebooksyoucanreadaboutit.

And no book would be worth it's salt without a theme song. So, Antigone Rising's "Borrowed Time" serves as that. Soundtracks are cliche enough without naming the book's theme song after the book. Wouldn't you agree?

The end result, all 15 songs (14 chapters and the theme song) are available for download at the top of this blog. It's the Times Two Soundtrack.

And I think it kicks ass.

#Hendo

Times Two, in bookstores April 5, 2011



Sunday, February 6, 2011

Social Worker Sunday.

A Norman Rockwell moment (photo by Denny)

"I mean, how straight should we make it?"

"Did you just hear yourself?"

"I meant...how much do we have to straighten up for this person."

"I'm not straightening up. I'm not doing anything. She can come here and write her stinking report." Biting lip, stairing around the room, thinking, thinking, thinking, "Do you think we should take the crib tents down?"

"They sell crib tents at Buy Buy Effin' Baby! She's going to judge us because we don't want our babies kamakazi diving out of their cribs?"

"Can I make a suggestion...." mom chimes in from couch. "Will you at least move the alcohol off your counter. I think that would be a good idea."

In our defense, it's not like the babies can reach the alcohol (in case the social worker happens to read my blog). But yes, we do have an ocean's worth of unopened Jack Daniels in a bottle that's still got the seal on it (again, in case the social worker happens to read my blog). It ended up in our house after the Perrotta/Ellis-Hendo Block Party last summer. It was a freakin' Noman Rockwell moment in our neighborhood, and all we have to show the social worker from it is an ocean's worth of Jack Daniel's that never got opened.

She won't see the bouncy castle we rented. Or the terrifying (that's me projecting) clown that was face painting. 

"We'll move it to the basement." We both agreed.

So this is the day we've been waiting for. A rite of passage for all new parents. The one when a social worker comes to our house and deems us fit to raise our own kids.

I remember my brother Tommy telling me what it was like when he and his wife were deemed fit by....hey, wait a minute...they didn't have a social worker come to their house to judge them? Oh, right. Of course not! They have their civil rights. Silly, silly, silly me.

Now, before you post to my blog that you're sick of me and my sour grapes (that's aimed directly at all my Tea Party readers. C'mon, I know you're out there), I would like to remind you all of the following:

If a married couple uses a donor bank to create a family, just like Sarah and I did, they do not have to adopt that child. To be clear - the husband, or father, does not have to adopt his own child. Because that's what that child is. His. No social worker comes to visit their house on Super Bowl Sunday.

Let's go one step further because, at the very least, I've got my right to free speech...

If a heterosexual/unmarried couple uses a donor bank to create a family, just like Sarah and I did, the woman can list her male boyfriend as the father on the baby's birth certificate. And guess what? No social worker will come to their house, assuming they even live together. Not even on Super Bowl Sunday.

Now go enjoy your buffalo wings.

#Hendo

ps-Neighbor Sara who has been through this degrading experience herself and partner Sarah who lived it with me wanted me to add this fact to the blog. We actually had to PAY the social worker for the visit...write a check for the humiliation. So...that too. 





Friday, January 28, 2011

Times Two, out April 5, 2011!


Some of you know that my partner, Sarah, and I have written a memoir called Times Two. It's due out April 5, 2011 through Free Press (an imprint of Simon & Schuster). Some of you don't know we've written a book...but actually you do now unless you didn't read the first line of this blog. The book is about our simultaneous pregnancies (yes, we got pregnant on the exact same day), the trials and tribulations that followed (being exactly the same pregnant with your person), and the subsequent births of our delicious "twiblings," Thomas & Kate.

Our friends at Free Press have very graciously donated 10 copies of Times Two to Antigone Rising's 23 Red Kickstarter promotion. Sarah and I will autograph the copies and they will ship out on March 3rd directly to your doorstep. That's 1 full month before it will be in bookstores. So if you're dying to know what I looked like in the delivery room and can't wait until April 5th, there's a picture in the photo well, not nearly as graphic as you've allowed your imagination to roam. But still. It is me. In the delivery room. Trying to figure out how on earth a baby is supposed to fit out of...well, read the book.

So, if you'd like 1 of 10 advanced/autographed copies of Times Two, please go to our Kickstarter.com page and pledge for it. If you've already pledged on something else, you can increase your current pledge amount, and then send us an email telling us what you've done. Just be sure to select the book as your new selected reward, with your combined pledge amount.

So here's some things people are saying about Times Two to help get you excited about pledging:


Kristen Henderson & Sarah Ellis have written a book so disarmingly funny, touching and readable, that you almost forget it is about all the important issues of our time...women's rights, civil rights, and family rights. The journey of Kristen and her partner, Sarah, in their quest to have a child, seems like Nora Ephron's idea of a script...hilarious at times, frustrating, maddening and, finally, a Hollywood style happy ending. This book captures the political zeitgeist of all the modern families in the country, and shows that, whatever your beliefs and affiliations, the most important component in the make-up of a family is love.
 
Cherie Currie
Lead singer of The Runaways
author of "Neon Angel"


Kristen and Sarah have done two things with their new book.  First, they’ve shown themselves to be two powerful writers who are so close to each other that they sometimes feel as if they write in one voice. Secondly, and more importantly, they’ve shown that love comes from two people wanting, for reasons they don’t control, to meld their lives together.  At the end you find yourself not at the end of a story, but at the beginning of a wonderful life.

Rob Thomas
Grammy award winning songwriter/songwriter


Kristen and Sarah somehow make a "slice of life" story of love, career and family into an entertaining page turner. We are reminded that the magic moments of life are found in the day to day, ordinary struggles of overcoming obstacles as well as in the fulfillment of our dreams.  This book helps to carry a movement, a shift in paradigm, that has been a long time coming. I hope Times Two reaches a wide and varied audience of readers so that this truth becomes our new norm: society needs healthy, loving, functioning families regardless of how they are made or how they look.

Kathy Valentine
Songwriter and Bassist of the pop/punk band The Go-Go's
Tweeting her own memoir 180 characters at a time at: @kvmemoir


What was it Tolstoy said? Happy families are all alike? This book proves the great Russian writer was absolutely wrong. Happy families come in all varieties. This funny and touching book is Exhibit A.

A.J. Jacobs, bestselling author of My Life as an Experiment and The Year of Living Biblically

This is a tender and touching story of two talented women falling in love and forming a beautifully unconventional family. Readers will be fascinated by their simultaneous pregnancies and dual journeys into motherhood. Times Two offers wonderful perspectives on the joys and challenges of contemporary lesbian life.

Nanette Gartrell, MD My Answer is NO…if that's okay with you: How Women Can Say No With Confidence
Principal Investigator, US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study

To pledge for an advanced copy of Times Two, just go to Antigone Rising's #23Red Fun'd on Kickstarter.com!

Thanks everyone,
#Hendo


Monday, January 24, 2011

Antigone Rising's Kickstarter Promotion.

I can be honest here, right? This is my blog, afterall. Not many things are mine anymore. I live with 2 - two year olds and there is an excessive amount of "mine" speak in my house. For the record, nothing is mine. Except for this blog. When they nap.

So let's get this blog out, shall we?

The band is making a brand new CD. We started recording it before the new year. And we realized quickly that, well, one of the perks of being signed to a major label was that they gave us money to do things. like. record.

But here we are now in a very different music industry and we're going it on our own. We love the autonomy. But we do need help to get this CD recorded properly. And then beyond that, we need to manufacture and promote the thing.

So we're asking fans to donate money to our project. We launched a campaign on Kickstarter.com. And now I spend my days hitting the refresh button hoping we reach our goal. Because if we don't reach our goal, we don't get one single dime that people have pledged. And since I can be completely honest here on my very personal blog, I can tell you that our goal of $20K might seem like a lot of money. And it IS a lot of money. I don't have it sitting around in my bank account, that's for sure. But when you're recording and manufacturing and promoting a CD, $20K disappears in about 2 seconds.

So we're figuring out ways to be creative. And we're figuring out ways to get this CD done bare bones. We've always done that, even when we were signed to a major label. And we're offering fun, creative (we think) rewards to our fans who back our project.

Allow me to be candid here for a moment, would you? My band has been through a lot. When we almost broke up in 2008 I was devastated, and fortunately pregnant so I couldn't sink into an ocean of depression (cue violins, and no, the violins are not coming out of the Kickstarter budget). I never in a million years thought we'd figure out a way to regroup successfully. And I'm sure most of you didn't think we could either. And some of you have no idea what I'm even talking about, so never mind.

But we're coming back stronger than ever. We've written some amazing songs that I'm really proud of. Some of them are the best songs I've ever written (at least according to me). It would just be so great to be able to record a CD and PUT IT OUT THERE!

I thought the babies would cure my addiction to Antigone Rising, but I was completely wrong.  Since they've been born, all I want to do is teach them to never ever give up on their dreams. Melodrama duly noted.

If the babies don't kill me first, this band certainly will...(cries from across the hall indicate this blog is done).
#Hendo

ps-If you visit our Kickstarter page, you can share our project with your friends. So please tell your friends to tell their friends about our Kickstarter campaign!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 1 - Tampa/Rock Boat XI Tour Diary

Just before my alarm went off at 5:45am yesterday morning, I opened my eyes. I took a few seconds to focus on the cable box clock. It said 5:42am. I beat my alarm clock. The joys of being a mother...

I rolled over, turned my alarm off and texted Jude to see if she and Cathy were running on time (never...Sibby, not Jude).
Kristen's text: "U on time?"
Jude's text back: "Happy Birthday"

For years, Jude had no idea how to send text messages, so she'd just use the default/preset messages her phone gave her. The "Happy Birthday" message became synonymous with the word "yes."

I couldn't believe it. Cathy and Jude were really going to be to my house by 6am? Ugh.

I got up...went about my business...dragged my luggage down the steps...saw Mikey P. walking Artie outside in the pitch blackness of the morning...and waited....then I started to wonder....we did say 6am pickup, didn't we? I'm sure that's what the itinerary said...but ever since my passport debacle two days earlier, I started second guessing everything I thought I once knew.

Our manager, Julie, sent out about 100 email remdinders to the band ever since we got booked to be on The Rock Boat XI last June.

Julie's emails: "you will need your passports for the boat. be sure they're up to date and packed with you. we don't know where the boat is going yet and you will need it to board."

Julie sent that message once a month for the first 3 months, then once a week, and about once a day since mid - December.

So on Saturday...New Year's Day...2 days before I'd be climbing into the van at 6am to drive to Florida...I decide to look for my passport. During the babies nap, Sarah pulled it out of the filing cabinet and tossed it at me while I sat at my desk.

expiration: April 10, 2010.

Oh, shit.

More to come...we have to get back on the road right now!

#Hendo