Never Forget

Every year, I tell myself that I’m not going to do it. I am not going to watch the annual 9/11 documentaries. I’m not going to listen to the CD “A Tribute to Heroes” and I’m not going to look through the two books I have commemorating 9/11 full of pictures. And I tell myself that this year I won’t cry. This year, I won’t give into grief. This year I won’t let go and allow myself to remember what that day felt like. But every year, I do. More

January 17th

All I’m saying is simply this, that all life is interrelated, that somehow we’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality. – Martin Luther King Jr.


 

Talking Tucson With Your Kids

I am a pretty compassionate person and when I see injustice or tragedy strike anywhere I feel pain. Both of my children have made it apparent that they have a similar compassion for injustice. That’s why I was unsure what to say to either of them as I sat, stunned, watching the horrific events unfold in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday after Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was among 20 people injured in a shooting where six people, including a 9 year old girl, were killed. More

Earthquake Shakers: Tunes to Help Shake up an Earthquake

So some of my local pals may have felt the earthquake that occurred just a little while ago and clocked in at a small but respectable 4.1 on the good old Richter scale. Right away I logged on to Facebook and enjoyed the fun of guessing the size and getting confirmation that there was indeed an earthquake, and I was not going crazy.

It’s hard to explain the mystique and reaction to California earthquakes to anyone outside of California. So I won’t bother trying. More

Room

This months Left to Write book club book was Room by Emma Donaghue. It’s a haunting tale told from the point of view of a five year old boy who is raised by his mother in small room/shed cut off from the outside world because they’re being held captive.

This book was so sad and disturbing to me because though it’s technically fiction, for me all I could think about was Jaycee Dugard and watching the almost exact same thing unfold in this book as I watched unfold in reality on TV almost exactly one year ago only 30 minutes from where I sit writing this post as my children sleep safe and sound upstairs in their beds. More

Tuesday Tune – Leather & Lace

Now don’t get me wrong; Allen was interested in the details of planning our wedding, they just weren’t as important to him as they were to me. This is the case with most grooms I think, and was never an issue with me. He was always willing to give me an opinion when asked and always helped in making the major decisions.

One decision was something I had put at the bottom of my to-do list, we needed to get a song list together for the DJ. All the other songs (parents dance, father/daughter, wedding party dance, etc) I had chosen when I was around 10 years old, so they were covered. What we were stuck on was our first dance. More

Our Summer Vacation

This summer was pretty awesome. Though I guess it had it’s not so great moments, but all in all it was a pretty awesome summer. We covered a lot of ground and really got out there to see some of our very own Bay Area.

I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that I decided to coincide a post on what I did this summer with a post I planned on doing on “what brings me joy.”

The obvious answer when asked what brings me joy is my kids. But that seemed too simple. And as I looked back over the summer I realized that it’s not just hanging out with my kids that have brought me joy this summer, but hanging with my kids at this age that they are at. Read more

Old Stereotypes Die Hard


In honor of Women’s History Month, a lot of publications and websites have come out with articles about the history of the women’s movement and how far we’ve come. And though in some areas that might be true, many women feel we’ve got a long way to go to truly reach gender equality here in the United States and especially in other parts of the world. The current women’s movement is not just about laws and fair pay but about changing a biased attitude that has been around far too long.

Attitudes like the ones expressed in an article in the Vatican’s newspaper titled, “The washing machine and the emancipation of women: put in the powder, close the lid and relax ” examine how the washing machine has done more for the women’s movement than any other invention in recent history. The article also tells the tale of how the increase of women in the workplace was in large part due to the washing machine. Once we had help with the laundry, we could go to work elsewhere. It was a small step, but an important one.

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, keep in mind the gender biases that still exist. As well as the reasons why a Presidential Commission on Women is so vital not just for protecting and preserving our rights, but about helping to change the stereotypes that still run so strong.

Let the world know that we are not here because of washing machines. We are here because we are strong enough and smart enough to be here.

The Color of Hope

Though I missed the early part of today’s concert celebrating Tuesday’s inauguration of Barack Obama, I was able to catch most of it. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a “Kodak Cryer”. Yes, I do get misty eyed at sappy commercials, songs and movies. But nothing gets me more sapped out like a hope & history.

JFK died almost twenty years before I was born, yet I still cry whenever I hear him speak. In fact I even own a compilation of the speeches he made during his political career on DVD. The same goes for Martin Luther King. For years on my desk at work I had a framed picture of MLK with some of his most inspiring words printed on it. I carry it with me in my purse still.

Movie stars, singers and writers can inspire us. But the inspiration that comes from a sincere politician, well that’s different. That’s magic. That’s fate. That’s history.

Though U2 singing Pride in the Name of Love was a goose bump inducing moment for sure, for me the most incredible moment of today’s celebration was when President-elect Obama came up to the stage and addressed the nation. I was inspired. I was in tears, as were thousands of others.

After September 11th, the one positive thing that happened was the great feeling of community that spread through the nation like wildfire in those days following the attacks.

With the Golden Autumn colors in the fall of 2001 came a wave of Red white and Blue that made our beautiful landscape rich with Pride, love and patriotism. We all cared about one another and our country and our future. All of it was tainted with sadness though. Sadness because it took something like the 9/11 attacks to bring about such change.

Time passed. Over the course of the years since 9/11 those good things that came out of those horrific attacks were again buried. Buried beneath war, civil unrest, economic turmoil, job loss and a complete and utter loss of faith in our Government and each other.

But no more. With one election, that all of us took part in, faith has come creeping back in.

Today, here in California, it felt like Spring. The sun was golden, the air was crisp and the smell of flowers and BBQ were in the air. The sky was a perfect shade of blue and as I watched my kids play outside I took a deep breath. I inhaled the smell and feel of Spring after what had been a long cold lonely winter (yes, I’m quoting Beatles). On TV the sights and sounds of Red White & Blue filled the screen.I swear I could even hear the cries of hope that were coming from the Lincoln Memorial all the way here in California.

Spring is coming. And as the green leaves of Spring return to trees across the country, the Red White & Blue colors of hope also return to the hearts of America.

Happy Inauguration Everybody!

Defining Women and the Enigma of Sarah Palin

It seems odd that only last week I wrote a piece for the WomenCount blog about America’s first woman governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross. I was truly inspired by her story, her time as governor, and all that she did afterward.

Now, less then a week after reading about this first woman Governor, I hear the announcement that one of our seven current governors is resigning. Sarah Palin announced Friday that not only would she not be running for a second term as Governor of Alaska but that she would not even be finishing out her current term. On July 26 she will step down as Governor and turn over the reins to Alaska’s lieutenant governor.

Sarah Palin has been somewhat of an enigma since the day she was announced as John McCains Vice Presidential pick for the 2008 presidential election. With Hillary out of the running, Sarah Palin was quickly thrown into the role of being the voice of women across the country. The only problem is, she wasn’t.

She simply became the only voice. With so few women in office, a magnifying glass is placed on the few that are. Especially politicians such as Palin who manage to stay at the very top of the news cycle.  But the media are not the only ones who have been putting Palin under the magnifying glass.

Every mistake and quirky personality trait has been constantly analyzed and either been trashed or hailed as gospel by women from both sides of the feminist divide. In fact, Palin’s rise to the top of the political spectrum was almost like drawing a line in the sand between liberal and conservative feminists.  A divide that other female politicians have been trying to close, not widen.

The bottom line is Sarah Palin does not define what it means to be a woman. But for as long as she is the only one out there, people will mistakenly think she does. The solution is simple. If we have more women in office the definition of a woman would no longer be limited to the oddities of Sarah Palin and her political career choices.

We are women. We are old, we are young, we are black, and we are white and every color in between. We are single, married, and divorced. We are gay, we are straight we are moms and we are successful career women. We work from home, we work on farms, and we work in skyscrapers. We are as far right and as far left as they come. We are women. Now is our time to stand up and define ourselves.

By increasing the number of women in office the media will be forced to stop defining women by just one person. Maybe even be forced to stop trying to define women at all and simply let us get to the task at hand, making the world a better place.

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