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Showing posts from August, 2008

Book Review: Mama PhD

I live in this weird place. I consider myself an academic, it's in my title at work, yet I don't hold a PhD. I am seriously considering returning to my master's program to "finish" up with a PhD. Yet, I am fairly certain that I don't want to be a faculty member and churn out papers and books. And obviously if I did return to grad school I would be doing it as a mom instead of just being pregnant as I was my final semester. WOW! That thought just gave me the willies. Add to those facts is that my day job is to essentially convince women students to sign up for an academic life. The #1 question in my 15 years of being in academia, including my 4 as an undergrad, is "When do we have babies?" *sigh* Mama PhD: Women Write about Motherhood and Academic Life , does not have one answer to that question. It has many answers. The foreword by Miriam Peskowitz says it best: The essays in this book extend that realization (that the work and family problem is bi

What to Buy Wednesday – Books

I know I said I would be positive in this series, so I am going to say that I am POSITIVE that buying your youngling edu-tainment toys will not guarantee them a ticket to Harvard. Instead I urge you to focus on buying your future student books. Plain old books. Buy them a few of your favorites and some new ones for that bookcase you are setting up in the nursery. Start reading now and never stop reading to your kids. Parenting has a wonderful article on giftedness (h/t Kim ) that not just says that gifted kids are rare, but that we can't make them with drills, toys, and extra work: "Gifted" has become one of the most tossed-about words in the parenting lexicon. Unfortunately -- sorry, but let's get this out of the way right up front -- it's also one of the most misused. The vast majority of children are not gifted. Only 2 to 5 percent of kids fit the bill, by various estimates. Of those, only one in 100 is considered highly gifted. Prodigies (those wunderkinds w

Hillary will always be my home girl

I don't shy away from the fact that Hillary Rodham Clinton & I have our differences. I'd be a fool to suggest otherwise. Yet there is something more than just our hometown that binds me to her. I can't put a label on it, but it's there and for me to ignore it would be dumb. As I watched Hillary last night give the speech of her lifetime, I was star struck. Here we were, the world watching this woman who has fought her whole lifetime to be the President of the United States. We were also watching a woman who did spend the last 35 years working on behalf of women and children here in this country and abroad. Yes, she made concessions that I don't agree with. But she was out there. Not on the streets as some of us are more comfortable, but in the board rooms, in the halls of Congress, and in the White House. I find myself in conversations with other women who fawn over the fact that I am so "active" and outspoken. They belittle themselves by saying tha

Happy Women's Equality Day!

WHEW! I just finished live-blogging HRC's speech over at PunditMom 's Blogher blog. I am spent! 88 years ago today women finally won the right to vote. Oddly and logically it was sold to the country as a motherly duty. That because we raise tomorrow's workers and voters, we should also have the right to vote. 88 years ago it was thought that women would follow their husband's lead in the voting booth. Oh, how wrong they ended up being! Most of the married women I know are far more liberal than their spouses and of course, once you're in the voting booth, all bets are off. I also recently met a die-hard progressive feminist who is married to a REPUBLICAN! Dear goodness!! But I still love and admire said woman. ;-) I get asked every now and then THE question, "If women are the majority in this country, why don't we have more women elected officials?" I don't have an easy answer for that one. But I'm sure it has to do with more women having le

Work it, Mom! Monday

Today I mark the start of the Democratic National Convention at Work it, Mom! Come on by and let me know if you still have any lingering questions about the candidates. I also remind us all that tomorrow marks 88 years since women won the right to vote. That's Alice Paul to our left! And lastly I list a few blogs where you can keep up with how fellow feministas are taking in the convention. So head on over!

This week in Feminista...

Monday will be my weekly column at Work it, Mom! Wednesday will be another edition of my popular series, "What to Buy Wednesday," where I talk honestly with pregnant women & new moms (not to mention their friends & loved ones) about what moms really need to buy. No pushing the Baby Einstein here, mamas! Real, simple, and honest. Tuesday & Thursday there should be radio silence as I have four huge deadlines this week. Two essays and two book reviews. Thankfully the book reviews are almost done, but I need to hunker down this week to finish them up. One is slated for publication and that means CHA-CHING! Any posting those days will most likely be pointing you to other blogs. Plus Thursday is not only kindergarten orientation, but also our pre-school end of the year party. Friday should be a down & out tear fest as the daughter leaves pre-school/day care for the "last time" as we head into the Labor Day weekend and then to kindergarten. I put that i

What do women want?

Tell everyone yourself! This is great new project from the feministas who bring you WAM! Check out this new site.

Kelly Bundy’s boobs

When news broke a few weeks ago of Christina Applegate's diagnosis of breast cancer it took my breath away. I grew up sneaking glimpses of "Married with Children." Oddly, my parents had no trouble with me watching daytime soaps and "Dallas" but "Married with Children" was forbidden. Anywho, Applegate is just a few years older than me and while I never identified with her character, it was a learning experience watching her go from awkward sex-pot to down-right funny lead in "Samantha Who?" So when I read that she had breast cancer, it blew me out of the water. It wasn't that I didn't know that breast cancer can happen to women at any age, but that is was her. Last week I read the headline that she was now proudly cancer-free, I smiled…then almost broke into tears when I read the rest of the story. As a young woman with breast cancer in her family (her mom battled when Applegate was a teen), tested positive for the breast cancer gene,

Book Review: Eco-Friendly Families & Author Conversation

It's back-to-school time and I personally believe this is the real new year. This is the time for resolutions - yes, I'm that much of an academic nrrd. My life revolves around academic years. So what better resolution than to be more green? Eco-Friendly Families , a new book by Helen Coronato, gives you the outline for your whole family to lead a more green life. Now let me tell you, we are not the picture of a green family. Forgive me Goddess, for we have sinned! We live in Chicago which has a horrible recycling program and we're too lazy to haul our recyclables to a community center. We have a 5yo girl who could draw and write 24/7 if we let her, so we go thru more than our fair share of paper. I also indulge in frozen dinners for lunch at work. Did I feel overwhelmed by this book? Yes. Did Coronato address that? YES! Basically she reminds you to go slow. Pick things that you can do or can get your family to do. My favorite part of the book is near the beginning in c

Play ball, Dottie!

A sure fire way to make me cry is to have me watch "A League of Their Own." That scene at the end where the women are in the Hall of Fame and then they start singing? OMG...instant water works! It's been over 60 years since the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League closed shop, but the memories live on, especially due to the movie. Earlier this month we lost another veteran of the league, Dottie Collins . Pitching for six seasons in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, created in 1943 to provide home front entertainment while many major leaguers were off to war, Collins dazzled opposing batters. She pitched underhand, sidearm and overhand; she threw curveballs, fastballs and changeups; and in the summer of 1948, she pitched until she was four months pregnant. She won more than 20 games in each of her first four seasons. She threw 17 shutouts and had a league-leading 293 strikeouts in 1945 for the Fort Wayne Daisies, when the women’s game rese

1100 Torches...Carry on her torch

The 1100 Torches Campaign is a non-profit organization aimed to promote advocacy, while fostering volunteerism and civic servitude. It is our mission to link advocates to causes, providing a robust network for inspiration, support and strength in numbers. In addition, we offer opportunities to share updates, seek volunteers and forge a strong social civic network. Yes, another blog post on Jana Mackey , the young feminist activist we lost over this summer. Check them out.

What to Buy Wednesday – Baby clothes

Well d'uh....of course you buy baby clothes! What I want to stress is to focus buying baby clothes that aren't size 0-3 months. And even skimp on the 3-6 months ones too. Why? Because people like to buy itty bitty tiny baby clothes, socks, and shoes. People also love to gift you baby blankets, so don't go over board like we did. It's also hard to believe when you're pregnant, but those first few months go by so fast and they grow so fast, well, before you know it, they are in the next size. Of course it's a rare bird (hint, hint friends & family of pregnant woman!) who buys an outfit for the lil one that is larger than six months. So...if your budget is tight, focus on the larger sized items. Heck, you can always run out and grab a new pack of onesies. Technorati tags: What to Buy Wednesday , motherhood , parenthood , gift

She's only FIVE!

The problem with having a five-year-old smart, sassy, and sharp daughter is that we often forget that she's FIVE! We often expect her to act her intellect not her age...Get what I mean? If a girl who can instantaneously figure out that her dad's sarcasm is about Hannah Montana and not that she has enough t-shirts, as I tried to explain, er lie about, then why can't she sit nicely thru dinner? Well because she's five. My husband started a new job at the beginning of the month. She has not been happy. I know it's all around our new schedule. On Mondays we have to get up 30 minutes earlier, but I reward her with a trip to Starbucks where we get to share a muffin after we drop off her daddy at his 8 am meeting. He also has to work until at least 5:30 every day and that means we pick her up with just enough time to get home to let the dog out before an accident happens. This also means that no more stopping to have dinner on the way home. This is not a good thing. Ess

Work it, Mom! Monday - Dads & Single Moms

Today at Work it, Mom! I say a heartfelt thank you to Joe Kelly and the team at Dads & Daughters for all the awesome work they did the past decade. I'm so sad that they had to close shop. The Chicago Foundation reminds us that only about 3% of philanthropic money goes towards women and girls-centered programming. Thus the closing of Dads & Daughters shouldn't be a surprise, but it still hurts. On the flip side...kinda...I got a call from the Tyra Banks show. They are looking for single moms who have babies or infants to appear on the show. You also need to be in a difficult situation, having a very tough time at life. If you fit that description and want to learn more email Sonia at And let me know if you're going to be on! Yes, my readers are FIERCE! hehe....

3 Rs gave me an award!

....over 2 weeks ago! But it doesn't diminish how great it felt to receive my first award for this blog. Thanks so much! Here's what Florinda said in her nomination: Veronica brings her perspective as feminist, wife, mom, and Latina (in no particular order) to her blogging about issues of importance to women, and also works in book reviews and the occasional baseball-related post (go Cubbies!) every now and then. And here are the rules for receiving the award: Put the logo on your blog (it's in this post, and has been added to the sidebar). Add a link to the person who awarded you (it's in this post - see above). Nominate at least seven other blogs (see below). Add links to those blogs on your blog (done in the nominations). Leave a message for your nominee on his or her blog And the seven are.... La Chola for always being a source of inspiration when it comes to blogging, being Latina, and being a kick ass mama. i am a butterfly for being brutally honest about li

30 seconds

My 30 second spot is now up on the Progressive Women's Voices site. I'm not going to embed it because I think it would drive me crazy to see that video for a few more days. In order to get this video I took a zillion takes, made a lot of fumbles, and was extremely nervous, which I think is evident on the video. After I saw the video, I was disappointed. I was hoping that somewhere in the 15 minutes I was taped I had done 30 seconds of good stuff without the office needing to splice the video. But seriously I was that nervous. Why was I nervous? It was a combination of a camera being in the room and knowing that countless people would or could see this video. But honestly it's the thought of being wrong. I've seen it a lot of more these days...people putting out their opinion and then saying, "But I'm not speaking for all [insert group here]." Well, honestly you are. And getting to that place was hard for me. For many years I was speaking, representing

Those security codes you have to enter

I hate them, don't you? So annoying...yet so needed. Well on the way home yesterday I heard a piece on NPR about how those security images are now, on some sites, now merged with a project to digitize old books. "Approximately 200 million of these are typed every day by people around the world. Each time you type one of these, essentially you waste about 10 seconds of your time," he says. "If you multiply that by 200 million, you get that humanity as a whole is wasting around 500,000 hours every day, typing these annoying squiggly characters." But with reCAPTCHA, von Ahn has come up with an idea for harnessing all that human brain power. He knew that lots of libraries have huge efforts under way to digitize their collections. These projects first scan books or newspapers by basically taking a picture of each page. Then a computer takes the image of each word and converts it into text, using optical character-recognition software. But computers often come across

Site visit to New Moms

Back in March I wrote about a Chicago organization called New Moms who had a fire that destroyed their shelter. I got an email, blogged it, and Cinnamon posted it to Gapers Block. Somehow they identified me as someone they needed to get to know better, so I went out today for a site visit. Talk about power of the blog. This organization is awesome. First, they work with homeless teenage moms. It's hard to find a group that is more invisible in society. How invisible? According to the City of Chicago, they reported zero percent homeless youth last year. Well, New Moms has room for about 50 homeless youth who are mothers and up to two of their children. I'm gonna trust New Moms on this one. Illinois as a state has only about 110 beds for teen moms...doing the quick math, New Moms has half of those beds. They turn away 400-500 moms each year. They don't just shelter these young moms for up to two years, they also have education programming to help them earn their GEDs, g

What to Buy Wednesday – Our Bodies Ourselves *GIVEAWAY*

When I was pregnant I got two books, What to Expect When You Are Expecting and The Hipmama Survival Guide . While I hated WTE, I loved Hipmama, but was still unfulfilled. Both are such extremes and apparently I am dead in the center, ok left of center, but still. Now Our Bodies Ourselves Pregnancy and Birth is more my pace. I'll admit that I did not read each word in this book, but I feel that I did my due diligence. What OBOS's pregnancy book is is a book that combines the best of hipmama granola with honest medical advise. Yes, OBOS spends a lot of time talking about midwives and what an optimal birth would look like, but I never got the feeling that it was guilting me into having the "perfect" birth. The tone is set at the very beginning on page 9: When used appropriately, maternity care inerventions such as artifical inductions or labor, episiotomies, epidurals, and cesarean sections can improve health outcomes and even save lives. Yet far too often, these i

A Pagan Perspective on Abortion

abortionclinicdays posted a repost on pagans and abortion. As many of you know I claim tree-hugging goddess worshiper as my 'religion' but that basically means I'm a pagan. When I read this post, almost every word resonated with me, so I do as ACD did and repost. Thanks to Anne at Blog o' Gnosis for writing this: Abortion: Holding Life and Death What with the persistent attacks on women’s right to abortion and birth control in this country, I feel I must start clarifying my own position in the (falsely dichotomized) pro-life vs. pro-choice debate. I am both pro-life and pro-choice. I do believe life begins at conception, AND I do not believe it is a sin or a death to end that life before the fetus is born. Because nobody is ever listened to these days without having to stand on their credentials, here are mine: 3 live births, 2 abortions, 1 miscarriage. 2 children adopted as teenagers. 4 children successfully raised to adulthood, one still an adolescent. Have

Work it, Mom! Monday

This week I muse about life as an Olympian in training. Or rather why I don't want to be the mom of one anyway. And lastly, an important message from Barack Obama .

Latina web series

I really should be writing up my Work it, Mom! column for tomorrow, but I'm all out of ideas. Shit. Instead I'm reading thru my Bloglines...looking for ideas people!...and Latina Lista pointed me to a new web-based series, this time starring a Latina. I just finished watching it and LOVED it! You can catch Ylse (as in illegal & sexy) on her website , iTunes, or YouTube. Latina Lista describes the show: A not so politically correct comedy about a young woman's climb up the journalistic ladder and the colorful characters that make up her life. Ylse struggles with her professional life, while navigating the unique circumstances of those living a dual existence; being an American woman of Mexican descent working in the male dominated entertainment news industry. This is no easy ride as Ylse has her own notions as to how things should get done. The best moment was when Ylse is staring at a photo on the back of her's Oprah! Now go and watch!

Toy Review: Leapfrog TAG - revisited

No more than 2 weeks after I posted my semi-warm review of Leapfrog's TAG system that my daughter took to it. *shrug* I thought I had given her enough time to play with it and either like it or not. Guess that's what happens when you're five. I still don't believe she's using it in the ideal way. She's letting the pen read to her, but since she really only has one book, she's hearing the same thing over and over. As we all know, repetition leads to learning, so let's cross our cyber-fingers. She still loves the games and the hidden sounds. I am also keeping my eye out for those National Geographic cards. She's getting a set once I spot them! Technorati tags: Leapfrog TAG , toy review


I utilized this new Google thing where I bought the domain,, and then Blogger directs this blog to the domain. No hosting fees! Rockin'!! So everyone reading this can get to the blog thru both or, but it will bump you right to the domain site. With this, I can also add some additional pages to make this more like a site rather than just a blog, which is super awesome. Be on the look out for additional stuff here. The downside? I had to reclaim my blog over at Technorati which means I have freaking start over with my rating. *sigh* I was up to 87 on the blogspot addy. Why they don't let you change your blog addy, I'll never understand. But hopefully this won't be a huge punishment when marketers, especially a few book blog tour peeps, look at my rating and freak out that a single digit rating blog wants in on their goodies. *shrug* Thankfully Feedburner takes care of the RSS feed. woot!

Feminist Motherhood Week

In lieu of giving you new stuff to read, I'm still wiped from the last book review, I will point you over to the Feminist Underground where Habladora asked for readers to send in pieces on feminist motherhood. No, despite that topic being my current hot topic, I didn't get my butt in gear quick enough. So get! Get over there! Start out with a discussion on health insurance .

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my dad's birthday. I won't tell ya how old he is, but I can say he's not 60 yet. Yup, I have a young dad. While we don't always see eye to eye, he has been obviously pivotal in shaping who I am today. In many ways, if he hadn't stuck around to be my dad, I'd be a totally different person. He's the one who instilled my love of sports which was my gateway drug to feminism. "What do you mean I can't play ball? I throw better than you!" We don't really know how to talk to each other, my mom was our interpreter, we do know we love each other and we know how to talk Cubs. GO CUBS!

More on the business of mommy blogging

This time Kim weighs in. Today I got my first unsolicited material in the mail. What else? A book! But I wasn't pitched it, I just got it. I might review it, but I'm sure I'll end up giving it away. It's mostly a photography book and well, that's not my area. But Kim! Oh, my, Kim gets peanuts delivered to her door! So she's not a pure, anti-ad mommy blogger. She just wants to get paid for it. And she's damn right. She also got me into an event next week with a big company. Thanks Kim! So the big question is if say, um, Target came to me and asked me to help launch their blog and I got paid say $50 a post, but I didn't have to mention Target, just blog about mommy things. Products are good too, but don't have to do it. Just help start a community. Would that make you love me less? Would you think I had more integrity if I did all that and didn't get paid? And of course, if Target is considering this, my contact link is on the sidebar. I can

Book Review: This Common Secret

My fingers didn't know what to do. They sat on my keyboard unsure of what words to type out as my mind was paralyzed by the harrowing picture that Dr. Susan Wicklund paints in This Common Secret . After decades of following the reproductive rights movement and being an activist for the past decade, I thought I had an idea of what was going on. I thought that I *knew* things. I knew nothing. Dr. Wicklund and by proxy every abortion provider in this country are heroes. That's not hyperbole either. Them and their loved ones go through a gauntlet that most of us could not survive. Dr. Wicklund tells her tale starting just before she decided to go to college AFTER being a young mom and eventually heading off to medical school. After becoming a doctor she weaves in stories of the women and girls she met in the clinics she worked in. These are heart-wrenching stories of despair, rape, incest, and eventually hope. I first learned of this book through the Fall 2007 issue of Ms. Magazine

Kiss My Math

Danica McKellar, aka Winnie Cooper, has a new book out. In reality it is the sequel to her first book, "Math Doesn't Suck" where she aims to teach you some pre-algebra topics (pdf): By the time you finish reading them, however, you’ll be a whiz at tons of pre-algebra topics, including integers, negative numbers, absolute value, inequalities, the distributive property, working with variables, word problems, exponents, functions, graphing, and tons of ways to solve for x. OK, if that scared the bejezus outta you, stop now. While I didn't quite like the concept of teaching "girl" math, there is a real need to make science, math & engineering more girl-friendly. Even I, the math nerd I am, zoned out each time we had to do a problem about shooting two bullets or when two rockets would meet. I'd rather spend time trying to figure out how long it would take a fish to outswim a predator. McKellar is sticking to her girly examples and well, I have to ad

What to Buy Wednesday – Reusable Water Bottle

So you're pregnant. Aren't you seriously thirsty now? Since I'm not a medical professional all I can offer is my personal experience. But I have never been more thirsty than when I was pregnant. It's one of the Goddess' evil tricks she plays on us. The more pregnant we get, the thirstier we are, and the smaller our bladder gets. Oh, and then she throws in fluid retention ...which is ironically helped by MORE WATER. I'm going to ask you to be green and NOT buy water bottles. Get a reusable one! Of course with the uncertainty about PBA plastic bottles , it may be hard to find one that you feel safe with. I want to error on the side of safety...That said, I'm still toting around my cancer bottle. I might error, but I'm a lazy person sometimes. But back to YOU! The Center for the New American Dream has a great marketplace where you can investigate which PBA-free bottle is for you. Disclaimer: The executive director for CNAD is also a Progressive Women

Help Build a Children's Book Collection !

I got this in my email a few months ago. Yeah, I'm a slacker. Shari is looking for book recommendations, donations, and people to help out. Book by Book: Social Justice Children’s Library will provide a centralized location for the youth of Berkeley and Oakland to congregate and access resources for social justice and environmental activism, education, and exploration. The primary goal and function of Book by Book is to provide access to books whose content reflects the diversity of the student population, and which expands children’s knowledge of a global community. Books on ethnicity, immigrant lives, diaspora, and assimilation, as well as environmentalism, activism, and community engagement will all be core to the Library. Themes of multiculturalism, feminism, empowerment, diverse families, bilingualism, animal rights, and anything else relevant to the mission of social justice, will be highlighted in the collection. Book by Book is currently seeking book recommendations and do

Work it, Mom! Monday

This week I spew about the kid's pending entrance to the world of kindergarten and "official" school. It's kinda funny that I'm taking this transition hard. I didn't cry when I dropped her off for daycare after my maternity leave. She does drop off perfectly. One thing that I didn't mention in my post is that for kindergarten we literally drop them off. No more walking her to class and leaving with a hug. That's gotta happen in the car. I also won't be picking her up. We have a babysitter to do that most days. T-minus one month. I seriously need to stock up on tissues!

Six Random Things

THE RULES: Link to the person who tagged you. Post the rules on your blog. Write six random things about yourself. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website. Let your tagger know when your blog entry is up. Six random things: 1. I use to know all my friends' birthdays by heart. Some I still remember. 2. I'm starting to like sushi. 3. I crave grilled cheese a lot. 4. I started tutoring in 4th grade 5. I've never donated to a presidential campaign. 6. I hate that I'm such a pack rat, but can't break that habit. Tagged: I'll go easy on ya...If you do it, let me know!

Book Review: What Kindergarten Teachers Know

Disclaimer : I received this book from the author, who is a friend of a friend. She originally got in touch with me to ask my opinion on the book's website and blog. Reviewing the book is just something I want to do because it rawks. Lisa Holewa walked into the classroom of Joan Rice and saw Joan do things she could never do at home to get children to behave. This lead to a revelation that many of parents come to, I think, that teachers have some secrets and we need to shake it out of them! Instead, Lisa & Joan wrote a book revealing those secrets. This very easy-to-read book not only reveals secrets, facts really (kids at this age can really only handle 2-3 step directions, maybe you can work them up to 5), but also reminds us of some very simple ideas (take care of yourself!). They walk us through three guiding principles which are essentially: Kids need to know what is coming next. They just do. This is hard for me to accept because my lil one is always asking questions.

Happy Birthday Kid!

Today my beautiful baby girl turns FIVE! In honor of her day, I present my five favorite things about Elizabeth: She cares about others. She loves to teach others. She loves to climb trees. She loves to read and be read to. She loves the Cubs. Honestly I couldn't begin to list all the things that I love about my girl. She's helped me become a better person, push me to points I didn't think I could go, and taught me to love myself. Before she came along, I did a lot of "what about the children?" talking in regards to taking care of the Earth, our civil liberties, etc. really is all about her. I want to talk her ear off when she asks me in 10 years, "What did you do, Mom?" Mija, this is what I did.