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Showing posts from December, 2008

Does your New Year's resolution include dancing?

** This week's giveaway is a $10 card to both DonorsChoose & BuildaBearville ** Then you are in luck! The Revelette's are looking for new members: The Revelettes, Chicago's hippest and hottest performing go-go troupe, are inviting Chicago's cheekiest chicas to don their white boots and join the go-go revolution! Auditions will be held Monday, January 26, from 7:30–9:00pm, at Joel Hall Dance Center, 1511 W. Berwyn. The Revelettes perform 1960s-inspired go-go to beats from the past four decades at such venues as darkroom, Betty's Blue Star Lounge, Empty Bottle and The Double Door. Check out photos, video, and info at They also performed, quite patiently, at the Bitch fundraiser I held in May . So they're kewl, ya know. And no, I'm not going out for the troupe. First, I'm an awful dancer and second, I can barely find time to knit much less practice & perform. Revelettes come in all sizes, shapes & colors, so do

BOY am I tired of sexist boy stories

** This week's giveaway is a $10 card to both DonorsChoose & BuildaBearville ** Why yes, I am still wrestling with my review of "The Trouble with Boys" and it doesn't help that I feel like each week there is a story that makes me hurl with its gendered way of looking at the world, its demeaning look at boys, and its patronizing stance on girls. A few days before Christmas TIME & Yahoo! gave me a real treat : So why no modern manlings in the east wing? I have a theory, born of careful historical analysis and solipsism: It's impossible to be elected to the White House if you have young sons, because that would mean you have to campaign with them. Campaigning and raising sons are mutually exclusive. Campaigning requires lots of travel, enormous amounts of time in the public eye and months and months of sitting down quietly listening to the same guy talking while wearing your good clothes. It's like 11 straight months of being

GIVEAWAY:: Happy Birthday to me!!

In celebration of the end of my Jesus year and the start of my Payton year, I am giving away TWO DonorsChoose $10 Giving Cards AND $10 for . Each card has BOTH of those great gifts. If you need help finding a DonorsChoose project, why not this fun project ? We would like to complete a research project on African American heroes and women heroes during black history and women's history month. In order to complete this project we will need plain white t-shirts for the children to create their hero t-shirt. Once the children have completed their research on the Internet, they will use the information to create a hero t-shirt. They will iron on a picture of their hero and a few facts about them. Then we will allow them to be creative and decorate the shirt. To enter, just comment and leave your email addy so I can get in touch with you. You can get an additional entry if you Twitter this contest and let me know about it by commenting here with a link to your tw


Christmas is over and it wasn't as hectic as it could had been and that is due mostly to the sad fact that my dad, younger sister & her son didn't get into Chicago because their plane from NC was canceled twice on Tuesday. The weather sucks right now. Our daughter was heartbroken that her beloved lil cousin wasn't going to be sharing Christmas with her, but she seems to have understood. And because of the cancellation of our family Christmas dinner, I was stuck with a 10 lb ham in my fridge. I don't eat ham - It was for my husband, sister & dad. Yeah....we cook big on holidays. So on Christmas eve I spent a few hours on the phone looking for a home for the lil piggie. The kid & I ended up taking it to the Lincoln Park Community Shelter . It was a nice lesson in giving & appreciation for what we have. We've had snow, fog, and now it's pouring rain. Ugh. Hopefully I can get back on the writing wagon especially since I've been slacker girl th

Latina to head the US Dept of Labor!

Yes, I'm slow on this piece of news. Forgive me, I've been overwhelmed with work and over the weekend I rocked the migraine express. Congrats to Hilda Solis! President-elect Barack Obama’s choice to be labor secretary, Democratic Rep. Hilda Solis of California, is expected to advocate greater union influence in the workplace and more “green” jobs. Solis, the 51-year-old daughter of a Mexican union shop steward and a Nicaraguan assembly line worker, is in line to be the second Hispanic nominee in Obama’s Cabinet.

Don't mess with our sisters

A long running joke in my family is that my younger sister always wanted a big brother. Having a big sister wasn't good enough for her, she wanted someone to protect her, etc. Then I remind her who use to scare away the boy who always teased her from 1st-3rd grade as well as other "big brother" moments. Then again, I did play the big sister role too well most of the time. Yet when we think of feminism and the women's movement, we think "sisterhood" in the most romantic sense. But there are times when feminism and sisterhood lock hands and amazing shit happens. Today Rebekah Spicuglia posted a piece about her sister getting fired from a Chili's restaurant: When my sister, Rachel Spicuglia, a five-year employee of Chili's Restaurant (owned by Brinker International), reported to her manager the escalating sexual harassment she was receiving from the cooks, which had culminated in an assault that morning in the walk-in refrigerator, the manager asked

End of the Year Donations

I know your inbox and mailbox is flooded with end of the year asks. Why not your RSS reader? :) Here are some places for you to send your last minute donations for 2008: The Chicago Abortion Fund Women In Media & News Women Employed National Organization for Women Foundation The Unity Challenge at the Chicago Community Trust (2 for 1 matching!)

Top 10 People I Met This Year

And when I say meet, I mean in person, flesh to flesh: 10] Dr. Susan Wicklund : Sure we didn't have coffee or anything, but meeting her at Women & Children First was certainly a game changer. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I have fears of raising my daughter in such a politically charged home & society. Dr. Wicklund gives me hope that I'll do it right. 9] Melissa at Shakesville : I hadn't attended a meet-up in a long time that wasn't about a political campaign, so it was totally geeky for me to come out to meet such a famed blogger like Melissa & her gang. It was nice to hang out for a bit with fellow bloggers! 8] The women from the CAF Leadership Group : It's hard to find a braver group of women. 7] The people I work with at my day job : I won't name you all, but I've had new people enter my life this year and I am grateful. 6] My new mentors : I was extra lucky to get two new official mentors thru programs I'm invo

16 years

Sixteen years ago a friend asked my husband if we were dating. He turned to me and asked, "So are we?" I replied with a shrug, "Sure." And the rest as they say is history. I'd never even attempt to say that it's been easy, in fact it's been really hard. Two headstrong people trying to make one life together is hard. Add in an equally (or even more so) headstrong child and our life is ripe for explosions. If we could do it over would we have done things exactly the same? No, but we also know we wouldn't be where we are today without all the mistakes, stumbles, etc. And I think that's the hardest part of living with someone for so long, letting go of the stumbles and feeling content/comfortable/happy with where you are today. Of course it is so much easier for us because we are privileged with two amazing jobs, a healthy daughter, a family of friends and a roof over our heads. It's kinda scary to think that next year we'll have been tog

My top 10 favorite things I've written this year

As egotistical as this sounds, it's actually a huge challenge for me: 10] My Sarah Palin posts: Sarah Palin will push reproductive justice to the next level Is a Female Maverick a Diva? Why Sarah Palin is good for feminism Oh, Sarah Palin. I will miss you once the media stops writing about you. But with your crazy self-promoting ways and your druggie future-in-law, you may keep me in business for years to come. xoxo - your bff. 9] Why is the IL Dept of Transportion using sex to sell seat belts? : Melissa at Shakesville encouraged me to write this when I sent a note to one of the listservs we're saying that someone else might want to write about it. This post still gets a lot of hits and I suspect from people wanting to look at the videos. 8] Eating out with the kid : I'm such a failure at being a hipster that I enjoy critiquing the culture. 7] The problem with the business of mommy blogging : I got some flack about this, but I'm still proud of this piece. I'm

Help Advance Women's Health Research!

I honestly can't bring myself to write about the DHHS rules ...Instead I will ask my Illinois readers to participate in a POSITIVE action about women's health. I know it's long, but if you live in Illinois, please take a few minutes to read about a women's health registry that needs your input (emphasis below is mine, but the words are from the project): Let’s face it, as women we are usually the ones who make healthcare decisions for ourselves and our families. The more we know, the better choices we will make. So ask yourself….have you ever wondered why certain diseases affect men and women differently? Why some diseases and conditions are more common in women? Or why men and women may react differently to the same medications? The reasons behind the worrisome facts are even more disturbing. If we’ve got you thinking about it now—that’s just what we hoped would happen! When it comes to health, there are many important differences between men and women; to further co

EVENT:: What Will the Future (of Reproductive Health and Rights) Look Like?

Please join Viva la Feminista in participating in RH Reality Check's live discussion on the future of reproductive rights: On Wednesday, December 17, join reproductive health experts Marilyn Keefe of the National Partnership for Women & Families, William Smith of SIECUS, Heather Boonstra of Guttmacher Institute, Cristina Page of, and RH Reality Check’s own Kay Steiger for a live chat from 1 to 2 pm EST on reproductive health issues in the Obama administration. Submit your questions beforehand to, or submit them live during the event, and visit on Wednesday, December 17th at 1pm Eastern to chat live with our experts, get your questions answered and help imagine the future together! Come back here just before the discussion begins to join in!

The C-word

frye left this question on my post about " The B word " Could you elaborate on your argument regarding the reclaiming of the word bitch? I'm curious as to why you draw the line at c*nt. *sigh* wow...This one is a hard one. I think that I draw the line at c*nt because it represents nothing but anger and hate to me. Yes, bitch is said in anger, but I feel like it is a response to a woman being strong. And no I don't feel like it is the same way that the C-word is used. When I've been called that word or heard someone called it, there is so much more anger behind it than with bitch. And that's what I'm reacting to. Is Eve Ensler correct in wanting us to reclaim that word too? I think she is. I just can't walk that path yet.

EVENT:: Roe vs. The Real World

Join the Our Voices, Our Choices reproductive justice coalition and Chicago Foundation for Women for a special event marking the 36 th Anniversary of the landmark Roe v Wade decision. Roe vs. The Real World: An evening of spoken word and conversation about women’s unequal access to reproductive health care services Wednesday, January 21, 2009 Center on Halsted Hoover-Leppen Theater 3656 N. Halsted St . Chicago , IL 60613 6:30 – 8:30 pm Suggested donation of $5 at the door

Monday morning wake up

Ah, yes, another Monday off from Work it, Mom! Hopefully this vacation from weekly writing will help restore my political mom writing. I was burnt at the end of the election! Hell, I was burnt way before that. So this past week at AWEARNESS, I wrote: I'm That Snoopy Little Old Lady at 33 Who Said Election Day Was Over? A Book Lover's Wish List The Trouble with Men A Green Christmas TODAY is the last day to apply for the first class of Progressive Women's Voices ! Good luck to everyone applying.

Book Review: Katie Brown

One day I was flipping thru the channels on TV and I fell in love with a woman named Katie . She had some crazy ideas like using moss for a table runner and slices of log for a charger plate. And I LOVED IT! So of course when I was asked if I wanted to review her new party book, Katie Brown Celebrates , I almost jumped thru Twitter. Again, I'm not one to spend hours making tiny do-dads for a dinner or party. But I am one who likes funky things for my home. Katie Brown Celebrates gives you an entire year of ideas for party decorations and food. When I first got the book I opened a random page and let out a "I have to make this!" Gorgonzola Stuffed Potatoes . Yes, many if not most (I didn't bother to do the counting) of the recipes appear to be on her website, but having them all in one place is beautiful. Most of the recipes that made me say "Oh!" were fairly simple and not too many ingredients. Which is good for me because I get confused in the kitchen pr

Would living next to the POTUS make you feel safer?

Apparently the real estate market near the Obamas Chicago home is heating up : The first house to sell in “Obama-Wood” since the presidential election was a 12-room, three-story Georgian that closed on December 3rd with a sale price of $1.25 million. (That was also the asking price—and the house sold in under a week.) Built in 1924 and owned for the past three decades by a University of Chicago professor and his lawyer wife, the house sits just 50 feet outside the barricades that have gone up around the Obamas’ block. It's not just the idea of living in the same 'hood as the POTUS that may be driving this baby. It might also be the idea of living in the safest place in Chicago. They didn’t come to Kenwood because of Obama—Coe grew up in Hyde Park and has several family members still living nearby—but they already appreciate the presence of the president-elect’s family. “There’s so much security in the neighborhood, I feel like our three-year-old could go out and dance in the

Dear Santa

Photo by viva la feminista Tuesday I set out on what should had been a boring task...Mailing a package at the post office. Considering that I work close to the main post office and it has free parking, that's where I headed on my lunch break. As I walked into the building and played with the automatic package machine for a few minutes I glanced over at what I thought was a job fair. Hmmm...Then I saw them. Piles of paper and people digging thru them. "Shit." The entire time a worker was helping me get the correct postage (did you know you can buy exactly how much postage you need from the automatic machine? woo!) I kept thinking, "Don't look over there. Just walk past." I kept thinking that because I knew what was over there. Dear Santa letters. Of course I went over there and stayed strong while I looked at what seemed like a never ending row of letters, sorted in piles like "One child-Boy, 3 children, 6+ children, Family, Spanish." I'm

Site Review -

I am not a housekeeper. I'm not a decorator. My house doesn't have a theme or is all color coordinated. Heck, my home is barely clean enough for the babysitter to come over at a moment's notice. So when I was asked to review I was skeptical. Oh, another site that's going to make me feel like a failure because I'm not Martha Stewart. WRONG! I really like the site. And this project is a prime example of why I like it. It's so simple AND pretty. Seriously the project in the photo is just rock salt and some twigs from outside. Um, I can do that. Next step... the kids birthday party section & the gender test! OK, there are princess themed parties, but honestly, it's a must for any party site. But what I like is that the rest are not boys, but for any kid. The Mad Hatter party theme is awesome because it allows for the girly girl tea party but with boys involved. My house still will be messy, but at least when it's time to host a par

My latest AWEARNESS posts

While I will still recap my weekly AWEARNESS posts each Monday, I created a widget for the sidebar that will automatically list my latest posts. That way if you're curious when you get here and there's no new content, just look over to your right! nifty eh? And obviously since I can widget just my entries, you can also add my RSS feed to your reader too. Get this widget!

Toy Review: Poingo

What's a Poingo ? Well it's a story reading wand. Sound familiar? Instead of doing a Poingo vs. Other wand, I'll tell you about the Poingo. The Poingo is a reading wand that is quite light and it comes pre-loaded with stories. No downloading necessary out of the box. This could come in quite handy when your budding bookworm wants to play with it NOW and not later after Mama pulls out her laptop. When your child points to the word box, the Poingo reads to them. The entire story box. The neat thing is that a few words in each box are highlighted and if you point directly on those words, you get read a definition. Nifty! Especially nice for those of us with kids who ask, "What does that mean?" It doesn't read word to word thou, so that's a flaw - That's a minus point on the "interactive" scale. But it does have two volume settings! The wand also had a headphone jack. Poingo does have Disney stories for some, minus for other people.

Monday morning wake up

I share my thoughts on gift giving & just saying no over at Work it, Mom! The site has a new design and we are celebrating with a generous giveaway for our members. Just share some good news and enter to win one of two great prizes: $200 gift certificate from, which you can use at more than 4,500 spas all across the US $100 Visa gift card and a $50 RiteAid gift card The giveaway ends at 5pm on Tuesday, December 9th. click here to enter! Please show some comment love to my latest AWEARNESS posts: Layoff Here, Layoff There, Layoffs Everywhere Should We Pay Students for Grades? When Asthma & Climate Change Collide (home to the world's longest comment! well, at least in my world.) World AIDS Day 2008 Round-Up We Know Santa Will Visit the White House Next Year! Don't forget that the deadline for Progressive Women's Voices is coming up !

Toy Review: Leapfrog Didj

Thanks to the generosity of LeapFrog, the kid has been test driving a Didj for the past few months. Longtime readers may recall that I don't buy into edu-tainment toys . Baby Einstein is one of the greatest scams of recent memory. It feeds that myth that reading to your pregnany belly will make your child smarter. I also don't like to review products like this until I think the kid has had enough time to play with it and I can really see what she feels about it. Kids like anything shiny, so I feel time-testing is essential. All that to say that after all this time, the kid really does like the Didj and I recommend it. What do I like about it? The kid has played Star Wars & Nancy Drew the most. Both games include the learning as a part of the gaming. Want to get Anakin to the next level? Solve this math problem. Want to help Nancy solve a mystery? Spell a word. The Didj has a feel of a portable video game console so I think most kids will like them. It really is customiz

Lilith Fair - Dream Team

My iPod is almost like a mini-Lilith Fair in that it's chock full of Sarah, Indigo Girls, Ani, Dixie Chicks, Catie Curtis and so forth. As I was driving home from work today, I was listening to Sarah McLachlan and her voice so fit the scene of a snowy Chicago. Oh, how I miss Sarah! And no, a greatest hits album isn't enough for me. (BTW - I have no idea how I thought I could get my hair to look like hers in this pic, but I tried!) But it got me thinking...if Sarah or someone else were to resurrect Lilith Fair, who would I want to be included? So my dear readers, let's take a moment out of the hustle & bustle of the holidays and the insanity of politics. Who would you want to see in Lilith Fair - The Revenge? Did you ever scan the list of the kick ass women who did play Lilith Fair ? Damn... edited to add: My choices include all the kick ass women from the actual tour. My choices include: Taylor Swift - Yeah, she's bubble gum country, but I think she could kick i

Eating out with the kid

I saw a link to this awesome idea - pay $30 for a deck of $10 coupons to 52 restaurants . Not just any restaurants, but chef-driven and locally owned. OK, yeah, I had to Goodsearch "chef-driven" cause I'm that lame...That's why I'm a lame hipster. So instead of a $10 card for a chain restaurant, it's for that place you never heard of (again, lame hipster) or have and kept thinking, "Why haven't we gone there yet?" Add to that the idea that if you buy a deck now there is a $5 donation to a charity. I'm sold. But then I start to scroll thru the list of places in the deck and start wondering...How am I going to get to any of these? Some had names and menus and practically scream "don't even THINK about bringing your brat in here!" Yes, I'm totally profiling based on cuisine. I get a feel from the website as well who their target audience is too. Outside of hot dogs and pizza (even hot dogs made of non-traditional meats) th

Congrats to Minxy Mimi!

You won a copy of The American Journey of Barack Obama !! I'll be in touch on how to get you your book.

Meet the Press...with another white dude

Word is out that NBC is ready to sign David Gregory for Meet the Press . *sigh* OK, so I pretty much knew that NBC wasn't going to take my suggestion of Carol Marin seriously. But I was hoping that a person of color or a woman (of color) would the pick. Margot Friedman says it eloquently: As the Women’s Media Center documented in "Sexism Sells, But We're Not Buying It," NBC/MSNBC was one of the networks that allowed sexist language and behavior during the 2008 campaign. Picking a qualified woman and/or person of color to host "Meet the Press" would have helped repair some of the damage to the network's brand. There was no shortage of talented individuals who could have done the job, including PBS’ Gwen Ifill, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, and CBS’ Katie Couric—to mention only those looked at for the post, according to reports. And it is not just about making amends, but rather broadening who the news & news makers look like. As POTUSe Obama goes

Join the B-Hive

All the kewl kids (and me) are doing it! we're asking you to support our work by joining the B-Hive, our sustaining membership program. By contributing a gift of $5 or more monthly - not even the cost of a movie ticket - you will help shape our future by allowing us to budget and plan more efficiently. It's easy to sign up - simply visit our secure online giving site . To show our appreciation, we'll send you a free subscription (or renew your existing one). We'll also recognize your contribution on our website (and if all goes as planned, send you a special downloadable picture of your "adopted bee"--stay tuned). Read more about the B-hive at Bitch.

DC Abortion Fund Needs Your Help! TIME SENSITIVE!

From my inbox: Emergency Case - DC Abortion Fund December 2, 2008 DCAF Needs Your Help! LOCAL TEEN NEEDS EMERGENCY FUNDS TODAY I am writing to you today because a DCAF case manager has been working with a young woman who desperately needs your help. Nickie* is 17 years old and attends a special needs charter school because of severe behavioral and emotional instability. Nickie was referred to DCAF by a counselor because of concerns that she may harm herself trying to self-abort. Several adults in Nickie's life, including her principal and doctor, believe it is in Nickie's best interest that her family not discover her pregnancy due to domestic violence in her household. They also firmly believe that her abortion is a medical necessity due to the emotional and behavioral challenges Nickie faces every day. Her mother has also threatened to kick Nickie out if she were to become pregnant. She will be 25

Remembering Dewey

It's been 12 hours since I read the news, I never met Dewey in person, but my heart breaks each time I stop to remember that I lost a bloggy friend, as I like to call y'all, last week. Her husband posted to her blog this morning: My wife was unwell and in a lot of pain; I don’t believe she ever discussed that side of her life here, and I’ve no desire to go against her boundaries, just know she was in a lot of pain. I am sad that my wife is no longer here, but she’s not in pain any more. To say Dewey was prolific in her book reviews is an understatement. She had mad organization skills and a fab template for her book reviews that I was always tempted to steal. I was, still am, jealous of what appeared to be endless energy to read, blog, mother and be a wife. We don't have any insight on what took her from this world, but perhaps some of that reading & blogging happened when she didn't have energy or power to do much else. She was caring and loved to spread the wea

Monday morning wake up

I received word over the weekend that I'll be presenting at WAM! 2009! I'm super excited about this panel. Not sure when the official program comes out, but let me tease you with one question I will be posting on the panel: Why do so-so bloggers become superstars and great bloggers go unnoticed? This isn't just a question I ask about myself, I seriously don't think I am a great blogger, good yes, but not superstar material. But I still find myself reading the "hot" bloggers and think, "Chica, So-and-So wrote that later, but a million times better." And because I do have a lot of travel planned for 2009, I'm seriously thinking of putting a tip jar on this site. I don't want to take ads, but will consider sponsorships from quality companies. Consider...not a done deal yet. That or someone can give me a big ass book advance. Chances are neither will happen. Tip jar it is! I'm taking a week off of Work it, Mom! so you'll have to enjoy