Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

31 July 2008

The Princess & the Frog

The teaser is out! What do you think?



h/t to Lauren at Feministe

Read bfp's take on the movie, who also links to others thoughts.

Macho, Macho Man

Despite the snarky title, I want to spend this time asking you to please take the time to read ALL of bfp's post on machismo in Mexican culture:

Machismo was about putting on a show. About looking really fucking beautiful and representing yourself and your ‘group’ (whether it was a music group, like the mariachis above, or the dancers or bull fighters of old etc) well. It was about attracting a love interest (as in the song above) or demonstrating your bravery. It was about tapping into an ancient past that was strong enough to build a bright future. It was something you did together as a community–how do you show off if there is nobody to watch? But most importantly, machismo was something that you stopped–you took it off and put it away for special occasions. If the special is used every day, then it’s no longer special, right?
That's all! xoxo

Mama Mia - Feminist Movie Madness?

First, I'm soooo glad that I wasn't the only person traumatized by "The Dark Knight." My husband still wants to debate it with me, but I still am unsure of how I feel. And dear goddess, why did you have to take Heath!?

Anywho, go read Sarah Seltzer's take on Mama Mia - warning - chock full of spoilers. The Mr. is a huge ABBA fan, so we'll end up seeing this...perhaps once it is a $5 movie. And I can't wait!!

30 July 2008

What to Buy Wednesday – Nipples & Pacifiers

Now that title should get me some real traffic from the search engines! haha...

Seriously, I can't tell you which nipple, bottle, or pacifier to buy for your lil one. I say that because I really feel that each baby has its own preference. To illustrate this, let me tell you a story...

Five years ago I was home on maternity leave and poking at my belly. "Hurry up baby! We're wasting precious maternity leave time!" At the same time I was tidying up, getting all the bottles set, onesies washed, etc. The bottles were all cute Winnie the Pooh bottles. While I knew I was going to breast feed, I also knew that the new Papa was going to do bottle duty.

What I didn't plan on was that missy was going to be picky about her bottle nipple AND her pacifier. I think that we went thru at least 3-4 different bottles before landing on the Avent nipple. Which let me tell ya really sucked because I had bought the Medela breast pump. If you don't know, the breast pumps FIT the bottles perfectly. Yes, so I'd pump into one bottle, dump into a Advent and then store in the freezer. UGH!

The moral of the story? Don't buy too many bottles at once cause your kid might not like the cute one or the "perfect" bottle. And yes, it's hard to know which pump to get before the kid tells you which bottle they prefer. Just guess...you'll do that a lot as a mom. Get good at it. ;-)

Technorati tags: What to Buy Wednesday, motherhood, parenthood, gift

It's a science nerd's heaven

This September Chicago will launch Science Chicago. A whole year's worth of sciencey goodness around the city. Check out the website, sign up for updates, and keep an eye out here when I'll promote events I'll be at! Hey, this science nrrd isn't missing this!

29 July 2008

The problem with the business of mommy blogging

Blogher has come and gone. The swag has been taken, sorted, trashed or given away. Trinkets and real useful items emblazoned with corporate logos weighed down the shoulders of Bloger attendees. While I did not go myself, there was no lack of swag posts in the momosphere. Last year I gobbled up as much as I could and even made a swag care package for Amy. This year the swag appeared to have jumped a notch or two. One team of mommy bloggers even road tripped their way to Blogher complete with a hybrid Chevy Tahoe and a list of corporate sponsors, including CBS News which got current mom blogger BFF Katie Couric to tape a welcome message for Blogher. As I find myself deeper and deeper in this blogging thing and as I get more and more emails for products and promotions (NOTE: Stop emailing me at my work! That's what the contact me link is for!), I make myself stop and consider the ramifications.


No, I don't think that mommy bloggers are any less smart than techies, music reviewers, or anyone else who blogs and gets freebies tossed at them like we're at a sporting event. I do think that the speed of the mommy blogger boom and the intensity of the swag has been overwhelming for many of us.


Let's take the Blogher Mom Roadtrip moms. I use to write with them and know that they are all intelligent women. I also know that the powers that be over at SV Moms aren't out to do anything sinister. That's why I think it's safe to make them my case study.


There was buzz before the road trip was announced in certain blogging circles that a car company was trying to find the right audience for the offer. I wasn't privy to those conversations, but when I mentioned the road trip to a friend, they nodded and knew it was coming. "They just needed to find the right niche." Add in Zune, Weight Watchers & Six Apart as sponsors and the cross-country road trip appears to have paid for. Yet before they even set out to pay their first toll rumors began to swirl that they were mere shills for the sponsors. On July 10th Jill Asher blogged a huge disclaimer/fact that the moms involved were not given any guidance/rules on how to blog the trip.

…what you won't see blogged from this road trip is detailed information or opinions about the gear our sponsors have provided to make the trip happen. Instead, we've asked our bloggers to simply chronicle their experiences, the good, the bad, the funny, the plain weird. They can mention our sponsors, but they don't have to. For example, we had a question from one of our bloggers today: can she just say, "I got in the car," or does she have to say, "I got in the Chevy." We told her car is fine.

As I said, I know these women and know them to be honest; especially since many of them are also professional writers. They aren't the stereotypical wide-eyed PJ wearing mommy bloggers. Yet because they were going on a sponsored road trip, their integrity was questioned.


I believe that happened precisely because we are not dumb. We, as a society, as a blogosphere, are leery of corporate sponsors. Even if we get them ourselves, we know sometimes they come with strings or gentle suggestions. I know that at some of us are reluctant to post a bad review of a book, restaurant or product for many reasons. First is the backlash that the company or marketing agency won't tweet us again. Next is having no desire to be "mean" to something someone put a lot of work into, especially books. Another reason is that some of us know too well how much power a small post can wield. Yes, even a blog like mine with a small audience can post a bad restaurant review and bring the chef to his knees. A few of us had this convo at last year's Blogher. One woman got emails from the owners asking her to remove the review! I wrote a bad review many moons ago and the manager offered to give my husband & me a free meal to let us judge again. No, I never took him up on it.


I agree with Diane Farsetta at WIMN's Voices (where I also blog) that I'm not totally sure if this type of partnership is problematic. I do find it problematic that marketers who are getting paid big bucks have figured out a way to get moms to do their work for them. Rather than spend thousands of dollars on an ad buy, they are ship off a few freebies with an information sheet chock full of talking points.


The NYTimes covered Blogher and many bloggers were not happy with the placement (in the Style section where almost all women-centric stories live) nor with the description of women bloggers:

[Blogher] has since evolved into a corporate-sponsored Oprah-inflected version of a '60s consciousness-raising group. … many women at the conference were becoming very Katie Couric about their belief that they are not taken as seriously as their male counterparts at, say, Daily Kos, a political blog site. Nor, they said, were they making much money, even though corporations seem to be making money from them.

And that's just what gets my goat. That so many women, especially mom bloggers appear to be drowning in free samples for their review blogs, yet don't seem to be swimming even in the kiddie pool when it comes to cash flow. Well, unless you're Blogher who just signed a deal with NBC & iVillage to the tune of $5 million. No word yet on where that money will end up. And for the record, the women who put Blogher together deserve a good cash reward…yet so does every review blogger out there. For many of us, this is a business and we need to start acting more like businesswomen not grateful for the crumbs that are thrown at us (myself included!).


Farsetta reminded us that Anne Elizabeth Moore chides us all, bloggers or indie punk folk, that when we shill for companies for free swag or a flat-fee that does not add up to at least a certain amount an hour, we are underselling ourselves.


My mother use to remind my sisters and I that we were a reflection of the people we hung out with so to be careful. I think the same idea can be said about those we partner with on reviews and sponsorships. And because of this, we shouldn't be too hurt when someone questions our integrity if we're tooling around in a free car with free $5/gallon gas and blogging about it – Even if we aren't dropping the make & model name every chance we get. "I'm getting into my Toyota Prius. Wow. My Prius windows are dirty! Time to wash the Prius…"

28 July 2008

Piper Reed News

If you recall, I reviewed "Piper Reed Navy Brat" way back in December. I've just been alerted that August is Piper Reed month! Why?

1. Piper Reed Navy Brat came out in paperback this week

2. Piper Reed the Great Gypsy releases on August 19

3. There will be at least six Piper Reed books

4. Each week in August there will be a Piper giveaway

5. Educators will be eligible for the drawing of a classroom set of Piper Reed Navy Brat
Head on over to the Jambalaya blog and get all the details!

Work it, Mom! Monday

It's Monday and you know what that means...

Check out my weekly post at Moms on Issues. This week I report back on my conversation with Hannah Storm!

27 July 2008

This week in Feminista...

I'm suffering from quite the hang over from the PWV training. It didn't help that after my husband picked me up from O'Hare that we went to see "The Dark Knight."

But I do want to let you know that tomorrow's Work it, Mom! - Moms on Issues post will be my interview with Hannah Storm. YES! I got to interview Hannah Storm! And I set it all up. Emailed the PR folks and all. Yes, I'm kick ass. Actually the ESPN folks were super kewl to work with, so I'd say that they were kick ass in working with this interview newbie.

I'm also working on a piece that's been rumbling thru my head for weeks about the business of mommy blogging, integrity, respect, and expectations. Look for that Tuesday...I hope.

Wednesday will bring another edition of "What to Buy" for all the preggy chicks out there. And despite Twitter rumors, I'm not preggers. Did I mention I had a nightmare about that? Seriously, now is not a good time.

Thursday I hope to have a book review for y'all. Which one, not sure yet.

Friday is the kid's 5th birthday.

So that's what I'm working on.

26 July 2008

Buffy kicks Superhero ass

The RedEye had a Superhero Tourney and our favorite vampire slayer came out on top.

She beat out Spiderman, Superman, Batman, Silver Surfer, and Thor.

You cannot believe my pride in the Buffster.

25 July 2008

WMC Progressive Women's Voices Day One part 2

I'm exhausted...mostly mentally. I also feel incredibly lame for being in my hotel room in NYC watching "Swingtown."

Today we worked on messaging. How to create our message and how to tighten it. We also took turns doing an on camera interview.

As soon as I sat down for mine I knew I was doomed. The first question asked was one that I normally trip over, mostly because I have about 5 different answers for it. I didn't know which one to use and of course I went with the most awkward/hard to say in a concise way. It took me awhile to warm up to the interview as well. While watching myself later was one of the more awkward things I've ever done, the room was filled with uber-supportive women. They all gave some fab feedback on how to strengthen my message.

I knew a lot of the things that were "taught" to us today, as did many of my classmates. The difference was going thru the activities together, getting & giving feedback, and of course having all of us with the same goal - get in the media more with better messages.

Tomorrow we have to tape a 30-second message...that will be then emailed to producers & others who are looking for media sources. *gulp*

What makes a family? Or a marriage?

Here are a few good posts that discuss both questions:
  • Womenstake takes on how the Census ignores same-sex marriages
  • Nancy Polikoff cusses how Ohio leaves out same-sex couples from the otherwise progressive move towards paid sick leave.

WMC Progressive Women's Voices Day One

OK, nothing's happened yet. But I wanted to post this photo of my kick ass shoes I bought for this weekend. They match my dress perfectly. Aren't ya jealous?

Don't be. They're from Target...$23.99. You can have them too. I put some gel insoles in them. Cross your fingers that they don't kill my feet! I'm off to the first day of training and we end after dinner tonight. But first, I think I need to fuel up at Starbucks.

I could not have survived high school today

A good friend told me about a co-worker of hers who has been bringing her daughter to work. At first my friend thought the daughter was in trouble, grounded, etc. No...the mom is giving her daughter a few days off from some relentless harassment.

Apparently this 12yo girl kissed a boy. That fact was posted to MySpace and well, it's all over the gawd damn place. Now the boys around her think she's a total slut and go in for kisses because, well if she kissed one guy, she'll kiss them all!

*sigh*

I won't go into vast details, but let's just say that I was in a similar position at about the same age because I didn't kiss a certain guy. I am dense people. I still am. I don't know you're hitting on me until you go in for the kiss or buy me a drink. It's not because I haven't dated since high school, it's because I'm dense. That said, I was too dense to know the guy I was crushing on wanted a kiss one night. He told a bunch of people I was a prude.

Of course when I did start kissing & stuff *ahem* it got around just as quickly.

Thinking back of all the whispers, the in my face accusations, the people who assaulted friends with accusations about me, the boyfriends' moms who didn't like me, and all that fabu stuff from high school...well if I had to add in Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, IMs, text messages...I think I would have killed myself. Or dropped out of school.

Considering that my mother would not have gone for the last option, I might be dead right now.

I have no words of advise for this very young woman. Yes, I could send a message that I've been there, I survived, but really, I can only image the hell she's in...that other girls are in today. Will it pass? Well, there's still college to get thru...

15 years post high school and I still have nightmares about all that happened. I can't recall when the last time I had one, but it's been in the last year.

I can't even allow myself to really stop and plan how I'll deal with this when my daughter is of kissing age. What technological bullying devices will she have to deal with?

24 July 2008

Sarah Conner

Brutal Women had an awesome post about Sarah Conner & other women who kick ass. This is even more interesting in light of Joss' recent Dr. Horrible series and the lack of a strong woman. Damn...lost the link to someone's good critique. If you know of one, please leave in the comments!

I don't have much else to add...just giving ya all a good things to mull over.

Maybe I'll name my new laptop Ripley. Sarah reminds me of the girls I went to high school with and well...

23 July 2008

What to Buy Wednesday – Baby sling/carrier

The item I miss using the most from when my daughter was a baby is the baby sling & the Bjorn.


I miss having her so close to me; I miss her being small enough to fit into the darn things!


Now baby slings are associated with granola moms or attachment parenting. Sure, they strap their babies to them, but I have to tell you, you are going to want to have that carrier, especially if the baby comes during nice weather (spring – fall). I put my daughter in the Bjorn to take a walk, to walk around the apartment to get her to sleep, and well anytime I wanted to use both my hands, I put her in there.


My daughter certainly lived up to the theory that babies like to be close to you. Heck, she's almost five and she still wants to be next to us.


I also used a wrap sling. It wasn't as easy to use as the Bjorn, but I'm sure that was because I didn't use it enough to learn all the tricks.


In the end, the carrier was quite a life saver. So send your friend this perfect gift.


Technorati tags: What to Buy Wednesday, motherhood, parenthood, gift

22 July 2008

Work it, Mom Monday on Tuesday

Apologies for not posting until today, but Monday was jam packed with work & fun.


You can see this week's Work it, Mom post where I ponder whether or not moms really can be green. Being a mom myself I know that convenient-sized items really do make a difference in my life. Can I cut them out? Can others?


I also posted to Chicago Parent about why I applied to the Progressive Women's Voices program.


I am freaking about what to wear this weekend. Thankfully I did get a haircut on Friday, a new work tote on Sunday, I'm getting my nails done today, and Cinnamon's putting the finishing touches on a new purse for me. Um yeah…I was already in the process of a "grown up make-over" and this trip just put that plan into high gear. I love my totes & messenger bags I do have (seriously, see how loved they are!), but I know that I needed to upgrade for work.


And this video is sooooo me. Love it!


Book Review: You’re Amazing!

If you could be 13 again, would you?


I would if I could bring You're
Amazing! A No-Pressure Guide to Being Your Best Self
by Claire Mysko with me. I'm not exaggerating or sucking up to Claire, whom I met at WAM!. I don't think high school would had been too much different, but I would had felt far less lonely.


Mysko discusses body image, stress and stereotypes with the sensitivity of a loving big sister or that cool older cousin. She opens each chapter with data from the Girls Inc. The Supergirl Dilemma report (Girls Inc produced this book). While it is a source of many depressing moments (e.g. 84% of girls said that girls are under a lot of pressure to dress the right way.), it does set a starting point. Mysko goes on to discuss strategies for the girls in order to overcome obstacles and meet challenges. She also includes conversation starters for approaching trusted adults. The book is frank and doesn't talk down to the girls. Like any good "self-help" book it has activities to reach out adults and include BFFs in the discussion.


The only qualm I had with the book was within the discussion on bullying. One example of being bullied included being called "gay". While this is a top slam on the playground, I fear that a questioning girl may wonder if it really is the ultimate put down. Thankfully there is a listing for the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network in the resource section.


If you are a parent and thinking of buying this for your daughter – DO IT. I would suggest either reading it first or buying yourself a copy. Mysko suggests ways for the girls to start conversations with you – Be Prepared. The questions may be as simple as "What did you want to be when you were my age?" or as difficult as "How did you handle peer pressure?" I will advocate for using honesty and not to dodge the conversation because that's what I am for with my daughter. Yet I also know sometimes we do a little of both – some truth, some dodging. Do your best and treat her with respect.


I know raising girls is a tough guy, hopefully You're Amazing will make the uncharted territory a bit less scary.

You can purchase You're Amazing through an indy bookseller, Powell's, or Amazon.


Disclaimer: The only payment I received for this review was the review copy of the book.


Girls Incorporated is a national nonprofit youth organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. With roots dating to 1864, Girls Inc has provided vital educational programs to millions of American girls, particularly those in high-risk, underserved areas. Today, innovative programs help girls confront subtle societal messages about their value and potential, and prepare them to lead successful, independent, and fulfilling lives.
This post was scheduled to post on the 17th, but somehow didn't...so it's being reposted now.

20 July 2008

Kos knows how to dance! The FISA dance that is..

Thanks to Yikes for showing me this video. Friends know that I have a "thing" about Kos and the fauxgressives that follow him.

18 July 2008

National NOW Conference

It's really, really weird to not be at the NOW conference this year. I started going to them in 2004, so it's not like I'm a veteran who has been going for decades...but still. I always look forward to them as I get to see friends whom I usually only get to see once a year.

One of them is BAC from Yikes! I'm sure that BAC will do a good job at keeping us all informed on what's going on over there. BAC has already covered the Intrepid awards as well as a keynote. I did get to see a bit of the awards on CBS 2 this morning because Katie Couric (the woman is everywhere!) was a recipient. Alas, it didn't make the video catalog.

The conference is in Maryland, so if you're available on Saturday, head on over!

Art by Ray Caspio. Read more about the 2008 conference theme.

Support the girls....Support Amy!


My bud Amy is doing the 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk and needs your help. I'm so proud that she's even trying to do this...all the training...all the fundraising...all the walking! If you can, please support her...and yes, I know that we should think before we pink, but this is my bud. Thanks!

Please support me as I take an amazing journey in the fight against breast cancer! The Breast Cancer 3-Day is a 60-mile walk over the course of three days. Net proceeds benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure and National Philanthropic Trust, funding important breast cancer research, education, screening, and treatment.

My Aunt Rita passed away from Breast Cancer. Knowing this disease as I do, I can only hope that people can help me help them find a cure. This walk is much more than a physical journey...its a walk toward a cure....an end to the pain and suffering that this disease inflicts.
So please...give...even if its just a little? It would mean the world to me!!

16 July 2008

Where I am...Where I'll be

Today I'm a Mother of Intention over at PunditMom

And in my quest to be a better pundit, I will be in NYC next weekend as I am in the 3rd and last class for the Progressive Women's Voices program!

Um, yeah...that's it folks. I'm kinda at a loss for words.

What to Buy Wednesday - Maternity Clothes

Maternity clothes.

Some women loathe the time when it's time to admit that those jeans just ain't gonna button. I gotta tell ya that maternity clothes have gotten so cute that I often find myself in the middle of the Target maternity wear section without thinking. Or rather thinking "Oh...cute shirt dress! What size...oh...maternity!"

Thus buying maternity clothes for your preggers BFF or partner is a tricky thing. I highly suggest gift cards...but NOT to maternity specialty stores like Motherhood Maternity.

When I was growing up, the MM was at the start of the mall. I passed it for 15 years and my mom use to note that "when you're married & get pregnant, I'll take you here." Instead she was living in North Carolina and we hit the mega-MM at the mall. She bought a few hundred dollars of clothes for me because she knew (ironically) that she wouldn't be able to buy me more clothes for a while AND she knew oh so well, that I'd wait until the last minute to buy nice clothes for work. So why do I suggest not shopping there.

Because of their return policy. You can't return the clothes. I get that it is a specialty store and I'm sure people abuse return policies. But seriously, when I'm 3 months pregnant and I'm shopping for my whale days aka 8-9 months pregnant, I'm totally guessing on how big I'm going to be or I might guess wrong on what the weather will be.

Rather stick to department stores where if you do see that "must-have" shirt for yourself or your friend, you can return it if you have buyers remorse.

Althou, I do have to say that Motherhood Maternity and other specialty stores do have some really nice nursing bras.

Technorati tags: What to Buy Wednesday, motherhood, parenthood, gift

15 July 2008

Bush & the anti's using all their tricks as the end nears...

The NYTimes reports on a new definition that the Bushies want for the US Dept of Health & Human Services:

abortion as follows: “any of the various procedures — including the prescription, dispensing and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action — that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation.”
WHAT...THE..FUCK!!!!!

Yes, Bush & Co have less than a year and are fearful that Obama might come in and start to reverse things. Thus I imagine that that plan is to now fuck up as much as possible so that Obama can't actually do anything for the first oh, two terms.

But instead of just being mad about it, do something. NARAL's on the case and already has an action page for us.

We must hold the line until we can get a new administration into office in January.

Technorati tags: NARAL, Bush, abortion

14 July 2008

Work it, Mom! Monday - Is every mom a working mom?

If it's Monday that means I'm over at Work it, Mom!

Today I'm discussing what makes a working mom and if non-moms (dads & child-free women) are welcome at the community. Feel free to drop by and leave your thoughts!

13 July 2008

The Onion Couldn't Have Done Better

On the way to pick up the hubby on Thursday, NPR ran a story about a group called "Latinas for McCain." I can't describe it, so you have to listen yourself. It also provoked some letters.

The only thing I can say is that it is sad when stories, especially ones on NPR allow the interviewees to perpetuate myths about anyone, especially the "he's really a Muslim" myth about Barack Obama. I'm sure there were many other reasons why those Latinas were voting for McCain.

11 July 2008

Alltop




Yup, three of the blogs that I write for are now listed in Alltop. I took screen shots in case for some reason they fall out of favor. woot! The Work it, Mom! blog is listed under Moms (duh) and Viva La Feminista and WIMN's Voices is under women. I put a badge on my sidebar and it was hard deciding which one, but then I thought, "Which one would Cinnamon/Amy/Jenn pick for me?"

Jana Footnote

In some ways I don't want to keep blogging Jana stuff and in some ways I don't want us to forget her. It's been a surreal week for more than just one reason. Lots of drama within my circle of friends and then some awesome news for me...I'll update on Monday. But all of it caused me to reflect on my life, how lucky and unlucky I have been, and how much love and support I have around me. And much of that support didn't come easy either.

So seeing all the loving and outraged comments around the blogosphere and here on Jana renewed my hope for humanity. NOW sent out a condolence email, California NOW blogged it, and Hesperia's rant was very welcomed.

Some days I admit to wanting to chuck it all and move out to the middle of nowhere and just stop thinking. The day I read about Jana was one of those days. But then I snap out of it and get angry all over again. Angry that I'd even want to check out!

I'm off for pool-tastic fun and hopefully many pitchers of margaritas with a friend. I promise to return refreshed and ready for the next fight.

Have a great weekend!

10 July 2008

Viva La Feminista is one year old!

The party penguin is starting the party up a little late due to a hectic day of work and then a sushi party for the Chicago Abortion Fund. But enough about our work day, it's time to party!

One year ago I sat in front of a computer and started up this baby and woo-wee has it taken off far better than I had anticipated.

Thanks so much to everyone who visits or reads this lil blog on a regular basis. If you're stumbling thru, thank you too!

So what's a party with out some gifts?

Thanks to Mom Central, I have a two Preserve tooth brushes to give away! Yes, I'm giving tooth brushes away on my blog bday. Gotta a problem with that? Dental hygiene is important and then a toothbrush that's made of recycled yogurt cups? Keep your teeth clean AND be green!

And when it's time to get a new brush, you send your brush back to Recycline and they recycle it AGAIN!

Now that's getting a lot of use out of a yogurt cup.



But that's not all...My mother-in-law is awesome. Especially when she travels to China for work and brings me home some purses. She's gone enough times that I actually have too many bags! Can you believe it?


So here's your chance to get a free pouch.


To enter just leave a comment (with your email, if it's not on your Blogger profile) and leave me some love. Tell me your favorite post from the past year - no need to link to it, just say, "That time you ranted about X." Or just why you keep coming back. I'll pick winners at random.

I'm leaving for a mini-vacation tomorrow, so you have until Monday to leave a comment!

And again...THANK YOU for reading!

Writing Motherhood Winner

J won the copy of "Writing Motherhood" from my giveaway last month.

Yeah, I'm a tad slow.

Congrats!!

My daughter picked the #2 out of a hat!

09 July 2008

What to Buy Wednesday - Journal/Blank Book

Soon after I got pregnant, Cinnamon mentioned to me that one of her most cherished items is a journal that her mom kept while she was pregnant with Cinnamon. I kept both a pen & paper journal and a blog during my pregnancy. Of course now that the daughter is here, I do more blogging about her than writing...and in the last six months, I've hardly blogged about her too!

But this week's suggestion for a possibly low-cost gift for the pregnant woman in your life is a simple blank book and pen. Sure, go ahead and spend more on a diary or even a diary for moms as well as a nice pen instead of a regular ball-point pen.

Write a short note to her on a sheet of paper or even inside the journal. Perhaps she will open up to her child-to-be in those blank sheets. Go ahead and talk about the ups and downs of the pregnancy, I sure did. If something happens to me before my daughter gets her hands on it, she's gonna need some therapy. I wrote very honestly about my mother's illness, her death and my pain.

Of course, I wish everyone a very happy and glowing pregnancy journal. I also encourage new moms to journal the first year. Yes, you may think things you may not want your child to know, but maybe you can have one for yourself and one for the kid. But journaling, like blogging, is to therapeutic.

Technorati tags: What to Buy Wednesday, motherhood, parenthood, gift

Technorati can kiss my ass

In the last 3 days I've had a zillion hits and quite a good number of links pointing here and what does my t-rating do? Nada. I've seen it inch up after just a few links and a few extra hits. I give up.

Yes...blogging can be frustrating, especially when one is trying to at least keep pace with the straggling pro-bloggers in order to keep some sense of accomplishment.

*sigh*

Perhaps this is a sign from the goddess that I need to just keep my nose to the grindstone and do what I do...which is rant. Whether my t-rating is 3 digits or stuck where it is I need to just keep on trucking.

OK...just first pity post is over.

More on Jana

Today is Jana's funeral.

  • Alternet ran with this story, apparently broken by this blog, yet rewritten for them. I only find that odd in that Alternet seems to like to cross-post blogs...Perhaps mine was too personal of a post as their post was more of a straight forward obit. *shrug* I try to understand what they look for, but it's a mystery to me.
  • Uncensored Feminista marks her 1-year-blog bday by discussing Jana and how she also lost a sibling, almost a year ago.
  • Sociolitryst spread the word, as has Feministe, The F-Word, and Aiken Area Progressive
    • AAP wins the award for best title.
  • Everyday Citizen left two moving tributes to Jana in the comments and I want to make sure you all see them.
If you have blogged this story, please leave a link in the comments!

A fund has been set up at Jana's former law school to honor her memory:

Jana Mackey Support for Public Advocacy Fund

c/o Dean of Law

Green Hall

1535 W. 15th St.

Lawrence, KS 66045

--fund info via Alternet

08 July 2008

Product Review: Action Scrubber

As we all know us mommy bloggers are the shit with marketers right now because we buy a lot of stuff and we talk about it. The gals over at Mom Central sent me a sample of the new Action Scrubber from Scrubbing Bubbles.

First of all, let me remind you that I am the worst housekeeper ever. My husband took over the bathroom duties years ago and does a fabu job...mostly because he has a much lower tolerance for dirt than I do. But I do love cleaning the bathroom.

Tonight I took out the Action Scrubber and tested its worth.

Overall I think it kinda failed. Yes, I love the idea of the scrubber and cleaner in one, but honestly I'm trying to be more green than that. I was thou afraid that the scrubber would super clean my dirty tub so much that Mr. Not-so-Green would say, "See, we need harsh chemicals!"

It did clean the tub, but I didn't see too much of an improvement since the last time I cleaned the tub...which wasn't more than a few weeks ago.

What I didn't like is that the scrubber died in my hands. Yes, I put my muscle behind the scrubber and it ripped off the velcro'd handle. Was I too hard? Well, if I'm trying to get soap scum off my tub so my daughter's lil toes walk on a clean tub, heck yes.

If you're still into disposable cleaning products and want something that will work quickly (no time for looking for a sponge and the cleaner) then this for you.

I know, not a glowing review, but it did clean my tub. Just not as awesome as those scrubbing bubble commercials would have you think.

07 July 2008

Not a Mundane Monday

1] Thank you to everyone who came here, over a thousand according to FeedBurner (a new record!), to find information on Jana. I failed to mention, because it was in the news pieces, that she was a lobbyist for Kansas NOW and other progressive & feminist orgs. And thanks to Feministing & Shakesville for sending people over. If you also linked here, I thank you. Not for the visits, but to spread the word about Jana. If you haven't clicked on the comments, her brother stopped by to say thank you too.

2] Work it, Mom! Monday is a conversation about how difficult it can be for women to socialize within the workplace. While I'm the chatty chick here, get me in a room with cheese, wine & people and I'll spend all my time with the cheese & wine. And despite my tomboy childhood, I'm still not always good with hanging with the guys if they are being all potty-mouthed. Thank the goddess I work with good feminists (mostly women & one great guy). You don't even need to be a mom to comment either.

3] I just finished "Finding Iris Chang" and need to write a proper review. Just a warning. Oddly, I think it'll be a humorous review too. I also need to write reviews for two other books I just finished in the last week. One was super short, no hating, k?

4] I'm way behind in my magazine reading...I still haven't read much of the Bitch Magazine that I'm in! I cycle between downing books and mags. But I just finished reading Randa Jarrar's piece in make/shift about being a mom writer and I loved it! OMG, while I don't consider myself a writer, yet, I do recognize so much of it reflecting on being a mom activist. Esp the part where her son complains about going to another reading and would rather stay home to watch HSM. So far, so good on that part...but the kid's only 5, so I'm sure she'll want to ditch the NOW Conference for Great America one day.

5] And to end on a funny note...Ever wonder where I got the name for this blog? While th e term feminista isn't new, it was mentioned in an episode of "The West Wing" and the Mr. is thinking that his BFF, Dan, saw it and like the Mr. likened me to Amy and bam! started to call me "La Feminista!" when we'd hang out. So when I was sitting around last summer (Holy Shit! July 10th is my blog's bday! I need cupcakes!) thinking of a name for this new baby, La Feminista came to mind. I think I've told this story before, but it wasn't until the Mr. was watching "West Wing" - again - that he realized that Josh had called Amy & her fellow feminists that name. So that's Aaron Sorkin & BFF Dan for naming my blog.

06 July 2008

Thank you Jana Mackey

I was lazily checking on Facebook from my Treo when I noticed one of my BFFs updates "...appalled that a friend's life could end in such a manner." And I immediately called her to find out who she had lost. This is the woman she lost...that WE lost:Jana Lynne Mackey. Above is a screen shot from a piece that ran in Lawrence, Kansas in 2004 just as the contingent that she helped organize to the March for Women's Lives. How did we lose such a beautiful & strong woman?

Apparently her ex-boyfriend killed her and then the fucker killed himself.

There is a Facebook group for Jana and as soon as I hit publish, I'm joining.

One on hand, my friend, Kat, was not close to Jana. She knew her the way we know so many of us...from events, emails, etc. But Jana had gone back to school to earn a law degree so she could be a better advocate for women in violent relationships. Ironic, eh? We, the world, the feminist movement, the anti-violence movement, has lost a shining star. Click on her photo and watch the clip. She just glows at her accomplishment and of helping to organize so many people in a state that has it's own book on how fucked up it is.

I want to cry about this. But I'm too mad to even cry over this tragedy.

Technorati tags: Jana Mackey, violence against women, feminism

05 July 2008

Why Tiger Woods' Miracle at the US Open is Horrible News for Parents

Welcome readers from the 61st Carnival of Feminists!

Days after Tiger Woods won the 2008 US Open columns sprung up about his amazing feat especially after it was revealed that his next appearance would be in the operation room to repair a torn ACL:

As great as Woods was in winning the most important major golf tournament of the year, he just got greater. We now know he gritted out all those big drives, made all those miraculous shots and holed all those magnificent putts on a knee that wasn't yet healed from April surgery. And on a leg with stress fractures in two places. - Christine Brennan, USA Today

“The diagnosis was not to play in the U.S. Open,” Hank Haney, Tiger’s swing coach, said Monday before chuckling. “There was no way he wasn’t playing the U.S. Open.”

That’s what makes Tiger, Tiger. His ferocious competitive streak – which in this case may prove harmful – coupled with his intense mental strength allowed him to not only proceed when he shouldn’t have, but actually thrive. - Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports


Yes, there was hemming and hawing on the sports pages about whether or not Tiger should had played at all. But it was more related to his legacy...whether he would surpass Jack Nicholson for Golf King or not. Carol Slezak of the Chicago Sun-Times even reminded us that Tiger's feat is not unique:

You think Tiger Woods had it rough playing golf with an injured knee? Try vaulting on a severely sprained ankle -- and sticking the landing. Oh, how quickly we forget.

Twelve years have passed since Kerri Strug's captivating performance during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Remember her terrific vault and landing, followed closely by a look that said, ''I'm in excruciating pain,'' followed closely by her collapse onto the mat?


Just weeks before this "superhuman" display of athletic ability the NYTimes had us parents in a frenzy over our daughters' ACLs:

Janelle was one of the best players on a very good high-school team, the Lady Raiders of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale. A midfielder and a 2007 first-team, all-Broward-County selection, she had both a sophistication and a fury to her game — she could adroitly put a pass right on the foot of a teammate to set up a goal, and a moment later risk a bone-jarring collision by leaping into the air to head a contested ball.

That she was playing at all on this day, though, was a testament not to her talent but rather to her high threshold for pain, fierce independence and formidable powers of persuasion. Janelle returned to action a little more than five months after having an operation to repair a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, or A.C.L., in her right knee. And just 20 months before that, she suffered the same injury to her other knee.

There was a lot of skittishness around the blogosphere about this story. Was it a thinly veiled attempt to drag girls and women back to the time when even running was bad for our reproductive organs? Or a simple call to action, without the call, for parents to wake-up and smell the Icy/Hot?

So where does this leave us parents? Especially those of us with athletic girls, which I am a member of that club. Do we let them see sportscaster after sportswriter bow down at the Temple of Tiger and his amazing ability to win on a torn ACL? Do we afterwards tell them that it's ok for a man to do that and not "you, young lady. You're sitting out of your soccer tourney." Will we get back-up from their coaches? Or do we fall back on the "when you're an adult, you make your own choices," line again?

I'm a huge sports fan...HUGE. But I recall watching my classmates in high school play thru injuries, I see Hall of Fame football players limp thru Chicago, and my knees hurt like hell some days. Do I want that for my girl? Hell no. Do I want her to sit out because she might get hurt? HELL NO.

A middle ground needs to be found, settled, and established. I'm not talking laws here, I'm talking about parents being parents. We should not laud acts such as Tiger Woods at the US Open, Kerri Strug at the Olympics, or Curt Shilling's bloody sock. We should laud the Cubs for putting Zambrano on the 15-day disabled list despite his displeasure and every other player who sits out "just in case." Yes, championships will push us to do things we might not do during the regular season, but we need to ask what is best for the person. Will they be able to walk in 10 years? Will a 15-year-old boy hide his injury to be like Mike? Not just "will we win?" A lot of time and money has been spent to discuss steroids in sports and the way our kids look at it. We need to start talking about cortisone shots and playing on not just bum knees, but torn, broken knees.


Technorati tags: Title IX, sports, Tiger Woods, girls, ACL

02 July 2008

how to build a community - a must read

hermana resist has an excellent piece on creating community and involving single moms. Hmmm...I know a few people from my past who should have read this. As a mom with a partner, I'd say that most of it applies to moms in general.

  • realize that parents are people. Realize that parents are people. Realize that parents are the same people you knew before.
  • realize that parents can be activists. but they are also parents. they have different things on their mind. Single parents often have things such as food, rent, money, health on their mind. Unlike the single person, they are usually thinking of their child(ren) when they think about these things. Sometimes a single parent (take me for example) cannot concentrate on the latest protest, though important as it may be, because I may be thinking of what will my next job be, and the addition of subtraction of money in my head.
  • to build a community, parents and children should be welcome and not feel they can’t attend a meeting/event because of their baby(ies).


What to Buy Wednesday - Body Pillow

When I got pregnant a good friend who was about six months ahead of me said, "You have to get a body pillow." I said, "Sure..." and filed it in the back of my head.

By the time she had her daughter, I was just at the end of my first trimester and starting to actually FEEL pregnant. That, "OMG, I feel an extra few pounds heavy...And I can't roll on my belly!" Yes, medical folks will tell you that you do need to sleep on your side and for someone who is a belly sleeper, that's a HUGE adjustment. So when my husband & I went to visit the new lil baby, I said a world of YES to her offer to borrow the body pillow.

This was after a few weeks of us looking for one at a reasonable price. Of course now you can buy one at Target for $18 ($9 for the pillow, $9 for the cover) and I have it! You can spend more on one and I bet they feel great...seriously, a body pillow is freaking heaven, thus a Tempur-Pedic one must be heaven with fat-free cream cheese frosting that tastes like full-fat cream cheese frosting.

Sleeping has to be one of the biggest complaints for pregnant women. You try sleeping with 20 pounds of water on your belly for 5 months...It throws off your natural sleep positioning, your back is already hurting from the strain of the baby and then you get into bed. It should be relief, but sometimes it isn't.

As I said, I have the $18 Target pillow. I found that my back isn't the same after having the kid (my theory is part being pregnant and part the epidural...MY THEORY only!), but after getting even just this cheapy version, I am sleeping way better. AND for those of you who think that a normal pillow between your legs will work? Maybe for you, but I move a lot in my sleep, so a normal pillow just gets lost.

I recommend this gift to come from the partner of the pregnant woman. She's gonna be bitchy about sleep, so why not show her you know it's gonna be rough by getting this early?

Technorati tags: What to Buy Wednesday, motherhood, parenthood, gift, pillow

01 July 2008

Toy Review: Leapfrog TAG

For about a month my daughter has been playing with her Leapfrog TAG, a gift from Leapfrog. And I'd have to say that she likes it. I'd have to say that the adults in her life don't. First, the kid's review:

She doesn't like the "I Spy" book that I picked out for her due to a lack of story. It really is a book where kids can look for a kitten in a cloudscape. I think she would have liked it better if there was a list of things to find for each page. She loves that page in "Highlights." Seriously, each month it comes in the mail and BAM! her pen is out and we have to stop what we are doing. Just looking for things without a list is not challenging for her.

She did like the "Ozzie and Mack" book, but more for the activities and games that go along with the book than reading the story itself. There is a game that asks kids to identify bugs within a timed period. Yes, my daughter is the timed challenge kinda kid. I have no idea where she gets that from! *looking away*

She's still in her drawing period meaning that she'd much rather be huddled over her box of crayons and drawing paper than almost anything else. Perhaps she'll be more into the TAG the more she plays with it. She does love her "National Geographic Kids" magazine and the first thing she goes for are the animal cards, so....I was happy to see that TAG has NG animal activity cards in the library.

Now the adults review:

My husband, our neighbor (who is part of the family), and I are still sticklers for the phonics way to learning to read. Yes, I know it's almost too old skool for school, but we're phonics peeps. Thus the fact that the TAG doesn't do phonics, but rather tries to get the kids to read words by sight is unsettling to us. And so far we haven't seen any results. Again, perhaps we'll see more in the future. AND who knows how her kindergarten curriculum will be. *sigh*

Overall, I'd say that it is a fun piece of equipment for the kid. I wouldn't say to run out and grab one if you want something to teach your kid to read. But she does have fun with the activities.

NOTE: I revisited this review on August 9, 2008.

Disclaimer: The only payment I received for this review was the TAG and two books.

Technorati tags: Leapfrog TAG, toy review