Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

31 January 2009

On being a token

As any good WOC feminist, I am quite familiar with being a token.

In grade school I was the token:
  • On sports teams because I pushed & shoved my way there;
  • In the gifted program for my grade because I guess I was the only gifted girl & person of color;
In high school I was the token:
  • Poor chick in class - while some of my fellow C'villers made it into the honors and AP classes, I don't recall many of my other C'ville chicks making it there despite I knew quite a few of them were pretty smart. There was also a dilution factor that kept many of us apart;
  • Poor chick in my group of friends - this came about due to the above factor. You start to socialize with the peeps in your class;
  • Latina in my class - Again, not too many Latinas in the honors classes & it didn't hit me until in my later years. Honestly I didn't mind so much. There is a bit of glory in being the token...or so I thought.
But not every instance of being a token is laden with guilt or tokenness...Monday I'll be speaking that the Feminism 2.0 conference in DC. I got a very late call to be on the plenary Monday morning - This after I've already organized a panel on feminists & the media and was asked to sit on the "Breaking the Waves" panel. The organizer was quite honest with me in that she had a few last minute cancellations and that by including me she got not just ethnic diversity, but also age. I also trust her enough thru our past communications that she's not tokenizing me. My only response to her was "People are going to get tired of seeing me!" and "I'm so going to get a reputation about this," of course meaing people are going to think me a bit of a spotlight hog.

Of course there is still some issues us feministas need to deal with when it comes to conferences. How many other Latinas will be present? Will our numbers be decreased due to lack of travel funds, child care or even knowledge of the conference? I guess we'll see.

But participation hopefully will be increased by the plans to stream the plenaries and maybe the panels. I'll be bringing my laptop & webcam to help out with that. There should also be people liveblogging, so be on the look out for links popping up on the Feminism 2.0 website Monday. If you have a chance, I hope that you'll join us live. If not, I'm sure there will be videos, pics & blogs posted later on to continue the conversation.

And now off to pack!

27 January 2009

The Ms. Obama cover

And of course I mean the Ms. magazine cover with President Obama on it.

I had the privilege of interviewing Ms. Executive Editor Katherine Spillar this morning about the controversy and thought behind the Obama cover. You can read Eleanor Smeal's rationale for the cover online and in the issue, but I wanted to dig a bit deeper.

Of course the morning had already started on a bit of Obama news that leaked out late the night before about the President asking that family planning money come out of the economic stimulus package. Long time readers may recall that my stance on reproductive justice keeps evolving more and more to be centered on economic justice. A woman can't afford her birth control method without economic justice and thus can't plan her pregnancies to allow for economic justice. Essentially, many college women can't get thru college in 4 years without a little help from the birth control pill. I know it helped me! Thus I couldn't understand why a man who claims to be a feminist would actively throw women under the bus like this.

I asked Spillar if she thought, with and without the recent news, if Obama had gotten off to a good start or had cemented his feminist credentials with the amazing first week of his administration. Spillar commented that it was a good start, but reminded me that in Smeal's letter, Ms. warns that we must remain vigilant as we have a strong and large opposition. This time it is not the White House but rather organizations like the Chamber of Commerce who is opposed to paid sick days and paid family leave. We must remember we have a friend in the White House who went up to Smeal in 2007 in DC and offered up, "You know, I'm a feminist too." I find it curious that he will offer this up, but Michelle wavers...but that's another post.

Spillar and I discussed how we, feminists, can keep from feeling betrayed again. Of course, that conversation happened about 24 hours too late, because many of us felt betrayed by the family planning deal. BUT...Spillar says Ms. and Feminist Majority is not happy about what happened with the family planning deal either. They worked hard to keep it in, but we will be disappointed many times during this administration.

But why the cover? Spillar said that they wanted to try to capture the emotions and mood of the country. That while we, as feminists, may not want to believe in the superhero rescue storyline, many others in this country are in fact hoping that he saves us from two wars, the economic crisis and our horrible image abroad. It was played up on a comment Obama made at a luncheon about not being born in a manger, but rather on Krypton. She admits that the cover was also intended to grab people's attention. Spillar points out that the issue holds many important stories on how we can and must regain ground after 8 years of the Bush administration. I'm going refrain from content review in this post to focus on the controversy.

I asked Spillar if by putting Obama on the cover of Ms. that Ms. was saying that he met their feminist litmus test. She responded with a resounding YES.

I then asked her if they considered Michelle for the cover instead, given that she's a woman and that many women are not satisfied with how the big feminist orgs have come (or not) to her defense since Hillary's candidacy ended. Spillar replied that Feminist Majority had come to her defense, especially after the Baby Mama incident. While they may still put the First Lady on the cover, Ms. wanted to mark the historic moment and the hopes we have of the President.

Now for the illustrator himself...I wanted to know why the leading feminist magazine would turn to a man for their cover. Spillar was unapologetic with her support of the man who did the artwork. She felt his work best represented how they wanted to portray the President. I joked that we could call this issue the Men issue of Ms. As Spillar said, Ms. is an all-woman run magazine and decided to give a man an opportunity.

We discussed the high standard feminists have for Ms. That they are often looked to as a standard bearer and if they welcomed that burden. Spillar said that they proudly carry that burden.

She also mentioned that one-third of men in the USA self-identify as feminists and Obama is one of them. Yes, we will have disappointments, but we are at a point where we, as feminists especially, have an opportunity to move the country forward. We must seize this moment.

This reminds me that sometime over the summer my family & I hit the Maxwell Street Market for something my husband was looking for. It's usually a trip where we buy small things for cheap, grab some freshly made Mexican food and just have a nice time. That time I was floored at how many Obama things were out. Obama shirts, hats, caps, if you could put his name or face on it, it was there. I turned to my husband and said, "Obama is MONEY!" And he is. He's on almost every magazine out there. I'm still waiting for him to be in the hidden pictures section of Highlights.

The placement of Obama on the cover of Ms. was both calculated to grab our attention and to mark this moment in history. Ms. still does not take corporate advertising, thus needs readers to pick up and buy an issue or subscribe to continue to cover many of the issues we care about. Do I blame them for jumping on the Obama money wagon? No. It's pretty darn smart and I'm happy they are open about it.

Now do I personally like the cover?

Hell yes.

Two summers ago I was standing in a buffet line at a conference with my boss who LOVES Obama. She lives in Hyde Park and has hosted fund raisers for him in the past. We were standing next to Eleanor Smeal. I said hi to Ellie, as she is often called, and introduced my boss. When Ellie found out that we were from Chicago, she asked us which Chicagoan we were backing - The native Chicagoan who now lives in NY or the adopted Chicagoan. I got to listen in on a die-hard Hillary supporter (Ellie) debate a die-hard Obama supporter. It was FREAKING BRILLIANT. It was like watching a Navratilova-Evert tennis match. Ellie lives and dies feminism...I may not always agree with everything she says or does, but I know for a fact that Ellie isn't a sell-out. So...to see Obama on the cover of Ms. was kinda like a peace offering from one of Hillary's most ardent supporters and a nudge to all of us to recognize that yes we do have a feminist First Family.

We do have a lot of work to do and this is politics. Deals are made and far too often women, especially poor women & women of color are left out in those deals. We have to stay strong, vigilant and united. He's going to screw up. Hillary would have screwed us a few times too. Remember her stance on welfare peeps.

And honestly, I do hope that Obama saves us...By inspiring & showing us that we can work together, as a community, to clean out the shit that's been piling up for the past eight years. We need to move forward, but we can't get there without each other.

24 January 2009

Chicago Abortion Fund Rally for Roe

Thursday was the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the Chicago Abortion Fund & friends rallied at Federal Plaza.

We not only rallied to celebrate Roe, but we also rallied to bring attention to the Hyde amendment and the injustice it brings to poor women around the country.

Medill came out and covered the event and there is a nice photo gallery online! I'm in the last photo digging thru my purse for my Treo because I was hoping that President Obama would lift the global gag rule and then we could celebrate! Alas, despite what the anti's wanted us to think, he didn't lift the ban until Friday. A two-day celebration isn't a bad thing thou.

22 January 2009

Blog for Choice Day 2009

This year's topic:

What is your top pro-choice hope for President Obama and/or the new Congress?

I hope that President Obama and the new Congress remember that reproductive justice is imperative to women's economic well-being.

I don't just mean the mom who decides that she can't afford to feed and clothe another child. I want the President, Congress, all of us to remember:

  • The college students who despite their cell phones (which are often their only phone) face rising tuition, housing & fees and outrageous book prices who can't afford $50 a month for a pack of pills;
  • The teenage girl who would drop out of school if she had to give birth because her parents have decided she must move out;
  • The girls and young women who trade sex for survival items and want birth control.
It doesn't take a Ph.D. to see the parallel between the legalization of birth control, abortion and the mass influx of women into the education system to see that they go hand in hand. Women and girls must have the ability to choose when to have sex, when to get pregnant, when to become mothers, and when not to do all of those things.

I believed this before and after becoming a mom, I am fanatical about this - No one should ever, ever be forced to have to carry any pregnancy to term. Pregnancy should be a time of love not regret. You must love and want to bring a new life into the world in order to take care of yourself. It is often the only time a woman truly cares for herself, because well, she's actually caring for her future child. I'm guilty of that.

Your birth plan should be your birth plan. If you want to have your child in a water tub with your entire famly watching, more power to ya. This goes for every single woman not just women who can afford this either due to their economic situation or not being incarerated. Yes, Virginia, we still SHACKLE women during labor if she has broken the law. DOWN THE FUCKING STREET FROM WHERE I WORK!! IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS. IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. IN OBAMALAND. Has he broken a law? Sure. Does that mean she loses her right to a humane birth? NO. Ms. has a great feature on how some prisons are not just treating pregnant women as human beings, but also allowing their children to stay with them for some time afterwards.

The recent abortion donut story finally proves once and for all to everyone (except stupid fundies) that the term CHOICE has been co-opted by the advertising industry. We have the freedom to chose our phone company, tampons, cars, breakfast cereal and yes our donuts. CHOICE for the pro-choice movement has matured - for most of us - to include birth control, our right to sterilization, our freedom from sterilization, our right to parent, right to adopt out but still stay in touch, our right to abort, and our right to pop our birth control without stopping for a medical period. Midwives, doulas, and henna tattoos on our bulging bellies. This is what choice means to me.

Every single choice women make about our reproductive lives involves a financial decision. And obviously, those with the most money, will get the most choices.

21 January 2009

Michelle Obama: Mother or Career Woman?

From the new First Lady's webpage:

When people ask Michelle Obama to describe herself, she doesn't hesitate. First and foremost, she is Malia and Sasha's mom.

But before she was a mother — or a wife, lawyer, or public servant — she was Fraser and Marian Robinson's daughter.

This introduction for the First Lady's biography has continued the discussion on whether or not Michelle Obama downplays her achievements as a working woman. She is quite accomplished on her own as witnessed by a press release by Leadership Greater Chicago and Crane's Chicago:

He was known as “Michelle’s husband — that guy who’s a state senator,” recalled Mr. Goolsbee, the only one of the three to make it to Monday’s event.

I know pointing that line out and me adding that my husband knows people who knew Michelle when she was THE OBAMA in town, will just add fuel to the "she's downplaying her role" fire.

But is she really downplaying her role?

No, she's not.

Michelle is a mother and the mother of two young girls who are now in the center of international attention. As a mom, we can easily quit our office jobs, even if we love them, but we can't quit our kids. Now you're asking yourself, isn't Barack quitting his kids? If his letter to the girls is true, no. I believe that he believes this path is HIS best way to be a father to the girls.

Is it gendered? Hell yes.

But that's the way they played their cards.

Would I play my cards that way? I can't say for certain. My husband & I try to take turns on who is out front. And honestly one never knows when one of us will "shoot way in front." From what I've read of Michelle & Barack, he has had his eyes set on running for political office for years. She preferred to leave her mark in other ways, in the way that most of us actually walk. Did she make that choice knowing that public life makes it harder to be a mom? I don't know.

What I do know is that Michelle oozes strong woman vibe. Whether she is touting her degrees and lengthy resume, dancing elegantly with her husband or mothering her daughters, she is a strong woman. As my husband said when I asked him what he thought, "She's a strong woman who balances it all in her own way."

Do we need a new definition of motherhood or fatherhood in this situation? Perhaps. Remember that grandma moved into the White House for a reason. My bet is that Michelle will log just as many frequent flyer miles as Barack - And we will be a better country for it.

Malia & Sasha - Thanks for lending us your parents for the next 4-8 years. We owe ya.

20 January 2009

Happy Inauguration Day!

Want to know how I celebrated? Check out my latest post at Chicago Parent:

How does one top the thrill of watching our new President be sworn in over CNN.com on a LCD projector surrounded by the awesome women one works with? Why you head to your daughter's kindergarten class!

Oh, yes I did!

The morning was wonderful. My boss cried. We all laughed at President Obama stumble over the oath, which helped ease the tension in our conference room. We ate, laughed, ooh'ed, booed and cheered when we officially had a new President. Afterwards I headed out to talk with my daughter's kindergarten class.

18 January 2009

Final Ideas for Change

The top 10 ideas for change have been revealed and NONE of the top three women's issues made it:






All are great ideas, except the marijuana one for me, I think we have more urgent things to tackle. And while abortion rights came in the second tier, I am sad that it was the top women's rights issue. That said, I was pleased to see marriage equality make it to the final 10 as it has repercussions that trickle down into many other issues. And as someone who works with college students, I was uber-happy to see the DREAM Act win out too. We must find a pathway to citizenship or at least documentation for children who are brought here without the proper paperwork. If we don't, we are simply wasting the talent of these children.

Three more days people...three more days.

17 January 2009

Entitlement

I am almost certain that entitlement plays a huge role in why we continue to struggle with our daughter over respect. I know that at age 5 she doesn't fully understand the concept, but she does understand when we fail to respect her wishes. It's a thin line between all these concepts and it will take a few more years to get her to a place where I think she can truly get it.

But I also know that she feels that she is entitled to everything she wants. She feels that all she has to do is push us to a certain point and we break. Many days that is true. To counter this, I am trying to build up my tolerance for her crying, pouting and wailing. I know that by giving in to her, I'm sparing myself some agony, but I also know that I'll just get double the agony the next time I tell her to please do this or that and I get a snotty "no" response.

It's really easy to understand how some kids get to be so damn spoiled. I'm trying really hard not to let mine get like that. And while I agree that she's not spoiled in the classical sense, I do believe she has a clear sense of entitlement. She works hard for six hours a day in school and then does at least an hour of homework each day. She's a good kid. She is entitled to certain luxuries like a long hot bubble bath or dessert after dinner. Not to mention free reign to all the scotch tape a girl could want!

I laid it out to her tonight by ultimate plan for raising her: I want to raise her in a respectful way, as a human being, not a possession. I do not own her, but I am responsible for her. Strangely, I think she finally got part of that. I don't expect her to change over night, because there are things I need to change as well and those won't happen tomorrow either. But I do want to continue to be honest with her, as much as I can, on why I make the decisions I make for her. Hopefully this communication will lead to honest communication when she's older. Maybe it won't, but at least I'll have had tried.

Women, Power, and Politics

The Women, Power, and Politics is an online exhibition. Over the past 10 months, it has become one of the most comprehensive multi-lingual sources of women's political participation available on the Web. It just got a fresh new look, a video overview and a toolkit for action.



It is about women in general, so there are some women one wouldn't call feminists. But the museum isn't just there to tell you what it means to be a woman. They want you to be a curator too.

The International Museum of Women announces the completion of its latest global online exhibition Women, Power and Politics at www.imow.org/wpp. Women, Power and Politics is one of the most comprehensive online sources of women's political participation around the world. From mothers to members of parliament, Women, Power and Politics reveals the untold stories of women claiming and exercising their power to transform our world. Available in English, Spanish, French and Arabic, the exhibition features nearly 200 multimedia stories, interviews, podcasts, blog entries and other resources, representing 75 countries.

I.M.O.W.'s unique museum model allows online registrants to contribute their original essays, creative writing, art, photography, film and political cartoons to the Web site. To learn how you can join the global conversation and submit your work, visit www.imow.org/submissions.

16 January 2009

I love my readers!

I do apologize for being such a blogging slacker lately, but work has me utterly swamped. Get this, I have a letter of intent due on the 28th, a grant resubmission & panel proposal due Feb 15th and I'm late on my encyclopedia of motherhood entries. They are pretty much done, I just need to do a lot of formatting. I seriously need to learn to start out with the formatting! Ugh.

Anyway, the good news this week is all about the Fair Pay bills churning their way thru the Congress. Annie pointed out in comments from last year's vote that:

And that is Hillary Clinton and Tom Harkin's Bill. : ). Obama will get all the credit, but all he's doing is signing it, but know whose bill that really is. : )

OK, so some might think this is residual Obama bitterness from the primary. But I think she's right. Yes, he's going to sign it (much like LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act), it was HRC's bill. We need to remember what the Senate has lost and what the world has gained by her being Sect of State. We also need to remind people of the positive difference she has made and will continue to make in this world. Yes, yes, I've heard the criticisms of HRC and mostly I agree with them.

But sometimes I think we are too focused on the negatives that we can't see the positives. Well, unless you drank the whole glass of Obama Kool-Aid anyway. ;-)

As we prepare to enter a new era of American politics, let's remember to keep an eye on the prize, but not get too bogged down by too many of the stumbles. But to also not let whomever is in power to get away with too much shit. It's gonna be a bitch being in power, eh?

10 January 2009

Why I write what I write

Warning this post is really just a brain dump. I had a great phone call with one of my freelance 'bosses' and really it was great. But they pointed out that I like to write about women's stuff a lot. And it got me thinking...

Yeah, I do write about women a lot. It might be me making up for a childhood of rejecting many girly things. Playing with dolls but scoffing at skirts & pink. For preferring the company of boys to girls because boys played sports and didn't squeal when they were hit. Then when I hit middle school, boys got too weird and girls were mostly catty. The ones who weren't, I was scared of getting too close in case I scared them away.

But honestly I write about women because I don't feel like enough people are really writing about women in the media. If you give me a soapbox, a medium, a platform to talk about something, I'm sure that the first thing that comes to mind is about women.

I know there are people in my life who get tired of it. Who get tired of me wondering if Cat Cora gets challenged as often as the other Iron Chefs and why I don't see many women challengers. Yeah, that's what goes thru my mind when I'm trying to relax with Food Network.

I can't turn off the feminist analysis. I don't look at the world thru a set of feminist glasses, I see the world thru feminist eyes. I can't take them off. I see questions everywhere, I see women missing in a larger story, especially if women are disproportionately affected.

Don't worry, I didn't take the question or rather assessment negatively. Not at all. I just hadn't stopped to really think about it in some time. And I needed that...I need to be more cognizant of what I'm writing, why I'm writing it and what I want to do with it.

OK end brain dump...

09 January 2009

Books don't teach people, people teach people

07 January 2009

VOTE!!

The Ideas for Change in America competition was created in response to Barack Obama's call for increased citizen involvement in government. The final round of voting began on January 5 and is comprised of the top 3 rated ideas from each of the 30 issues in the first round of the competition, which collectively received more than 250,000 votes.

The top 10 rated ideas from the final round will be presented to the Obama administration on January 16th at an event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, co-hosted by the Case Foundation. At the event we will also announce the launch of a national advocacy campaign behind each idea in collaboration with our nonprofit partners to turn each idea into actual policy. For more information about the competition, click here »

Here are the top three women's rights issues that made it to the final round:

You get 10 votes so go find 7 more things to vote on!

EVENT:: Pray the Devil Back to Hell

It's not a rare thing for me to attend a women's/feminist conference and come out of it in awe of someone I met there. I fan-girl way easy. But last summer I was blown right out of my bobbie socks. I got the chance to hear and meet one of the women who is in "Pray the Devil Back to Hell."

Pray the Devil Back to Hell is the extraordinary story of a small band of Liberian women who – armed only with white T-shirts and the courage of their convictions - came together in the midst of a bloody civil war, took on the warlords, and brought peace to their shattered country.

Pray the Devil Back to Hell reconstructs the moment through interviews, archival footage and striking images of contemporary Liberia. It is compelling testimony to the potential of women worldwide to alter the history of nations.



In the midst of a civil war a group of women protested for peace! No Facebook, no Twitter to organize them, yet it happened. I did not see the whole film, but it was enough. Hell, the trailer is moving. The film is being shown in Chicago with a discussion and co-sponsored by the Chicago Foundation for Women:

Wed., Jan. 14, 2009
5:30-6 p.m. reception
6-8:30 film screening and panel discussion
8:30 VIP reception for VIP-ticketed guests
The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago
1306 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago

I'm not sure if I can make it or not, but if you can, I strongly urge you to get your ticket. You won't be disappointed.

06 January 2009

Disney here we come!

The question is when.

Our daughter is five and we've always said that she needs to be big enough to go on the rides by herself when we make the trek back to the Happiest Place on Earth. In the summer she'll be almost six and I'm sure big enough for at least the kiddie rides. BUT...she's not just a kiddie ride gal, now is she?

So the question is...do we take her when she could at the pinnacle of her Disney love? Or do we wait another year or two so she take better advantage of Disney's offerings?

I didn't get to Disney until I was 10 and loved it. Yes, I missed out on a few kiddie rides, but I did get to ride the roller coasters unlike my younger sisters.

We also wanted to wait until she could remember her trip. It's not like we're going to go every year.

In the meantime, we're saving up our pennies (or rather Senor Feminista is) and I guess we'll figure it out sooner or later.

26 reasons to celebrate!

Being from Illinois, I need a reason to celebrate the swearing in of the new Congress today. Thanks to Nancy Keenan for reminding us that today 26 new PRO-CHOICE Congresswomen & men will be sworn in:

This new Congress includes 21 new fully pro-choice members in the House and five new seats the Senate - a net gain of 26 pro-choice members from the 110th Congress. These new members are from a wide variety of states, including Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, and Virginia.

Twenty-six. Hot damn!

As Nancy goes on to say as well, let's get to work on restoring the reproductive rights for every woman and woman-child in this fine country. Real sex ed, access to birth control, right to choose when and where to birth a baby, and our right to end our babymaking days when we choose. HPV access for those who want it. Access to abortion services, medical or surgical. On and on!!

05 January 2009

Monday morning wake up

Whoa mama! I'm back at work and the kid is back at school today. I thought that this morning was going to be hairy, but the Goddess blessed us with a hassle free morning.

I did write up a short list of hopes for 2009 at Work it, Mom!

And as usual, here is a list of my AWEARNESS posts that you might have missed over the holidays:
As always, comments at both sites are very much appreciated! AWEARNESS now has a system where you don't have to register to leave a comment. Easy!

OK, back to the grind...

04 January 2009

The S-word

This is starting to look like VLF's feminist dictionary!

In the comments of my post on the C-word, the Evil Slut Clique asked me about my feelings on the word slut. Oy...

First of all I believe that the word slut is used by most people as a way to shame women for their sexuality. The stud:slut dichotomy has been discussed by feminists for years. That means that women need to either new to create a new word for positive women sexuality or reclaim a word. Should that word be slut?

As a sassy teen, I tried to reclaim it by using it to label myself. My best friend & I would call each other "slut" and "whore" as an attempt to throw it back into the faces of our classmates who called us that. It was our way of saying, "Go ahead & call us that, we don't care." But we did. At least I did and I still do. But I don't believe it is the word as much as the hypocrisy that went into the labeling. Getting called a slut was punishment for much more than just sex. It was appearing to have or like sex, public kissing, not dating the same dork for 4 years, short skirts, low-cut shirts, see-thru shirts, etc.

Despite the hurt that the word holds for me and I'm sure many women out there, I do think that if you want to reclaim it, go for it. I've tried to stop using that word to label myself because a dear friend asked me to. I could see that it was hurting her to see me use that label and perhaps it was also because I was using it to cut myself down instead of empower myself.

It's all a bit crazy for me, but if you are strong enough to use slut in a positive way, more power to you.

Other thoughts?

DonorsChoose & BuildABearville Winners


And that means that Amy & Kat will each recieve a $10 card to DonorsChoose AND $10 on BuildaBearville.com. Congrats!! And thanks for making my birthday extra special.

02 January 2009

Looking ahead to 2009


Instead of resolutions for this new year, I want to make goals:

1) Not to accept anymore book reviews until I finish the ones I'm already committed to. Speed reading thru books is not fun or lend itself to a quality review. That said, my to-be-read-and-reviewed pile includes: Feminist Mothering, Labor Pains, Dancing at the Rivers Edge, and Dream in Color.

2) Be more physically active, even if that is walking more around campus (hurry up spring!)

3) Apply for two NSF grants

4) Write one journal paper for work

5) Write one magazine article (most likely not for a magazine you'll find in the check out aisle)

6) Get one op-ed accepted in a newspaper...even in this time of shrinking newspapers and space

7) Limit my blogging to only one more new blog...Someone's already approached me with "I'm brewing an idea." So she gets my one slot.

8) KNIT MORE

9) Reorganize my home office into more of a study/lounge/sun room since I don't work in it anymore

10) See my friends in social settings rather than just in work/networking settings

11) Be productive & relaxed during my daughter's gymnastics lessons = Starbucks + book

12) Have more fun with my family

Hmmm...one goal a month, that should be enough right?

01 January 2009

Looking back at 2008


Borrowed from kate:

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?

I allowed my online life to really merge with my work life. It was scary, hell it still is scary.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I wanted to listen to more country music and I think I did that. I love Taylor Swift. There I said it. Love Song & Our Song are sugary sweet and that's how I like a lot of my country music.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

A co-worker had a son over the summer. Her older son is in high school, so it's been quite a change for her.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully no.

5. What places did you visit?

I spent a lot of time in NYC this year - four visits in four months! I also visited MIT for the WAM! conference, but no visits like a real tourist visit.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

Better control of my money. I've been bad at balancing my checking account for quite some time, but I finally started an excel spreadsheet and it's helping a lot. I also opened a savings account for my freelance work. All money stays in there until I need a plane ticket or something related to freelance. I'd also like to wait until I get a good chunk of money to chip off the old credit card debt.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

September 2, 2008:: Our daughter started kindergarten and our entire world changed. The homework is intense since she's in an accelerated program. She also has a new set of friends and that means making new parent friends.

8. What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year?

Surviving kindergarten so far. This gifted program thing is not for the weak.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not applying for a Ph.D. program or taking the GRE. In some sense, I think it's worked out as I think I may want to wait for a new program that starts Fall 2010.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

If you count being addicted to my Treo, then yes.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My laptop, my hot pink suit jacket, and plane tickets to Seattle for February.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My dad's girlfriend. We're a handful and she's handled it all with grace as far as I can tell.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Those close to me can take a guess. It's something that can't be discussed publicly.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Mortgage, the kid, and credit card repayments.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The Cubs and as always they broke my heart.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

Um, I'm a music lame ass, I don't have one.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier...things are starting to click
b) thinner or fatter? Depends on the day! But about the same.
c) richer or poorer? About the same. Money comes in...money goes out.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Knitting, just hanging out with friends in a non-networking setting

20. How did you spend Christmas last year?

Woke up late, opened presents with my daughter & husband, went out to the 'burbs to see the in-laws & nephew, took an amazing nap, and then saw "Milk."

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?

Every day

22. How many one-night stands?

WTF kind of question is this? Even if I had one, would I tell? But the answer is none.

23. What was your favorite TV program?

The Rachel Maddow Show

24. What did you do for your birthday in 2008?

Went to a nice brunch, watched daughter have meltdown at restaurant, came home and chilled, recovered the day with mini-cake that Daughter picked out, opened Christmas & birthday presents with Cinnamon & Andrew.

25. What was the best book you read?

I have three favorites:

* Finding Iris Chang: I meant to write a review of this book, but never did. I think perhaps because there was so much to digest. It's much more than a biography of the late Iris Chang, but also a love letter from one friend to another.

* This Common Secret: It's amazing how much there is still to learn about a movement that I have been working in for so many years. It's not that I thought I know it all, but still to be bowled over by a book like this is amazing.

* Unmarketable: I truly appreciate the people in my life who challenge me and thus when one of them writes a book that does just that, I have to love it.

I have to say that one of the downfalls of reading so many books is that I have a habit of some of them going in and out my head. Then again, I read a lot of great books this year.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I can't think of any and no, I'm not claiming Taylor Swift.

27. What did you want and get?

I wanted a regular paid writing gig and I got two of them! Yes, be careful what you wish for!

28. What did you want and not get?

An acceptance to an anthology and a personal good-bye from a person who moved away instead of just an invite to the going away party. I deserved better than that.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

Milk. Honorable mentions include The Dark Knight, Get Smart and Definitely, Maybe. Hey, I don't see too many movies!

30. Did you make some new friends this year?

Bunches!

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

If I had won a certain award that my coworkers & I would have HAD to travel to the White House to accept. Resubmission is coming thou!

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

Embracing the dress shirt dress and suits.

33. What kept you sane?

Kept?

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Steve Carell

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

Just the presidential election

36. Who did you miss?

All my friends who don't live in Chicago.

37. Who was the best new person you met?

Alida...already covered that one.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

That balance is a myth, all I can hope for is to get my work done, say no, and pray like hell that coffee works. And that I have the best friends a girl can hope for and I wish that I had grown up with them.