Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

31 July 2009

My most embarrassing & kick ass moments of Blogher

Ah, Blogher fumes still rumbling thru my veins...

So Florinda mentions TWICE my most embarrassing moment of Blogher. She asked me for an autograph on the Ms. magazine that I just handed her. I laughed and saw she was dead serious. It was extra funny because my husband had just been teasing me the day before about "When is your signing at Women & Children First?" But Florinda was serious and since I love her so, I took her pen, my pen?, and signed my name under my photo. I meant to write a peace symbol and then my name. But it came out as [Peace sign], [heart] and feminism.

Then came my favorite sluts...I gave them a copy of the magazine before the panel started. After I composed myself from signing Florinda's copy, one of them asked me to autograph their copy with a fushia Sharpie. More nervous chuckling.

By now my dear readers, you should know that while I'm excited about all the stuff I do, I am also a horrible promoter. I'm currently fundraising to hire Cinnamon for that role. I'm only a few thousand short, so someone give me a huge ass book deal! haha...Seriously thou, I'm awful at it, thou I am getting better. But the thought of anyone wanting my autograph is too overwhelming for me to really comprehend, so it pushes me to being more embarrassed than anything. I guess cause I just don't know how to handle it.

So what was the most kick ass moment of Blogher? Introducing friends to Gloria Feldt. I mean, hello!? How many years have I been getting mass emails & snail mail from her about Planned Parenthood? And because of the Progressive Women's Voices program, I know her well enough to introduce her around. Oh, yeah...now that's bad ass.

But it helped show me (and it should you too) that we're all experts at something (thanks Katie) and well, blogging is one of the things I'm an expert at. I might not be a Forbes Power Mom blogger, but I know a thing or two about this medium. I also love, love, LOVE connecting amazing women to each other. I am the human LinkedIn/Friend Finder. And honestly, I love it because I can talk until my neighbors come home about you and this other amazing woman. And yes, that means I don't have to talk about me! Perfect, eh?

So if you ever pay me a compliment and I get all "aw, shucks..." that really is how I am. And while it is embarrassing, it's also pretty fab too. Thanks.

29 July 2009

Summary of the Parental Notice of Abortion Act

August 4, 2009, a parental notice for minors to obtain an abortion is scheduled to go into effect. I am posting a summary of the law on this blog for any minor who might be reading. If you have questions about this law, please contact the ACLU Illinois:


A. Notice Requirement

· The statute requires that an abortion provider in Illinois seeking to perform an abortion for a “minor” must give “at least 48 hours actual notice to an adult family member of the pregnant minor.”

· A “minor” is defined as a person (1) under the age of 18, (2) who has never been married, and (3) has not been legally emancipated under the Emancipation of Minors Act.

· The statute applies in the context of both medical and surgical abortions.

· “Adult family member” is defined as “a person over 21 years of age who is the parent, grandparent, step-parent living in the household, or legal guardian” of the pregnant teen.

· “Actual notice” is defined as “giving of notice directly, in person, or by telephone.”

· 48 hours “Constructive notice” may be given if actual notice is not possible after a “reasonable effort.” “Constructive notice” is defined as “certified mail to the last known address of the person entitled to notice, with delivery deemed to have occurred 48 hours after the certified notice is mailed.”

B. Notice is not required when:

· A patient under 18 years of age is or has been married or is legally emancipated under the Emancipation of Minors Act.

· The referring physician certifies in writing that he or she has given at least 48 hours notice to an “adult family member” of the pregnant minor.

· The minor is accompanied by an “adult family member.”

· Notice is waived in writing by an “adult family member.”

· The attending physician certifies in the minor’s medical record that a medical emergency exists and there is insufficient time to provide the required notice.

· The minor declares in writing that she is a victim of sexual abuse, neglect, or physical abuse by an “adult family member.” In this case, mandated reporting under the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act need not occur until after the abortion has been performed.

· The minor has obtained a court order waiving the notice requirement through the judicial bypass procedure.

28 July 2009

Latina Leaders and New Media

I attended the NCLR session, "Serving, Leading and Inspiring: Latinas in Elected and Appointed Office" which was great. So many amazing stories! I'll write them up later on. But afterwards I was able to grab my former State Sentor Iris Martinez (disclosure: I have donated to her campaign), State Representative Susana Mendoza and Elmy Bermejo, Chair of the board of HOPE, for a few minutes on social media.

It was a case study in how different we see social media and who is using it.

For Senator Martinez, she does not have a dedicated press person to help manage any social media outreach. Senators share press people, so one press person could be handling 4-5 or even 10 state senators. This doesn't seem to lead to having the time or energy to handle any substantive social media presence. I've talked with friends over the last few years and most of us are frustrated that elected officials aren't using the Internet to it's fullest extent. Martinez is committed to updating her website soon and looking for ways to increase her presence online.

Representative Mendoza is on Facebook and Twitter. It's really her on the other end of the iPhone, which was peeking out of her suit jacket, sending in updates. She says that she resisted joining for a long time, but quickly came to realize the power of social media/networking. While she was on the impeachment panel for former Gov. Blagojevich, she got a TON of feedback from people around the state about the impeachment as well as about her. "I got messages from Republicans in Lake County saying "I've never voted for a Democrat, but I'd vote for you if you ran for higher office." You don't let all of that go to your head, but it's great to hear from so many people. Facebook is the best door knocker!" We discussed how someone at her level of politics or even more local could definitely use Facebook and other social media tools to expand ones base in order to run for a higher office. She does say that she tries not to update too much and any updates are fairly relevant. Too many elected officials update too much and border on annoying.

Mendoza knows that her community still has issues with the digital divide and sees more non-constituents giving her feedback through social media tools. But is committed to bringing resources to the community. As she sees it, getting more people connected to computers will only increase their voices and education.

HOPE is working in California to increase the number of Latinas in leadership. They are also working on launching a poll to see how Latinas in California are using social media. Who is using it, why, how as well as seeing who isn't using it or even has access to social media. The digital divide is also a huge issue for HOPE and they want to see the divide decrease. As for their leadership training, they are targeting Latinas with potential. After a Latina goes through the training, they have access to the entire state wide network. One Latina who was campaigning had a goal of raising $5,000 in a week. With HOPE's network if every Latina on the list gave $20, she would have reached one week's goal.

And that's what HOPE is trying to do. Get more Latinas engaged in politics through running for office, working on campaigns and GIVING to campaigns. Bermejo says that it's working. Latinas are voting more, organizing receptions for other candidates and are giving more to campaigns.

The networks are forming one Latina at a time and by connecting online through Facebook, Twitter or whatever we create, I think that we'll be quite a force to be reckoned with.

26 July 2009

Blogher 2009 is history...

and I'm pooped!

But as is par for the course, life's roller coaster keeps chugging up that hill.

I was lucky enough to get a small number of Ms. magazine copies to pass out at Blogher and I've already gotten word that some stores are selling it despite an August 4th news stand date. This means that I need to brace myself for a small uptick in traffic.

I have to laugh at this because I spoke this morning at the National Council for La Raza (ya know, Sotomayor's racist organization!) on social media and one of the last questions was about rankings. I told the man (damn, what was his blog again? This is what happens when I'm on stage without a pen!) that I gave up on my stats and rankings a long time ago. I gave up because I know I'm listed on some pretty big blogs exclusive blogrolls. I know that I go to places like La Raza & Blogher and get "I love your blog!" comments from people who I have no idea who they are. Thus, stats can suck it. Feedburner, Google stats, Google rank and especially Technorati seem to be unable to explain why I seem to be fairly popular. I'm not A-list, but I'm not totally D-list anymore. But that's not why I missed the D-List lunch - I swear I thought we were having breakfast! haha...

But I'll be back at the La Raza conference for a short event on Monday and part of Tuesday burning up my press pass.

And if you read my blog on my blog instead of a RSS reader (it's ok, that's how I read your blog too.) you might notice that my Blogher button has been replaced by a Blogalicious button! Oh yes, I'll be traveling to Atlanta to hang with fellow women of color bloggers & some of our super kewl white girlfriends.

BUT...that will be after I get back from Tampa for the Florida Consortium for Women's Studies. I submitted a proposal to look at how the increase in women in general on campuses might be helping the increase of women in STEM. A total, total preliminary study, but I'm hoping that it will give me some direction for some research projects.

Whew!

Like I said, the roller coaster keeps chugging along. Some days I feel like I'm being run over or dragged, but more often than not, I'm enjoying the ride.

And to all my coworkers who read Ms and now have found my blog, Hi!

21 July 2009

Welcome Blogher peeps!

You might have clicked on that link in your latest Blogher Attendee newsletter and found yourself here.

First let me say thanks for clicking! Or oops, you clicked, but stay a moment.

Next, come say hi to me at the "Leadership: What is "Pro-Woman" in a Post-Palin World?" panel on Friday! It's at 2:45 pm. So take your break before me. I'm sure it's gonna be a fab conversation.

Lastly, don't forget why my link was even in the Blogher newsletter - BlogHer SOS!

BlogHer's Rock! That is all we have to say. Okay maybe we have a little more to say...

Thanks to the fabulous idea from Veronica and Kim we will be hosting "BlogHer SOS - Save our Soap". This means we will be gathering unused amenities at the registration desk to be donated to Deborah's Place in Chicago. The pickup is on Saturday so if you want to donate, do it before Saturday. Also, the Hotel does donate used amenities to a local shelter, so nothing will go to waste!

And I do have to give 100% of the credit for the idea to Kim and the info on Deborah's Place to my fabu coworkers who helped organize a similar donation drive earlier this year. See my friends, that's my real #1 skill - networking - I get people together. So make sure you get together with me this coming weekend so I can hook ya up later on.

20 July 2009

Book Review: Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone

Forty years ago today two men fulfilled a fallen leader's challenge and landed on the moon.

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with NASA and astronauts. One year I spent the entire summer studying for the Air Force Academy's entrance exam because I thought the best way to be an astronaut was to be a pilot. The only thing that I didn't learn was that years before Sally Ride was shot into space, thirteen women were willing, ready and able to do the same.

In Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream, Tanya Lee Stone, takes us back to a time before Title IX, before women in science programs, before the second wave of feminism, when it was all too easy for the US Government, NASA and a Vice-President to simply say no to women dreaming of floating among the stars.

The discrimination against these 13 women was atrocious. Every single test that was set up, these women passed with flying colors, yet NASA still said no to them. Many of the men of Mercury and Apollo missions testified against the women in front of Congress. The wives of astronauts would also speak up against the women. But the 13 women weren't alone...Scores of women across the country took to the streets and wrote letters to the White House demanding that the 13 women be allowed to enter the astronaut program.

Almost Astronauts is a moving young adult book. One that tells a simply story of women striving to fulfill their dreams. One that fills in some holes in American history, but I didn't feel was hitting young people over the head with the feminism stick. The photos and historical documents shown are powerful. I would recommend this book to any young woman, especially one in high school who is ready to take on the world on her own, who may be questioning where she will take her life and definitely one who may be dreaming bigger than most people think is proper.

Three days from today, we will mark the 10 year anniversary of Eileen Collins becoming the first woman Space Shuttle commander.

Grab a copy for yourself at an indie bookstore or Powells.com.

BriMeetsBooks also reviewed "Almost Astronauts"

18 July 2009

Affirmative Action's Next Generation

Sonia Sotomayor said she was an affirmative action baby. I was too, as was my husband. But what does that mean for my daughter?

Affirmative action was crafted to give those of us without privilege a bit of a leg up for opportunities. It should be a way for employers and admission committees to be made to look at my application carefully instead of dismissing it outright if my scores are a bit lower than others. It's not because I would had been a poorer student, but it's fairly well documented that standardized tests are biased against women and people of color. Of course things are better today because the tests have responded to the constructive criticism.

But as I listened to the hearings this past week and the praise that Sotomayor received for her struggle left me wondering where the babies of affirmative action babies stand.

My husband and I have three degrees, we have jobs that pay us more than the median household gets and we have a good network. When I was a kid and I was a budding science nrrd, my parents didn't know how to funnel that energy. So I spent summers with my nose stuck in books trying to teach myself anatomy, both human and dolphin, instead of at a science camp or internship. Both are good, but you know that camps and internships give you access that a book doesn't.

Our daughter isn't in need to affirmative action the way that we needed it. That said, racism persists and I believe always will. So what does that mean for my daughter and the children of other Latinos who pulled themselves up using affirmative action bootstraps? Do they need affirmative action?

I'm still mulling this over, but wanted to get it out there, hopefully for others to chime in and we can tackle this together.

12 July 2009

Blogging moms make the cover of Ms!

Take a look at that cover!

Yes indeed, some of us mamas are blogging, tweeting & rising to the occasion. Inside the upcoming issue of Ms. (hitting news stands August 4th) is a featured article by Kara Jesella on mom blogs! The article features quotes from PunditMom, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner of Moms Rising and me. I'm excited and scared to hear the feedback from everyone, especially after the last time I stuck my head out on feminism & motherhood.

As I am sure that people will end up here at this blog after the issue is read, I am going to be more diligent in posting here when I post elsewhere. Yes, this blog has evolved more and more into a portal of sorts, pointing you to other places where I write and dole out my two cents on life.

In that vein, I present you this week's edition of where I've been:

Over at the Bitch magazine blog:

And over at AWEARNESS:

05 July 2009

Review: Palm Pre

First and foremost, I was not asked by Palm to write this review. I'm doing it as a good-will gesture to everyone considering the switch to a Palm Pre. Now on to the review:

I have owned a Palm product since 2001. The Pre is my 3rd device. I scoffed at the Blackberry and iPhone pressure knowing that my Palm product was doing its job just fine thank you. Thus I moved from a Palm Treo to the Palm Pre.

AND THIS IS WHERE MY HEAD EXPLODED!

Date storage:
All your data is stored virtually. There is no desktop software, as with the Treo and previous Palm devices. And this is where I got tripped up.

The nice guy who sold me my Pre told me to open up a Palm Profile. This would allow me to have a back up of my data and if my Pre was ever stolen, I could go in and hit delete and all the data on the device would go BLAMMO. Gone. Cool.

BUT...

He nor any of the Palm material I read said that once you did this, it would NOT sync with Google Calendar. I did discover that the handbook does say once you put all your info on the Palm Profile that it can't be accessed from an online account. But I still think it's a pretty confusing method of tranferring data from the deskstop to the Pre.

Calendar:
The calendar on my Palm is pulled from Google calendar. I chose it because it was an easy way for my husband & I to keep track of each other's calendars without calling each other 2-3 times a day, which we have done before. Google also now has a way for you to add sub-calendars to your main calendar, so the husband doesn't have to see all my work appointments, just things I want him to see like evening events. Nifty, eh? Oh yeah, he got a Pre too, so it works awesome for us.

Now the key to migrating from a Treo to a Pre AND having all your old data show up on the Pre AND Google Calendar is to NOT put your data on the Palm Profile.* When you are prompted, choose Google Calendar. If you put it on the Palm Profile, it stays on the Pre and doesn't go anywhere else - including the other calendar options I'm not using.

You might not want your events from 2002 to be on Google Calendar, but if you're like me, you just might schedule things in advance that you might want to keep and not have to duplicate later on.

But after I finally got my calendar all figured out, it's awesome. As I said it's awesome to have the husband's calendar at my fingertips as well as a few other friends calendars I subscribe to. Oh yes, I have geeky friends.

Email:
The email system is great. I have my Gmail and Yahoo mail set up and I can read either account separately or together. Yes, I can read Gmail and Yahoo together and reply and the Pre is smart enough to know which email account to use. Ah, technology...making multi-tasking even more efficient.

The best part, for me, is the delete function. All you need to do is sling the email (while in the inbox or folder) to the right and BAM! it's deleted.

I do think that because the email is sync'd to my Yahoo and Gmail account and it's not really downloading email as it did on the Treo, that it's slower. There are times when I'm faster than the system, delete an email and then it shows up again in a few minutes. Patience is key.

You can set up the email to alert you whenever an email arrives, every few minutes or whatever you want. I have it set up for manual check. I'll get to why in a few...

Tasks:
In some sense the tasks have been improved and in another not so much. Tasks do not sync to Google tasks, which is a downer, but I can live with it.

You can now set up tasks for say work and then a list underneath with due dates. Which is freaking awesome! Now I have tasks for work, personal, writing and my volunteer stuff.

The thing that I'm still trying to figure out is how to view only the tasks that are due or overdue. The manual and help keep telling me how, but it's not working.

Music/Sound:
My husband has finally stopped telling me that he's going to buy me an iPod. The sound is excellent! AND when you have a song on the Pre, you can also use it as a ringtone without any transfer or whatnot we've had to do before. No more buying ringtones!!

Web browser:
I'd say it's ok. I'm not happy that mobile sites look like crap, but I guess the point is to use the real site instead. But when I'm reading news sites, I have to enlarge the text big time and then scroll thru all the graphics. Another aspect I'm still trying to get use to.

That said, some sites do look great. Facebook is not one of them. But I do have access to more sites than on the Treo. Win some, lose some.

Apps:
The app store is still tiny. The winners so far is Tweed (for twitter) that allows me to RT with one click, search for keywords & hashtags and gives me access to DMs too. It's better than Twitter! Also the Pandora and NYTimes apps are awesome.

Operation system:
So far so good. I'm still getting use to having to click everything with my fingers. Thank the goddess for the pull out keyboard. I don't know how iPhone peeps do it. I really miss the stylus when trying to copy & paste things into emails. Which makes the RT on Tweed even more sweet.

Battery life:
This is the big downer. BUT it can be managed if you know what to look for.

The first week my husband's Pre was hot to the touch. We thought it was a bad battery, but apparently he had everything on - GPS (I never have this one, I'm paranoid), instant emails, etc. I would like to think I'm a semi-power user. I can make it from 7 am to 5 pm without having to recharge, but then I do have to recharge when I get home or in the car. So for the time being I'm bringing my charger to work and plugging in so I'm not using battery power. I do believe I'll buy a spare charger for work soon. I was waiting to make sure I was in for the long haul with this baby.

Camera:
AWESOME.

I did lose the 2x zoom from the Treo, but I gained a flash. Also the pics are super crisp. I have no idea what the pixel count is, all I know is that it takes great pics....if I'm not moving.

What else to tell you about??

I haven't used every feature of the Pre, but I feel that after 3 weeks I've used it enough to know that I love it. Not head over heels, but I love it.

If you want to know about other features, just leave a comment and I'll reply.

Thanks for reading!!


*If you did put all your calendar stuff on the Palm Profile, you need to do a partial wipe of the Pre AND wipe the Palm Profile clean. I can't remember how to do it, but call customer service and they will help. When you sync back up, you may have duplicates in your calendar & contacts, but it was worth the price to finally get my calendar all set up the way I wanted.