28 November 2014

Dear Kate and The Perfect Body

 As some of you rush out to the mall to get in on deals, I wanted to share this response to the Victoria's Secret "Perfect Body" campaign from Dear Kate. While they changed the slogan to be less offensive, if you are looking for some comfy underwear AND some cute period panties, look no further than Dear Kate.


So not only are they a super neat idea (pretty period panties) and they have awesome marketing images. This "Perfect Body" campaign is not the first time a wide range of bodies have been used in their images.

BUT...get this, they have a line of underwear called "The League of Ladies" that depicts bad ass ladies of history as superheroes. Which, I guess they kinda are.

The only downside to "Dear Kate" underwear is that the magic science stuff that make them awesome for wearing during one's period make them not suitable for drying in a dryer. And if you're like me and a bit forgetful, you might ruin a pair.So careful!

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this glowing blog post, but I did receive some pairs of their underwear for a test run.

27 November 2014

TBT: Historical Feminist Backlash

Most people think that the US feminist or women's rights movement began at Seneca Falls, with perhaps a hat tip to Abigail Adams and her "Remember the Ladies" letter to future president John Adams. What most people do not know is that the US feminist movement was influenced by the power sharing that was found in the Iroquois Nation. While I have known of this connection for some time, what I did not know is that once Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth & others ignited the move towards suffrage and equal rights, the US government swiftly took away Iroquois women's right to vote in their Congress.

As we gather for Thanksgiving today and try to reconcile our tradition of thanks with the legacy of imperialism, I thought we should take a moment to note our feminist roots and some world class backlash against our indigenous sisters. Sadly this was not remedied until the 1960s. Another failure to see when one of us is oppressed, we are all oppressed.

Watch historian Barbara Mann discuss this backlash at the 42:50 mark:

24 November 2014

Book Release: Mothers of the Nations: Indigenous Mothering as Global Resistance, Reclaiming and Recovery


Demeter Press is pleased to announce the publication of

Mothers of the Nations: Indigenous Mothering as Global Resistance, Reclaiming and Recovery

The voices of Indigenous women world-wide have long been silenced by colonial oppression and institutions of patriarchal dominance. Recent generations of powerful Indigenous women have begun speaking out so that their positions of respect within their families and communities might be reclaimed. The book explores issues surrounding and impacting Indigenous mothering, family and community in a variety of contexts internationally. The book addresses diverse subjects, including child welfare, Indigenous mothering in curriculum, mothers and traditional foods, intergenerational mothering in the wake of residential schooling, mothering and HIV, urban Indigenous mothering, mothers working the sex trade, adoptive and other mothers, Indigenous midwifery, and more. In addressing these diverse subjects and peoples living in North America, Central America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Philippines and Oceania, the authors provide a forum to understand the shared interests of Indigenous women across the globe.

Mothers of the Nations, edited by Kim Anderson and Dawn Memee Lavell-Harvard is wonderfully written and captures your attention from start to finish. The stories that Drs. Anderson and Lavell-Harvard weave together from around the world are poignant, inspiring, perhaps most importantly, timely. Indigenous women, in particular, are reclaiming their indigeneity - many through birthing and mothering practices. This book is extremely diverse and will speak to readers on many levels. I highly recommend it not only for students but for anyone who is interested in understanding what decolonization looks like for Indigenous women, our families and communities.
—Carrie Bourassa, PhD, Professor, Indigenous Health Studies, Department of Indigenous Education, Health and Social Work, First Nations University of Canada

21 November 2014

How to change a tire

For some reason our last car attracted nails and screws like it was made from a magnet. We lost count of how much time and money we put into patching the tires and even a few times having to call a tow truck for help. One time we even got a flat on the tollway, which was not a happy moment at all. Now that Ella is closer to driving than not, we have definitely pondered how she will maneuver Chicago's streets behind the wheel. This was especially on our minds after touring Lane Tech and seeing their pretty awesome drivers ed course.

While I am focused on getting Ella to focus on where we are driving (street names, direction, etc) before we have to really seriously think about drivers ed, the idea of a flat is a big concern of mine. I wonder how much of it is related to her being a girl and that cars represent safety and protection. If she is out with friends, things move in a direction she's not interested in going, she can jump in the car and vamoose. And yes, I do plan to have her do a lot of vamoosing on the CTA as well.

I actually think it comes from the fact that I had a flat tire once in Chicago when I was 18. I could not remember all the steps to get the spare on, not to mention getting the lug nuts off was tough. So I relied on a very nice stranger dude who did the job for me. There was no harassment or anything bad about it, I just had to rely on the kindness of a stranger. That is one reason why I share this infographic as a quick reminder of all the steps. I do find it funny that the women get more "appropriately" dressed as the infographic goes along. But the reality is that Murphy's Law states we will be in stilettos on the day we get a flat.Well not me cause I don't wear 'em, but if you do, you know it'll happen then. Anywho, so here is a cute guide to changing a tire. And guys, I know some of you need this too.

how to change a flat tire
Image via Every Car Listed.


18 November 2014

When the child needs to give the "quit smoking" talk

In sixth grade the anti-smoking message was drilled into us HARD. I remember health class going on and on about the dangers of smoking despite it still being a sign of coolness in the last 1980s. We were subjected to very graphic photos of black lungs and diseased hearts. Smoking equaled death. I freaked the hell out.

I became the most passive aggressive anti-smoker campaigner. Fueled by multiple viewings of “Mask,” I utilized Rocky’s use to hiding anti-smoking brochures around the house where my mom would find them. She rarely ever smoked in front of me, but I knew she smoked. It was weird because she did not quite hide her smoking, but relegated it to times when she was not with me. I even tried to sabotage her smoking by squishing the cigarettes she kept in the seat pocket of her van, while also occasionally stealing a cigarette. If these things were as evil and addicting as every one is telling me, but they are also so cool and sexy…I had to try them myself.

I was an utter failure.

I failed at my attempt to become a smoker. I could never inhale. I would puff and let the smoke escape my mouth before it truly infiltrated my lungs. I became addicted to trying to look cool. I am pretty sure that the real smokers in my circle of friends knew I was a phony.

I was also a failure at getting my mom to stop smoking. Just as in “Mask,” we had a confrontation about my brochures. She asked me why I could not just come out and tell her, “Mom, I love you, please stop smoking.” I could never answer that question. I still can’t. I am pretty sure that I shrugged and tried to say just that anyway. It was my mom’s superpower to thrust the issue back onto me and me failing at throwing it back at her. She went on smoking and I went back to squishing her cigarettes whenever I could.

Sometime in high school my mom figured that I was enough of a friend that she could smoke in front of me; specifically in my car. Armed with teenage rebellion I was able to tell her to hang out the window. “I tell my friends who want to smoke in here, if you want to hang out the car while smoking, go for it, but no smoke inside the car.” She laughed and lit up. I stopped the car and asked her to get out. I want to say she put out the cigarette and we drove on with our day, but I feel like she just went on smoking because she was the mom.

I never spoke to her about her smoking after she was diagnosed with diabetes. She made it clear that since I did not live with her, her health issues were none of my business. “What are you going to do about it?” was her mantra. Looking back I know it was my mom’s way of pushing me away. That is why I implore those of you reading this to push back. My mom was 47 when she died from complications due to diabetes.

I know this is my guilt speaking, but I do wish I had done more to talk to her about her health. If you have someone in your life that smokes and you want them to quit, just tell them.

Why not take this opportunity to invite your loved on to join the Great American Smokeout on November 20th? November 20 marks the American Cancer Society’s 38th year of the Great American Smokeout (GASO), an initiative to encourage smokers to commit to quit or make a plan to quit on that day. By quitting, even for one day, smokers will take a critical step to a healthier life that can reduce the risk of cancer. Need some assistance? Call the GASO 800-number (1-800-227-2345) or join the Quit for Life Facebook page.

And good luck!

This post represents a sponsored editorial partnership with the American Cancer Society. All storytelling and opinions are, of course, my own.

03 November 2014

Space Camp: Day Two

One secret about Space Camp is that it is not just about space, but about team work. This lesson was drilled into us on the second day when we went out to a wooded area and told to find a way to escape an exploding Earth to Venus. We had to build a bridge and since we were in space, we had to stay tethered to each other, always maintain contact with the bricks AND could not speak. As you can see in the photo above, we did pretty darn well. We fell for the oldest trick in the book - we trusted our trainers! They watched us like hawks waiting for us to let go of each other or of a brick and OOPS! It floated out into space. For me it was a lot of fun because I like these type of challenges.

 We obtained our second mission and I got to be the pilot! Lea Thompson, eat your heart out. The previous night we learned that the pilot is actually the co-pilot. The shuttle commander is the actual pilot. And I'm totally ok with that! Phillip, the commander, and I focused mostly on landing the shuttle. We had that baby down. A bit off the runway, but otherwise a safe landing. Of course later on in the day when we did the real mission, we crashed miserably. But it was such an amazing experience to have to flip all these switches over and over. Ha! It sounds silly, but when you are there and you are preparing for landing...it's just awesome. Even if you have to find the three switches on this board in less than a second. Yes, they tried to keep us on the timing that actually occurs. This is why astronauts log hundreds of simulations before the real thing. They need that practice to find the switch so oxygen actually comes on!


We got a tour of the Saturn V rocket museum. These are the rockets that helped take NASA astronauts to the moon. But wait, it was not just a tour...it was a tour by one of the rocket scientists who worked on the rockets! Oh, yeah...if a group of nerds could get even more excited, it was when we walked around the corner and saw the massive engines. He walked us through all 300+ feet of the monster of technology that is really a huge can of fuel on top of five engines with a tiny room at the top for the humans to sit in.

I have seen memes that remind us that the technology in our smartphones is more advanced than the technology that took us the moon. This is correct. But having walked alongside the rocket, it is not just the computing power that landed us on the moon, but it was also the ingenuity, innovation and curiosity of the people involved. The most impressive factoid I learned was that the fuel was too hot for the metal so that is why the fuel lines zig zag. That keeps them cool enough to function.
Next up we got to play in the astronaut simulators. THIS IS WHAT I WAS WAITING FOR! THE MULTI-AXIS TRAINER!!!!! This is the spinning chair that simulates what it feels like to spin out of control. This is what friends & I were joking about me having the best vomit of my life. I rode it twice. BECAUSE IT WAS AWESOME TO THE INFINITY POWER! Do you see that smile on my face? This is when everything I was waiting for since I was 12 became reality.

Disclaimer

This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.

What I'm Currently Reading

I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces


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