Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Blog Dare - If My Parents Had Ever Found Out...

Oh...there are so many things to discuss here, I don't even know where to begin.  And I was a relatively well-behaved child (IMHO).  But, there were a lot of rules in my house.  My brother was a wild child from high school on and I think my parents decided more rules = less risk of the same thing occurring with me.  So, I had to get around some of those rules by lying.  I think that some secrets from your parents are inevitable.  But, often, with girls, I think we have more restrictions put on us than boys in similar situations.

It brings to mind a couple of things - the song "Just A Girl" by No Doubt:

Take this pink ribbon off my eyes
I'm exposed
And it's no big surprise
Don't you think I know
Exactly where I stand
This world is forcing me
To hold your hand
'Cause I'm just a girl, little 'ol me
Don't let me out of your sight
I'm just a girl, all pretty and petite
So don't let me have any rights

Oh...I've had it up to here!
The moment that I step outside
So many reasons
For me to run and hide
I can't do the little things I hold so dear
'Cause it's all those little things
That I fear

'Cause I'm just a girl I'd rather not be
'Cause they won't let me drive
Late at night I'm just a girl,
Guess I'm some kind of freak
'Cause they all sit and stare
With their eyes

I'm just a girl,
Take a good look at me
Just your typical prototype

Oh...I've had it up to here! I making myself clear?
I'm just a girl
I'm just a girl in the world...
That's all that you'll let me be!
I'm just a girl, living in captivity
Your rule of thumb
Makes me worry some

I'm just a girl, what's my destiny?
What I've succumbed to Is making me numb
I'm just a girl, my apologies
What I've become is so burdensome
I'm just a girl, lucky me
Twiddle-dum there's no comparison

I think that just about every girl feels these restraints being put on her at some point in her life.  My parents were definitely more liberal with me than other parents.  I got a car at 16.  I was able to drive to the next town over for swim team practice by myself.  But, I was not allowed to go to concerts until I was a senior in high school.  I had a curfew my first two years of college (I stayed home and went to a JC).  So, although I was given some freedoms, there were still some restraints on me.  But, now, as a parent, I appreciate that the rules were made out of love and not necessarily sexism.  I don't think it would have been different for a boy who followed my brother.  But, I also realize that my family worked hard to make me feel that I should not be treated differently because I was a girl.

The second thing that comes to mind is something I just heard this week on NPR - The Hidden World of Girls (March 22nd edition).  This is a captivating listen, with the stories being told reflecting what I'm sure are many, many girls' stories.  I loved the way it was put together.  I loved the stories that were told.  And, I loved that it focused on girls!  I have not previously heard of the Kitchen Sisters, but I will definitely be checking out their stuff in the future.  I highly recommend The Hidden World of Girls!  

Parents, teachers, older siblings...they all have blind spots when it comes to the children they work with and live with.  After all, every child has a little bit of a secret life they lead...whether its trying a big cigar from an amusement park (I'm sure they don't sell those anymore for exactly this reason) - yes, I did that as a 12 year old - or talking to their alien connections on Venus (check out this episode of The Hidden World of Girls for more on this).  It is in these secret lives that children push the limits, stretch the rules and even push back against reality.  

I think its important to both impress upon girls that they are not a "just," while also giving them the freedom to explore those Secret Lives and figure out who they are and what they care about in life.  We'll see if I can maintain that view as a parent!

Wordless Wednesday - Dog Tired!

Playing a Little Catch Up

I have fallen behind in posts for the Blog Dare.  I have been at debate tournaments for six of the last ten days and spent yesterday recovering and doing laundry.  So, today will be a bit of a catch up day for me.  I will choose not to post on some topics, that I just don't think I have something interesting to say...So, I think I left off with:

Jan. 4 - What I shouldn't have bought this holiday season

I am sure there are many things that I could have done without this holiday season.  The one thing I would list here is some Oro Gold Skincare products.  It was one of those days right before Christmas and I was in the mall for the only time this Christmas season (I did a good job of staying out of malls) and the guy at one of those little temporary kiosks got me and once I was there, I was not getting out without buying something.  I will say that I think I got a decent deal after checking online and the stuff seems to be pretty quality stuff and since I'm getting older, I need to take better care of my skin.  But, it was something that I definitely could have done without this holiday season.  But if you're looking for some quality skincare products and ready to spend some money, check them out.  I really do think the stuff is good.

Jan. 5 - Something Lost

I originally tried to write a post for this prompt on the fifth and ended up erasing what I had wrote because it seemed a little too forced.  So, I'm leaving this one unanswered.

Jan. 6 - My "special" Place

I am a lover of baths!  I definitely feel most relaxed when sitting in a hot bath full of bubbles and reading a book.  I don't get to do it very often (in fact, it seems like I rarely can take a shower without my two year old yelling at me to "get out" lately), but when I do it feel fantastic and I feel like a new person afterwards.  I really need to prioritize fitting these in more often.

Jan. 7 - Something you need daily - coffee?

Yep - I definitely need coffee daily.  Multiple times daily.  I love, love, love coffee.  And iced tea.  Once the coffee time of day passes, I drink iced teas until the day ends.  I get headaches and very cranky when I don't get my coffee and/or iced teas!

Jan. 8 - Too much television

Wow...can we just laundry list every one of my vices right now?!?  Coffee...and TV...I guess I could have worse vices.  My problem with television is it is much more of a "background" item than something I really have to watch.  I have discovered that Murder She Wrote is on Netflix - every season!  200+ episodes.  Its the perfect background show because the plots are simple and somewhat predictable, I love seeing all the stars of today when they were getting their start (George Clooney in No Laughing Matter, e.g.) and its just kind of kitsch, which I love.  But, I will play episode after episode as I'm working, cleaning, whatever.  Half the time I miss half the show, but it works.  I used to DVR a lot of stuff, but now I feel like I don't have time or energy to invest in paying that much attention.  Which probably means I should just not watch TV at all, but instead, I watch Murder She Wrote incessantly.  :)

Jan. 9 - I never thought I'd find this in my child's room...

An empty bed!  I never, ever, ever thought I would be one for the "family bed".  In fact, I remember chuckling about people who believed that before I had my daughter.  Now, her bed is empty a majority of the time and ours is full to the brim with her, the cat, me and my husband and sometimes the dog will join us...I didn't set out intending on sleeping being a family affair.  But, with my daughter's health problems, I think my husband and I were both paranoid about making sure she was breathing okay, keeping her from crying so hard she vomited (which still happens every once in a while), etc.  And now, its become a thing.  I'm sure we will have to transition away from it soon, but at this time, we are fighting battles with separation anxiety, fear of the dark, etc. so it all seems a bit much.  But, we will work at making year three the year of independent sleeping!

Jan. 10 - A favorite retro toy

Its not really a toy, but a game.  I love the game Clue!  Professor Plum, Colonel Mustard, Mrs. Peacock...the little tiny weapons...the game is just classic and fun!  I'm sure they have newer versions that are cooler (probably electronic clue "envelopes" or something), but I will always hold a special place in my heart for the old school version.  I remember begging my friends to play it at least once every time we would get together to play.  No one seemed to have quite the affinity for it as I did, but they would play it once with me.  It may have been a pre-cursor to my Murder She Wrote affinity...and my love of all things Nancy Drew.  Its a mystery kind of  theme in my life!

Okay...caught up!  Next post - today's actual prompt!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bucket List...Should I Make One?

Have you seen The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman?  Its a pretty good flick.  I watched it a while ago and I thought about what I might put on my Bucket List, but I've never actually made one.  Today's Blog Dare 2012 prompt is to review your bucket list if you have one and check off things or add to it.  Since I don't have one, I feel a little lacking.  But, I also feel a little intimidated at making such a list.  What would I put on it?  What are the things that I absolutely want to do while on this earth?

It seems that I must not be the only one who struggles with the question.  In a search for Bucket List, I came across this resource with a list of different things one might consider for their bucket list. But, it seems a little forced.  There is a whole Bucket List community online where you can make your list and get help from others in achieving them, much like Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman did in the movie!  The sounded a bit too morbid for me.  But the Food Bucket List for 2012 sounded kind of interesting.  In the end, I just don't know if I can actually come up with a Bucket List.  I am not so absolute in most of my wants, so making a "must do" list sounds like too much of a commitment for me.  But, in the interest of sticking with the Blog Dare challenge, I will start a list of items here:

  1. Drive across the U.S.
  2. Spend a few days in one of those all-inclusive resorts (I've never been to one).
  3. Take a vacation to Europe 
  4. Visit all professional baseball parks in the U.S.
That isn't very many and the last one really isn't a must-do, its more of a "it would be nice if..."  

I would like to talk about the fact that being able to make a bucket list is quite a privilege.  There are so many people out there who can't think in terms of things they would like to do because they barely get by in the day-to-day.  And many of those are Women and Children.  If you want to see some really moving and disturbing stories, check out Sasha Abramsky's Voices of Poverty website.  

I am one of the lucky ones.  My daughter's illness could have caused a severe slide into poverty for my family, but I had a job with excellent insurance and a job that allowed me the time off I needed to take care of her in the hospital when it was needed and a job, period.  Many are not so lucky.  There are so many families who are only one medical emergency or job loss away from losing their car, their home, their ability to feed their kids and themselves.  

Because we are so often insulated from the individuals who are impacted by poverty, we can put them out of our minds.  Because their voices are so often not heard, we can forget that they exist.  Because we live a life of comfort and security, we can often forget about those in need.  I would like to add something to my bucket list because I am secure enough to be able to make a bucket list.  I would like to consider Abramsky's plea:
That fifty million Americans live in dire poverty, their economic security shattered, their prospects dim, ought to trigger both outrage and creativity: outrage that such a situation has been allowed to fester, to grow, for so long; creativity in that solutions to these problems have to emerge at every level of society - amongst the political classes, but also at the grassroots; amongst regulators and policy innovators, but also in classrooms, in community credit unions, in union halls and amongst the poor themselves.
Fifty million Americans.  Let that sink in for a moment.  I would like to add the following to my Bucket List:

       5.  To create or participate in a creative solution to the problems of economic insecurity.

That is a rather vague one - but it leaves me open to really look for ideas and plans and educational things that can contribute to solving this problem.

Anyone else want to join me in adding this to their bucket list?!?  Check out what George and Billye McPherson did in their small community, on their own, to help their community deal with issues of poverty and hunger (click on picture to access the related audio file):

Monday, January 2, 2012

Milkshake Kids | 13 Sweet & Simple Resolutions

I know I said in earlier posts that I had decided not to have New Year's Resolutions this year, but when I read the following just now, it has motivated me to reconsider. I have read some excerpts from the book All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten and I love the simplicity and truth of the book. I feel like kids are so much better prepared for life at the age of 3, 4 and 5 years old then when they graduate from high school or college. I watched (and showed to my college students) this video about education reform and one of the statistics that truly stood out to me was the one about divergent thinkers and the fact that Kindergarteners outscore professionals by huge amounts. It is as if the way we choose to focus our attention and our goals ends up driving all creativity, empathy and, in many ways, goodness, out of us. So, I will try to remember these 13 Sweet and Simple Resolutions as shared by Milkshake Kids today.
  • Share everything—no matter how much you want it for yourself.
  • Play fair and give everyone an opportunity to participate.
  • Don't hit people. Make peace instead.
  • Put things back where you found them. An organized life is something to value.
  • Clean up your own mess so others don’t have to clean things up for you.
  • Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody—it could avoid wars!
  • Wash your hands before you eat. Stay healthy and clean.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you—especially if they are local and organic.
  • Live a balanced life. Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
  • When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together—Never forget that family is the most important thing in the world.
  • Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup—they all die. So do we. Live life everyday with as much joy and wonder as possible.
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first words you learned—the most important words of all—LOOK. LOOK, DREAM, LIVE.
 I can learn so much for these myself and I hope that I can teach my daughter many of them!  I hope you too can learn something from them and keep them in mind as you go through your days in 2012.  Thanks Milkshake Kids for the great inspiration!

Looking Back at 2011

Since this is a new blog, I don't have much to say about 2011 as related to this blog (the Blog Dare prompt for today).  I will say that 2011 was a rough year for me - for numerous reasons.  So, I'm looking forward to a new year, hopefully a new focus on things that are important to me and figuring out how to make life a bit easier and more enjoyable for me.

I am excited about this blog.  I will say that looking back on 2011, I have started a number of different blogs because I feel the need to write and blog, but I've never found something I really care about or that draws me into writing on a regular basis.  But, this blog subject does.  I am excited to get started, make connections and talk about empowering girls and women!

So, instead of looking back at 2011 I'm going to look forward to 2012.  I have already made one connection due to the Blog Dare - thanks to Michelle over at Divas With a Purpose for commenting on my blog post yesterday and making this blog a conversation already!

I would like to have a weekly goal of either activism, advocacy or education on the blog.  So, I will be on my lookout for that for this week.  I hope that everyone's 2012 is off to a great start!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year! Social Media Goals of 2012 for This Girl's World

I am starting out this year with a fresh new blog aimed at issues concerning Girls and Women all over the world - from my own humble abode to the other side of the world and everywhere in between.  So, my goals, as of now, are a bit ambiguous.  The reason I'm starting the blog is (1) I have had an interest in issues of feminism and empowering girls and women for years, but have lost touch with that interest since graduating college and (2) I now have a two (soon to be three) year old daughter who I hope will be empowered not only by me, but by the world in which she grows up.  But, because the blog is relatively new, I am going to start with some simple goals.

First, I would like to post on a regular basis.  It may not be EVERY single day, but hopefully more days than not.  I tend to lose sight of things as I become bogged down with life and work.  But, I want to make this blog a priority.  And I know there is a ton to discuss in these areas, so there should be no shortage of subjects to discuss.  Just today, I was reading an article by Chas Freeman in the Middle East Policy journal (which I believe is a peer reviewed journal) and came across this quotation:
Julius Nyerere once remarked that 'small countries are like indecently dressed women; they tempt the evil-minded.'  This is all the more the case when they expose their soft spots to those who might have designs on them.
I could spend a whole post, maybe a couple, just talking about that quotation and the problems with it.  But, I will stay focused and set a couple of other Social Media Goals for 2012.  

Second, I would like to network with like-minded bloggers and writers to keep the ideas fresh and make the blog more of conversation than a monologue.  Although I have been blogging for a bit about my daughter's health problems and life as a parent (over at A Second Heart, if you're interested), I have not really been consistent and used it more as a reporting device than a social media outlet.  So, I would like to make sure that this blog becomes networked and discussions take place, both on the blog and with other blogs. 

Finally, I would like to attend a blogging conference of some kind.  I know there are a ton of them and there are some biggies out there.  But, I would like to attend (even a small) one this year - probably somewhere local (I imagine there has to be some in the Bay Area), both to learn more about the craft of blogging and how to be effective as a social activist online and to meet others who are doing similar things.  

So, there you have it.  In order to keep on track early on, I will be using the prompts from The Blog Dare 2012 on  This post was inspired by the first of those prompts!  I am looking forward to making this blog a success and for it being a place of activism, advocacy and education!