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…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy! If you are looking for Kaylia's official Website please visit KayliaMetcalfeWriter



Denny's Doughnuts, and Doing Good

I don't really believe in Karma with a Capital K.

But I do think that we can affect our environment by our attitude and that ripples of behavior are both very real and hard to quantify.



In that vein, allow me to share a little story from yesterday.

As some of you know, I am in the process of hopefully becoming a platelet donor. Once that process is over, I will write about the how and the why etc, but for now, it is enough to know that I am a regular visitor at my local blood center.



Yesterday there was a bit of confusion as to which blood center I was supposed to go to... and I ended up at the wrong place. I was assured they could get to me in a bit, but the wait was going to be 45 minutes so I opted to spend that wait at a Denny's sipping coffee and eating an English muffin while reading.

Across the restaurant from me were two ladies having breakfast. One of these ladies was telling her companion, and the rest of the restaurant, all about how crappy her life had been, still was, and would forever be.Apparently, society, her ex-husband, her family,... everyone had conspired together to make her life the pits.

At first, I was annoyed. Her anger was distracting and filled the room.

But then I started to hear something in her anger: sadness. At one point she said, "I have no control over any of this, and when I try to take control something bad always happens."

Now, I have no idea if she really had been dealt a crappy hand at life or if she was a perpetual victim. What I did know, as I sat there sipping my coffee with no worry about being able to afford it, in a brand new coat a dear friend had gifted me, on my way to donate blood which I can do because I am lucky enough to be both unafraid of needles and pretty darn healthy due in part to my excellent health insurance, was that she could probably use a win.

So I told the waiter to put their tab on my check. I figured either Angry Lady was planning on paying and she might benefit from a random act of kindness... or, more likely, her long-suffering companion was going to pay, and boy did she deserve to have her burden slightly alleviated.

(side note: the waiter, as he rang me up said, "What a Christian thing to do." To which I replied, "Not a Christian, just a decent person." )

I will never know what effect, if any, my tiny gesture had on either of them.

Interesting to note that at the same time I was paying their bill and trying to get out of the restaurant before getting noticed, my husband was a few blocks over realizing that he didn't have cash at a cash-only doughnut shop where he had stopped for breakfast.

Guess what? A friendly stranger paid for his doughnuts and coffee!



Now, I am not saying that one thing happened because of the other.
I am not saying that good things happen only to good people.

But I am saying that it feels good to be on both ends of the "pay it forward" game. Also, our five year old listened to both stores at the dinner table last night. She was disappointed that none of the doughnuts had made it home, but I think the lesson of kindness both given and received was appreciated as well.

As we head into Thanksgiving, let us give thanks to those who make our lives a little better... and also let us give thanks that we can sometimes be the positive ripple in someone else's life.

Happy Friday!





Nerd Rant!

I have a rant.

Nerd:

When I was a kid, it was an insult. It was cruel. It was mean... and it was intended to be so. Being called a "nerd" was bad.

What was a nerd? There wasn't a super codified definition... but things like ugly clothes (high waisted pants, suspenders, etc) glasses, liking to read, being into learning and not being into sports / clothes / boys / popular things... that is what could get you called a nerd.

Even today, a google search of "nerd" pulls up mostly conventionally unattractive men in bad glasses and/or with bad teeth.



Again, it was a very intentional insult. the point was to hurt your feelings.

Before going further, I just want to say that I understand kids can be asshats. But if you break it down... some of those nerd things are pretty shity things to get made fun of. Oh, you wear glasses.. let's mock you for your limited vision! Oh you have outdated clothes... your parents have outdated senses of fashion or maybe you are wearing hand me downs! HAHAHAHAHA

(tiny rant about glasses... glasses do NOT make you smart, weak, or bookish. They literally ONLY mean your eyes are not 20/20. This is a fact people STILL don't seem to understand.)

Case in point: google image search for "smart girl"... look at how many have on glasses... Good grief.

Also, apparently, smart girls are predominantly young and have brown hair. 


Ugh

Fast forward a bit. I started hearing people say "Well, Bill Gates is a nerd... and he has money!"
But it was still bad to be a nerd... even as us nerds united and shrugged the taunts off.

Fast farther forward.

Apparently, I am still a nerd. I am a book reading science-loving person who likes to learn. I wear glasses.

Whatever. I have made peace with my nerdy ways. I have nerdy friends. Some of us don't wear glasses! Most of us wear nice stylish clothes! We like to learn, we enjoy reading and learning... egads... we are nerds! But we have taken the term back. We are Proud of our nerdy ways... we celebrate it with geeky tee shirts and socks, we go on nerd cruises and have nerd meet up groups. Our tastes impact the media, TV shows, movies, and pop culture.

Nerds rule.

Ahem

This week at Kiddo's school it is Red Ribbon Week where they learn ("learn is loosely defined in this instance) about the evils of drugs. They are encouraged to dress up every day with some sort of bad pun reference to not doing drugs.

"Lei off drugs! Dress Hawaiian!"
"Team up against drugs! Wear a sports jersey!"
"Sock it to drugs! Wear crazy socks!"
etc

Today it was "Too smart for drugs! Dress like a nerd!"

WTF people.

Nerds are smart... it says so right there in your clever little statement. So.. the kids should dress "smart"? how do you dress "smart"?

Oh, no... you want them to dress like a nerd. Ok.

But... the nerds of today come in ALL iterations. We wear dresses and leggings. We wear business suits. We wear track suits. We wear skirts and blouses. We wear jeans. We wear glasses. We don't wear glasses. We carry backpacks or briefcases or satchels or purses big enough for our books or our kindles or our tablets.. or maybe we just have the kindle app on our iPhone. We are ethnically diverse. We are as varied as the rainbow and plenty of us are IN the rainbow if you know what I mean. MANY of us are damn sexy. There was even a Huff Po article about how Nerds are the New Sexy.

There is no such thing as a "classic 2017" nerd.

Which means that the "dress like a nerd" thing is a call back to the time before.. the time of high waists, bow ties, glasses, and getting beat up by the jocks. In short, you are calling back to a horrible time in a lot of people's lives, and not content to simply mock our pain, you are somehow both erasing it and making it into a game... asking the kids to dress up in all the worst stereotypes imaginable. WHEEEE!!!!!!

It's insensitive.
It's cruel.

Can you think of another insulting word that they would have kids dress up as... that wouldn't get a backlash? I'm drawing a blank partly because my feathers are ruffled and partly because in my world insults are things like "you ignorant piece of crap" "you trashcan fire" "you are a racist slimeball"

Dork? Fartknocker? Douche? Hey kids... Keep your body clean and away from drugs! Dress up like a douche!"

(Full disclosure, I would pay to see a bunch of kids dressed up like douches to combat the idea of drugs.)

Little Sally is the second from the left! 


My daughter asked me what a nerd was. I told her about how the word was used and I told her about how it describes almost every adult she knows and loves. Including her daddy who is a scientist.

I told her she could wear whatever she wanted.

She wore a "Future scientist" tee shirt today complete with pic of a girl doing science.



And some douchey kid in her class told her that it didn't count... that she wasn't dressed up like a nerd because she wasn't wearing fake glasses like the others.

She responded that she is a REAL nerd like her mom.. and this kid told her that she wasn't.

Which... hurt her feelings.

y'all.

My kid was sad because she was told she wasn't a nerd.

This whole thing has me so conflicted and upset.

Also.. pretty sure "Lei off drugs, dress Hawaiian" counts as culturally insensitive. Like in a pretty big way.

Ugh Ugh Ugh.

This nerdy mom needs to go lose herself in a good book.

Oh look what just arrived!


I -heart- you, Mike Duncan! 





Last Night In Fresno

I'm feeling pretty emotional right now, but I am going to try to be succinct.

As you probably know, President of the Fresno Unified School District Board of Trustees Brooke Ashjian made problematic statements to the Fresno Bee regarding teaching students about LGBT history.




Ashjian said the district has to follow the law, “but you have kids who are extremely moldable at this stage and if you start telling them that LGBT is OK and that it’s a way of life, well maybe you just swayed the kid to go that way.” And Ashjian said, “it’s so important for parents to teach these Judeo-Christian philosophies.”

When the LGBT Community responded to these statements, calling him out for using his position in authority to malign an entire community, Ashjian went on the offensive calling the LGBT Community the "thought police" and equating them to the Ottoman empire and their systematic genocide of the Armenian people.

(Quick note: there were several hundred people at this meeting)

When THAT drew ire from the LGBT community as well as several pastors and other faith and community leaders (including Armenian pastors), Ashjian went on talk radio and vowed to never resign, wrote emails from his FUSD email account talking about how Christians need to unite, and agreeing with ideas about conversion therapy proponents.

That brings us to last night.

Fact sheet about what happened at the October meeting: (two months after the initial packed house in August).

 - There were maybe fifty to sixty people there. (Fewer as the night went on)

- During open (non-agenda) comment time, members of the community took to the mic to call the LGBT population perverted, dangerous, violent, and disgusting. Other community members pointed out that it was National Coming Out Day. The board seemed unmoved by the irony.

- A resolution was passed proclaiming October Cyber Security Awareness Month. Interesting note, part of this resolution deals with bullying: "... all students should be safe from bullying including Cyber-bullying..."  ALSO interesting, Mr. Ashjian himself has been deposed for his own cyberbullying attacks on a local LGBT organization. The Irony Of All This Went Unnoticed. 

- Then a resolution proclaiming October LGBT History Month was petitioned, read, and accepted.

Record Scratch. Was Mr. Ashjian there for that proclamations?

No, no he was not.

He left the dais so that he wouldn't have to vote on the LGBT resolution. 

Another interesting note: normally the president of the board would sign such a proclamation.

But of course, he did not.

This, to me, was very telling. This goes beyond a man who has a personal opinion. This is a man in a position of leadership allowing his personal feelings to dictate his actions. His lack of a signature, due to his moral stance on LGBT rights and people, is a slap in the face of any argument one might have about the line between personal free speech and doing your damn job of protecting and representing the district.

I mean really. What the hell?

So, yes, we got a proclamation, but as one community member stated later: it is a totally hollow gesture.

 - Then we had the agenda item calling for his removal. Board members talked about free speech, hid behind lack of precedent, pointed out that they could, in fact, do something if they wanted to, made odd comments about people "owning their children," pointed out systemic racism and the irony of celebrating free speech by Ashjian while getting angry about athletes on football fields doing the same thing, called Mr. Ashjian a "good guy", distanced themselves from his comments, called him "brother, called for a cease-fire.
In Other Words: It was a confusing bag of talking points that did nothing to move the conversation along.

 - During the agenda item public comment time we were treated to a few more diatribes about the evils of the LGBT community, but we were, thankfully, also encouraged by some very articulate LGBT supporters. (This is when I talked, I was not articulate, in fact, I cried and my statement is at the end of this post if you want to read it.)

7 - And then the meeting ended with no action taken by the board.

Let me clear: They have every right and ability to call for his removal.
They didn't
They have every right and ability to censure him.
They didn't
They have every right and ability to issue a formal apology on behalf of the board.
They didn't

Mr. Ashjian has never apologized. Instead of attempting to build a bridge with the LGBT community, he has compared us to perpetrators of genocide. 

The board has done nothing to him for this. Nothing.

Despite public outcry..... nothing

An hour before the August meeting


Yes, in December (two months away) they have the option to not vote him in as president again.

But will they?

Based on the number of empty seats in the room last night, they might not bother. Like so many things, this fight might just fade into the cacophony of crap that we have to deal with in this lovely year of 2017. If our community cannot show up and demand action, if we are being out voiced by those that hate us, the impetus for the board to do anything goes away completely.



A half an hour before last nights.
I'm not calling out any single person. I know we all have lives and commitments. I know spending hours in a room with people who hate you is draining and horrible. But I am honestly really disappointed in my community and our allies. Being a social justice warrior online is easy. Showing up, butts in chairs, feet on the ground, that is hard. I get it, everyone can't do everything. But damn it hurt.

Thank you to those that did show up and speak last night... especially the youth. Speaking truth to power is difficult in the best of times. 





My statement.

Hello, my name is Kaylia Metcalfe. I am a parent here in Fresno. I was angry when I got here, but after listening to all this, I am not angry, I'm sad.
My comments are not to you, Mr. President because I don't think you will ever listen to someone like me. This is to the rest of the board.

You see yourselves as good people.
You give to charity
You give your time
You obey the laws and you probably let people go ahead of you in line, sometimes
You see yourselves as good people
You love your family
You say kind things to each other and to your neighbors
I know you vote your conscious
You aren't racists
You aren't bigots
You aren't mean-spirited
You see yourselves as good people
Now it is time for us to see that too
It's time for you to take a stand and prove it
Words matter
Opinions are your own
but words spoken in public places from positions of authority, from our leaders, about our children
are held to a higher standard
Words matter and Mr. Ashjian's words 
Were hurtful
misguided
and dangerous
Words matter
but actions empower.
So
Be empowered.
Do the right thing
Do a good thing and make a censure.
You are good people, I know you are.
Please act like it.


The Post of BS Footnotes aka Becoming a Chaperone

There is a pumpkin patch field trip coming up at E's school, and I want to chaperone. I am told I need to fill out this form and then go get finger printed. 
The form clearly says you must bring ID and $50 as a cashier check/money order. *


So, I go to the bank. I get the money order. I go to the downtown FUSD office. 

They are perplexed. 
Apparently I don't need to pay anything. **
Also? They didn't know there was a kinder at Wawona. ***
They have to call and verify. 

I wait.

Ok, they have confirmed that there is a Kinder at Wawona... but I have the wrong form. I need to fill out the following three forms. ****


I do so.
On one of the forms, it asks for my alias.
I don't have an alias. I do have previous names, but they aren't my aliases. 

Quick break for a daydream. 

Ahem

I leave the "Alias" part blank and turn in my forms.

I wait.

I get called back up and asked if I am married.
I am
Ok, then they need my maiden name /gesture to the "alias" line on the form.

I'm feeling particularly punchy so I kindly explain the difference between "alias" and "previous." 

They are not amused.
/SIGH/ We want your prior legal name: 
I ask how far back I need to go. (I have had multiple previous legal names.) 
Mass confusion 
They say just list my maiden name. 
I take pity and list my previous last names. Yes, more than one. 
I also include my prior first name. 

I wait.
I get called back up.
They are confused and rude: 
Not your nickname /eyeroll and finger jab to the "alias" blank where I have helpfully written my previous first name/, just your LEGAL name. 
Yes, I say. It was legal. 
/scoffing/ Really? 
Yes. 

I wait.

Eventually, I am sent to have my fingers pushed onto the computer screen. (No more ink!)

Of course the machine is finicky and of course, my fingers refuse to create perfect prints. We have to do several of them several times. 
Most annoying is my mutant short thumb. It simply will not work.
The lady is exasperated.

Does this happen often, I ask, trying to make it less awkward
No
Maybe the machine hates me, I joke, ha-ha-ha...?
No, she informs me, there is nothing wrong with her machine.
She looks pointedly at my thumb.

Eventually, she overrode the computer's depressive "REJECTED" stance and I was assured that I was done and they would let me know in five days.

It was then that I noticed they had entered my name incorrectly.

My last name is "Metcalfe-Armstrong" Yeah, it's a lot of letters, but it is my name.

They had dropped the "-Armstrong" part off.

--

EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS ROOM FOR AT LEAST HALF OF IT

Metcalfe-Armstr is closer to my legal last name than Metcalfe. I'm just saying.
I asked about this... won't it cause a problem?

No, I am told, besides they just don't have the ability for hyphen names. *****

-------

I asked around, apparently, the district staff are known for being rude. But holy smokes this was a colossal cluster of crap.

.... Hopefully, the damn pumpkin patch is worth it!



////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

* Most people don't have a spare $50 laying around. The fact that only those with decently sized nest eggs even get the opportunity to chaperone seems like systemic classist BS to me....

** Yay! Anyone can do this! But unless you KNOW that they gave you the wrong form, how would you know that you don't have to pay? Meaning that there is still a self-selecting group of people who will even get to this point int he process. Again, I am calling BS on the whole thing.

*** It is a new program. So.. maybe I should cut them some slack. But this is the Human Resource department for the district, I feel like they should know. Also, how often do people ask to chaperone things at nonexistent schools? Yeah, gonna stick with my BS assertion.

**** Of course after all this I told Wawona that we have been given the incorrect form. Of course, they were sorry. But days have gone by and there has not been a corrected form or instruction set sent home. Meaning that unless the parents were close enough to hear my longwinded vent about this whole process, they still think the green form is the right form and that they are required to pay the fifty bucks. B!S!

***** Fresno. Public School In Fresno. Almost 70% of the population in the district is Hispanic. Only 10% is white. I am willing to bet large sums of money, LOTS of kids have hyphenated last names. But your system isn't built to handle hyphens? Say it with me now...

B S




Conversation with my Uber Driver

I'm in front of the Robert E Coyle Federal building in downtown Fresno. 
My Uber Driver is... not.

He (UD) calls me: 

UD: What intersection are you at? 
Me: O and Tulare 
UD: P? 
Me: No. O 
UD: Ok which one? 
Me: O, like octopus 
UD: Which intersection? 
Me: O and Tulare 
UD: Tulare and what? 
Me: O!!!! Like OH my god. 
UD: Oh. Ok. What side of the street are you on? 
Me: Well, that depends on where you are coming from 
UD: I'm coming from Tulare.
Me: Tulare and what? 
UD: Tulare and O 
Me: Umm I'm AT Tulare and O 
UD: Oh. I see you. 
Me: Where are you? 
UD: O and Tulare. 
Me: Ok. But like where, you can see me but I can't tell which one is you. Which side of the street are you on? 
UD: Depends on which direction you are facing.
/moment of silence/
Me: ... could you honk or something, this is getting ridiculous. 



VERY quiet ride home.

Autumnal Equinox Ritual

Just in case anyone was interested in how we celebrate the Autumnal Equinox.

I identify as a skeptical agnostic pagan (or a SAP). In our home we have a fairly detached form of ritual. Kiddo and I attend ritual with the Earth Centered UUs a few times a year and we do our own thing a few times a year. I like the lessons and the idea of forming connections even if we aren't super devote.  A lot of people don't really get it, and it is hard to articulate as an elevator pitch. So I thought maybe showing rather than telling would be the way to go. I wrote up this ritual for just Kiddo and me. 


Autumnal Equinox Ritual

Smudge ourselves: how do we enter the circle? In perfect love and perfect trust.

Create the space: call the quarters:
We call to the guardians of the North:  Spirit of Earth and spirits of our bodies. Be with us now.
We call to the guardians of the East:  Spirit of Air and spirits of our breath. Be with us now
We call to the guardians of the South: Spirit of Fire and spirits of our individual sparks. Be with us now
We call to the guardians of the West: Spirit of Water and spirits of our living selves. Be with us now
           
Light the candles: By the air that is her breath, the fire of her bright spirit and the water of her living womb, by the earth that is her body, by the spark of spirit that resides in each of us, the circle is now cast.

Hard to tell, but Air is yellow, Fire is red, Water is blue, and Earth is Green... and Spirit is the big white one. Water is in the place of honor as this is the start of its season. 


Spoken Word: Today is an equinox ritual, today we remember that
Air moves us,
Fire transforms us,
Water shapes us,
Earth heals us,
And the balance of the wheel goes round and round,  

(point to the representations of each that have been chosen for today, the sage, the candle, the water, the salt in wood)

Pagans use all sorts of diff things on alters. I like the simple uncluttered look and mine changes every time. 


Today’s ritual is about the half way point between high summer and high winter, it is a time to think about harvest and what we are doing to take care of ourselves and the world as we head into the darker time of the year. We know that balance is important. We can't only eat ice cream... we need green beans too! We can't always watch TV, sometimes we have to fold the laundry. Our lives need balance but it cannot happen without a good foundation

Activity: Practice standing on one foot, tip toes, etc to illustrate the complexities of balance.

Spoken Word: This is also a time of reflection in conjunction (connection) with the harvest. We are very blessed in our lives but there is always room for improvement. As we get ready for the darker months, the colder months, we must make sure we are storeing up not only food but also energy to last us until the spring.

Let’s discuss the following questions:
1.     What am I reaping (gathering) in my life right now?
2.     Are there aspects (parts) of my life that might need more balance?
3.     What is changing for me right now?
4.     What things should I let go of?
5.     How can I be my best self during this time of the year of harvest and reflection?
6.     Where should I focus my attention?

My  / Ella's answers:
1.     M: I have worked on building new friendships, I have set myself up for a good school year. E: New friends and lots of Spanish words
2.      M: I need balance with my leisure time and my working time. E: Eating my lunch and playing a little while doing my homework
3.     M: My daughter is getting older, more independent. Schoolwork is a new challenge. The loss of the GCV and that community is a challenge E: Going to school every day and getting up early. And all my homework
4.     M: It is time to accept that I won’t be able to watch as much TV, read as many books, or go on as many coffee dates because of time constraints. I also need to let go of some writing projects. Lastly, it is time to clean out my closet and donate things from my summer clothes that I never wore or that don’t fit. E: I can take some of your old clothes and give some of mine to my cousin. I can give up my old school since I have a new school
5.     M: I can practice self-care and work on sticking to a schedule.  I can cut myself some slack and also not judge others for being different. E: I can go to bed on time and do my homework and play fast games and practice my Spanish
6.     M: I need to focus my attention on my school work and my creative endeavors. E: homework (sigh) and also making friends and spending time with my friends and sleeping. And eating good food.

Story: Tell the story of Persephone

Snack: Share apple slices

Symbol creation / craft: Today we will paint wooden picture frames…. At some point in the fall we will find and collect the “perfect” leaf to put inside the frame. We know that all things come and that patience is a trait best practiced.



Meditation / Charging the Craft:
"With memories of the summer, least I never forget,
And with an aspiring heart for the colder months to come,
Least I never stop striving, reflecting, and showing gratitude
I honor myself and all of nature with this symbol,
Keeping it  in my home and heart,
That I may see it and pause,
To reflect on the Ancient Mysteries,
Leading me to a better understanding of myself,
And of others, and all that is Life." 

Release the quarters:
Guardians of the North:  Spirit of Earth and spirits of our bodies. Thank you and go with peace.
Guardians of the East:  Spirit of Air and spirits of our breath. Thank you and go with peace.
Guardians of the South: Spirit of Fire and spirits of our individual sparks. Thank you and go with peace.
Guardians of the West: Spirit of Water and spirits of our living selves. Thank you and go with peace.


Break the circle: By the air that is her breath, the fire of her bright spirit, the water of her living womb and the earth that is her body, by the spirit that resides in each of us, the circle is now open but may it remain unbroken and may the peace of the Goddess be forever in our hearts. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meat again, So mote it be, blessed be.

The end!


Here is my little explanation why I use "Goddess"... ask any number of pagans and they will use any number of words or symbols. For me "Goddess" is my way of attempting to name/understand/interact with the universe. I don't know if there is something larger than us humans out there, I sort of feel like there might be... and that IF there is, that thing or energy or whatever is probably way outside our ability to understand. But, I feel better when I remember that we are all connected (that interconnected web thing that the UUs have really resonates with me). In order to even begin to think about that entity or whatever, I need to put it into a form that my brain can understand and that my heart responds to... for me that is a Goddess Maiden, Mother Crone figure / energy. I feel connected to the world and to others by focusing my personal energy on my own femininity and the cycle of life that the Triple Goddess represents.

I know it sounds weird.. and I'm ok with no one else understanding or feeling the same way. It is what works for me and it harms no one but rather helps me focus my compassion and is my own way of making sense of the world and finding something I can focus on. 

ANYway, there it is. Hope that helps some of you understand and not be so freaked out by the word "pagan".  Quick note: I don't often snap photos during, but I did today as I knew I was going to want to share
.
Lastly, our finished frames waiting for their perfect leaves.






Freedom to Say "No"

It can be hard to say "no"
It can be especially hard if you have low self esteem and anxiety that saying "no" will end friendships or make you the bad guy.
It can be hard when your heart strings are pulled or when you feel a sense of responsibility.
It can feel like you are being selfish.

BUT

Image result for No

It is so darn important to be able to say "No" even though it can be one of the hardest words to utter.

One of the things I am trying to learn is how to say "No". How to disengage from toxic people, how to set up professional and personal boundaries, how to manage my time, how to think about my self as a finite resource and how to be aware of my needs.

It is a dificult journey.

I left GCV in part to be able to focus on other things. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't accept any new responsibility for another year (other than the things I had already signed up to do: school, etc.

Since then, I have said no to the following things

Organizing a clothing drive
Being a camp consoler
Running a once a week day care out of my home
Being a full time nanny
Being a part time nanny
Running a Girl Scout Troop
Being the 2nd in command of a Girl Scout Troop
Running a fundraiser
Writing a weekly blog for an established platform
Writing a recurring blog for an established platform
Being on the board of another nonprofit
Being on the advisory board for another nonprofit
Being a district representative for my daughter's school
Organizing a protest
Spearheading a boycott.


Which makes me feel better about saying yes to the following:
Teaching Sunday School 2 times a month
Joining a Parent Involvement Team
Getting elected School Site Council

So... progress!

As school starts in a few weeks and I get back to my more rigorous writing schedule, I only hope my ability to say "No" to things stays strong.


Fingers Crossed!


530 AM Feminist

I attended a boot camp with a friend last weekend.

It was one of those things where you do a bunch of cardio and weight training in a circuit while a trim little lady in spandex yells encouragement at you and you wonder how 30 seconds can last So Damn Long.

Anyway, before we started we had to fill out a few forms... basically promising that we wouldn't die during the session and that if we did, we wouldn't sue.

And of course part of the forms were "general info" that they use to then try to sell you a membership to the gym.

A few things to remember before I share with you some of the questions and my answers.

1. It was 530 in the morning. Legit. Too early.

2. I hate exercise of all sorts but I was there because I am almost always up for an adventure and I really like this new friend. Plus I wanted to ear extra helpings of French Toast later.

3. I'm a pretty hard core feminist. In case you hadn't noticed.

Ok...

What do you hope to get from working out?

Ability to humble brag on facebook without fibbing

What is your goal weight / size

155 (that's 5 lower than now) and size 8 (I am a size 8-10, it depends on the time of the month)

Why is that your goal?

I have soooo many clothes in my closet I want to wear!

If you hit your goal, how will your life be better?

I will have more clothes to wear!

When you think about your body, what sort of things do you think?

Thank god I have a body and am not just a head in a jar!

When you see photos of yourself, what do you focus on?

The lighting and the background people who might be famous. You never know. Also, do I need a haircut?

What part of your body do you like and why?

My boobs are awesome and my bladder is like a steel trap. 

What part of your body do you dislike and why?

My eyes. Glaucoma is a bitch.

Overall, how do you feel about your body?

I'm a fan

How does your spouse of partner feel about your body?

Damn lucky... not that it matters.


I don't think they will be calling me. But it got me wondering... the questions seem tailor made to make you doubt yourself and worry. I get that they might want to make sure you have realistic goals and don't think that dropping 20 pounds will magically fix your life... but seriously the whole thing bugged me.

Oh well, the circuit was difficult (which was both nice and painful) and we sweated like pigs. I got mixed up like three times and lost my place... and totally phoned it in during the final Burpee Challenge part.. (why is it called a burpee? That's gross!)

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, eyeglasses and closeup
Post workout rawr face! 

Then we went out for breakfast!

All in all, a pretty damn fun way to spend a Saturday morning.

...

and yeah... I was SORE the next day... that means it's working right?


Heroine Worship

What is a woman hero anyway?

Is she strong?

Is she driven?

Is she brave?

Yes.

Is she hard and calloused?

Sometimes.

Is she conventionally beautiful?

Sometimes

Is she gritty and dirty and rough around the edges?

Yes.

But she can also be articulate, classy, and well bred.

A woman hero is a woman who acts like a hero... and that means sacrifice, speaking truth to power, heart, and acting like a role model.

At least that is what it means to me.

The point is... it's subjective. And it shouldn't be limited by what one man thinks. There are plenty of male heroes of all types. And there should be lots of heroines for little girls to look up to as well.


TLDR: James Cameron and his antiquated definition of women empowerment being limited and excluding the likes of Wonder Woman is pure misogynistic BS.

Patty Jenkins laid the smack down on him pretty hard as well.



Thank you Patty.

And for fun... here are a few of my favorite heroines. And yeah, one of these is my mom.