Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I've taken a different path

Howdy. As you can see from the timestamp of the previous blog post, I don't blog here anymore. Feel free to read what's here, but also connect with me in these places:

twitter.com/christyrobinson
instagram.com/christyrobinson
facebook.com/christyrobinson
And other spots, found at about.me/christyrobinson.
You can see my (not-often-updated) running blog here, too.

Ta-ta,

C

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Don't blame men because you shave your legs

I received an email forward from a friend and former co-worker that got me thinking about women's deflection tendencies. The email is a list of why men are never depressed. At least half, maybe more, of the bullet points are actually ways in which we make ourselves depressed, but acknowledging that would put the responsibility back on me and I've got a cut and color at 3 o'clock and a wedding to plan all by my lonesome, leaving no room to tend to my own happiness. (Mind you, the friend who sent this, Michelle, is quite a cool, independent chick with a better sense of humor than someone like me who over-thinks things like email forwards.) Take a look. The italics are me.

WHY MEN ARE NEVER DEPRESSED:

Men Are Just Happier People — What do you expect from such simple creatures?

• His last name stays put.
— So did mine. And yours would have, too, if you hadn't changed it.

• The garage is all his.
— Probably because you haven't declared that you need to share that space. No room for two? Save up and build your own dang lady cave.

• Wedding plans take care of themselves.
— Planning a wedding is no fun and I wasn't any more stoked about planning our wedding than Brian was. After a year of engagement I informed him that we simply were never going to get married if I had to plan the thing alone. Brian ended up planning at least half of it and did a great job.

• Chocolate is just another snack.
— Eat the chocolate, sweetie. I guarantee you it's not him scrutinizing your extra roll of cush you've got underneath that trapeze top.

• He can be president.
— I also guarantee you that every time a woman has been up for the position, a deciding factor of women voters chose the male candidate. Check your own prejudices before blaming this one on the guys in this modern era.

• He can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.
— So can you. What are you doing wearing a frilly bra to a (I take it they mean) amusement park, anyway? Throw a sports bra on under that white tee and go have, oh you know, fun.

• Car mechanics tell him the truth.
— Car mechanics only lie when it's obvious the customer has no clue about this really big, expensive thing she owns and is dependent on men to tell her things about. Don't know anything about cars? Ask your boyfriend to show you a few things. Ask your dad. Ask your cousin. Ask Google. Ask Auto Repair for Dummies. It's the exact same way men come to know about cars and not get lied to.

• The world is his urinal.
— I guess the world could be your urinal, too, if you dropped your drawers and popped a squat. We don't have the same external plumbing but we can pee in non-orthodox places if we have to. The men I know don't pee in the bushes just to crack themselves up; they have to go, and there isn't a reasonable alternative within driving or walking distance. Don't blame them because you'd rather risk a UTI.

• He never has to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.
— I'm pretty sure I've done this before. And yes, it would have been because the men before me made the whole room their urinal, not just the toilet, and yes, that's gross. If traveling to the next gas station is not an option, just line the seat with toilet paper/hover, pee and get out of there. You're taking a bio break, not attending a spa appointment.

• He doesn't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
— Lefty-loosey, righty-tighty. I got that from a former boyfriend, because I asked.

• Same work, more pay.
— No one's going to ride in on a white horse and pay you more money.
— Find out what someone with your experience in your position in your geographic area should be making. Raise hell until you get it.
— Stop being a sweetie-pie at work, during interviews and during annual reviews.
— Millions of women before you have already done the hard work of making equal work/equal pay possible. You spit in their face when you struggle internally with a success fraud complex then passive-aggressively blame The Man for paying you unequally.
— Still having trouble with this? One of the reasons this country is great is we are a nation of laws. We have a court system. Use it.

• Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental-$100.
— Brian's tux rental costs $150, my wedding dress cost $79 (Target Bridal) and and I have to say, I looked pretty darn cute. I got a hug from a friend who accidentally got lipstick on my dress. She freaked out; I just laughed and ate cake. Your wedding dress only costs $5,000 because you apparently insisted on having a $5K wedding dress. That's not your man's fault.

• People never stare at his chest when they're talking to him.
— Do you embarrass the jack-A who does this to you by calling him out, or do you sheepishly continue talking, hoping he magically becomes a gentleman before the conversation's over? Yeah, that's what I thought.

• He can never be pregnant.
— Don't want to become pregnant? Neither do I, so let's don't. Don't want to become pregnant but want children? There's a process called adoption.

• Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
— This is only a problem if you don't like long phone conversations yet find yourselves constantly entangled in them. Again, AT&T's not going to ride in on a white horse and magically drop the call for you.

• One mood all the time.
— Ok, I'll give you that one.

• He can open all his own jars.
— What, if there's no man around, the jar of pasta sauce simply isn't going to get opened? Lame. Whack at the side of the lid with the back of a butcher knife, get one of those rubber jar-opener dillies and. open. the. dang. jar.

• He gets extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
— Because instead of credit, you keep giving him extra credit, driving home the message that he's going above and beyond his duties as a human being. I guarantee it's not his buddies cooing and clapping when he changes his own baby's diaper or when he picks up his underwear.

• If someone forgets to invite him, they can still be friends.
— Are you that petty or just not grown up yet? Don't flay him for not bringing the wine to your petty-party just because you haven't learned how to keep friends yet.

• His underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.
— Girl, please. A 6-pack of Hanes Her Way string bikinis cost $8 at most. Trust me, if you're taking your clothes off in his line of sight, he's not going to care nor will he notice if you spent half a paycheck on something more expensive than that. If the underwear is just for you, 100 percent cotton is much, much nicer to your lady parts, anyway.

• He almost never has strap problems in public.
— Are we still worrying about this? I thought, along with pantyhose, we stopped obsessing whether or not it's "snowing up north" around 15 years ago.

• He can play with toys all his life.
— And you're not able to play with toys because ...??

• One wallet and one pair of shoes — one color for all seasons.
• Wrinkles add character.
• He only has to shave his face and neck.
• He is unable to see wrinkles in his clothes.
• Everything on his face stays its original color.
• The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
• Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
• A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
• New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle his feet. ...

My response to anything related to modern American beauty standards: These are ALL the fault of women, not men. These are the standards we've created because we keep trying to outdo each other for the attention of men, plain and simple. When we ran out of ideas on how to distinguish ourselves, the plastic surgery industry was invented. These time-consuming, expensive and often-painful standards won't stop until
we stop. But it's like nuclear disarmament — we don't want to disarm until and unless we're absolutely positive everyone else is going to disarm, lest we get caught with armpit stubble and bare toenails while the inspectors overlooked another woman's secret stash of concealer and highlight foils. So if you're going to play these games, play and stop whining or go rogue and rock that unibrow.

— I don't wear shoes that mangle my feet anymore — I'm either going to pay for the good stuff or wear flats, running shoes or flip-flops. No one is hiding in my closet with a shoe horn ready to force a ridiculous pair of shoes on me.
— We are the ones who insist on painting our faces like some daily indigenous tribal ceremony and shaving/lasering ourselves into hairless oblivion. Sometimes I lament to Brian that my legs are sooo hairy, I'm too disgusting to go into public like this with you, I'm sorry my legs are covered by the Black Forest, etc. He'll feel a leg, get a confused look on his face and grunt something of a "meh" that I translate as, "Sister, that's your own neurosis; don't look at me like it's my fault you regularly eradicate 80 percent of the hair on your person in a desperate attempt to infanticize yourself."
— Wonder how men seem to have more money than women? It's not because they're making vastly more money than you, although if you're a meek little mouse come pay-raise time, that probably contributes. It's because you're alloting so much more of your paycheck to all those clothes and all those shoes and all that hair color and all those creams and serums that, by the way, is what's making you pack so heavily, too.

===

I wear makeup, shave my legs (which I hate, but I'm the one swiping the razor up and down) and I keep Clairol's Natural Instincts in business. If these things are as much of an annoyance as we claim, let's place the blame for performing them where it belongs, the chica in the mirror. Accept responsibility for what you make of your life, because that's partly what equality is about.

I love all my ladies and desire the best for each and every one of you! Go forth and conquer your corner of the world! Mwah!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Outtakes from my Oregon/Washington trip

Yes, it's been a while since I've graced these pages. Enough about that.

Ten days ago I returned from a six-day trip to the Portland, Oregon, area and Olympic National Park in Washington to the north. Here are my outtakes, thoughts and advice on Being Sacagawea for a week.

Photos, days 1-2

Portland, Oregon
• One of the coolest cities in the U.S. I've ever visited. Extremely walkable, great public transit options, slap-your-face scenery (even in the city), awesome eating, green-conscious. Except hardly anyone used umbrellas even though it was raining most of the time. This intrigued me.
• I'd never stayed in a hostel until this trip, but I received confirmation from others more seasoned than myself that the Northwest Portland hostel is a good one. It's, you know, a hostel, so don't expect Andes candies on your pillow or anything. Or non-disgusting shower curtains. I did pay the lowest rate, after all — a low-season $20 for a bed in an eight-person dorm. But the staff is very friendly, overall cleanliness isn't an issue, there are several lounge areas and kitchens, and the location can't be beat (hopelessly hip Nob Hill neighborhood, walkable to lots of stuff). If I have one piece of advice to pass along re: hostels from my one night of hosteling, it's this: Unless you sleep like the dead or own a high-end pair of earplugs, spring for a private room vs. a dorm bunk. People snore like the Second Coming.
Visit
Forest Park (it's the largest forested natural area within city limits in the U.S. and dadgum gorgeous)
Powell's Books, Skyline Restaurant (best butterscotch milkshake AND chocolate malt ever)
Pittock Mansion (didn't get to go but heard it's worth a look)
World Cup Coffee & Tea (across the street from the hostel)

Coastal Oregon
• I took U.S. Route 26 west to the coast and caught U.S. Highway 101 north. Just north of that junction is adorable Seaside, Oregon. I stopped to check out the Pacific Ocean; first time I'd seen it that far north, and first time in a long time I'd seen it at all. Misty, dramatic, gorgeous. But, had I known at the time, I might have gone out of my way a bit to the south on 101 to Cannon Beach, Oregon. And not just because that's where the La Push beach scenes in Twilight were filmed, heh heh. It apparently sports some amazing sea stacks and the scenic Ecola State Park.
Visit
C by the Sea gifts in Seaside
Pacific Way Bakery & Cafe in Gearhart

Southwest Washington
• My non-researched, drive-through observation of the difference between northwest Oregon and southwest Washington (and on up to Forks, Wa.): It seems that the towns in the SW Wa have allowed logging to solely define their existence. It would be different if a) logging didn't remove the pride-fostering visual cues of the region's best natural resource, or if b) logging created jobs that allowed families to live more than just a hair above the poverty line. But a drive around logging towns like Aberdeen and Hoquiam prove the detriment of placing all your eggs in one, big sad-making basket. You see shadows of cute-towns-that-could-be behind the code-iffy homes and boarded-up storefronts. Aberdeen and Hoquiam, for example, are located on the water (Grays Harbor, I believe). They could leverage that fact and other natural draws to bring in tourists, investors and permanent, monied residents. And where the actual logging takes place? Could the industry be any more aesthetically ham-handed? They leave the landscape looking like a mix of Beruit/shock-and-awe/Hiroshima/California-wildfire/Tank-Girl-apocolypse/Paul-Bunyun-vomits-napalm. Mountain sides either look like someone took a razor down the middle of a head of long, lustrous hair for a reverse-mohawk, or at best they look like a Disney-inspired Christmas tree farm with their eighth-growth, 20-year-old, uniform-height, perfectly-spaced trees. Visually, it's just sad, grotesque, and makes me wonder why people who would allow their surrounding natural beauty to become so unnaturally ugly. And please. Don't talk to me about the "jobs" the industry provides when your towns look like the Flint, Michigan, of the Northwest. The industry is giving you so much less to work with than what God originally provided. You're allowing the timber lobby to pick that nature gift clean in exchange for food stamp living. I don't know the exact answer. I don't exactly live in an area widely known for scenic beauty. But it's obvious that the blanaced answer isn't being lived out in southwest Washington.
Visit: Keep driving.

Photos, days 3-4

Olympic National Park
• Once you're actually IN the park proper, you don't have to worry about shaking your head into a crick like you did through all the land-rape on your way up. It's gorgeous.
• I stayed near Quinault Rain Forest. The other rain forest is the Hoh Rain Forest, which seemed to be the more well-known. I asked a couple of locals, and they both claimed that you won't miss anything by seeing one over the other. I visited the Quinault Rain Forest and was terribly, terribly pleased.
• I recommend the place I stayed, Lake Quinault Lodge, but you MUST know two things that I did not before I settled into my room: 1. There are NO telephones in the rooms. You likely will have no cell phone coverage while you're there, so this amounts to being phoneless while in your room. Be ready to leave your room and walk to the front desk if you need to speak to a lodge employee. 2. There is no wifi in the rooms, only in the lobby (which is nice: tables, comfy chairs, couches, huge fireplace). BUT: I slept in one of the king-sized fireplace rooms, close to the main lodge where the lobby is located. I got one to two bars of connection most of the time. But don't depend on that.
• The restaurant attached to the restaurant, the Roosevelt Room, is yummy but somewhat pricey. I took a Seattle Times travel story's advice and had the sweet potato pancakes for breakfast, and they were great. I didn't have dinner there, however, so I can't speak for it.
• There is no room service here. I did carry a globe of Washington red (pinot noir?) from the Roosevelt to my room for a hot bath my first night, however.
• They serve Starbucks coffee. I mention this because I was pretty astounded at the lack of Starbucks on my trip, seeing as how this was the general birthplace of the chain. It was awesome to see so many independent coffee joints and, even more numerous, drive-through coffee stands instead. I guess that's just places like Dallas where independent = scarce.
• Please eat at least one meal across the street at the Mercantile. The pizza is amazing, but they serve just about anything else you're in the mood for if not that.

West of Olympic National Park (including Forks!)
• Lake Quinault Lodge is managed by Aramark (yes, the company you most associate with Styrofoam cups and other concession-stand products), which also manages other lodges in the park, like Kalaloch Lodge (trivia: Kalaloch is pronounced "clay-lock"). It's located 33 miles northwest of Quinault and includes a main lodge and individual cabins located directly on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Take pictures in the white gazebo, but don't play too closely to the side or you'll meet your maker in a pile of drift logs.
• A few miles to the north, 101 takes you away from the coast a bit. That takes you to .... dum dum DUM! Forks, Washington!! TWIIII-LIIIIGHT!! If you like the Twilight saga, there are things to see and do here. If you don't, there's not. Warning: the Chamber of Commerce's Michael Gurling (shown here in a Today story) is enthusiastic about the Twilight-Forks connection and will tell you everything you ever or didn't want to know about the town, the books and the movies. He does know his stuff, however. Like how absolutely nothing in the Twilight movies was filmed in Forks. Not one little bitty frame. Crews came by to take a picture of the "welcome to Forks" sign, and that's it. At first I was surprised, but then it made sense. Forks, while home to many warm residents, isn't terribly photogenic (Forks scenes were filmed in Vernonia, Oregon), and then I realized that the movie version of town doesn't resemble the real thing in the least. Michael was nice enough to give me a list of Twilight scenes and where they were filmed. The majority of which? In the Portland area. Really? Well, looky looky. I had been debating in my head whether to drive up to the northwestern most tip of the continental U.S. (Neah Bay, Wa., on the Cape Flattery Trail) or just heading back to Portland for my last couple of days. Hmmm.
Visit (all in Forks)
— The Chamber of Commerce-slash-Twlight-information-center
Dazzled by Twilight memorabilia and gift shop
— JT's Sweet Stuffs for ice cream or old-fashioned candy
Forks Outfitters, where Bella worked part-time (just drive by)
— Pacific Pizza, next door
— Gathering Grounds coffee stand for a cup of Bella Selva (product not related to our Bella of Twilight fame)

Photos, days 5-6

Portland, Oregon, area
• Without knowing it, Michael from the Forks Chamber pointed me in the right direction. Not because I saw a couple of Twilight film locations, but because I would have missed out on some of the most scenic highlights of my trip: the Columbia River Gorge (with sights along the Historic Columbia River Highway) and Multnomah Falls.
• Remember the prom scene at the end of Twlight? Michael's list says it was filmed at the Columbia River Gorge Vista House. While trying to find this place, I ended up turning around in the parking lot of a View Point Inn and thought, Wow, this looks a lot like where the prom scene took place; oh well. I found Vista House and spent some time there. They both offer gorgeous views, but I found out when I returned home that prom scene did in fact take place at View Point Inn.
• I spent the most time at Multnomah Falls. Remember the baseball scene in Twilight? It was filmed on the Washington side of the gorge, and the waterfall shown in the background as Bella and Edward are walking to meet his family to play is Multnomah, which is located on the Oregonian side. It looks majestic from the highway, but you have to experience it up close. You can even hike to the very top of the falls on Larch Mountain by a 1-mile trail (warning: it's steep and doesn't feel like a mere mile). Not only is the trek worth it when you arrive at the top, but the trail itself offers stunning views of the gorge.
• While I was purchasing my Multnomah magnet, coffee mug and earrings at the ground-level gift shop, I asked the cashier if she thought the attached Multnomah Falls Lodge restaurant was worth a stop. She gave me a wide-eyed, freaked-out look and whispered, "Nooo!" I didn't ask why, but that was enough to keep me away. Too bad because the atmosphere seemed amazing. But good thing I didn't eat there because that lead me instead to dine at ....
Stone Cliff Inn in Carver, Oregon. I bumped into it while driving around, and it was a good bet. Nestled way up on a cliff overlooking the Clackamas River, it's fashioned like a log cabin, inside and out. I sat by the fireplace. I had an Oregon merlot, salmon, garlic mashed potatoes and a salad with a tomato-y vinaigrette. The waiter — no lie — looked like Jacob Black (and knew it). On my way out the door, I noticed a poster showing the "lion fell in love with the lamb/as if you could outrun me" scenes from Twilight. They were shot behind the Stone Cliff Inn's parking lot! The restaurant had set a spotlight on the big, mossy boulder that Edward crouched on. I visited another filming location, and I didn't even mean to this time ; )
Visit
— The aforementioned Vista House, View Point Inn, Multnomah Falls and Stone Cliff Inn
Portland Women's Forum State Scenic Viewpoint
Carver Cafe in Damascus, Oregon, where the cafe scenes with Bella and her dad were filmed. Only open for breakfast and lunch, though. I drove by too late, but it looks adorable (and the menu, online, looks crazy-delicious).

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dead magazines I miss

The other day I said in my Facebook status that I missed George, and several FB friends commented with other great defunct magazines. Below is my homage to magazines discontinued in the past decade that I've subscribed to, have fond childhood memories of, remind me of good times or that I simply enjoyed reading.


Click on each name for its respective Wikipedia (or other info) page, and let me know in the comments if I missed any good titles!

Bon App├ętit

Domino

Gourmet

Honey

Jane

Mademoiselle

McCall’s

Mode

More

PC Magazine

Radar

SI for Women

Sports & Fitness

Vibe

Weekly World NewsWomenSport

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Health care and the soul

What does my father's recent heart attack and a New York Times interactive have in common? Little, except that they both have me thinking about health care at the moment, framed in the context of morality.

First, dad. Mom drove him to Medical Center of Arlington a week and a half ago after pain struck him in the chest, the first time it had ever done so. The entire week of his stay, my family and I were dumbfounded at the cardiac doctors' coarseness, unprofessionalism, unavailability, lack of communication skills and patronization. My mother has spent time in [other] hospitals for surgeries and procedures, and her doctors had always been professional and sympathetic. The reason for dad's stay was inherently bad enough, but watching doctors treat our elderly father in such a harsh, uncaring manner all week (when they got around to seeing him at all) doubled our stress.






A sample of the interactive's topics



My sister and I couldn't help but wonder if his treatment had to do with the fact dad is a Medicare patient. We could have been wrong. We have no proof. But hospitals and doctors are reimbursed for only a fraction of their trouble when caring for Medicare patients, and we agreed it at least was a possibility. Toward the end of his stay, we were trying to get dad an appointment with his primary care physician. He'd had a Dr. Brandy Robinson (no relation) chosen as his PCP for quite some time, but he hadn't gone to see her yet. I called to make an appointment — and they wouldn't see him because they're not taking any new Medicare patients. I was reminded of a story I recently read about more and more doctors not taking Medicare patients because the government simply can't keep up with doctors' costs. I thought to myself, The profit motive of health care is rotting its soul.

Then today I clicked around through NYTimes.com's fabulous Health Care Conversations interactive. You click a specific health care topic (i.e. Medicare and the Elderly, Illegal Immigrants) to get to a conversation-starter question, then you include your comments on the question. I chose the health care topic Moral and Spiritual Considerations and scrolled through the comments (click here or play around with the embed, above). Timothy Shaw, M.D., of Madison, Wisconsin, did the best job of describing the connection I feel between my Christian faith and collective health care for all:

Our healthcare system is unjust because patients are discriminated against based on their ability to pay. Even though they attended public tax-payer funded medical and dental schools, some doctors and dentists will not see Medicaid patients or those without health insurance.

Our healthcare system is unjust because doctors and hospitals charge different patients different prices for the same service based on their insurance or employer. A patient without insurance may pay 70% more for the same operation or medical treatment as someone with insurance. If one would go to a gas station and be told that you have to pay $3.40 per gallon of gas but that your neighbor has to only pay $2.00 per gallon because of who you work for – there would be "civil" war.


Our healthcare system is unjust because it pits the doctor's fiduciary and moral obligation to the patient, against the fiscal obligation to the health insurer with whom the doctor has a contract. For example, in the mid 1980's, 32 states passed consumer protection laws, in the form of "drive-by delivery" laws to protect mothers and newborns from being discharged from the hospital by their doctors too soon.

Much of the medical research in our country is supported with public tax money through the National Institute of Health grants. Additionally, public tax money supports the Centers for Disease Control, and the National Library of Medicine; institutions which also supports private for-profit medical/insurance corporations. Although many of the discoveries of medicine were not the work of the American medical/insurance industry, past medical discoveries are used to create profit for our private medical/insurance system. For example, when the Austrian pathologist Karl Landsteiner won the Nobel Peace Prize for his 1901 discovery of the ABO blood groups which made blood transfusions safe, saving billions of lives, he gave his discovery to humanity, not a patent lawyer.


Our hospitals were built by the hard work of all citizens. In the late 1800's Catholic nuns from St. Louis hitched their horses to wagons and rode into the Northwest Territory armed with a mission statement from God and founded our first hospitals. They built these hospitals for all citizens, not just the patients with "good" insurance. Our healthcare system is unjust for the reason that people without health insurance or those who can't get health insurance just as likely had fathers and grandfathers who laid on the sands of Normandy and Iwo Jima, and who themselves or their sons and daughters are serving in the Armed Forces today.

Our health system is unjust because of huge profit taking. Health insurance executives don't worry about going bankrupt from getting sick. Forbes reports that two Healthcare Insurance Corporation CEO's made $121 million and $77 million respectively in the last five years. While the medical / health insurance and pharmaceutical industries make billions in private profits, our citizens are lining up at a county fair in western Kentucky, in neglected health, with their teeth rotting from their heads, just to be cared for at a free medical/dental clinic set up in animal stalls in a barn.

I've often wondered why educated people and our leaders cannot see the injustice of our healthcare system. In a historical context however, it is inconceivable to think that the man who wrote "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", as he looked out his window he could see his slaves working in his fields.


To right the injustices perpetrated by the British against his countrymen, Thomas Jefferson would write the words which lent justification and strength to his fellow patriots to fight the world's most powerful army and navy. However, Jefferson's quill had not the power to convince his countrymen to right an injustice perpetrated by themselves against another people. This would be a conflagration for another time, another generation.

Let us encourage our congresswomen and men to have the moral courage to pass legislation long overdue, to create equality in health care. They should establish a national healthcare insurance plan as a civil right of American citizenship.

Some say that we don't want a Canadian or British style healthcare system. I say let's make America's healthcare system look like the United States space program compared to Britain's or Canada's! Ours would soar like an eagle!


Thomas Jefferson's last words in the Declaration of Independence now ring out as a living document for us today. "And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."

My dad isn't so poor that he's having to get care in an animal stall. But like those Western Kentuckians and insurance company CEOs, he's worked hard and paid his taxes. Expectedly, there will be a disparity in the houses they live in and the cars they drive. But as a Christian, I can't view one of their bodies as less valuable than the others. I value my soul too much.

Friday, October 23, 2009

About the "Women are Unhappy" study

I really appreciated this study (more on it here) when it came out, which essentially states that women are generally unhappier since the women's movement of the '70s (findings exception: black women).

Then I was bewildered by the response to it, most of which drew that women are unhappy because of the strides in equality we've made. Total Alice in Wonderland conclusion. A post by Judy Warner on New York Times' Domestic Disturbance blog explains the real reasons. A pull-out summary if you're not in the mood to read the whole thing, but I encourage you to read it-read it and decide what you think (a mixture others' quotes she uses in the post and her own):

"The opening up, diversifying and expanding of women’s sphere of existence may have given them more things to potentially be unhappy about ..."

"The wage gap persists, particularly for mothers, who now earn 73 cents for every man’s dollar. Our workforce and education system is still sex-segregated, operating along generations-old stereotypes that steer most women into low-paid, low-status, low-security professions. Women pay more for health insurance than men, have more extensive health needs than men, and suffer unique forms of discrimination in their coverage. (Women may be denied coverage because they had a Caesarean delivery or were victims of domestic violence — both 'preexisting conditions.') Regardless of the number of hours they work, they continue to do far more caretaking and housekeeping work at home than do their husbands. And discrimination against mothers (but not fathers) in the workplace is all but ubiquitous."

"Entering the world of men may very well have raised the bar of expectations ... greater equality may have led more women to compare their outcomes to those of the men around them. In turn, women might find their relative position lower than when their reference group included only women. ... In other words: if you expect less for yourself, you’re easier to please."

"In public opinion surveys, women consistently rank their own inequality, at work and at home, among their most urgent concerns. ... If the women’s movement raised women’s expectations faster than society was able to meet them, they would be more likely to be disappointed by their actual experienced lives."

In other words, June Cleaver wasn't happy because she got to cook and clean. She was happy because she succeeded within that limited sphere.

On a happier note: "The happiest marriages ... are those in which a couple shares egalitarian values. Men in today's world who have gone with the flow of changing roles and mores ... are healthier, closer to their wives and children, happier and … having more sex."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Try this in your morning coffee

The weather here in Texas has been overcast and downright mild, making me excited about the change of season. One of my favorite ways to celebrate the change? Peppermint coffee.

When the weather is cooler, I'm able to find peppermint-flavored coffee beans at the store, or I'll drink peppermint-flavored mochas at Starbucks when I have to. In warmer weather (read: most of the year), the combination is hard to find. Then I thought, What if that useless bottle of peppermint extract I have in the cabinet would work?

It does! Just put a couple of drops right into your brew, and there you have it folks. A yummy, steamy juxtaposition of hot and cool, right in your morning cup.

Find peppermint extract at the grocery store on the baking aisle, alongside the vanilla extract and other flavors.