Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Peace and contentment, if only just for today

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” 
John Lennon
photo credit:  m19.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thanks, my friend! July 25

When I think of a word to describe the woman I want to pay tribute to this week, the first one that comes to mind is "brave."  My friend, Marci, is absolutely one of the bravest people I know.  She was responsible for herself and her young sons from an early age and has always provided them an impeccable example of hard work, dedication and loyalty.  I had the pleasure of meeting her through our mutual work environment but am so glad we're sustained contact since then.

This woman is so faithful to her family that I couldn't even steal a Facebook picture of her by herself (sorry, Bob)!  She is with her loving husband or those growing boys in every other one.  Not that there's anything wrong with that ... it simply goes to show how inseparable the family has become.  They're all sports fanatics, but I'm not sure if her competitive influence is as strong with the younger two.  I think her husband is great and they are great for each other (although they kind of gag me within their online pda). 

This group has gone through incredible challenges for their unity, and they deserve all good things that come from it.  Marci worked full-time while going to college and matriculated through a Bachelor program.  She has done some graduate-level study and is working toward her state teacher certification.  Her students  love their "Ms. Marci!"  It's great to see her in a job she enjoys, and the school district is lucky to have her.  She brings them a wealth of knowledge, both academic and experiential.  

Marci is a dedicated mom who has spent her life showing her boys how to become successful adults. Their success is just as important as her own -- each win is equally gratifying.  This woman is wholly committed , and I believe she created the familial closeness anyone wishes for in their life.  She lost her mother, and the boys lost their beloved grandmother; but Marci strongly carries the matriarchal weight she has been left.  I'm sometimes in awe of how she performs under pressure and admire her courage, strength and modesty.

One of Marci's most endearing qualities is her sense of humor and fun.  We usually snarkily share what we find amusing. There are people you're meant to meet in life, but then again there are friends you're apt to keep for life.  I greatly miss being around her.   

Please tell someone you know just how important they are in your life.  It's only takes a minute of time, and we don't always have a tomorrow to say it.

Monday, July 23, 2012


It's funny how I have always eventually regretted signing up for a listserv. Those announcements get old after awhile. They fill up your inbox and rarely offer interesting or useful news of any sort. But I love getting the Weekly Action Alert from Jennifer Seibel-Newsom and her MissRepresentation.org team. They make you think and perhaps even act.    

Some encouragement from MissRep reads,

"There are many wonderful ways to find a mentee - this week, seek out an opportunity in your community or workplace and make a move to sponsor a woman coming up the ladder! Mentors come from all backgrounds and ages, and no matter where you are in your career, you are in a position to be a guide and resource for those around you." 

So many positive suggestions and relevant reminders come from her "newsletter."  Normally I ignore that type of format, but I'm glad I get these updates. I hope women of all ages are getting these notifications and utilizing the MissRep website and as well. We can all use some support and advice. 

I was fortunate to have positive mentors in my past work experience, women who offered wise words to a young, sometime reluctant and rebellious square peg in a round hole. Fitting into the corporate world isn't always an easy thing to do when you're 18 and can't afford to be in college full-time. I have found my way, fortunately with several wonderful women whose professional lives I could emulate.

We all need a reminder to offer each other help and seek out help if we need it, too. There are young people all around us who can use the same encouragement in the tough work world these days. Even though I may be reluctant to seek out a mentee situation, I can still try to offer positive reinforcement for the young students I meet in day-to-day life. Most of them are likely to openly receive the message that they, too, can find their way. We can help each other get there.       

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thanks, my friend! (July 19)

Once again, better late than never. I'm trying to keep my little meme going to recognize at least one amazing woman on a weekly basis. Women supporting each other is a big deal to me, as everyone deserves a small pat on the back from time to time. Some more than others. That's the least we can do for one another.

A commonly used sexist comment I've heard over many years in the work world is that women bosses are much harder to work for than men. I don't agree, and one reason why is having worked for my friend and former supervisor, Ruthie. She was a mentor to me and one of the most even keel, diplomatic managers with whom I have had the pleasure to work.  

It's no matter how long she and I go between conversations, we simply pick up where we left off the last one. It's not often enough, though.  Ruthie is an amazing person with the patience of a saint. There are two extraordinary girls in Toronto who are growing into bright, beautiful young women, for which I'm sure she deserves most of the credit. Ruthie leads by great example, with grace and tolerance. She had my back at a time I needed it in life, which I appreciated very much.    

Career is important to her, as evident in her work ethic and love of broadcasting. If you want to know what's going on in the world, ask this news junkie. No task is too intimidating for her, and Ruthie leads her crew to their greatest potential. I miss being in a remote truck with her, but I miss her more on a personal level. 

Almost every time I put my sunglasses on top of my head or tell someone to "back off," I think of my friend. I never heard the word "ratbag" before I met her but now use it on a regular basis. She had such courage to move so far away to the States on a new adventure in her life, but she is back where she loves to be, and I'm glad for her. It makes me smile to see Ruthie's gorgeous face in travel pictures (like the stolen one shown above) and know how much she is relishing life. She deserves all the best!  

Tell someone in your life just how important they are. Use this picture, too, if you, like. It only takes a minute and could bring them joy. We all need some of that!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Thanks, my friend! (July 11)

You know those people who exude the glass-half-full attitude? The ones who are perpetually happy, or at least look that way, with a damn smile on their face all the time. Sure you do, you know the ones who never say anything bad about anybody and personify grace under pressure?  I do ... and I hate those people!  I am kidding (okay, only half-kidding).  

Honestly, I admire those qualities in a person. It's amazing to know someone who is upbeat no matter the circumstances. I covet the ability to always look on the bright side of a situation.  A great woman I know possesses all these attributes -- my friend, Kim.  She is one of the kindest, sweetest people I have encountered in my forty-something years on the planet.  

Kim is a beautiful person in exactly the way a person hopes to be described as beautiful.  Her laugh is infectious and being around her makes you feel like all is right in the world. She is super knowledgeable about so many things I love, especially books and music. Every time we finish a book club meeting, my face muscles hurt from laughing, and that's attributed in great part to Kim. If you forget the name of a movie, she'll find it for you no matter who she has to text. The gorgeous picture I stole from her FB looks all serious, but don't let it fool ya. She is a truly light-hearted person and so much fun.  

An especially admirable quality Kim embodies is her ability to face adversity with a positive attitude. I imagine her faith and perseverance have been greatly challenged over the last  year or so, but she has given everyone who knows her a sincere example of the "power of positive thinking." Throughout the throes of crisis, Kim has never posted a FB status update to indicate anything other than an exuberance for life. If only many more of us could adopt her guileless demeanor.

Not only is Kim a respected business woman, she manages a multitude of other activities.  She hosts countless discussion groups and volunteers in the community.  Trust me, Kim and her daughter could tell you anything you want to know about a butterfly.  Her three children, daughter-in-law, and husband are extremely lucky to have such a reaffirming influence in their lives. They probably know that already.  *wink*  

You help me try to be more positive, and for that I thank you, my friend!  

I encourage anyone who reads this post to tell someone they love just how great you find them to be.  Cheers!  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This is why girls should watch MissRepresentation

Even though there's a lot of good information in them, articles about sexual objectification get me so infuriated with the mere mention of the double standards and sexism girls are spoon-fed from early on in their lives.  Ms. magazine provides enlightenment on the subjects while generating steam from my ears at the same time.  Children are indoctrinated to accept societal gender roles from birth, and kids are exposed to sex waaay earlier than they should be.


The body shaming of women starts at such a young age.  It breaks my heart to think of the messages little girls hear and see on a daily basis.  We grew up in the '70s and '80s when our main exposure to negative stereotypes came mainly through sit-coms, like Chrissy on Three's Company.  Who knew Mrs. Roper's caftans would be around now and known as "maxi dresses?"  Go figure.  But it was mainly through television.  

There was no electronic saturation before Al Gore gave birth to the wonderful world wide web.  We were lucky, because fashion magazines weren't as popular then either.  We might have read Seventeen and bought black beauties or white crosses out of the back of Cosmo, but that was about it.  Or maybe I lived in an insular world where we spent our time socializing in the neighborhood and later driving around town to see our friends.  

I get very worked up when I think of the level of sexism from which young women suffer now.  Perhaps it wasn't as pronounced "back in the day," or maybe I was just more oblivious to it.  There was never a time when I didn't speak up for myself in the face of misogyny, but my recognition of the over-arching patriarchy came with my onset in the adult work world.  It took a former male boss to wake me up to the fact that there were glass ceilings only potentially broken through by completing my education.  It was going to be a tough enough go as it was, and I had no competitive edge without a degree.  I mentally thank him for that information, although I would only grudgingly say so if I ever saw him again.  

Innocence out the window, skip forward to the present day.  It bothers me when I hear young women speak of finding a rich man to marry instead of delving out on their own in life.  It's disheartening to watch girls use their body, dress, and overall looks to exude a sexy persona to attract males.  How about portraying her as an idiotic sex kitten to further prove the point, and then throw in a good ol' fashioned cat fight to seal the deal.  Case in point: the tag lines from the 2010 show Pretty Little Liars, "Never trust a pretty girl with an ugly secret" and "Don't get ugly. Get Even." 

Sure, everyone wants to feel attractive, but these girls' worth is not only dependent on their sexual "value," as evident is so much advertising.  I'd dare say these same girls were exposed to sexual content when very young (too young, imo) and unaware of being considered an object of desire and only secondarily as a person.  They probably don't realize they are automatically placed a second-class citizen behind males through this objectification (which is exactly where the patriarchy wants them).  Even worse, some don't mind even if they grow to realize it.  

To any young woman who may need read this post, watch MissRepresentation and take the pledge at missrepresentation.org.  

photo credits:  imdb.com

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thanks, my friend! (July 5)

Although I'm a day late for this meme, it's better late than never.  A fitting "key" light is shown on my long-time friend, Sandy, this week.  She is literally one of the hardest-working women I know who always more than one project going at a time.  Not only does Sandy put in her 40+ work week at her new/old job, there is never a dull moment in her spare time either.  

Sandy is a video producer who has put together a multitude of projects throughout Kansas City.  She helps organizes independent film festivals (wtf ... what the fringe?) as well as exhibiting her own photography at events such as the 1st Friday art walk in the KC Crossroads District.  I'm telling you, this woman never slows down.  Her work is what seems to keep her happy and creatively fulfilled, though.  Thank goodness for Emergen-C!  The arts have played a long-standing role in Sandy's life.  She has built sets for community theater, wrote scripts and shot video for innumerable PBS productions, created corporate video, and basically kept many other professional and personal projects on time and on budget for lots of years.  

One of the traits I admire most about Sandy is her fearlessness for acting on what she wants in life.  She'll find a way to make something happen under any circumstances.  Many an freelance job has paid the way when someone else may have found a nine-to-five the safer way to go.  In one trip cross-country road trip she camped her way to and up the east coast, by herself mind you, and then went further north into Quebec!  Another jaunt took her to Amsterdam and Paris, which I also got to witness through online Kodak sharing at the time.  My music nostalgia obsession was fed with pix from Pierre le Chase (Jim Morrison's tomb) taken just for me.  

gratuitously stolen shot
Last year there was yet another drive out west to visit family, meandering through Kansas, Arizona, New Mexico, California and on up into Montana to see other friends.  I can't imagine braving any of these trips by myself, much less several times, even though I'm sure the solace is great.  She and I went to Toronto a few  years back (pre-baby days) and made stops in Chicago up and back.  A great few days were also spent at Bayfield on Lake Huron with a mutual friend.  It sucks to wait on people to decide on whether to go, so she's just gonna go.  I trust her skills implicitly, even though she drives very fast, which is saying a lot since I hate car trips!  She obviously loves to drive.  Now if I could only talk her into travel blogging ...     

There is no one else who can manage mayhem as well as Sandy.  She is truly the only person I've witnessed help my husband get things together without him taking offense or rejecting the instructions proffered.  She has supplied us a wedding, pregnancy, and little-guy photographic chronograph, for which I am forever grateful.  Her "eye" is spot on, so people respect her judgment and ability, as do I.  There are probably a lot of other people whom she has directed without their giving a second thought as to whether she knows what she's doing.  

Two such beings are her own kids, a young woman and man who also follow their hearts from her past example.  I can't imagine having a cooler mom when I was young.  Her little grand-toddler will feel the same way one day I'm sure.  

It's probably been a tougher couple years since her divorce than we realize, but her friends wouldn't really know since she gracefully tackles that pain.  There are too many new things to do or try (I actually miss bicycling the downtown airport), pictures to take (more drag show heels), and unexplored trails to blaze than to remain static.  Her adventurous spirit is infectious, and I hope we have more roads to travel together.  Even if it's just to meet up for child-free coffee!    

And so ... here's to you, my friend!  

I encourage anyone who reads this post to publicly celebrate a friend of their own.  It's so easy to let her know how much she means to you and others.