Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Add It To My List...


THINGS I'M ALREADY RECOMMENDING TO FRIENDS IN REAL LIFE


Blog Post

Steph's very detailed account of her Women's March experience.  If you have not read it, I highly recommend it.



Product

I walk outside as much as possible, even in the winter.  I like to wear running tights/leggings underneath my track pants for additional warmth on days when the temperature dips below 45F.  As I've learned through lots of trial and error the past month, not all tights/leggings that are advertised as "thermal" are created equal.  What I discovered was that many of the tights I tried are too thin and not that warm.  


But, after much searching, I finally found a pair that I absolutely love - adidas CLIMAHEAT Tights.  They're warm, they shield the wind, and they're comfortable.  My only complaint is that the waistband is a bit "loose."  I wish there was a drawstring in it or something.  Other than that, it is a great product.


Movie

Hidden Figures is such as empowering movie for not only women, young girls, and minorities, but for everyone.  It is the ultimate overcoming obstacles success movie.



YouTube Video

My roommate at work shared this with me a few weeks back. The first time I watched it, I howled and rolled with laughter!


Do you have anything you'd like to recommend?  If so, please feel free to share. As always, thanks for stopping by!

Linking up with:
Bre @ Bre Writes

Monday, January 30, 2017

Memes That Say EXACTLY What I'm Thinking (Vol. 12)











Thanks to the events that have occurred as of late, meme makers have had fresh material to work with!  LOL!

Have a wonderful Monday and thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

We Are Not Equal


We are not equal.

Yep. There it is, folks, I’m going ahead and tossing that right out there. When it comes to men and women, we are not equal.

Now, allow me to say how much that statement troubles me and how much it pains me to say it.

As a young girl growing up in the 1970s and 80s, I truly thought by the time I reached my 40s, that we would live in an equal society, where men and women were truly equals. The sad reality is that we do not.

Have we women made strides towards equality? Absolutely. 

Are we there yet? No.

~

Over the weekend, millions of women gathered in Washington DC and in other cities across the country (and the world) to send a bold message to the new government on their first day in office. The message was simple - that women's rights are human rights. 

As to be expected, social media was flooded with pictures and posts from marchers, posts from those who supported the march, and posts from those who felt the need to condemn it. During this social media onslaught, a post started to make its way around on Facebook that caught my attention. In it, the author began by saying, “I am not a ‘disgrace to women’ because I don’t support the women’s march.” You may have seen it; if not, you can read it here.

In the post, the author basically belittled the Women’s March participants, calling them whiners and insinuating that they need to “take responsibility” for their lives and to “quit blaming” others. Although the author never says it, she definitely comes across as if she believes that inequality in the United States does not exist and that if it does exist, it only exists because of the individual’s self-imposed walls that they have allowed to let stand in their way. (To be fair, she does acknowledge that inequality exists in other parts of the world. In fact, she does into some detail about the inequalities that occur in foreign countries such as China, Afghanistan, the Congo, and Saudi Arabia, to name a few.)

All I could do after reading it was shake my head. 

~

Something I've discovered in my lifetime is that the concept of equality and inequality is relative; it is relative to a person’s perception, which is based on the person's individual life experiences. There is a quote by Anais Nin that I love and that is so pertinent to this situation. It says, We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are. 

I come from a white, middle class upbringing. In comparison to the rest of the country, based on my parents' income at the time, we were on the lower end of middle class. However, in rural West Virginia, we were considered to be solidly middle-middle class, maybe even upper middle. 

Thanks to my parents' vision and sacrifice, I was blessed with the opportunity to go to college. I emerged from college with very little student loan debt. The education I received ensures that I can find and maintain gainful employment and that I can take care of myself financially. 

I work in a field (public education) that has set pay scales that are non-negotiable, so I’ve never experienced the gap in pay between men and women. 

I have never been raped. 

I have never been in an abusive relationship. 

I have never been enslaved and forced to work in the sex industry.

I have never had birth control fail nor have I been put in the position of dealing with an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. 

I have never felt or believed that my opportunities were limited just because I have a vagina.


Not all women in the United States can echo those sentiments. 


Thinking back to Nin’s quote - We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are - it would be easy for me to say that inequality does not exist, because in my life experience, I’ve not been subjected to the hardest blows of inequality, only to lesser blows, which I will touch on shortly. Essentially, this would be like me saying that measles do not exist because I’ve never contracted them, which, as we all know, is not true. Measles do exist because there are documented cases of the measles every year; I’ve even known an individual who contracted the disease. Measles exist regardless of whether or not you contract them, just as inequality exists regardless of whether or not it directly impacts you.

This is what I meant by the concept of equality often being relative.

~

Looking at my place in life and all that I've achieved and been blessed with, I truly would love to take credit for it all, but you know what - I can’t. Yes, much of it is the direct result of hard work, sacrifice, and the choices I’ve made along the way, something the author of the "I'm not a disgrace to women" post also claims. But, here's where the author and I differ - I'm not so obtuse to ignore that fact that much of my success and my blessings have been due to luck. Yes, random, dumb luck. 

You see, I’ve been in situations where I could've been attacked and/or raped, but I wasn’t. 

There have been numerous opportunities for my birth control to fail and I could've faced an unwanted pregnancy, but fortunately, it didn’t. 

I could work in a profession where salaries are varied and equal pay does not exist, but I don't. 

I have been lucky.


~

Despite my good fortune, despite how few obstacles I've encountered along my life’s path, even in my little, sheltered life I have still felt unequal to men.

I do not feel safe walking down a darkened street or even in my neighborhood park after a certain time in the afternoon.

I have been the recipient of numerous unwanted catcalls and propositions. Let's not forget countless comments about my breast size by men I don’t know. 

Speaking of breasts, they have been publicly groped by men. That’s right… I said men. Plural. That means more than one man believed he was entitled to fondle my breasts without my consent.

And lastly, I have been stalked by two overzealous, behemoth sized members of my alma mater’s football team, both of whom just couldn’t believe or accept that I wasn’t interested in having sex with them. When I lodged a complaint against the first one, I was told by school administrators to “not encourage him,” which basically meant that they thought his stalking me was my fault. I'm sure had he raped me that one particular evening after cornering me in the dark and isolated library stacks, that the rape would've been my fault, too.

My question is simple. If we live in an equal society, then why aren't those same scenarios happening to men?  Better yet, why are these scenarios happening at all?

Because we do not live in an equal society.

~

I didn’t march on Saturday and my reasons for not marching are mine and mine alone, but I commend the millions of women who did. Thank you.

Thank you for exercising your right to assemble peacefully. Thank you for exercising your right to speak freely. Thank you for following in the footsteps of the millions of women who marched before you, who secured many of the liberties we enjoy today.

Thank you for voicing your discontent, your anger, and your fears.

~

My late grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she was extremely wise. I can recall her saying on more than one occasion - Never judge a person’s path in life until you have walked a mile in that person’s shoes.

The only shoes I have walked in during this life are mine. I acknowledge that my walk has been substantially easier than others. But, despite that, despite how fortunate I’ve been, I still have the ability to see others who are making their way along their paths. I have the ability to see their struggles, to see their reality, to see the inequalities they face. I have the ability to see that we are not all walking the same path. I have the ability to see these things because I choose to. I have the ability to see and acknowledge that we are not equal.  Not yet, anyway.

I do not know the path that author of the “I am not a disgrace” post has walked in this life. I will not assume to understand the trials or obstacles she may have faced. I am glad that she does not feel like a second-class citizen, or that her voice is not heard, or that she is not respected because she is a woman.  


She needs to realize, though, that not every American woman can echo her sentiments, just as they cannot echo mine.


Remember, we don’t usually see things as they are; we see them as we are.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.


May you have opened eyes.

May you have the ability to see beyond the tip of your nose and beyond the perimeter of your life. 

May you have empathy and understanding.

May we all have equality one day.


~

As always, thanks for stopping by!


Linking up with:

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tuesday Topics - Favorite Characters



I stumbled upon this linkup too late to get my list published on the Tuesday for which it was originally slated.  Undeterred, for it seems like a fun linkup, I decided to go ahead, despite my tardiness.  (Thanks Jenn and Lauren for the generous linkup time frame.)

As I started to brainstorm my favorite eight characters, I was completely overwhelmed.  I mean, I have forty-something years worth of exposure to characters from film, television, books, and the theater to draw from.  How in the world could I ever narrow it down to eight?

With the images of Saturday's Women's March on Washington and the sister marches that occurred in cities throughout the world in my brain, I decided to tailor my list to female characters and, specifically, female characters whom I consider(ed) to be great role models.



Jo Polniaczek (played by Nancy McKeon) in the 80s sitcom, The Facts of Life

I knew from a very early age that I was a tomboy.  Although tomboys were more socially acceptable in the 1980s than they had been in previous decades, they were not as commonly accepted as they are today.  Jo was my very first role model.  Jo instilled in me the idea that it's okay to be a tomboy as long as you are true to yourself.



Tami Maida (played by Helen Hunt) in the 1983 made for TV docudrama, The Quarterback Princess

Tami Maida was my second earliest role model. Tami taught me that girls could play sports just as well as boys could.  She was also my example on how to embrace my femininity from time to time.



Mulan, from the Disney animation, Mulan

Before Mulan, there were Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine, whom, in their own right, were very strong, female characters.  But Mulan was different.    Mulan was one of the first Disney movies in which a girl didn't have to be rescued by a man.  In fact, Mulan not only rescued her dad, but also Shang (her army captain) as well as the emperor of China. Mulan was total badass.




Idgie Threadgoode (played by Mary Stuart Masterson) in the 1991 film, Fried Green Tomatoes (and in the 1987 novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg)

I have always identified with Idgie - a tomboy raised in a rural area, who felt more at home in the woods, surrounded by nature, than anywhere else.  



Olivia Benson (played by Mariska Hargitay) in the long running NBC drama, Law and Order: SVU

I do not nor have I ever worked in law enforcement, but I have eyes.  It is very obvious that women are outnumbered drastically by men in this profession. The fact that Benson not only works in this profession, but has also excelled, rising to the rank of Lieutenant is very impressive.  Not only is she tough, but she is also very empathetic and caring. She executes here duties, but maintains her humanity.




Katniss Everdeen, from The Hunger Games novels and movie franchise (played by Jennifer Lawrence)

With no disrespect to Bella Swan from the Twilight series, the wildly popular YA book series that preceded The Hunger Games, one of the things I so loved about Katniss Everdeen was that she was not mopey or passive.  She did not wait for things to happen, she made things happen.  Katniss exhibited many worthy traits that girls can look up to - strength, resiliency, and self-sufficiency.



Willowdean from the novel, Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

It's not easy being a teenager, let alone an overweight teenager.  Willowdean learned to truly embrace herself while opening up herself to infinite possibilities. That is a truly admirably trait.




Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson (played by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle MonĂ¡e, respectively) in the 2016 film, Hidden Figures

During a time when both women and African Americans were struggling for equal rights, there were three brilliant, female, African American mathematicians working at NASA.  These ladies were very instrumental in the launching of John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth.  Their story is one of empowerment, of breaking down walls that are before you, and not giving up.


So, what do you think?  Do you have any female characters that you think should have made the cut?  If  you do, feel free to comment below.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  

Happy Tuesday to you!  As always, thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Memes That Say EXACTLY What I'm Thinking (Vol. 11)







\


Hoping this finds you having a wonderful Monday (or as wonderful as a Monday can be)!  As always, thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 16, 2017

If We Were Having Coffee... (Vol. 10 - A New Experience)


If we were having coffee this morning, we'd be in my living room.  It's Martin Luther King Day and I have the day off from work.

It's another gray, winter day here in the Bluegrass.  Even though it's not raining at the moment, it's still bleak and dreary.  I'll be venturing out around noon in hopes of getting in a walk before the rain starts again later this afternoon. Yesterday, I barely squeezed in my walk between the breaks in the rain; even then, the last mile or so I walked in a cold drizzle.  "It's been raining here on and off since Tuesday," I'd say.  "I feel like we've entered monsoon season."  

As we settled in, you on the sofa and me in my recliner, I'd ask you if your new year has been off to a good start.  You'd fill me in on what's gone on in your life since we last chatted.  After some time, you'd take a sip of your beverage and comment on how I seem to be in much better spirits than I was two weeks ago.

I'd smile, chuckle softly, and then take a drink of my soda.  I'd turn to you and say, "I am."  Once I said sayonara to 2016, things have been looking a lot better. "I don't necessarily believe in that whole 'New Year, clean slate' adage," I'd begin, 'but I made an conscious effort to leave a lot of crap and baggage behind in 2016.  I simply refused to carry it around any longer.  Maybe that's as close to a clean slate as I can get."

You'd smile and then ask what I've been up to lately. "The same ol' same ol'..." I'd reply.  I'm still losing weight, walking as much as I can, and I've finally gotten used to getting up before dawn again after having two weeks off at Christmas. This time of year, once all the merriment and holidays are over, there's really not much going on other than the routine stuff of life.  "Work, commute, eat, sleep, repeat." I'd say with a laugh.  You'd nod and smile in agreement.

I'd take another drink of my soda and as I shifted in my recliner, I'd wince at the soreness in my backside.  Remembering what I did Saturday, I'd turn to face you again.

"Well," I'd say, "I did do something Saturday that could be considered out of the ordinary, for it's something I've never done before."  You'd look at me with curiosity and ask what.  "I took a women's self-defense class."

One of my speech path buddies started taking jiu jitsu a little while back and her instructors offered a free class for women on Saturday afternoon.  She invited me to go earlier in the the week and I thought, "Why not?"

You'd ask how it went and I'd tell you it went well, despite my still being a teensy bit sore.  Before, when I thought about self-defense, I always thought about the run of the mill maneuvers - jabbing with keys, using  elbows to land blows to the abdomen, using fingers to poke eyes, and the obligatory, kick to the balls.  As I said before, I've never taken a class before, but these are just things that I've picked up over the years.  "Oh, and to fight like hell," I would add.   

"This class, however, was different," I'd continue.  They didn't touch upon any of those standards maneuvers.  Instead, they taught us some fundamental jiu jitsu techniques that appear to be very effective and were surprisingly common sense once you thought about it.

You'd ask if it was hard and I'd reply, "Not really."  If anything, it was more awkward than anything.  "Awkward?" you'd ask.  Yes, you see, my friend and I had pretend to attack each other.  At one point, we had to take turns straddling each other and pinning the other to the ground in order to practice getting away. "I'm just glad that I knew her, for doing something like that with a complete stranger would've been terribly awkward."

The highlight of the day, in my opinion, was when my friend, whom I easily outweigh by fifty pounds, sent me flying over her shoulder after I had her in a choke hold from behind.  Before I knew it, I was flying through the air and then landed on the mat with a loud thud. My friend was standing over me with the most astonished look on her face.  She didn't think she'd be able to throw me.  That look, full of surprise and pride, was priceless.

"Yeah," I'd say as I slowly leaned forward and arched my back in an attempt to stretch, "I'm still feeling that landing today, but it was so totally worth it."

After gently leaning back into my recliner, I'd say, "Although it was very educational and I got a bit of a weird workout, it's still a shame that classes like that have to be offered in the first place.  Wouldn't it be great if we lived in a world where women's self-defense classes weren't necessary at all?"



Thank you for stopping by and reading my latest installment of IWWHC. 

Have a wonderful Monday!  



Linking up with Diana @ Part Time Monster 


Friday, January 13, 2017

10 Things That Made Me Happy This Week (Vol. 25)



I.  Walks in the park, even in 23 degree weather.  There's something about being out in nature that helps me keep the mental clutter at bay.


II.  I completed a Nielsen survey back in December and sure to their word, they sent me $5 for completing it and returning it in a timely fashion.


III.  Walks with my walking buddy after work.  I do enjoy the talks we have while pounding the pavement and I'm so thankful for her support and friendship.

IV.  Having a 3-day weekend ahead of me.


V.  This: 


VI.  The weight loss progress I've made as evidenced by my belt.  In August of last year, I had to use the very last hole.  I'm currently in the first hole.  I've lost 4 inches from my waistline.



VII.  This: 



VIII.  Having lost 4 inches from my waistline, I can now wear my favorite belt, a belt that I haven't been able to wear in probably 7-8 years!  



IX.  After a very frigid start to the new year, having several days this week with temperatures in the 50s and 60s, despite the rain, was very nice.  Yesterday, I went sans jacket!


X.  Conversations with friends, young and old, male and female, face to face, on the phone, or via text.




Hoping this finds you having a great Friday.  May your weekend be even better.  As always, thanks for stopping by!
  

Thursday, January 12, 2017

30 Pounds


Over the weekend, I surpassed a very significant milestone - I finally lost 30 pounds!  Yes, I had hoped to meet that goal before the winter solstice, for it was one of my autumn goals, but I came up a few pounds short.  Last week, though, I finally crushed it.

30 pounds

After the realization sank in that I did it, I started thinking about weight and specifically about what 30 pounds looks like.  I mean, I've seen the numbers change on the scale over the past 23 weeks and I've seen the changes in my clothes, but I couldn't get a mental picture of what 30 pounds looks like.  So, I did what I normally do when I want to know something and googled it.

Well, as it turns out, one of the easiest visual representations of weight is butter because it's typically sold by the pound.  I've lost the equivalent of 30 1-pound boxes of butter (or 120 sticks of butter, if you'd rather think of it that way).

That's a lot of butter to wrap your mind around, isn't it?

Another easy, but less overwhelming, visual representation is sugar.  Sugar is sometimes sold in 10 pound bags, so I could say that I've lost the equivalent of 3 of these:


Given that I've never held 30 pounds of butter and to my recollection, I've never even held a full 10 pound bag of sugar, I was still having a hard time grasping not only what 30 pounds looks like, but also what it feels like.  For a day or two, I stepped on my scales while holding various items from around my house: two gallons of milk, a bucket of water, a full laundry basket, and my back pack stuffed with miscellaneous items - none of which weighed 30 pounds.  

On Tuesday evening, after letting my dog, Rascal, in to her kennel for the night, my eyes fell on her stout body and I was struck with curiosity.  I asked R, "How much do you think Rascal weights?" to which he answered, "How would I know?"  Undeterred, I raced inside to get my scales.

In the end, the easiest visual representation was running around in my back yard the entire time.  As it turns out, my beagle, at the time of this writing, weighs roughly 29 pounds.  

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have lost a little more than 1 Rascal.  LOL!


And, here's my 30 pound difference picture, just in case you're curious and would like to see:


Thank you for stopping by and allowing me to share my good news with you!  Have a wonderful Thursday!


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