Friday, December 22, 2006

Oh Dear God, sometimes Blogger is the most irritating tool!

But enough about blogger... onto KMart's pro-violence against women t-shirts.

A few good places to read about it...

K Stands for Kreepy at Walley Whateley's blog...

And a best yet --

Hardy Girls, who has joined forced with Boys to Men, is asking KMart to take responsibility and pull the t-shirts from the shelves. Visit their web site and learn how you can help.

A few folks out there think that the brood of women who are pissed about the shirts should get a sense of humor. And then there are those of who have to deal with 50% of homocide cases being victims of domestic violence and don't think we need to chuckle.

Get involved at Hardy Girls. This isn't just a Maine issue.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Okay, okay, I wax my eyebrows...

Because otherwise, they would take over my face -- and I'll be honest with you, when they are neat and trimmed I do feel more confident. I have to get them waxed every 3-4 weeks, and I pluck incessantly in between to keep that look.

Why do I think you care?

Because I think its part of the conversation about what it means to be a feminist.

I've long thought that it was my father who was the ultimate feminist in the family. This might be shocking, given it was my mother who took me to my first pro-choice rally when I was 9 (and to her credit, she did a brilliant job explaining the posters depicting clothing hangers).

But in addition to being a feminist, my father is also a naturalist -- the thicker the leg hair the better -- and I think I've long thought the two concepts synonymous.

I also believe that I'm not alone in that thinking. A feminist would be comfortable in her own skin. A feminist would never pluck. A feminist would never shave. A feminist would be comfortable with her grays. I never really thought there was more to the definition, and it never occurred to me to even attempt to tease more out of the conversation.

But that is exactly where I find myself today. Last week, I moved to Maine to join the Maine Women's Fund as its new Executive Director. I've long admired and funded the broader women's' funding movement -- as it fits with my own theory of change -- that individuals need to take responsibility for themselves and their communities thoughtfully and strategically. Women bring their own unique perspective, decision making process, and priorities to social change; and they are known for investing in themselves, their families, their communities, and their businesses when given the resources to do so. Supporters of the women's funding movement believe that investing in women's fund provide the widest possible leverage, or ripple effect, per dollar.

To provide strategic thinking, perspective, and leadership to this movement, and to do so in Maine, proved to be an unparalleled opportunity. I've also joined the Fund at an opportune time. We've got a sound track record behind us -- $1.4 million invested in over 250 grassroots organizations across Maine. We've got a broad base of citizen, corporate, and partner support helping us change the behaviors and policies that affect women and girls. Most excitingly, the projects we've supported have been designed by the women and girls themselves.

That is not say that we still don't have major challenges ahead of us:

Women in Maine are far from financially secure. The work place is increasingly unable to cover a share of the increasing costs of health care, leaving women increasingly vulnerable. Women still earn $.73 for each dollar earned by men. Over 70% of families living below the poverty line in Maine are headed by women. 50% of homicides in Maine are cases of domestic violence. Girls are trapped realizing the limitations of poverty rather than empowered to envision the impossible -- college, professional training, and beyond.

With these barriers surrounding the women and girls of Maine, they can not be active participants in the development of their communities, and that ripple effect of social change is never even activated.

So here I am -- excited and ready to start that activation. And I think that happens by realizing the feminist within to broaden the base of support required to change behaviors, and transmit the change we want to see and the nurture. But we can't do that if most people feel excluded by 'feminism' (which btw, i've often heard referred to as the 'f-word.')

So my dear community, help me in this process. Tell me what feminism means to you and whether or not you feel part of this tribe.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Help! I'm Locked out of Lux 1500!

For control-focused individuals (freaks is such a nasty word) change can indeed be traumatic. Especially a change as drastic as a new home, new job, and new state in 3 days. There are new patterns to set; new routines to formulate. When it is all new, everything takes more time. And when it doesn’t come easily… well, one can feel like a bit of a dolt.

Take for instance my lighting problem. Scott, George, and I managed to find and rent a house on Saturday -- a cozy little place in Yarmouth with a working fireplace and enough space to handle our many boxes of books. We moved in Sunday afternoon and managed to get to the grocery store before it got dark (which happens early up north). About that time, we realized (a) there is no overhead lightening in the house, and (b) we didn’t pack any lamps. We lighted up the fireplace and lit the many candles and settled in for a romantic evening. It wasn’t so romantic, come Monday, with just George and I. Yet, with new responsibilities and a new town, I’ve yet to find time to go buy lamps (or a shower curtain for that matter). However, I did manage to find some AA batteries and pull my headlamp out of my camping gear – enough light to suit me just fine until the weekend.

My story about the Lux 1500 started out about the same way. The Lux 1500 is one of these fancy dancy thermostat regulators that will automatically turn the heat up at 6 am when you’re waking up, turn it down around 8 am when you leave the house, turn it back up around 7 pm when you get back, so on and so forth. Very eco-friendly. Love it.

Only, on Monday night I managed to “lock” the Lux 1500; the result was that I was unable to increase/decrease the temperature in the house. Lucky for me, it was stuck at 50 degrees, rather than 30 or a 100. However, when it’s down in the single digits here in Maine, 50 degrees still stinks. I spent much of Tuesday emailing back and forth with my landlord – trying to determine what I had done, whether or not it was actually broken, and how to fix it. By that evening, I didn’t have a solution. George was bit pissy as time went by and the house didn’t heat up, nipping at me as if to say: “I bet there is heat in DC” and “what have you done to us!” Megan brought dinner over the house and we realized things were getting bad when we could see our breath as we huddled over our pasta.

When Scott called later that night, he had the good sense to know that if he told me stand in front of the thermostat and do what I had already done, I might scream. However, he did offer to google the thermostat name and brand – which is how we discovered that enough people had locked themselves out of their Lux 1500 that “Help! I'm locked out of Lux 1500!” actually registers as the 2nd most relevant topic under the brand.

God bless Google.

So, while I’m making my way in this strange land, it is nice to know that my ineptitude isn’t always ineptitude. Sometimes only google can save you.