Archive for the ‘women’s rights’ Category

Love you Octavia Spencer!
January 16, 2012

Octavia Spencer, Auburn woman, all the way!

Let me just say up front I adored the movie The Help….and I adored equally Octavia Spencer in her role as Minnie. So last night when Octavia won Best Supporting Actress, I fully expected to like this funny and thoughtful Auburn woman’s(that’s right, she’s an Auburn grad who grew up in ‘bama!) acceptance speech, and I did. She referred to Martin Luther King Jr., whose life we celebrate today, saying, “”With regard to domestics in this country, now and then, I think Dr. King said it best: ‘All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance.’

And in truth, most of us who work are “the help” to someone, or some small business or some large corporation…but when you do your job with your whole heart and your best effort, whether you’re cleaning someone’s home(a job that truly uplifts humanity) or a sanitation engineer(ditto) or work in a department store or in an office or on tv…doing the best you can do uplifts all of us, and in the end, I think it lifts you up too. And that, I think, is partly what Dr. King was saying. Happy MLK day everyone…now get out there and uplift someone…or yourself!


There’s No Crying in Television!!
April 1, 2011

Mary Tyler Moore, crying at work....what did Lou think?

I was fascinated by a segment on the Today Show this morning, with the author of a new book called “It’s Always Personal….Emotion in the Workplace”. Is it ever acceptable to cry at work? I don’t know if it is ever acceptable, but most people who do get emotional at work certainly don;’t mean to…it just happens, and you are helpless to fight it.

The only time I remember bursting into tears at work, in front of my then boss, was when I was hosting a new(3 month old) afternoon chat show on Channel 13, in addtion to my duties at Evening Magazine. I was rather run ragged, and we were all working very hard to pull it off. So it came as a shock when I was pulled into the boss’ office and abruptly told they were canceling the show. Really, I just started bawling….horrible…and looking back on it, I think it was because I was taken by surprise, and I was also mad, because I had killed myself trying to do everything for everybody. But all that came out as tears.(I can only imagine what the man thought)… is always personal....

But I’ve seen people cry at work, plenty….though keep in mind tv newsroom places can be tense, and emotional places where feelings can  run high.  Sometimes it’s a personal issue, sometimes work related….I’ve even seen men cry at work(though rare, it is shocking when it happens). The author(you can see her interview here) says women under 40 are ten times more likely to cry at work than men over 40…that seems predictable. She says we do get better at managing our emotions as we get older. And she says women often cry, when really…they are mad as hell. Many women tend to avoid their anger and aren’t good expressing it( that includes me)…so that emotion pops out in a way that you have no control over…tears. And when someone says, this isn’t personal it’s business….I agree with the author…hell yes it’s personal.

But here’s a story I also remember vividly…something funny had happened during the break in a newscast…and I was overwhelmed with laughter, but we were coming back from break, and I had a REALLY SERIOUS, SAD story introduction to do. There’s no laughing during sad stories. Bad. Awful. People interpret it, that you think this is funny. So I just swallowed it and read the into, but my voice was shaking with emotion…..and later on, someone asked me, “Were you about to cry?”….to which I replied, relieved that was how it was interpreted, “No, it was much worse…I was about to laugh!”

It’s Friday everyone, and I am taking some  r&r this next week, but will still be blogging….I know you’ll miss me terribly on the air(right? you will miss me, right? I might cry otherwise)….but will be back the following week. So have a fabulatious weekend, don’t throw rocks, don’t cry for Pete’s sake, but laughing is allowed….and come home safe, ’cause we miss you!

You have to give to receive….what Donna gave and what she got….
January 5, 2011

Santa has mean eyes, doesn't he?

I was thinking I had rounded up just about everything from the holidays, and put them away in their trusty crate…ornaments, Santas, angels, nutcrackers…..until I discovered one escapee hanging in the downstairs powder room(oh, the things Santa has been exposed to there…shocking…maybe that’s why he looks so incensed). That particular Santa I bought on a shoot for Great County Inns in Michigan, in Traverse Bay and Santa has real fur on his hat and for his beard.  I will let him stay a little longer, but the rest is gonzo.

I was pretty happy with the family gifts I sent this year….Cheryl’s cookies to one sister, Fat Mama’s Tamales to another…they may think I’m trying to make them fat..not so, of course :)… that is Sparkle power...

Let’s see… there were gold sequin Uggs featured on Oprah’s Ultimate Giveaway(I ordered them as soon as I saw them on tv) for my daughter who has always loved anything sparkly…still does.

Simple, elegant...looks good anywhere....

And for my son who has an iPad that is much beloved….a really great looking Block 22 Ipad stand by Sherwood and Meister-here…They are a small father-son design firm whose products are handmade. About them: “Our studio is located in the far northern reaches of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan surrounded by Lake Superior,  massive trees, open fields, a pack of sled dogs and a few pigs. We shovel snow for the 8 months of winter, and enjoy 14 hours a sunlight in the summer.” Come on…that is just plain fascinating! Love to meet these guys…

Ipad dock with stereo sound....

Along in the iPad theme, my son received this from Brookstone…it’s a stand and dock for the iPad with a speaker that is totally portable. He seemed to love them both.

Chan Luu wrap bracelet....

And for the lovely Jennifer a Chan Luu bracelet that I thought she would love….with tiny skulls on it. Oddly enough, my son gave her one that very similar….sooooo, she wears them both together!

Ok, enough about giving, what about what I got for Christmas??? Several things that I love, starting with Beats by Dr. Dre

Show me your Poker Face!!

Mine are part of the artist series …Heartbeats by Lady Gaga….….and I adored the little card the lovely Jennifer had included with them.  Gift cards with thought….a very nice touch.

So soft, so....silky!

And my sweet daughter gave me wonderful some ivory silk jammies….so soft…I adore them, especially at bedtime. Wish I had them on right now. And it’s good I got what I wanted…’s what happens when I don’t.

My older sister obviously torturing me....

Ok, that was a few years ago. I’m a much better sport now….really.

Aack!!!….Cathy says goodbye
October 4, 2010

My Mother hated too much advice too....

A sense of nostalgia washed over me this morning, when on NBC’s Today Show, Cathy Guisewite announced that she had done her last Cathy comic strip. It’s done, over, finished…she wants more time to spend with her real parents in Florida and her 18-year-old daughter. You might think I’m a big Cathy reader, but I’m not. My late Mother, however, who read the newspaper cover to cover every single day…was a huge fan. I can’t tell you all the strips she dutifully cut out and mailed to me over the years, knowing that I would miss it otherwise, and thought it contained some witty wisdom that I could use. She would be so sad Cathy is going away.

The cartoon above she never sent, though she could have….like many aging parents, we adult children sometimes get in the habit of treating them like a to-do check list. “Have you made that doctor’s appointment, Mom?”, “Are you getting enough water? You should drink more water!”, “Are you taking your vitamins?”, ” You know you should be doing some exercises, Mother.”….and so on.

My Mom too, could not believe what I paid for things...

So I really, really tried not to have too many of those conversations, and speak of other things other than what she should be doing…politics(she loved politics), the weather(obsessed with bad weather-woe to you if you were flying in anything other than a sunny day), food(she loved good food to the end), and stories from the past(her true forte).

Bye-bye were a hoot...

So after 34 years of doing comic strips about dating, dieting, money, parents, love and life in general….Cathy…both of them, say goodbye. Thanks for all the chuckles you gave my Mother, Cathy….she was a big fan. And enjoy your real life family…there is life after Cathy.

Aren’t we all missing a bit of our wings?
August 26, 2010

Butterfly that had a narrow escape...from something!

I was out watering the garden this morning, when I spotted this butterfly(an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail…I looked it up!)  on one of my butterfly bushes( they’re not called that for nothing)….and I couldn’t believe my eyes. This beautiful little critter was missing almost half of one of his gorgeous wings, yet was flying around and feeding on the blossoms as if nothing had happened. Obviously, something had…this gorgeous creature had a narrow escape from something…I hope it wasn’t at the paws of my cat Muffy, who I try to keep inside but is very cagey at slipping out around your legs..

This butterfly is also missing a bit of her wings...

 It made me think of many of us(all of us?) who walk around…missing part of our wings in one way or another…lost someone dear to us, going through a divorce(even getting millions of dollars as Elin Nordegren would tell you, doesn’t heal a hole in the heart-though it doesn’t hurt), have a child who’s really sick or really unhappy(as my friend says, you’re only as happy as your least happy child), lost a job, losing your home,  worried about aging parents….the list goes on and on. 

 I doubt you’ll pass anyone today who is totally happy and completely secure…that’s the aura most of us like to transmit…and many of us do it quite well. Yet we all(yes, me too) have that little thorn in our heart about something…a little bit of our wing is missing. Yet my little wounded butterfly does the best it can with what it has….the wing will never magically grow back obviously…but life goes on. The sun is still warm on the butterfly’s wings, and the nectar of the flower still tastes sweet, so life is still good, right? Just a thought for all of us….

Happy Birthday to Me…..
June 10, 2010

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me....

Yes, it’s true…I’m a whole year older now. Darn it. No matter what I do, they just keep rolling on. What you may ask,  did I do for my birthday? Started the day off with doctor’s appointments…I’ve found that if I think ahead and get the appointments all clumped together, you can get a lot accomplished in a relatively short period of time, maybe half a day. And your birthday is a reminder to do those checkups and stuff that otherwise might slip right by you(as I have also done). So in a way….kind of…a gift  to yourself and your family.

My other gift to me was a couple of hours at the spa. I had a lovely gift certificate somone had given me for About Faces….my sweet daughter and I met up and did the mani-pedi thing….a little bit of bliss right there, and my nails look great, though I somehow smudged one of my toes…that needs to be fixed.

Salt's pretty the lights...

We met up for dinner at Salt Tavern on Pratt Street in East Baltimore….wow, the food there is great. Duck Fat French Fries? Crazy good…served in a cute little paper cone with a trio of various flavors of aioli(garlic mayo). Three of us shared an order….though I was kinda sorry I didn’t get my own, just a little.

Braised pork shank....ridiculously delicious...

Cuban braised pork shank with  sweet plantains, andouille sausage, roasted poblano peppers, soffrito sauce…and it was as good as it sounds. And it was good to see that even on a Wednesday night, the place was pretty full….lots of people enjoying some delicious grub and a drink at the bar. The Baltimore restaurant scene looks alive and well…

Gin Blossom by Love and the name

And I received some new cologne that I had asked for…called Gin Blossom by a company called Love and Toast, so now I smell kind of like a gin and tonic. Not really….but it does have  a limey fresh smell…I really like it.  You can get it online but South Moon Under also carries the brand. 

It was a lovely day really….birthdays don’t always turn out that way, as you know. Sometimes they can be a bit depressing, if you think about life going by so quickly, and all the things you haven’t accomplished this last year that you meant to or if someone you love forgot your birthday. Hey it happens. But it’s also a chance to start fresh, take a do-better pill as my Mother was fond of saying.  I miss her calling me on my birthday as she always did early in the morning, and she would always tell me the story of  our first meeting. That was back in the days of women being put to sleep for the birth of a baby….so after Mom was awake, she heard the nurse coming down the hall with a baby that was really letting off steam…yelling their lungs out. She smiled to herself thinking, that little fellow is really unhappy….I wonder who gets him? And the nurse turned into her room….with her daughter, still raising a ruckus.  She laughed, “The joke was on me…but you were the sweetest baby…just a mad one“.

The Mammogram debate…..should she or shouldn’t she?
November 17, 2009

I like many of you, was pretty surprised yesterday when a government panel of doctors and scientists decided that marching into our doctors office to have a mammogram when we turned 40…..really wasn’t necessary after all. We were just wasting our time….oh, except for the thousands of women who had breast cancer, and had it found and treated.

See where I’m going here? You will never, ever convince a woman whose  mammogram found her cancer, whether she was 45 or 35, say…”Well, I think that mammogram could have waited another 10 years.” No way.

So I just don’t get the thinking here by this esteemed panel of doctors who speaking in terms that sounds a little to me like a conversation(argument)I had years ago with a well-respected gynecologist in town, about Thin Prep pap test. At that time it was new, and you had to pay extra to have it done, but it was and is, a far more sensitive test at catching cervical cancer. This doctor said, “I just don’t think it’s cost-effective. It will catch more cancers, but not a high enough percentage more to make it worth the extra money being spent.” I understood what he was saying, but replied, “Yeah, but if it’s my cervical cancer that isn’t caught…for me, it’s 100%.” And he agreed that was true. Today Thin Prep is standard for all pap tests.

As I heard someone say today, “It’s easy to throw around numbers when you’re not one of them.  Isn’t that the bitter truth?

Execution Watch…..
November 10, 2009

Mildred's book of her life with Muhammad....

I hope some of you got a chance to watch the story I did on Mildred Muhammad that aired last night on WBAL-TV…..tonight her ex-husband John Allen Muhammad is set to be executed for one of the ten sniper killings. Mildred has enormous dignity and poise….she is quiet-spoken, lovely, and a passionate advocate for victims of domestic violence. And she certainly was one even though she says her ex-husband never struck her. But there are soooo many other ways of hurting someone, as many of you already know ….firsthand.

She got a permanent restraining order against John Muhammad in 2000….and went into hiding here in Maryland…she was convinced that if he could find her he would certainly kill her, as he had promised her he would do. “You are my enemy, and as my enemy, I will kill you.” Chilling words.

But what struck me most about the interview, is what her children have gone through. Kidnapped for 18 months by their Dad, who was by most accounts a devoted father(though devotion became a mania of sorts)….they have had to watch as their Father was named as an infamous mass murderer. One of the most touching things Mildred said, was, “I appreciate the parents who let their children be friends with my children.” Imagine the pain and heartbreak contained in that one little sentence.

And tonight those 3 kids will know that their Dad, whom they still love in spite of everything, will die from lethal injection. That does something to you. Mildred said she and her husband Reuben are trying to help them process it…though she’s not sure how.  Anyway, send a little prayer, a little balloon of good karma, up tonight for the three Muhammad children….their life has been tough enough, and tonight, it will get tougher still. If you didn’t see the story or want to see Mildred’s entire interview here’s  a link…..oh, and her book Scared Silent is a really good read. You won’t believe all the twists to Mildred’s life with John Allen Muhammad.

Power of the internet brings my cousin home…
September 25, 2009

Josephine Myrtle Corbin(Bicknell) and husband James Bicknell

Josephine Myrtle Corbin(Bicknell) and husband James Bicknell

You may recall when I wrote about a year ago, about being told by my little 89 year old Mother, that we had a woman who was related to us distantly…and she had four legs. I blogged about it then and in case you never read it, the post can be found in the September 2008 archives below. And I’ve been fascinated with Josephine Myrtle Corbin ever since…it boggles the mind to think of what her life was like…while she traveled in side-shows in the this country and in Europe I’ve read, she also married and had five children.

Handwriting on the back of the photo....

Handwriting on the back of the photo....

But the picture you see above came to me from a woman named Connie who lives in Washington State. She had found the photo in a box of her  Mother’s pictures… traveled from Iowa where she lived, to Wyoming, and then to Connie in Washington. She did some research to find out who this woman was…she believes someone purchased the picture at one of Myrtle’s shows…when she stumbled across my blog. She kindly wrote and asked if I would like to have it, as Myrtle was no relation to her.

I wrote back saying, “Yes, yes , yes…I would love to have the picture!” and asked who she thought obtained it. She replied, ” I really don’t know who purchased it.  It could have been one of my grandparents, or great grandparents, or even one of their relatives. They probably got it sometime around the turn of the century, most likely somewhere in the midwest, since most of our family is located in Iowa.  It was found in the box of our old family photos, and there were photos dating back as far as the late 1800s in the box.”

And now the photo makes another trip, this time to Baltimore, into the hands of an actual relative…I will make copies and send them to my sisters and Mother in Alabama, where I believe Myrtle was actually born…in Blount County. My Mom is quite thrilled to have a picture of her…when I told her I was making her a copy, she said, “Oh, you’ve just made my day!”

And from Connie, ” We are quite happy for you to have it.  Better that it go to family, then sit in an old box in the closet.  It’s going to be almost as well-travelled as she was by the time it gets to you!  It started out in Iowa, then went to Wyoming with my mother, then with me to Seattle, and now to you in Baltimore.  Quite amazing how things can work out these days!”

Have a great weekend everyone, be nice and come home safe….’cause we miss you.