Monday, December 31, 2012

December Donation -

I chose to make my final donation to The website was founded in 1995 by a group of women who wanted to offer people around the world access to information about human rights, women's issues, health, anti-violence resources, grassroots activism, women's business, and more. It's a wonderful website that includes bountiful resources and information on the feminist movement.

This past year has flown by. 2012 has held many blessings for me and my family. I have enjoyed growing as a feminist over the past year. Researching women that I respect for my "Woman of the Week" posts has been a lot of fun. Having a weekly reminder about why I'm a feminist has been very good for me.

I think it's important for feminists to frequently remind themselves why they support the women's movement. 2012 was a difficult year for women. Our right to choose was questioned (nothing new). Women's access to birth control was attacked. It's obvious that we need to keep fighting for women's rights until we truly are equal.

Even though I'm ending my blog, I'm going to continue to live a feminist lifestyle and appreciate the women and men who support the feminist movement.

"A movement is only composed of people moving. To feel its warmth and motion around us is the end as well as the means."  - Gloria Steinem

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Woman of the Week - Lynne Cook

This year has flown by, and I can't believe this is my last woman of the week post! I chose my mother, Lynne Cook, as my final woman of the week. She is an amazing person who has worked as a teacher, nurse, and daycare provider. She has spent her whole life taking care of people, and she is the most loving person I have ever met. I know I'm biased because she's my mom, but everyone who has met her says she's the nicest person they know.

I'm getting to the point in my life where I'm starting to think about having kids. I'm aware of the sacrifices involved with having babies. The gender gap dramatically increases after women have children. An article on the Feminist Majority Foundation website shows that the wage gap between men and women increases to 22% percent after a woman has her first child. Mothers sacrifice so much for their children, and I am eternally grateful to my mom for raising me. She had three children, and she quit her job so she could stay home with us. When I was in college, she went back to school to get her Master's degree in teaching. She taught for several years, and she did a wonderful job working with those kids.

I want to dedicate this last woman of the week post to all mothers. It's the most difficult job in the world because it's 24/7, but I've heard that it's worth it. The thought of having my own children scares me, but then I think about women like my mother who loved raising their kids, despite all of the sacrifices they made. I'm just so grateful that I have such a wonderful mom. She is my best friend, and I am truly blessed to have her as my mother.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Woman of the Week - Erin Burnett

I chose Erin Burnett as my second-to-last woman of the week for 2012. CNN is my favorite news station, and I always see clips of Burnett, who hosts a show called Erin Burnett OutFront. She started her career as a financial analyst for Goldman Sachs. While working in investment banking, Burnett was offered a position as a writer for CNN's Moneyline. In 2005, she started hosting CNBC's Street Signs as well as co-anchoring Sqwuak on the Street. After over five years of working for CNBC, she returned to CNN to host her own show.

To find out more about Erin Burnett, I did a little Googling, and I came across a disturbing article on I'm not too familiar with this website, but it rates famous women on what makes them desirable to men (because the most important thing a woman can be is desirable to men, right?). Gag. They rated her most desirable feature as her face (64% of men polled agreed). Her intelligence was second to her face at 18%. At least men rated her intelligence as more important than her body, which 8% of men rated as her most desirable feature.

Obviously, I'm not the target audience for this AskMen website, but I have to go ahead and disagree with them about Erin Burnett. Yes, she has a lovely face, but she has a gracefulness that makes her easy to watch. CNN calls her style "casual, smart, and confident." I think her confidence really does make her stand out. Many reporters have a cockiness that is so unappealing, which is why I love watching Erin. She has a quiet confidence that makes her extremely likeable. I think that's rare in the news business.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Woman of the Week - Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn took the gold medal in downhill skiing in the 2010 winter Olympics. She is the second most successful female skier in history. Vonn recently put in a bid to ski against the men in a recent race. Unfortunately, her bid was blocked by the International Ski Federation (FIS). Vonn was obviously disappointed with the decision, saying,

"I don't want to make a big stink out of it but I feel like their response that I can't race with the men simply because I'm a woman was definitely gender-biased so I'm going to do what I can and hopefully make something work."

I'm so impressed that she wants to take on the men. I hope the FIS reconsiders because it would be great publicity for the sport. Women have been able to compete against men in other sports. Danica Patrick competes against men in NASCAR races. Swedish golfer Anneka Sorenstam went up against the men in the PGA Tour in 2003. Hopefully, the FIS will allow Vonn to compete against men in an upcoming race because it would be great to see her try to improve her skiing by challenging herself to go up against the menfolk.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Woman of the Week - Carson McCullers

I just started re-reading The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, and I'm remembering what a wonderful book it is. Carson McCullers wrote it when she was only 23 years old. I recommend that everyone read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter at least once. It's a novel about misfits who struggle with loneliness and finding their place in society.

McCullers had a difficult life filled with illness and emotional turmoil. At the age of 31, she suffered two strokes which left her completely paralyzed on her left side. Around the same time, she married James Reeves McCullers, but she divorced him in 1941, and then remarried him in 1945. Three years later, Carson attempted suicide during a bout of depression. In 1953, her husband tried to convince her that they should commit suicide together. Carson refused, but her husband took his own life by overdosing on sleeping pills. At the age of 50, Carson suffered a stroke that left her in a coma for 47 days. She never woke up, dying on September 27, 1967.

It seems that many writers have troubled lives, but sometimes it can add to the depth of their work. After Carson McCullers' husband committed suicide, she wrote a play called The Square Root of Wonderful, which was inspired by these traumatic events. In addition to my personal favorite, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers wrote three other novels: Reflections in a Golden Eye, The Member of the Wedding, and Clock Without Hands. I'm definitely adding McCullers' other three books to my ever-growing reading list.

Friday, November 30, 2012

November Donation - A Is For

I exercised my right to CHOOSE to make my November donation to A Is For, an organization that advocates reproductive rights. People who support A Is For proudly wear scarlet "A" ribbons. On the A Is For website, they explain why it is important to wear the "A" ribbons:

"Every woman, and every man who has ever loved one, must wear the A at some point in their lives: Whether you’re a mother who’s decided she doesn’t want more kids, or a student waiting to start a family until the right time, or a teenager who needs access to Plan B, or a boyfriend who isn’t ready to be a dad, or a husband who supports his wife’s desire to remain childless, or a father who wants his daughter to be able to realize her own dreams before becoming a mom, we all wear the A. And we are standing up for our right to be heard without being shamed. We are taking back our A’s. The A is for Autonomy. It’s for Allegiance. It’s for Action. What does your “A” mean to you?"

My "A" word is appreciative because I truly appreciate all of the wonderful women and men who have worked so hard to fight for women's rights. I also appreciate being married to a man who knows that I am his equal and who respects my opinions. I have a lot to be grateful for, and I am glad that I have a little extra to give back. I'm tightening my purse strings a bit because the holidays are coming up, but I was able to spare $100 for A Is For. If you have time, you should check out their website

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Woman of the Week - Martha Plimpton

I love, Love, LOVE Martha Plimpton. She is a fantastic actress and a beautiful person. I saw her the other week on Chelsea Lately, and I watched the interview with Plimpton, transfixed, taking in everything she said. Some of Chelsea Handler's celebrity guests are one-dimensional, and I tend to tune out during a lot of her interviews. But Plimpton grabbed my attention right away. She walked onto the set, proudly wearing a scarlet "A," which she explained is a symbol of support for "A is For," an organization that supports women's reproductive rights. I just love women who are not afraid to voice their opinions on controversial subjects like abortion. This year has been a tough one for women and their reproductive rights. I'm so grateful that there are wonderful women like Martha Plimpton who proudly support a woman's right to choose.

I have always admired Plimpton. Her character in the movie Parenthood really touched me. She played a troubled teen that had a rocky relationship with her family (like most teenage girls). I also liked her character in Beautiful Girls because she dumped her loser boyfriend who treated her like crap. It's better to be alone than with a jerk! Plimpton tends to take on roles of "real women" who have flaws and issues, but her characters usually seem to be resilient.

This year, my husband and I started watching Raising Hope, and it is one of the funniest shows on television. Plimpton's character is hilarious. The whole cast is great, but Plimpton really stands out. Her facial expressions say so much, and it's fun to see her act with her whole self. I'm looking forward to seeing what Martha Plimpton has in store for the future. I will watch any movie/show/play that she is in!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Woman of the Week - Tara Maller

I just read an interesting article on by Tara Maller entitled, 10 Reasons a Woman Should Head the CIA. Maller is a former CIA analyst, and I enjoyed her article because she made some great points about why it's important to have women in positions of power. My favorite reason is number 10: "Once a woman is appointed to a top position, it opens the door to others with immense talent. Since President Clinton appointed Madeleine Albright to serve as the first female U.S. secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton followed."

I know we're behind the times, but my husband and I just started watching the first season of Homeland, and we love it. Carrie Mathison, played by Claire Danes, is a CIA agent who suffers from bipolar disorder. I love watching shows that have female lead characters that aren't defined by the men around them. There are too many shows that just use women as props, so I really appreciate television shows that have complex, three-dimensional female characters. My personal favorites: 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, and New Girl.

Anyway, I'm getting off topic. I highly recommend Tara Maller's article. It's a good reminder of why it's important for women to hold positions of power.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Woman of the Week - Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow is a television host, political commentator, and author. Every week night, she hosts The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. She was the first anchor on a prime-time news show in the United States to be openly gay. Maddow lives in Manhattan with her partner, artist Susan Mikula.

I saw Rachel Maddow on The Colbert Report last week, and I was very impressed with her wit. I'm definitely going to start watching her show. Earlier this year, Maddow released her book, "Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power."  In her book, she talks about how, "we've drifted away from America's original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war." I'm definitely putting her book on my reading list!

PS - I bought my new laptop last week. I chose the least expensive one. Savings!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Woman of the Week - Michelle Obama

I'm so excited that Michelle Obama will be First Lady for four more years!!!

Sorry this is so short. My computer died a slow, painful death last night. It was hard to watch. So I had to post this from work (shhhhhhhhhh!!).

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October Donation - National Breast Cancer Foundation

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I made my October donation to National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. (NBCF). They were founded in 1991 by a breast cancer survivor named Janelle Hail. NBCF continues to grow every year to help more and more women around the world by educating them about breast cancer and providing free mammograms to women in need.

Breast cancer is one of the leading health crises for women in the United States. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. There is currently no known cure for breast cancer, and its early diagnosis is critical to survival. That is why NBCF provides free mammograms to women in all fifty states through their network of hospitals.

NBCF is one of the most recognized and respected breast cancer charities in the world. Since 2003, NBCF has received the highest four-star rating by Charity Navigator, America's premier charity evaluator. Each year, over 80% of their revenue is directed to their life-saving programs, and because of that, NBCF has grown by 20% each year since 2005. I know my small donation of $100 will be used to help with their mission.

Woman of the Week - Oprah Winfrey

Everyone loves Oprah, and I'm no exception. She is a fabulous woman, and I have so much respect for her. Oprah Winfrey is the richest African-American of the 20th Century. She is the world's only black billionaire, and she has been called the most influential woman in the world.

Oprah had a difficult childhood. She was raised in poverty by her mother, grandmother, and father at different intervals throughout her childhood. She was molested by family members when she was young, and she came forward with that information  on an episode of her show in 1986. It must have been difficult to talk about being sexually abused, but she probably wanted to demonstrate to other women that you can move on and have a happy life even after being molested.

Not only does she have a successful network, she has appeared in several significant movies. Oprah co-starred in The Color Purple as an abused housewife. She also starred in Beloved, a movie adapted from Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize winning novel.  Oprah has also co-authored five books. She has accomplished so much in her 58 years. Oprah is a role model for so many women, and I love to watch her live such a graceful life in the spotlight.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Woman of the Week - Anne Lamott

I decided to feature Ann Coulter as woman of the week. Just kidding! Of course I didn't pick Ann Coulter. She's a terrible, terrible person. I chose another Anne who is exponentially better: Anne Lamott. She is an activist and a beautiful writer, and I love her motivation for writing. She said,

"I try to write the books I would love to come upon, that are honest, concerned with real lives, human hearts, spiritual transformation, families, secrets, wonder, craziness-and that can make me laugh. When I am reading a book like this, I feel rich and profoundly relieved to be in the presence of someone who will share the truth with me, and throw the lights on a little, and I try to write these kinds of books. Books, for me, are medicine."

Her writings cover Christianity, single motherhood, depression, and alcoholism. I first heard about Anne Lamott from my lovely cousin, Linda. We had just finished watching the third presidential debate when Linda told me about a post on Facebook by Anne Lamott. I am always happy to find out about strong women, and I am pleased to add her to my list of outstanding people. In her post, Lamott commented on Ann Coulter's awful tweet about President Obama. I won't repeat Coulter's words because they were awful, but I am pleased with Lamott's classy reaction. I am looking forward to reading Ann Lamott's books. Can't wait!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Woman of the Week - Candy Crowley

Last night, Candy Crowley moderated the presidential debate. She was the first woman in twenty years to do so. I think Crowley did a wonderful job. She was able to effectively get the candidates to stick to their allotted times without cutting them short.

Currently, Crowley is CNN's chief political correspondent, and she is the anchor of the talk show State of the Union with Candy Crowley. She attended Principia College in Elsah, Illinois for two years before transferring to Randolph-Macon Woman's College. I graduated from Principia College, a small, Liberal Arts school for Christian Scientists, and I was excited to hear that Crowley attended as well.

She has had an extremely successful career, which she started as a newsroom assistant at the radio station WASH-FM. She then anchored for Mutual Broadcasting before moving on to CNN in 1987. In February of 2010, she started anchoring the State of the Union talk show. Crowley has a demanding career, but she makes time to live a full personal life. She is a vegetarian, and she practices Transcendental Meditation. I love watching Crowley on CNN, and I hope she continues to thrive. I have a feeling she will.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Woman of the week - Malala Yousafzai

Yesterday, Malala Yousafzai, a fourteen-year-old advocate of female education, was shot in the head and neck by the Pakistani Taliban. As of this morning, the bullet was removed from her head, and she is in stable condition. If she does survive, the Taliban has threatened to try to kill her again.

Why is this young woman a target of the Taliban? Frankly, she's their worst nightmare. Yousafzai is a women's rights activist who believes strongly in women's education. She started blogging about life under the Taliban rule back in 2009, and she has been a well-known activist ever since. Yousafzai had to keep her identity a secret so the Taliban couldn't find her. Unfortunately, they stopped her school bus yesterday, and shot her and two of her classmates.

Hillary Clinton said that Yousafzai was, "very brave in standing up for the rights of girls [and the attackers were] threatened by that kind of empowerment." Yousafzai was the first person to win Pakistan's National Peace Prize. She was highly influenced by her father who is an educational activist. He named Malala after Malalai of Maiwan, a Pashtun poet and warrior woman. He raised an amazing daughter, and he should be very proud of her. My heart goes out to Yousafzai and her family. I pray that she makes a full recovery.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Woman of the Week - Amanda Hocking

I love Amanda Hocking's success story. She has been writing novels since she was a teenager, and she had a difficult time getting a deal with a traditional publisher. In April of 2010, she decided to self-publish her books on Amazon Kindle because she wanted to raise $300 to see a Jim Henson exhibit in Chicago. The exhibit was six months away, so she figured she could raise that much money in a few months. To her surprise, she earned $20,000 in those six months by selling 150,000 books. Over the past two years, she has made over $2 million and sold 1.5 million books. Since then, she has signed a book deal with St. Martin's Press.

Hocking is a great storyteller. I read her zombie series The Hollows, and it was extremely entertaining. I am starting to hear more success stories of self-published authors. I think it's wonderful that more authors are deciding to publish on their own terms. Amanda Hocking has paved the way for other authors who dream of publishing books without a traditional publisher. She has worked so hard for her success, and  I'm really looking forward to seeing what's next for Hocking.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

September Donation - Bitch Media

I decided to make my September donation to Bitch Media. They are known for their publication, Bitch Magazine. Their mission is to provide and encourage thoughtful feminist response to mainstream media and popular culture.

Bitch Media has received much criticism for the name of their organization. Oh no, the "B-word!" Rebecca West, one of Bitch Magazine's writers, explains, "People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat." Their website goes on to explain, "We'd argue that the word 'bitch' is usually deployed for the same purpose. When it's being used as an insult, 'bitch' is an epithet hurled at women who speak their minds, who have opinions and don't shy away from expressing them, and who don't sit by and smile uncomfortably if they're bothered or offended. If being an outspoken woman means being a bitch, we'll take that compliment."


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Woman of the Week - Lady Gaga

I have always enjoyed Lady Gaga's music. I went to one of her concerts a few years ago, and it was amazing. She puts on a good show! There has been a lot of controversy lately over Lady Gaga's weight gain. She has recently gained about 25 pounds, and she has admitted that she has struggled with bulimia in the past. To get back at the tabloids for attacking her weight, she posted near-naked pictures of herself on her website. She wrote captions on each picture, "Bulimia and anorexia since I was 15...But today I join the BODY REVOLUTION...To Inspire Bravery...and BREED some...COMPASSION."

Lady Gaga admitted that she has struggled with her weight since she was a child. She wrote on her blog, "No amount of help has ever healed my pain about it...when i eat and am healthy and not so worried about my looks, I'm happy. Happier than I've ever been. i am not going to go on a psycho-spree because of scrutiny. This is who I am. And I am proud at any size."

She has always been vocal about self-esteem issues. I think it's wonderful that more women are embracing their natural weight. I know it must be especially difficult for women who are in the spotlight. There is so much pressure from the media to look "perfect." I am delighted that women are now realizing that perfect = natural! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Woman of the Week - Adrienne Pine

Professor Adrienne Pine had to bring her feverish baby to class on her first day teaching "Sex, Gender and Culture" at American University on August 28th. Her child started to fuss during class, so, instead of interrupting her class by leaving, she decided to breastfeed her baby in class. None of her students made any comments about it in class, but Pine received an email the next day from a reporter from the student newspaper. The reporter wanted to get Pine’s “side of the story.” She was shocked that people thought feeding her child in class was newsworthy. Pine wrote back to the reporter asking her not to publish the story. Of course, the newspaper went ahead and reported the story anyway.

Pine has been breastfeeding her baby on buses and airplanes for over a year, and no one made any comments about it until she fed her baby in class. It's ironic that someone in her feminist anthropology class was disturbed by her breastfeeding. Pine's response to the AU newspaper article was published on the counterpunch website: Counterpunch article.

Because Pine had no other option than to bring her sick child to class, she had to decide between feeding her baby in front of her students or leaving her class. I think she made the right decision. There needs to be better backup childcare options provided by employers. According to a study conducted in 2005, only 6% of employers offered backup daycare. This year, that number dropped to 3%. That's unacceptable.  And, if women have to bring their babies to work, people shouldn't flip out when they have to feed their babies!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Woman of the Week - Lizzie Velásquez

Lizzie Velásquez is a motivational speaker and author. Her books and speeches focus on inner beauty. Velásquez is believed to have a rare disorder called Neonatal Progeroid Syndrome, which prevents her from storing fat. She has to eat every fifteen minutes, and she needs to consume between 5,000 and 8,000 calories every day. Velásquez weighs only 58 pounds.

I came across Lizzie Velásquez's story on the CNN website. She appeared on a talk show to discuss inner beauty. People tend to stare at her because her medical condition leaves her looking a little different than an average person. She is unable to gain weight, and she is just skin and bones. But she doesn't let that keep her down. She has published two books about inner beauty. Her first book, Lizzie Beautiful, The Lizzie Velásquez Story, was published in July of 2010. Her second book, Be Beautiful, Be You, was just published in March of 2012.

I am going to buy both of her books. There isn't enough media coverage of stories about inner beauty. I just watched a commercial that featured two Playboy models feeding each other hamburgers. What the hell? Why are people sexualizing hamburgers? That's just gross! The media needs more people like Lizzie Velásquez, and fewer burger-chomping-sex-objects.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Woman of the Week - Tara Fowler

As of August 28th, 2012, Tara Fowler was declared the oldest woman in the world. She just turned 116 years old on Sunday, August 26th. I chose her as the woman of the week because I just turned 30 on September 4th, and I was feeling a little old. I think being old is a good thing though. With age comes knowledge, experience, and true beauty. I do think people become more beautiful as they age. Too much emphasis is put on the beauty of young women. Most of the girls that are portrayed in the media are in their early twenties, teens, and even pre-teens. 

I think all women should feel beautiful at any age. We should appreciate every wrinkle, every drooping bit of skin, and every age spot. And no woman should have to withstand Botox injections, chemical peels, or face lifts. Those procedures are just self-inflicted torture. I'll take deep wrinkles over a frozen face any day.

Tara Fowler says that the secret to living to 116 is minding your own business and not eating junk food. I agree with one of those things. I just can't stay away from Jalapeno Cheetos!

Friday, August 31, 2012

August Donation - American Civil Liberties Union Foundation

I decided to make my August donation to the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation. The ACLU was formed in 1920, and they have been fighting for human rights for the past 92 years. I donated $150 to the ACLU so they can help women and other underrepresented groups attain justice. I hope that my small donation will make a difference. The following information from the ACLU website describes their purpose:

The American Civil Liberties Union is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. The ACLU also works to extend rights to segments of our population that have traditionally been denied their rights, including people of color; women; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people; prisoners; and people with disabilities.

The ACLU works to ensure that all women, especially the most marginalized, have equal access to employment free from gender discrimination, sexual harassment in the workplace, pregnancy and parenting discrimination, and unsafe and unfair work conditions.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Woman of the Week - Susan Sarandon

Susan Sarandon has been working in movies and television for over forty years. Her break-up with Tim Robbins was splashed all over the tabloids in 2009 after their 23-year relationship ended. Sarandon will turn 66 in October, and she has recently been spotted with her 33-year-old boyfriend. Normally, I don't pay attention to celebrity gossip, but this is one story that grabbed my attention. I love that Sarandon is dating a man half her age. I always hear about men who date women half their age, but it's not as common to hear about women dating younger men.

I won't go on about Sarandon's love life because she has accomplished so much during her remarkable career. She won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1995 for her role in Dead Man Walking. Sarandon was also nominated for four other Academy Awards for Best Actress, including her role in Thelma & Louise. I remember watching Thelma & Louise in my college dormitory with some friends. I shouted with delight when the two women blew up that truck driver's 18-wheeler.

Susan Sarandon is known for her activism and support of nonprofit organizations. She has made several donations to Emily's List, which is an organization that helps pro-choice Democratic female candidates. In 2003, Sarandon appeared in the "Love is Love is Love" commercial, which promoted the acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals. She also served on the advisory committee for the 2004 Racism Watch. I remember seeing her at the 2004 March for Women's Lives in DC. She was one of the guest speakers there, and I remember being surprised to see her. I had no idea at the time that she was so supportive of feminist organizations. Susan Sarandon is an amazing woman, and I love that she is making the most of her life. I am looking forward to seeing what she does next!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Woman of the Week - Condoleezza Rice

Condoleezza Rice was appointed as the first female National Security Secretary Adviser in 2001, and then she served as the 66th United States Secretary of State from 2005 to 2009. She is a role model for so many women, and she was most recently recognized in the news because she was one of two women to be admitted to the Augusta National Golf Club. This is supposed to be a huge honor because the Augusta National Golf Club has not allowed female members for 79 years.

Women's groups and activists have pressured the Augusta National Golf Club for years, trying to get them to admit women. The club endured a lot of scrutiny in April when they failed to admit IBM’s CEO, Ginny Rometty. Back in April, President Obama said that he believed women should be admitted to the club. It was just a matter of time before the Augusta National Golf Club gave in and allowed women to become members. It's about damn time!

Condoleezza has always been an accomplished person. At the age of three, she began to learn French, figure skating, ballet, and music. Rice is an accomplished pianist, and she played Mozart with the Denver Symphony when she was 15 years old. She earned her master’s degrees in political science from the University of Notre Dame, and then she received a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Denver. She was a professor at Stanford for several years until she got involved in politics. She is so hard working, and she deserves all her success. I hope she enjoys playing golf with all those men down in Augusta!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Woman of the Week - Ursula Le Guin

Ursula Le Guin is a science fiction and fantasy writer who uses sociology and psychology in all of her books.  Her writings focus mostly on gender and race. She writes novels, children’s books, and short stories. She is influenced by feminist writers as well as writers from the Eastern Traditions. She has won several science fiction awards, and she was one of three finalists up for a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1997 for her collection of short stories called Unlocking the Air and Other Stories.

I love that Le Guin is so creative, and she's not afraid to write exactly what she thinks. She doesn't worry about fitting into a certain genre. She has feminist themes in her writing, and I love the way she describes feminism. She once said, "My feminism is, I suppose, a persuasion that the differences between the genders are not a sound basis for society to use in prescribing or proscribing any activity or proclivity."

What a wonderful way to describe feminism! I am looking forward to reading more of Le Guin's work. There are feminist themes in The Left Hand of Darkness, which is next on my reading list. Ursula Le Guin has published 21 novels, and I can't wait to work my way through the list!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Woman of the Week - Aly Raisman

My heart went out to Aly Raisman when she did not receive a medal even though she tied for third place in the women's gymnastics all-around competition in this year's Olympics. She tied Russian gymnast Aliya Mustafina with a total score of 59.566, but the tiebreaker was determined by dropping both gymnast's lowest scores and averaging the remaining three scores. Aly lost the tiebreaker by less than sixth tenths of a point. Aly handled the let-down with maturity and grace. I was very proud of her for staying positive, but I know that it must have been difficult for her.

Ironically, a few days later, Aly tied another gymnast for third place on the balance beam finals. To determine who would win the tiebreaker, the judges said the winner would be determined by which gymnast had a higher degree of difficulty. Luckily, Aly's routine had a higher starting value, so she won the bronze medal. It was wonderful to see her win that medal after she did not get a medal in the all-around.

Aly’s attitude is what impressed me the most. She faltered under pressure in the all-around competition, but she didn't get upset about it. She corrected her routines, and she was able to bring home two medals in the individual apparatus competition. I just watched Aly perform her gold-medal performance on the floor exercise. She executed everything perfectly, and she won the gold medal by four tenths of a point (a huge margin for an individual score).

It is obvious why Aly Raisman was chosen as the caption of the 2012 Olympic team. I am glad she was part of the “Fab Five” gymnastics team. She is a remarkable young woman, and I hope to see her perform at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Woman of the Week - Jordyn Wieber

Can you imagine what it must feel like to work your entire life to achieve one goal, and then you realize, while the whole world is watching, that your dream is not going to come true? That is exactly what happened to Jordyn Wieber last Sunday. She is the reigning world champion in women's gymnastics, and she was counting on competing in the individual all-around competition in the 2012 Olympics. Wieber competed very well on Sunday, but two of her teammates received better scores. Because of a new rule that only allows two gymnasts from each country to compete in the individual all-around, Wieber will not be a part of the individual all-around. This rule has now been dubbed The Wieber Rule.

When she realized that she would not be part of the individual all-around, Wieber broke down and cried. Obviously, she was devastated, and she really did not want to be on camera at that moment. Of course, the cameras zoomed in on her face, and they wouldn't let her get away. As the gymnasts were leaving the arena, Wieber tried to make a discreet exit, but "the powers that be" wouldn't let her leave. They made her do a live interview with a reporter right after her dreams were crushed. I know that NBC has to get their interviews, but I think it is plain cruel to make the competitors give interviews when they are distraught.

I applaud Jordyn for her open display of emotions. I am sure she was trying to hold back the tears, but people shouldn't be ashamed of crying. She did an amazing job, and she worked hard to get to the Olympics. She was one of the favorites going into the competition, and it must have been a tough blow to not make it into the individual all-around. I think Jordyn Wieber handled her disappointment extremely well because her tears were honest. She was being genuine, and I admire her gumption. Even though she did not make it to the all-around, I will be rooting for Jordyn Wieber in the individual apparatus competition.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Donation - The Blossom Bus

I know that I've been making most of my donations to nonprofit organizations that involve reproductive rights because health care has been a controversial issue lately. This month, I decided to go in a different direction and donate to an organization called The Blossom Bus, which is a fabulous organization that provides girls in India with transportation to school. I donated $150, which will provide one girl with daily transportation to and from school for one year. Read on to find out more about this wonderful organization.



The Blossom Bus project will employ local vehicles in rural India to transport Muslim minority girls to secondary school, clearing the single greatest obstacle to their continuing education.


What is the issue, problem, or challenge?

Mewat, Haryana is largely populated by the Muslim Meo tribe whose misfortunes clash sharply with more affluent surrounding areas. With a female literacy rate of only 2%, Mewat ranks among the most regressive districts in terms of girls' education in all of India. The scarcity of secondary schools combined with conservative local attitudes toward female mobility has terrible consequences for an adolescent girl in Mewat: if there is no school in her village, she is forced to drop out.


How will this project solve this problem?

The Blossom Bus project will hire 12 local mini-buses to each transport 12 girls to school daily in a pilot program that will demonstrate reliability to protective parents as well as set an example of responsible governance for local authorities.


Potential Long Term Impact

By supporting female education, the program will mitigate gender imbalances by delaying marriage and childbirth, bolstering individual self-esteem and fostering a greater, more active role in society for women.


Project Message

"Why can parents send girls alone to fields for work but cannot send them alone to schools? All these girls sitting here have proved their competence - give them a chance to shine."
- Shina of Pachanka Village, Mewat native, college graduate, LEARN role model

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Woman of the Week - Sally Ride

Sally Ride, America's first female astronaut to travel into space, died on Monday at the age of 61. She was battling pancreatic cancer for 17 months. Only a few close family members and friends knew about her disease. Sally was a role model to many women. After her first trip into space in 1983, more than 42 other American women travelled into space. In addition to being an astronaut, Ride was a physicist, professor, and writer. She wrote five children's science books, and she dedicated much of her life to educating and inspiring young people.

Ride's obituary revealed that her life-partner was a woman. Sally Ride was very private about her personal life, and I applaud her for that. She received some criticism about not coming out because people thought that she could have been an inspiration to people who were feeling confused about their sexuality. Well, there are plenty of LGBT role models out there, and I have a lot of respect for Ride for keeping her personal life out of the spotlight.

Ride received several awards during her long career. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame as well as the California Hall of Fame. There are also two elementary schools in the United States named after her. Sally Ride was an amazing person, and she inspired so many people. It's a shame that she died at such a young age. My thoughts are with her friends and family.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Woman of the Week - Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir is one of my favorite writers of all time. She was a French feminist theorist, existentialist philosopher and political activist. De Beauvoir was born in 1908, and she died in 1986. Her most famous book is "The Second Sex." I have read most of it, but it's a huge book, and I’m still working on finishing it.

Her novels are amazing. I love "The Woman Destroyed." The main character is a woman in her mid-forties who discovers that her husband is having an affair. Her life unravels as it becomes clear that her only option is to stay with her philandering husband because she doesn't have any means of supporting herself. It's Simone de Beauvoir's cautionary tale about getting married and then losing your self-worth and independence.

Simone de Beauvoir never married. She and Jean Paul Sartre were partners, but they never got married. They had an open relationship, which they both claimed to be okay with, but their relationship was volatile. Sartre's most famous book, and his masterpiece, "Being and Nothingness," was heavily influenced by De Beauvoir. Her novel "She Came to Stay," which was written before "Being and Nothingness," outlined several existentialist ideas that were featured in Sartre's book. No one likes a copycat!

One of my favorite experiences in Paris was visiting Simone de Beauvoir's grave in Montparnasse cemetery. While we were trying to find the cemetery, my husband and I took a wrong turn, and we ended up in front of the apartment building where De Beauvoir lived for over 20 years. That was pretty exciting! Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre were buried in the same grave. I suppose that's a creepy way.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Woman of the Week - Katie Holmes

I was surprised when I heard that Katie Holmes filed for divorce from Tom Cruise. I am sure Katie will have support from her family, and I hope she will be able to recover quickly. She has kept the details of her divorce private. Good for her – TMZ can take a hike!

I have always liked Katie Holmes. When I was a teenager, Dawson's Creek was one of my favorite shows. Holmes has also starred in several movies. I loved "Pieces of April," a movie in which Holmes plays a misfit daughter of a woman with cancer. It's one of those depressing movies that can still make you laugh out loud.

Holmes is about to start filming a movie in New York called "Molly." Appropriately, it's about a single mother. Holmes co-wrote the movie, and she will co-produce it as well. It's good that she's starting to work on a new project as it should help keep her mind off the divorce. Katie Holmes is such a talented actress, and I know she will continue to have a successful career.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

I Don't Know How She Does It

Movie night! I decided to stay in tonight and watch "I Don't Know How She Does It." I actually read the book several years ago. It's a memoir of a working mother of two children. I remember that at the end of the book, Kate Reddy, the woman who "had it all," decided to quit her job to stay home with her kids. I was wondering if the movie ended the same way.

It turns out, at the end of the movie, Kate Reddy doesn’t quit her job. She does, however, have an epiphany. She says, “I have two lives, and I don’t enjoy either one of them…and trying to be a man is a waste of a woman.” She tells her boss that she can’t go on last-minute business trips anymore because she wants to spend more time with her kids. I’m glad the movie ended that way. Sometimes you have to compromise in certain places in order to balance everything.

I always promised myself that I would find a way to balance career and family. For a few years, I was adamant that I would never have children. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to handle a full time job and little kids. I also cherish my free time. I love to read and travel; and I know that having kids will change the nature of my leisure time for about eighteen years or so.

Now, I'm pretty sure that I do want kids in the next few years, but I know it's going to come with a lot of challenges in terms of balancing career and family. Everyone says it's worth it, but I guess you never really know until you dive in and try it. I know my husband will be a great father, but I'm a little scared that I won't be the best mother. My mom is amazing. She stayed home to raise three kids, and she was so attentive and caring. She came to all our little league games and dance performances. I hope that I will be able to be half as good as my mom was at raising kids. I'll just have to find a way to balance my career and being a semi-super-mom.

I just read an article in The Atlantic entitled, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All." It was written by Anne-Marie Slaughter, a working woman with two teenage sons. She talked about how women from my generation are starting to quit their jobs to take care of their kids. I completely understand why women are choosing to give up their careers when they have children, but I just don't think I'll be able to do that. I complain about my job a lot. A LOT. But I get so much satisfaction from my job because it's challenging and rewarding. I feel important when I'm at work. It also feels good to pay half the mortgage and bills. I can't imagine giving all that up. Just like everyone says, people always figure it out once they have children. I hope everyone is right!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Woman of the Week - Dara Torres

I have enjoyed watching the Olympic Trials over the past couple weeks. I was impressed that Dara Torres was competing to be in the 2012 Olympics as a swimmer at the age of 45. On July 2nd, she placed fourth in the 50-meter freestyle, and only the top two made it on the 2012 Summer Olympic Team. So Torres' 28-year Olympic career came to an end.

I think it's fantastic that she was still competing at age 45. Torres admitted that she wasn't expecting to end her swimming career on July 2nd, but she confirmed that she will now be retiring from competitive swimming. Over her long career, she has competed in five Olympic Games, and she has twelve Olympic medals. Torres also has a career as a television reporter. She majored in telecommunications in college, and she has worked on NBC, TNT, and ESPN. Torres is not sure what she'll do with her life now, and she is going to take some time off to decide.

I am sure Dara Torres will continue to be successful. She has written two books: "Age is Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams At Any Stage In Your Life" and "Gold Medal Fitness: A Revolutionary 5-Week Program." She has been an inspiration to many women. Torres was the first female athlete to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She also won the ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) award for best comeback in 2009. I am looking forward to seeing what is in store for her in the future. Whatever she chooses to do with the rest of her life, I am sure it will be grand!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

June Donation - National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association

My mother and I went to a luncheon sponsored by the National Partnership for Women & Families last week, and we sat next to two women who work for the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA). We chatted for a bit, and they told us about their non-profit organization. NFPRHA is a membership organization that provides access to voluntary, comprehensive, and culturally sensitive family planning and reproductive health care services. They were founded in 1971, and they have been helping women for over 40 years. NFPRHA focuses on helping low-income families and the uninsured. They represent the nation's family planning providers—nurses, nurse practitioners, administrators and other key health care professionals. For more than 40 years, NFPRHA members have provided high-quality preventive health care services in thousands of health centers to millions of women and men annually. I donated $150 to the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association for my June donation.

The luncheon for the National Partnership was amazing, by the way. We had a great time listening to all of the inspirational speakers. Hillary Clinton was a phenomenal speaker. She is just captivating. Our table was one of the farthest from Clinton (VIPs, we are not). It was still neat to be in the same room as Hillary Clinton! There were several other great speakers at the luncheon. Sandra Fluke was there, and she is featured on the cover of Ms. Magazine for their Spring/Summer issue. I went to pick up a copy at Barnes & Noble yesterday, but they were sold out. Kind of annoying, but it's nice to know that Ms. Magazine is selling well!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Woman of the Week - Aimee Copeland

Less than two months ago, Aimee Copeland fell from a homemade zip line and contracted a flesh-eating disease from a cut on her calf. The disease claimed her left leg, her right foot, and both of her hands. Copeland also had to have quite a bit of skin removed from her abdomen and hip. Aimee Copeland is only 24 years old. I chose her as woman of the week because I am so impressed that she is keeping a positive attitude even though she lost so much of her body. When her father asked her yesterday how she was feeling about her experience in the hospital, she said:

"I am blessed to have the opportunity to experience something that not many other people have the chance to experience. I am blessed to be able to have a challenge that not many others get to have. I am blessed to have the capacity to share my experience with others and have a chance to improve the quality of someone else’s life. I’m blessed to be different.”

What an amazing outlook! It would be so easy to be angry and frustrated, but she has chosen to keep a positive attitude. When Copeland has her wound dressings changed, she chooses to deal with the pain using meditation instead of medicine. Before her accident, she was working on getting her master's degree in psychology with a focus on holistic pain management. She was also studying nature therapy, so it was a real treat that she was able to spend an hour outdoors yesterday. It was the first time she left her hospital bed in 49 days.

I think it's so wonderful that Aimee is keeping a positive attitude in spite of her condition. She has improved a lot over the past week, and hopefully she will be able to leave the hospital soon. Copeland will have to learn to live with prosthetics, but I have a feeling that she will be able to handle it very well. I am looking forward to hearing about her progress. Something tells me that Aimee Copeland will do great things with her life.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Woman of the Week - Hillary Clinton

My mother and I are going to a luncheon tomorrow sponsored by the National Partnership for Women & Families. Hillary Clinton will be the keynote speaker at the luncheon. I am very excited about hearing her speak in person because she is one of my idols. Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State. She graduated from Yale Law School in 1973 and practiced law in her early career. In 1978, Clinton became the first female chair of the Legal Services Corporation. She was listed twice as one of the top 100 most influential lawyers in America. Hillary Clinton was also the first First Lady with a post-graduate degree.

I was thrilled when Hillary ran for the democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential campaign. I can't believe we still haven't had a female president or vice president. Maybe there will be a female president in the next decade. Let's hope! Anyway, I can't wait to see Hillary Clinton tomorrow. My mom and I are going to dress up in our pant suits even though it's supposed to be 95 degrees tomorrow. We have to represent with our pant suits!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Woman of the Week - Marie Curie

I decided to go back in time a little bit to choose my woman of the week. I chose Marie Curie because she is the only woman who has won a Nobel Prize in two fields: physics and chemistry. She was born in 1867 and died in 1934. Curie was definitely ahead of her time, and she has been called a feminist pioneer. She had to struggle to be taken seriously as a female scientist. In 1894, after earning a degree in mathematics, she was denied a place at the Krakow University because she was a woman. Many scientists did not believe that a woman was capable of accomplishing anything in the field of science. Obviously, those scientists were mistaken.

Marie Curie is famous for discovering the elements polonium and radium. She received her first Nobel Prize in 1903 in physics. Then she received her second Nobel Prize in 1911 in chemistry. Curie was also the first woman professor at the Sorbonne. She helped develop x-ray equipment that treated over one million wounded soldiers during World War I. She also tried to donate her gold Nobel Prize medals to the war effort. I was extremely touched that she tried to donate her medals. Officials refused to accept them, but I think it's wonderful that she was willing to give up her medals to help the war effort.

Throughout her life, Marie Curie was exposed to radiation because of her research. She died in 1934 from aplastic anemia caused by years of exposure to radiation. Curie literally lived and died for her work. She was an inspiration to many people. In 2009, she was voted the "most inspirational woman in science" by a poll in New Scientist. She has also appeared on stamps and coins, and she was on the last 500-franc note. I always love hearing about women who were ahead of their time in terms of the feminist movement. Marie Curie pursued her passion, and because of her brilliance, she was able to make important discoveries in the scientific community. She is a role model to so many people, and I’m grateful for brave women like Marie Curie!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Woman of the Week - Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron has two huge movies coming out this month, and I really want to see one of them: "Snow White and the Huntsman." "Prometheus," not so much. I have recently seen several interviews with Theron, and she is extremely articulate and poised. She also seems to have a great sense of humor.

Theron first grabbed my attention playing Aileen Wuornos in the movie "Monster." Wuornos was the first known female serial killer in America. I wrote a paper about Aileen Wuornos in college, and she had a very hard life. Wuornos was raised by her grandmother because her mother abandoned her when she was four years old. Her father, a child-molester, hanged himself in prison. Wuornos first started working as a prostitute when she was only 14 years old. Theron also had a hard time at home when she was young. Her father was shot and killed by her mother when Charlize was only 15 years old. He was an alcoholic, and he had physically attacked and threatened Charlize's mother while he was drunk. Her mother did not face any charges because the shooting was legally considered self-defense.

After seeing "Monster," I realized what a versatile actress Theron can be. I was so impressed with her portrayal of Wuornos, and I was glad that she wasn't afraid to appear unattractive in a movie. For her role in "Monster," Theron won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2004. She also won a SAG award and a Golden Globe for this same role. She was the first South African to win an Oscar for best actress.

Theron is involved with several women's organizations, and she has marched at pro-choice rallies. She also has an Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP), which helps keep African youth safe from HIV/AIDS. I am so impressed with Charlize Theron's career and charitable work. Even though she had a difficult childhood, she was able to become a successful and strong woman.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Miss Representation

There were terrible thunderstorms near my home this evening, so I ended up staying in and watching a documentary. "Miss Representation" is about the media's objectification of women. This documentary features several influential women including Gloria Steinem, Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Geena Davis and many more. There are several disheartening statistics posted through the documentary, including:

-78% of 17-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies

-The average woman spends between $12,000 and $15,000 a year on beauty products and salon services

-Women spend more on their appearance than on their education

-The average facelift costs $11,429 (enough to pay for five years of community college, two years at a state university, or one year at The University of California)

To say these statistics are depressing is an understatement. Self-objectification has become an epidemic in the United States. When women think of themselves as objects, it distracts them from being leaders and focusing on their strengths. The commentators in "Miss Representation" mentioned some facts about politics that were shocking, which I have listed below:

-Women make up 51% of the U.S. population yet comprise only 17% of Congress

-Only 34 women have ever served as governors compared to 2,319 men

-67 countries in the world have had female presidents or prime ministers, and the U.S. is not one of them

-The U.S. is 90th in the world in terms of women in national legislatures

Women have come a long way, but recently there has been a backlash. This can be partially attributed to the way women are portrayed in the media. Women are more sexualized in the media today than ever before. Reality television portrays women as decorative, useless and stupid. These television shows are a tremendous setback for the women's movement. Some very interesting points on this subject were shared in this documentary:

-Only 16% of protagonists in films are female

-From 1935 - 2005 there were only 13 female protagonists in animated movies, and all except one had the aspiration of finding romance

-Women in their teens, 20's and 30's are 39% of the population, yet they make up 71% of women on television

-Women who are 40 and older are 47% of the population, yet they make up only 26% of women on television

-Women hold only 3% of clout positions in telecommunications, entertainment, publishing and advertising

-Women comprise only 16% of all writers, directors, producers, cinematographers and editors

-The average number of news stories about women and girls is less than 20%

It's a wonder that women have any meaningful roles in television and movies. Geena Davis made an excellent point about how things are run in Hollywood. She said, "All of Hollywood is run on one assumption: that women will watch stories about men, but men won't watch stories about women. All the decisions are made on this concrete fact. That's a horrible assumption that half the population is not interested in the other half." That explains why the majority of protagonist roles are written for men. We need to change these perceptions and no longer accept that men are the only interesting characters in films.

Watching this documentary was certainly a wakeup call. It was startling to realize how skewed the media is right now. At the end of “Miss Representation,” the writer and director, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, made an excellent point that we need to live our own vision of what a woman can be. I agree! We need to reject the media's version of reality and accept that we are not defined by what we see on television. Each woman gets to define herself!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

May Donation - National Partnership for Women & Families

I made my May donation to the National Partnership for Women & Families. I had a little extra pocket change this month, so I was able to donate $245 to the National Partnership.  This nonprofit organization started taking action in 1971, and they have worked to make life better for women and families. They strive to make sure that workplaces are family friendly. I have some very close friends that have missed family milestones because they couldn't get away from work. Women shouldn't feel the need to skip family functions in order to get ahead in the workplace.

Women still only earn 75% of what men earn, so we have a long way to go. But the situation has definitely improved in the past few decades. In the 1960's, newspapers published job listings separately according to gender. Women only earned 60% of what men earned. Hopefully in a few more decades, women will be paid the same amount that men are paid. I'm grateful to the National Partnership for Women & Families for the work they have done to ensure that women are treated equally in the workplace.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Woman of the Week - Katherine Legge

Katherine Legge is an auto racing driver who recently joined the IndyCar Series. I saw her on CNN last week when she made an appearance on "Starting Point" with her all-female pit crew to talk about racing in the Indy 500. Legge is the only racecar driver with an all-female pit crew. She was born in the United Kingdom, and she has been racing there for years, but she recently signed a deal with Dragon Racing to drive in the United States. She just turned 31, and she realized that she would have to act fast if she wanted to follow her dreams. I think it's wonderful that she just decided to move to a new country to pursue her passion. Katherine Legge is definitely a power woman!

Legge has a two year agreement with Truecar as part of their Women Empowered campaign. While I was watching her on "Starting Point" last week, Legge made an excellent point that racecar driving is the only sport where men and women can compete equally. I know it'll be a long time before women can play in the NFL, but I still think it'll happen one day. For now, women have racecar driving!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Woman of the Week - Gina Rinehart

Gina Rinehart was just declared the wealthiest woman in the world. She recently surpassed Christy Walton (the Walmart heiress). Rinehart is an Australian mining tycoon whose personal fortune is $28.48 billion. She is Australia's richest person. Apparently, Rinehart is on track to take over the title of richest person in the world. Currently, the wealthiest person is Carlos Slim, who is worth $69 billion. I think it's fantastic that the richest person in the world could soon be a woman.

I know that money doesn't buy happiness, but money can buy comfort and stability. We all don't have to be millionaires to be happy, but being able to buy food, shelter and clothing is necessary to one's happiness/comfort. Anything extra is just about status. As long as a woman is able to support herself (and her children, if necessary), then she is good to go. I do think it is so important for a woman to have her own money. You can date/marry a rich man, which is fine, but you have to have your own money! Having your own money is a significant component of freedom. If a woman has her own money, then she can call the shots and make her own decisions.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Woman of the Week - Julia Louis-Dreyfus

I chose Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the Woman of the Week because my husband was watching a rerun of Seinfeld when I got home from work today. When I saw Elaine Benes doing that funny dance, I was reminded of how hilarious Julia Louis-Dreyfus is. She is one of the funniest women on television. I loved her work on Seinfeld from 1990-1998 (we're always watching the reruns). She has a new show on HBO called "VEEP" where she plays the role of the U.S. Vice President.

Louis-Dreyfus said that she holds much respect for "women who are not afraid of making themselves look bad or foolish to get a laugh." Her idols include Lucille Ball, Mary Tyler Moore, Teri Garr and Cloris Leachman. I love funny women. I've always had a soft spot for female comedians. I have a very dry sense of humor, but I was very shy in school, and I rarely opened my mouth to share my quips. Now, I have come out of my shell, and I'm not afraid to look foolish in order to get a laugh.

Anyway, back to Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She has had an incredible career as an actress, but she is also very political. She supported Al Gore's 2000 U.S. presidential bid, and also endorsed Barack Obama's bid for the presidency in 2008. She appeared in a video that asked President Obama to reject the proposal of a Keystone XL pipeline, arguing that the pipeline could leak and it would cause horrifying pollution across America. She has also voiced her concern for several environmental issues. It's so nice when people take time out of their busy schedules to support something they're passionate about. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a fantastic role model, and I'm looking forward to watching her star in "VEEP."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Woman of the Week - Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, a French-Italian singer and former model, became first lady of France in 2008 after marrying Nicolas Sarkozy. Unfortunately, Sarkozy was not re-elected last week (the new president of France is Francois Hollande). Now that Bruni-Sarkozy is no longer first lady of France, she will be dedicating more time to her music career.

I was hooked after hearing Carla Bruni-Sarkozy's most famous song "Quelqu'Un M'a Dit," which translates to "Somebody Told Me." If you haven't heard her music, I strongly suggest you listen to "Quelqu’Un M'a Dit." It has been in several movies including "500 Days of Summer" and "Le Divorce." I'm a bit of a Francophile, and Bruni-Sarkozy is my favorite French singer (okay, she was born in Italy, but she moved to France when she was five years old, so I still consider her a French singer). She has such a sultry singing voice. I enjoy listening to Bruni-Sarkozy's music after a hard day at work because it always relaxes me. 

She has been involved with charity work for years. In 2008, she became the world ambassador for the protection of mothers and children against HIV. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is a lovely woman, and I am sad that she is no longer the first lady of France. I am looking forward to seeing what is in store for her in the next few years.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Woman of the Week - Jen Lancaster

Jen Lancaster's new book, "Jeneration X," hit bookstores (and kindles) yesterday. I have read all of her books, and she is by far the funniest writer that I have come across. She mostly writes memoirs, with the exception of one novel. Her novel was really funny, but she is great at writing about her own experiences.

I actually got to meet Jen Lancaster a couple years ago at one of her book signings. I was one of the first people in line, so my friend and I got to sit in the front row while she read an excerpt from her book and chatted with the audience. I was excited to be just a few feet away from her. She is a truly beautiful woman, and I'm hoping to see her again when she comes back to D.C. for her book tour this month.

Her new book is about maturing and becoming a grown up. She writes about doing volunteer work, getting life insurance, and having a mortgage. I'm really enjoying her book because I feel like I'm experiencing the same life changes. I'm about to leave my twenties behind, and I'm embracing my adulthood. I still know how to have fun, though. I highly recommend her new book. Her first book, "Bitter is the New Black," is also one of my favorites. Check out her website for more information.

Monday, April 30, 2012

April Donation - National Organization for Women

For my April donation, I gave $150 to the National Organization for Women (NOW). I chose NOW as my April donation because they have been working for women's equality since 1966, and they are the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. I have actually been trying to volunteer for NOW for a long time, but their online volunteer form hasn't been working for awhile. I always get an internal server error when I try to volunteer. Oh well, I'll just have to keep trying.

Even though I can't figure out how to volunteer, I thought it would be nice to make a donation to NOW. They are having their National Conference in Baltimore from June 29th - July 1st. I'm going to try to make it. Eve Ensler is the Keynote Speaker, and I would love to see her! I have enjoyed attending feminist conferences because it’s just delightful to be surrounded by strong women. I hope to make it to the conference, but if I can't make it, I'm glad I have been able to make a contribution to NOW. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to volunteer. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Woman of the Week - Betty White

I chose Betty White as the Woman of the Week because she has made such an amazing comeback in her career. She has been in the entertainment business since 1939. That's 73 years! White is most well known for her role as Rose on the Golden Girls. Her career has recently resurged, and she has guest starred on numerous television shows and movies. She also has her very own show called "Betty White's Off Their Rockers." It's a show featuring senior citizens pranking people from younger generations. I love the premise, and I'll definitely be tuning in to her new show.

Betty White has won seven Emmy awards, and she was the first woman to receive an Emmy for game show hosting. She was also the oldest person to host Saturday Night Live. White just turned 90 in January, and I think it's fantastic that she is still acting. I'm so impressed by people who continue their careers during their "retirement years." I hope I love my career enough to want to continue into my golden years. People say that life is short so you should follow your dreams. I disagree. Life is long!!! So you shouldn't spend your long life working at a job that makes you miserable. The average retirement age is 64, and people usually start working around age 16. I think 48 years is way too long to be working at a job that makes you unhappy. Find a job that you love, and make every day count (because life is long!).

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Woman of the Week - Pat Summitt

Pat Summitt is the all-time winningest coach in the history of NCAA basketball. She recently announced her retirement as head coach from the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team. Her decision to retire was based on her diagnosis of early-onset dementia. Many people are sad to see her step down as head coach, but she has had an amazing career. She coached the Lady Vols for 38 years, and she led them to win eight NCAA national championships. Summitt is the only NCAA coach with over 1,000 victories. She has had such an impressive career, and I know it must be hard for her to retire, but she will now be the head coach emeritus for the Lady Vols.

Sidebar: I have an issue with the team being called the "Lady Vols." My feminist group in college dedicated one of our meetings to women in sports. I remember mentioning that I was bothered that our women's teams were called the "Lady Panthers" while the men's teams were just the "Panthers." Why weren't the men’s teams called the "Gentlemen Panthers?" Calling women's teams the "Lady [insert mascot here]" is wrong because it implies that women aren't normal - that we need to have a different label. Maybe one day we can all be Panthers or Vols, and then we can drop this whole "Lady" business.

Anyway, I’ll get back to Summitt. Her 38-year coaching career has been an inspiration to many women. In addition to her successful coaching career, she has written two books: "Reach for the Summit" and "Raise the Roof." I'll have to put those on my reading list. I can never read enough books about triumphant women. Over her long career, Pat Summitt has proven that she is a fighter, and I hope she is able to enjoy her time as head coach emeritus while battling her disease. My thoughts will be with her.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Woman of the Week - Johanna Quaas

I first heard about Johanna Quaas on the Colbert Report. She is an 86-year-old competitive gymnast! I started taking gymnastics at the age of 13, which seemed ancient at the time. I was so excited when I heard about this octogenarian gymnast because it proves that you're never too old to follow your dreams. Quaas started taking gymnastics at age 30, and she now competes in senior leagues. She has won nearly a dozen medals in the senior leagues.

Buzz about Quaas started after she performed at the Cottbus World Cup last month in Germany. She showed her talents on the parallel bars and the floor exercise. She did head stands, somersaults, and she even did a cartwheel. You should check her out on YouTube because she is amazing!! Johanna Quaas is a true inspiration. If I’m still around, I hope I’ll still be pursuing my passions when I’m 86 years old.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Woman of the Week - Gloria Steinem

I chose Gloria Steinem as Woman of the Week for obvious reasons: she is a SUPERWOMAN!!

I apologize for the short post - I have been busy working all day and unpacking stuff in the new house at night. I'll post more about Gloria Steinem soon (because she really is a superwoman).

Saturday, March 31, 2012

March Donation - National Women's Law Center

I decided to make my March donation to the National Women's Law Center. They were founded in 1972, and since then they have succeeded in getting new laws enforced that help women and families. The National Women's Law Center focuses on child care, health care, education, employment, and other issues that affect women.

I wasn't able to donate as much as I wanted because my husband and I are actually moving into our new house today. My bank account took a big hit when we bought the house, but I was able to donate $100 this month. Hopefully next month I'll have a little more money to spare (and more time to blog).

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Women Money Power

I attended the Women Money Power Forum today. It was hosted by the Feminist Majority Foundation. The guest speakers were wonderful. Sandra Fluke's speech really stood out to me. She explained that the recent attack on women's reproductive rights has proven that we are not living in a post-feminist world. I am glad she made that point because several people I know believe that feminism isn't necessary any more. Many people think that men and women are equal because women can vote, have careers and live on their own. Well, we have a long way to go before men and women are truly equal. The forum today gave me hope that we are headed in the right direction.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Woman of the Week - Eleanor Smeal

Eleanor Smeal is the founder and president of theFeminist Majority Foundation. I chose her as the Woman of the Week because I will be attending the Women, Money, and Power Forum tomorrow. I'm really excited about all of the speakers including Eleanor Smeal, Sandra Fluke, and several other leaders of feminist organizations. I am looking forward to being in the same room as all of these wonderful women.

Eleanor Smeal joined the National Organization for Women in 1970, and she served as president from 1977 to 1982 and from 1985 to 1987. After leaving NOW in 1987, she founded the Feminist Majority Foundation. Smeal has dedicated her life to gaining equal rights for women, and I am grateful to her for her commitment to fighting for women's rights. She first became interested in feminism when she found that there was a lack of child care facilities while she was working on her thesis while raising her small child in the 1960's. During the 1970's, Smeal joined NOW and moved up in the organization. In between her terms serving as president of NOW, Smeal wrote a book called "Why and How Women Will Elect the Next President." The book focuses on the gender gap in female and male voting patterns. Eleanor Smeal is such an inspiration, and I am so looking forward to seeing her in person tomorrow!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Woman of the Week - Sarah Colonna

Sarah Colonna's memoir "Life as I Blow It" is frickin' hilarious. I'm about halfway through the book, and I can't put it down. Colonna is a writer and a roundtable regular on the "Chelsea Lately" show. I have always enjoyed watching Colonna on the roundtable, so I decided to download her book. It's about her life growing up in Arkansas. She talks about her parents going through a divorce and how it changed her life for the better because she was able to have two lives. I like that she's so positive and she can turn anything into a joke. Even if you don't watch "Chelsea Lately," I highly recommend reading "Life as I Blow It."

In her book, Sarah Colonna talks about learning at a young age that having your own money gives you independence and freedom. I completely agree. I was talking to a friend the other day about finances, and she was surprised that my husband and I have separate bank accounts. I can't imagine only having one account. I need to have my own money. I don't want an allowance, and I don't want to ask permission if I want an expensive haircut or a new pair of boots. Of course, every couple is different, but I'm grateful that I have my own career and my own money!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Woman of the Week - Mo Isom

My husband told me about a female kicker who tried out for the Louisiana State University football team last week. I just found out today that she didn't make the team. Mo Isom would have been the first female football player for LSU. Even though she didn't make the team, Isom confirmed that she would keep practicing her extra points and field goals. I'll be interested to see if she tries out for the team again in August. I think she should go for it!

My husband and I have had several "heated discussions" about the possibility of a female NFL player. I think that there will be a female kicker in the NFL sometime in the future. My husband adamantly disagrees. He doesn’t think there will ever be a female NFL player. Agree to disagree. I really believe that women can do anything men can do. One day a huge, super-strong woman who will come along and dominate the NFL (or at least kick a few field goals)!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Woman of the Week - Sandra Fluke

I am proud of Sandra Fluke for not accepting Rush Limbaugh's half-hearted apology for calling her a slut and a prostitute. Limbaugh only apologized after he was pressured by his sponsors. Fluke has been in the spotlight for the past few days because of Limbaugh's hateful comments. Fluke is a passionate women's rights activist. She graduated from Cornell University in 2003 and then worked for five years for a nonprofit that helps victims of domestic violence. She is now a third-year law student at Georgetown University. Fluke has spent the past three years lobbying to get her school to change their health care plan to cover contraception.

After reading about Sandra Fluke and everything she has accomplished for the feminist movement, I knew I had to choose her as Woman of the Week. She has handled Limbaugh's comments with dignity and composure. I don't think I would have been able to be as calm as she has been. If I were in Fluke’s position, I would probably let it slip that Rush Limbaugh is a disgusting waste of space. Or I might mention that he is so insecure with his own miserable life that he has to pick on people who are stronger/wiser/better than he is.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Woman of the Week - Peggielene Bartels (King Peggy)

I was watching the "Colbert Report" the other day, and the special guest was Peggielene Bartels. She is King of a village in Ghana. KING! I love it! In the interview, Colbert asked her why she wasn't the Queen. Bartels explained that there is also a Queen in the village, but she wanted to be in charge so she wouldn't have to argue with anyone about making changes. She said, "It is better I have the big part." Her Kingdom consists of a village of 7,000 people. She splits her time between Washington D.C. and Ghana. She spends 24 days a year in Ghana. She was born in Ghana, but she is now an American citizen.

In an interview with NPR, she shared what she said to tribal elders to get them to take her seriously: "Treat me like a man, because — I'm a man. I'm a man. Don't look at me as a woman ... If you really understand me as a man, then we can go onward. But if you think I'm a woman, we're not going to work." Hopefully there will come a time when a man doesn't have to treat a woman "like a man" in order to take her seriously.

In the same interview with NPR, Bartels talked about the example she was setting for women in her village: "The women are trying to understand me [and that] as a woman you can do a lot. You don't have to sit down and think that you have to wait for a man to succeed in life. If I am a woman and I am doing this, they can also do it." I think it's fantastic that a woman is King of an African village. It seems that women are making progress all over the world.

If you want to find out more about King Peggy, you can check out her book "King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village."

February Donation - Planned Parenthood

I wanted to support Planned Parenthood because of the Susan G. Komen Foundation controversy at the beginning of the month. Unfortunately, I couldn't give as much as I wanted to this month because my husband and I just bought a house (it turns out buying a house is a tad expensive). I was still able to scrape together an extra $100 to donate to Planned Parenthood. I know it's a small amount, but every little bit counts. Take that Susan G. Komen (people don't forget)!!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Woman of the Week - Maya Rudolph

I was thrilled when I heard that Maya Rudolph was hosting Saturday Night Live last weekend. She is one of the funniest people in Hollywood, and her time on SNL was fantastic. Her father is Ashkenazi Jewish and her mother was African American, so she is able to impersonate people of several different races. During her time on SNL, she was white (Paris Hilton, Barbara Streisand, Lisa Kudrow), Asian (Lucy Liu, Lisa Ling), and black (Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Michelle Obama, Tina Turner). Rudolph also played several male characters. She really can do it all!

One of the funniest (and most underrated) movies I've seen is "Idiocracy." Rudolph's character is a prostitute who is frozen in time and reawakened 500 years in the future when the world is swarming with idiots. It's a silly movie, but it covers an interesting subject (intelligent people waiting longer to have children), and it has achieved a cult following. One of Rudolph’s most popular movies is "Bridesmaids." The women in that movie were a perfect team. I have enjoyed all of Rudolph's performances, and I hope she is in many more movies in the future.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


I was flipping through the new Nordstrom catalogue yesterday (just for fun - I've taken a hiatus from shopping), and I noticed that 99% of the models had their mouths open. It reminded me of some advice that Harrison Ford gave to Jane Lynch on the set of "The Fugitive." He said, "If you leave your mouth open, no matter how smart you are, you still look stupid." After receiving Ford's advice, Lynch said she closed her mouth immediately. Ford made a good point. People with their mouths hanging open really do look stupid.

So the marketing folks/photographers/whoever is in charge make these models look dim-witted on purpose. I can understand why the women in Victoria's Secret commercials have their mouths hanging open (the men they're marketing to probably think dumb = sexy). But it made me wonder why the women in the Nordstrom catalogue are made to look a little dense if they're marketing their products to women. Hmmmm…..if I buy that dress/coat/handbag then I can look dumb too...duuhhhhrrrrr. I know models aren't supposed to smile, but maybe one day they’ll be allowed to close their mouths - heaven forbid they look semi-intelligent!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Woman of the Week - Whitney Houston

At times, Whitney Houston had a rocky personal life, but she had an amazing career, which is why I chose her as Woman of the Week. I was shocked when I heard that she passed away on Saturday. She was only 48 years old. In 2009, Houston was cited as the most-awarded female act of all time by the Guinness Book of World Records. She has six Grammy awards, two Emmy awards, 22 American Music Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, and a grand total of 415 career awards. Go girl!

One of my favorite movies is "The Bodyguard." I need to watch it again soon. She was stunning in that movie (and I love me some Kevin Costner). Whitney was just beginning to revive her music career. It's a shame that she died at such a young age. Rest in peace, Whitney. You will be missed.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Woman of the Week - Chelsea Handler

Chelsea Handler, in my opinion, is the funniest late-night talk show host on television today. My husband and I watch her show every night (well, we DVR it and watch it the next day - we're too old/tired to stay up and watch it live). Chelsea also has a reality show about her talk show called "After Lately," which is hilarious. We have also been watching the sitcom based on her life called "Are You There, Chelsea?" The sitcom is pretty funny, but I think it hasn't hit its stride yet.

I love Chelsea because she's not afraid to say what she's thinking. She has a tough exterior, but you can tell she is a good friend and a good boss. It's obvious that she loves her job. She has worked hard to get where she is today. At the age of 19, she moved from New Jersey to L.A. to become an actress. Two years later, she started doing stand-up comedy. Her talent took her all the way to the top, and now she is one of the most successful people on television. She has written four books about her life, and she has done several stand-up comedy tours. I actually went to one of her stand-up shows a couple years ago, but I went to the 10PM show, and she was totally wasted. She wasn't funny at all, and I think I might have actually fallen asleep for part of the show (sorry, Chelsea!). Moral of the story: if you're going to see Chelsea Handler live, go to the 8PM show so you can see her before she gets too drunk!!!

One of my favorite things about Chelsea is that she openly talks about how she doesn't want to have children. She and Sarah Colonna (one of the writers/comedians on "Chelsea Lately") joke about going to get their tubes tied at the same time. I'm glad there are women out there who are open about not wanting to have children. The world would be a much better place if people only had kids if they really, really, really wanted them. So I'm grateful to Chelsea for voicing her opinions about not wanting children. I hope her shows are around for a long time because she brings a smile to my face every day.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Planned Parenthood

Well, well, well, well, well. It looks like the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation decided to reverse their decision to deny further grants to Planned Parenthood. It was a smart move after a very, very, very stupid decision. I was thrilled with all the support that Planned Parenthood received after Komen's decision to cut off their funding. Over $650,000 was donated to Planned Parenthood in 24 hours after Komen announced that they were discontinuing their funding. The $650,000 is nearly enough to replace what Komen gave Planned Parenthood last year. That's awesome! I was so glad to hear about all the support Planned Parenthood received and to know that people are willing to stand up for women's rights even if it's not politically popular at the moment. I think I'll be making my February donation to Planned Parenthood. In your face Susan G. Komen Foundation!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Woman of the Week - Jane Lynch

I recently finished reading Jane Lynch's autobiography, "Happy Accidents." I highly recommend it because it reads like a novel. Her life story is inspiring, and the message in her book is clear: follow your dreams because eventually everything will work out. She struggled for many years before she became successful. I love hearing success stories about people who overcame the odds to achieve their dreams.

Jane Lynch described her upbringing in the first chapters of her book. She seemed to have a charming childhood with loving parents. I just heard that Jane's mother passed away, and my heart goes out to Lynch and her family. I can't imagine what it's like to lose a parent. I'm glad to know that she has her wife and siblings to be with her during this difficult time.

Jane Lynch is one of the funniest people on television, which is why I chose her as Woman of the Week. Her character on Glee, Sue Sylvester, is hilarious. Lynch is naturally funny, but she has worked hard to get where she is today. She was rejected quite often as a young actor, but she got her big break when she happened to run into Christopher Guest who cast her in "Best in Show".  She has been in several hilarious movies like "Role Models", "The 40 Year Old Virgin", and "Talladega Nights." I look forward to her next project!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Donation - Feminist Majority Foundation & Ms. Magazine

I've had fun cutting back for a good cause this month. I have given up $4 coffees, and I stopped buying lunch in the city (my husband and I have been eating a lot of peanut butter & jelly). I was able to save an extra $152.17 this month, which I donated to the Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms. Magazine. My lovely husband also wanted to contribute, so he said he would donate an extra $75 to the Feminist Majority Foundation. Hooray!

The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) was founded in 1987. It is dedicated to women's equality, reproductive health, and non-violence. The FMF website describes their research and action programs which focus on advancing the legal, social and political equality of women and men, countering the backlash to women's advancement, and recruiting and training young feminists to encourage future leadership for the feminist movement in the United States. In December of 2001, FMF assumed ownership of Ms. Magazine, which is the media expert on women's status and women's rights.

I have really enjoyed saving up extra money to donate to a cause that I am passionate about. I am looking forward to doing the same for the rest of the year!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Femininity and Power

I am currently reading "The Second Shift" by Arlie Russell Hochschild. It's about women balancing career and family. The author interviewed several women who have very different beliefs about gender roles in the home. One woman who was interviewed was extremely traditional, and she believed that women should not work outside the home at all. In one of her interviews, she said, "I don't want to be equal with my husband. I don't want to be equal in work. I want to be feminine. I want to have frilly things. I don't want to compete with men! Heck! I don't want to do what my husband is doing. Let him do it. Maybe that's it - I want to be taken care of."

It's ridiculous that some people think women can't be feminine and powerful at the same time. I enjoy being feminine and wearing "frilly things", but that doesn't mean that I'm weak or less powerful than men. Women shouldn't be afraid to be authoritative and tough because people might think it's "unfeminine." I want to wear pink AND be powerful!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

I entered a contest to win an autographed copy of "What Every Woman Wishes Modern Men Knew About Women" by Sylvia D. Lucas, and I won! I just finished reading her book "No Children, No Guilt", which was thought-provoking (and quite funny). So I'm looking forward to reading her new book. And I figured out a new way to save money: I'm just going to win everything from now on. I won't go around buying things like a sucker. Seriously though, I have been saving like crazy this month. I have been keeping track of all of the money that I spend, and I'm looking forward to calculating how much I was able to save for my monthly donation.

Anyway, back to books. There is another chance to win Sylvia's book "What Every Woman Wishes Modern Men Knew About Women." You can enter to win at

Good luck!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Woman of the Week - Margaret Thatcher

I saw "Iron Lady" with my mother over the weekend. I didn't know much about Margaret Thatcher before seeing this movie. She is an amazing woman who has had a brilliant career in politics. While I don't necessarily agree with her politics, I respect her as a leader.

Thatcher is a self-made woman. She won a place at Oxford where she studied chemistry. She married her husband, Denis Thatcher, in 1951, and they had twins in 1953. In the 1950's Margaret trained as a lawyer, and she was elected to Parliament in 1959. In the early 1970's, she was the Education Minister. Then in 1975, she was elected Conservative Leader. From 1979 - 1990, Thatcher served as England's first female Prime Minister (her 11-year term is a record unmatched by anyone in the 20th century). Since her third term as Prime Minister ended, she has remained an important political figure. She has also written two best-selling memoirs.

I really enjoyed the "Iron Lady." The movie focuses on Margaret Thatcher's retirement while showing flashbacks of her years in politics. She suffered several minor strokes in 2002, and her husband died in 2003. Even though the movie was rather dark, there were also several positive messages. When her husband asked her to marry him, she said, "I won't be one of those women who dies washing a tea cup." She meant that she wanted to be more than a housewife. She wanted to make a difference in the world. Thatcher said to one of her doctors, "It used to be about trying to do something. Now it is about trying to be someone." I thought that was very true. In general, people these days don't seem to care as much about making a difference in the world. We can all learn from Margaret Thatcher's example that it is important to strive to make the world a better place!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


My husband and I saw the movie "Haywire" over the weekend. We were planning on seeing "Contraband", but we're not happy with Mark Wahlberg right now because of his comments about 9/11. So, at the last minute, we decided to see "Haywire." It's about a spy who is betrayed by her employer, so she decides to take her revenge. I love that everyone in the movie is terrified of her. The main spy is played by Gina Carano, a retired mixed martial arts fighter. She has been called "The Face of Women's MMA."

I love watching movies with really tough female leads. Overall, the movie was pretty awful. The plot was weak, and the story was hard to follow. It was certainly not worth the $12 it costs to see a movie in the theater these days (but I get discounted movie tickets from my firm for $7.50, so I suppose it was worth $7.50). But this movie is definitely rent-worthy just for the fight scenes.

In one of the scenes, Gina Carano's former employer is having a conversation with a spy that he is paying to kill Carano. The male spy says, "I've never done (killed) a women before." Her employer responds by saying, "You shouldn't think of her as a woman. No, that would be a mistake." Damn straight! Spoiler alert: she kills everyone who messes with her. Yahhhhh!!!