Personal ponderings from a natural night-owl!

Posts tagged ‘Women’

If I Can, You Can, Too!

I was going to blog about something totally different today, then I found this article in my Google reader.  Apparently, cosmetics manufacturers and retailers were caught colluding to fix prices.  Their “punishment” is a requirement to give away product for free.  And no, this is NOT a hoax!

If you puchased a cosmetic item in the last 10 years, you should read this document closely because starting THIS TUESDAY, January 20th, 2009 you might be eligible to receive one free cosmetic item.

Now, I don’t wear makeup very much.  I probably buy makeup once every 5 or 6 year, in flagrent disregard of all the warnings that you should replace your makeup every 6 months.  But even I do legitimately qualify for a freebie under the terms of this settlement.

No receipt or proof of purchase is needed, but this is a “first come, first served, while it lasts” offer, so I suggest getting to the store bright and early on Tuesday.  And I am printing a copy of the settlement and the Snopes.com page in the very likely event that I run into a clueless store employee.

Happy freebie shopping, everyone!

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Choices

Fellow blogger Colleen over at MommieDaze posted about an interesting conversation with a woman she had met just five minutes earlier.  This woman confessed to these strangers that she married a man who reluctantly agreed to one child with her knowing that she wanted more than one, assuming she could “talk him into” having more kids.  Go here to read the details!

Colleen posed some interesting questions at the end of her post, which I was planning to answer in her comments.  But when I saw how long winded and passionate I was getting, and how long it’s been since I’ve blogged, I figured I’d better make it my own blog post.

Q: Did she wait too long to start thinking about a family?  Should she have prioritized that over career sooner?

No one can say that she did or didn’t wait too long, since it’s such a personal decision.  But life is about choices, and when you open some doors, you close others.  That’s reality – and why it’s important to plan for the big stuff.

Q:  If she’d started looking for a husband sooner, would she have found a more compatible Mr. Right?

I don’t know that it’s a timing issue as much as a priority issue.  My parents were both teachers, and nearly all of my grandparents had college degrees, so I was late into high school before I realized that not every kid goes to college.  (Yes, really!)  Therefore, in my head, all my studies were to prepare me for college and the life beyond.

In much the same way, I always assumed I would get married.  Therefore, dating was a way to learn more about people and help me figure out what characteristics I wanted and didn’t want in a man (versus just a way to have fun).

If you don’t get serious about college until senior year, how prepared are you?  If you don’t think about serious relationships and what it takes to have one – and keep one – until you are late into your childbearing years…

Q:  Did she settle by marrying presumably the first guy that came along?

That question assumes a lot.  I don’t know that he was the first guy who came along.  But it DOES look like she focused on her goal of “getting married” without thinking through what it takes to STAY married.


Q:  Should she have waited for the guy who wanted as many children as she, or was it right for her to heed the ticking of her biological clock and cut this deal with him?

She didn’t cut a deal, really; she went into the marriage dishonestly.  She makes it clear that he said one, she agreed on the surface knowing she didn’t agree in her heart, and thought she would or could change him – a sure recipe for disaster.  I see divorce or at least great unhappiness in their future.  I would also venture to say that she is insecure and immature.  Insecure because she didn’t respect herself enough to keep looking for someone with her same goals and immature for thinking she could change someone to be the way she wanted him to be.

Q:  What if she did wait, and never found Mr. Right, and never had a family at all?

There are far more ways to have a family than marrying and having a child.  I honestly believe not everyone who can SHOULD have a child.

Q:  What about her plan to “talk him into more”, which in girl speak usually translates to manipulate?

Yeah, I think I made my feelings on that point perfectly clear. (-:

Q:  I’m not judging her choices…

Sure you are.  We all are.  It’s human.  And we are all judged by OUR choices every day.  Our choices reflect our priorities, and therefore shed honest light on who we are inside.

…I just think it’s an interesting example of what today’s woman is faced with. Do you try to have it all? Do you have to make a choice between career and family? What do you do if your biological clock is a ticking time bomb and you haven’t found Prince Charming yet?

It’s not just today’s women who are faced with those choices.  Women have ALWAYS been faced with those choices throughout history.  It’s just easier to carve one’s own path nowadays. (-:

Yes, I try to have it all.  And I believe I CAN have it all, but not at the same time. (-:  Choices.

Yes, you have to make a choice between career and family.  Sometimes career will win, sometimes family will win.  It’s a balancing act – and truly reflective of what you value most in your life.  I am not comdemning people – men or women – who chose work over family, but I do feel sorry for them.  In trying to have both, they often get neither.  Choices.

And if you have’t found Prince Charming, I think you need to look at YOURSELF.  I know someone who never married, ever, because no one was good enough.  Expecting perfection is unrealistic.  After all, YOU aren’t perfect!  Expecting to find someone “close enough” and change him or her is also unrealistic and selfish. The alternative?  Decide what’s REALLY important to you, focus on those characteristics, and let go of the rest.

Relationships that last take compromise, trust, and mutual growth.  He will change, but not always the way you expect.  And if it’s a strong relationship, YOU will change, too – and love it!

My husband adds a whole other dimension to who I am.  We are alike in some ways and different in others – thank heavens!  After 13 years of marriage, he has become more like me in some respects, and I like him in others.  We balance each other – and he has made me a better person.  I wouldn’t want to raise our children alone, though I am a strong person and could do it if I had to.  He’s not perfect and never will be – neither am or will I.  But he IS my Prince Charming and my knight in shining armor.  And I wouldn’t chose to have it any other way.

Cheap Women

About two years ago, I decided waitressing would be something fun to try and got a part-time, lunch-time job at a nearby restaurant. Now, I wanted a classy experience with good return on my time, so the restaurant I picked is a top notch, 5 star establishment. This is not Chuck-E-Cheese; we rarely get kids there at all – mostly business people schmoozing clients or doctors who visit regularly. The average lunch bill per person is about $23.

I love working there! I love to entertain, so I pretend that the whole restaurant is my large home dining room and everyone there is my personal guest. There’s no work or stress to bring home, there’s an invigorating pace when the customers come in, it occupies just a few hours a week, and I average 23% in tips. Management is super flexible when I need to be home for a sick child or take a day away to go to a presentation at school. And I’m learning how to cook new recipes and expanding my taste horizons, which is a big accomplishment for someone who wouldn’t even try chocolate pudding when she was little (according to my mom!).

But far an away the most disappointing part of the job has been discovering how cheap most women are when it comes to tipping. I kid you not – when a table of women comes in, all the servers hold their breath hoping they don’t get assigned to it. Now, I understand that times are tight all around. And if you receive poor service, you have every right to compensate the server – or not – accordingly. But if you can’t afford to tip the wait staff appropriately, please don’t eat out!

Case in point: I serviced a table of four middle-aged women the other day. They had obviously been to our restaurant before as they were familiar with the menu, so our upscale prices were not a shock. They came near the end of lunch seating, so we weren’t swamped or slow to service them. They all had special orders, which is also typical for a table of women, but never bothers me. (I always order things the way I want them, too. Think high maintenance a la “When Harry Met Sally” and that’s me!).

When they ordered additional salads, I brought exactly what they wanted but rang it a different way and saved them $5 – and mentioned it to them so they wouldn’t be surprised when the bill came. As far as I know, every lunch order was made exactly as they wanted it – at least they made mention of that fact and said they were impressed. Their glasses were never empty, they loved their desserts, and when I switched out their sugar caddy for one with more Splenda, I did it so smoothly that one even said, “Oh…I was going to ask for more Splenda because I thought we were out, but I see some right here!” I even took their picture for them.

All in all, I was feeling fantastic about my service to them and when they paid the majority of their $127 bill with a $100 gift certificate, I was confident that the standard 20% or more was coming my way. But alas, it was a table of women, so I was disappointed but not really surprised when my tip was a mere $15 (less than 12%).

So ladies, if you are eating out with the girls, take some advice from a server in the know. The standard compensation these days for good service is 20% to 25%. If the service far exceeds your expectations, tip more. This especially holds if you are paying by credit card, because many restaurants deduct those 3% to 5% credit card processing from their servers’ paychecks. Do our gender a favor and DON’T be a cheap woman!

Happy Mothers’ Day

In honor of Mothers’ Day, I thought I’d share some good news I read on CNN a few weeks ago. This article states that recent CDC surveys have found that 3 out of 4 new moms now breastfeed their babies, which is the highest rate of nursing in at least 20 years. Overall, about 77% of new mothers breastfeed, up 15% from 15 years ago.

This is great news since nursing is indisputably the most healthy course for both moms and babies. I have great sympathy for the small percentage of moms who cannot nurse due to medical or physical problems and I feel sorry for those who try to nurse but give up in frustration because they don’t receive – or know they can seek – lactation guidance, knowledge, or advice. But I have no words for mothers who don’t even consider trying to nurse because they feel it is inconvenient, cosmetically damaging, or unseemly. Newsflash: children are inconvenient, time itself is cosmetically damaging, and why the heck do you think you have mammary glands in the first place?!

Personally, breastfeeding was the most amazing, incredible experience of mother power I will probably ever experience. The ability to literally sustain another human being on my milk alone for months on end was mind blowing! I nursed each of my girls for 14 months and was honestly disappointed when that era came to an end.

By the way, while browsing the CDC’s website for the original data (which I never found), I stumbled on this website that lists interesting facts about US mothers and motherhood culled from various sources.

Happy Mothers’ Day to all moms out there!

Looking Backward and Forward

I recently browsed through my own blog, reading past posts and comments. I thought it was interesting how I have a different perspective on some of what I wrote just 15 month ago.

For example, here’s an excerpt from one of my earlier posts from January of 2007: “There are even rumors that Hilary Rodham Clinton might start a serious bid for the U.S. presidency. Although I don’t particularly like her stand on many issues, I would feel it necessary to strongly consider voting for her in order to create history and further deteriorate the historic stranglehold on power men have and do hold in this country.”

Now we are less than 7 months from the general election and not only has Hillary started a serious bid for the presidency, but she and Obama are running neck and neck with both having already garnered more votes individually than any other past presidential candidates in a Democratic primary election.

And, yes, I considered voting for her early on, but after researching the candidates’ stands on various issues, listening to stump speeches, and seeing how they react in a variety of situations, I came to the conclusion that I just couldn’t vote for her, even though she is a woman and I sincerely do want to see a female U.S. president before I die. But I plan to live to be 101 years old, so there’s still plenty of time. (-:

So this year I am an Obama supporter and so have put away my, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of a Good Woman for President” button (obtained years before Hillary’s run), since I don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression that I think Mrs. Clinton is that “good woman.”

An April 2007 post discussed my hopes for a congress that would stand up to President Bush. I wrote, “…my fear [is] that the Democrats, having gained power in Congress, would be unable or unwilling to exercise their people-given power to stop him.” Hmm…looks like that fear has come true.

I also discussed Sunshine Week, a movement to keep discussion alive about the important of open government and freedom of information. Unfortunately, I heard nothing about Sunshine Week this year.

In contrast to my changed perspective politically, my perspective on the importance of organizing your digital photos hasn’t change one iota! Memory Manager is still the best program out there – and unlike the price of just about everything else these days, the cost of this software hasn’t changed! Everyone I know who has this program is sold on the features and ease of use. Read more about tis fantastic program here.

It will be interesting what perspective changes next year brings.

Invisible Women

I don’t know where this story originated. If anyone finds (or is) the author, please let me know and I will happily give credit where credit is due! The piece was emailed to me and I thought it was too good to keep to myself. (For the record, I did correct a few grammatical mistakes in the original sent to me.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’ Obviously not. No one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: “Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?” Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Pick me up right around 5:30, please.’

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude — but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going … she’s going … she’s gone!

One night, a group of us was having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean.

My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: ‘To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’

20050705_sprinklestchapelle.jpg

In the days ahead I would read — no, devour — the book. And I would discover what would become for me four life-changing truths after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals — we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.’

And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’ely4.jpg

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.’

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder, as one of the people who shows up at a job that she will never see finished, to work on something that her name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand-bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, ‘You’re gonna love it there.’

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Whoa, Man!

Looks like 2007 is set to be a banner year for women in power. Today, Nancy Pelosi becomes the first female House Speaker in history, putting her 3rd in line for the presidency.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/01/03/female.speaker.ap/index.html

This is cracking a 200 year old tradition of men in power in the United States, but the breadth of British history has trumped us in this feat. For the first time in 522 years, the historic Yeoman Warders (also known as Beefeaters) have appointed a women to serve in their ranks.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/01/03/beefeater.reut/index.html

There are even rumors that Hilary Rodham Clinton might start a serious bid for the U.S. presidency. Although I don’t particularly like her stand on many issues, I would feel it necessary to strongly consider voting for her in order to create history and further deteriorate the historic stranglehold on power men have and do hold in this country.

Shamefully, countries such as China, Cuba, North Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and even Iraq have a larger percentage of women involved in positions of governmental power than the United States. It is definitely past time for a change, but we do need to be careful as women HOW the change happens.

According to the CNN article, “Pelosi embraces her role as the first female speaker, but she wants to be judged by the same standards as the 51 men who came before her.” Unfortunately, this desire to conform to the standards already in place for men will simply propel women into roles that harbor the same stereotypes men currently face. What we need is a new set of standards!

The generation before mine came of age at a time when women were thought to be able to do anything and everything. Lost in this message of empowerment was the simple fact that everything cannot be done and had at the same time. The result was a generation of women burning themselves out trying to do it all and be it all.

My generation still struggles with these unrealistic expectations. Can we have a career. Most definitely – and with a variety that exceeds any other generation history. Can we put our children’s interests ahead of our own during the critical years when we are teaching them to be the best people they can be? Of course – no one can do it better than a motivated parent. Can we do these things simultaneously AND effectively? The way the business world is structured, I say no – not without breaking some pretty strong traditions. Just try looking for a job that fully utilizes the skills of a Case Western Reserve MBA graduate (with a 4.0 GPA) that allows a 9 am to 3 pm daily schedule and summers off. (And if you know if one, please let me know because I’m still actively looking!).

So yes – I’m happy that women seem to be making greater strides than ever in 2007. But I hope that we can use our new-found power to reshape and redefine the system rather than simply falling into the same old traps and pitfalls in the name of equality.

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