Current Affairs

Can't Quit Now

During the election there was much talk of the sexism that was happening.* My female colleagues and friends all knew what that was about. We've all been in meetings where we are the only women in the room, learned to walk that fine line of polite but firm, to not rock the boat, smile more. I kept also thinking back to my crew days.

In college, I rowed on the crew team all four years. Junior year I was on the varsity lightweight 8 and we were awesome. We worked our asses off and were a great team. Four of us lived together and almost everyone in the boat was dating someone from the men's team, myself included. Crew becomes your whole life. During that amazing year, we won. We won all but two races we had that year. We lost to Radcliffe at the San Diego Crew Classic and we lost to other east coast teams when we went out for nationals at the end of the year. (That weekend was a blur of trying to make weight and white caps on the water during our race.)

The LMU Women's Varsity Lightweight 8 Crew beat everyone we met from the west coast. We were West Coast Champions.

The LA Times came down to the boathouse that spring of 1988 and wrote a full page story, complete with tons of photos, about the men's varsity team.

The men's team.

The men's team who hadn't won a race. The team who was barely making a mark in California, much less in the wider rowing world.

I vividly recall being on a run with my college boyfriend (who is a wonderful human being) and we were on the bike path along Ballona Creek in the Marina and we were talking about the story (he had been in it) and I had to stop running and burst into tears. I felt like I was doing something I'd never done before, working harder, getting stronger (physically and emotionally), plus the crazy weekly weight loss to make the 130 mark before a race. This was the hardest thing I'd ever done in my young life and it was paying off! We were winning! But the full page sports section story in the Los Angeles Times was not about us. It was about the men with a subpar record of success.

I was heartbroken. All that work didn't matter to anyone but ourselves, it seemed.

So we kept winning anyway.

Maybe that's where the seed of my cynical streak got planted. If you know me, I doubt you'd describe me as cynical. But there are moments. I learned from way back that there are times when no matter how hard you work, no matter how much time you put in, how much commitment and teamwork, no matter how much you actually succeed, few people are going to care.

But before I acquired a cynical streak, I believed in fairness and I still do. In this new era, with this new president, I am committed to fairness and making sure those without a voice are heard and helped and protected.

No, I don't compare my crew team experience to people in our country being wildly underserved. Just saying I learned a lot that spring in 1988 and am committed to working just as hard, if not harder.



*Oh there was plenty to talk about before and after the election and I'm not going talk about all that here. You can subscribe to my new Post Election Connection email newsletter for that

Help A Mother Out With A Mother's Day Gift

There are only ten more days until Mother's Day. Have you thought about what to get her?

Flowers? Candy? Brunch?

These are all nice things for sure. Why not consider a gift that helps moms (and their babies) who really need it most? Please join Help A Mother Out on their Mother's Day Call To Action! Our goal is to raise $30,000 (or more) by Mother's Day. (May 13)

CLICK HERE to donate in your mom's name (or stepmom or grandma or mom-in-law or whoever you call mom). Your money will go a long way to help families in need (and the babies!) get the clean diapers they need.


Can you imagine not having enough diapers for your baby?
Sadly this is the case for more moms than we like to imagine. In 2010, an estimated 22% of California children lived below the FederalPoverty Level (FPL) of $22,113 annually for a family of four with two children.

Diaper NEED Facts
1 in 3 families in the U.S. struggle to buy diapers for their children
Most free/subsidized childcare programs require parents to provide disposable diapers
You cannot use Food stamps or WIC for diapers
For many families in crisis this can mean being forced to choose between buying diapers or other basic needs like shelter, food, and medicine.

Help A Mother Out (HAMO), a non-profit dedicated to providing diapers for homeless and low income families, has launched a national Mother’s Day Call To Action with a goal to raise $30,000 to support the work to get diapers to families in need.


Support The Diaper Act

As you may know from reading this blog, one of my favorite charities is Help A Mother Out. Their work is very straightforward: get diapers and wipes to families who desperately need them. It's that simple.

HAMO is now working to get signatures for The Diaper Act to pass through Congress. Here are more details about the act from HAMO's website:

Today is the day to make a difference with families who cannot access childcare due to lack of diapers.

  • The DIAPER Act asks for NO additional federal funding
  • Lack of diapers can result in (1) major health consequences and (2) a barrier to employment
  • If Congress enacts the DIAPER ACT, eligible child care centers would have the flexibility and choice to provide diapers (disposable or cloth) to their neediest clients.

Please sign this petition to Members of Congress (House of Representatives and Senators) and ask them to join Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT) and co-sponsor the “Diaper Investment and Aid to Promote Economic Recovery (“DIAPER”) Act.”


If you can't see the "Sign the petition" widget in this blog post please CLICK HERE to go to HAMO's website to sign the petition. Thanks!

Purpose of the legislation: To increase access to child care and relieve economic strain on families who cannot otherwise afford sufficient diapers for their children by amending the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 to provide diapers and diapering supplies to families in need through child care providers. There is no increase in appropriation (i.e., no ask for additional federal funds) required for this legislation. Scroll down to bottom of page for detailed documentation.

Quick links:

The Diaper Difference Coalition

Talking Points:

The Diaper Act:

Diaper Act description:

Thank you for taking time to read about this important legislation!

As Good As My Word -- Earthquake Kit Updated

After today's horrific earthquake we were moved to update our earthquake kit. (It was on the to-do list and now it's to-done.) It didn't need a full redo but some of the cans of food were expired, we needed new water and batteries and a few other bits and bobs.

We have two boxes. The main one seen here that holds mostly non-perishable items like batteries, first aid kits, gloves, tools, flashlights, cooking utensils, toiletries, towels, feminine hygiene products, rope and tarp, radio and most importantly - pencils, paper, decks of cards, a bag of green army men and a little University of Texas football game (Hook 'em Horns!). If we are sitting in rubble for days, there has to be stuff to keep us occupied between beheading zombies.


The second box has the canned food in it -- mostly beans, chili, spagetti-os, canned fruit and veggies and Spam. Oh yeah! We have three different kinds of Spam - regular, lite and turkey Spam. We have to make ourselves laugh while eating amongst rubble.


We also have a corkscrew (when we rescue wine from the house) along with instant coffee and hot chocolate. We must be civilized.

There is cat food and a small litter box with litter and water for the two of us and the two cats. We bought three cases of bottled water -- I'm not sure how else to buy water for this. The larger jugs have leaked before and it seems hygenic to have separate bottles in an emergency situation. Anyone have an alternative?

Have you made a kit? What are you waiting for? At least put a stash with a flashlight, radio, first aid kit and water somewhere and remember the pets! We will be happy to share, but three cans of spam only go so far.

O Goody!

I am amazed at how happy I feel with PRESIDENT OBAMA in office. Gods, I love saying "President Obama"!! I spent the morning at Sarah's for Obamimosas and yummy treats brought by many women who came together to watch this historic moment. Then my New Yorker came today with this cover:

_The First_

The image is called "The First" and is by Drew Friedman. I totally dig it.

I twittered throughout the inauguration, here are some of the highlights:

I am at a friend's watching the events and on the way over was already tearing up!

OMG here we go!!

If I were Obama, I'd be doing cartwheels!

HE's Human and president! (When he stumbled a bit while saying the oath)

I feel like the weight of a man sized safe has been lifted from my shoulders. (if you need the reference, here's a great one.)

Grateful grateful grateful.

Amen Mr. Lowery!!

Maybe now I can finally feel good about bringing children into the world!!

Now for the inauguration luncheon -- is it like a wedding where President Obama and Michelle will have to remember to eat?

Does anyone know what Obama's secret service code name is? 

Today is such an exciting day I almost forgot I'll be going to JPL tomorrow for the tweet up!!

And I'm enjoying watching our new President and his wife dance at various balls and parties. They are vibrant and young and gorgeous and I'm really really pleased. 

Now the real work begins: "Progress, Not Perfection."