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Last Minute Parent Duties

In case you were dying to know, the selections of Valentines available at the Iggle at 9:30pm on February 13 are: The Hobbit, Tinkerbell, and Scooby Doo.  I would have rather picked up the fruit snacks valentines, but those were long gone, and Sweet Tarts Valentines just aren’t age appropriate for 2 year olds.  I went for the Scooby Doo cards.  Even though I’m pretty sure Baby Beez doesn’t know who Scooby Doo is, she is even more clueless about The Hobbit, and I could not bring myself to buy Tinkerbell cards.  The Tinkerbell cards were rampant with all the usual sexism, but to top it off, included a card about being “Best Frienemies.”  No. Just No.

So in my role as Worlds-Best-Last-Minute mom, I did manage to involve a tasty treat in Baby Beez’ Valentines.  I picked up plenty of Cars, Toy Story and Monsters Inc. fruit snacks and taped them to the Valentines cards.  Baby Beez loves all of those movies, so her Valentines at least won’t be completely foreign to her.

They’re having a Valentine’s party at daycare tomorrow.  It will likely be the usual chaos of songs, snacks and small people dashing around.  When Baby Beez was 1, me staying for the party was so disorienting to her that she was always very moody and grouchy.  I was tempted to give up on attending these parties because they just seemed to make her moody.  We had a breakthrough with the most recent Christmas party, though, and she was happy to have me stay.

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Hopefully this happy attitude will reappear tomorrow morning.

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No Name Players, SWAN Day and Taking Flight with @WePropelle

I’ve known about the awesome Propelle women’s networking happy hours for ages, but haven’t managed to make my way to one until last night. When I saw that the “guests of honor” for the happy hour were the No Name Players (Tressa Glover and Don DiGiulio), who are the driving force behind Pittsburgh’s SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day Celebration, I told myself it’s darn time I made it to that happy hour.
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Sandy and I had the awesome opportunity to be interviewed for this year’s SWAN Day, so I’m totally looking forward to see what art came from those interviews of us and other Pittsburgh women ages 9 through 65.  I wish I had some sort of artistic talent, but I really don’t.  I was thrilled that this project gave me the opportunity to be part of the artistic process, even without talent.

The No Name Players are part of a $2,000 challenge grant right now.  If they can raise $2,000, Martha Richards, the co-founder of SWAN Day has promised to match the funds.  You can contribute at the No Name Players Webpage!

The Propelle happy hour was great.  Even though it was a pretty large crowd, there was an opportunity for everyone to introduce themselves to the group.  And boy was this a patient group! Everyone was attentive and interested.  Introductions like that seem like such a minor thing, but there’s no way I would have made my way around the room to learn about everyone otherwise. 

I also loved how the introductions facilitated their own conversations.  You may not realize this, but I am painfully shy.  If I’m in a group of people I already know and am comfortable with, I’m loud and outgoing.  But a room full of people I don’t know is my personal hell.  Going into a networking event takes a lot of preparation and thought for me, because I am so nervous about it.  I think about thigs like “what kinds of questions should I ask people?”  “what should I do to get into a conversation, if it feels like people are already occupied and chatting?” “what do I need to do to make sure that I move around the room and meet people, instead of meeting one person, getting comfortable chatting with them, and then making them crazy because I follow them around all night?”    The introductions made it so easy for me to identify people I had things in common with, and strike up conversations on those topics. 

Propelle is primarily focused on women entrepreneurs, but they welcome you just as graciously if you aren’t in charge of your own business. I think it’s fair to say that Propelle wants to see women succeed in all walks of business, and be independent and strong.  They are really stepping up their game this year with a lot more interactive workshops and events.  I can’t wait to see what they have in store!

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Greetings from Charlottesville!

I’m at the University of Virginia for the week, attending trial college so that I can kick my trial skills up a notch.  I’ve made a few trips away from Baby Beez before, but she is such a momma’s girl, and she’s so verbal, that I know this trip is going to be a hard one. She’s going to be asking for me a lot, and a toddler doesn’t really understand what it means for mommy to be gone “all week.”

The classes don’t start til tomorrow, so I’ve got tonight to relax. I rolled in around 5:30, and I’ve already chowed down on way too much thai food takeout, am watching a show on vh1 classic about 80s hair bands, and in a few minutes I’m going to go to the workout room and get a little exercise in.

It’s stunning how, now that Baby Beez is a toddler, the day-to-day time and effort of her care and attention has become a regular part of my life.  For example, it takes nearly 2 hours every morning for me to get the both of us ready and out the door.  Tomorrow it’s going to take a whopping 20 minutes for me to get ready.  It’s nice, but so strange.

Ok, that’s all I really have to say today. I need to go get on an elliptical while I’ve got the chance.

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Snowy Pittsburgh

When the snow starts falling in Pittsburgh, this California girl prefers to stay indoors until Springtime breaks. The snow started yesterday, and I was thrilled that I had already arranged to have the day off. The roads were still snow covered today, and as I lazily awoke and stumbled about the house, I considered staying home today as well. After all, it would be a slow day and everything I needed to do, I could do from home.

Then Baby Beez woke up. In rare form.

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Yet another blurry picture, because this kid never sits still. Here she is breaking in her new cowgirl boots with a little boogie. She was bolting around the house. Suddenly, grown up time in the office sounded perfect.

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Coffee and privilege logs and pleadings. And I got to pick the music.

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Anna Quindlen, Jodi Kantor and the 92 St Y

Tonight I participated in an intergenerational panel discussion prior to my Temple’s showing of the 92nd St Y broadcast of Anna Quindlen and Jodi Kantor’s discussion of “21st Century Womanhood.”  My favorite part of our panel discussion was getting to learn things about the histories and careers of fellow congregants.  I know these women from sitting on the Temple board, and from sharing cookies after Temple, and from them fussing over my little one, but I didn’t know about their backgrounds and the things they have overcome in their careers.  My co-panelists have such interesting backgrounds, and have done so much, and I relished this opportunity to get to know them better.

In the 92nd St Y Broadcast, Quindlen and Kantor covered a broad array of topics.  They spent a lot of time talking about Michelle Obama, and focused on one issue that has particularly intrigued me about Mrs. Obama– the role of First Lady comes with certain expectations of nurturing, and motherliness, and mild personality.  Mrs. Obama is a highly educated and highly opinionated woman.  I am interested in learning about how it felt to her to make a transition into an identity of femininity that the public is more comfortable with?  I don’t doubt for a minute that her motivations between the Military Families and Lets Move campaigns are genuine, but what I’d give to sit down with her over a cup of coffee and discuss the process of selecting and cultivating a public persona in these circumstances.

Quindlen and Kantor also discussed Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article, and brought a new angle to it that I hadn’t much considered.  Quindlen pointed out that Slaughter switched from a career in academia to a high stress position in government hundreds of miles away from home, and hundreds of miles away from her relatively young children.  Regardless of how dedicated a worker or a mother any woman is, in that mix of factors, there is no formula for total satisfaction.

Quindlen poigniantly stated, and I’m paraphrasing: When I signed up to be a feminist, I signed up for more opportunities. I didn’t think I was signing up to get to do everything.  Everything we do is a choice.  A man who puts in long hours at the office for career success gives up on time with his children, just like a woman who puts in long hours at the office for career success gives up on time with her children.  We all make choices.

Maybe I should focus more on making those choices that bring the most happiness to me and my family, instead of expecting satisfaction to come from doing all the things all the time all at once.