Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Women's History: Title IX Opens Doors

"The equal opportunity to learn, taken for granted by most young women today, owes much to Title IX of the Education Codes of the Higher Education Act  legislation, passed in 1972 and enacted in 1977, prohibited gender discrimination by federally funded institutions.  It has become the primary tool for women's fuller participation in all aspects of education from scholarships, to facilities, to classes formerly closed to women.  Indeed, it transformed the educational landscape of the United States within the span of a generation."

Evidence of this transformation was made clear to me while I was getting my nails done.  I was explaining to my nail technician that I  trying to formulate ideas for my blog about Title IX and what it meant for women.  I explained that the law was enacted in 1977.  (Even a 20 something can wrap her or his head around that number.  Twenty-five years wasn't so long ago). 

I went on to explain that while attending high school my choices were narrow.  I was 
told I could go into teaching or nursing if I wanted to go to college.  The reason why these were great careers was because they would work well for a homemaker.  Also women weren't always accepted into pre-law, science, politics, research, psychology, social work, etc.  

My nail technician related to me how her grandmother was reprimanded for wanting to take shop classes in high school.  Her grandmother was interested in fixing and making things. She was discouraged by her family and the school.

Now, my nail tech has two careers. She works for a large corporation and on Saturday she does nails.  She does it because she likes doing it. She also likes to interact with women.  She thinks women know a lot.  She gets to meet a diverse group of women and have great discussions all day. 

Now that is the essence of Title IX isn't it?  The ability to have choices, to decide if you want to go to college, develop a trade or skill that is marketable, enter the service industry, or become an entrepreneur.  The essence about choices is that you have control. When you have employability or the ability to make money as a woman, you have freedom. 


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Not Forgotten: Black History Month

February is National Black History Month.  If you live in the Intermountain West like I do, you could live for twenty years and never become of aware of the that fact.  There is little fanfare.  I failed to see any exhibits reminding us of the contributions that African Americans made to out history.  Diversity is hard to see in the West.  

I lived and worked in some of the most racially torn areas of the Midwest.  I remember the riots, sit-ins, the bombings, the brutal beatings, the water cannons, the name calling of small children who only wanted an equal education.  We need to take a breath and remember were we come from because we haven't gone too far. 

This year’s theme “Black Women in American Culture and History” honors African American women and the myriad of roles they played in the shaping of our nation.  The theme, chosen by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History urges all Americans to study and reflect on the value of their contribution to the nation.

So to make the bridge from February's Black History Month to March's Women's History Month, I thought I'd pick a few African American women who made a mark in history.  It took a little searching, but I found a few women all of us should remember.

Rosa Parks
My all time favorite is Rosa Parks.  The courage that it took for this working woman to silently sit in her seat and refuse to move to the back of the bus is beyond words.  Her bravery should never be forgotten not only all women, but by any group that has felt disenfranchised.  She was the first since the American Revolution to silently say,  "No more."  This single act is best described by her ""I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear."  (Parks)

Harriet Tubman
There were many brave members of the Underground Railroad. There were many brave members of the Underground Railroad.  Harriet Tubman was one of the better-known conductors.  She was an escaped slavery, a civil rights activist, and a conductor on the Underground Railroad.  " I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can't say; I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger."   (Tubman) She also was a Union spy.

Zora Neale Hurston

A little known, but nonetheless courageous women with great tenacity, is Zora Neale Hurston, author, anthropologist, and folklorist.  Most of her plays remained unpublished and unproduced until they were rediscovered in the Copyright Deposit Drama Collection in 1997.  They originally were deposited as typescripts in the United States Copyright Office between 1925 and 1944.  The plays reflect Hurston's life experiences, travels, and research, especially her study of folklore in the African-American South. 

These women are a small representation of all the women who contributed and mad a difference in changing the course of Black History.  They make a great transition as we leave February and focus on March Women's History Month. 


Friday, February 10, 2012


Yes!  You read the title correctly.  During the month of February midst the diamond, candy, perfume, and flower commercials romanticizing that you need someone to bring you gifts to fill your life, place your hand on your heart and say "How do I Love Me?"    
Like all things that begin with simple honest feelings Valentine's Day has evolved into a day that causes many to feel like outsiders if they don't have a partner, a love interest, someone to bring them a Valentine. 

HOLD on here readers!  St. Valentine believed in love.  You can't love someone else, if you don't love yourself first.  That is why I am a proponent of celebrating Valentine's Week.  An entire week dedicated to reminding me how much I appreciate me.  This isn't an egotistical statement.  This is a survival technique.  Taking care of one's self only steels you to love and care about others.

Plan a week of sweetness, pampering, pondering, recalibrating, soaking, or whatever takes you away from the day-to-day routine.  Make something happen each day.
  • Sunday: SOAK!  Use those salts, bath oils, or bubble bath that you slipped away at Christmas.  Pour a glass of ice water.  Surround yourself with candles and soft music (I prefer silence...your choice).  Lock the bathroom door.  Turn off your phone and leave it in the car.  Slither into the warm water, close your eyes, and say: "All is well, I deserve this!" 
  • Monday: Buy a magazine, book, or DVD. This is your entertainment for your time out.  Peruse the selections.  Think about what YOU would read or view if you had the time.  Take your time selecting.  Then schedule on your calendar (phone, computer, or paper one) a TIME OUT.  Take a Time Out to read or view.  You only need 15 minutes a day.  Each day schedule your Time Out and say: “This is my time, I need it, I deserve it!”
  • Tuesday: Get a spa treatment.  Try a manicure, pedicure, massage, and skin refresher, facial.  These little luxuries are physically good for you and nourishing for your soul.  Schedule an appointment today after you read my blog.  Remember: “Your body and soul needs this pampering.” 
  • Wednesday: Buy a two or three of your favorite chocolates from your favorite chocolate shop.  This indulgent has to be done with great care.  You are picking the candy for the most important person in your life YOU.  Select a few, but select the best. When you choose to eat your chocolate, eat only one at time.  Let the chocolate melt in your mouth.  Savor the richness of the chocolate and the sweetness of the filling.  Say to your self: “May this sweetness enhance my sweetness!”
  • Thursday: Select a lovely bottle of wine, a quart of fresh orange, or your favorite liquid refreshment that your feel is an exorbitant expense.  This selection is for those moments you want to savor.  A moment when your want something to slowly wash across your palate, slide down your throat and make you feel: "JOB WELL DONE!" 
  • Friday: Take a walk by yourself.  Take as much time as you need.  Pick a spot that rejuvenates and strengthens your spirit.  Spot along the way.  Take slow cleansing breaths.  Take in life.  Say: “I am more than myself, I am part of this universe”.
  • Saturday: Invite a friend to join you to do an activity that you enjoy.  Breakfast out, coffee, movies, shopping, you choose.  Select a friend who has good energy and makes you feel alive.  Say to your friend: “My life is richer because you are my friend."

Be good to your self not just on one day, but also all through the year.  Happy Valentine's Week!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Better Heart Health Brushed Away

The bottom line is that brushing your teeth at least twice daily, flossing once daily, and seeing your dentist at least twice every year for regular cleanings and oral exams—the American Dental Association’s basic recommendations for staving off periodontal disease—might also be a heart-healthy strategies.
("Healthy Teeth, Healthy Heart?", Healthy Living, June 20, 2007.)
 Read the quote again...chew on it for a bit. How many of you follow the American Dental Association's basic recommendations for preventing periodontal disease? Some of you may say that you are too young to worry about it. Others my simply say that it is too late for you because you have dentures, and some of you may say that you rigorously follow these dental recommendations.

Then there are some of you who say, "Hey! I can do some of this, but seeing a dentist is hard. I don't have a dental plan. Dentist are like blood suckers. They want their money right up front. Dental health is a luxury."

To those of you who are without dental insurance, my sympathies go out to you. Why isn't dental health in our medical plans?  If dental checkups, preventative dental care, and regular cleanings are important in the fight against heart disease, then won't it stand to reason that it would be part of the medical arena?

Well, my readers it is not because it is a relatively new concept to have preventative health care for some insurance providers. There are carriers who don't offer it. Why? well it means you have to invest in your subscribers. You have to trust that they will take a vested interest in their health. You see the reason why most folks don't want to do this is they are not interested eating well, exercising, and being responsible for their health. Most people want a magic bullet (pill) to make the health issue to make it go away. Working at being healthy hasn't been taught to us as a civilized group.



Friday, February 3, 2012

Has Red Become Dead?

 My red dress was my outfit of choice today.  I was ready to make my statement for the American Heart Associates "Wear Red for Women's Health. The day started with escorting my husband to the oral surgeon. We walked in and everyone stared at me. Is it the red dress or the fact that at 7 a.m. that brought on the stares?  "Happy Women's Heart Health Day!" I promptly said to the receptionist. "I see you also wore red today."

After a few seconds she smiled and said, "What day is it?"

After his surgery it was a short trip to our dentist for a fitting for a temporary cap. "Wow, look at that red dress!" he responded.

"How come you don't have red on for the women in your life?" I chided. "Are you giving out red toothbrushes today?" (My dentist also is a friend for those of you who may wonder why the discussion is so familiar.)

We dropped the prescriptions off at the grocery store. Heads turned as we shopped the aisles in search of "soft food.  No one else had red on, let alone a red dress.  By the time we got home,  I was beginnning to think that I was the only woman standing up for women and heart disease.

Helped my husband get something to eat, take his medications, and tucked him in for a nap. I made myself lunch and turned on the television. Then it happened, all the national televised programs were wearing red, men and women. My faith was restored. RED was not dead.

The links below further explain why February has been designated "Women's Heart Health Month." The "Go Red for Women" campaign also is explained. Check it out. See if you think that the women in  your life are worth the attention. You see if the women's hearts are getting attention, then everyone is getting attention.




Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wrapping My Head Around It

January 24, 2012, I was walking in the door, my land line was ringing. The ring tone indicated a family member. I rushed to get the call. It was my sister-in-law, Martha. She asked, "Did you know that Rose's daughter was having surgery today?"
I promptly filled her in on all the details that I knew. She then said, "Anna is gone."
My chest was ripped apart as I yelled, "WHAT!  How can this be? I just talked to Rose and Anna on Friday?"
"I don't know the details," she responded softly, "your brother got the call and I thought you should know."
Tears poured as I asked, "Who is with Rose?"
"I don't know?" Martha replied. "How do you wrap your head around losing your child?"

This has been the shock that is reverberating throughout my family. Sisters, cousins, in-laws, nieces, nephews, all communicating and discussing this horrible news. This news that rendered the family in emotional paralysis. No one can speak without tears about the loss of this beautiful 34 year old woman of many accomplishments.  Furthermore, no one knows how to comfort her mother. How does one comfort a mother who has lost a child?

When I checked my messages after speaking to Martha, I hear Rose's message to me. Her voice was strained because she could hardly breath as she said, "Anna is gone."
Even today, I can't listen to the entire message. Her pain is so deep. It tears at your very being. You feel her loss, your own loss, and the losses of the past, present, and future simultaneously.

Death at any age is not easy. Death out of the natural order of life, now can you ever wrap your head around that?