Sunday, August 21, 2016

Durga's Dad

Read this.

It's what hope looks like.

It is how healing happens.





Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Welcome to Yellowstone: Ba da ba ba bah, I'm lovin' it!

If you have ever visited one of the 58 National Parks in the United States, you likely experienced a sense of awe, wonder, and the stillness that comes from encountering immense beauty.

Beauty that has been protected and preserved from commercial use.


Until now.



Corporate sponsorship is being considered as a source of funding to maintain and support the National Parks.
A new policy proposed by the National Park Service will remove current rules saying that parks must be free of commercialism. The order directs parks to actively seek donations from corporate vendors, while also liberalizing rules on “donor” recognition and lifting restrictions on naming rights in parks. That means your visit to a national park will increasingly become marred by product placement in visitors’ centers and on signage, benches, paving stones, and park vehicles.   
---Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood
Or:


"These mountains brought to you by Chick-fil-A, and over here, this natural hot spring made possible by Burger King. The moose? Brought to you by Shell Global. At Shell, our motto is, 'We heart nature!' "


Sometimes you look at a problem (need funding to maintain the National Parks) and then look at a possible solution (corporate vendors with naming rights in the park) and it takes a nanosecond for Megan Trainor's song to come to mind:


Down to the ah to the no, no, no.


So while a much much better solution is being procured, you can sign a petition giving your 'No' to the really terrible solution being considered. 


Sign here.


 I'm #2101. 
You can sign your name or keep it anonymous.
Either way, the mountains will thank you.  Or at least, the moose. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Goldilocks, Reconstructed.



Miss C went through a long and entertaining phase where reading a book or telling a story pretty much mimicked this here.


For your viewing enjoyment: Goldilocks, Reconstructed



Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What to do with all the leftover Barbie Spies

Remember this fun toy?


A Barbie.  That talks to your kid.  And records what your kid says.  And stores all that information in a cloud.  And uses that information to market to children more specifically.


Brought to my attention by the ever-marvelous Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, I posted about it here in March 2015.


Many of you signed a petition telling Christopher Sinclair, the CEO of Mattel, that this was a creepy, unethical, and wretched idea.  Those were the printable adjectives. 


Advocacy works!  Not always how we imagine it will!  But still!


If you would like to see the fruits of your signature, or just a reminder that protecting kids is generally always a good idea, read CCFC's postYou did it!  Hello Barbie is a flop.


An excerpt:


Long before the doll’s release, CCFC publicized how Hello Barbie would threaten children’s privacy, creativity, and wellbeing. Nearly 45,000 people signed our petitions urging Mattel not to release the doll that records and analyzes children’s conversations, and our concerns were featured in media outlets around the world, including the Washington Post and Fox News.
In November, just before the doll hit stores, we enlisted experts to help us tell parents exactly why Hello Barbie is bad for children. Our Hell No Barbie: 8 reasons to leave Hello Barbie on the Shelf was shared far and wide on social media and inspired a fresh wave of media attention, including The Today Show


Yay for good things.


Mattel did not make a good choice on this one.  But parents did, and so Spy Barbie flopped.




Perhaps she could be placed in the center of the table at the next strategic planning meeting of Mattel, and report back what the hale they were thinking on this. 


No? 


Executives wouldn't want a real purdy data gathering recording device to attend their meeting?


In-ter-es-ting!


Imagine:  at all future gatherings, if each person had to speak into the Barbie...
Speak into the Barbie please.  Could you adjust the Barbie?  So that we can all hear and record you properly?  Thank you.  Yes, that's better. 




I think the audio playback might sound like this:



Monday, April 18, 2016

"Automatic and Invisible"


One dad shares how he and wife moved through a common scenario:

"...no policy solution could have intervened in our situation. The variables were few and personal: two parents, two jobs, one sick kid....

It had seemed like a hassle, but it was the point that we do this negotiation. That's both the cost and the payoff of breaking out of the gender roles that make these decisions both automatic and invisible."

--- Two Parents, One Sick Kid by Alexis Madrigal

Friday, January 8, 2016

Awakening The Force

It is Star Wars (time, year, life). 



 She Who Wears the Tunic That Looks Like Pants....back in the day




i.


Miss C has been reading Harry Potter and for Christmas she received books 4 - 7, as well as the DVD collection of movies 1 - 8.  (As fans know, and as was explained to me, the last book was so long it was made into two films.)
Each time she finishes a book, she loves to watch the movie, and compare how it plays out on screen versus how it played out in her imagination.  She recently finished book 3 and wanted to dive into the movie immediately.  I reminded her to do her homework, tend to whatever else needed tending, and then, then, she could have screen time. 
She started laughing hysterically.


"Do you know what you just said?" she asked.
"Yes.  Do your jobs then you can watch tv."
"No!  You said, 'And then you can watch some Star Wars.' "


I had. 
I had swapped out HP and put in SW just like that. 


She went off to tend what needed tending, still laughing, saying, "We don't even have Star Wars!" 


ii.


Before she had seen The Movie, Miss C was walking the line of inquiry about Star Wars, trying to grasp what was all the to-do.  For important matters like this, I direct Miss C back to her dad because my depth of knowledge on Star Wars is like the kiddie pool, a mini, shallow version of the big pool. 
But she wasn't interested in the plot points. 
She wanted to know why she was supposed to like it.


"You're not supposed to like it," I said.  "You can like it, or not like it, or sort of like it."
"But I feel like I'm supposed to like it," she'd insisted.  "No one said I have to like it, but I feel like I should." 




iii.


Not long after this conversation, but still before she'd seen the movie (which transformed all uncertainty into full Force love), we were in Barnes and Noble, picking up a gift.  She stopped in the middle of the first floor, as though taken over by something.  She became serious, and said, "I feel like I suddenly like Star Wars.  Like I actually like it now, and I don't know why."


She was surprised by this sudden liking, a new feeling she hadn't had before.


We stood still in the center of what seemed to be a new department at Barnes and Noble:  Vader alarm clocks, Clone Troopers, embroidered Yoda hats, Yoda string lights, Perplexus's's's, Air Hogs, Star Wars Catch Phrase and lunch boxes and woolly gloves and Monopoly, and of course,  Lightsabers of every size and color. 


And suddenly, without having deepened my kiddie pool knowledge of this story, and without knowing why, I felt the exact same way. 


And I really wanted the Yoda hat. 


iv.


The Force Awakens opens in China this weekend.  If you want to see 500 Storm Troopers stationed on the Great Wall (truly a sight to behold), or read about how to create retroactive nostalgia, here you go.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Bic For Her

Earlier this week I was standing around with a few runners, drinking water and not talking about running.  Talking about running is what many Runners do when they are running.  It is how I know to never call myself a Runner.  Or "not yet," as one Runner told me.   I can't talk about running--yet--for many reasons.  The first is that I can't breathe.  Because I'm running.  But the others are that I have too many "no" answers to questions that would expand a conversation. 


R: "How long have you been running?"


Me:  (gasping)


R: "Do you have any races coming up?"


Me:  (panting) "No."


Other ways I know I am not yet a Runner is that I don't have that watch that beeps, I never know what mile we are on, and headlamps, I don't have one, though every time it is dark, I lurk creepily behind someone who is wearing one so I can see where I am going.  Or else practice running in the dark.  Is that a raccoon or a giant pot hole?  Ouch.  Not a raccoon.  Also, reflective gear, like those criss-cross yellow blinking Safety Patrol belts.  And those water bottles that strap to your hand.  Or your back.  Also, special sneakers.  Or proper clothing.


There are too many signs to keep listing.  The fact that if it is 10 degrees with a windchill of -15, you could not pay me to even contemplate the joy of Running.  "You just need the right clothing," one Runner stated, when I explained my 4 month absence from November through March.  This is where silence is useful, because I really like hot drinks, listening to the wind howl outside my window, and feeling generally glad to be out of the elements.  No amount of Under Armour is going to change that. 


Another tell-tale sign is that I don't understand a 50K.  I don't admire or mock it.  I just don't get it.  I've spent a little bit of time wondering what makes us gravitate toward intentional pain and suffering, with little pay off, and I think that in lieu of living in dangerous environments, we seek out a bit of anguish and physical harm.  And wear beeping watches and blinking lights to help us achieve this goal.


All of these things demonstrate what makes one a R, which is a commitment to something, an attention to the details that maximize the experience, and a goal-focused way of making sure that you are growing in an area that you value.  It's very teaching. 


If you don't have any races coming up and you can't breathe, it makes conversation after the run much more fluid and manageable. 


And sometimes pretty funny. 
Because I gravitate toward others who are similarly unprepared but keep showing up. 
In one such recent conversation, I was "hydrating" (which is a Runner's word for drinking water) and talking to a man and a woman.  The woman was mentioning a yoga class that she goes to, and how she feels bad for always being late. 
"It's like, all peaceful in there and I try to sneak in without being loud but then I'll bump someone or drop my mat and interrupt everything."
I nod my head in sympathy. 
The man is quiet, no nodding.  Then he says, "I like to get there 15 minutes early."  I nod, again, in sympathy.  Too early, too late.  Both can be difficult qualities to embody.
"And," he say, "get my things all lined up. My mat the way I like it, my waterbottle and my blocks and the band," he is physically lining them up with his hands.  It's all organized in his chosen corner and then I imagine this woman tripping over him as she enters the room 30 minutes later.  He tells a tale about a woman who always arrives ahead of him to get the exact same spot in the class, every single time.  This intrigues me the way someone doing a 50K intrigues me. 
"What would happen if someone took her spot?"  I ask.
He thinks it wouldn't be good.
"Have you ever tried?"
"Oh, I wouldn't," he says. 
I would.  Just to see.  This is probably why it's good I don't go to yoga classes.
The yoga conversation continues, and it gets funnier and funnier.  I ask a question and immediately regret it.  I don't know where the question comes from.
"What kind of yoga class is it?" This is my question.  As soon as I ask, I realize:
1. She could make up a name and I wouldn't know the difference
2. I know there are different kinds of yoga, but I don't know what they are, so I'm not sure why I am asking this. 
But no question is ever wasted, because she knows as much as I do, but now the man is trying to guess which kind it is. 
He asks if it is the fast breathing yoga.
"I don't think so," she says, looking like she is playing out the last class in memory to look for any fast breathing.  "You mean, like, deep breathing?"
No.  He means fast breathing.  He demonstrates.  And what he demonstrates is very familiar.  I recall learning it in a natural child birthing class.  He's showing the part of breathing you do during a contraction.
"Are you sure you were in a yoga class?"  I ask.  "That sounds like Lamaze."
"No, it was yoga," he says. 
"Because I can see how you might accidentally enter a Lamaze class and it would be similar to yoga, and the instructor would be pretty laid-back and accepting and would see you practicing labor breathing and would just, you know, encourage you, thinking, 'Well, to each their own.' "
"It was yoga," he says. 


She's not sure the kind of yoga class it is, and so he is guessing: lots of poses?  Fast flowing?   I think of all the information about yoga that has been deposited into my brain by people who say You have to try it and then tell me how they go to rooms where it is 150 degrees and just sweat.  There are the cold Under Armour Runners and the Hot Yoga breathers and the man who is guessing what kind of yoga this woman does says something like, "It roots your soul.  Does she say that in class?"
"Yes!" the woman says. 
And then they are exchanging the many times that soul is referenced during their 60 minute workout class.  "Like, 'Feel your soul flow,' and 'Now s-t-r-e-t-c-h your soul!'" 


I am getting the sense that there are Runners, and those who run, and there are Yogis, and those who do drop in classes.  And the drop-ins don't know why the soul is referenced just as those who run don't have any races lined up.  Yet. 


Somewhere in this post-Running post-running conversation, the woman asked if we had seen a bit done by Ellen DeGeneres on Pens for Women.
I hadn't, but said that that's a funny idea. 
"No, it's real.  These pens made for women, by Bic.  It's called Bic for Her."


Without further ado, fast breathing, or upcoming races, I bring to you, Bic.  For Her