Category: something cool (page 1 of 6)

A Gift For You (GIVEAWAY for NY/NJers)

Or at least for one lucky family who lives in the New York/New Jersey area.  :)

It’s Christmas time and we’re all about giving, right? Well, last weekend our family was given the opportunity to go to the Liberty Science Center, which is just on the other side of the Holland Tunnel, in Jersey City. And now I’m giving all you local people the lowdown on it, as well as one lucky family 4 tickets to the center.

Because it’s Christmas! (And also because I have 4 tickets to give away!)

lscnerdsSo first, the lowdown. I know that New Yorkers like to kind of get a little snooty with New Jersey (all in good fun!), but it’s kind of hard with the Liberty Science Center. It makes our Brooklyn museums look so . . . small. In fact, our expectations were such that we planned to spend only a couple of hours there. It took us only a few moments to realize our mistake. Lots of floors with lots of cool things. Plan to spend the day.

Because of our lack of foresight, we ended up picking just a few things we wanted to see/do and giving ourselves a few minutes at each place. There were entire floors we didn’t touch. We had to pull our kids away more than once when they clearly could have been there for hours. (Give Manchild a Rubik’s Cube . . . .)

lscinfinityclimber3Some favorites:

The Touch Tunnel. I thought it would be a tunnel in which you touch different things. Just based on the name. I was wrong. It was a tunnel, and you did use your sense of touch. I ended up with a 25-pound monkey child riding on my back because she could not figure out what was going on, and Micah did the same for a 35-pound monkey child, while the 50-pound monkey child sped through the maze and made it look easy. We emerged on the other side feeling like we accomplished something. (Both Little Miss and Squish were all smiles at being able to see again.)

The Infinity Climber. This is a little hard to describe, so we have photos. Netting. Petal-like platforms. Three-stories above the floor. Maze-like. Winding and twisting. Everyone had a good time trying to find each other and stay together. There were lots of people climbing around and a few traffic jams, but we lived to tell the tale and agreed that it was pretty cool.lscinfinityclimber4Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset

Beyond The Rubik’s Cube. Puzzles puzzles puzzles! Pigs in Clover, 15, tangrams . . . and more. This is where we spent most of our time, and we barely made it beyond the entrance to the exhibit. I was kind of bummed that I had to supervise my kiddos and help them with their puzzles because I would have loved to explore the exhibit more deeply on my own. But then again, it was also super fun to see them go so deep into shapes and colors and fitting things together.

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Animals! On our way through Lower Manhattan as we drove to the museum Squish kindly informed us that he’s really into animals these days. (He was deflecting attention from his older brother who had just wowed us with an unexpected feat of deduction.) So I guess it was his lucky day when they pulled the snake and the tarantula and the hissing cockroach and the scorpion out of their boxes, eh?

But really, the kids were fascinated. As were Micah and I because WHO KNEW ALL SCORPIONS GLOW UNDER BLACK LIGHT?? Not us. Kind of blew our minds.

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We also spent a few moments observing the fish. There were lots of them, some of which were bigger than some of our children.

 

Regrets:

I really wanted to check out the guitar exhibit. And the surgical robot exhibit. And the communication exhibit (obviously).

Again, we were kicking ourselves for not planning to spend the whole day. Learn from us, people! Take your time!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS: Now . . . the LSC really wants to help you out over the Christmas break. They really want to you to be able to get your kids out of the apartment and give them something new to explore, some space to roam, some thing to obsess about for the next month or so. And so they gave me 4 tickets to give to one of you!

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If you want them, please leave a comment on this post by Dec. 24th (Christmas Eve!) at midnight (I know you’ll be awake!). Tell me what you love about New Jersey. (Mine is the views of Manhattan.) I’ll pick a winner and send you the tickets post-haste so you can have them on hand for that 2nd week of no school when you’re feeling claustrophobic and counting down the minutes until school starts again. (Or whenever you want over the next year or so: the tickets expire Jan. 31 2016.)

Sisters in Beauty

I get a little bit annoyed sometimes at how focused we are on beauty. I mean, can’t we go a little deeper than that? Can’t we get beyond appearances to the meat of who people actually are? But then again, I am as much a sucker as anybody for someone telling me I’m pretty or that they like what I’m wearing or that my hair looks nice.

As much as I hate to admit it, it matters. It really does.

And I got to see why yesterday when I went to Dove’s Self-Esteem Weekend kick-off. I listened to teenage girls from the Girl Scouts, from Girls Inc. and from The Boys and Girls Club talk about beauty and confidence and how they can influence each other to feel good about themselves. Dove’s focus this year is on your beauty legacy — how others feel about themselves because of you.

I know that I have a lot of responsibility for my kids (and for my daughter especially), but one of the things that stood out to me was the sisterhood of the whole endeavor. “Confident people encourage others” was one of the takeaways of the event. Once you get to a place where you are happy with yourself — with who you are and what you can do — you are not threatened by others. You can bring out the best in them because you recognize the best in you.

Too often girls (and women) are so catty because they feel like if anybody is pretty or smart or talented, it means they are less pretty or smart or talented. (Guilty as charged!) And we bring each other down when we could be moving up and beyond the basics and actually getting stuff done.

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And that, I suppose, is as good a reason as any to focus on beauty. Because maybe if we master it in ourselves, we can help our sisters find it in themselves. And then maybe we can relax a little bit and see what we really have to offer.

Commentary, Here and Elsewhere

I honestly didn’t know when I wrote my last post that I would be “expanding my reach” so soon. I pitched Motherlode a month ago and had been thinking it was time to move on and shop my essay around elsewhere when I found out they wanted to run it. You can read it here. Along with the commentary. Oh, yes, the commentary!

That’s something I’m learning to deal with. The questions. The insinuations. The declarations of disgust. Not just on my writing, but on my life in general. I admit that I bring it on myself because I do live my life relatively publicly—via my writing and my cycling/running/walking. I—and my family—are often out in the open. We’re not cocooned in a car with the radio turned up, deaf to whatever anyone else may be saying about us. It’s hard for me to not want to respond to everybody. I really want to get the last word, to clear up misconceptions, to give the whole story, not just the little bit I am able to share in 750-1000 words.

Mostly, I don’t read the comments on my essays. Mostly. But that doesn’t mean I can’t hear what people say. Today, as I loaded up the bike with all my purchases from Costco (yes, I rode my bike to Costco), some lady walked by mumbling something about the crazy lady with her bike. Mumbling about me. Just loud enough for me to hear her. Some other women had walked by earlier and mentioned how brave I was. I know the line between ‘brave’ and ‘crazy’ is sometimes a thin one, and it’s probably true that I am often dancing all over it. I don’t mind. I think other people are crazy and/or brave for the way they choose to live their lives, too. So I tried to shrug it off as I rode steadily and surely back home.

Which, I suppose, is the best anyone can do in the face of criticism, whether thoughtful or off-the-cuff. Sift out the bad and hold onto the good. It’s clearly something on my mind because last week when my friend Koseli asked me to contribute to her new blog, Bored Moms, the best thing I could come up with was this: that it’s worth dealing with the criticism to be part of the community—and I mean both the physical community we encounter riding around on a bike and the virtual community we encounter when I share my experiences online.

I hope that the net result of sharing, of being seen, of living my life authentically and boldly, is positive. For me and my family, of course, but for those who take the time to notice and engage and comment, too.

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Partying Under Pressure

I’m somewhat paralyzed by the task of writing anything these days. I’m afraid of saying the wrong thing. I’m afraid of saying nothing. I’m afraid of saying too much. I’m afraid what I write will not do justice to what is happening in my mind and my heart.
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But then again, I have so much to say that I might as well just spill.

So, here it goes: I’ve been really stressed about all the interest and attention I’ve gotten because of my essay about Manchild. Obviously. Nobody expects that kind of reaction. And I’m sure I’m not the only person who has been caught deer-in-the-headlights when something like this comes barreling out of nowhere.
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I’ve cried about it, I’ve joked about it, and Micah and I have talked a lot about it. Our conclusion is that we should have fun with it. Have fun with the TV interviews, anyway. Don’t worry about what they may or may not do for my career. Just go and say what I need to say, enjoy the experience, remember it for the family history. But then really go for it with the writing.
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The first part has been pretty easy. I’ve done two more interviews, a live one at 3am last Wednesday morning for The Lorraine Show in the UK. Micah and I went up to the studio while my sister slept on our couch in case the kids woke up. I sat in a tiny room, looked into the camera with a microphone clipped to my dress and a speaker in my ear, and talked about how I felt that I was empowering, not endangering, my child. (Here’s a link to the clip. I haven’t gotten the video to play, but let me know if you do!)

The second was for the CBS show The Doctors. Manchild and I flew out to LA for the taping. He wound up sitting in the dressing room at Paramount while I went through wardrobe, hair and make-up, and a couple of pep talks to hold my own and feel free to jump in and speak my piece. Which I did and it felt good. Maybe that’s what a pair of borrowed shiny black heels will do for you. (Ha!) The show won’t air until later in September, so watch this space for details.
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So that’s it for the fun. I don’t have any more interviews lined up. However, we are staying with my sister for the weekend, so maybe there is still fun to be had until Monday.

After that, no pressure, but I really want to write something good.

The best table in the entire world (for the price of ice cream) – $19 (Guest Post by Micah Heiselt)

I figured since this was the first time Micah got “paid” for his writing, it deserved some recognition beyond the world of Craigslist table-buyers. Hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed the ice cream that was purchased because of it.

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So, let’s get straight to the point. This is probably the best table in the entire world.

For almost 7 years it has faithfully kept our breakfasts, lunches, and even dinners from falling on the floor. Thanks to it’s flatness and solidity, many words have been written cleanly on many pieces of paper. Books have rested comfortably on it’s welcoming top while the reader’s hands were busy brushing the reader’s teeth or holding a sleeping child. That’s right. This table has helped sleeping children. It’s not only tough and sturdy. It’s also tender and even adorable.

And speaking of tough and sturdy. What does one do when they have a ridiculously tall Brooklyn ceiling and the lightbulb burns out, even though it’s one of those fancy kinds that is actually a tube coiled around itself, and not a true bulb at all? And also, there is no ladder to be had. Well, I’ll tell you. They drag a freaking awesome table to the middle of the room, stick a decent — but not quite as freaking awesome — chair on top, and then stand on this tower of trustworthiness while swapping out fancy not-bulbs. That’s what. And does that table care that you just put another piece of furniture on top of it along with the weight of a full-grown adult male? It does not. Because it’s the best, most tough, and most sturdy table in the entire world, and that’s how it rolls.

But I digress. Unlike these unchanging, 4 solid pillars of wood, topped with a large flat piece of wood, the world is in a constant state of flux and unease. Families grow, apartment buildings are bought out and rent is raised to exorbitant amounts. And while the awesomest, tenderest, most adorable table in the entire world barely notices while it’s being dissembled, packed in a truck, moved to a new home and then reassembled, the rest of us do notice. We notice that there just isn’t a place in the new apartment for the table. And it’s too late to go back.

Heads are scratched. Hearts are broken. Craigslist posts are painstakingly written.

This brings us to the real question of the day. What is the value of a table? Sure, Ikea may value it at $99, but we think that’s just petty. The real value of something — dare I say someone? — that has been an integral part of the lives of a Brooklyn family, year after year — still as solid as the day it was born — is more than that. It’s worth lies not in dollars and cents, but in dreams and memories. Which is why the only thing we want in return for the best, most wooden, most slightly dented table in the entire world is a new memory to replace the many that it will take with it. This will preferably be a memory that involves 3 kid sized scoops of ice-cream (with sprinkles), one single scoop for the Mrs, and a double scoop for the Mr (to also be shared with Mrs). Plus tax.

Is that too much to ask? I think not. And neither does the most amazing, most reliable, most sturdy, most pragmatic, ice-cream loving table in the entire world.

ps. I should note that the true value (and I know because I went to the ice-cream parlor to figure it out) of the memory that we seek is $19.47. Craiglist apparently only like whole numbers, though, so it’s an even better deal.

pps. The ice cream parlor asked that I put in a shameless plug for them because they are new and have not yet reached the level of infamy that they seek. It’s called Brooklyn Bell’s The Local. We haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds quite tasty.

Some Kickin’ Cute Clothes from Kicky Baby

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Sharra first told me that she was coming up with a line of children’s clothes last fall as we were running through the park with our kids in the strollers, as we do nearly every week. I hadn’t known that she was a fashion designer/seamstress. I knew she was a runner, a cyclist, a yogi. An art conservationist. A good conversationalist. A totally hip mom. A supportive and patient wife to a man with a lot of responsibilities. And an all-around fun friend/great person to be around/model of who I want to be when I grow up. But of course hidden talents abound in Brooklyn and Sharra was revealing to me one of hers: she makes kid clothes.

Real, live kid clothes for real live kids that move and run and kick and climb. Clothes that are bright and colorful and stylish and . . . just what you want because it’s just what you ordered.

At the time, back in the fall, I didn’t know all this. I just knew she was a self-taught seamstress and she was trying to work out the kinks in some of her patterns before she went big and launched her Etsy shop.

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But then, a few months later she needed some models for her clothes and because I like nothing better than to be able to tell people that my children are models, I jumped at the chance. Squish and Little Miss went with the program and gamely let me change their clothes 5 times in 30 minutes and twirled and kicked and stretched and stood and sat for photos in Madison’s photo studio/bedroom.

And OH MY GOODNESS. The clothes! SO CUTE! Harem pants! Pinafores! Bibs! Bubble shorts! In infant to 5T sizes! I die. So beautiful. So fun. So perfect for little people and the parents who want them to look like the adorable children they are — and not like little adults.

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Of course we had to get a pinafore for Little Miss.* Obviously. Sharra sent us some fabric choices and then waited patiently for us to peruse them and debate among ourselves for a couple of weeks before we settled on elephants and flowers. And then she surprised us by having the finished product to us basically the next week. Such service!

Now, many of you know that Little Miss is still mostly wild animal, and has not yet evolved fully into the civilized human being that she will one day be. But in the pinafore you wouldn’t know the difference. She looks the picture of a ladylike little person, but the cut and fit are perfect for allowing her to climb and jump and kick and swing like the monkey she is inside.

Clearly, I love the pinafore. Just like I love all the clothes that have come out of Sharra’s workshop. And because Sharra is such a generous friend, she’s giving MotherRunner readers a 25% (!!) discount on Kicky Baby clothes through the end of July (!!). Just message Sharra the promo code motherrunner25 when you make your order on Etsy.

Find Kicky Baby here! And be sure to order before July 31 to get the discount!

 

*Full disclosure: Sharra kindly provided the pinafore for me to gush over review on the Internet, just as I have been doing in person since I first laid eyes on her work.

Notes From Women in the World, Part 2

I did it. I found my notebook from Women in the World. And as I’ve been flipping through the pages again, reading the things I wrote, remembering the thoughts and ideas and feelings that were so powerful when I first heard them (more than 2 months ago . . . ), I can see why it has been so important to me to share them.

From the pages and pages I scrawled about make-up and body image and selfies to the stories of honor killings that have been echoed in the news recently, I just can’t help but think that this is all so relevant and important for us all to know about and to think about so that we can talk and reach out and help each other — whether it be our best friend next door or our neighbor in India.

So here we go. Part 2. Please remember that these are my notes, so forgive me if they are a bit choppy! And again, if there is anything that sounds interesting to you and you want to discuss further, let me know.

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“You have to be willing to lay down your life for your cause,” says Sally, who started the Crushers (boxing) Club in (I believe) Chicago to replicate the things kids look for in gangs — like love and belonging — in a safe environment where she can also teach more basic skills like being on time and dependable, working together, resolving conflict, and dressing and speaking well so the kids are more employable. In the beginning she said, “Lord I will give you my life if you will let me save all the children.”

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In Pakistan women are trying to stand up to injustices in their communities and change men’s minds to turn them into allies. Many of them have never considered that girls should go to school. That’s a big idea for them. There was a lot of talk about honor killings (including a video in which a man said, with a smile on his face, “The solution to all the problems is a bullet.” He was responding to a question about whether he would let his wife or daughter go to the market — which, apparently, is a threat to his honor). But “our communities belong to us and we need to take ownership of them and to teach our children to take ownership as well.” (This hit me hard as someone who still feels like an outsider in my neighborhood and often looks past things as “not my problem.”)

When we are called upon to act, will we do what we are called upon to do? Will we recognize the call when it comes?

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Samantha Power is a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist turned ambassador (and mom of 2 young kids). She said, “Don’t make the choice to either send in the marines or do nothing.” There are options in between the two extremes. As a writer she could write and hope that it would impact and influence someone to do something, but now she has the responsibility and the power to actually to do something.

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In India the term “untouchable” is a pejorative — it means you are spiritually defiling to someone else. Women of that caste use the term “dalit” which means they are broken, but they are fighting back to reclaim their own lives. “Until everyone is free of this system, no one is free. We must all be free together.”

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#girlsarewatching. This was so eye-opening/scary for me: seeing popular music videos of the hottest female singers/musicians juxtaposed with home videos of 3-4 year-old girls imitating the singers’ (highly sexual) dance moves. *shudder* Clearly we need to be careful about what we let our daughters see, but it goes much deeper than that. There is more to these performers than sex, but we don’t get to see that.

There is also the issue of healthy sexuality vs. sexualization (separating the person from their sexuality and commodifying those parts). Girls are being pulled in different directions: they are told they need to score well on the SAT and get a good GPA, but then it is the sexiness that gets attention.

Education and media literacy are so important. Ask what is appealing about this? Why is this important? Think about the outcomes: girls self-sexualize and objectify and then have more problems with school, physical activities, and making poor choices.

And the boys need to be taught as well. They need to know what is right and what is wrong with the way women are portrayed in the media. They are also victimized because they don’t have realistic expectations of women and sex either. And all people (girls, boys, kids) need to feel that they can ask questions and get real answers.

The culture is selling you a bill of goods when they tell you that sticking your tongue out and twerking is powerful. It is the opposite. It is giving up your power and the consequences are real. Even if they (girls and boys) are “just playing,” it does become who you are.

If you invest solely in your looks, you are investing in a depreciating asset. You need to invest in things that appreciate: your heart and your head because in them is the beauty that lasts. The media continually changes the standard and they saturate the culture so that we are always comparing our flawed selves to the photoshopped images. Make-up should be fun, but it should not own you, it should not be debilitating if you don’t wear it.

THINGS TO REMEMBER/ACT ON:

It’s not about what men think. We are in a competition with ourselves over perceived male attention.

We cannot depend on “likes” on selfies to determine our worth.

We should be able to find beauty apart from our looks in what we do.

Look in the mirror and tell yourself what you like about yourself.

Posture and attitude and confidence have as much to do with beauty as anything else.

Do we embody our beauty? Because beauty is a whole body thing.

Do not denigrate your appearance in front of your daughter: you are insulting the resemblance your kids have to you.

The sisterhood is important: tell each other that we think each other is beautiful.

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How Hip is Your Hijab? “Forgot to be oppressed; too busy being awesome.”

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Final thoughts:

Don’t be indifferent, be inspired and great. Look around for those little things that get you to act. Pay attention to little coincidences: they could be your call to action.

Own your story. Share it, speak it.

Become shameless.

Work for the world you want.

Run for office or support other women who are running.

A group of people standing together cannot be defeated.

Why not us? Flood politics with a tsunami of women.

We cannot be free if there is injustice anywhere.

We are not the flowers, we are the flames of resistance.

Home

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Japan.

Japan is where we went, Japan is what we saw. We didn’t go there with a plan, exactly. We didn’t have a list of things we needed to see. Just some cities to travel to and a loose schedule of when we wanted to come and go from each place. We each took one backpack with a few changes of clothes and not much else. We travelled light with the hope that it would make it easy to see and do as much as we could.

We were a little nervous about doing things that way. What if we were so indecisive that we didn’t do anything? What if we missed all the best stuff? What if we ended up so frustrated with each other that by the end of the trip we were hardly on speaking terms?

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Ha. Ha ha ha! HA!

It was awesome. It turned out pretty much as well as we could have hoped for. We saw so many great things, went to so many beautiful places. By 10:00 nearly every morning we would turn to each other and say: “Well, if we see nothing more today, it has already been worth it.”

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The first day there was the Christmas Hotel we ran across on our way to the temple in Narita. And while we later learned it was a “love hotel” — not as scandalous/trashy in Japan as it might be in the US — it totally put a spring in our steps as we walked the rest of the way to the temple.

Then there was the castle we stayed across the street from in Nagoya. Breathtaking by day and night. We ran around it a couple of times and marveled at it from every angle.

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Even more breathtaking were the thousands and thousands of orange gates and the hike we took — off the beaten path — to get to the top of the shrine that they led to.

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We ran to the Golden Temple in Kyoto and rubbed shoulders with all the uniformed school kids there. We bumped into some missionaries from our church on the ferry to Sado Island. (They were thrilled, and stunned, to run into a couple of English-speaking church members in such a remote place.) We went to church at the Tokyo English-speaking ward and made friends with a family there who invited us over for dinner that night and took us to an observation deck in downtown Tokyo the next day so we could really see the city.

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And we walked until our legs hurt. Our unofficial motto was “Climb Every Staircase.” It served us well as we biked around Sado and stopped at every trail that looked remotely interesting. One time we climbed 300 steps to the top of a hill, only to find a couple of burnt out buildings. Then we turned around and saw the most amazing view of rice fields and mountains. Three hundred steps well worth it.

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Every now and then we thought of our kids, back at home with their aunts. How were they holding up? Were they missing us? Would they be mad at us when we got home? But mostly, we savored the time spent together with no distractions and no interruptions. We fell back into our natural habit of walking and talking, talking and walking. And seeing things — all kinds of things — from a different place.

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The trip was technically my first international experience, but I have to say that even though we were in a foreign country, it felt very much like home. Nagoya — the first city we went to, with the castle — felt especially welcoming. Almost like it was auditioning for us. But Sado Island took me back to our days in Hawaii. And big bustling Tokyo was a clean, courteous, more organized version of New York.

In fact, while “home” — where our kids were, where we would be returning to — was many thousands of miles and half a day behind us, it was easy to forget that we weren’t there already, and that we wouldn’t be putting the kids to bed when we got to the bottom of the mountain we just hiked. It was easy, in fact, to imagine that someday we actually would be putting the kids to bed after a day of hiking mountains in Japan. Because that would be where we lived. Someday. Not any time soon, but not never.

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Until then, I’m happy to be back to our present home, where our little munchkins greeted us with surprising gusto. And I’m happy to be packing up our that present home so that we can move to another one (five blocks away) at the end of the week.

Home is always changing, isn’t it? I don’t see why someday it couldn’t be in Japan.

Notes From Women in the World, Part 1

Oh man. Where do I even start? Women in the World. It’s a summit that I attended a few weeks ago and it was . . . awesome. I could not tear myself away. Speaker after speaker stood up and shared messages that made me think and feel and consider and reconsider the roles women have, what they are capable of, how they present themselves, what they can do, and how they are using their power and influence throughout the world.

I’ve been overwhelmed with trying to figure out how to share everything with all of you, which is why it is only now, nearly 4 weeks later, that I’m sitting down determined to say something. And hopefully over the next several weeks and months I’ll be able to share in more detail some of my thoughts from the pages and pages of notes I scribbled down in the darkened auditorium at Lincoln Center.
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Here is a start, snippets and fragments from those pages of notes, sprinkled with some brief thoughts of my own.

“A revolution is not just a rifle. It is also a helping hand, a song, a prayer.” — Rania Kasar, founder of Syrian Women’s Revolution Committee. Obviously she was talking about the situation in Syria, but this idea has come up a couple of times in my life since then: the bold thing to do is to be compassionate, to turn the other cheek, to reach out instead of turning away.

So many people spoke of “making a difference,” but can we be more specific? Can we talk about how we are helping those in need, or of what need we are trying to fill?

Some thoughts from Hillary Clinton and Christine Legarde:
-Equality between the sexes means stability and security throughout the world.
-Take criticism seriously, but not personally.
-Hillary observed that women are often hesitant to take on new roles or to step into bigger ones. She made it sound like that was keeping women from achieving, but I wondered if that is an unrecognized strength women have — it’s not necessarily self-doubt, but might be a means of building relationships and developing a team.
-Don’t cry, strategize.

From a panel on Women and the Arab Spring:
-“To cook the food well, you need a fire up and down,” — up is the state, down is the people, the food is a stable society.
-When women speak up, they are subject to personal attacks. The solution is education so that they can change the dialogue.
-Jon Stewart (who moderated this discussion) observed that we are very impatient for change in the Middle East, but already change is progressing at an unheard of rate. The US claimed equality, but took 100 years to free the slaves.

In Rwanda, women are having to re-integrate the society to include both the perpetrators and the victims of genocide. In addition to learning how to forgive, they are working toward reconciliation and re-educating the perpetrators — even taking them into their homes and treating them as their sons in some cases. Revenge is not an option.

“Empowering women liberates humanity.”

A woman from Britain shared the story of how her son became an extremist and was arrested and is imprisoned on terrorism charges. (He was considering suicide-bombing a mall, but was arrested beforehand.) She said that he genuinely felt a lot of pain for the Palestinian people, but he didn’t have the tools or understanding to address his grievances in a constructive way. How much pain and destruction could be prevented if we were able to teach people to deal with their pain constructively?

Ken Burns on Eleanor Roosevelt: She would not have become who she was if she had been made to feel like she was pretty. Her drive to help people was borne of her experience as a child in which her mom was very vocal about her disappointment with Eleanor’s looks, but loved it when Eleanor brushed her hair. Eleanor felt that if she could be of use to someone else, she could be loveable. I have so much to say about this topic — beauty and feeling loveable — that I will undoubtedly be writing more on it later.

Maternal mortality throughout the world: in poor countries, the problem is getting women to medical care. Sometimes they have been on the road for days, trying to get to a hospital, and by the time they get there, it’s too late. But in the US, the problem is that women are arriving to pregnancy sicker. They have chronic conditions, are obese, etc. And the pregnancy needs to be co-ordinated with efforts to get the mother healthy. The focus right now is on outcomes for the baby, when there needs to be more concern for the mother’s overall health as well.

“Run towards fear.” Fear is what happens to people before they get into action. Once they are acting, the fear disappears.

Okay, that’s all for now . . . I’ve still got plenty more to share, hopefully in the next couple of days. Let me know if there is anything that piques your interest and we can start a discussion!

Miracles Never Cease

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Christmas miracles are all around, people.

Like that time our family Christmas party went from non-event to total party practically over night. (Okay, so maybe it was really over a year, but such is the nature of Christmas parties.)

Or that other time when H&M tried to trap us in their store but we managed to band together and break the bonds of our oppressors. (Seriously people, I’m pretty sure they had it in for us. And what is this “no public restrooms” policy?!? Gah!)

Or that time I managed to write 15 posts for Babble in 19 days. (Some highlights are below.)

And how the Christmas shopping somehow got done with five days to spare. (I have no idea how that happened. Except maybe: Micah. And Amazon.)

In just a few hours we’ll be on the road, heading over some rivers and through many woods. To Grandma’s house we go.

With any luck, the miracles will keep on coming. I sure hope so – for us and for you.

In case I’m having too much fun (or catching up on my sleep) for the rest of the month, Merry Christmas to all!

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From Babble:

I’d love to wear my workout clothes all the time – they’re so fashionable these days – but I’m not going to.

It’s not that I’ve given up on getting enough sleep, but for those times when quantity just isn’t realistic, I’m shooting for quality.

A few weeks ago I went to Manchild’s class and discovered that they break every hour for jumping jacks, calf raises, and stretches.

My sister-in-law helped me come up with this guide to help you help people who have lost a child.

My picks for the top fitness news, trends, and people in 2013.

And 8 women who got us thinking differently about things – from pregnancy to aging – this year.

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