So, kids are mostly raised & I've just gone back to work…

Archive for the ‘feminism’

“U were hit by a car?! Did u die?”

October 22, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: Uncategorized, family, feminism, feminist, inner critic, kids, motherhood, mothers, parenthood, parenting, parenting teens 12 Comments →

For me, it was mostly a blur.  For the 13 year old, it was mostly about Facebook.

What do you do when reporting to the scene of your own child’s accident?  I did it.  I barely registered these peripherals:  A firetruck.  A police car.  An ambulance. A school bus FULL of alert, chattering faces, all looking out at us.  More firemen than could possibly have fit in the truck.  A red car  which was clearly the culprit.  The dear bus driver.  The neighbors who had knocked on my door.  The sudden and miraculous appearance of a friend from across town, offering me a ride to the hospital following the ambulance. 

My daughter wanted to use my phone at the hospital to Facebook her friends about the accident, and I didn’t let her, as we needed to be  attentive and helpful  to the people who were still attending to her.  

But perhaps even more, I felt that Facebooking from the hospital  was unseemly in a way I couldn’t quite explain to myself.  Was it Inappropriate attention-seeking, when she hadn’t really been “harmed?”  (but of course she’d been harmed.  Someone HIT HER BODY.  With a CAR.) 

We came home and she immediately headed for the computer, and I heard myself telling her not to “over-communicate.”  Then I realized I was censoring her, and for no good reason. 

“Why not?” asked the wiser woman inside of me. 

Why not let her reach out to her friends, immersing herself in a reassuring buzz of  “Plz tell me what happnd!” and “I am so GLAD ur okay!”   Why not let her tell her story over and over, processing it by sharing it?  Why not allow her to redeem her own story by taking the lead in telling it?

So I changed my mind.  “Communicate AWAY!” I said.  “ALL you want to!” 

And she did.  She tapped away for a couple hours on Facebook, where the news was already spreading through Middle School Land.  Several new “friend requests”  appeared from breathless thrill seekers who wanted to be closer to the action.  Chat messages bipped like popcorn from friends and people she hardly knew. 
Was it unseemly?  I decided not.  My daughter was motoring along on her own power, getting what she needed, and learning she could at the same time.  Why did she deserve it any less just because she hadn’t actually broken any bones? 

And, as I reminded myself, there WAS hurt here.  My little girl’s trust had been violated, her PERSON had been violated in a way she didn’t expect or deserve, by someone who had physically struck her with a lethal ton of steel. She had been exposed to a bus full of her adolescent peers who had eagerly watched her for 30 minutes in the immediate aftermath of the accident, some even snapping pictures of her with their cell phones.  So why shouldn’t she re-fashion herself as a bit of a heroine?  Why shouldn’t she even have, YES, a bit of a bask in her 15 minutes of fame? (She confessed, a couple of times, to wishing she had at least a splint…)
School the day after was much more of the same for her.  Everyone was talking about the kid who had been run over… by a car? a bus?  The nurse called her out of class.  The principal called her out of class. It could have been awful, but my daughter chose not to let it be.  And how proud my daughter’s friends were to know her, getting their OWN share of attention by bearing the much-coveted details. 

On the bus home the day after, there was silence as my daughter walked down the aisle to her seat.  The bus driver stood and gave a lecture to the kids about safety, calling my daughter  ”one lucky chick” and describing how he’d almost had a heart attack watching her get hit the day before, and almost hadn’t come to work this day. 
And when her bus stop came, there was silence again as my daughter got off the bus.  She carefully crossed the street, turned, and waved.  And the entire bus burst into cheers! 

Cue the theme from “The Natural,” and Hurray for The Kid who Lived to Ride the Bus Another Day!

13 year old Entrepreneur

June 15, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: M3 Girl Designs, Uncategorized, art, feminism, parenting 4 Comments →

My 12-year-old daughter turned into a 13-year -old one a couple weeks ago. 

I’m not sure how I feel about this. 

Fortunately, 13-year-old girls seem to be as fun as 12-year-old ones are, which is reassuring.

She’s going to be famous someday, and I’m not just saying that because she’s my daughter.  Well, maybe that is part of the reason I’m saying it, but Maddie Bradshaw is proof that even 13-year-olds can become company presidents.

Image: Maddie Bradshaw, m3 Girl Designs

Playing to win: new rules of womenomics

June 02, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: employment, feminism, playing to win, unemployed, womenomics, working 12 Comments →

Katie Hnida, a 1999 placekicker for the University of Colorado 

Hat tip to Kathy, who alerted me today of the article,
She works too hard for the money: The authors of Womenomics challenge professional women to say no to overly demanding jobs — even in a recession. 

We are in tough times indeed. Jobs are scarce. Unemployment is more common, and potentially more devastating, than ever. Folks already at a career disadvantage (mothers returning to the work force, for instance) are at a greater disadvantage than ever, too.

And along with the increase in unemployment is an growing deluge of career advice.

How should a person navigate these ever-deepening waters? At the risk of adding to the flood, Almostgotit would like to propose that

  1. Even the best advice is only as good as it is also useful, and
  2. If anyone’s advice fails to work for you, even if it comes from experts, you should throw it out.

Take the Harvard-Business-School-Approved“Best alternative to negotiated agreement (BATNA)” approach, for instance.  What if you really don’t *have* a great alternative plan, nor the confidence to act as if you do? What if you are, as increasing numbers of us are, so depleted by fighting a series of losing battles that your ability to follow — or benefit from – ANY standard plan of action has all but vanished?

Do you then settle for the idea (whether objectively true or not) that you have no other choice but to accept a low-paying or otherwise exploitive job, thus feeling like even more of a failure?

Perhaps a change of metaphor is called for here, instead, (or a “reframing,” if you prefer cognitive psychology talk.)

For many women, this may mean acting more like the stereotypical ballsy male. According to many of my own career advice books, sports metaphors are very popular with men. Perhaps they should be more so with women, too… especially in what is still a male-dominated workforce. Why not try it and see if it works better than drumming up a demoralizing “Plan B”?


Well-behaved women seldom make history.
- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Professor of History, Harvard University


Imagine you are the star quarterback. If that feels too arrogant, Get Over It! When it comes to furthering your own career, you SHOULD consider yourself a star, so that you can also present yourself as such.

If you are a woman, imagine that you are the most badass, muscular female quarterback ever to hit the pros, and that you’ve made it all the way to the Super Bowl!

You are on the verge of winning it all!

And here’s the thing: star quarterbacks play to win. They intentionally don’t HAVE an alternative plan.

Can you imagine a coach telling his team before the Super Bowl that they should play hard but also be prepared to lose? And what if the coach also insists on a time out so he can tell your team how long the odds are, not because he expects you to beat those odds but because he insists that you all be prepared to graciously concede the game to the stronger team?

Would a badass star quarterback on the verge of winning the Super Bowl really put “Being a Good Sport” at the top of her agenda?

And would she still want to play for such a coach?

If imagining yourself as a star quarterback is not a helpful metaphor for you, then by all means throw it out.

But if it resonates at all, then you might want to consider: what are your friends, colleagues, coaches, and even family members telling you about your own merits and abilities? Are they supportive, or are they really counseling you to lose?

As if you needed any more discouragement, come on now!!

Play to win. Men play that way, and so should you.

Debbie Ramsay, continued…

May 29, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: Debbie Ramsay, New York New York, feminism 1 Comment →

Faithful reader Kathy has also written to report that, as I’d asked, she had written a letter about Debbie Ramsay (our local Hudson river plane crash survivor who lost her job after flying on company business).  So far as I know, Kathy’s the only one who has received a response.  Have you?  Here’s what The Tanger outlet’s corporate headquarters in North Carolina wrote to Kathy:

… We empathize with any person who suffers from such a traumatic experience as having survived a plane crash and then, in a relatively short period of time, also experiences a job loss.  However, we are not part of the business decisions made by independent tenants relating to staffing decisions. [maybe not, but your own bottom line will sure be affected by independent tenants in your center who act like JERKS.]

However, we are interested in all of our customer’s comments and will be pleased to direct your concerns regarding this matter directly to the owners of the New York New York store. [Almostgotit readers, take note! If you haven’t written yet, please do!!!]

Should you have any future comments or concerns on how to make your experience with Tanger Outlet Centers a positive experience, please let us hear from you. [Here’s a comment: how about pressuring your TENANT to rehire Debbie?  Or perhaps finding another tenant who will??]


Carrie J. Warren
Sr. Vice President of Marketing
Tanger Outlet Centers
phone: 336-834-6813
fax: 336-852-7954

I have just sent this message in return, and do feel free to steal from it to send your own! ( to email address  Wouldn’t it be great if they respond?   

Dear Ms. Warren,I am in receipt of an email you sent to one of my readers in response to her own, in which she protested the recent firing of Debbie Ramsay, the Hudson plane crash survivor who was fired by the

New York New York store in your Sevierville center.We are aware that you have no control over the business decisions made by any of your tenants. However, I’m sure that if a tenant were to display graphic pornography in their window, sell large packages of dynamite to children,  or begin murdering their customers, Tanger’s offices would intervene.    Why?  Because your own bottom line is at stake here, too.Debbie Ramsay suffered a traumatic injury while on the job, just as surely as if she’d lost a leg falling off one of your buildings while performing maintenance.  I imagine her lawyer could find fault with both the store and the company (yours) that has provided space for their operation.  You definitely have an interest in resolving this situation, as well as the responsibility and the leverage to do so.  If

New York New York can not be persuaded to rehire Debbie Ramsay, perhaps they can find another location for their store as well.  Or perhaps you could use your influence to find another position for Ms. Ramsay in another of your stores — or perhaps even in your own offices.  She clearly is more qualified than the average retail employee, as she was making a buying trip for her story.
Again – if you should care to comment, please feel free to contact me so I may share your answer with my readers.  Thank you-Elizabeth Burman

Local woman loses job after Hudson plane crash — and she was flying on company business

May 21, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: Debbie Ramsay, Uncategorized, feminism, unemployment 11 Comments →

Knoville News-Sentinel
photo by Adam Brimer

This is Debbie Ramsay. 

She was on U.S. Airways Flight 1549 when it crashed in the Hudson river last January.  Debbie was on the plane on business, returning from a buying trip for a local clothing and accessory store, New York New York.

Like many of the flight’s survivors, she took a little time off immediately after the crash, then returned to her job.  However, the nightmares continued, and her doctor suggested she take some more time off.

Two weeks later, she got an email from her boss: she had been replaced.

Excuse me?  She was fired?  By email?  And from the job that had put her on that plane in the first place? 

Knoxville’s News-Sentinel published Ramsay’s story in this morning’s paper, but they left out some very important information.     I did a little digging and here is the rest of the story.

Feel like making a little phone call, writing a letter, or sending an email today?

New York New York store is in Sevierville’s Tanger Outlet Center.
Mailing Address: 1645 Parkway, Ste 940, Sevierville, TN 37862
Phone:(865) 429-5330

Tanger Outlet Center’s  contact:
Patti Ross, Director of Administration
Phone: 336-292-3010
Email: use link on Tanger Outlets Company page


Corporate Headquarters
Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc.
3200 Northline Avenue
Suite 360
Greensboro, NC 27408
Phone 336-292-3010
Fax 336-852-2096

The Easy-Bake Oven: magic, not gourmet

May 07, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: American Girls, Easy-Bake Oven, Mr. Hoffman, NPR, The Easy-Bake Oven Gourmet, Uncategorized, books, cooking, feminism, recipes, review 7 Comments →


It honestly didn’t occur to me until yesterday afternoon that there might be some connection between my love for Aga stoves and my earlier obsession with Easy-Bake Ovens.

Wow, and I call myself a feminist…

“Easy Bake Oven: Teaching girls their place since 1963″

I never did get an Easy-Bake Oven, no matter how much I begged for one. My exasperated mother told me I could just use the REGULAR oven if I wanted so desperately to bake something.

My mother just didn’t understand.

The clever artifice of the Easy-Bake Oven was an essential part of its charm for me: by the heat of an ordinary light bulb, one could produce a wonderful variety of cakes, cookies and pies, each a perfect miniature of the real thing. And actually edible, to boot!

The Easy-Bake oven was like a doll’s house come to life.

Nor am I the only person, nor even a member of the only sex, to suffer from an unrequited love for an Easy Bake Oven:

I cannot begin to tell you of the psychic agony of being a “sensitive” male child in the 60s (well maybe not sensitive just plain oddball) wanting and not being able to enunciate the X-Mas Love that Dare Not Speak Its Name: the EZ Bake Oven.

Five years ago, in celebration of the Easy-Bake Oven’s 40th anniversary, NPR ran a story featuring The Easy-Bake Oven Gourmet, a combination cookbook and retrospective written by David Hoffman.


With all due respect, Mr. Hoffman and NPR don’t understand, either.

Educational? Gourmet? Wild mushroom flan?

No, no, and GOOD HEAVENS no.

Easy-Bake Ovens, guys, are all about magic, Christmas, and multi-colored sugar sprinkles:

I’m 43 and I’ve just fulfilled a dream. As of a couple of weeks ago, I am the proud owner of an Easy-Bake Oven … Today, I pulled it out of my “tickle trunk” (bedroom closet) and showed it to my 4 year old nephew and informed him that we were going to bake Christmas cookies. His eyes lit up, and our day quickly shot up to a 10 on the excitement scale … I had my mini copper Christmas cookie cutters (which up until this point, had only been used with the playdough I made them — recipe off the ‘net) and sprinkles at the ready much to their delight. …Three batches later, I put the brakes on them eating anymore as their Dad would soon be here to pick them up and take them home for supper… Tomorrow for lunch, we’re going to try out the pizza recipe I found for Easy-Bake Ovens. The 4 year old is bringing some different sparkles from home for tomorrow’s afternoon session of Christmas cookie baking. Thanks for the memories Easy-Bake! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night… :)   -Nadene, comment on

O, Sing It, Sister.

What if you moved to another city for your husband…

March 27, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: Uncategorized, anger, career transition, family, feminism, moving, relocation 11 Comments →

Creative Commons image by Mpopp

Sometimes people come across my older posts and leave comments, which my regular readers then miss. I didn’t want you to miss this one, though.

Tanya wrote:

What if you moved to another city for your husband, ended up unemployed for 2 years, and 2 of the most potentially productive and career-making years of your life (under 30, no kids)? After you had already had to give up a very promising and well-paid job in another city? And now you realize you will never have a really cool job and kids at the same time? And you are too old with too much of a broken resume to ever apply to and get into a top business school, which you have only come to realize is essential to having transferrable job skills that people actually want to hire? How do you get over that?

Tanya’s comment hit me in the gut, and I don’t want to minimize her obvious pain in any way.  She and I have had a whole lot of experiences (and feelings!) in common*, and I don’t have any easy answers for her. 

((Except that it sounds like I’m even older, have an even worse resume, so quite possibly am even more screwed! ))

Tanya sounds pretty upset.  And pissed off, too.  The last thing I’d suggest is that she “get over it.”  Being upset isn’t wrong, because it tells you something IS wrong. You can’t just ”get over” it: you can only use it.  Anger is very powerful, and while it can destroy you, it can also give you enormous strength to do important and difficult things. 

I wonder who, or what, is telling Tanya she’s too old and too broken and can’t even APPLY to business school?  Or that people will only hire her if she does something she’s already told herself is impossible?  Those are the sorts of thing our wicked inner toad people tell us.  That’s a load of garbage.  And it hurts us very much to swallow it. 

What’s worked for me? Personal and marital counselling, talking to people who are experts in job re-entry, talking to people who know how to make my resume better, taking care of myself even when I don’t want to.

Being with supportive friends is the MOST important, studies now show… even better than exercise!

So, Tanya, what are you doing to be nice to yourself?

* I am re-activating this angry post especially for Tanya.  I’d de-activated it because it’s not me at my most attractive, and I really do like men.  But sometimes, Damitol, living with them just makes me MAD.

It’s all about who’s got the power

March 02, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: Uncategorized, dogs, feminism, humor, parenting, power, unemployment 4 Comments →

Martha Stewart I am not, but for weeks I’ve been occupied with rearranging or throwing out everything in my house that isn’t bolted down.  Pathological or no, it has been an empowering experience.

We’ve been exploring power a lot in our house lately.  My 12-year-old was tickled to no end to discover a website that proves how lame her parents are.  First it was the reading glasses, and now she knows I’m losing my hearing, too. 

Mr. Almostgotit and I have been discussing and rearranging the household chores, too, in light of his increasing hours, my decreasing ones, and certain, less-measurable feelings about who has to wear the apron in the family vs. who gets to wear the pants.

Even the dog is getting in on the action, having suddenly decided that his beloved minion, Wubby, no longer deserved to have either a nose or eyes.  Wubby intends to sue. 

“What’s this about your needing a check?”: the perils of working for a nonprofit

February 17, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: Uncategorized, careers, feminism, nonprofit, volunteering, working 11 Comments →

Ephesian Artemis

Ephesian Artemis:
the multi-breasted woman

Last summer, a friend of mine agreed to do some professional work for the church where she is also a member. At that time, she told the church that she would also need to be paid for that work, and to her best understanding, the church agreed.

Her first check was late, and didn’t come until my friend asked for it. Her second check never came at all.

While last on the premises because of the work she was doing for the church, my friend was confronted in front of several other people by the church’s (salaried) budget director. “What’s this about your needing a check from us?” he demanded. “We don’t have that kind of money!”

My friend was both surprised and embarrassed by this encounter. Later, she was also angry.

So am I.

Why do churches and other non-profits so seldom understand that their business matters still need to be handled in a business-like fashion? Why should professionals be expected to work for free, especially those who have already entered into an agreement that they would be paid? The business manager himself is a full-time, paid employee of the church. Why did he fail to see any irony here, himself?

One wonders at the unexamined assumptions going on here. What additional rights do we all presume nonprofit organizations to have, including the organizations themselves? Is it relevant that my friend is a member of the church (as is the business manager?) Is it relevant that my friend is a woman, or that she used to be married to a fairly wealthy man?

My friend is also a highly-trained professional, is currently a full-time student who must carefully choose her commitments, had already negotiated terms with the church, had already heavily discounted her fee for them, and even had generated income for the church, through her work for them, which was more than adequate to cover her own fees.

What would you do, in her situation?

She’d make a great rocket scientist, but don’t hire her as your babysitter

January 14, 2009 By: almostgotit Category: dogs, feminism, humor, parenting 7 Comments →

Now I ask you.  Is this any way to treat a poor, stoned dog

I leave the helpless animal alone with my 12-year-old daughter for ten minutes, and this is what happens. 

This is why mothers have such mixed feelings about childcare. 

Where was my Nanny-Cam when I needed it?