Thursday, May 31, 2007

I miss Justice O'Connor, don't you?

Ok, I don't miss everything about Sandra Day O'Connor, but boy was it sad when Justice Ginsburg mentioned feeling lonely on the Court. Her voice as the lone woman and mother on the Court is especially crucial now. The crappy ruling this week on equal pay for equal work proves it.

I'm putting in this MomsRising post because it basically says exactly how I feel about this week's ruling from SCOTUS. I wish I could tell Justice Ginsburg personally how much of a hero she is. Supporting the Congressional response to the ruling through MomsRising will be how I do that, and perhaps how you do it, too.


The Supreme Court just delivered a huge blow to the fight for equal pay for equal work.

It told Lilly Ledbetter, a 60-year old "fiery mother of two," that even though, for years, she was paid between 15% and 40% less than her male counterparts on the management team (a fact she learned late in her 19 year career), she could not make a claim of workplace discrimination. Why couldn't she make a claim? Lily Ledbetter learned about the pay discrepancies too late. The court ruled that claims must be made within 180 days after the pay is set. But how many of us know what our co-workers make? In fact, it's illegal to ask in many states.

Justice Ruth Ginsburg wrote the dissenting opinion for the 5-to-4 decision, and in it she asked Congress to overturn the ruling and clarify the intent of the law. Several Congressional leaders are already stepping forward to counter this outrage by drafting new fair-minded legislation. Let's get behind them so they can pass this legislation immediately.

SIGN THE PETITION & PASS IT ON: Tell Congress, "We Need Equal Pay for Equal Work--it is good law, make it enforceable!" Sign on at:;t%3Dpetition.dwt

Sign the petition and then pass it on to friends so we can build support for the Congressional leaders who are stepping forward to right this wrong. Frankly, they need our help--because as the Washington Post reports, business groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are applauding this dangerous, short-sighted ruling.

CITIZEN VOICES ARE CRUCIAL: Citizen voices are going to be crucial to giving leaders the "political capital" they require to fix this problem. Here's what several of the key leaders who are fighting for us have to say about the ruling:

"Yesterday's Supreme Court decision reflects a poor understanding of the real problems with long-term pay discrimination," said Senator Harkin. "Most new employees feel less comfortable challenging their salaries, and it is very difficult to determine when pay discrimination begins. Furthermore, a small pay gap tends to widen over time, only becoming noticeable when there is systemic discrimination over a period of years. I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to ensure every worker receives the paycheck he or she deserves."

"Unless Congress Acts, this Supreme Court ruling will have far-reaching implications for women, and will gravely limit the rights of employees who have suffered pay discrimination based on their race, sex, religion or national origin. All Americans deserve equal pay for equal work and it is our responsibility to get this right," said Senator Clinton.

"This week's Supreme Court decision sends a dangerous message about the value of pay equity in this country. It is unacceptable that women and others would be limited in their opportunities to stand up for themselves and for their families. I am proud to team up with my colleagues to right this wrong," said Senator Mikulski.

"As Justice Ginsburg suggests, the ball has now fallen into Congress' court and we intend to address this ruling," said Representative George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. "The Supreme Court's narrow decision makes it more difficult for workers to stand up for their basic civil rights at work and that is unacceptable."

*Don't forget to sign the petition and pass it along to friends and family as well. Let's support the Congressional leaders who are coming forward to right this wrong. Sign on at:;t%3Dpetition.dwt
Best - The MomsRising Team

p.s. Have you experienced workplace discrimination? What happened? Share your story and experiences with all at: and/or email us at:
p.p.s. Want to read more about it? Here are some good articles:
- Washington Post:
- CNN Money:
- New York Times:;en%3D1294cb12e89e8de5%26amp;ex%3D1181275200%26amp;adxnnl%3D1%26amp;emc%3Deta1%26amp;adxnnlx%3D1180616460-kYG7B4yqGfsywiTIkSreZA
-Your donations make the work of MomsRising possible. To donate today on our new, secure website go to:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

MoveOn takes on Big Oil

I know there are skeptics out there, but with my work in and as a member, I've seen online petitions really work-- especially when 14,000 signatures are printed out and dragged onto the Senate floor.

Because of that, I'm putting their petition up here. The oil industry is out of control in this country, and I don't mean in a hooray-for-the-free-market way. As I said to some friends, if this were cheese or chocolate, I'd say hooray for your profits. But as long as we're talking about a commodity upon which our economy is so dependent, upon which everyday individuals are so dependent, (unfortunately), until there's an easily accessible alternative (go alt energy research scientists!!!)-- we have to sensibly regulate this crazy industry. And really, making *price gouging* of gas a federal crime is the least we can do. I honestly would have thought it already was, but...


Dear MoveOn member,

As of yesterday, gas prices are the highest in U.S. history—we just passed the 1981 record, even adjusted for inflation.1 Prices could reach $4.00 per gallon in parts of the country, just in time to crimp summer vacation plans. As consumers suffer, the oil industry continues to reap the windfall—breaking profit records on an almost quarterly basis. It's outrageous!

Enough is enough. Hearings start today on H.R. 1252, a House bill that would make gas price gouging a federal crime, punishable by 10 years in prison. Speaker Pelosi has said she'll move the bill to a vote this week—if there's the two-thirds majority required to fast track the bill through the process.2

Oil company lobbyists are frantically trying to stop the bill. Your representative needs to hear from you today. Will you sign our petition asking Congress to pass the price-gouging bill—and then send it to your friends?
"Gasoline price gouging should be made a federal crime before the summer price increases hurt more American families."
Sign the petition:

Rep Bart Stupak (D-MI), sponsor of the House bill said this of his motivation to introduce the legislation:
"In April ... crude oil was $7 a barrel cheaper than last year (but) gas prices were almost 50 cents a gallon higher. Clearly there's more at play than simply the world crude oil market."3

In April, more than two-thirds of Americans reported that their gas bills were causing financial crunches, with a full third saying it was having a "serious" impact on their families.4

That same month, the top two US companies, Exxon-Mobil and Chevron-Texaco, announced a combined $14 billion in first quarter profits.5

It seems like even the oil industry has gone too far this time, and it's time to balance the scales. The Senate passed a price-gouging measure out of committee last week, and the House bill now has over 100 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle.

The oil industry is nervous. They've sent their lobbyists to the Hill in full force to stop—or at least weaken—these bills, and they're pulling out all the stops. The American Petroleum Institute, an industry front group of more than 400 oil and gas companies, even threatened that new laws could increase gas prices more.6

Enough is enough. This summer, we can stop Big Oil from profiting at the expense of American families. Can you sign the petition to ask your representative to make gasoline a price gouging a federal crime now?
Sign the petition:
Don't forget to pass it on to your friends—this week is an historic opportunity to send Big Oil a message that we've had enough.
Thanks for all you do.
–Ilyse, Natalie, Eli, Tom, and the Political Action Team Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

1. "U.S. gas prices jump more than 11 cents," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 21, 2007
2. "Debate on [H.R. 1252], offered by Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Bart Stupak, D-Mich., will kick off Tuesday with a hearing in Stupak's subcommittee. It is possible that an Energy and Commerce markup will follow. But Democratic leaders might opt to bring the bill up to the floor under suspension of House rules by Wednesday."Excerpted from National Journal's Congress Daily, Monday, May 21, 2007
3. "Lawmaker Links Gas Prices to Investments," Houston Chronicle, May 16, 2007
4. "As Gas Prices Rise Again, Democrats Blame Big Oil," Washington Post, May 11, 2007
5. "Lawmaker Links Gas Prices to Investments," Houston Chronicle, May 16, 2007
6. "Lawmakers' blood pressure rises with prices at the pump,", May 17, 2007
Support our member-driven organization: Political Action is entirely funded by our 3.2 million members. We have no corporate contributors, no foundation grants, no money from unions. Our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. If you'd like to support our work, you can give now at:
PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Monday, May 21, 2007

a week of dinners

It's Monday, time for another weekly menu:

M: trout with Meyer lemon, olive oil, garlic and cilantro; whole wheat pasta with lemon pepper; salad with artichoke hearts, mixed baby greens, tomatoes and flowers (for Dad's birthday!)

T: chicken with papaya salsa, brown rice tortillas, black beans

W: panzanella, zucchini sliced thin and either eaten raw with olive oil and lemon -- or fried :)

Th: hummus, whole wheat toasted pita, tomatoes; yogurt and California sage honey; and... still thinking...

F: chicken coconut curry soup, maybe with leftover country levain from the panzanella on the side


Mr. Savage's Neighborhood

I used to take dance from an incredibly old-school, awesome teacher, Mr. Reginald Ray-Savage. This man carries a stick in class, a la Debbie Allen in "Fame," and probably would scream "You will pay in sweat!" if he felt like it. Lord knows he's screamed something like that to me on several occasions.

Many people cannot take his style of teaching. But those who can and stick with him become very strong very fast. He's an excellent teacher and artist and if you ever get a chance to see Savage Jazz Dance Company perform, I highly recommend it (especially if you love jazz music).

I ran into him on the street the other day and it was fabulous! He met D and Paloma and gave me his bit of advice for parenting Paloma, which is one of the few really good pieces of advice I'd gotten, so I'm sharing it with you:

Make sure that she knows the meaning of "no," and that "no" can be ok. If someone tells you no, pick yourself up and know that life goes on! I don't plan on being an especially lenient or especially fascist parent, so this sounded like really reasonable and commonsense advice to me on how to handle "no."

I think he runs into a lot of parents who say "What do you mean my son/daughter isn't going to be the next star dancer of our generation? What do you mean they're not going to dance in your production? Can't you fudge it for them?" Or something.

I really appreciate this advice-- that one "no" shouldn't end your dreams, and that fighting every "no" can be life-sucking. There are times to battle, and times to be liberated from fighting and to move on. Amen!

The Office- The Job!

So on a message board I participate on, we were discussing whether Jim meant a date date when he asked Pam to dinner, or just meant they were going out for dinner.

Sidebar: (It feels like we're DefCon on that thread! I love it! DefCon is one of my favorite concepts on that show. Reminds me of "Oh my god you guys!!" kind of frippery/friendship in Legally Blonde, a movie I boycotted forever because I thought I'd hate it...ah, life is funny.)

We decided it was most likely a date date, given how loaded the word is and how delicate their relationship is since Beach Games' Great Pam Revelation. Also, considering how the writers (too quickly, IMHO) "embitchenated" Karen and how being in NYC really polarized Jim and Karen (he: small town guy who eats tuna every lunch and who suggests going to the UN when in NYC; she: NYC regular who has friends there and knows the city)-- well, it makes sense that Jim is not a Karen kind of guy.

Probably even already left Karen. If he didn't, then it might make the "date" with Pam less date-y.

Ok, you Office fans, I know you have thoughts on this, so comment away!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

lip gloss review!

Can't let another Tuesday go by (ok, officially it's Wednesday, but when you've got a baby, you blog when you can blog) without a lip gloss review!

Let's start with an oldie but goodie. There's a reason that Black Honey by Clinique is still around after a million and two years.

Don't be fooled by the dark color in the tube. It is the perfect shade!

Well, perfect if you're looking for a sheer-ish, redd-ish berry-ish yet still natural-ish color with shine. That had been my Holy Grail for years, and you'd better believe that with medium to dark skin, that wasn't easy to find.

But don't think it's limited to my skin shade! Ah no. This is the beauty of Black Honey. My dear friend Laurel has the most gorgeous red-red hair, clear blue eyes and pale skin. And she wears Black Honey like nobody's business.

Interestingly enough, we share a lot of the same lip glosses. If it looks good on me, it almost always looks good on her.

Black Honey comes in an Almost Lipstick and an honest-to-goodness lip gloss. The Almost Lipstick is sheer and light and can be layered to be a bit stronger (to a point-- it's quite sheer); the lip gloss is a true glossy, high-shine gloss applied with a wand and seems to have more pigment. I've found that both are true to the color; it's the texture that's different.

I've searched around for years, but nothing seems to top this one for a gorgeous sheer natural red that you can wear daytime to night, sheer to slick, formal, workplace, or picnicky. Enjoy it!

Monday, May 14, 2007

a week of dinners

I'm sharing the weekly menus I come up with every Monday in the hopes that it will inspire you, if you're looking for inspiration. :)

I try to cook with what's freshest and local to the Bay Area. Hooray for spring!

M: homemade pesto with whole wheat pasta, portobella mushrooms, and roasted or steamed artichokes

T: mixed baby greens salad with marinated artichoke hearts, chickpeas and kidney beans, roasted butternut squash and Brianna's vinaigrette

W: roasted asparagus with ancho chile and cornmeal chicken, sweet potatoes

Th: baked potatoes with cheddar, broccoli; steamed zucchini

F: roasted acorn squash; barley cooked in chicken broth

Saturday, May 12, 2007

inspired photography

Moms and babies and Dads and babies make great photography subjects. Just ask Nan Phelps, noted Berkeley photographer, who made an amazing gift to some moms who might not otherwise have been able to afford her. Phelps worked with The Perinatal Council to photograph lower-income moms and their babies in Richmond, CA-- then developed the film and mounted and framed the images.

I thought about what a wonderful, powerful gift this is. There's nothing like these early months of parenting. One can live an extremely full life, full of travel and adventure, and the experience of parenting will still be totally unlike anything else. To capture the early days in such a meaningful , artistic way is a gift unlike any other.

Here's the link for your dose of inspiration:


The Daily Ritual

Without ritualizing certain aspects of my life-- such as writing and exercise-- I am losing them to the various needs of the baby and household.Thus, I'm hereby instituting The Daily Ritual.

I could also call this giving myself a good butt-kicking, lighting a fire under my ass or any number of gluteal-related self-discipline sayings. What it entails is this:
- writing a few sentences in my journal daily
- walking daily
- 25 minute toning workout daily

Three things to start with. I pretty much already do walk daily, so I can feel like I'm already with the program! Early success leads to further commitment. I just made that up, but my gut tells me it's true.

Wish me luck, everyone. If I can stick to this, I might be a better writer and lose a few pounds! The next thing I'll add, if all goes well, is a daily 10 minute Spanish lesson from one of five Teach Yourself Spanish! books that I have. (insert "rolling eyes at myself" emoticon here-- but I'm excited!)

Friday, May 11, 2007

teaching kids R-E-S-P-E-C-T

There are a million ways to teach respect, some more effective than others. I was over at "In the Motherhood," the new website that features Leah Remini acting in parenthood-based vignettes written by website members. It's pretty clever (just make sure to opt out of receiving emails from Sprint and Suave!).

Many of the entries I read weren't particularly sophisticated or polished. But one got me thinking. It was about a little girl who, with her neighbor friend, had thrown rocks and sand at a car, damaging it pretty badly. It didn't seem that the girls meant to do harm-- they were throwing for the fun of throwing.

Her mom was very proud of the punishment she came up with-- both girls had to wear pink and white striped shirts (Mom's version of a prison jumpsuit) and sit at an iced tea stand with a sign saying something like "We broke a window and have to raise money to fix it. Iced tea $1.")

For me this raises the question: how do we teach these little innocent people the meaning of personal property (and how to respect it!) before things like this happen? A five year old most likely did not have any ill will or malintentions toward the car or its owner. At five, if I was lobbing rocks it was probably to watch the rocks fly, to see them land-- something innocent like that. Also, it might be hard for them to understand since they don't own things with high monetary value.

But they probably do have things that have high sentimental value to them-- maybe start there? (eg, you wouldn't want anyone to pull the eyes off your favorite teddy bear, right? Well, Mrs. X's car is like your teddy bear...) Personally, I think this punishment was too humiliating for a little kid who probably had no understanding of what she was doing. I'm sure she does now, though. Tough lesson.

And respecting other people (as opposed to property)? That's a post for another day!
Happy Mother's Day! I just had to share this hilarious e-card from MomsRising.

Ok. After you finish that dose of happiness and goodwill, your loins will be well-girded to tackle this piece by Linda Hollis-- it's a snide article against MomsRising. I'll put aside the insults (that MomsRising doesn't understand economics) and get to the point: she thinks that more government "interference" in closing the wage gap, in securing healthcare for all children, and in other areas important to family life is foolish.

She's missing the point that MomsRising is calling not only for governmental shifts (as much as she'd like to see government eliminated- she's a "pro-life Libertarian"- I haven't seen evidence of her Jean d'Arc revolutionary power, so...). MR is also calling for a cultural shift-- one in which corporations leave the 1950s model of work and catch up with life in the new millenium, in which people actually *increase productivity* by having open flexible hours. A culture in which people actually respect parenting instead of paying lip service to family values while kneeling at the altar of the Bottom Line. A culture in which television doesn't provide childcare after school-- a real, live, caring, excellent childcare provider is there, readily available if both parents are working outside the home. A culture that cares enough about family to *really* prioritize it-- that's what I'm working for.

I believe that competition and Adam Smith and the free market and the invisible hand are useful ideas. But I think she's missing the fact that without government, she wouldn't be able to pay for the "free market cost" of her utilities, her subsidized corn (which is in *everything* we eat that comes in a package, jar or box), her roads, public schools, firefighters, police, etc.... I am not saying, and MomsRising is not saying, that government needs to be in every facet of life. But I am saying that where the free market cannot meet the basic needs of people, government must step in (as in the above examples). If we cannot see that healthcare for all children is a basic need, then we need to educate our society to understand how much BETTER our standard of living would be with it. This is just one example of how MomsRising seeks to improve American quality of life.

What do you think about the Hollis article and the MomsRising e-card? Send it to your friends!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Pax Materna

I am so deeply moved by this:



The idea that "for now, forever, there is no mother who is enemy to another mother" is so deeply moving and powerful to me. I want to remember this and work from this place every day.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

chocolate review! Seattle Chocolates

Seattle Chocolates Truffle Bar in Cappucino Crunch: Toffee, almonds and espresso in milk chocolate
All natural
2.5 oz (70 g)

This is a smooth, lovely bar with a nice silky truffle filling. What's missing for me is the crunch. We're promised toffee, we're promised almonds, but there's precious little of either in this bar, especially with a name like Cappucino Crunch. Maybe they're going for subtle, which is ok, but you've got to balance "subtle" with "flavor." Not that this isn't a perfectly good milk chocolate bar-- it is. But I'm looking for a little more cappu in my cino, if you know what I'm saying.

By all means enjoy this bar, but just don't let it be the last word on espresso milk chocolates.


Found another cool moms' gathering spot on the Web: CafeMom. I've started a MomsRising group there for anyone who wants to chat about MomsRising issues. Can't wait to see you there!

Check out MomsRising at CafeMom!