You’re awesome – Amy Poehler thinks so too

  • Are you a person?
  • Have you ever looked in the mirror?
  • How about looked at someone else – anyone, really?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, Amy Poehler has a message you need to hear.

Whether or not you wonder the same thing about your own body or just want to build a better society where people stop judging each other’s bodies and just start enjoying all the amazing things they can do, Amy’s words ring true.

Every time I get sick, I think to myself “Once I can breathe through my nose again… once my head stops pounding… once my stomach stops churning… THEN, I’ll be ready to appreciate my body and be grateful for all the things it does right.”  But in reality, that’s not so easy to accomplish.  It’s mostly when our body fails us – with sniffles, a migraine, or more dramatically, cancer, that we really realize how much we take for granted and how much we have to be grateful for.

So, thanks, strong arms.  And sturdy back that helps me stand at my desk.  And tough heels, created through a summer of fun.  I’m glad you’re a part of my adventure.

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42 days left: Are you registered to vote?

No, really – are you?  Have you moved/ changed names/ decided to stop voting in your hometown by absentee ballot but haven’t done anything to move this forward yet?

Better safe than locked out of a crucial national election because you fall into this overlap (courtesy of Change.org):

Join voters across the country today for the first ever National Voter Registration Day to make sure that by the time the day is over, you are on your way to be registered to vote – including knowing where you actually need to go to cast your ballot.

And while you’re at it, maybe bug your friends and family too – the number of people who think they’re all set but who actually need to take a few more steps to vote is staggering, and could lead to heartbreaking results when the polls close on November 6.  Just send them a nice note today saying “Hey there!  I know you care about this election – time to make sure you can vote before registration deadlines close!”

The world will thank you later.

Kitchen Adventures: Mini muffin, mega delicious

In my flurry of cooking last weekend, I made some awesome mini muffins to snack on all week.  I know that I’m never really going to get over my sugar cravings in this lifetime, so I figured it was time to find a way to indulge in a healthier manner.  This was the perfect balance.

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The recipe I used is here, with the following changes:

  • I didn’t have quick oats, so I chopped up whole oats in a food processor before starting
  • I forgot to buy vanilla yogurt so I used the plain Greek yogurt I had around, along with an extra tsp of vanilla and a tbsp of brown sugar to balance it out, overall
  • Mini chocolate chips are amazing and I ate many of them.  That’s all.
  • I think this could have stood to have another banana added.  It didn’t have a lot of banana influence, if you ask me.

This made 45 mini muffins, though it was supposed to make only 36 – maybe I let it sit too long as I used my one muffin pan or maybe I wasn’t filling them enough, but I don’t really mind either way.  More to share!  They are not super sweet, but they’re tasty, healthy (>1 pointplus each!) and easy to make – win!

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If you give a MoHo a cookie

I was reading through a collection of writing from my awesome alma mater, Mount Holyoke College, and I came across this gem by Lynn Morgan.

One of my beefs with graduation speeches and other celebratory speeches in general is that they tend to be way too specific.  At the end of the day, do I really care what that one person in your class said?  Will it make a difference what you ate that made you realize that MHC was the place for you?  No.  Sorry, but no.  I want to know about how it felt to be a student – not you, not this specific student – at a moment when you heard that Hilary wasn’t going to be the Democratic nominee.  How your classmates – not just your friends – rallied around a cause as a symbol of a movement, not just an insider’s game.  When I submitted my speech for graduation, my goal was to hit this general sentiment – a tone that touches you, but brings as many people into the circle as possible.  That includes rather than limits the range of people who say “I know exactly what you’re talking about.”  Graduation gifts are for inside jokes.  Graduation and baccalaureate speeches – not so much.

That’s exactly why this speech blew me away with its universality.  I graduated almost five years ago, and it still made me pause and say “Hey, that’s me.  That’s us.”  What do you think, fellow MoHos and feminist friends everywhere?  Do you see a bit of you – or us – in this?

You can read the whole speech here – my favorite bit is below.

“If we give a MoHo a cookie, she’s going to ask for a glass of milk.” As we head toward the refrigerator, she’ll ask us whether we realize that humans are the only animals that routinely drink the milk of another species. She’ll wonder aloud whether the famous Mount Holyoke tradition of “milk and cookies” was predicated on the ethnocentric assumption that everyone should have the biological capacity to digest milk. She’ll point out that most of the world’s population stops producing lactase, the milk-digesting enzyme, after weaning, and she’ll explain that these days “M & Cs” might just as easily refer to carrots and hummus or chips and salsa. She’ll note that some people prefer to abstain from eating animal products in the interests of environmental sustainability. She’ll ask whether we’ve noticed that this year’s graduating class is made up of MoHos from 44 different countries and that many of them didn’t grow up drinking milk or eating cookies! Then she’ll ask, politely, whether we have any nondairy beverage options available.

“When we give her a tall glass of ice-cold soy milk, she’ll want to look in a mirror to make sure she doesn’t have a soy-milk moustache. When she looks into the mirror, she might notice that her hair needs a trim. So she’ll probably ask for a pair of scissors.” When she’s finished giving herself a trim, we might notice that she’s shaved only the right side of her head. She’ll explain that the asymmetrical hairstyle was inspired by Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity. Gender is not a stable biological category, she’ll explain, contrary to what she believed before she took Gender Studies 101. She will ask what we think about gender dimorphism, and she’ll suggest that gender might be the effect of treating it as a stable category. This is heavy stuff, and three hours later we’re still deep in conversation about the intersecting oppressions of race, class, gender, religion, and sexual orientation. She reminds us that this historic class started college the year that Obama was elected, and graduates in the very month that the President of the United States announced his support for marriage equality. She’ll conclude, politely but pointedly, that her haircut is a statement calculated to destabilize the gender binary.

“When the conversation is over, she’ll probably want to take a rest.” She’ll wander into Abbey Chapel. As the darkness closes around her, she’ll realize that she is surrounded by other MoHos – some excited and fidgeting, others sitting in quiet contemplation. Thinking back over what she has learned, she realizes that they have cultivated similar traits in one another: boundless curiosity, a passion for justice, respect for diverse ways of knowing, and a penchant for raising their voices – in affirmation, in protest, and in song. She loves knowing so much about biological variation and gender theory, of course, but more than anything else she appreciates her deep thirst for knowledge.

And, knowing a metaphor when she sees one, she realizes that she is thirsty, so she’ll ask for a glass of milk. And chances are if she asks for a glass of milk, she’s going to want a cookie to go with it.”

… I could really go for a cookie right about now.

Greatest political ad ever?

As we get into the part of the election cycle where all the ads are recycled – and frankly, all a bit depressing and pessimistic – something this awesome shines like a beacon of truthiness.  It’s a symbol of why we vote in the first place and how important it is to know what’s at stake, rather than just checking a box and voting the party line.  There could be some good candidates you miss!

More information about how this awesome ad came to be here.

Tips for flying in a small plane

Over Labor Day weekend, I took to the skies in the smallest plane I’ve ever been in thanks to the lovely folks at Cape Air.  It was a leap of faith for this slightly-nervous, greatly-afraid-of-heights gal, but it was either try this out or ride a bus for about 7-8 hours all the way from Boston to Bar Harbor so it seemed worth the adventure.

Boy, was I surprised at how it went.

Not only was it easy – it was FUN.  Awesome, actually.  We got the best view of Boston (seen above right out the pilot’s window), we hardly hit any turbulence though we did whip through some rain, and we got there in record time.  I was a little nervous when I realized we might end up landing in the dark with just a t teeny-tiny headlight to light the way, but we got there just before sunset and all was well.  The landing was better than my last JetBlue flight and we all applauded the pilot.

I would definitely do this again – but I would do some things differently.  Here are my top five tips for flying in a small plane:

  1. Be prepared.  First we waited in the terminal.  Then we waited on the stairs.  Then, all of the sudden, we were out next to the plane, being sized up by the baggage carrier.  He looked at me and one other woman and then said “Do you want to ride up front next to the pilot?”  I kind of sputtered “Who, me?” and then nodded my assent.  But MAN was I ill-prepared.  I had to text my family “planeislatebutwe’releavingnowridingnexttothepilot!”, grab my sunglasses, grab my camera, turn off my iPod, turn off my phone, find my sweater, grab my book… and in the time that took, he gave away my seat to someone else.  I ended up sitting right in back of the pilot, which was fun, but not nearly as fun as sitting next to him.  She had her own (deactivated) steering wheel!!  I would have been sitting there if only I’d been prepared to hop onto the plane rather than thinking there would be room to stow my whole carry-on, somehow (not a thing on a plane this tiny).  Live and learn: whatever you’re bringing on the plane should fit into two hands or be worn on your body – especially if you care where you sit.
  2. Bring sunglasses.  As you can see above, there’s no tinting in these windows and definitely no optional shade.  Small planes have a ton of windows and man, does it get bright.
  3. Bring a sweater.  You know how planes (and buses and trains) can fluctuate between hot and frigid at the worst times?  It’s even worse in a tiny plane.  On the runway, we were steaming – once we got far up into the sky, I was almost shivering.  Dress in layers!
  4. Plan like you’re getting into a small car.  No toilet.  No trash can.  No water or snacks, other than what they offer you in the terminal.  Take everything you equate with plane travel and dumb it down to car-sized expeditions and that’s the kind of experience you get on a small plane.  Still worth it, though.
  5. Look at a map before you hop on board.  You get such a great view in a small plane, you might as well know what you’re looking at!  That’s Bar Harbor, below.

 

I am over my small-plane jitters and ready to take to the sky next time my schedule permits, with more prep and less worrying this time.  Lesson learned: a little risk might unlock a fun adventure after all.