Archive for August, 2010

a happy little moment

So I have this dream that one day I will be walking through some airport and will see my book in someone’s hand as she sits and reads until it is time to board.  Now, this is a terribly impractical dream as I haven’t yet (like that optimistic yet) written a book that really lends itself to airplane travel but a girl can dream, right?  Anyway, I had an almost as good as the airplane gate moment the other day. 

I was walking up to the library to return a book and check out another when I noticed that a man, probably about my age, was sitting on the bench in front of the library and seemed to be trying to place me.  I assessed him, nope, don’t know him, and figured he’d come to that same realization as I got a bit closer.  Instead, he slammed his hand on his knee and said, “I just read your book for the second time last week.” 

You can imagine that seeing this unknown 35 year old white man profess to reading my book for the second time was a bit of surprise.

“My book?”  I asked. 

“Yes, your book,” he answered definitely.  Nonetheless, I am scouring my brain to try and figure out who he thinks I am because he obviously has me mixed up with someone else in town and there are enough writers in our town (although the Latina element in this puzzle is a complicating one) that it’s possible. 

“It came out about three years ago, right?”  He asks and I nod. 

“Some friends told me I just had to buy it, and I thought, ‘but this book isn’t for a man’ but I bought it anyway and I read it and it is so good.  And last weekend when I was looking for a book to read and saw it on the shelf, I decided to read it again.  You’re a great writer.” 

Startled, I thank him and then introduce myself before shuffling into the library with a little boost of pride. 

Writers live in such vaccums.  We don’t have co-workers who can tell us “atta girl” really and so we just have to count on our self-assessment that we’ve done decent work, the occassional ‘good job’ from an editor who is drowing under so much work that they don’t really have time to layer on praise in between constructive feedback, and the very vague, “I saw your article in such and such” that a neighbor will scream to you at the grocery store that you have no idea how to answer because it is just a fact and not a compliment or criticism.  So we jar up the emails and comments we get from readers to know that we’re headed in the right direction and when something like the unknown man greets you at the library, we especially relish it.  I don’t know that the airport scene I envision will ever happen so I’ll settle for the guy at the library in my town who is so not my target audience, and yet liked the book because I think it probably feels pretty similar even without the backdrop of 737s.

August 31, 2010 at 7:44 pm 1 comment

Early Bird Registration for beautiful you. the workshop

I just realized that the early bird price for beautiful you. the workshop goes up tomorrow so I wanted to remind you, too.  If you want to get the early bird price, email me your registration form today to hijasamericanas@gmail.com and mail your check to arrive by Saturday.  Hope you can join us! 

beautiful you. the workshop is a one-day self-awareness and empowerment retreat based on Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance.  Led by Rosie Molinary*, participants will use writing exercises from selected journal prompts, guided discussion in small groups, quiet reflection, gentle movement like stretching and meditative walking, and art to create an action plan for how to care for, champion, and treat their whole selves well.

With a focus on authentic living, the core activities of the day give participants practical and inspirational tools (like journaling and creating vision boards) to fully live lives of their own choosing.  Participants will also be introduced to five guiding principles that they can use in guiding their focus and leading their attention away from their physical self.  In addition to individual, small group, and large group exercises, participants will enjoy a tranquil setting at the Starrette Farm, a beautiful private homestead spanning 50 acres of rolling woodland and walking trails just 5 minutes off the I-40 and I-77 intersection in Statesville, North Carolina.  Morning goodies, lunch, and afternoon snacks will be provided by Nikki Moore, the owner of Food Love and a personal chef. 

 beautiful you. the workshop is a  practical and inspirational day that provides women of all ages support and motivation in a safe, non-judgmental, inspirational environment for championing their own emotional and physical well-being in order to move forward in discovering and living the lives they were meant to live.  Space is limited to no more than 20 participants in order to ensure a quality experience for every participant.   

November 6, 2010

9 am until 5:30 pm

Statesville, North Carolina

Early bird price of $100.00 includes lunch and snacks.  The price goes up to $125 on September 1 and $150 on October 1.   

To register, please complete the beautiful you workshop registration form and mail it along with your check to Rosie Molinary, PO Box 695, Davidson, NC 28036.  A minimum of 14 participants are needed for the workshop to be held.  Email me at hijasamericanas@gmail.com with any questions.  Checks will not be cashed until after October 1 (and only after the course has reached it’s minimum participant level).       

Please bring a journal for reflection and a favorite pen.  Feel free to bring a copy of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance.  If you want to purchase a copy of Beautiful You to pick-up at the retreat, please add $15 to your registration check.       

Checks should be made payable to Rosie Molinary. 

Bio:  Rosie Molinary has been leading workshops and retreats for over ten years.  An author, speaker, and teacher with a focus on authentic living, she specializes in encouraging individuals to explore, integrate, and solidify their voices in order to empower them with their own truth, confidence, hope, passion and action.  Rosie’s second book, Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self Acceptance, will be published in October 2010 by Seal Press.  Hijas Americanas, her book on Latina body image in America, was published by Seal Press in June 2007. In addition to writing, she teaches a course on body image at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and speaks on body image, diversity, self-awareness, social justice and writing around the country.

August 31, 2010 at 6:27 am Leave a comment

a little sunshine

Thought I’d offer a quick Sunshine Project Update.  When I remember to fill out the chart , it’s a great tool for me to make sure that I deliberately include things that I really enjoy or that give me a spark into each day (and that list has grown from your suggestions and from remembering things that I enjoy).  Most days, I am able to squeeze in more than five things into my day but I just stop at five once I’ve gotten those down because I just want to focus on getting the five sunshiney things in, anything else is bonus.  Below is the chart that takes me from last Thursday through this Monday. 

Are you doing  the Sunshine Project or a version of it?  If so, how is it going for you?    

Sunshine Project 

  #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Monday  

8 hours of sleep

 

Playing with Happy

 

Talking to a friend

 

Cardio

 

Reading a good book

Tuesday          
Wednesday          
Thursday  

Celebrating Life

 

Sunshine

 

Cooking at home/ Fresh Food  

 

Time with someone special

 

Taking photographs

Friday  

Solitude

 

8 hours of sleep

 

Dressing up

 

Teaching

 

Being productive

Saturday  

Organizing

 

Playing with Happy/ Celebrating Life  

 

Sunshine

 

Watching Football

 

Taking photographs

Sunday  

Reading a good book

 

Nap  

 

Playing with Happy

 

Driving in the Countryside

 

Early morning walk

 

8 hours of sleep*  Solitude*  Early morning walk*  Reading a good book*  Listening to good music*  Sleeping in*  Time at the ocean*  Yoga*  Meditation/Prayer*  Fresh food* Cooking at home*  Being creative just to be creative* Downsizing*  Change of scenery*  Hot Tea* Talking to a friend* Playing with Happy*  Sunshine*  Cardio*  Lifting Weights*  Watching football*  A New Challenge* Driving in the countryside*  Nap*  Dressing Up*  Being Kind, Helpful* Being Productive*  Time with Someone Special* Weeding* Organizing * Taking photographs* Being in nature* Laughing* Stretching* Massage* Teaching* Celebrating Life

August 30, 2010 at 7:06 pm Leave a comment

Go Green with Jodi Helmer

 
Jodi Helmer is the author of three books including The Green Year: 365 Small Things You Can Do to Make a Big Difference and freelances for a variety of magazines and web-sites.  Because so many of us want to do the right thing for the environment and, yet, are intimidated by making it happen, Helmber came up with a way to make that commitment in 365 manageable, affordable steps.  In addition to writing, Jodi is rescuing dogs, mentoring young Latinas, teaching writing, and making art.  Because she is so inspiring and because The Green Year is a great book for each of us to own and operate from and give to others, I asked Jodi to share some of her experience with us.     
 
How did your interest in sustainable living and environmental issues develop? 
Looking back, I can see that my interest in sustainable living and environmental issues developed without me even realizing it was happening. I lived in Portland, Oregon, from 2000 to 2007 and the things I loved best about the city were the farmers markets, restaurants with an organic/local/Fair Trade focus, local shops, bike culture, awesome public transit…all things that are such a huge part of a sustainable lifestyle. To be honest, I took them for granted. It wasn’t until I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, that I really realized how important those amenities were, not only to my quality of life but to the environment as a whole. It was definitely one of those “don’t-know-what-you’ve-got-until-it’s-gone” realizations. 
 
When and why did you decide to translate that love into The Green Year? 
When I moved to Charlotte, I realized that Portland was a green utopia and it was much harder to be eco-friendly in other parts of the country. I’d lament to friends about the lack of curbside recycling in my neighborhood or the number of vendors at the farmers market who were selling imported and out-of-season produce or the way the bag boy at the supermarket gave me an odd look when I handed him my canvas bags. Every time I complained, I heard the same thing: “It’s so expensive and difficult and time-consuming to go green.” I knew that wasn’t the case. I figured writing a book was a safer option than screaming the message from my rooftop. (Plus, I live in a small neighborhood and only a few people would have heard me)!

What was your favorite part of writing The Green Year?                                                                                                                                                                                                                   The research. I’m such a research nerd. I loved digging up statistics on how much paper it would save if we all stopped taking our receipts at the ATM. (For the record, if every American declined their ATM receipt, it would save a roll of paper more than 2 billion feet long, which is enough to circle the equator 15 times). I think the research I was able to dig up helps to really show people how the small things really do make a big difference.
 What would you say to encourage someone to try and live with more eco-consciousness?                                                                                                                                                            Just start. Do one thing. You don’t have to solve the climate crisis on your own (though if you think you have a solution, please step forward). The little things really do make a big difference. Turn off the water when you brush your teeth, switch your light bulbs to CFLs, use the “cold” cycle on the washing machine — and then talk to others about what you’re doing and how simple it is. I think the green message can be spread just like it was in the 80s shampoo commercials — you tell a friend and they’ll tell a friend and so on and so on…
 Some issues we discuss on a regular basis on this blog are self-awareness and community engagement.  Given that, what community issues most speak to you?                                    Ironically, the community issue I’m most passionate about has nothing to do with being green: I’m very involved with dog rescue. I volunteer at adoption events, help raise awareness and funds and foster dogs until they find their forever families. I think the way we treat animals speaks volumes about our society. Right now, we’re doing a poor job. Mecklenburg County, where I live, euthanized 12,000 animals during the last fiscal year. Responsible pet ownership, including spaying/neutering, is essential. I also advocate for rescuing pets, not purchasing them at pet stores. I have a pack of three dogs (two dachshunds and a lab mix) that I adore. 

And what do you most appreciate about yourself?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   I have a big heart. 

What do you wish all women knew?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Great question! I wish all women knew that we have the power to achieve our wildest dreams; that it’s much more fun and more fulfilling to dig into life and get messy than it is to sit on the sidelines.

 

August 29, 2010 at 7:26 pm Leave a comment

So Long One, Hello Two

Well, the littlest kid turns 2 today.  We’ll celebrate with an end of the bed present ( a fun little something for him to open to start the day), a grandparent’s lunch at our house, and some Happy’s choice time in the  morning and afternoon.  My guess is that Happy’s choice will look like this: park in the morning and pool in the afternoon, but we’ll see.  On Saturday, we’ll celebrate with some friends at a local park.  

As you’ve heard 100 times, I tried my hand this year at taking a daily picture of Happy.  The end result was going to be a video of Happy’s first year but when I went to put together the video, I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of photos.  So, instead, I used all the photos to pick from and create this great round up of his first year- representative of the tears, the smiles, and the moments of Happy’s 2nd year on the planet in three minutes.  While we’re celebrating Happy’s birth, his birth parents, his delighftul addition to our lives, and all that stuff, we invite you to say goodbye to one and hello to two along with us!       

And for you clsoe watchers, yep, we were matched with Happy 2 years ago last week and today we’re celebrating Happy’s 2nd birthday.  How did that happen, eh?  Did we happen to have an all-knowing adoption agency director?  Nah.  Ethiopia operates on a completely different calendar system (it’s 2002 in Ethiopia) and, for many people in Ethiopia, date is not the guide that it is for us here.  Hence, there was no birthdate on record when Happy entered into care and the embassy doctor who chose a date for Happy’s birth several months after he was born, chose August 26th and that is what it is on his birth certificat.  We believe Happy was at least a week old when we were matched on August 22nd and so his actual birth likely happened at least 11 days before we celebrate his birth, but that discrepancy isn’t a significant stress for us.  In fact, we know families who have adopted older children whose actual age are four or five years different from what is on their birth certificate. It’s just one of those things that can happen in international adoption.   

A few friends took some of these photos so many thanks to Jodi Merck, Jane Campbell, Lisa Uken, and Jenn Kramer for sharing photos of Happy with us over the year.

August 25, 2010 at 7:38 pm 7 comments

Random Bits

Bit # 1  So, last week’s field trip was to Discovery Place, the kid’s discovery and science museum in Charlotte.  When you walk in, one of the first areas you reach is a little play place complete with a toddler area, water table, Legos Wall, etc.  It’s pretty thrilling (and overwhelming).  We walked in and immediately moved into the toddler area where one corner was made up of a padded floor with a little twelve inch padded barrier around it.  Happy quickly honed in on this location being the perfect place for dive bombing.  What is dive bombing?  Well, it is where an almost 2 year old boy throws himself, for no apparent reason other than the comic thrill of it, to the floor with all the force he can muster.  So the padded floor was a plus for the landing.  But an even bigger plus, the twelve inch wall that would allow him to dive bomb even more dramatically.  As soon as Happy hits the floor in the dive bombing venture, he is cracking up.  It unnerves me to have Happy do this, but, seriosuly, he only does it on carpeted or padded surfaces and so has met no ill fate with it and, hence, there is no stopping him.  I could try to stop him but I assure you that not one of us will recover anytime soon from the hysterical shrieking that takes place with said attempt.  So, if he’s near no one else and doing it on a safe surface, I do not try to stop him.  Really, that’s a favor to everyone involved. 

Soon, a cute little mom with her cute little pearl-necklace-wearing 16-month-oldish daughter came into the space and she sat her daughter down on the opposite side of the padded area.  Happy was still nowhere near them so I let him continue to do his thing.  The little girl sat in the corner with her little starfish hands clasped in her lap.  She sweetly looked around, surveying the scene, not moving, not making a peep.  I looked at my friend, “I would pay cash money for that to be my life for just five minutes.” 

And then Happy divebombed.  That sweet little girl with the pearls didn’t even flinch.  Her mom, however, audibly gasped.  He divebombed again. Again, she gasped.  Back and forth they went, the divebomb, the gasp, the divebomb, the gasp.  I do not think that mom would pay cash money for that to be her life for five minutes. 

Bit #2  When I go work out, Happy goes to the childwatch program at the gym.  Last week, I picked Happy up after my workout and the woman said, “I told someone this morning that he’s either going to be a doctor because he examines everything so carefully or the Wal-Mart greeter because he says hello to every kid that walks in here and gets their name right.”  Happy is funny that way.  He says Hello and Goodbye to every person and every thing, repeatedly, even the garage when we’re pulling out of it.  “Bye bye garage,” he’ll chant from the backseat.  And when we leave the gym, he hollers to the women at the front desk, “bye bye, ladies.”  I told BF the story and so he asked Happy if he wanted to be a doctor or the Wal-Mart greeter at breakfast the next day.  “Wah-maht greetuh,” Happy told him and waved both arms dramatically in the air. 

Bit # 3 So, the comedy of errors that is our parenting has a new chapter.  It was BF’s night to cook the other night (BF’s night to cook means that we are predominantly using the grill for dinner because I generally do not want to be responsible for anything that I can tragically malfunction).  He’d been home for a bit before making any moves for the kitchen and so I said, “Hey, ya wanna get started with dinner?”  “Where are we eating?” He asked and when he’s like that, it’s better to just not fight it.  So we decided on a place that serves a fast-Meditterean inspired menu and BF headed out the door with Happy, hollering over this shoulder, “Get his shoes, would ya?”  You betcha. 

Driving down the road, Happy started coughing (he doesn’t have a cold or anything, maybe some milk down the wrong windpipe) and, sure enough, because the kid has the easiest gag reflex, he hurled.  Frankly, you can pretty much guarantee that if Happy coughs three times in quick succession, there will be hurling (yes, that was the other half of our infancy double whammy– chronic sleeplessness and dramatic hurling.  Jealous, aren’t you?).  So, I crawled in the backseat and started sponging the kid down.  When we got to the restaurant, I reached in the trunk to get BF’s diaper bag to grab whatever back-up oufit I had packed in there at some point.  And the back-up outfit was… aged 12-18 months and suited for December.  But we were at the restaurant and after cleaning up after Happy, neither of us was in the mood to cook so we pulled the sweatshirt and bluejeans on Hap.  Those blue jeans came to just below Happy’s knees.  I was just beginning to laugh at the whole ridiciulousness of the situation when BF asked for Happy’s shoes which could be found back at home where I left them.  While BF pulled Happy out of his car seat and walked into the restaurant, I laid back and just laughed until the tears came because, seriously, what the heck else are you going to do?

The icing on top?  Though we are two towns away from where we live and have never seen anyone we know is this restaurant, BF sees a couple he worked with the week before we left to get Happy.  “Oh, there’s that beautiful boy we heard so much about,” the wife calls before moving over to us to meet the wretched-smelling little boy in the ill-fitting and seasonally inappropriate clothing.

August 24, 2010 at 7:11 pm 5 comments

Become a M’ija before September 1!

Alright, we’re in the last full week of Circle de Luz recruitment so I need to make one final plug.  Thanks for considering! 

Circle De Luz radically empowers young Latinas by supporting and inspiring them in the pursuit of their possibilities through extensive mentoring, programming, and scholarship funds for further education.   You can help us achieve our goals by joining our giving circle today!   

In September, we will select the Circle de Luz Class of 2016 from the current seventh graders at Albemarle Middle School in Charlotte, North Carolina to begin the program.  From now until the girls reach high school graduation, we will support them with mentoring and comprehensive programming to help them achieve their goal of graduating from high school and pursuing further education.  When they graduate from high school and enroll in the educational opportunity of their choice, we will support them with a minimum of a $5,000 scholarship provided to them by women, we call them M’ijas, from all over the country that pool their resources in a giving circle for the six years the girls are finishing their secondary education. 

We need your help in radically empowering these young women to live the lives they have imagined. So far, we have enough M’ijas to select four girls into the program and we’re hoping to have at least one more.  M’ijas can have any background and can live anywhere.  As a M’ija, you make a commitment to donate a minimum of $90 a year for six years to the scholarship fund that will support the Class of 2016’s Hijas (our scholarship recipients who are selected as seventh graders).  You do not need to make your donation for the 2010-2011 school year at this time.  In fact, all we need right now is your Letter of Commitment.  We then ask that ½ of your year’s commitment be paid by September 15 and the other half by March 15, 2011 (don’t worry, we’ll send you a reminder when the time comes!).  All scholarship donations are placed in a CD or money market account designated for our Class of 2016 Hijas so interest can begin to accrue and provide them with an even more robust scholarship by the time they graduate.  You are welcome to mail or scan and email by following the directions on the form.  Please take a look at our video at www.circledeluz.org to understand why this effort is so important.  Thank you for considering joining our team!   

 

Important statistics:

Latinos have the highest dropout rate of all racial and ethnic groups. 

Dropouts have an average annual income of $22,000. High school graduates will earn an additional $300,000 over the course of their career. College graduates will earn $2.1million in a lifetime.

Adolescent girls who had a serious school failure- like dropping out- are significantly more likely to suffer a severe bout of depression.  In fact, thirty-three percent of girls who drop out later become depressed.  Researchers believe this might be because girls more acutely suffer the worst consequences after dropping out like higher poverty levels, higher dependence on public assistance, and lower rates of job stability.                                                           

 Latinas between the ages of 12-17 are more likely to attempt to take their life than any other group.  Twenty-five percent say they have thought about it.  Fifteen percent have attempted suicide. 

A third of Latinas who dropped out cited marriage or pregnancy as the reason.                                          

Fifty-three percent of Latinas will become pregnant at least once before the age of 20.                                       

Thank you for helping us radically empower the lives of girls!   

August 23, 2010 at 7:26 pm Leave a comment

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In a Bookstore Near You

What does it mean to be beautiful in America? For years, pop culture has insisted that beautiful women are tall, thin, and blonde. So what do you do if your mirror reflects olive skin, raven hair, and a short build? Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina offers a provocative account of the struggles and triumphs of Latina forced to reconcile these conflicting realities. Rosie Molinary combines her own experience with the voices of hundreds of Latinas who grew up in the US navigating issues of gender, image, and sexuality. This empathetic ethnography exemplifies the ways in which our experiences are both profoundly individualistic and comfortingly universal.
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