Archive for: October, 2010

Weekly Blogroll

Oct 30 2010 Published by under Sunday Morning Blogroll

Photo by Aunt Owwee

If you’re looking for something to read as you sip your morning coffee this weekend, here are some of my favorite articles and blog posts from this week.

minimalism vs. the corporation

From Mnmlist by Leo Babauta

Minimalism isn’t just about having fewer possessions or developing a beautifully minimalist aesthetic. It’s a striking out against the corporations that are increasingly in control of our lives.

Every aspect of our lives have been pervaded by corporations. We eat not just fresh, simple food grown from local farms, but processed food (sometimes “organic” processed food) packaged by corporations, or fried up at chain restaurants. Coffee brewed by Starbucks. Computers made by Apple. Programs from Microsoft and Adobe.  Keep reading…

Why Go Veg?

Guest post by Dusti Arab on elegant simple life

In Dusti’s words:

I was not a vegetarian when I started writing this post.

Christianna invited me to write a post regarding all of the benefits of a vegetarian or vegan diet. This was no small task, considering the amount of information on the topic, all of the fad diet sites, and my lack of knowledge of what it is like to be a vegetarian. To be sure, I have been living mostly meat-free for several years. I’ve been living by these silly, arbitrary rules I made for myself when it comes to buying meat. I only buy meat once a month, it is always free-range chicken, and I always feel guilty about it. Keep reading…

How to See Past Your Stuff to a Place Called Enough

Guest post by Katie Tallo on Rowdy Kittens

My father-in-law is 84. He lived in a three-bedroom bungalow for the last 30 years, filling every nook and cranny with a lifetime’s worth of stuff. When his wife died last year, he found himself alone with no one to cook for or sit beside. All that was left was a house full of memories and stuff. Keep reading…

What About Afghan Women?

By Nicholas D. Kristof for The New York Times

For those of us who favor a sharp reduction in American troops in Afghanistan and a peace deal with the Taliban, the most vexing question is: What about Afghan women?

Time magazine framed the issue in a wrenching way with a cover this summer of Aisha, an 18-year-old woman who ran away from an abusive husband. The article said that last year the Taliban had punished Aisha by having her nose and ears hacked off — a traditional punishment for women considered disobedient or promiscuous. Her husband did the cutting. Keep reading…

Fresh PG content is on the way

I hope you find these articles and posts as informative and inspiring as I did. A fresh post from Peculiar Girl is in the works. Check back soon.

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Off With My Head

Oct 28 2010 Published by under My Story

Peculiar Girl (right) and siblings, circa 1974

I was once a tiny wisp of a girl. Until about age 16 I was small for my age—not even a glimmer of the sturdy, curvy woman I’ve become. I was small enough that for several years, I borrowed the clothes from my life-size Raggedy Ann doll to wear for Halloween.

I loved Raggedy Ann. I loved her so much that my parents were admittedly surprised when, at age 6, I said I didn’t want to dress as Raggedy Ann for Halloween that year. I had something new in mind, and I wanted to make the costume myself. And I knew just the place to get what I needed…

Every fall, my family headed to The Pumpkin Farm to choose the pumpkins we would carve and turn into jack o’ lanterns.

The Pumpkin Farm was one of my favorite places when I was a kid. There were pumpkins everywhere, and the proprietors would set up attractions around the property featuring “people” made of old clothes stuffed with straw… with pumpkins for heads.

There were pumpkin-head people sitting on hay bales, pumpkin-head scarecrows, and even an old school bus filled with pumpkin-head schoolchildren.

You can probably see where this is going…

As a diminutive, yet determined 6-year-old girl, my plan for Halloween was to carve a pumpkin and wear it on my head.

My memory is a little fuzzy on the details, but my parents remember like it happened yesterday. They tell the story often, especially this time of year. They talk proudly about how insistent I was, and how determined I was to make it work.

I vaguely recall my mom suggesting I wear a cloth or papier-mâché pumpkin head instead, but I insisted on the real thing. So we got to work. I scooped out the seeds and my dad helped me carve the face.

We had to cut a large hole in the bottom of the pumpkin in order to fit it over my head. This made it nearly impossible to keep the thing from shifting back and forth once I put it on. And it was heavy… I nearly tipped over from the weight of it. I was like a miniature clapper inside a giant, pumpkin-shaped bell.

I stood silent for a few moments, not ready to admit my mistake.

I think it was the smell that finally did me in. I had lined the inside of the pumpkin with foil, but it wouldn’t stay put. My nose touched the slimy flesh, and I was ready to surrender.

We put the pumpkin on the porch with the rest of the jack o’ lanterns, and I grudgingly donned my Raggedy Ann costume for another year.

My parents must have known my pumpkin-head costume would lead to disappointment, but they supported me anyway—they even helped me make it. I’m grateful for that. Mom and Dad always encouraged me to be myself—weird ideas and all.

Have something to add? Please, leave a comment with your thoughts. If you enjoyed this post, you can subscribe to Peculiar Girl or share it on Twitter or Facebook.

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Empower Women and Save the World

Oct 25 2010 Published by under Kindness and Compassion, Women's Issues

Photo by photowannabe

I wasn’t the only one moved to tears following a presentation by one of Megan Correll’s closest friends at last week’s A Fund for Women 2010 annual event in Madison, Wisconsin. My husband was visibly choked up, as were most of the nearly 350 guests in the Monona Terrace Ballroom.

Megan is an A Fund for Women (AFFW) volunteer. She is also an attorney, a wife, and the mother of two young children. Megan was unable to attend the AFFW event this year, because she has stage IV breast cancer. She is 34 years old.

The cancer has spread to Megan’s lymph nodes, lungs, and brain. During the slideshow presentation, Megan’s friend described a woman who always wants to help others, even as she battles for her life. She announced Megan’s wish to create an AFFW grant fund, which will be used to enrich the lives of women and girls in Dane County.

Megan donated $1,000 to start the fund. At the close of the presentation, her friend challenged us to help Megan’s fund reach $10,000.

I spoke with Jan Gietzel, executive director for AFFW, who told me as of today, Megan’s fund has reached nearly $8,000.  Please, help Megan reach her goal of $10,000 by making a donation in her honor. Donate now

About A Fund for Women

A Fund for Women is a women’s fund headquartered in Madison that makes a direct difference in the lives of women and girls. The group encourages women to develop as philanthropists, and allows donors to pool their charitable dollars in order to achieve maximum impact.

Women and Philanthropy

Seventy percent of the world’s poor are women and girls—two-thirds were never taught to read and write. Women and girls are also disproportionately affected by violence.

Conversely, women in the U.S. control more than half of the private wealth and make 80 percent of all purchasing decisions. Additionally, women tend to donate more of their wealth than men do.  We are in a position to institute significant world change.

If you don’t already support a women’s fund, consider starting this year. Read up on the issues, and make a donation with your pocketbook or your time. Empowering women and girls improves the lives of families, which is good for everyone.

Suggested reading:

Women’s Funding Network

Half the Sky Movement


Have something to add? Please, leave a comment with your thoughts. If you enjoyed this post, you can subscribe to Peculiar Girl or share it on Twitter or Facebook.

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Peculiar Girl on Jury Duty

Oct 24 2010 Published by under My Story

I’ve been summoned for jury duty, so I might not be able to post for a bit. I will know more after the selection process, which is tomorrow. I hope to return to blogging soon. Stay tuned!

UPDATE: The case settled so I was excused from jury duty. Too bad, I was kind of looking forward to it.

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Answer to Last Week’s Gender Stereotype Quiz

Oct 19 2010 Published by under Stereotypes

If you stopped by last week, you may have noticed my post “Sugar and Spice and Puppy Dogs’ Tails,” where my husband and I attempted to demonstrate that not everyone fits neatly into a neat “masculine” or “feminine” box. In fact, I would bet that most of us don’t. I have some traits and interests that are considered masculine in our culture, and Tom has some that are typically considered more feminine. By listing some of these things side by side, we wondered if readers who don’t know us personally would know which column represented me, and which represented Tom.

If you haven’t seen the Tom/Cheryl comparison yet, and want to venture a guess, click here.

As promised, here is the answer to who’s Spouse A and who’s spouse B. Quiz answer

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