Category Archives: Family

My Personal Celebration of Women’s History

Celebrating the Women Who Made Me

It’s March.  It’s Women’s History Month.  And when we began discussing fabulous historical females here at #AIBC, I kept hitting walls.  I was never that great at historical timelines and dates… I cannot tell you who the 17th President of the United States (or any of the others for that matter) was.  I’m better at recognizing the voice of a singer about 10 seconds into a song.  But I CAN remember the women who have made a difference in my history so far, and today I would like to thank them.

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It is cliche to start with my mother, so I won’t go into great detail, but she is obviously where I began.  She is the source of my kindness, my compassion, my deep rooted desire to give back and help others, my sense of family, and an amazing example of being the glue that holds everything together.  It goes without saying that she should be mentioned, but she deserves an eternity of recognition and celebration all her own.  So I will move on for now.

The single event that will forever shape my life?  As a child, I had cancer.

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Dr. Judy Ochs was my pediatric oncologist when I was a patient at St. Jude.  She is the reason I wanted to enter health care, from a very young age.  She gave me the stethoscope off her neck and told me I could be a doctor when I grew up.  She was brilliant, kind, and loving.  If I could reach out and connect with her today, I would not even begin to know how to thank her.  She was part of the team that fought to give me a future.  You can’t make much more of an investment in someone.  I owe her a great deal.

 

The most formative years for a person are their school years.  The list of amazing females I encountered along the way is long.  Miss Lyle was was the first teacher I ever had.  Kindergarten.  I could read, say the ABC’s – she loved me and I was officially enamoured with being the teacher’s pet.  I may not remember why, or what made me stand out to her, but she always supported me, and throughout my life she would brag about how fantastic I was.  That does wonders for a girl’s self esteem.  Especially when said girl has zero self confidence, and gets picked on quite frequently.  For seeing something great in me, I would like to thank her.

Mrs. Linda Arant kindled my love for music and to this day that carries over into every aspect of my life.  Mrs. Sarah Love encouraged me to excell at everything I could get my hands on.  I still try to do it all.  Sometimes that is hard, but I thrive under pressure and I truly thank her for showing me I could do anything.  Mrs. Pam Shelton taught me how to type fast and blessed me with the invaluable etiquette skills I still reference to this very day.  In addition, she was strong-willed and never took no for an answer.  When she believed in something, by damn it was going to be a success.  Ms. Carrie Boykin was the popular teacher in our high school.  I could never really tell if she liked me, but that kept me on my toes.  She dealt out the tough love with directness.  I definitely wasn’t teacher’s pet, and she helped me develop a thick skin and a sense of independence while somehow influencing my future career path. Carrie taught me to fight for the things I wanted to achieve because they sure as hell were not going to be handed to me.  For that, I am grateful.

Mississippi University for Women.  There were so many influential encounters with fantastic women in college.  I cannot list them all or I would be writing for days.  Classmates, professors, friends…but heads and shoulders above most are the women of the Highlander and BlackList Social Clubs.  These are the sisters I never had, the friends that last the rest of your lifetime, the people that rush to your side when you are in need and when you are celebrating life’s successes, these women are my family.   The connections with all of the incredible women I met along the way are literally still a part of my life every single day – I truly am the person I am today because I was a W Girl.

Female Scientists in the Laboratory.  Lynn Ingram, Jackie Li, and Donna Patterson…  These women have shaped me more than they will ever know.  Tough love, directness, honesty, compassion, and true friendship are the commonalities among the three, but each of them are special to me in very different ways.  Lynn took me under her wing and gave me every opportunity for professional growth and development I could have ever imagined while also becoming like a mother to me.  I can rely on her to call me out when I am getting out of line.  Jackie Li is brilliant, a very hard worker, dedicated to being a good steward and providing quality patient care while also maintaining a very high level of professionalism.  The day she told me that I reminded her of herself, I knew she was invested in helping me be the best I could be, and she has pushed me more than any manager or supervisor ever has before.  I have learned so much from her.  Donna Patterson amazes me daily, and I am so lucky to have the opportunity to learn from her and grow as a leader in my profession.  She balances work and life better than anyone I have ever known, but she does not miss a beat in the process.  She knows everything going on in our department every minute while still being willing to take the time to give me advice and answer the smallest quetions.  I can only hope to be like Donna when I grow up.

I have missed many women in this post because there is no way to mention them all.  However, I would like to challenge you to think about the women that have played a role in your life.  How did they each shape you?  How did they help you to succeed?  Did they make you the person you are today?

Happy Women’s History Month!  Try to celebrate the women that are important to you everyday — you don’t need anyone’s permission to do so!

ZenKitty
#ThankYou
#WomensHistory

You wish you kicked ass, like a girl!

My son busted it on the concrete the other day.  Trying not to hover I called out to him, “You alright dude?”  Taking a few deep breaths, he stood up and dusted off his hind quarters.  He smiled and proclaimed, “I’m a man, I can take anything.”

Smiling, I turned and walked away.  It was like a thorn in my paw.  It ate at me all day.  Why is bravery and tough synonymous with being a man?  When I think of someone both brave and tough, most of my examples are women.

Being a Southern mother of a son, I have had to shrug off plenty of sexist remarks used to toughen up boys: boys don’t cry, step it up Nancy, and girls play in kitchens.  But I have had enough.

Maybe my time in the dojo has colored my outlook, but women ARE brave and tenacious.  We are the backbone of our families; the rule makers and enforcers of our homes; and the front line of protection for our friends, families, and children.

We need to inform our boys and girls of the women in the world that push the boundaries and prove the stereotypes wrong.  We need to remind them that women are more than girlfriends, wives, and mothers.  That way maybe the next time my son hears, “You ____ like a girl” a few pictures may come to mind.

Throw like a girl.

Jennie Finch

Jennie Finch

Hammer the gavel like a girl.

Sandra Day O'Conner, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagan

Sandra Day O’Conner, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagan

Cook like a girl.

Alice Waters

Alice Waters

Run like a girl.

Jackie Joyner Kersee

Jackie Joyner Kersee

Drive like a girl.

Danica Patrick

Danica Patrick

Run a Country like a girl.

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher

Train a Marine like a girl.

Pfcs. Katie Gorz, Julia Carroll, and Christina Fuentes Montenegro

Pfcs. Katie Gorz, Julia Carroll, and Christina Fuentes Montenegro

Call the shots like a girl.

Violet Palmer

Violet Palmer

Paint like a girl.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo

And Punch like a girl.

Laila Ali

Laila Ali

March is Women’s History Month, and I have decided that every day I am going to tell the story of a woman who has blazed the trail.  There are examples of a woman’s touch in every facet of our world’s history, and I know he will not be the only one to learn a thing or two about the life of women.

I urge you to do the same, take the time to find (and pass on) a few examples of just how tenacious we can be.

– NinjaKitty

#girlskicksass  #betenacious  #WomensHistroyMonth  #girlpower

Hey, Ladies! Don’t Be a Super Bowl Killjoy

Admit it, girls: no one of us is perfect. Don’t worry. The guys aren’t listening, and we’ll never admit you said it later in the interest of blogger/reader confidentiality. This morning we posted a timely tidbit you may have passed on to your significant other about being a gent on gameday. In the interest of fairness, AIBC now offers you the female version of said list.

Yes. This is completely necessary. If you plan to sit in on any Super Bowl festivities when the horn blows tomorrow, be sure to read this first.

1.) Don’t be that girl.

football widow

This is the most important game of the year. The spread is perfect. The friends are gathered. This isn’t the time to suddenly get the urge to talk relationship b.s. (or pretty much anything that doesn’t relate to the game, commercials, halftime show or party). Save it until after the game if you’re feeling insecure about him paying more attention to the TV or his pals today. Football season is over tomorrow anyway. Save the drama for mañana .

2.) Don’t assume. Not every other female at the party is there to talk about daycare and eat cheese dip. Some ladies really do like football without any male influence whatsoever.

football girls

This rule also applies vice versa if you are the football chick in the crowd. If it’s clear the female you sit on the couch next to is more interested in whether Flea will be wearing only a sock at halftime, don’t bother mentioning that wide receiver’s numbers for the year. Just offer her a frosty beverage and smile.

3.) This is not your gym or a Weight Watchers meeting. Unless someone specifically asks you how many calories are in that cheeseburger or is wagering on the number of sit-ups it would take to burn off those chips, keep it to yourself. Not everyone in the room made a New Year’s resolution to go Vegan or lose twenty pounds by swimsuit season, and some of them would probably like to enjoy the party without over-analyzing the deliciousness.

football food

Lighten up! Just pop that pizza roll in your mouth already and indulge for a minute. You can hit the treadmill double time tomorrow or eat half as much gluten. Whatever you need to do. Just can’t let loose? Suck on that celery stick and smile proudly for keeping your willpower/higher standards without guilting everyone else. Have a pat on the back. Go, you!

4.) Stupidity is not cute.

football bieber

Ignorance of the game of football is not a crime, but using it as a reason to bat your eyelashes at someone is just stupid. Learn the difference. If you honestly don’t know much about the game, ask questions around the plays or when a willing tutor is near the food table. Save big questions for after the game, or get an overview from some knowledgeable fan before it starts. Don’t sell yourself short by playing the girl who just doesn’t get it so some person will pay attention. If that’s your only game, you need a new playbook.

5.) Treat his friends as you would treat your own. This may sound like “Good Hostess 101” stuff, but it’s a common discourtesy. Just because his buds sometimes vaguely resemble animals doesn’t mean you should treat them like dogs. Sure. They are mostly scruffier, messier and less hospitable guests than your peeps; but they’re his, and he’s yours. It’s a package deal, sweetheart. Feed them. Football them. Find a way to love them yourself. Their wolf pack mentality may just rub off on you if you actually join them. You might just find you like being the Alpha female.

football Wolf-Pack-Only

If you stick to these rules, you’re sure to have a catty-free Super Bowl Sunday this year. Game on, and may the best team win!

Melanie

For the Boys: How to Avoid a Super Bowl Smackdown

It’s that time again, people! The game is on, and so is the pressure to ensure no penalties or injuries to the home team while your friends watch from the sidelines and eat all the hot wings. Did last year’s half-time showdown with the wife or girlfriend over you getting pizza on the couch follow you around the office the rest of the year? If you want to avoid the man-shaming of half a football game missed due to a severe tongue-lashing in front of a crowd, pay attention. These five tips just might save your life this weekend.

1.) Say it with me: “Wow, baby! This is the best party food EVER!” We don’t care if the beer is flat and the pizza cost $1 from the grocery store freezer, scarf it down like it’s tailgate heaven and say thank you.  Double that lip service if the brownies you’re eating are cut out in the shape of footballs.

football fabulous

If they’re smart, you shouldn’t have a hard time convincing your buddies to do the same. She’s probably resisting the urge to poison the whole lot of you for what you’re doing to the house right now.

2.) Don’t you DARE patronize her football IQ.

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This is definitely a first time, no warnings needed 15-yard personal foul. And that’s when there’s no Midol involved. If she asks why they call the Seahawks fans the 12th man or why they called unnecessary roughness, try to inform without making her feel like a complete idiot. She’s trying to learn more about what you’re interested in, man. Recognize!

3.) Get your paci or suck it up.                                                                This may be hard to believe, but it really is just a game. There are no lives staked on the outcome of the Super Bowl this weekend (we hope), and there is nothing worse than a big baby on the sidelines.

football cry baby 2

If your favorite quarterback knew how worked up you were getting about that dropped pass, he’d probably knock you the fanboy out. So your team is down by two touchdowns and your fantasy football league team is suffering…that’s no excuse for making everyone else in the room want to duct tape your mouth or throw you out in the rain. Cheer for your team. Win or lose. They’re doing their best. Why don’t you do yours to keep a stiff upper lip?

4.) Don’t be a d-bag.                                                                                       We realize there’s a game clouding your judgement right now, but try to think about the other people in the room.

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The friends and/or family cheering around you came to enjoy the game and your company. If you take the know-it all ESPN announcer or über fan role too far, that buddy you keep ribbing a little too hard about his team or the uncle you’ve made sure knows he has no clue about football stats may flip you off when you invite them back next year.

5.) Stick a sock in it.

shutup

We sat through the first half and left you alone, now give us the halftime show. The talking heads will give us a report in a sec. Can’t we just hear the Grammy Award winners set to entertain us right now? We don’t need you to recap every detail of the last four minutes of play. We were sitting right here watching, remember? Pipe down and let Bruno and the Chili Peppers do their thing.

football music

By the way, boys…while you’re here, be sure to take our poll on why you do Super Bowl Sunday at  https://amibeingcatty.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/aibcs-super-bowl-poll/. You did get the memo that you’re hosting the girls night out chick flick festival at your house next weekend, right?

Have fun!

Melanie

AIBC’s Super Bowl Poll

The first step to failure is setting a goal

Are we afraid to fail or are we afraid of everyone knowing we failed? With the age of social media, it’s so easy to shout from the rooftop that you’re motivated about accomplishing a new goal. But the admission of defeat is equally as public. 

New Year’s resolutions. Going back to school. Quitting smoking. Writing a book. Committing yourself to running a 5K when you’re the proverbial couch potato.

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Why is that when we need support the most, we’re afraid to reach out? We’re hesitant to put it on the line and let the world that we have set a goal and we’re fired up.

I’ll tell you why. It’s not because we’re afraid to fail so much. It’s because we’re afraid of other people seeing our failure. We’re worried that our friends, family, coworkers, those close to us are going to be witness to our failure, shake their finger, roll their eyes, laugh and remind us again of our other failed goals.

What’s worse is that those concerns are usually coming from our own inner  catty voice.

Trying Is The First Step Towards Failure Homer

I had a friend who publicly announced they were giving up tobacco for their 2014 resolution. We all know that quitting smoking is hard. I’ve heard it takes a typical person an average of seven tries before they’re able to quit for good. After dozens of supportive messages on Facebook and in person, the cold turkey attempt hasn’t quite worked for her. While the initial announcement received a lot of fanfare, I was disappointed that my friend didn’t ask for support around the time of relapse, when she needed it the most. Was she worried what people would think or say to her? Or worse, behind her back?

Personally, I feel like I’ve become the family joke lately. My head is going in so many directions of things I want to accomplish, do and learn, that many of my so-called “projects” remain unfinished. I’m like a squirrel in the middle of a metal sculpture park. And because of my recent history, I’ve been hesitant to admit my new goals.

Can you imagine the look on my husband’s face when I mention that I’m interested in organizing a charity event? Presumably working on it between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m.? This project may fail before it even gets started. But I’m going slow, organizing a plan before I reveal my next “big idea,” and counting on the support of people who love me.

I am in the mindset that attempting to do great things often leads to great failures. But every now and then, you may actually accomplish something great.

What do you do, share your goals immediately or do you wait until you know you can accomplish them before letting everyone know?

CattyLiz

#fearoffailure
#fearofboredom

My life is not on my phone

I live on my phone.

I do not need a 12-step program. I do not need to have a cell phone-free zone. I do not need to ban phones from the dinner table or the bedroom. I do not need to “unplug” when I go on vacation.

I am a grown woman and just like everything else in my life, I know when to use moderation. I know when it’s appropriate and inappropriate to use my phone.

The backlash against technology lately is a little overexuberant in my opinion.

I need to use my cell phone for more than texting my girlfriends and playing Candy Crush. For that reason, I will tell you that I get irritated when people imply that I’m missing out on life because my face is glued to an electronic device.

We’ve all seen those HuffPost blogs telling us that our kids are growing up motherless because we’re all on Facebook at the park. Let’s be honest. You took your kids outside to play in the park. You should be patting yourself on the back at this point. If you’re like me and grew up in the 80s, we all ate frozen dinners on TV trays staring at the boob tube in silence. Let’s put this age of smart devices in a little perspective.

Mark-Paul-Gosselaar-Saved-By-The-Bell

Am I right, Zach? Am I right??

For that, I have a little bit of an open letter to the all the people who think I’m a lesser person if I’m using my cell phone in a public place:

To my optometrist who has signs all over his office informing his clients that there are “no cell phones allowed”: If you have me wait for more than 10 minutes, your six-month-old “Parents” magazines are not going to hold my attention. Please tell me again how checking work emails in your waiting room is bothersome to you or the other patients?

cell phone

To the guy who tells me to get off my phone at the grocery store because I’m standing in his way: I keep my grocery list, which is synced with my husband’s phone, on my cell phone. If you wouldn’t embarrass me for looking at a grocery list scratched on a piece of paper, don’t call me out for looking at my phone while I figure out what type of bread crumbs I need.

To the mom who rolls her eyes because I’m on my phone at the park: I’m not ignoring my kid. I’m letting his dad know that he’s having a great time and sending him a photo.

To the patron at the restaurant who’s annoyed that I’m Facetiming with my kids at the next table over: I’ve been traveling and haven’t seen my family for a week. And no, I don’t want to wait until I’m back at my hotel room after their bed time before I tell them how much I miss them.

To the doctor who requests no electronics in the office: I understand if it interferes with your equipment, but I may request to access my notes of my symptoms and questions for you. I may also want to record the conversation because when you tell me that I may need surgery, I won’t remember anything after that.

I understand there are times when the no cell phone rule are totally appropriate. I typically have a signature on my email that says “Sent from iPhone, but not while I’m driving” to remind myself not to use it when I’m behind the wheel. I end conversations when I’m at the checkout or drive through. I typically don’t use my phone at dinner.

cell phone courtesy

What I’m trying to say is, give people the benefit of the doubt. Because society’s social graces swings like a pendulum, it’s hard in this day and age to imagine that people aren’t intentionally being rude and inconsiderate if they’re on their phone around you. It may be that they are actually just living their life the best they can – not missing it while they play Candy Crush.

#canyouhearmenow
#TGIWiFi