Category Archives: Holidays

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

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Why I’m Not Thrilled With Women’s History Month

Before I begin this blog, please know that I’m already perfectly aware that I’m in the minority and that there are going to be plenty of people who think I’m an idiot.  Well, GUESS WHAT?!?!  I AM AN IDIOT!  But, I’m an idiot with an opinion and  a platform, so I’m going to use it.  As Flannery O’Connor once said, “I don’t deserve any credit for turning the other cheek as my tongue is always in it.”  So, fire away, ladies.  I can take it.

With that out of the way, I have to profess my aversion and mild condescension to the concept of Women’s History Month.  In fact, the entire concept kind of pisses me off.  I think that when Morgan Freeman was asked his opinions about Black History Month, he nailed why separating a certain group is wrong.

What he’s saying here is that all of us should celebrate all of us.  I don’t want a month set aside for women.  I want women AND men who impact the world in extraordinary ways to be celebrated.

Let’s put this a different way:

What I hate hearing people say:  Violence against women is wrong.
What I wish people said:  Violence against anyone is wrong.

What I hate hearing people say: Men shouldn’t rape women.
What I wish people said:  People shouldn’t rape people.

What I hate hearing people say:  Men should respect women.
What I wish people said: People should respect each other.

What I hate hearing people say:  I fight for women’s rights.
What I wish people said:  I fight for everybody’s rights.

What I hate hearing people say:  You really must hate women.
What I wish people said:  You really must hate logic.

What are we, as women, doing to forward this concept?  I’m pretty sure it’s not setting aside a single month to pat ourselves on the back.  Doesn’t that sound silly?

So, while I admire every woman who has helped shape, change, or impact the world in which we live, I really don’t think we’re honoring them by limiting the celebration of their contributions to the month of March.

NOT on behalf of the amibeingcatty.com Team,

Kara

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Women’s History and Fat Tuesday

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Have you ever wondered why women use their assets to earn beads during Mardi Gras?  Well, here at AIBC we were wondering too.  Would you believe we have the Women’s Lib movement to thank?  Yeah. 

Surprising, huh?

Before you go out tonight, brush up on your Women’s History along with all of us at #AIBC and prepare to have a Happy Mardi Gras!

http://www.bustle.com/articles/17016-why-do-women-flash-their-breasts-for-beads-at-mardi-gras-a-brief-history

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Take That, Cupid!

Valentine’s Day. Every February those two words strike fear and anticipation into the hearts and wallets of people everywhere. No gender, religion or relationship status can quite get us out of the path of this heart-slinging, chocolate inhaling holiday.

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There’s always been something slightly disturbing to me about a day that celebrates full-figured babies shooting arrows at people, but it’s been a love-hate situation with me and V-day since the beginning.

High school was all about cutesy love notes and “perfect” gifts. Hold your reflux. In college, I embraced the suck of single lady-hood and threw monster anti-Valentine’s Day parties that made even the happily coupled want to slap each other and call things off. Yep. That was me. Married life turned the day to nothing except a flashback pity party. Boo-hoo. Hence, my new incarnation as a soon-to-be divorcee staring down today with a double dare in my eye.

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I refuse to be that bitter break-up victim today.

We all have our issues with Valentine’s Day past, present and future. It’s a day that makes you look at your life from a very uncomfortable angle. Who am I in relation to those I love? What is love to me? Am I loved or loving? If I don’t have romantic love now, will I ever?

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You know your answers. I know mine, as uncertain and disturbingly honest as they are.

Today, I choose love. I sign my name to a couple of  heart-shaped cards and tape them to cartoon character embossed boxes of chocolates knowing that I’m closer to true love than ever before in my life. This is what it feels like to love without boundaries and without a thought to the consequences of opening my heart so completely to two mini-mes. It may not be the type of love that half-naked cherub was aiming for when he shot, but the effects are permanent.

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I remind myself that I don’t need to be part of a couple to know real love. If that opportunity ever does cross my path again (not probable, but possible), this is my gauge. Those arms that almost squeeze the breath out of me when little voices wish me “Happy Valentine’s Day” today will measure what “twue wuv” can be in my future. God help the hypothetical person who walks into that competition if he exists. This feeling  is a lot to live up to.

It’s enough to celebrate the whole year. Especially with chocolate.

Much love to you all,

Melanie

When in Doubt, Say It With E-love

It’s the dreaded day of days. The arrows are sharpened, so we hope you wore your Kevlar.

Valentine’s Day is an equal opportunity hassle for guys and gals, single or attached. Whether or not you truly feel it, society says today is the day to tell the people in your world how much you love them.

And if you haven’t made it to the local pharmacy for a card to say what you’d prefer not to, we have the perfect e-cards to help you make nice (or not.) 

Singles just getting into the game should be subtle.

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And smooth.

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And honest.

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And open to more commitment.

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For those dealing with some heartbreak, this is a favorite.

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Or this.

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Perhaps make it official?

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Maybe just an affirmation?

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Long-time lovers and married couples should love this.

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Or this.

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Maybe a heartfelt sentiment?

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Or a piece of your mind?

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Whatever you choose, deliver these with care. That Cupid kid can be a real pain-in-the-butt.

Happy Valentine’s Day from the AIBC team!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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