Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Solution is Diversity

Aren't these pilots awesome? (source)

My husband had a business trip recently that tied together the financial and aviation communities. One of his comments after a couple days of meetings was, "It was room after room of middle aged white guys." Bless him. We've talked frequently about the dearth of women pilots, which has become even more noticeable now that he's flying commercially. Why is that?

Recent comments by Chief of Staff of the Air Force, General David Goldfein, were pretty amazing. The headline, Solutions For the Pilot Crisis Center on Diversity, definitely caught my attention. Yay! Finally, recognition that there are a lot of kids in our country, of all shapes and sizes and backgrounds, who want to grow up and fly in the world's greatest Air Force.

My second thought was, getting more women into pilot training is only a small part of the solution. I don't think there is a problem finding women who want to fly--I think the problem is keeping women in the cockpit. Especially when the penalties seem so great for those that want to be pilots yet also want to be mothers.

"Goldfein also heard from women pilots who asked that he make some administrative changes that would make it less punitive for them when they become pregnant." How about not punitive at all?

The Air Force still struggles, in 2018, with treating women as women and not as girl-shaped males.  "The Air Force is taking steps to be more institutionally friendlier to women pilots, Goldfein said, finally getting around to designing flying gear and equipment uniquely designed to fit women.'They've been using men's equipment for years,' he said, and it's time to rectify that." Yes, let's.

It's sad that they are still issuing male long johns among other things (my friend Darci used to exclaim, "They come with a change pocket!"), but maybe, just maybe, this is a sign that the tide is finally turning.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Recent Finds and Recommendations

(Can you name the movie?)

I have some podcasts and movies that I've been enjoying lately, and thought you might like too...

The Moth, Stories from Nairobi: Sandra Kimokoti, Rehema Nanfuka & Bina Maseno. Sandra's story, "Beauty in Brawn," about her experiences playing rugby, particularly hit home. 

It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders. I just started listening to this, and his weekly wrap episodes ends with a compilation of listener calls talking about the best things that have happened all week. It's really wonderful.

Wait Wait Don't Tell Me: Not My Job with Economist Austan Goolsbee. Sounds exciting, huh? Goolsbee explains the impact of tariffs using a funny plumbing story--it makes me laugh every time I think of it. (You can listen to the entire Wait Wait episode here.)

There is a new era of movie watching in our house since our kids are now mini-adults. I am digging it...

Movies to download/stream/etc now: Battle of the Sexes, Girls Trip, I,Tonya, and of course, Coco

Movies I can't wait to see again: Black Panther (obvs) and The Greatest Showman.

Both Coco and The Greatest Showman have great music.

Last but not least, I recommend a series I just started watching on Netflix, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. It's been around for a while and I am really enjoying it. It's fun and is in 10-20 minute segments--great to put on while you are cooking dinner, folding laundry or some other glamorous task. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

Nailed It

(Follow author Kelly Corrigan here)

I like to start my posts with a funny picture, usually found with the help of my friend Google. But as I fished around for something last night I couldn't seem to land on the right thing. Then the above came across my feed this morning, and that summed up perfectly what I was feeling.

I am the least unbiased person to ask about my kids, but they generally follow the rules, pitch in when asked, try their best at school, and don't pick on each other too much. Even so, I find having two high schoolers to be very stressful. I worry So. Dang. Much. for them. Are we doing enough for them? Are we doing too much? Should I push more? Did I not push enough? This sounds silly as I type it and I know it, yet I can't help myself. 

But then everything goes right, and lets me know we are doing okay. My family had a pretty busy Sunday. I had two events on Sunday afternoon/evening, my husband needed my daughter to take him to the station downtown to catch a train to NYC for a business trip, and my son had a bunch of homework to get done. When I came home, the dogs were taken care of, the trash was out, my husband had been safely delivered to his train, and homework was done. My son had made a pasta dish for their dinner, and since it was nice, they had eaten outside together on the patio. This morning, I got a text from my son with some good results on recent math tests, adding icing to the cake. Rest assured life isn't this smooth every day :-)

Big victories and successes are awesome, obviously, but it's the stack of little, tiny victories that has made me so happy today. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Most Obvious Hack Ever

(source)*see note

My kids were never super adventurous eaters when they were younger, but what they liked, they ate. Trying to expand their eating repertoire (to include maybe vegetables) was something that fell in to the "battles not worth fighting" for me. So packing lunches for school has been something I have done since they were in Kindergarten. There was a brief infatuation with school lunches in grade school but that faded. Oh well. My recipe of sandwich-yogurt-something crunchy-something sweet seemed to make everyone happy.

But then taking leftover pizza to school for lunch became cool. We have pizza nearly every Sunday night, because we are all about spontaneity :-), which makes Monday morning lunch making a snap. Then taking noodles or other favorite dinner leftovers became cool. And they do a better job of keeping my son fed, who has entered the teenage boy growth spurt era (his pants seem to shrink over night). Tooling around Costco one day I found a sleeve of plastic leftover containers, yay! Something that doesn't have to be returned home, but can be thrown in the dishwasher and reused if they do come home. And the new era of lunches has begun. Leftovers for lunch - what a concept! Er, as we say now, life hack!

Note: the tweet at the top and others is from an article on the Scary Mommy blog, which is great fun to follow on Facebook.

Monday, February 19, 2018

More on Warriors in Evening Gowns

In this post, I complained about the purple evening gown worn by Admiral Amilyn Holdo in The Last Jedi. Comments were split between agreeing and those saying I shouldn't judge. I could see both sides - it should be about what you do, not what you wear.

Fast forward to today, and let me introduce you to Okoye, a general in the Dora Milaje, Wakanda's all-female team of fierce warriors (played by Danai Gurira). You will know who I am talking about as soon as you go see Black Panther. IT WAS TOTALLY AWESOME! The story, the acting, the costumes, the cool imaginary tech - everything about it was great. Okoye was one of many strong female characters in the cast.

In one scene, Okoye is "under cover" in a red evening gown. Her ability to be tough, beautiful, smart, strong - she is a total bad ass, even when not wearing her usual armor - was amazing. There was absolutely no doubt she had a plan and was going for it. This is how I want to feel whenever facing a tough problem :-)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Artist in Combat Boots

Meet my friends Jen (on the left) and Sally. We were together in Jen's hometown of Bedford, PA, celebrating her first artist showing (you can see some of her work here). The showing was at the Briar Valley Winery Tasting Room (wine and culture, awesome!) and it was packed with both locals and many friends that traveled to see it.

The next day we had brunch at Jen's house and DROOLED over her cute bungalow and artist studio. It was full of color and joy, which has always been her MO. 

This is one of my favorite corners of her house. On this wall are beautiful pieces by her favorite artists, but also the flag from Jen's deployment as a PERSCO chief, and her commissioning and retirement certificates from the Air Force. 

Jen and I didn't meet because our creative paths crossed (although eventually that happened too). We met because many years ago we were on the same committee, putting on a dinner for the San Antonio Company Grade Officer's Council. 

Jen was an exemplary officer and brilliant mentor to those she worked with in the Air Force. I know this because many were there at her artist reception, so excited to cheer her on. She has a unique way of approaching problems and solving them, which I think was wildly under appreciated by some of her Air Force leadership. I wish wish wish so much that the Air Force, or any organization for that matter, would cultivate more creative thinkers like her. I am lucky and honored to call her my friend. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Current Faves to Check Out

Just kidding, I am listening, but not to music so much. Here are some great recommendations from my recent listens:

If you enjoyed Martian as a book or movie, you will love Artemis. I highly recommend listing to the audio edition - Rosario Dawson does an incredible job. My son ATE THIS UP. He kept borrowing my phone to listen because we were taking too long to upload it to his own phone. There is some mature language, so probably appropriate for teens or older.

I have recommended the Ted Radio Hour podcast many times, but a recent replay of an old episode really captured my attention, called Slowing Down. Maybe this is a theme for me lately? A couple of the stories focused on procrastination, and one speaker, Tim Urban, so perfectly described the brain of a procrastinator...made up of the rational decision maker, the instant gratification monkey, and the panic monster. It's so worth a listen. You can also read Tim's blog post here.

A podcast wrapping up its second season I have really enjoyed is The Hilarious World of Depression. It's not making fun of mental illness at all, but rather trying to make it much less stigmatizing. There have been fabulous interviews with Aimee Mann, Jenny Lawson and Linda Holmes (she hosts another favorite pod of mine, Pop Culture Happy Hour).  You don't have to be a depression sufferer yourself to enjoy this show and learn something.

Last one, and a recent podcast find, Answer Me This with Helen and Ollie. Subjects covered from the latest episode included pope tropes, hotel toothpaste, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Dumbledore's aptitude for HR, cocktail swords, buttermilk, butterfat and globules (among other things). It certainly made the miles I was driving this weekend zip by quickly.