Friday, July 27, 2012

Enough With the Cork Already

Perhaps it's because I'm sipping Chardonnay while perusing the summer shoe sale websites while I await the start of the London Olympic Opening Ceremonies, but there is a whole lot of cork out there. Have you noticed that? Every other pair of women's shoes has some sort of cork wedge, heel or embellishment on it.

If you are a current owner of a pair of cork shoes, I do not apologize for this post. Cork is for wine, not for shoes. Cork on wedge shoes instantly brings me back to 1977. My sister had a pair of cork wedge sandals with brown leather straps, and sorry Lin but they were just not all that attractive. But then it was 1977 and EVERYONE was wearing cork shoes. Except for me. An early disdain for wearing cork.

Maybe that's why cork-heeled wedges and sandals are everywhere on the sales websites. Women are either tired of cork, realized cork is truly tacky, or never really liked it from the start.

Although I am a bit surprised to see so much cork on women's shoes. I thought that cork was becoming somewhat extinct or at least difficult to product. Hence those pesky plastic corks or worse yet, screw-top wine bottles. Someone somewhere is certainly making a killing off of selling cork to shoe companies for somewhat ugly 70's throwback shoes.

I'll not be purchasing any cork shoes on-line tonight. Instead, I will stand by my resolve not to wear cork on my feet and continue to use cork to stop my bottle of Chardonnay thank you.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

American Made Singlets Please

Republicans and Democrats far and wide are agreeing on an issue! Olympic Team USA's uniforms were made in China not in the US. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are slamming the US Olympic Committee for its decision to export the manufacturing of the uniforms. Irate lawmakers have already introduced legislation requiring that all Team USA Olympic uniforms be made in the USA.

Let the record state that I actually agree with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on an issue. This doesn't happen very often so it deserves attention. In case you missed it, here is what Harry Reid told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday:

"Mr. Reid said he thought 'they should take all the outfits, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over.'
"Not satisfied, the Democratic leader then had a suggestion for what revised uniforms should look like: 'If they have to wear nothing but a singlet saying USA on it painted by hand, that's what they should do.'"
Reid's comments evoke a strong visual image of the entire Olympic team marching out into the opening ceremonies in London wearing nothing but wrestling singlets. They are Olympic athletes so they probably could get away with it! 
All singlets aside, who really thought it was a good idea to have the US Team uniforms made in China? Isn't that a no-brainer? US Olympic team = Made in America. Maybe the US Olympic Committee thought that no one would notice and if they did, it wouldn't be a big deal. 
It is a big deal given that the US unemployment rate is at 8%. American garment manufacturers certainly could have used the business. This all stems back to the designer that the US Olympic Committee chose to design the uniforms. The epitome of the all American designer—Ralph Lauren. Except that all garments produced under the Ralph Lauren label are made in China. The Team USA Olympic uniforms were no exception to the made in China contract.
It's bad enough that China will outdo us in Gymnastics and is favored to win the highest number of Olympic medals at the 2012 games. It's even more unfortunate that the US Olympic Committee chose China over the US to make the Team USA uniforms. Maybe the hand-painted "Made in America" USA singlet idea isn't so bad after all? 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Mommy Penalty

Spend your days on Capitol Hill in a cozy office?
I'm paying the price for staying home and raising my kids myself instead of sticking them in daycare. I'm paying more than I ever dreamed imaginable. I am being discriminated against for my choice to be a Mom while my kids are young. I thought I was leaving the corporate ladder behind temporarily. I had no idea that having a family meant falling completely off of the radar screen of potential employers. I am a victim.

Rejection. Another rejection for yet another job for which I'm certainly qualified. I'm a professional, and I have been searching for a job in my Communications field for nearly two years. Hundreds of resumes and cover letters sent out, scores of interviews for which I was either over or under qualified, and hours spent networking and contacting friends and colleagues. All leading up to today. Rejection by yet another employer who is too afraid to take a chance on me.

Or spend your days with a cute baby
who eventually grows up.
For a long time I refused to take this personally. Yes I've been out of an official "office"setting for over a decade. Yes I have three kids that take up a ton of time. But I am not an idiot hoping to waltz right up and pick up where I left off in 1998. I have gone back to school—retrained in the latest graphic design software and techniques. I have my own communications strategies and design company. I volunteer throughout my community and at the kid's schools. I write this blog. I am NOT sitting home on the couch eating Oreos, drinking Chardonnay, and watching Dr. Phil!

This is now personal. I am a victim here! I have a feeling there are many more women like me out there. All of you employers, listen up . . . you have a whole lot of untapped talent out there that you are letting slip away. Women like me who are trying their hardest to get back into the workforce and having every door slammed in their faces. I for one am sick of it!

Why won't anyone take a chance on a woman who did what she thought was right and stayed home with her kids? Believe me, there were plenty of days when I would have happily traded being a stay-at-home Mom for the quiet sanctuary of an office. I'm not slamming women who are working and juggling a family. It's just a choice a woman must make when that baby arrives.

I made an honest choice for my children, and I stand by it. I am just surprised that in 2012 people cannot get past the fact that women do stay home to raise the children. And guess what, those same women actually do want to return to work someday. That someday is now. Open up your minds, look past the years spent chasing kids, and consider hiring a woman with a depth of experience and intellect.

I am not looking for sympathy. I want you to know that women are being discriminated against for their choices. I am not alone. I know there are plenty of Moms out there who are just as frustrated as I am, paying the unspoken Mommy Penalty.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Freedom in the 21st Century

Being a woman in 21st Century America on July 4, 2012 means that I am free. I'm contemplating my freedom from the safe confines of my air-conditioned Minnesota home. What does it really mean to live in the land of the free and the brave? Freedom is something that I, as an American, certainly take for granted.

I have the right to vote and to voice my own opinion. I'm not forced to wear a burka. I can wear a bikini if I so choose. I don't have to wear a veil over my hair in public. I have a driver's license and am free to drive. I do not need a male escort as women do in some countries. I can even carry a gun if I want. (Now that would be a scary thing!)

I have the freedom to choose to attend church and worship whatever religion I please. I can join in at a protest at the State Capitol. I can display a yard sign on my front yard supporting a political party. None of my family members are being persecuted unjustly for something that I have done. I can walk in a Gay Rights parade or march with Romney supporters in a Fourth of July parade.

I have Internet access all of the time. I have Google—uncensored Google. I can write freely on my blog and not worry about having my blog shut down due to my views. I'm not hiding or looking over my shoulder if I happen to criticize the government via my blog. I have Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In: all of the social media that is prevalent in the Internet.

 I am an American woman, and I am free this day and every day. Unfortunately so many other women in oppressed countries are not so free today. They have few of the freedoms that I savor. Thank you to the men and women who serve this country in the military and the government, securing our freedoms here and abroad. America will continue to shine on as long as our leadership truly stands for continuing our glorious freedom, sustaining the values that founded this country, and supporting the American way.