Women ≠ Men

I wish I could say that the title of this post wasn’t true. It should be false. In my ideal world it’s false. In my head it’s false. In my gut it’s false. That statement feels like sandpaper eroding every nerve ending in my body.

Unfortunately in a majority of workplaces, including mine, this statement is very true.

If you are unaware, today is Equal Pay Day. Today represents how far a woman would have to work into 2018 to make a much as a man made for the year 2017.

If you are a woman of ethnicity, you have to work further into 2018.


For Native Americans, like myself, the equal pay day is September 27.

This inequality is far reaching. It’s like a toxic waste spill. You see it initially as small and inconsequential but underneath the surface it spreading and affecting everyone around you. I can’t speak for all women but I can convey my experience with this issue.

I find myself in the circumstance of being paid less than a male counterpart who holds the same position, has no more responsibility and was hired a year after I was. There is no logical reason for this pay disparity.

The first time, I became aware of a pay difference with a fellow male co-worker, although it bothered me, I told myself there must a valid reason. After all, the company I work for is liberal minded and is progressive in it’s corporate culture.

Fool me once…

I pride myself on being a stellar contributor at work, no matter what work it is. I do more than asked. I learn as much as I can. I go the extra mile. I can’t help it. I’m wired that way.

So on the surface, I’m that smiling face listening to your questions, giving you information and fulfilling needs. Underneath, I’m filled with anxiety about how I’m going to pay for that badly needed set of tires AND put food on the table for my kid. (I just did the math and the pay difference for the year 2017 would have covered a set of new tires for my Toyota Yaris.)

The pay inequality can have crushing consequences not only on finances but spirit as well, especially for single mothers.

My daughter was with me in the grocery store one day and saw a woman pushing a cart brimming with groceries. She marveled at how much the lady was buying and thought out loud, “She must be rich!” I looked at our almost empty cart of necessities. It struck me how long it had been since I have been able to go to the store and buy whatever I wanted without thought of cost.

Children of single mothers can pay the cost of inequality in lack of nutrition, lack of opportunities, lack of proper health care and so on.

In my professional life, I can’t emphasize enough how defeating it feels to know that you are valued less than a male co-worker even when you put in 10X more effort and have the results to show for it. Frustration becomes a constant companion.

The clear message your employer is giving you when you are paid less than a male co-worker for the same job is, “You are not equal. You are not valued. You are not respected.

We need to change this. We already have the Equal Pay Act but clearly that’s not enough.

For starters, employers can be more transparent about pay ranges. I once worked for a company that posted the pay ranges for each position. For me, that was a wonderful tool to negotiate my starting pay.

All employees can be proactive. It is not against the law to discuss your pay with fellow employees. Companies discourage this because it is in their own best interest to keep wages as low as possible. Until it is mandated that companies report their wage rates and are accountable, we should encourage solidarity with our fellow co-workers.

When job searching, you don’t have to disclose your current or former salary. That has no bearing on the job you are applying for.

Those are just a few suggestions I have come up with. Action is needed on all levels. After all, 55 years is more than enough time to work the wrinkles out, don’t you think?

The amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act was approved on June 10, 1963 and is know as the “Equal Pay Act of 1963.” It states the following:

SEC. 206. [Section 6]

(d) Prohibition of sex discrimination

(1) No employer having employees subject to any provisions of this section shall discriminate, within any establishment in which such employees are employed, between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees in such establishment at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex in such establishment for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions, except where such payment is made pursuant to (i) a seniority system; (ii) a merit system; (iii) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (iv) a differential based on any other factor other than sex: Provided, That an employer who is paying a wage rate differential in violation of this subsection shall not, in order to comply with the provisions of this subsection, reduce the wage rate of any employee.






Big Daddy Good Guy

Today is the first time that I haven’t been able to call Dad and wish him a Happy Father’s Day. It has been a little over six months and I miss him more than ever. There has been a lot of self-reflection over these last months along with a lot of tears and memories that make me laugh and smile.

I realize how much I’m like my Dad in some ways… curious, stubborn, mechanical, awesome sense of humor. He also inspires me still. He demonstrated fearlessness even when I know he had fear but he didn’t let it stop him. I hope my kids will say the same of me someday.

The following is a letter I wrote to him last year. I hope it inspires some of you to reach out in whatever form and don’t leave your feelings and thoughts unspoken.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there!


I’ve been meaning to write you for some time now but the quiet moments are so fleeting. I wanted to write because it is a better way to get my thoughts out. If you didn’t hear, I’m a big time writer now (hee, hee.) Pretty cool thought that over 15,000 read something that I wrote.  Internet today….. tomorrow a book? Who knows?

I know I haven’t talked to you much lately. Even with the lack of communication, you are in my thoughts every day. I wonder how you are doing, what you are thinking about. We chat on the phone but end up talking about weather, bills…day to day.

I was at work one day, keeping myself busy with the mundane task of re-hanging clothes when a song came overhead and caught me off guard.

You see we have this overhead player that has CD’s programmed with safe retail music. For the past two and half months, I’ve been prisoner to a 70’s themed mix of “rock” music. The quiet war of the CD player ended a few months back after a back and forth CD disposal battle between my manager and I. Unfortunately all that was left was this 70’s themed CD. The very thing I was trying to rid the music system of…… (There is only so much Steppenwolf and The Who a person can take.)

So as I’m tasking, this song comes overhead….. and all of a sudden, my eyes are tearing up and my face is getting flushed. It was Boston’s “Peace of Mind.” Reminded me of when I was little and the trip we took in the motorhome to Wyoming.

A motorhome full of kids, rattling across the west in search of new adventures. Whenever we stopped, it was like a pressure cooker about to blow the lid off. We couldn’t wait to fling open that door and explore our new surroundings.

That whole trip we played Boston, Fleetwood Mac, ELO and ABBA (staples of 70’s rock) in the player. So as you can imagine, work has been quite emotional at times because of this. A lot of the time, though, it makes me smile more than cry.

I know my childhood wasn’t always the greatest but I don’t dwell on the bad. I’m appreciative for so much of the good.

On the days I have Byrd, I get up before she wakes and start making her lunch then I make breakfast for her. Usually, it’s egg whites, toast and fruit. Occasionally, it‘s pancakes and sausage. I remember when we lived in Black Mesa, you waking us up…loudly. It makes me chuckle. Dad walking through the house in his undies and t-shirt…..bugling or wearing that headdress. You’d make us breakfast and off we’d go to catch the bus.

I have a lot of those little things to be thankful for. They lay the groundwork for me as a mom…and a dad.

When thinking about my sisters and I at times, I’ve jokingly thought, you have managed to raise three good sons. We are intelligent, independent and heaven help the poor souls who attempt to tame us. It couldn’t be any other way.

I attribute my sense of adventure to you. Who knows, maybe I was just born a curious soul but you definitely have influenced my wanderlust. I have this yearning to travel and explore that hasn’t dulled in my 43 years. I think of some of the places you have seen and also can’t imagine some of the places you’ve been.

The traveling as a child influenced me so much more than you can imagine. It gave me the opportunity to see a world that was so much bigger than our little corner of Arizona. It opened my mind to ideas, people and cultures that were different than ours. It made me think globally. I don’t think I’d be the same person if I didn’t experience that when I was young.

I feel like I have a responsibility to do as much good in the world as I can while I’m here. Part of that is being a good mom, daughter, sister and friend to those I love. The other part is being helpful, kind, charitable and compassionate to those I may not know. If there is ever an opportunity to “do the right thing, no matter what,” you know I’ll take it.

I hope you know that of all the things you have accomplished in your life, the most important was being a Dad. Businesses, houses come and go. The legacy you leave is your children, grand-children and great-grandchildren.

Well, I’ve been wanting to write some of this down for a while. Apologies for it being kind of haphazard. My way of letting you know what is going on with me.

I’ve been informed that you are feeling resistant to the thought hospice coming in. I’m not sure what you are thinking about Dad. You don’t open up to us that much. I’m sure you are feeling a mass of emotions that change all the time. I know I would be. I can only speak for myself but I am all over the place at times. I feel happy, sad, angry,fearful, thankful, peaceful..anguished. That can happen many times in the course of a week…or even a day.

The thought of you being in so much pain… is painful to me. I know you. You aren’t always up front about how you are really feeling. We feel helpless at times because we don’t have the magic cure. It’s okay to talk to us. We can handle it. We are your children but we aren’t kids. We love you and we want to do what we can for you and Mom.

Here is my thought about Hospice and why it can be helpful. You and Mom need to go back to being husband and wife…partners. When was the last time you two really felt that way? When was the last time you felt connected as a couple? For both of your sakes, you need to preserve your relationship. Don’t put it on hold. Don’t become nurse and patient. You need to be Mom and Dad, Danny & Judy… husband and wife. You need that, she needs that.

Just think about it, okay? Also, don’t be surprised if you end up in some of my writings. I’ll make you semi-famous. 😉

I can’t wait to get up there to see all of you. Talk to you soon!

I love you Dad.

Your favorite youngest daughter,


You may have noticed, I haven’t written in a while. There has been so much to write about but the words don’t always flow so freely.

As some of you know, my father was diagnosed with Esophageal cancer last year and the fight has been long and bruising. As too many of you know, unfortunately, life doesn’t stop when someone you love is facing their biggest foe. You still have to go about the business of normal even though you are saddled with the challenge of trying to be supportive and a good daughter.

My father,Danny, was released this morning from the pain that has racked him for months. His spirit is unshackled and free to find adventure once again.

He truly lived a full life filled with ups and downs. He got to fulfill dreams of flying airplanes, racing cars, traveling and having a home. He was a bit restless some of the time and always looking to the horizon. His journey led him to find everything that mattered the most, his family. He was surrounded by love from family and friends. He’ll live on in his daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

On behalf of my Mom, my sisters and the family, I’d like to thank everyone for their positive thoughts, prayers and support that we have received over that last year and a half. We are forever grateful for so many gestures great and small that we have been gifted.

I love you Dad.





Pride and Prejudice from a Native American Perspective or Why Don’t You Just Get Over It?

The response to my last post has been quite humbling. Not surprisingly, some have applauded it and some……not so much. While it was written in a passionate state of mind, I stand by my words. It has started some discussion, which was the purpose. I understand that for many, it raises questions while also being distasteful or uncomfortable.

One of the more pervasive statements I’ve heard from those who don’t know what to make of my last post, is “Why don’t you all just get over it. It’s in the past.” It’s a missive that is also widely used in regard to the enslavement of Africans and African-Americans in the United States. In terms of genocide, I have yet to hear anyone utter that phrase to people of Jewish descent in regard to the Holocaust.

It is easy to make such a statement when you consider the issue from a sliver of perspective rather than open your view to a much bigger picture.

No one in my lifetime has rousted me from my home, rounded up my family and forced me to march hundreds of miles leaving behind all that I know. Yet, I still have experienced indignities,big and small, whose roots took hold in those horrible times. It was only two years ago that I was at a holiday party chatting at the dinner table with a co-worker. In the midst of pleasant conversation about the scenic area I grew up in, my co-worker’s husband made a comment about “stupid Indians” in reference to the Navajo reservation being on daylight savings time. He apparently didn’t get the memo that I was Native. I was momentarily dumbfounded for a couple of reasons. One being, it was overtly racist but most mystifying was that these words fell out of the mouth of a Jewish person.

Surreal and awkward moments have become a strange normal for a lot of us. Not that far back, I was asked to take my boyfriend’s young son to flag football practice. I was glad to help him out and eager to see the little guy playing his new favorite sport. As practice was coming to an end, I waited just off the field, smiling at the sweaty little rabble of boys. They scrambled and took a knee around their coach. He gave them a pep talk then they wrapped up with a cheer, “Redskins! Redskins! Redskins!” Each chant was louder than the last. I stood there perplexed while my inner dialogue was having a moment. Apparently, that was the name the coach had chosen for their team even as the whole controversy swirling around the Washington Redskins name was at its peak.

So yes, the atrocities of mass killing of First Americans happened many years ago but their legacy persists. As proud as I am today of who I am, it wasn’t always so. Although I believe my experiences have made me stronger, I don’t want my children, nieces, nephews or your children to struggle that way. No child should grow up feeling less than.

Maybe it’s the fact that people can’t figure out what ethnicity I am, that allows them to speak without a filter or in a lot of cases, a conscience. Let me introduce myself:

Yá’át’ééh  shi Dine’é (Hello my people), shi’kéh (my relatives), dóó táhanołtso (táh-an-nołt-tsó)! I am Tammy Van Keuren, I am of the Naasht’ézhí-Tábąąhá (Zuni-Edgewater clan.) I was born for the Anglo clan. My Cheii (Maternal Grandfather) is Táchii’nii (Red Running into Water clan.)*

I don’t speak the language of my people fluently (my apologies if my introduction was off.) For my generation, that isn’t uncommon. The reasons for our lack of ability to speak our own language goes back to the third act of our cultural genocide.

In the late 1800’s, after the “Savage” threat was diminished Native Americans were relegated to reservations, at the mercy of the government. It was decided that Native children needed to be “civilized” with education and religion in the form of boarding schools. Educating the children was the stated purpose of these schools. The ultimate purpose was cultural assimilation.

My mother and her siblings, like the majority of children on the reservations in the 1950’s were sent to boarding schools. These boarding schools were government-funded, operated by the BIA or Religious groups and far from home.

In boarding school, they weren’t allowed to speak their language or punishment would follow. It was even forbidden outside of the classrooms and in the dormitories. I believe this was the inception of why my Mom chose not to teach my sister’s and I our language.

I don’t feel angry about her decision to not teach us our language. I believe that for her generation, it was their way of hoping that we could have a better life. If we spoke English well, we’d be more accepted in society, especially with the hopes that their children wouldn’t always be tethered to the reservation.

Not only were they to sound like “Americans” they would look like them too. For some reading this, you may wonder, “What is the big deal?” Well, in many  Native cultures, men traditionally kept their hair long and cared for. Boys were taught the importance of their hair from a young age and it became part of their identity as they grew into men.

I recall my aunt telling me that one of her first memories of boarding school was seeing the little boys crying and distraught from the forced haircuts. She remembers the pile of tsiiyeel (traditional hair bun worn by Dine) on the floor. To see something that was referenced in The Creation Story, essentially a part of you, taken and thrown on the floor then swept away like garbage must have been devastating.

I think my Mom was lucky, if that’s possible, in her boarding school experience. For many Native Americans in various schools across the country, boarding schools were rife with physical, mental and sexual abuse. Although, I still wonder if my Mom, Aunts or Uncles had endured any abuse at the hands of their boarding schools. I’ve found that in Diné culture, some things don’t get talked about.

No, my generation nor I had to endure those boarding schools but I do feel indirectly affected by them. Affected by a system whose philosophy, “Kill the Indian in him, and save the man,”¹ continues to negatively impact so many.

There were times growing up, I felt embarrassed about my brown skin and the fact I was Diné (Navajo.) I remember how on standardized tests we’d be asked to check the box regarding ethnicity. We could only check one box. Being that I was half “American Indian” and half Anglo it was kind of confusing. I would grudgingly check the “American Indian” box.

I wanted to only be Anglo sometimes. Then maybe I wouldn’t have to put up with the lady at the drugstore following me in the short aisles thinking I was going to shoplift, while my blonde friend roamed unchecked. Maybe I would’ve been treated better by one of my middle school teachers who seemed utterly dismayed that I had the capacity, as a Navajo, to be intelligent and well-spoken. Maybe I could just laugh along when I heard classmates mocking the way Navajos talked instead of getting that anguished, angry feeling in my stomach.

As I got older, I cared less about fitting in and more about being myself. In high school, I started wishing more and more that I could speak Navajo. I never had the chance to have a conversation with my Great Grandma who spoke only Navajo. She had always been so fascinating in my eyes. She was a strong Medicine Woman and was highly regarded in the Cow Springs area. My memories of her are few but fond. I can still hear her voice singing a prayer for me when I was 5 years old because I was tormented by nightmares. I can remember the scent of her cabin, a mixture of sage, Bear Medicine and lingering mutton fat. She always smiled when she saw me.

Just when I was feeling that urge to connect more with my Diné family, she passed on. She died of stomach cancer that I believe was caused by living downwind of an open-pit uranium mill site. That site wasn’t re-mediated until the 90’s. Another contaminated site nearby was only recently re-mediated.

So when you are compelled to say, “The past is the past, get over it,” I ask you to think about what you are asking of us. This has affected us. It is personal to us. It would be personal to you. It is part of our story. My story is but a small one, one of thousands.

It was estimated that the population of Diné was around 25,000 before the Long Walk and subsequent internment. In two years, the population was decimated to between 5,000 and 8,000 people. So on a conservative estimate, that is 17,000 dead for the sake of “progress.”

We really aren’t asking for much. We ask for our voices to be heard. We ask for equality. We ask for consideration in matters that directly affect us. I don’t think that should be such a chore. Isn’t this America after all?


*an earlier version had my Maternal Grandfather’s clan incorrect.

  1. Pratt, Captain Richard H.-1892

America Hates Native Americans

Did that get your attention?

While America prides itself on its all-inclusive ideals, I dare to say that none of them apply to Native Americans.

Since the beginning of the European invasion of North America, there has been a long drawn out ethnic cleansing occurring in this part of the world.

We are a country that still celebrates Columbus day, people! Columbus was no friend to First Americans.

  1. the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation.
    synonyms: mass murder, massacre

In the old days, the “Indian” problem was taken care of with disease, soldiers and guns. Presidential orders were signed, soldiers dispatched, bounties given to militia all with the singular purpose of killing Native Americans. It didn’t matter whether those natives were armed, unarmed, elderly, women or children.

According to the government and the collective consensus, the only good Indian was a dead Indian.

Any Native American who was able to survive the slaughters, diseases, internment, starvation and forced marches were relegated to reservations. Often these lands designated for reservations were not homelands nor extremely desirable lands.

I wish I could say America has recognized its fault in practically wiping out an entire ethnic group. I wish I could say that amends have been made in ensuring that Natives have the best education, medical care and work opportunities in the country. I wish I could say that as a whole Native Americans are thriving. None of that rings true generations after Wounded Knee, The Long Walk or the Trail of Tears.


For those of you who have never set foot on a reservation, I urge you to visit one and I don’t mean a casino. I mean the dirt poor areas where water doesn’t run freely from a tap. It has to be hauled in over a rutted dirt road.  Electricity…..perhaps if you are lucky or have a generator. Don’t even think about the luxury of wi-fi. Please excuse the suspicious nature of its inhabitants….they have reason for that.

When I was a kid, I remember how many, many people were still living in shacks covered in tar paper. This wasn’t out in the middle of nowhere, this was in one of the bigger towns on the Navajo reservation. I went with my family down to Mexico once and marveled about how much it reminded me of the reservation. People there also lived in shacks that looked like they were built with found materials. Mexico was pretty close to third-world at that time.

The reservation has changed some since then but not enough. I am ever the optimist but at times I feel resigned that it won’t change. Lately, I’m feeling that resignation dissipating with the events unfolding in South Dakota.

It fills me with extreme pride to see so many tribes united in the cause that is the Standing Rock protest. Standing Rock isn’t just about oil. Standing Rock isn’t just about water. Standing Rock is a test. There is a roar coming from North Dakota. This is the moment you can choose to listen to that roar of our voices, to recognize that we are people, we belong here and our cause is valid.

So far the mainstream media has chosen to be fairly silent in reference to Standing Rock. Apparently, spray tan and non-truths play and pay better than warpaint and ethics. Much has been done to try and silence the voices of protesters at the site. Of the mainstream coverage that has emerged sparingly, one network has painted them as violent anarchists using white biased coverage (CBS, I’m talking about you). Never mind those attack dogs set loose on a little girl. She’s not your little girl though, so why should you care?

MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell has been one of very few to broach the subject and do so in a stellar manner.

Some of you might be offended by my characterization of America and feel like this doesn’t represent you. If that is the case, then I challenge you. I challenge you to do something! Recognize it, talk about it, share it! Sign a petition, attend a protest, challenge your lawmakers, donate to the cause. Turning a blind eye or worse yet assuming it’ll work itself out only perpetuates the notion that Native Americans aren’t human, don’t belong here and should cease to exist altogether.







With Friends Like These…

With all the horrible events going on in the world recently, I find myself daydreaming about being back up in the mountains of Colorado. I harbor wistful thoughts of seeking isolation and insulation from more bad news and the resulting heaviness of heart.

Although being a hermit has its appeal, I am a somewhat social creature and often appease those leanings by checking in on Facebook. It can be a good distraction but more and more I find it disappointing.

I find some “friends” disappointing. Are these the people I grew up with?  I see posts shared and comments made that are a reflection of the real problem that has led to so much discord and tragedy. Yes, these are the people I grew up with.

This morning a Facebook friend shared a meme/post that criticized President Obama for the horrible indecency of how he was holding his head during a prayer. Really? As if the degree to which you bow your head is proportionate to how Christian you are. I guess I should read the Christian Handbook so I’m aware of the acceptable degree to which you are supposed to bow your head when praying. Oh there is no Handbook? That’s okay, I’m not even Christian.

A few days ago, another friend posted a lighthearted meme that was a Native in theme. I got a chuckle out of it as did some of his other friends. Then I noticed a comment posted by one of our former non-Diné classmates that had the word “firewater” and referenced a mutual native friend of theirs as not being able to hold his alcohol. It was made in jest but I found it offensive for two reasons.

First,  it’s kind of a case of the pot  calling the kettle black. The last time I saw the classmate who made the comment was at our high school reunion. I was left with the impression that he needed to seek help as he spent most of the weekend quite inebriated to the point of making people uncomfortable. He was “that” guy.

Second, the fact that Native Americans have a rate of alcoholism that could be described as epidemic is not a joking matter. Given our physical make-up (an enzyme thing) and the socioeconomic issues that affect reservations the cards are stacked against most Native Americans in that respect.

It was common when I was growing in Page America to see drunks in the park, sleeping it off under trees. They were always native. Kids in school had taken to calling them TROGs, a term most likely they heard from adults or older teens. TROG was an acronym for Total Reject of God. I always hated that word. It was crude, harsh, ugly and only reserved for Navajos in our town of Page America. From time to time I’d even hear someone recounting a courageous tale of beating up the drunks in the park for fun.

In fifth grade, caught up in a moment of teasing and roughhousing with a boy that I had a crush on, that epithet was hurled at me. He called me a TROG. I remember my face became flushed and hot. I was embarrassed and felt as if someone had punched me in the stomach. Of all the people in Page America, this boy had been one that never seemed to see my skin color. We had been friends since the third grade and shared a warped sense of humor. I was crushed and confused.

One morning, years later, I found myself in a rickety truck squeezed into the front seat with a couple other river rats on our way to the dam. The conversation turned to one co-worker telling another about how a neighbor in his hometown had trained their dog to attack “black” people. He didn’t tell this in a disgusted tone but a matter of fact and even comical tone. I was the only one who seemed bothered. Following in the nature of that story, my fellow rat (and friend) started telling the newbie about Navajos and how they get money from the government, take jobs at the power plant and buy new pickup trucks every year with all that “free” money they get. I was kind of dumbfounded as he continued on….then interrupted him.

“Donald*, …. I’m Navajo!”

“But you’re different,” he countered. I asked him to explain how I was different. He mumbled something but I couldn’t understand for his foot being firmly planted in his mouth.

These weren’t the only times I felt the sting of racism. Throughout my young life, I would become accustomed to it. When attending school on the reservation, I was a “billagona” (white.) When we moved to Page to attend school…. I was definitely not white enough. Sadly, it was many adults who made that very clear. Thank goodness for people like Mrs. Michelson, my third grade teacher. She made me feel like I was just another kid but at the same time, not just another kid. She would be the standard to which I would hold my teachers for the rest of my school years.

In high school, we learned about genocide in the form of concentration camps during WWII. We learned about slavery, segregation and the civil rights movement of the 60’s. We even touched on the Trail of Tears, which back then was portrayed less as act of Native American genocide and more a footnote of bad treatment. I feel that I was so naive because I thought our generation was more informed and enlightened. We would never repeat these wrongs and we certainly wouldn’t cultivate bigotry, hatred and intolerance.

Was I ever wrong. The proof is in my Facebook feed. What is with this insistence that if someone is different, they are less than?

Embrace our differences! How boring it would be if we were all the same color…the same religions…the same culture… the same stories. I don’t want to live in that world. Do you? I certainly don’t want my children to live in that world.

When speaking about my children and sharing my thoughts on raising them, my ultimate goal always been that I raise a good human. At times that has led to quizzical looks or chuckles because my statement doesn’t focus on their scholarly or physical abilities. Yet, I’m serious about that statement. To me, it means teaching them to be thoughtful, kind, observant, helpful and honest. Have I succeeded? So far so good but I have another 9 years to go with the youngest. It feels more challenging than ever given all the outside influences. With that said, I still have hope……and a mighty pen in the form of a laptop.

My hope is that in 20 years, perhaps she’ll be writing a blog of the same title but with better memories to share.

*not his real name but quite fitting







I Am Woman..Hear Me Apologize

In case you didn’t know, today is International Women’s Day. Yay for us. They gave us a Tuesday. Better than a Wednesday, I guess, especially because we tend to be at our most unattractive on Wednesday afternoons.

In honor of it being International Women’s Day, I say all men should get paid 25% less for the day. Of course it would make sense if we just got paid 25% more but then we’d get too used to all that equality and Hell would break loose. Single moms could support their children (ahem)….it would be truly apocalyptic.

I thought it might be kind of interesting to experience a day adopting the mindset of a man. What would that be like?

I think the first thing on the list of Man Mindset is, stop apologizing for EVERYTHING! A lot of us do this. We apologize for taking up space….apologize for asking a sales person for help… apologize for not reading minds. Yes, we take responsibility for things that we absolutely had nothing to do with by apologizing.

It is an affliction. You know what I’m talking about ladies. Not a mere fifteen minutes had gone by after having my revelation and I found myself uttering those disgusting little words, “I’m Sorry.” Not once, not twice but THREE times while navigating through a very crowded Trader Joe’s.

It’s not like I was mowing down oldies left and right. I wasn’t snatching cans of beans out from under anyone. I didn’t step on anyone’s foot. I didn’t lose my temper and lash out at anyone. What egregious act had I perpetrated?

Why I was merely being. I was apologizing for standing in a spot, taking up 2 square feet of space at the most. I was apologizing for simply existing in the universe.

Why am I apologizing to someone who is not practicing patience but practicing NASCAR moves on me in the produce section? If only I could voice what I’m really thinking… “I’m sorry…….that you are such an blundering manner-less beast lacking in self-control.” Actually, it’s more like.. “I’m sorry….. that you are such a @#!&%*!@!##$%^@&^%$#$@^;!”

So much for my super woman empowerment experiment. That lasted all of…. half an hour. Maybe I’ll have purged that by the time the next International Women’s Day rolls around. We’ll hopefully have more to celebrate like a woman president and equal pay.

Being polite is one thing but apologetic for things beyond my control isn’t a trait I want to pass on to my kids.Remember how Fonzie couldn’t utter the word, “w-w-wwrong?” If only that would happen to me when “I’m sorry” tries to escape my lips.