Women For The Win

Until this year, I have never spent time in a place where women were in a minority. In my preschool class, the girls ruled – literally and figuratively. I attend single-sex schools from elementary through college. My first job out of school was in social service – a female-dominated field. The very female environment of my workplace was compounded by the fact that the organization was also a women’s club, created for ladies who lunch. Its members were people who wanted to do good while wearing pearls. The group was a smashing success in its heyday, though by the time I arrived on the scene it was a smaller operation – though no less vocal. The group and its members continued to pride themselves on their position at the forefront of feminism. They had plenty to be proud of, but feminism wasn’t their strong point.

 

The first time I ran a meeting with senior members, I got high marks. The women, all of whom could have been my grandmother – some of them older than my grandmother – regulated the discussion by cutting off anyone who took too long to make her point. I sat quietly, taking notes and redirecting the conversation as necessary. As the meeting wound down, one of the women told the others that they should always have that wonderful girl – pointing at me – at their meetings since they -.

“She’s a woman,” Gerie interrupted, all 90-plus years and 90-odd pounds of her put into the force of her words. “She’s not a girl, she’s a woman.”

“If she’s a woman, than I’m ancient,” someone else shot back.

The group laughed.

Gerie shook her head.

 

Gerie would have gotten along with Mrs. Z, my fourth grade teacher. Every day for recess Mrs. Z would round us up into a semblance of order before we walked out of our classroom. Every day, it was  a struggle. “Women!” she’d shout. “Women, line up.” It was no use telling Mrs. Z that we were 8 and 9 year-olds. “Women, quiet!” she’d yell in response.

 

I should have followed Mrs. Z’s lead then and there – lined up, shut up, and learned that girls are really women. Instead, it took me a few more years to fall into line, I have yet to stop talking, and it wasn’t until my second job that I began to refer to people with the respect they deserve. At that job, my supervisor was also a woman, just like the rest of us in the group. Her emails usually began “Hey Ladies,” and she sometimes called us “The Girls.” One day, I was talking to my dad about work, and in the middle of a sentence, he interrupted.

“…the girls and I -” were the last words I got out before he stopped me.

“I didn’t know you worked with girls,” he said.

Silence.

I tried to backtrack. I did apologize. And I have never referred to my coworkers as girls again.

 

This year, for the first time, I attend a coed school. The graduate school is known and respected. As far as I know there’s never been a charge against the school for discrimination against women.  But in the classroom, there is no mistaking the absence of women. The men dominate business school classes; they’re the majority of school and its most vocal participants. I didn’t think much of it, until I noticed something odd. When we talked about our studies, every male classmate assumed I was going for a degree in finance. I don’t talk about finance. I don’t look like I’m interested in finance. Yet every single man thinks I’m getting a finance degree. It was strange, until Emil explained it – by accident. Emil sat next to me in class; he’d check with me when he didn’t understand the material. One day, I asked him what he wanted to do after graduating.

“Trading,” he responded proudly.

“Eh,” I said.

“Of course you wouldn’t want to do it,” he said, “you’re a girl.”

I laughed. “No,” I explained, “it’s because trading is random. Though it is an excellent way to lose money.”

That ended that conversation.

 

I knew in 4th grade that Mrs. Z was smart. It took me years to realize that she is genius. Because girls become women – and if you fail to show them the respect they will deserve, they may fail to earn the respect they need.

Summer Cookies

It was hot and I wanted a cookie. A cookie that would help me to cool down. A summer cookie.

I asked Google to help. Google gave me sugar cookies dyed in shades of neon.

So I went back to the drawing board. I flipped through my recipes – the only cold cookie recipe I had on hand is a refrigerated oatmeal blob, held together by chocolate. I looked at my cookbooks, and they looked back at me. Then I contemplated, and considered what ingredients would be refreshing.

Lemon. Mint. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

I thought I was on to something, but needed independent confirmation. Special Correspondent Ellen thought it sounded good, though she believed sugar cookies with mint icing would be best. I was leaning toward lemon cookies with chunks of mint. Ayelet broke the tie by siding with me, though she did recommend attempting both.

One thing at a time. I tried my version first, and it hit the spot. The best part of this experiement is that next time I get a craving for summer cookies, Google won’t gave a chance to let me down. Ellen’s Summer Cookies are on my to-do list.

Lemon, Mints, COOKIE.

Lemon, Mints, COOKIE.

My Summer Cookies

1 stick margarine

1 1/2 c sugar

3 eggs

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 c apple sauce [this replaces margarine and an egg I decided were excessive. Quantities are variable.]

3 1/2 c flour

1 tbsp baking powder

zest from 2 lemons

10 oz of peppermint candies, hammered to smithereens

Combine margarine and sugar. Add in eggs, lemon juice, apple sauce, and lemon zest. Stir in flour and baking powder together. Sprinkle in crushed mint  candies and mix until combined. Bake at 375 for 10 – 15 minutes. Makes 3 to 5 dozen.

To make them even more summery – freeze. While you’re at it, take some ice cubes from the fridge and pour yourself a glass of water. Hydrate and enjoy.

Another Day, Another Book: Then Came Life

It always feels like I’m late to the party. I didn’t know what a donut was until I was seven. I had a phone for going on six years before I got texting. And I only found out a month ago that publishers may send you advance copies of books if you agree to review them.

Offering me books is like offering coke to an addict. I can’t say no. But I can say yes.

I signed up to review a few books, and was chosen for a copy of Then Came Life: Living With Courage, Spirit, and Gratitude After Breast Cancer by Geralyn Lucas. I wrote a review for the website that sent me the book, but for you, dear readers, I’ve done one better. I wrote you a haiku-review.

 

Then Came Life

Surviving cancer

Means suspecting its return

Trying to live free

 

If you too would like to book review, check out this site.

Destination Wedding

The only destination wedding I’ve been to was in Baltimore. Which is known, among the locals, as The City That Bleeds. The wedding was nice. The city could have used a transfusion.

Between work and local friends, I haven’t been invited to any exciting destination weddings. Nothing that would involve jetting off to coral reefs or hanging out in an igloo. Though I once went all the way to the airport for a wedding – the ceremony was held a few miles from there, in Howard Beach.

I don’t travel much. So I can only assume that traveling for weddings in better than normal travel. It gives you something to base your trip around, and perhaps even a place to stay. Plus it seems like it’s much easier to keep a dress wrinkle-free if you don’t have to travel to the wedding by subway. So, all these thoughts have compounded my desire to log some travel miles for a wedding. Which is why I was thrilled to be invited to the wedding of a friend from Los Angeles.

I’ve never been that far west.

And I won’t be going that far west anytime soon.

I just got word that my friend is getting married in Monsey.