Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Urine-ing for Equal Treatment

Rise up girlfriends, I've just discovered a new source of discrimination against women - in public restrooms across the country. Did you know it's common for establishments to provide current reading material, such as today's sports page, above urinals in men's rooms? In some of the nicer places, there are even TV screens.

No such courtesy is extended in the women's rooms I've been frequenting, and I can't figure out why. Women are skilled multitaskers. We can definitely pee and read at the same time, certainly as well as any man. We're literate and interested in current events. And we stay longer in the stall than the guys do at the urinal, since our biology dictates we take a few extra steps with our clothing and hygiene. We deserve entertainment in the loo as much as the next guy.

In the same restaurant that kindly inserted the local headlines into a plexiglass protected bulletin board in the men's bathroom (above), this was what was posted on my stall in the Ladies':

Be kind to our pipes!
Please dispose of sanitary hygiene products
in the waste bin provided. Thank you

I'm sorry, but I read that notice in two seconds flat and it was not at all thought-provoking.

I want the same pithy material my mate gets when he tinkles in a public place. I want my mind as well as my bladder to be accommodated, same as the dudes. Ladies, let's wipe out this disparity. Next time you visit a public potty, bring the front page of the newspaper or a lively magazine article and tape it to the stall door. Sooner or later those guys will get the message.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wow O Wow, I love this website!

I am loving this website, Women on the Web (,) which bills itself as " A New Way for Women to Talk Culture, Politics & Gossip." With a panel of feisty, witty contributors like Liz Smith, Candice Bergen, Lesley Stahl, and Whoopi Goldberg, WowOwow initiates frank discussion about a wide variety of topics that interest smart, grown-up women like us. Check it out!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Living on the Alley

Check out my first piece for the Wilmette edition of TribLocal about Living on the Alley. The Tribune is looking for contributors to this new website/weekly insert.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Parents - Paying attention pays off

In this short video, Parent Coach Beth Miller explains that if we focus our attention on the right things, we can build better relationships with our kids and help them develop self-esteem. What she says may surprise you. Take a look.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Le Flirting is Tres Bon for Le Marriage

Saturday during my daughter's eye exam, I flipped through the April issue of Conde Nast Traveler and came across an article about the romantic people of Paris. This quote caught my eye:
"Long-standing couples in France labor to impress one another. Nothing is taken for granted, so everything is earned."
I'm part of a long-standing couple and I wouldn't say my man has been laboring to impress me lately. But then again, maybe I've been taking him for granted. What do the French know about spicing up relationships that we Americans don't?

Apparently, in France everyone flirts for the fun and intellectual challenge of it. And in contrast to the U.S., all women - regardless of age or marital status - are considered fair game. While this titillating interplay doesn't necessarily lead anywhere, there's always the implication that it might. The constant competition makes everyone try a little harder in the amour department, even married couples.

I think the French are onto something. I'm a happily married mother of two and I'm no ingenue, but I like the possibility of being a romantic target. And I really like the idea of my husband putting out some extra effort to woo me. So how does a 40-something cook up some French style flirtation around here?

We definitely aren't too old for it. The French have a long history of considering women of a "certain age" as desirable. French women expect to have lots of sex their whole lives, and statistics show that they do. The Washington Post reported that French women in their 50's and 60's are more sexually active than their American counterparts. The mature mesdames act the part - they buy luxurious lingerie, dress seductively, and flirt.

The purpose of flirting isn't to hook up, it's to enjoy the pure potential of the moment. And if we follow the example of our Frenchy friends we can flirt with anyone - waiters, college students, the guy sitting across from us on the bus. The whole point of it is to feel a bit more desirable, a part of the game. So shoot the bank teller a smoldering glance, lean in close and flatter your son's soccer coach. It's all in good fun. And maybe your long-standing partner will get in on the action as well.

For more on this topic, check out French Women Don't Sleep Alone by Jamie Cat Callan.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I'm Just Your Average Indie Rock Chick

Last night I ditched my husband and kids to catch a couple indie bands at Metro in Chicago. Music is one of the things that’s getting more fun with age and my friend Lisa is always on the lookout for new acts playing at small venues. She’d discovered a band called Cloud Cult (right) that was playing with Ice Palace and Margo & the Nuclear So and Sos. Cheap tickets were available and so were we. We stepped out of our suburban weeknight box and headed into the city.

I usually only go to concerts to see bands I know well. Last night the bands were all new to me, and the crowd at the Metro was a bit different too. I thought the music was great - click on the links above to hear for yourself. But I’m not out to review the bands, I just want to share some of my random observations from this freakin’ entertaining concert.

1. I felt older but not out of place.
I think it’s fun to get carded, but it was a little embarrassing to have the triple nose-pierced doorman say, “Have a good night Miz. Killeen” after squinting at my license. Dude! I’m at a cutting edge rock concert. At least have the decency to call me “babe” or something. Though Lisa and I were on the older side, I still felt like I belonged. The crowd was a casual, laid-back group and an accepting vibe prevailed– not a lot of posing going on.

2. Indie fans don’t dress up or party.
The fans’ laid-back attitude carried over to their attire. T-shirts, hoodies, jeans and tennis shoes were the uniform for both men and women. (I’d made the right choice with my $3 Taret t-shirt but Lisa felt a bit overdressed in her cropped jacket.) Like the musicians, the fans didn’t pay any attention to their hair. The main style seemed to be total neglect. I’ve never seen so many bushy beards, ratty ponytails or wayward tufts. And barely anyone drank. Back in the day, a concert was an opportunity to get lit. Last night everyone stood, cokes and water bottles in hand, earnestly paying attention to the music. Wild.

3. The bands all had chicks.
I loved the fact that each of the bands had one or two full-fledged female members. In addition to singing wicked harmonies, the women rocked out on all kinds of instruments including violin and cello. Amy Hager from Ice Palace played keys, bass guitar and trumpet! How cool is that?

4. I can only stand so much.
The Metro is a great venue for getting up close to the stage, but there’s one catch – no seats. Even though the music was outstanding, after two hours my feet could stand no more. I dragged a reluctant Lisa out onto the street while the So and Sos were only mid-way through their set.

Even though I’m yawning today, I’m definitely up for future forays into Chicago’s indie/alt music scene. But next time, I’m wearing my Pumas.