Skirts, not just for tennis anymore

Some love them. Some hate them. And some are still scratching their heads about this perplexing article of clothing – the running skirt. Can one be a ‘serious’ runner and athlete wearing something intentionally cute?

Admittedly, I initially found the running skirt to be silly, despite my low athletic ambition. The skirts just seemed so... cute-sy… until I tried one. I loved it walking my kids to school; I loved it while I was rolling the trash bins to the curb; I loved it stopping by the supermarket; and most importantly I loved it running. So cute. So comfortable. So functional. So presentable.

Yes, that’s the best part: the modern mother in a running skirt can go for a run and then hold her head high as she rushes about her errands with out the risk of looking like she’s wearing a swim suit, undergarments or even the dreaded spandex.

So, in celebration of this brilliant invention and just in time for our Friday Frivolity, we bring you this short history of running skirts, from Runner’s World. Have a wonderful weekend!

*runner in running skirt photo from Title Nine 
* racing in running skirt via Runner's World

A Feminist Call to Arms? Or a Big Fat Eye Roll?

Last week, when we brought you The Good, the Bag, and the Ugly, we mentioned the incendiary essay by Elizabeth Wurtzel, 1% Wives Are Helping Kill Feminism and Make the War on Women Possible. But we can’t just leave it at that.

We suspect, dear readers, that more than a handful of you are the well-educated, well off stay-at-home-mothers who are the subject of Ms. Wurtzel’s scornful essay. And, like us, you might feel besieged upon reading, “…when I meet a woman who I know is a graduate of, say, Princeton -- one who has read The Second Sex and therefore ought to know better -- but is still a full-time wife, I feel betrayed” because according to Ms. Wurtzel, well off non-working women “go shopping at Chanel and get facials at Tracy Martyn when they should be wage-earning mensches.” And Ms. Wurtzel's anger is palpable: “I am going to smack the next idiot who tells me that raising her children full time -- by which she really means going to Jivamukti classes and pedicure appointments while the nanny babysits -- is her feminist choice.”

Thankfully, I’ve never claimed to make a “feminist” choice, have no idea what Jivamukti is, and was employed outside the home for the first 8 years of motherhood, so I hopefully won’t get smacked.

What is clear, though, is that Wurtzel’s depiction of well-heeled, well-educated stay-at-home mothers is an offensive caricature. One is tempted to think she did her research by watching “Real Housewives” television and following Manhattan society pages. Most insulting is her claim that upon exiting the work force, women “forget all but the lotus position” leaving their husbands to believe that their wives and therefore, all women are “dumb.” Really? At this point, her chacterization become so outlandish we can forget about indignation and just go with a big fat eye roll. What's the point of arguing with someone utterly detached from reality?

Ms. Wurtzel clearly has a penchant for provocative topics, having published a memoir of addiction, Bitch Rules, and most famously Prozac Nation. Perhaps the working mothers debate was irresistible; perhaps her offensiveness was meant to break up the ennui; perhaps she really feels feminism can be helped by authoritarian proclamations.

The one thing she is right about is that not earning a paycheck of one’s own is, in fact, an uncomfortable position. While I have been acutely aware of this in my time at home, I am also certain that my choice to stay home is the best possible choice for me, for my children, and for now. But hopefully not forever. And that is exactly where Ms. Wurtzel's essay is most wrong: the line between working and at-home mothers is fuzzy and impermanent, and we can only address any "war on women" by recognizing that we are all in this together, working or not.

The Good, the Bag and the Ugly

Ah summer.  Easy, breezy.  Hot and homework free.  We won't keep you because you probably want to get back to the beach, book or Mexican Fiesta.  But before you go, here are a few things we thought you might enjoy.

The Good
We are looking forward to seeing Wes Andreson's new movie Moonrise Kingdom.   It is a love story about two 12-year-olds who run away on an island in New England.  But really we will watch almost anything with Bill Murray especially if it is by the man who brought us The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited and The Fantastic Mr. Fox.  BTW doesn't Tommy Hilfiger's whole preppy family campaign remind you of the Tenenbaums?  Is it just the headbands?


We are fascinated by the blog Never Seconds written by a school age child in England.  Let us know if you agree.

The Bag
As much as we enjoy feeling good about remembering our reusable grocery bags, they are a bit bulky at times.  Not anymore.  Enter BAGGU, stylish and petite these bags can live in your glove compartment, bike basket or purse. 

The Ugly
While it isn't new news it is very sad news that Brain Child, the thinking mother's magazine, will cease to exist in its current print form.

Perhaps, like darling decor magazine Domino, Brain Child will live to fight another day.  Good luck and thanks. 

Speaking of brains, thankfully, The Atlantic, continues to arrive on paper and electronically so we can read interesting incendiary pieces like 1% Wives Are Helping Kill Feminism and Make the War on Women Possible and Why Women Still Can't Have it All

 Photo courtesy of The Atlantic

Right, so back to that beach book.

The Art of Correspondence

I had been hoping to write a post about various scintillating topics today but instead find my writing time absorbed by correspondence with the Office of the Parking Clerk in The City of Lynn, a charming hamlet to the north of us.  So, since I have run out of time I give you my parking letter:

Office of the Parking Clerk
City of Lynn
Lynn City Hall – Room 102
Lynn, MA 01902

Dear Sir/Madam:

You will see from the attached document and copy of check # 3027 that I had attempted to pay this parking fine on March 24, 2012. I received the ticket on March 12, 2012 as I was in Lynn shopping at Zimman’s, which I am sorry to say, does not seem to have the same selection it used to.

 I left Zimman’s and discovered that my meter had run out and that I had received a parking ticket.  I put the ticket in my purse and have never seen it since.  Once I realized I had lost the original ticket, I called your office twice to find out the amount that I owed.  Both times I was told that there was no record of my ticket.  The lady I spoke with on the second occasion gave me your address and said I could send a check if I wanted.  As you will see that check was returned to me by your office on March 27, 2012.

The letter I received two days ago dated 6/12/2012 headed **Drivers License and Registration Non-renewal Action Pending** inviting me to appear before the hearing officer on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 if I do not send $20 before then says “Final Notice” on it.  To be clear, this is the first I have heard from the Office of the Parking Clerk, City of Lynn since my original check was returned on March 27, 2012.   Additionally it says that my ticket V59737 was issued 04/02/12 at 12:39 PM.  As mentioned above, I was not in Lynn that day but an enclosing $20 for my violation of March 12, 2012.


Refreshing Graduation Speech

Ah, graduation.  A seminal milestone filled with pomp and circumstance and typically a lot of words signifying, not much.  As someone who prefers to "go gentle into that good night" and does not like a lot of closure,  I have never gone in much for graduations.  A friend tells me graduation it is really for the parents.  That seems about right - I certainly hope my minions do some graduating some day. 

So I was pleasantly surprised last week when, from our very own sleepy little town comes a graduation speech worth listening to.  A speech right up there with the not really by Kurt Vonnegut MIT commencement speech in 1997.  From that point until last week,  I had not noticed a graduation speech.  Apparently,  now that I think of it, this includes one of my own graduations at which I was in attendance but can't tell you a single thing about who said what on that auspicious day. 

Then suddenly, shockingly,  from the public high school in our little town comes a graduation speech with a real message.  A message so timely overdue, so refreshing you can't help but love it.  The speaker was not a politician, mogul or celebrity.  He is David McCullough Jr.,  high school English teacher, father and a guy who wasn't afraid to tell it like it is.  The title of his address, if it has one is "You are not Special."  You can read it at our friend site The Swellesley Report.  Since then it has gone viral and can be watched on, among other sites, the Huffington Post, YouTube and Yahoo.  He was on CBS This Morning this morning.

Why on earth has the world found this speech so compelling?  Maybe because people are tired of the child-centric world we have created.  Maybe people realize that when these children who have been given every advantage ask "What's in it for me?" instead of "How can I help?" or as McCullough says
"building a Guatemalan medical clinic becomes more about the application to Bowdoin than the well-being of Guatemalans" the world is out of balance.

McCullough finishes strong with the message:

"Selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself. The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you're not special - because everyone is. Congratulations, good luck. Make for yourselves, please for your sake and ours, extraordinary lives." 

Here's hoping this is the beginning of a brave new world for us all.

Sprinting towards summer

Camp forms have been submitted; the teacher gifts purchased; year-end parties have been planned, and the end of the school year is on the horizon. As every sports team, community organization, or book club tries to pack in a “last” dinner, annual meeting or luncheon, things get breathtakingly hectic and the modern mother’s calendar erupts in multiple overlapping colored bubbles. As she rushes through all these events, trying to compose thoughtful thank you notes along the way, life can start to feel like a sprint, a sprint into summer. Of course, its not a race, not even an endurance test, just another example of how modern mothers must, balance, plan, organize and execute, all while keeping their equanimity and not getting caught up in the busy contest.

So, hang in there modern mothers! The sprint towards summer will end soon enough, and in the meantime, we can all look forward to the joys of the season (fireflies, pool parties, and 4th of july sparklers) even if our anticipation might be tinged with a bit of dread. Stock up on sunscreen, sandals and swimsuits, as you race through your year end activities, before you know it we’ll all be on vacation, if that’s what you’d like to call it.

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