Friday Fun: Car Talk

by Louise

I sat in my car, ignition off, waiting for my parents to exit church. I saw them, opened the doors and when they were in, I turned on my car. Grrrrrrrrrgh went the car, it wouldn’t turn on. I tried again Grrrrrrr, Grrrrrrr no Purrrrrr. Damm….I had just gotten the oil changed and now the battery must be dying.  I have to call AAA, I told my parents. Hardly had I got to my phone and before I could invoke the Patron Saint of Cars when a parishioner I knew offered to jump start my car. In no time I was running again. Totebaggers we have talked often about new cars but  what about the trusty chariots you ride in every day ? What kind of relationship do you have with your car ? Do you think of it as a sanctuary of sorts, a place to eat a few unhurried bites, a place for conversations (I now see what people mean when they said they have the best conversations with their kids in their cars). Let’s talk about cars…

Coffee Talk: Awkward Parenting Situations

by saacnmama

Teen Masturbates In Hockey Penalty Box, Mom Complains In Dear Prudence Advice Column

He what? This child seems to have taken the movie title “Slapshot” a bit too much to heart, or maybe this scene gave him an idea.  In any event, he clearly has troubles his mama is unable to help him with. For me, as a parent, being ready to equip my son to help himself is a top priority.

Talking to my son about his first middle-school dance, I asked what the girls said to him. His response “not much; I mostly avoided them” tells me that I still have time before his blossoming sexuality will be an issue for us, but he is a fine looking boy, if I do say so myself, so there may be some drama down the road. I try to absorb as much as I can from others’ experiences so I’ll be prepared for those stages. That doesn’t mean I always agree with what I hear–yelling and sobbing about Satan’s temptation are not what I consider an ideal response to a boy masturbating with the felt tip of a permanent marker–but knowing about real-life issues beyond my own experience helps me think things through before the heat of battle.

Explaining how things are supposed to work is one thing, but dealing with already-tricky issues when things go awry is another. Have you encountered unexpectedly awkward situations in your parenting or with family or friends’ offspring? How did you deal with it? Looking back, are there things you would do differently?

Coffee Talk: Transgender at Wellesley

by Rocky Mountain Stepmom

When Women Become Men at Wellesley

The article is about the transgendered students at Wellesley College. There is increasing pressure to refer to “siblinghood” instead of “sisterhood”, and to make sure professors use gender-neutral nouns instead of “she” and “her” when referring to the students. It’s a fairly nuanced article. The comments are interesting. The primary push in the comments comes from alums of Seven Sisters colleges who think that women’s colleges should be for women, and if you’re a FTM transgendered student, then go to Harvard already. The status of MTF students is problematic too.

Totebaggers, any alums of these colleges among us? (Surely there are). What do you think?  Should women’s colleges be for cis-gendered women, or should there be more gender diversity? Or should they all get off the damn lawn?

Coffee Talk: Non, je ne regrette rien…

by L

What are Totebaggers’ regrets? Have they changed over time? Do we regret not exploring other career paths, or other possible life partners, never trying skydiving in our youth? Or do we regret having moved to our current location, or taking job A instead of job B, or a particular parenting practice that now seems like a bad idea? (What about not spending enough time at the office?)

How to Get a Raise

By Seattle Soccer Mom

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently had this advice for working women: “It’s not really about asking for the raise but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along. And that, I think, might be one of the additional superpowers that, quite frankly, women who don’t ask for raises have. Because that’s good karma. It’ll come back. Because somebody’s going to know: ‘That’s the kind of person that I want to trust. That’s the kind of person that I want to really give more responsibility to.’ And in the long-term efficiency, things catch up.”

I found Nadella’s remarks infuriating.  It’s thinking like this that has probably helped contribute to the fact that women make less than men even when controlling for education, type of job, and experience.

From the New York Times: “A study of Carnegie Mellon University business school graduates found that women are less likely than men to ask for raises and that this contributes to the pay gap. In the study, men’s starting salaries were an average 7.6 percent higher than those of women, in part because 57 percent of men negotiated their pay while just 7 percent of women did.”

PayScale’s 2012 Gender Wage Gap Report showed that male software architects still earn 12 percent more than their female colleagues with the same background, level of educational attainment, and experience. That’s one of the largest gender wage gaps in the report.

Maria Klawe, President of Harvey Mudd college and a Microsoft Board Member, had different advice.  “First of all, do your homework … know what the appropriate salary is,” she advised. “Then role play, sit down with someone you really trust, and practice asking them for a raise.”

Totebag readers, do you agree with Nadella’s advice?  Should women just wait to receive a raise?  Does this apply to men as well?  What do you think are the best ways to achieve a raise in pay?

Friday Fun: Weddings, Weddings, Weddings

by Louise

Mega-Weddings: Why You Should Say ‘I Don’t’
George Clooney Could Easily Afford a Gala. But for Others, a Big-Ticket Celebration Could Be Hazardous

Totebaggers, this post is all about weddings – your own, the ones you have attended – black tie, hot sauna barn weddings, destination weddings, backyard weddings, celebrity weddings.

What were your favorite things, least favorite ? Was there a cake wreck, bride running away with best man or a good old fist fight ?

Let’s raise our glasses and toast the happy (or unhappy) couples.

Coffee Talk: Halloween Is Next Friday!

by Grace aka costofcollege

It doesn’t get better than having Halloween on a Friday, right?  And then we can look forward to next year when it will be on a Saturday.  Nice.

Party City was already a madhouse last week when I stopped by.  It was fun to check out all the costumes and props, but I decided to order online instead of waiting 30 minutes or more in the long line to pay.  Again this year I’m bemoaning the fact that I’m not invited to a Halloween party, so if I dress up it will only be for the ghosts and goblins who come to my door.  On the other hand, I might just put a bowl of candy at my front door and let trick-or-treaters help themselves.

Day of the Dead has apparently gone more mainstream, as I noticed lots of decorations and costume props related to this Latin American holiday.  In my family we usually remember our dearly departed family and friends on this day, and sometimes I bake pan de muerto, appropriately decorated with bones.

Here’s a link to costume ideas in case you’d like some inspiration:  Halloween Costumes

What are your Halloween plans?  What are the hot costumes this year, for your kids or for you?  Does it annoy you that adults have taken over so much of the fun of Halloween?  What was your favorite costume ever?