SingleWorkingWomensWeek – July 31 to August 6, 2016

Yes, it’s that time again. The official holiday week to celebrate the energy and passion and dedication of all single working women. The single working women who earn and bring home the bacon and then cook it, serve it and clean up afterwards. The single working women who come home from work and do all the housework and laundry, care for the pets, and still make time to visit with friends and loved ones.

So this July 31 to August 6, take a single working woman to lunch or dinner. Or take out her garbage. Or run an errand for her. Or ask her just how you can help. She’ll appreciate you thinking of her. Tell her it’s her official week and, if she can manage it, she should take some time off and relax. Everybody else has holidays, right? This week, every year, single women do, too.

Happy Single Working Women’s Week to you and you and you!

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Travels through life on foot

Last June my son-in-law moved up to the fancy new iWatch and no longer needed his FitBit fitness tracker. I was thrilled when he handed it down to me and have been wearing it faithfully since then. I love that it tracks my steps, my calories, my expenditure of calories, my sleep habits and efficiency rating, and my steps and activities (like weight training, biking, etc.)

I got an email today saying I’d just been awarded the Serengeti badge. Huh? Yes, they came up with the idea of awarding badges and icons and so on (like every other app and online program these days). The Serengeti badge is “awarded” to those who’ve reached a lifetime tracked goal of 500 miles.

Five hundred miles seems paltry when you consider my advanced age – surely my lifetime would be in the multi-millions by now. But since the fitness band’s only been tracking since June, I guess it’s not too bad as a milestone. And remember, a “step” doesn’t have to be outside on the concrete pavement or sweating in a gym to count. Even just in your own living room, stepping side to side and waving your arms around a little bit, can raise your count.

Is that “cheating”? Who cares? We didn’t make every move forward in our lives by ploughing straight ahead at full speed. Stop/start, think about it/consult others, decide/change your mind, do better for a while/relapse. That’s how life goes for most of us.

So how many miles have you come in your life? How have things been changing as you’ve grown older? This time of the year is the perfect time to ponder where we are, where we’ve been, and where we hope to go.

I wish you satisfaction with your past, gratitude for gifts received, joy in this moment, and happy wonder about what’s to come.

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Reflections on the weather

Last night I attended a unique reception on a cool rooftop venue in the trendy West Loop area. I had invited a friend, then another different friend, than another, one after another, but each had some reason she couldn’t make it. But I knew it would be a lovely event, so I went by myself.

The street was dark when I cabbed it over there from my daughter’s home in West Town. Dark and full of silent hulks–warehouse vehicles of all sizes parked this way and that, resting quietly in their places for the night. But up on the rooftop, lights twinkled, creative dishes by chefs from Japonais were served in trendy small-bite sizes, cocktail magic was being spun in every corner of the venue, and the lights of Chicago cheered the sky.

Plus, the weather was perfect. It was sheer pleasure to sip a cocktail, gaze at the lights, and bask in the just cool-enough night air. How often do we get perfect weather in Chicago? And this morning I heard on the radio that this coming week will be the most perfect weather-week of the entire year of 2015. Hmm. Think I’ll have to plan to eat out on a few patios or rooftops this week. Just too good to miss out on.

Thank Heaven for perfect weather. And Chicago. And groovy events. And cocktails. And perfect weather.

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If you thought your vote didn’t count…

A new source of in-depth data and analysis about unmarried women and what’s known as the “Rising American Electorate” is now available at Voter Participation Data Center. It’s interesting and puzzling to see from the graphic (below) that so many single women did not vote—even ones who were registered—in recent elections. What’s up with that?

 

There are 57 million unmarried women in America today—and by the time the 2016 election rolls around, they’ll be a majority of voting-eligible women. The Voter Participation Data Center aggregates research on the social, economic, and political lives of unmarried women, giving a complete picture of the ways in which they’ll shape our economy and our policies in the decades to come. It’s got demographic and economic profiles of unmarried women and analysis on the recent legal and electoral developments that most affect the lives of unmarried women—including paid sick leave, equal pay, workplace fairness, and the Affordable Care Act.

 

The Voter Participation Data Center puts out all this data in the form of shareable graphics that encapsulate it in a quickly-readable and easily-digestible form, making it easy for you to make your friends, family, and political leaders aware of how important unmarried women are going to be in the coming decades—and how important it’ll be for political leaders to speak to their needs and concerns.

 

Registration and Voting Rates in 2012
Voter Participation Data Center is intended to serve as a one-stop shop for anyone interested in understanding unmarried women—who, along with people of color and millennials, form the Rising American Electorate who may cast a majority of the votes in 2016.

 

Just in time for Single Working Women’s Week this August 2 through 8, 2015.

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Being sick as a single person

Churning butter

Churning butter. No way. I buy it.

It was several weeks ago that I put the butter in the mixer bowl to “soften.” Honestly, yes, several weeks. And that’s because I kept getting sick and pooping out on planned projects and imagined extra activities.

Hey, I kept it covered with the butter wrapper so it didn’t get dusty. Did you know that butter keeps astoundingly well sitting outside the refrigerator? Probably the salted kind keeps even better than the unsalted, which is what I use.

Anyway, I’ve got this fabulous-smelling quickbread/cake thing in the oven. It’s a recipe that will be appearing—if it’s as good as she says!—in my upcoming cookbook. I haven’t named the book yet; thinking about a couple of different titles but I know I want to get single women in there somehow.

Anyway, I’ve been remiss about the SWWAN blog for a while for the same reason the butter sat out, abandoned. It’s been a bear battling the various mysterious pneumonias and sinus infections and so on that have come to visit me this year. Hardly been well since January, except for a week here and there. And I noticed how fear took over when I was sick for more than a few days. I wondered if this was it—is this the illness that’s going to do me in?  Maybe that fear is more a function of advancing age plus serious heart issues, but being sick sure reminds me how very much my friends and family members mean to me—and how much I, as a single woman, depend on them. Single folks without any family have to depend even more on friends.

I’m feeling better now and I’m delighted to see more new SWWAN members. We do have an exciting event planned for Single Working Women’s Week this year. Once you check it out, if you want to help raise money for the wonderful work of our American Red Cross—and win some cool prizes—you can get your cake piece or raffle tickets here.

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Know someone who’s survived a disaster?

Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross

Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross Image via Wikipedia

We’re looking for someone who’s survived a disaster and who was helped, either directly or indirectly, by the efforts of the Red Cross disaster relief services. It would be nice if the person now lives in the Chicago area, but s/he can really be from anywhere.

Am hoping members of SWWAN can reach out to their connections to help find someone. Heaven knows there’ve been enough tornadoes, floods and earthquakes in our world these recent days.

This year to celebrate Single Working Women’s Week we’re co-sponsoring a fundraiser to raise $5000-plus to help the victims of natural disasters all over the US and elsewhere. Plus it’s going to be a fun prize-winning party to celebrate the 5-year anniversary of SWWAN and Single Working Women’s Week. So please let me know if you or one of your connections might know someone who’s been helped. Perhaps someone left homeless after Katrina or a tornado or other disaster.

Thanks in advance for your help! Either reply by comment here or email us.

And the American Red Cross is a particularly good group for SWWAN to support for another reason–founder Clara Barton was the quintessential model of a passionate, talented and dedicated single working woman. Get this:

“Due to her efforts, the United States signed the Geneva Agreement in 1882. In addition, the American Red Cross organization was formed in 1881, and Barton served as its first president. Several years later, she wrote the American amendment to the Red Cross constitution, which provided for disaster relief during peace time as well as war.” Read more about Clara Barton here.

It’s been a long, tough winter–several health challenges have taken up a lot of time and energy. I’m happy to say I’m finally feeling better. Hope you all weathered the winter and the don’t-blink-or-you-missed-it spring and are ready to enjoy a beautiful summer wherever you are.

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Singlism in college textbooks? Yep – read our guest blogger

textbooksDiscovered a cool Twitterer the other day, Jeanine, who writes about SinglePhobia. Having become a college student later in life—going for a second degree—she was surprised to find how negatively single people were presented in her university textbook. Happily, she agreed to contribute to our SWWAN blog…

“I recently took a social psychology course as an elective toward an undergraduate degree in sociology.  Our assigned textbook was Social Psychology by David G. Myers (ninth edition, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2008).  Myers is a prolific author of college textbooks, and I’d read another of his books for an introductory psychology class.  As I read more of Social Psychology, I began to notice that Myers seems to have a negative opinion of single people.

“Throughout the book Myers correlates being married with higher levels of health, happiness, success, and social status than for single people.  But rather than offer readers a range of views about marital status that supports critical thinking, Myers promotes one viewpoint and seems to denigrate single people.

“In the first chapter, Myers describes a correlation between obesity in young women and discrimination, and states that obese women’s unmarried status at the conclusion of the study – at age 31 – suggests that the women were discriminated against.  But does being unmarried at age 31 – or age 41 or 51 – necessarily indicate discrimination?  Is being single a negative indicator?

“There are volumes of scholarly research on happiness, life satisfaction, and loneliness in married, single, divorced, and widowed people, from many points of view.  But throughout the textbook, Myers only mentions research that supports his beliefs about marriage, and seems to find opposing views trivial.  Myers writes “the myth that single women are happier than married women can be laid to rest” without citing proof.  At times he sounds contemptuous, referring to unmarried people as “pleasure-seeking” and assuming that single people view marriage as being in “bondage,” “chains,” or a “yoke.”

“Myers also states that married people are more complex than single people, explaining that if a married person has a bad day at work, he needn’t fall apart, because his work self is only a small part of his identity.  According to Myers, “when our personal identity stands on several legs, it, too, holds up under the loss of any one.”   He concludes that a married person’s identity “stands on several legs” but that a single person’s identity stands only on one leg – his work life.  It is as if Myers assumes that single people have no other pursuits outside of work – nothing but four walls and the pursuit of mindless pleasure!

“Ironically, a chapter in which Myers disparages single people features a photo of the Delaney sisters, a pair of sisters who never married, and who each lived beyond the age of 100.  The text offers, “The Delaney sisters, both over 100, attributed their longevity to a positive outlook on life.”

“A social psychology textbook should encourage critical thinking about cultural beliefs, not reinforce stereotypes and suppress dissenting views.  College professors who assign this textbook should be aware of Myers’ biases and also assign texts that offer a range of representations of the lives of single people.

“In class we discussed the widely held belief that married people were better off in terms of happiness, health, and life satisfaction.  One student mentioned Jennifer Senior’s article about urban loneliness in New York Magazine.  I read the article and that led me to discover the Singles Studies web site at Berkeley, which led me to books that challenge anti-singles bias in academic research and popular culture.  Through further reading, I learned that certain studies that support Myers’ negative view of single people are flawed in terms of data, design, or interpretation, and that some of our culture’s assumptions about single people are based on flawed research.

Myers, David G.  2008.  Social Psychology (9th edition) http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0073531898/information_center_view0

David G. Myers’ web site http://www.davidmyers.org

Alone Together, by Jennifer Senior http://nymag.com/news/features/52450

What a shame the textbook author has such a limited view of singles–I bet he doesn’t know any single women who are SWWANs! Like Jeanine’s writing? Follow her on Twitter

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Saturday night single

Single working woman, what are you doing on this warm (in the temperate zone) Saturday night?

I just tried my first “instant play” from Netflix. You get to download a movie to your computer and watch it immediately. I was glad because I wasn’t sure whether I could only use the service in between physical discs arriving–which would have been hard because there’s always one coming from your “queue” or going back to them.

Anyway, I was able to download my first instant play–after of course downloading the proprietary software to play it. Okay, I thought. Even if I already have two free DVD player programs installed, guess I can add another because instant access without any extra charge to movies not remotely available on Cable’s OnDemand is a great idea.

So I picked my first instant play from among movies I wasn’t sure I actually wanted to see again. The Killing Fields was the first one. And I quickly remembered why I didn’t want to see it again. All about blood and politics and anger during the Vietnam era. But I did learn something fascinating. The star of this movie is Sam Waterston–the guy who’s been playing Jack McCoy on Law & Order (one of my favorite repeat television shows) for many years. So I can see now he was a passionate political believer from the very beginning. What a joy it must be for him to be able to mesh his career (playing a guy fighting for justice) with his real feelings. Incidentally, I have no proof that that’s the case. I’ve just noticed over the years that actors who care about issues tend to accept parts in movies that expose those issues. Check out the roster in the movie Crash.

But, again, I digress. The point I wanted to make was the Netflix proprietary software is very sensitive to how strong/consistent your internet connection is. So it happened that after about 10 minutes of the movie, I got a message saying, “your Internet connection has slowed, so we are adjusting playback to avoid further interruptions.”

They say they’ll need 20 minutes. Okay, I say. This is good. I’ll now always have perfect performance from Netflix movies. So I make myself some popcorn. Let the pet bunny out of the cage to run around. Take the sheets out of the dryer and make the bed with fresh linens (that’ll be fun tonight!). Pour myself a glass of wine. And finally the 20 minutes of “adjusting” is done. The movie recommences.

I keep watching the blood and gore and anger and realize this is not my favorite type of entertainment on Saturday (or most any other evening), but I keep watching so I can study Sam Waterston as a young man. After 30 more minutes, I get that message again.

This time, I write in my journal for a bit. Then try to figure out who among my friends might be interested–and available–to chat at 8:30 pm on a Saturday evening. Call a dear friend who’s recently become a little more available and chat for a while. While we talk, the software’s chugging along “adjusting” and then re-starts. I turn the sound down and continue chatting while watching. Once we ARE finished talking, I turn the sound up to watch again–and lo and behold, 5 minutes later I get that dread “adjusting” message again.

As you may imagine, I now decide to simply turn the freaking thing off. I wonder does this just happen the first time you use an instant download? If it happens every time, I’ll have to seriously “adjust” my expectations!

Earlier this evening, I took a short walk to the local drugstore–just to get out of the house and enjoy the warm evening. It’s really interesting to stroll through a heavily Hispanic neighborhood in Chicago on a spring’s first warm evening. You encounter pocket after pocket of loud and enthusiastic music, some from cars going by, many from open windows of houses and apartments in the area. It’s like the warm weather is the cue to turn up the volume and start dancing. I really like that in a neighborhood.

So what did YOU do tonight? I hope you enjoyed yours, too.




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