Monday, November 19, 2018

Books You Must Read

If you are lucky to be heading out on holiday travel, or if you have some down time coming up, I highly recommend these two books, The Wedding Date and The Proposal. You might pass over them if you are not a fan of romances/chick lit, but don't in this case. Fun, lively, set in the real world of diverse characters, I loved them both. Jasmine Guillory's next book is coming out next JULY and I have already pre-ordered it. 

For all those away from home this Thanksgiving, far or near, or working so that others may celebrate - thank you! I appreciate SO MUCH your support of Gals in Blue!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Never Forget

I never saw anything about the dust up caused by comments by SNL comedian Pete Davidson about veteran and congressional candidate Dan Crenshaw. But I did see a lot of comments on my feeds about Crenshaw's invitation to SNL to receive an apology the following week and his response. Wow! It's worth watching the entire thing:

Crenshaw wrote a great op-ed in the Washington Post about it, and I am now a huge fan:

How, then, do we live together in this world of differing ideas? For starters, let’s agree that the ideas are fair game. If you think my idea is awful, you should say as much. But there is a difference between attacking an idea and attacking the person behind that idea. Labeling someone as an “-ist” who believes in an “-ism” because of the person’s policy preference is just a shortcut to playground-style name-calling, cloaked in political terminology. It’s also generally a good indication that the attacker doesn’t have a solid argument and needs a way to end debate before it has even begun.

Amen brother! Here are a couple more vet-related things you should check out:

The Moth Radio Hour podcast this week entitled, Hope and Glory. There are four stories, including Jill Morgenthaler (pictured here), who was in the first class of Army ROTC cadets to train at Fort Bragg. There is also a story from Dylan Park, a soldier stationed at Kirkuk, where I deployed to also.

Please read this tremendous article from the Atlantic, The Inconvenience of Being a Woman Veteran. I have always felt "not serious enough" while I was in the military and "too serious" among my civilian friends. This article hits it right on the head why that is (yay! it's not just me :-))

Lastly, and speaking of Kirkuk, one of my Group Commanders there is now Chief of the Air Force Reserve. This article outlines his Three Effective Ways to Lead. I cannot say enough great things about Lt Gen Scobee - he was the best boss, period.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Go Vote!

Election day is a mere week away - are you prepared? Here are a couple resources to help!

If you are away from home (living overseas or serving in the military), do not use that as an excuse! This page on Absentee Voting has everything you need to know. All the forms are downloadable.

Each home state has different rules, so go to this page and you can find the link to your state.

If you can vote in person and don't now where to go, check out this page.

Lastly, if you feel bewildered by the current political scene and the barrage of news stories, go to this link, put in your address, and it will tell you exactly what you are voting for in your district.

Friday, October 19, 2018

A Couple Quick Shout Outs


...or is it shouts out? Ha! Here are 3 things making me happy this week (a la Pop Culture Happy Hour).

1. I know you know that voting is important, at anytime, but even more so now. But if you are in the military, you might not live any where near your voting district. Or maybe you do live in your voting district but you don't have a lot of bandwidth to study up on the candidates and issues. Or maybe you just moved to a new community.  No worries, try out the Ballot Cheat Sheet. Put in your address and it will create your personalized ballot. I tried it out with my address and it was spot on.

2. This song. It's my own personal YOLO anthem, and I can't get enough of it. "I'd rather be making memories, than reminiscing of the past, you see..."

3. Have you ever listened to The Moth either on your local NPR station or via podcast? It's pretty awesome, but last night I got to see one of their live shows. So So So good. If you get a chance to any over their live events do it.

Monday, October 15, 2018

What Did They Just Say?

I was at (another) recent conference, and had a lovely conversation with a group of women I admire. They described an event the previous evening. A woman was being honored for her career-long positive impact. Two men were chosen by her to speak for the evening, and the three had been life long friends. Like families vacationing together close.

The speakers made jokes and comments throughout the night about her family and her good looks. The honoree and many in the room laughed right along, because these were old jokes and stories that were repeated often. Not for a million years were they intended to belittle the honoree, nor did she take it that way.

My friend at the event was equally enjoying herself, but then realized several others in the room (younger, no connection to the speaker) were finding the banter best case odd, worst case offensive to women.

She wondered, had they gotten so used to this banter they had a tin ear to how it could be perceived? What do you do when you hear something in jest that could be offensive, even when not taken out of context, but isn't offensive to the "transmitter" or the "receiver"?

Definitely food for thought.

PS - You can buy the umbrella pictured above HERE

Monday, October 8, 2018

Call Out the Real Stuff

I am privileged to be part of a 8,000-plus group on Facebook for women Air Force officers. As my retirement date gets further behind me, it's nice to keep up on the current issues, plus offer the occasional opinion or bit of my more experienced perspective to those younger in their careers.  And often this gives me ideas for blog posts :-)

What follows is a wise observation I wanted to share. I agree with the writer in that if we label all negative interaction between a female and a male as harassment and discrimination, then it gets harder to ferret out and fix the real deal. Would the older male civilian have treated a male captain differently? Maybe. (He probably would have used more colorful language is my bet.) But does it matter in this case?  Read on...

I made an observation today, and I figured this was the place to share it. Possibly the eponymous “unpopular opinion”, but we’ll see. 

I was in a rush to leave this morning and wasn’t paying attention when I put my patches on my OCPs* (I’ve been wearing them for over a year). An older man in civilian clothes tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Captain, your name tapes are on ass-backwards.” I was appropriately contrite, fixed them quickly, and thanked him. 

Moments later, the annoyance set in. “Why did he have to say it in such an annoyed tone? Why was he so condescending? Would he have said it like that to a male?”

And then, moments after THAT, I realized I’d gotten defensive. We talk a lot about men speaking to us condescendingly, treating us differently because we’re women, older men (and women) using terms of endearment towards us when they wouldn’t do it to men. I wonder, sometimes, if we’re so ready to hear the condescension, that we prep for it and make a big deal out of something less. The gent who helped me out really WAS helping me out, and I’d honestly say he’d have used the same tone when speaking to a man. 

My point is: there’s a lot of sexism out there. We need to make sure we’re calling out the real stuff, or our voices will cease to make an impact. I realized I’d gotten defensive (albeit privately) when the situation absolutely did not call for it. Recognize it when you see it, call it out, but we will never get ahead if we always see ourselves as the victims. Sometimes we are. Many times, we are. But if we want to be taken seriously, we should make sure that we’re not confusing misogyny with the bluntness of the military. I did it for a few minutes this morning, and it made me realize that’s where my mind tends to go. I’ve got to work on that!

NOTE: OCP = operational camouflage pattern, aka, the newest US military camouflage uniform

Thursday, October 4, 2018

A Lazy Excuse

I was just at an aviation conference, and a common refrain when the challenge of finding quality manpower was brought up, was, "Oh, the millennials." Like it was a lost cause, an entire generation! It came up enough for me to notice it as a theme. One speaker even said, "Not only do they not know how to use a wrench, millennials don't know what a wrench is."

Hmmm. I'll admit I've made my own comments about millennial hipsters. They're the punchline of many jokes. What is a millennial? The most succinct definition I found after a quick search was, "early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years"..."generally marked by an increased use and familiarity with communications, media, and digital technologies."  AKA, the ones with smartphones always within reach :-) Technology aside, I don't think there is anything different about this particular generation. Hasn't it always been those that are younger that are more open to new ideas, and flipping the status quo?

I wish that we could quit using "Oh, the millennials" as an excuse. You know what will keep drawing qualified manpower to your organization? Not doing it like you've always done it. I bet that bright "kid" will know what a wrench is, and how to use it, and why you would use it, if there were a couple tutorials on Youtube.