Monday, December 19, 2011

An interpretation of Title Nine from 1977

From the 1977 Carlsbad High School Yearbook:

“Title Nein(9)

In 1972 the Federal Congress completed the last stages of the Educational Amendment Title Nine. It took five years to complete from the first initial stage to the time it was enacted.
Title Nine is a portion of the Federal Education Amendment which prohibits sex discrimination and segregation in education.
The effects Title Nine has had on Carlsbad High School’s activities and clubs has been tremendous. Girls activities have been hardest hit with this new rule. Such activities as the Girls’ Glee Club can no longer retain their old name because it is discriminating. The group is now called the Treble Choir. One of the most favored mock sports for girls is Girls’ Powderpuff Football. This name is also to be changed , to Superbowl. The reason because girls might become offended by the old name. Traditionally we have had the boys dress up as cheerleaders on Powderpuff day. This is now no longer allowed, because it is discriminating against both sexes. The reason behind these is beyond my comprehension. Half the fun of such activities are the little crazy things students do, such as boy cheerleaders dressed up as girls.
To pick a Homecoming Queen is a tradition which is an honor to any girl. But now, so that neither sexes be discriminated against, it is required that we have both a homecoming queen and king. In my opinion, boys have never cared much about being king, but rather in kissing the queen – well and fitting.
In a student survey, one out of every 10 students said that it was foolish or corny. This survey included both boys and girls. Evidently, they do not feel threatened by tradition.
Title Nine is indicative of the age of women’s liberation, and reflects a sudden awareness and a new interpretation of an event that has existed since Adam and Eve in the garden. It has its good points, but as many things today, it has been so overworked and interpreted that it is taking on a definite air of absurdity.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Girl Power...annotated list of books for strong girls

Do you want to raise a strong, independent girl who thinks outside the box? Here's a selection of picture books to get started early! I highly recommend reading every picture book before you read it to your children. I found one that just sounded like it fit the bill: a girl who liked insects, only to find out that it was very mean-spirited! I also haven't included books that put down other ways of being a girl, even if they promote individualism, i.e. Players in Pigtails by Shana Corey.

1. I can do that!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote by Linda White

Did you know that Wyoming was the first state where women were able to vote? When they organized as a territory in 1869, women's suffrage was included. When Wyoming became a state in 1890, the right for women to vote in their state was maintained. Esther Morris, who was instrumental in the right to vote being included as a law in Wyoming. She was also the first woman judge. For older kids, a fun activity is to use genealogy websites to find her in the census. This really shows how we can learn about her using original documents from American history!

100 Years to Suffrage (Library of Congress): Accessed Sept. 13, 2011

National Statuary Hall in Wash DC: Accessed Sept. 13, 2011

2. Dahlia by Barbara McClintock

One of my favorites, even though I was never a tom-boy...A little girl who is, gets a very fancy doll from an elderly relative. The illustrations are excellent. The story is set in the past.

3. Pirate Girl by Cornelia Funke

There have been known women pirates: Anne Bonny and Mary Read. But like real pirate stories, they're not really appropriate for children. Thus, we create fun pirate stories for little ones (and maybe for us too). Pirate Girl is a great story for girls, and as fun to read as any pirate tale!

Smithsonian blog entry on Anne Bonny and Mary Read: Accessed Sept. 13, 2011

4. My Hippie Grandmother by Reeve Lindbergh

The daughter of Charles Lindbergh wrote this delightful story about a grandmother who thinks outside the box and encourages her granddaughter to do the same! Especially for parents who have a little counter culture in them, as a hint for the future?!

5. Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole

A princess who doesn't want to get married. Probably out-of-print, but hopefully, your library hasn't weeded it out! If they have this one, then they might have Ms. Cole's other gender cliche busting book, Prince Cinders.

6. Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon by Patty Lovell

A petite little girl moves to a new town and demonstrates how to be confident under pressure. Not my favorite illustrations, but the story is worth it...

7. Mighty Jackie: The Strike-out Queen by Marissa Moss

Simple story about 17 year old Jackie Mitchell, who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game. Her contract with the minor league team she was on was voided by the commissioner of baseball. A great story that shows that things can change, that things have been different, and that a young woman can beat two of the heavy weights of baseball...

Biography of Jackie Mitchell on Baseball Almanac:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Carlsbad, New Mexico or Carlsbad, California?

As the Mercury Insurance Open tournament wraps up, I am reminded of the humorous misadventure of one of the players-Bojana Jovanovski. According to, her agent sent her to the wrong Carlsbad for the tournament. The tournament was being held in Carlsbad, California, but she flew to Carlsbad, New Mexico! After spending the night there, she flew to the right Carlsbad-900 miles away.

What is so amusing about this mishap is that this is not the first time that there has been confusion between these two Carlsbad’s. Back when railroads were the main source of transport for goods, the Atkinson & Santa Fe Railway must have experienced mix-ups as well because they decided to rename our station to prevent confusion between the two. They changed it to Carl. This happened in 1907 when Carlsbad was only about 20 years old. However, the people who lived here already felt a great sense of pride and were none-to-pleased with the name change. They complained and petitioned, and finally in 1917, our station was changed back to Carlsbad.

To read about how our Carlsbad- Carlsbad, California got its name, see:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Why a Feminist Mother plays Barbies with her Daughter...

Yes, I know, she's not anatomically correct. And she has lots of stuff, including clothes and beautiful long hair. Her not being anatomically correct could easily be seen as a physical "defect"(we all have them) and her pretty hair is then her best feature.

However, when the question of Barbies came up, I referred back to my own childhood. I had played Barbies and have been a feminist my entire adult life, so what harm could there really be? Although I realize that there were certainly other factors that brought about my own feminism. My daughter received a couple of Barbies as gifts when she was even too young to play with them. So I began my quest to properly outfit a Barbie collection, which proved to be quite easy! I found more than enough to fill up the playroom at thrift stores, yard sales, and swap meets. Ready for the complete Barbie lifestyle, I only had to wait until the request for a Barbie playdate was made.

When it did come and the Barbie town was set up, I saw that there was an opportunity here. My child was young and under my guidance and influence. I use it elsewhere, why not during play? So playing Barbies became a lesson in being a strong, independent, accomplished woman. Our Barbies were doctors, librarians, writers, professors, business owners. They went skiing, surfing, snowboarding, running, etc. They also attended the opera, poetry readings, DAR meetings, took educational classes and did volunteer work at their local library. I never made a big deal out of what my Barbie was wearing, except that it be practical for whatever activity they were doing. Their hair was brushed and styled, but with no more emphasis that we have in our own daily life. And though there was one Ken doll in the collection, he's a friend- there were never any weddings. Not that there's anything wrong with marriage, but that needn't be the focus of Barbie play.

Imaginative play is important for children, but parental involvement can and should guide our children. An occasional hands-on approach allows us to demonstrate to our children our values. Barbie's gender-cliché building ability can be tamed and redirected with much success...and plus, it's just fun!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Shrimp or shrimps?

From a 1958 Carlsbad Journal newspaper:

"What is the plural of shrimp, 'shrimp' or 'shrimps'? It has been explained this way: When the word refers to a shellfish, the plural is 'shrimp.' When it refers to men, the plural is 'shrimps'."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Aldous Huxley on ready-made v. personal creative expression

I remember first contemplating the very topic that Mr. Huxley writes about in this early 20th century article after one of my many viewings of "Out of Africa". There is a scene where the men are singing after dinner and then Isak Dinesen's character tells a story. I thought at the time how sad it is that we have "lost" our own voices only to be replaced by "ready-made" songs and music. Are we all the best singers? Maybe not, but that isn't the point. We all have talents to share with friends and family: a recitation of a poem, playing a song on the piano, telling a story, etc. We could each find a song or two that we could sing as after dinner entertainment for our family. Well, it appears that there is nothing new under the sun...The following is a transcription of a short article Aldous Huxley wrote for Vanity Fair in the 1920's.

"The really great simplifications of our mental life, it is asserted, have been brought about 'as a result of the commercial application of scientific inventions.' The results of this excessive facilitation are, first, an atrophy of the artistic, musical, and dramatic faculties of those who accept their amusements ready made; and, second, an increase of boredom. There is nothing nowadays corresponding to the peasant art, the folk songs, the traditional plays and mummings of the past. The talent which produced these things lies latent; ready-made standardized entertainment has effectively prevented it from expressing itself. But ready-made art can never be as completely satisfying to a man as the art he makes himself. The cinema, the gramophone, the wireless are distractions; but they do nothing to satisfy man's desire for self-assertion."

Monday, July 4, 2011

Epitaphs from New England headstones, a sampling....

I first became interested in epitaphs after seeing a thought-provoking one in a colonial-era cemetery in Charleston, South Carolina: View this tomb as you pass by, for as you are so once was I, and as I am so must you be, prepare yourself to follow me. It was the grave of a young woman who died in the 18th century when she was 24.

I picked up a book, initially published in 1962, with old epitaphs: Over their dead bodies: Yankee epitaphs & history compiled by Thomas C. Mann and Janet Greene. They truly are fascinating: illuminating history and sensibility of early American settlers through the Civil War era.

Here are a few of my favorites:

From Litchfield, Conn.,

Here lies the body of Mrs. Mary wife
of Dea. John Buel Esq. She died
Nov. 4, 1768 AEtat. 90
Having had 13 children
101 grand-children
274 great-grand-children
49 great-great-grand-children
410 Total. 336 survive her.

From Boston, Mass.,

Here lies buried in a
Stone Grave 10 feet deep
Capt Daniel Malcolm Mercht
who departed this Life
October 23d 1769
Aged 44 Years
a true son of Liberty
a Friend to the Publick
an Enemy to oppression
and one of the foremost
in opposing the Revenue Acts
on America

From Concord, Mass.,

God wills us free-Man wills us slaves
I will as God wills: Gods will be done.
Here lies the body of
John Jack
A native of Africa who died
March 1773, aged about sixty years.
Tho born in the land of slavery
He was born free:
Tho he lived in a land of liberty
He lived a slave
Till by his honest tho stolen labours
He acquired the source of slavery
Which gave him his freedom:
Tho not long before
Death the great Tyrant
Gave him his final emancipation
And put him on a footing with kings.
Tho a slave to vice
He practised those virtues
Without which kings are but slaves

From Ridgefield, Conn.,

In defense of American Independence
At the battle of Ridgefield, Apr. 27, 1777
Died Eight Patriots
Who were Laid in These Grounds
Companioned by
Sixteen British Soldiers
Living, Their Enemies
Dying, Their Guests.
In Honor of Service and Sacrifice, this
Memorial is Placed For the
Strengthening of Hearts.

From Milford, Conn.,

In Memory of Sarah Prudden
who with a happier world in
view departed this mortal state
July 27 1788 in the 80th year of her age.
Our age to seventy years is set
How short the term how frail the state
And if to eighty we arrive
We rather sigh & groan than live.

From Winslow, Maine,

Here lies the body of Richard Thomas
an inglishman by birth
A Whig of '76
By occupation a cooper
now food for worms.
Like an old rum puncheon whose
staves are all marked, numbered and shooked
he will be raised again and finished by his creator.
He died Sept. 28, 1824. Aged 75.
America my adopted country
my best advice to you is this
Take care of your liberties.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Parents Taking Responsibility for Children's Eating Habits

I listened to an interview today on KPBS with Mark Bittman, the author of How to Cook Everything. The discussion was about the government controlling junk food advertising to kids. Mr. Bittman's concern was that it was not mandatory and that the industry would have about five years to even begin to reign in their direct marketing to children.

As a parent who has very consciously directed my child's eating habits, I disagree with the supposed power marketers have over kids. As I have been thinking about it, I have even been trying to figure out where these ads are...I have forgotten! I guess the majority must still be during children's programing on television. If that is the case, parents still have greater power. We control our children's television viewing habits. Parents can record programs and fast-forward through commercials. They can discuss with their children what advertising is about. It's to sell products and make money for those companies. And how do these companies market to children? Does this mean that we buy these products? No. Does this mean these products are good for us or in our best interest? No. I did this and FYI, kids are pretty smart. They can avoid simple manipulation like this if their parents take the time to inform them. Parents can show DVD's instead if you want to avoid the ads altogether, or some people will say just get rid of the tv!

After raising a child, I see that so much of the problem of junk food eating comes from the parents...what they are eating, buying, serving...have you ever seen the snacks served to kids during and after youth sports, scouts, and other clubs for kids?!! Not to mention what is being served at kids' parties! Look at what parents are sending in the lunches-not what is being served in the cafeteria, but what comes from home! How about snacks and treats sent to school for various reasons? The parents are sending these, not the junk food companies. I have also noticed that Valentine's Day card exchanges have turned into candy giving parties over the past few years! These are all the choices of the parents!

This isn't to say that all parents are junk food dealers, but really when this is the message most parents are sending through what we provide for "our" kids, what else do we expect them to want or ask for?? And I am neither a corporate stooge nor a hippie mom, just someone who has noticed that the influence is really coming from home and the parents. The power over food choices and especially junk food eating habits starts at home, as so many other things in our children's life. Let's take a little responsibility here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A few suggestions for a Screen-Free week & more!

Remember what life was like before cell phones, Wi-fi, the Internet, video games, and television? Okay, even I'm too young to remember life before television...but if you've ever camped, etc. there have been instances where you've been without it. What did you do? A little thought about what we did before for fun, information, etc. will provide plenty of suggestions for the next week. But there is a bigger picture here. For example, if you value books (the physical kind), you have to buy or check them out for them to continue in existence. If you want your own children to look at you while you talk, put your iPhone down when they want to talk to you or pause the television (we are fortunate to have that luxury, use it!).

1. Turn your cell phone's volume on and put it where your landline is or was & treat it like a landline phone.

2. Write a letter to an elderly relative who would be thrilled to receive something since they may be the only ones not online! Or write to a friend who you know also writes, or would. At least send a card or two-maybe to a niece or nephew-they love to get them! Be sure to include some stickers!

3. Need information? Go to the library. Granted the catalogs are online, but checking out a physical book is still a great way to find information. Or entertainment! Hey, you can drink and eat in most libraries now, how about bringing your coffee and the kids' juice and hang out and read for awhile?! The Carlsbad libraries have an excellent selection of newspapers and magazines as well.

4. Take a stroll through your neighborhood, park, the lagoons, or the beach. It doesn't have to be a power walk. Enjoy nature, breathe deep, and relax. Bring your camera. Bring a bucket or two-one for neat rocks and one for trash (mini beach clean-up day!). Go for a bike ride or have a catch with your kids...that time is flying, take advantage of it now!

5. An obvious one: break out the board games or cards. I know many who play solitaire, Scrabble, etc. online-bring it to the table instead and involve your kids! How about some chess or checkers? Even more fun, have your kids create their own board game and play it!

6. Get out the craft or art supplies. Have your kids create a family newspaper. Or a family portrait.

7. How about a little spring cleaning? I know I'm not the only one who has some task that's been waiting!

8. We are so fortunate to have so many great things to do here in So Cal-I see more than I can possibly get to on Twitter...hit up some of the museums, nature centers, historical points of interest you've been meaning to get to....(see my other post on great history sites, etc. in North County).

9. Get out in your yard! Take a glass of iced tea and a magazine and just enjoy a bit of sun...well, not today, but in general. Or pull a few weeds. Even if you have a gardener, pull some weeds, pick up a new plant and plant it yourself, or dead-head the rose bush...there is nothing quite so satisfying, plus you get some vitamin D!

10. Write a poem for someone you love. For your significant other, your child, a favorite bird or flower. Who cares if it's "bad", the point is to write some poetry for inspiration.

11. Hand wash dishes with your family. Remember doing this when you were a kid? Whoever isn't actually doing dishes can read aloud from a book- how about The Wizard of Oz? Or an Agatha Christie for older ones or families without kids.

12. Choose a play, even an EZ reader book to turn into a play...practice for a week with a performance at the end, with props, make-up, costumes, etc.

13. Do science experiments with your kids-(not on your kids-hehe!). There are so many easy ones to do and tons of books at the library with ones to do at home. Even if you don't have kids, there are some really fun ones to remind you how much fun science lab was...

14. Read a love story with your love. By candlelight. It doesn't have to be "Earth Hour" to turn out the lights...:)

15. Buy a journal and start recording your profound thoughts in it...don't lose them all on FB, Twitter or a blog...leave a tangible record of your life (and handwriting) for your children, grandchildren, etc. While you're at it, write down some stories from your childhood for posterity. A better use of time than watching some program you don't really care about...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Favorite Picture Books for Children

I worked in our city library's Children's Dept. for four years. This coincided with my daughter's early childhood. Both factors introduced me to many wonderful picture books for children. My criteria for books was that they contained words that would build my daughter's vocabulary, they had great illustrations (beautiful or fun), and that they showed her different worlds. I always pre-read them, avoiding books with words like hate, stupid, or dumb and books that seemed "angry". The books on this list were ones that we read over and over again, and still read occasionally just for fun! I didn't include some of the classics, like Dr. Seuss because most people are aware of them.

1. Dahlia, Barbara McClintock
2. Henry David's House, Henry David Thoreau
3. Good Night, Good Knight, Shelley Thomas
4. Brambly Hedge Seasons series, Jill Barklem
5. Pirate Girl, Cornelia Funke
6. Mrs. Armitage and the Big Wave, Quentin Blake
7. Toot and Puddle series, Holly Hobbie
8. One Morning in Maine, Robert McCloskey
9. Blueberries for Sal, Robert McCloskey
10. My Hippie Grandmother, Reeve Lindbergh
11. The Ox-Cart Man, Donald Hall
12. The Philharmonic Gets Dressed, Karla Kuskin
13. Anna the Bookbinder, Andrea Cheng
14. Mei-Mei Loves the Morning, Margaret Tsubakiyama
15. The Snowy Day, Ezra Keats
16. The Twelve Days of Kindergarten: A Counting Book, Deborah Rose
17. Ms. MacDonald has a Class, Jan Omerod
18. Counting Crocodiles, Judy Sierra
19. I Could Do That!: Esther Morris gets Women the Vote, Linda White
20. Prince Cinders, Babette Cole
21. Princess Smartypants, Babette Cole
22. Leon & Bob, Simon James
23. Peter Spier's Rain, Peter Spier
24. Madlenka, Peter Sis
25. Chidi Only Likes Blue: An African book of Colours, Ifeoma Onyefulu
26. Olivia, Ian Falconer
27. Fantastic Daisy Artichoke, Quentin Blake
28. Lousia May & Mr. Thoreau's Flute, Julie Dunlap
29. Chester's Way, Kevin Henkes
30. Yoko's Paper Cranes, Rosemary Wells
31. Roberto the Insect Architect, Nina Laden
32. All Aboard, Mary Lyn Ray
33. Click, Clack, Moo Cows that Type, Doreen Cronin
34. The Gardener, Sarah Stewart
35. The Library, Sarah Stewart
36. Are we there yet?, Alison Lester
37. Stand tall Molly Lou Mellon, Patty Lovell
38. Ten Minutes till Bedtime, Peggy Rathmann
39. Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Spider, and Diary of a Fly, Doreen Cronin
40. The Way We Do It in Japan, Geneva Cobb Iijima

Monday, January 24, 2011

History fun in North County San Diego county!

As the librarian of the Carlsbad History Room, I belong to an organization called CINCH: Council Interpreting North County History. Every time I attend a meeting, I am amazed at the wonderful programs, museums, archives, and collections available to us in North San Diego county.

I've compiled a list of some of the organizations & museums in North County that are worth a visit and have great things to do with your children, family, and/or friends! Many are free or low cost to visit. There are many seasonal offerings, ways to volunteer, Boy & Girl Scouts opportunities, classes, camps, etc. For a more complete list, stop by the history room at the Cole Library for a Historic North County San Diego brochure. If you don't live in our area, there are sure to be many similar organizations, museums, etc. in your area.

In Carlsbad:
*Carlsbad Historical Society Museum, in Magee Park in North Carlsbad. Wonderful rose garden & afternoon tea (by appt.), in addition to the museum-
*Barrio Museum, a wonderful small museum with great old photos! Open by appointment- Contact Ofie or Connie @ Lola's 7-Up Market & Deli @ 760-434-2191
*Craftsmanship Museum, new in La Costa-
*Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, off Melrose Ave. in La Costa-

Other North County offerings:
*Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, in Vista-really close if you live in NE La Costa. They offer classes on blacksmithing (this class has a waiting list & lots of girls sign up!), antique furniture restoration, weaving, etc.-, and on Facebook: Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum, Inc., on Twitter: @vistamuseum

*Fallbrook Gem & Mineral Society & Museum-

*San Diego Archaeological Center, east of Wild Animal Park. They have a junior archaeology program! A current exhibit is about a man named Nate Harrison, an former slave who settled on Palomar Mt. His story is fascinating! ( -

*Poway Historical Society & Museum-

*Rancho Buena Vista Adobe-

*San Dieguito Heritage Museum, near San Diego Botanic Garden (Quail Gardens) in Encinitas. They cover the history of Encinitas, Del Mar, RSF, Olivenhain, Solana Beach, Cardiff, and Leucadia-

*San Pasqual Battlefield, a historic state park also east of the Wild Animal Park. They offer living history activities once a month, June-October-

*Rancho Guajome Adobe, in Vista-

*Mission San Luis Rey, in Oceanside. They offer tours and lectures.-

Additionally, there are the Marron Adobe, in NE Carlsbad on Haymar Rd; and the Rancho Santa Margarita, on Camp Pendleton (open 3rd Wednesday @ 10am for tours).