Sunday, April 29, 2012

Monday Motivation

                                                                                         Source: lesapea.tumblr.com via Shannon on Pinterest

Weekend Links

It has been really fun to read all the thoughtful responses for The Last Name Project. To take a look at all of them (including the ones posted on Danielle's blog) go here.

As part of Balancing Jane's series on identities in balance, Jennifer writes a touching piece about lipsticks and daughters. (P.S. Read my post for the series, about being Catholic and feminist, here).

Balancing Jane and Sociological Images cover Kraft's new, highly offensive ad campaign about mixed race milk bites. Read their analyses, sign the Change.org petition, and boycott Kraft until they revoke the ads.

This weekend, Code Pink, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Reprieve hosted the International Drone Summit in Washington, DC. Read about it here and here. Or follow along on twitter by searching for #DroneSummit.

A Catholic school fired a woman for undergoing in vitro fertilization. Even when they're trying to get pregnant, women just can't win!

The Vatican is upset that Catholic nuns are awesome and actually spend time helping the poor and oppressed instead of talking about how sinful gay people are and trying to control the uterus of every woman on the planet.

If you're like me and one of the rare few that hasn't read The Hunger Games yet, Feministe is starting a Hunger Games book club. Read along with me! And may the odds (of finding time to read yet another book trilogy) be ever in your favor.

Lately, I've spent too much time on Pinterest daydreaming about how to decorate my new apartment in Atlanta. Here are some tips on how to avoid getting overwhelmed or feel bad about yourself because realistically you are not going to be able to sew your own throw pillows.

My friend K over at The Gracious Gaze did a fun series about spring cleaning your way to a simple closet.  She did this with me in person last year, and has some great tips!

BREAKING NEWS: Science proves Wellesley friends are the best kinds of friends. Exhibit A: my friend M drove down from Boston just to eat falafel with me because on Friday I told her I missed her.

xoxoxoxo

Saturday, April 28, 2012

[A] The Last Name Project


In this new series co-hosted by from two to one and The Feminist Mystique, we will be profiling an array of individuals and couples about their last name decisions upon marriage or what they expect to choose if they marry. The goal is to explore how individuals make decisions about their last name, and to highlight the many possibilities. We will be posting profiles periodically and encourage you to stay connected via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  If you would like to participate in this series, email Danielle at danielle [at] fromtwotoone [dot] com or Shannon at hill [dot] shannonp [at] gmail [dot] com. 

The following post is from A, who lives in the USA.

I married at the end of 2008, but didn’t get around to changing my surname until the following February. I did a lot of waffling about my last name, but in the end I felt confident with my choice to change it. My husband didn’t participate in my decision—he just let me make my choice. (Although he now thinks that it would have been cool to pick a new name for ourselves if we had thought about it at the time!) I was also very lucky that my career had no bearing on my choice; I was just starting out and there was never any pressure about what to call myself after I was married.

My primary reason for wanting to change my last name upon marriage stems from my family situation:  my father is a misogynist and has been since I can remember. All he ever wanted was a son; instead he got 4 daughters. As a kid I had heard him bemoan his status as “the last Doe*” because he was an only son who had no sons of his own; it was like we girls weren’t “Doe*” enough to continue the legacy or the name because we weren’t boys, no matter how smart or wonderful or successful we were in our own rights. Although I toyed with the idea of hyphenation (ditching my “tag” of 23 years wasn’t entirely painless, regardless of my strong motivations for wanting to change it), I ultimately changed my last name completely because I wanted to be free of that patriarchal connection to my father—a connection to which I never consented in the first place, since his name had been assigned to me at birth. I didn’t want to share a last name with a bitter man who frankly doesn’t deserve his wonderful daughters. I don’t think that I would have come to my conclusion if I had not discovered feminism and my passion for women’s equality; my feminism helped me to confront the ugly truth about my father’s character and I was able to make a decision that was right for me. I chose to take the last name of my husband’s family in the end; they had never shown me anything but kindness and acceptance and love and legally taking the last name of people I had come to love in return felt…right.


*Name changed for the sake of anonymity

Friday, April 27, 2012

[Bethany] The Last Name Project


In this new series co-hosted by from two to one and The Feminist Mystique, we will be profiling an array of individuals and couples about their last name decisions upon marriage or what they expect to choose if they marry. The goal is to explore how individuals make decisions about their last name, and to highlight the many possibilities. We will be posting profiles periodically and encourage you to stay connected via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  If you would like to participate in this series, email Danielle at danielle [at] fromtwotoone [dot] com or Shannon at hill [dot] shannonp [at] gmail [dot] com.   

The following post is from Bethany, a straight, liberal, agnostic librarian who gets surprisingly irked when dual last names aren't alphabetized properly (but rarely shushes people).

I got married a year and a half ago.  I knew for many years that I wouldn’t want to marry someone who demanded that I change my name, and I had thought that meant that I wouldn’t change my name.  My husband left the choice entirely up to me, and I surprised myself by taking his last name when we applied for the marriage license.

I like the name I was raised with.  It’s a huge part of how I see myself.  Long before we got married, my husband and I talked about our names.  He wasn’t comfortable changing his surname (can’t blame him--neither was I), and neither of us like the hyphenation game.  I suggested that we both change our names a little bit.  We could both have my last name as a middle name, and his last name as our family name.  We could drop our given middle names.  Both of our families would be represented in both of our names, which has a wonderful air of fair and equal partnership.  For a while, it was a mutually agreeable option.

Here’s what I learned after choosing his last name on the marriage license application: it’s easy to change your last name when you get married.  Your middle name, however, isn’t always up for discussion.  In my state, you have to go through the probate courts if you want to legally remove and change any other part of your name for any reason.  That means filing papers, paying legal fees, publicly announcing the name change, waiting for objections, appearing in court, and finally walking away with a spiffy new name.

I’m not lazy, and I’m not flaky.  But I am pragmatic.  The prospect of changing both our middle names was more hassle than the symbolism was worth to us.  My husband kept his name unchanged.  I opted to include my first, middle, maiden, and unhyphenated married name on my new Social Security card, which somehow wasn’t a problem.  My driver’s license, bank accounts, will, and W2’s show the three names I really want.  I use all three professionally and socially.  I’m alphabetized by my married name, which conveniently bumps me many letters up the alphabet.  Sometimes I capriciously use only my married name, which is much shorter to spell over the phone.

Someday, when we have children, our whole family will have the same last name.  Neither my husband nor I will have an oddball last name that doesn’t match everyone else’s.  We won’t need to consider giving our children different last names to represent both of us.  We’re strongly considering giving any/all of them my maiden name as a sole middle name.  If we do, we will have come full circle to our original plan.  What our children do with that name is up to them--just like it was up to us when we got married.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I Feel Pretty

Or, at least, my blog does! I am so in love with the little makeover The Feminist Mystique received, courtesy of the amazing Amanda over at Apple Blue. Thanks Amanda!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How To: Make Homemade Tortillas

Lately, I have become obsessed with making homemade tortillas. Or really, I've become obsessed with eating homemade tortillas. There is such a difference between homemade tortillas and the store-bought ones. Besides, have you ever looked at the ingredients on a package of store-bought tortillas? They are full of chemicals. Yuck!

Over the past few months, I've experimented with a few recipes. These are by far my favorite. They're the perfect combination of crispiness and doughiness. And they're vegan (they use coconut oil instead of milk or any sort of lard). We use them to make black bean quesadillas or breakfast burritos. I also love them slathered in butter or honey.

Homemade Flour Tortillas


P.S. I was really intimidated the first time I set out to make tortillas, but they're actually really easy and quick. And there are only 5 ingredients. So don't be afraid!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Catholic and Feminist

Today, I was over at Balancing Jane writing about being both a feminist and Catholic. Here's a little excerpt: 
I grew up enamored with the Church. Stories of saints and the Virgin Mary peppered my childhood. I admired them. Women like Saint Catherine of Siena seemed smart, sure of themselves, powerful, and even rebellious. Indeed, they seemed much smarter and powerful, and more dynamic and interesting than any Disney princess.
Read the full post here

[M] The Last Name Project


In this new series co-hosted by from two to one and The Feminist Mystique, we will be profiling an array of individuals and couples about their last name decisions upon marriage or what they expect to choose if they marry. The goal is to explore how individuals make decisions about their last name, and to highlight the many possibilities. We will be posting profiles periodically and encourage you to stay connected via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  If you would like to participate in this series, email Danielle at danielle [at] fromtwotoone [dot] com or Shannon at hill [dot] shannonp [at] gmail [dot] com.  

The following post is from M, who teaches at a medium sized university in the Midwest but spent the last three months in Kenya conducting research. 


The decision to change our last names originated with my (male) partner, who proffered the crazy idea to make up a new name.  This suggestion proceeded from a conversation with his former partner about whether he was willing to change his name if they married. 
At first I regarded this scheme with dismay; I had always planned to keep my last name, and this proposition sounded slightly off-center. But the idea of an equally shared sacrifice—and changing your name is essentially a sacrifice, of time, effort, and parts of your identity— seemed like a good way to commemorate our legal union.

We have a common ethnic background, so we decided to pick a name from the Irish language.  Then we started talking about meaning; as academics in the humanities, we focus on words, and translation can be capricious.  He describes the process happening with a bottle of wine and a Gaelic Irish dictionary, and that is almost accurate.  We eventually found a name that alluded to both of our unmarried surnames and to our journeys toward each other, including the collective journey of our immigrant forebears; it means seaborne.

Once we had selected a name, we explained our choice to our parents.  A’s mother responded by spluttering “you cannot do that,” essentially protesting her own lack of choice in an earlier time, and my father pronounced us “foolish and irresponsible,” but we ignored their whimpers of tradition.  To allay possible confusion, our wedding program contained a paragraph explaining the choice to choose a new name and the name itself.

Others’ confusion about our choice never really surfaced, but legal difficulties did.  Legally changing your name (unless you are a woman taking a husband’s name upon marriage) proved more difficult than we imagined.  Instead of writing the new name on the marriage certificate as brides could if taking a man’s surname, we were forced to use the court system. First one petitions the court, then makes a public announcement of the change by purchasing an advertisement in a local newspaper, which publishes nothing else, then swears in front of a judge that the name change is not an attempt to escape outstanding debt.  The judge in our case made me repeat myself because I was not loud enough the first time.   Even A was schooled not to lean on the judges’ desk during that short interaction.

One unexpected way this choice has been beneficial is my communications with students.  Since my partner and I work in the same academic department, students often know we are a couple because we share the name.  I usually find a way to reveal the name’s origins with my classes at some point, if only to protest their (unspoken) assumption that I took my husband’s name.  The young people then have at least one example of a non-sexist, egalitarian way to address the name change question when they arrive at their own decision.

Monday, April 23, 2012

[Cindy] The Last Name Project


In this new series co-hosted by from two to one and The Feminist Mystique, we will be profiling an array of individuals and couples about their last name decisions upon marriage or what they expect to choose if they marry. The goal is to explore how individuals make decisions about their last name, and to highlight the many possibilities. We will be posting profiles periodically and encourage you to stay connected via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  If you would like to participate in this series, email Danielle at danielle [at] fromtwotoone [dot] com or Shannon at hill [dot] shannonp [at] gmail [dot] com.  

The following post is from Cindy, a health economist who lives in Toronto with her wife and daughter. 

I grew up in a family where all the women changed their names at marriage (for some this meant changing it multiple times). My mother changed her name when she married my father and changed it back when they divorced. In my early 20s, I dated someone who was very traditional, and who repeatedly commented about how his stepmother was not a true [insert his last name] because she had not changed her name to his father’s at marriage.  I thought that was a bit harsh, but also wasn’t yet sure whether I would change my own name at marriage and I certainly wasn’t sure that I wanted to draw a line in the sand over the issue.  Later, as I read more feminist literature, I thought about how a person’s name is attached to her identity and about the inequity of women commonly going through the many bureaucratic, social, and professional steps it takes to re-establish an identity upon marrying while men almost never did.  

In my late 20s, I completed my PhD and had by then observed several of my female classmates going through the process of re-establishing their identities after publishing in their own names and then beginning to publish and speak in their married names.  Friends who worked at large companies would talk about mass emails they received at work announcing a name change for a female colleague; it seemed particularly unfair that women who changed their names in some ways waived their right to privacy with that decision, as they were made to announce both good and bad personal news such as marriages and divorces that they might otherwise like to keep private.

Several college friends changed their names at marriage during this time in my life. Some changed their names because of a love of tradition.  Others changed their names because (like me) they were not close to their father or because (like me) they wanted to have the same name as future children; during this time not even one male friend changed his name at marriage because of these reasons despite many, if not all, of my male friends falling into one of these two categories.  Some friends who came from – or married into – traditional families changed their names due to not wanting to explain or justify their decision hundreds of times over.  I found myself at times especially frustrated by these friends, whose decision not to fight the battle in their own lives only reinforced the status quo, thereby making it that much more difficult for other women to choose not to change their names.  I saw this battle personified in friends who did not change their names and then spent their supply of patience trying to get their own friends/families/in-laws to acknowledge that they had NOT changed their names as the mail poured in to Mr. and Mrs. His Name.

My partners since the one in my early 20s have been strong feminists. By the time I married, there was no discussion to have: I would not change my name.  I also felt strongly that I wouldn’t want the person I married to change their name.  Because I ended up marrying a woman, our decision to keep our names raised fewer eyebrows and demanded less explanation than I believe would have been the case if I had married a man; there was no historical precedent for us to follow or reject. The discussions we did have were about how to incorporate each of our names into our children’s names.  Our first child has my last name as a middle name and my wife’s last name as her last name; our second child will have the reverse.  Our names are a part of who we are and now they are a part of who our children are. Happily, no one had to re-establish an identity to achieve this.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Monday Motivation

 



  

                                                                                   Source: simplemom.net via Shannon on Pinterest


I love this quote. It inspires me to live simply. And in case you need a little simple living inspiration of your own, my friend Kim over at The Gracious Gaze is going to host a spring cleaning party on her blog. I'm looking forward to following along, getting rid of some stuff, and getting my spring and summer brights back in my closet. Here's to a simple closet!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Weekend Links

New research from the Pew Research Center shows that young women now surpass young men in saying that achieving success in a high-paying career is important. But despite this focus on their career, for both women and men being a good parent and partner is more important than career success. Women and men are more likely to place parenting at the top of their priorities than they were in 1997. Read the full report here.

Despite some hand-wringing from conservatives over the fact that women care about their careers, Jill from Feministe has a great post in The Guardian about how this shift is actually good for families.

I'm a sex positive feminist, and an advocate for sex workers' rights. But Audacia Ray, a sex positive feminist and former sex worker herself, has an excellent essay on why sex positive feminists unintentionally create barriers for the achievement of sex workers’ rights. A must read!

Jill from Feministe also has a great post on the controversy over Hilary Rosen's comments.  She writes:
“Motherhood is the most important job in the world” is basically a rhetorical trick to romanticize motherhood so that we don’t have to see it as real work. We put motherhood on a pedestal so that we don’t actually have to discuss the reality of it.
and
Free female labor props up our economy and saves us all tax money. I’m not just talking about stay-at-home moms; I’m also talking about the labor that working moms do when they leave their paid job at the end of the day.

Shannon from The Radical Housewife writes one of my favorite responses to the recent "Mommy Wars" by reminding us that they're class wars and arguing that capitalism depends on women's unpaid work.

                                                                                 Source: modernkiddo.com via Shannon on Pinterest

Friday, April 20, 2012

[Stephanie] The Last Name Project


In this new series co-hosted by from two to one and The Feminist Mystique, we will be profiling an array of individuals and couples about their last name decisions upon marriage or what they expect to choose if they marry. The goal is to explore how individuals make decisions about their last name, and to highlight the many possibilities. We will be posting profiles periodically and encourage you to stay connected via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  If you would like to participate in this series, email Danielle at danielle [at] fromtwotoone [dot] com or Shannon at hill [dot] shannonp [at] gmail [dot] com. 

The following post is from Stephanie, who is getting married April 27, 2013. 

As my partner and I started to talk more seriously about getting engaged and, more specifically, when to get engaged, I knew I had to make a decision about the whole last name thing.

I am definitely a feminist, and I knew deep down that I really didn’t want to change my last name. There’s lots of reasons - it’s mine, I have a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in that name, my career has started with that name, I view it as a connection to my paternal grandmother (I never knew my grandfather), etc. My partner was understanding and although perhaps a little disappointed, not really surprised either. But I had this nagging feeling that I should just change it and move on.

Why?

Like it or not, names denote families in the US. And knowing that we want to have kids and that those kids will need a last name is really where my hang-up was. Do we hyphenate? Do we give one his last name and one my last name? Do we give them both just one of our names? I don’t like any of those options. And while my partner and I discussed him taking my name or creating a new one, neither of those options - along with me changing my last name - felt right for us. So we have two last names, and have to figure out what to do about our kids.

I agonized about this. Hyphenating seems to make sense, but I kept thinking “what if they want to marry someone with a hyphenated last name when they get older?! Then they’d have four names to deal with!” This kind of thinking can go on and on and on. Finally, I realized something: too bad. I am not going to feel guilty about not changing my name, and I trust my kids will be smart enough to figure it out. And I know I made the right decision.   

Thursday, April 19, 2012

[Sue] The Last Name Project


 In this new series co-hosted by from two to one and The Feminist Mystique, we will be profiling an array of individuals and couples about their last name decisions upon marriage or what they expect to choose if they marry. The goal is to explore how individuals make decisions about their last name, and to highlight the many possibilities. We will be posting profiles periodically and encourage you to stay connected via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  If you would like to participate in this series, email Danielle at danielle [at] fromtwotoone [dot] com or Shannon at hill [dot] shannonp [at] gmail [dot] com. 

The following post is from Sue. At the time of her marriage, Sue was living in the California Bay Area working on energy policy issues and spending a lot of her spare time doing environmental education on a wonderful farm. Her husband is a linguist who, at the time of their marriage, was a PhD student at UC Santa Cruz. Currently, Sue lives in Connecticut and is an MBA student at the Yale School of Management. 

My (and my husband’s) last name is AnderBois. Prior to marriage, our last names were DuBois (me) and Anderson (him).

When we were planning to get married, we put a lot of thought into what our last name should be.  There is always an initial assumption that the woman will just take the husband’s last name, which for a variety of reasons, I was not really interested in doing. (Why?  1. Anderson is a pretty boring last name. There were two people with his exact name in our graduating class in college. He only has one aunt, and her name is Sue – so even in a really small family, I would be duplicative. 2. I really liked the last name DuBois – I had a lot of nicknames related to it, it was my family name, etc. 3. As a feminist, it didn’t seem right to just immediately give up your identity and accept the identity of your husband.). We both immediately rejected any idea of hyphenation – we just had gut reactions that we hated that idea (in general, and specifically with our names).  I tried to convince him to take my last name, unsuccessfully. We briefly considered just keeping our own last names – but since we were getting married and becoming an official ‘family’, it was really important for us to have the same last name.

What was left? Making up a new last name. We joked about picking something totally random. And then we joked about combining our names. We didn’t really take it seriously at first (and probably were just assuming that in the end, we would just keep our own last names or one of us would ‘cave’ and take the other person’s), and we joked about it with our friends – who really enjoyed helping us brainstorm names.  Ideas we came up with: AnderBois, Duderson, DuSon, among others. Duderson has DUDE right in it, and was rejected. DuSon, if you say it fast enough, rhymes with Susan – and that was a dealbreaker. But AnderBois – that sounded like a real name. It didn’t even really sound made-up. Our friends made facebook groups and invited all of our friends to join to help pressure us to go through with it. And one day, we had joked about it enough that we realized…wait..we could ACTUALLY do this—and we realized it was the perfect plan for us.   I think our families at first thought it was a little weird – but no one was angry or upset by the decision, and everyone got used to it pretty quickly. I think my husband being a linguist helped people come to accept it more quickly – thinking in unique ways about communications/words comes with the territory.

Interestingly, a lot of people ask me if my husband also changed his name. Yes, he did. I don’t think it would have been worth my changing my name to a made-up hybrid if only I was changing my name. If he hadn’t been into the idea of changing his, I likely would have just kept my own last name (and he would have kept his).

That’s our story! We want to spread the idea as far as possible – I obviously think it’s like the perfect solution to the last name question! We’re not planning on having kids, but I imagine it would be really helpful for folks who were – instead of having different last names (which is potentially confusing for schools, etc.).

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

[Harriet] The Last Name Project


  
In this new series co-hosted by from two to one and The Feminist Mystique, we will be profiling an array of individuals and couples about their last name decisions upon marriage or what they expect to choose if they marry. The goal is to explore how individuals make decisions about their last name, and to highlight the many possibilities. We will be posting profiles periodically and encourage you to stay connected via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  If you would like to participate in this series, email Danielle at danielle [at] fromtwotoone [dot] com or Shannon at hill [dot] shannonp [at] gmail [dot] com.  

The following post is from Harriet Simons. Harriet was Director of Choruses at the State University of NY at Buffalo from 1972-1998.  Named 1996’s Conductor of the Year by her state choral directors association, she prepared choruses for Pablo Casals, Robert Shaw, Lukas Foss, and Pierre Boulez.  Simons has published many articles, one book, Choral Conducting: A Leadership Teaching Approach, and a chapter in Wisdom, Wit and Will: Women Choral Conductors on their Art.
 
It didn’t take any time for me to decide not to change my last name when I married.  I was 42 years old, a feminist, a church member (liberal church), and had built a professional career as a choral conductor.  My name was on every program I presented each year.  It was on the articles I had published in professional journals.  I was marrying a man who had been previously married.  His former wife had taken his name.  I did not want to be another “Mrs. C.”

My husband-to-be had no objection.  I don’t remember having to explain my choice to anyone.  My parents and siblings never said anything about it.  I am not sure if people were hyphenating names at that time.  (I married in 1979.)  I don’t believe I knew of anyone who had done so.  Obviously, I was too old to consider having children, so that did not enter into my decision.  If it had, I would have probably gone the hyphenation route.

Happy Equal Pay Day!

Check out my post for All Our Kin as part of the National Women's Law Center blog carnival.

[Cauldroness] The Last Name Project


In this new series co-hosted by from two to one and The Feminist Mystique, we will be profiling an array of individuals and couples about their last name decisions upon marriage or what they expect to choose if they marry. The goal is to explore how individuals make decisions about their last name, and to highlight the many possibilities. We will be posting profiles periodically and encourage you to stay connected via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  If you would like to participate in this series, email Danielle at danielle [at] fromtwotoone [dot] com or Shannon at hill [dot] shannonp [at] gmail [dot] com. 

The following post is from Cauldroness, a 28-year-old woman who lives in Wisconsin.

My earliest memory about names involves my mother, my grandmother, and me sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. When the doctor was ready for a new patient, the nurse would shout the patient’s first name.

“L!” she called out. All three of us snapped to attention, looking first at the nurse, and then at each other. “Which one?” my mother had to ask, gesturing to the three of us. “L!” the nurse repeated impatiently. “I mean, which L?” my mother asked again.

You see, we all share the same first name. I know, I know, this is The Last Name Project. But my first name is my family name – the way a last name is for most people.

My grandmother started the tradition when she passed her first name down to her daughter. She said she wanted to honor her own mother, my great grandmother, who’d loved the name so much. My mom then gave me the same first name – in honor of her mother, she told me. And if I ever have a little girl of my own, I’ll pass it down to her, in honor of my mother.

And my last name? Well… I don’t share a last name with my mother. Or with my father, actually. And I’m not married. Or divorced, or separated, or adopted.

I used to have my father’s last name (my mother, an ardent feminist who came of age in the 60s, kept her maiden name). But for me, it was never my family name. It was just a name. Actually, it was more than that: it was an ugly name, as far as I was concerned. So when I was 18, I hunted through our family tree until I found a name that I liked, and then legally changed my last name.

Apparently the world doesn’t believe that an 18-year-old woman can just up and change her last name one day. For the next several years, I had to keep a birth certificate stashed in the bottom of my purse just to prove that I was exactly who I said I was.

I have no plans on changing my last name. It has nothing to do with feminism, although I am a feminist. It’s really just vanity: I like my last name. I think it’s pretty. I actually think it’s one of the prettiest last names out there, and I don’t want to lose it.

This led to a loud argument with a boyfriend of four years, whose last name I found even uglier than my former last name. “I want family unity!” he said. “So you can take my name,” I replied. “I’m the only son, it’s up to me to carry on the family name!” he said. “I’m the only A in my entire family,” I replied, and added, "And what does your wife's last name have to do with carrying on your family name?" “I’d want MY wife to have MY name, to show she's MINE!” he said. Not long after this argument, I left him.

Right now I’m dating a great guy. He thinks my last name is mine and mine alone, and is happy with whatever I do – or don’t do – with it. He even likes the idea of letting kids pick their last name: his, mine, or something else entirely.

I just might marry this one.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Birthday Tart

The following is a special birthday guest post from my friend Julia, who blogs over at Daily Crumbs. Julia is an amazing cook, and I sought her out when I was searching for a birthday treat that would be decadent but different.


Those who know me know that I will take any excuse to bake something special, and what is more special than a birthday treat. So when I learned Shannon’s birthday was just around the corner, I jumped at the chance to bake her a tart. Tarts may not be the most classic birthday sweet fare, but they certainly satisfy the decadent and indulgent factor required, especially if they’re filled with butter, chocolate and booze and topped with toasted nuts.


I have made this recipe many times before. It comes from Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, which I frequent whenever I am home in the Bay Area, and when I’m not I pretend I am by baking from their cookbook. This is the perfect model of their desserts, stunning and sophisticated in presentation and taste (just like Shannon!) I would encourage you to make it next time you’re craving something a little bit special and wonderfully indulgent. And if you ever find yourself in the Mission District of San Francisco, stop by Tartine for a piece of tart. I promise you won’t be disappointed.


Happy Birthday Shannon! If only you were here to blow out a candle and eat a slice. Guess I’ll just have to have two...

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart
From Tartine by Elizabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson

SERVES 8-10

1 fully baked and cooled Sweet Tart Dough tart shell
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped (use the best you can find)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup brandy (optional)
2/3 cup granulated sugar (divided)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 cup whole hazelnuts, lightly toasted with skins rubbed off, and roughly chopped *

Have the tart shell ready for filling. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof mixing bowl. In a saucepan, combine the butter, liqueur (if using) and 1/3 cup of the sugar.

Place over medium-low heat and stir until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Pour the butter mixture over the chocolate and stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate melts.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, eggs, salt and zest.

Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed or a whisk, beat the mixture until it is a very pale yellow, is light and flows off the whisk in a thick ribbon when whisk is lifted out of the bowl. This will take about 3 minutes. Pour one-third of the egg mixture into the melted chocolate, whisk to lighten the mixture, and then fold in the remaining egg mixture with a rubber spatula. Pour the filling into the pastry shell and smooth the surface with an offset spatula.

Arrange the hazelnuts evenly on top.

Bake the tart until the surface of the filling loses some of its shine but hasn't souffled (puffed up), 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature.

The tart will keep, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to five days.

*Note: To toast nuts, spread on baking sheet and bake in 375-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until the skins crack. To remove skins, rub warm nuts with a rough cloth. (Sometimes the skins slip off easily for me, sometimes they don’t – I don’t worry too much about it)

25!

Today is my 25th birthday! I'm really excited about turning another year older - and wiser! - and have spent some time thinking about all of the great things I've been able to do in my first 25 years of life. Horseback riding lessons, long weekend trips to Paris and Rome with my momma, a Thanksgiving in Scotland with my family, studying at Wellesley, finding amazingly smart and inspiring friends at Wellesley, going to grad school at Yale, interning at the UN, and meeting B all top a seemingly endless list of amazing things I've been able to do in my life so far.

But in addition to looking back, I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do with my life and, more specifically, what I want the next five years of my life to look like. So just for fun, I've come up with a list of thirty things I want to do before I turn 30. Some of them are more goals than things to do, and I might be aiming a little high with the number of places I'd like to travel, but a girl can dream, right?

1. Marry the love of my life
2. Pay off my student loans
3. Go on a yoga retreat
4. Spend a week or two in Italy
5. Make homemade popsicles and ice cream in the summer
6. Relearn German, Russian, or Spanish - or learn a new language like Italian, Arabic, or French
7. Go to Greece
8. Get a puppy
9. Take riding lessons again
10. Publish a book
11. Really take advantage of living in Atlanta
12. Decorate our apartment with big girl furniture, and get a gorgeous farm house table
13. Plant some kitchen herbs
14. Take a photography class
15. Get a bike, preferably a vintage looking one with a huge basket, and ride it all the time
16. Open up a retirement account
17. Go to India, Turkey, or Croatia
18. Read more of the books on my reading list - and just read more
19. Practice yoga daily
20. Eat less and eat cleaner. Go to more farmer's markets and order food from a CSA program
21. Go on a safari in Africa
22. Pay a Wellesley student's summer stipend so they can do an internship related to women's rights
23. Stop trying to control everything and worry less
24. Spend less time on the internet and at my computer
25. Spend more time creating
26. Go on a girl's trip with my momma
27. Spend Christmas out of the country
28. Go to Macchu Picchu or Patagonia
29. Have more fresh flowers in my apartment
30. Learn to make palak paneer and pad thai


                                                                                            Source: etsy.com via Lindsay on Pinterest

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Weekend Links

All I've really been reading this week is the apartment section of Atlanta's Craigslist. But here are some other things from around the internet that might be slightly more fun: 

Texts from Hillary is hilarious.

Ellen Silverman gives us a glimpse inside Cuban kitchens (via Sociological Images).

Pizza from a vending machine isn't fresh.

Arizona continues to excel at being a terrible place for women to live. A new law, hilariously called the Women's Health and Safety Act, defines gestational age as beginning on the first day of a woman's last period, rather than at fertilization. I'm counting down the days until states start defining conception as the first day of a woman's first period ever.

The Hunger Games is Not a Love Triangle

10 DIY Blogs You Should Be Reading 

Did you love Little House on the Prairie? I did! I even wore a calico dress, my lace up riding boots, and a bonnet to school for an entire week. So obviously, I can't wait to read this new memoir.

Every sperm is sacred! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

[Kayla] The Last Name Project



In this new series co-hosted by from two to one and The Feminist Mystique, we will be profiling an array of individuals and couples about their last name decisions upon marriage or what they expect to choose if they marry. The goal is to explore how individuals make decisions about their last name, and to highlight the many possibilities. We will be posting profiles periodically and encourage you to stay connected via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  If you would like to participate in this series, email Danielle at danielle [at] fromtwotoone [dot] com or Shannon at hill [dot] shannonp [at] gmail [dot] com. 

The following post is from Kayla, a white, queer, 26-year-old, partnered but not married (yet) Wellesley Alum who lives in the USA.
I am not currently married, but I can say without a doubt that the “last name” debate is a deal-breaker for me.  If someone I dated told me they wanted me to change my name when we got married, I would end the relationship then and there.  In fact, I dated a woman last year who was baffled at the idea of me not changing my name to hers (“But my family name is more important to me than it is to you!”—see Reason #2).  I told her that if it was a deal breaker for her, I understood because it was a deal breaker for me.  We broke up 2 weeks later.
When I do marry, I am absolutely keeping my own name.  My children are another story.  My current partner is fantastic and I would love to marry her.  However, she does not want to have any children biologically and given the legal status of gay people in this country, I would not want to deprive her of any rights.  I’m not sure if it will make a difference, but if giving our children her last name gives her more legal rights, I would give our children both of our names.   That way, in case I die or become incapacitated, our children would not fall under the legal protection of my family or the state but her, the other parent.
But what worries me most is that people claim to me that this is a “choice” – which is apparently the new motto of the women’s movement.  If it were a choice, why are 90% of women changing their name?  Why aren’t 50% of men changing their names AND 50% of women? 
Despite the fact that it’s 2012, the vast majority of my female friends still change their name to their husband’s.  The following is a breakdown of the reasons I hear most frequently:
1)     “It’s just easier”—easier for who?  Him? Your kids?  Hasn’t this been the reasoning behind women’s oppression for hundreds of thousands of years?  This might be harder on YOU but your kids, partner, and family are more important - think about them first?  Whenever a woman says that to me I want to say back- let me know when you’re standing at the DMV line for 2 hours if this decision truly ends up being “easier.”  A woman I dated last year tried to use that reasoning on me – “you’d be making your kids’ lives harder…”  My answer- by keeping my last name I’d be making my kids’ lives harder? Really? What about my personal fulfillment? What about knowing that keeping my name is important to me? Won’t I be a better partner and mother if I feel satisfied and happy in my own identity?
2)     “It was really important to him/his family” or “His family is really conservative.”  You never hear women say “well my family is really liberal so I’m not changing it.”  Why does his family matter more?  And why should his familys’ desires factor into YOUR NEW family?
3)     “I wanted to have the same last name as my kids.”  Hmm… And why can’t your kids have your name?  Or why can’t you all change your last name together? Why is the default still your husband’s?
4)      “I really didn’t like my father/have any connection to him/don’t want to pass on his legacy.”  This to me is the most valid reason of all, but why don’t we ever hear men say this?  Don’t men just as frequently have poor relationships with their fathers as well?  President Obama’s Dad took off when he was young (impregnating Obama’s Mom while still married to his first wife), yet President Obama’s name isn’t Barack Robinson (Michelle’s maiden name).  Even worse, both of his kids also pass on this man’s less-than-prestigious personal record.  Now this man gets to pass his name on to the Presidency, and be forever revered in honor as one of the most powerful men in history.  
5)     “I’m not really attached to my name/I don’t really care.”  You don’t care about your name? You don’t care about your identity?  This to me is the saddest of all reasons, and to me the ultimate proof of sexism in this debate.  You care about yourself so little, you’re willing to completely change your identity to fit someone else’s (typically the man’s).  Truly disturbing and sad.
6)     “I really don’t LIKE my name.”  It’s too clunky! It’s too long! It’s too short! It sounds like this (rhyme)!  I always got teased!.  Please.  I meet dudes all the time with ridiculous last names (legit- “Balz”).  Are they changing it?  No. This reason is just another version of #5, or another version of female self-loathing.  Just change what we’re talking about and this could be a girl’s brunch conversation in Anytown, USA. “Ugh I hate my thighs!” “My hair is too short” “Oh I really hate XYZ about myself.”  Girls, learn to love yourself.

[M.C.] The Last Name Project


In this new series co-hosted by from two to one and The Feminist Mystique, we will be profiling an array of individuals and couples about their last name decisions upon marriage or what they expect to choose if they marry. The goal is to explore how individuals make decisions about their last name, and to highlight the many possibilities. We will be posting profiles periodically and encourage you to stay connected via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  If you would like to participate in this series, email Danielle at danielle [at] fromtwotoone [dot] com or Shannon at hill [dot] shannonp [at] gmail [dot] com. 

The following post is from M.C., who blogs over at Nate + M.C.

Growing up, I always worried about changing my last name when I married. It may seem like a strange worry for a young person to even think about, but I did. And it wasn’t for any type of social or professional reason; it was vanity actually. I loved my last name: Ferguson.

Ferguson is a common enough name that people know how to pronounce it and spell it. And it is unusual enough that there weren’t five other kids in my grade with the same last name. I even loved that it is toward the beginning of the alphabet (teachers love alphabetical order for some reason).

I would occasionally practice saying my first name with different last names and often felt like they came up short. This led to a decent amount of anxiety about taking on a less-than-stellar last name.

But it never really occurred to me that I wouldn’t take my husband’s last name.

Even when I was a little older and started dating guys who I might potentially share a last name with someday, I still never considered keeping my own last name. (Although, I did toy with the idea of keeping Ferguson for a pen name.)

So when I decided my husband was the one, I breathed a sigh of relief that my new last name would be Sommers. (It’s pronounced like the season.) It was definitely further down in the alphabet, but I loved the way it sounded. I’m even guilty of scribbling “Mrs. Nate Sommers” in my journal like a love struck teenage girl.  And you can bet that I snatched up my email address with my new last name the second I had an engagement ring on my finger (we all know how difficult it can be to get your domain name).

After being home less than a week from our honeymoon, my name had officially been changed on my social security card, license, and bank accounts without so much as a second thought.

Then a few months later, I was talking to another newlywed and she mentioned that she had kept her last name. I knew this was a fairly common practice, but I was interested in her reasons. After talking with her, I could see her side and I started to think about the options I had passed up—keeping my own last name, hyphenating our two names, my husband taking on my last name. Luckily, I didn’t regret my decision. Sure my husband could have changed his name just as easily as I had changed mine—and maybe that is where tradition comes in—but I was happy to take his name. Mostly because I was happy he gave it to me.

In the three years we have been married, I have thought about my decision to change my last name and how it was such an easy choice for me to make, even if it wasn’t conscious at the time. My reasoning was traditional: I wanted others to know that we belonged together; that we are a unit. My reasoning was sentimental: I wanted neighbors to pass by our house and say, “That’s where the Sommers live.” My reasoning was logical: I didn’t want it to be confusing when friends addressed invitations to us or when we had to decide what our children’s last names would be.

Some may find those reasons a little outdated and I can understand that. But for me, if I was willing to marry Nate, then why wouldn’t I want to share a name? Sharing a name represented sharing a life. I suppose I’m just grateful he had a good name to share.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

[Balancing Jane] The Last Name Project


In this new series co-hosted by from two to one and The Feminist Mystique, we will be profiling an array of individuals and couples about their last name decisions upon marriage or what they expect to choose if they marry. The goal is to explore how individuals make decisions about their last name, and to highlight the many possibilities. We will be posting profiles periodically and encourage you to stay connected via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  If you would like to participate in this series, email Danielle at danielle [at] fromtwotoone [dot] com or Shannon at hill [dot] shannonp [at] gmail [dot] com. 

The following post is from one of my favorite feminist bloggers, Balancing Jane.

Two Worlds, One Self, How Many Names?
Choosing a last name ended up meaning more to me than I thought it would. Wrapped up in this question were a host of social issues I was used to examining from afar, through hypothetical theories and distant studies. Suddenly they were all here, in my face, and very personal. In some ways, choosing a name felt like a challenge to “walk the walk” and own up to some of the philosophies I said I believed in a real, tangible way.

I grew up in a rural Midwest town with very little diversity. I’m the first person in my family to go to college, and many of my childhood friends chose very traditional paths: marriage and kids right out of high school, wife as primary caregiver. My mother was a stay-at-home mom and my dad worked at a factory. When they divorced, my mom scrambled to find work and keep our house financially together; she wasn’t always successful.
That past is part of me, and the ties I have with the people in that world are important.

But these things are also true: I am an educated woman who has completed a Master’s degree and is pursuing a PhD. I live in an urban area full of diversity and am a white woman married to a black man who is also highly educated (law degree). In my household, we both value our careers and our skills are not delineated by gender roles. I have friends and neighbors who run the gamut of different types of family arrangements.


This world is also a part of who I am.

While considering options about my name, each one took on a meaning about what these two worlds meant to me. (Please note, I’m not saying that these interpretations are universal (or even right). This is just what these options felt like I would be saying about myself.)
  1. Take my husband’s last name- I accept the cultural norms of my upbringing and admit that—no matter what I’ve said I believe—I ultimately see myself stepping into a role primarily defined as “wife.”
  2. Keep my last name- Marriage does not define me. I am independent of this relationship and my sense of self is determined without it.
  3. Make my last name a second middle name- I have kept a part of my independent self, though I don’t say it when I introduce myself to new people or sign it in my signature. I did to remind myself I have a sense of self outside of marriage, but it’s not necessary to communicate to other people.
  4. Hyphenate- I am both the self I formed prior to this marriage and the person I will become through it. My marriage is an important part of my identity but not the only one.

I chose to hyphenate. Taking my husband’s name wasn’t really an option. I have an identity outside of my role as wife and (for me) I didn’t feel like I could give up the most obvious label of that self. At the same time, I did want to take my husband’s name in some way. My marriage is incredibly important to me, and (while I completely respect and value other people’s alternatives) saying “I Do” changed me. I was tying my life to this man forever, and my identity changed because of it.

I talked to my husband about this decision, but he always said the choice was mine and he would support whatever I did. Our daughter has my maiden name as a second middle name.

The decision hasn’t been without complications. My name is long (ten letters-five letters) and people constantly comment on that. Doctor’s offices can’t seem to handle hyphens, and I am constantly under the wrong name. I get mail addressed to all kinds of combinations.  

Ultimately, though, I am happy with my choice (even when a childhood friend called it “stupid”). My name feels like me. It signifies the new life I’ve started, a life I love, but it also points to the life I already had and continue to build independent of my identity as wife, and I love that life, too.