Guest Blog: STEAM Heat

Hi, All!  It’s IdealisticRebel’s sister, and I’m hijacking her blog for the day (with permission, of course).

Tomorrow, I will be participating in a panel hosted by the American Association of University Woman (AAUW) in what is being called a STEAM Conference which encourages young women, still in Middle School and High School, to enter traditionally male fields.

You may have heard of STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math.  AAUW recognizes that there is a growing need for women to enter the realms of digital Art as well, so STEM becomes STEAM, and I will be doing my part to encourage the young attendees to break out of traditionally female roles and join the ranks of the STEAM Women.

What’re my credentials?  I’ve worked in male-dominated fields for 22 years — first in Architecture, as a Computer-Aided Drafter/Designer, and now as a Technical Support Analyst for a major software company in North East Ohio.  More than that, my first attempt at a college degree was in Engineering.  Currently, I hold 3 degrees — Associates’ in both Architectural CADD and Computer Networking, and a Bachelor’s in Network Security Systems.

What’s my message?  It’s not the traditional one that so many women have heard all their lives:”math is hard” and “technology is for boys”.

Math can be hard, but it can also be fun — and you really do use it everyday (try balancing your checkbook without it)!  Technology wasn’t made for boys, it was made for people and the last time I looked, Women And Girls Are People, Too (I know, this comes a shock to some people, but it’s a fact of life, nonetheless).

Is it easy being “the only chick in class”, as I was for most of my last two degrees?  Not always, but that shouldn’t stop the next generation.  Because if enough girls and young women enter STEAM fields, they won’t be the only female in class; they’ll be part of the norm, no longer a sidebar, but the main article, as it were.

That’s not enough reason to do it, of course; just to increase the numbers isn’t a reason why anyone should go into any field.  The reason should come from you:

Because Science means that when you look up at night, you don’t just see “diamonds in the sky”, you see balls of hot gas, billions upon billions of light years away, with worlds swirling around them, and the fact that the light of those little diamonds left their home stars before the Earth was born blows your mind, and you want to know more.


Because Technology means that you know the difference between a bit and a byte and you want to make Apps that make people’s lives easier.

Because Engineering means that when you see an electric car go by on the road and your first thought isn’t that it looks cool, or even how much money it costs to run, your first thought is what makes it go?

Because Art means that you play video games, alone or online, and you find yourself sketching the characters and want to make those characters you sketch come alive.

Because Math  makes sense to you, because numbers never lie and they make the world a more orderly place.

But mostly, just because you are YOU and you deserve to do what you love, no matter what that is, and no matter what other people think is ‘gender appropriate’.

Because you’re a person, too, and people get to make their own choices.

Make your choice, whatever it is, traditional or not.  Just be sure the choice you make is yours.

What a Wonderful World


Life is a glorious adventure. We are given opportunities to learn lessons and to face challenges. We are given happy times to make joyful memories and we are given times of such amazing joy, we need to pinch ourselves to see if it is real.  Life is golden and bright white light and it is such a good thing to be alive.


Life is also like that coin in your pocket. The one you flip and choose heads or tails with. Life can be painful and terrifying, it can be a waking nightmare. Ask a veteran what they think. Life can break your heart into small pieces. You can hear it crack open in the silence of your life. Life can produce as much darkness as it can light. It can take away your ability to trust and it can give you the friend who will be by your side for a score of years or more. Life can bring you shock or happy reverie and smooth sailing or rough seas.


So, in reality, life is a combination of events which can enrich and strengthen us or break us and leave us like a wounded bird at the bottom of a tree. What makes the difference?  We do. We are responsible for the outcome. We are not responsible for what life drops in our laps, but we are responsible for what we choose to do with it


Some people have rough lives and have a struggle year after year. Some of these people will rise up out of the mire and pull themselves up. Some will reach up to pull another person down with them. Some face terrifying heartache and loneliness and will do all that is humanly possible to make everyone around them as miserable as they are. Some choose to fill their hearts with an acid that damages their broken hearts even more than they were and are guaranteed to make someone else’s heart hurt as much as their own heart does.


Some people allow themselves to be so damaged, and seek no treatment for their damaged bodies, hearts and souls. Others will choose to seek help. To seek medication if necessary. Some will turn from the light that is in their lives and will seek to blot out that light wherever it can be found. Science hasn’t figured out yet why two people can go through the same horrible experiences and yet one will become a serial killer and one will spend their life trying to make the world better. Doctors and scientists are trying alternative measures to help people completely heal so that the remainder of their years on this plane can be filled with more light and love than they would otherwise have. Some choose to sneak around in the dark and making others suffer for what has happened to them. It is the innocent that they hurt. Perpetuating the problem and the pain.


It doesn’t matter if you believe in God, or which God you believe in. It doesn’t matter if life bent you or broke you. Each day is your choice. What are you going to do to make this world a wonderful place for yourself and for others? Tomorrow morning is a chance for you to make a new choice or to reinforce the ones you have all ready made.


No one can make this choice for anyone else. Never allow anyone to make it for you, even if your life is on the line. Each day wake up knowing you are what you are and you will make life easier, smoother and more loving for someone else. Or you will wake up, angry, resentful, bitter and try to make someone else feel the same way you do. I choose the love, joy, compassion, kindness and peace. That is my decision every day no matter what happens.











Women are Human Beings

We need to look at the lives and accomplishments of women for inspiration and understanding. Women’s lives have been written only in the last few decades. One of my passions is to read women’s diaries that they leave behind. They give us a glimpse of their heart and souls. Their dreams and passions. The cost of accomplishing a life outside of the ordinary can be steep for many women. Those who were successful have paid a dear price for the life they created.

The irony is that women follow dreams just as men do. Martin Luther King had a dream and millions of women also have dreams. Women and men need to create meaning in their lives and their communities. It is not unfeminine to reach for public power instead of settling for private power. The unfulfilled woman and man are a loss to our society because each of us has much to contribute.

Women have been conditioned to do what is expected and not what they need. Some women want to stay home and be a full-time mother. Some want careers, some want many children and some don’t want to have any children. These decisions are the ones men make every day, but women are encouraged to fit into the proper box. This is a danger for women because to deny who you are and what you are capable of accomplishing is to short change the world and ourselves

The Universe gives us all gifts and talents and I believe we are expected to use them to create meaningful lives. Women who are living in violent relationships, who are verbally humiliated and are insulted day in and day out are suffering from emotional abuse.

The abuse takes many forms. Physical and emotional and psychological abuse can wreck a woman’s self-esteem and she learns to be a victim. This is one role no living being should be in. Feminism gives voice to those who have never had a voice in their own lives and those who have lost it as they have gone through the challenges of life.

Women are not inferior and they are able to make good choices about how to live and how to follow their dreams. Women have a right to have public power and not just power in the bedroom or the kitchen. Power is the ability to take one’s place in whatever discourse is essential to action and the right to have one’s part matter.

An assertive woman who has discovered her power is not “less of a woman” than a man who has discovered and uses his own power. Many people today confuse assertiveness with aggression. They are two concepts which are not at all related. Many times assertive women are maligned by people like Rush Limbaugh when he coined the term” feminazi.”” I have never understood why men are so intimidated by an assertive woman who knows who she is and what she wants and where she is going.

Women are human and that means that we are capable, intelligent, compassionate, passionate, strong and have the right to live our lives without interference from families and government. We can choose candidates, take care of our health, make decisions about reproduction. We don’t need keepers, or a strong man guiding us. Don’t let anyone tell you anything different. You are each perfect as you are and have the right to be who you are. Don’t allow the voices around you keep you from accomplishing your dreams and touching the stars.
We are equal. And in 2013, we will make the government legalize that equality. Being different, seeing from a different perspective does not make you unfeminine, it helps you to hold your head up and straighten your back and live with the dignity that The One gave to each of us. Different is not dangerous. It is just different!

A Woman Can Speak

Unlearning To Not Speak
—Marge Piercy

Blizzards of paper
in slow motion
sift through her
In nightmares she suddenly recalls
a class she signed up for
but forgot to attend.
Now it is to late.
Now it is time for finals:
losers will be shot.
Phrases of men who lectured her
drift and rustle in piles:
Why don’t you speak up?
Why are you shouting?
You have the wrong answer,
wrong line, wrong face.
They tell her she is womb-man,
babymachine, mirror image, toy,
earth mother and penis-poor,
a dish of synthetic strawberry ice cream
rapidly melting.
She grunts to a halt.
She must learn again to speak
starting with I
Starting with We
starting as the infant does
with her own true hunger
and pleasure
and rage.

My choice of photo and poem might seem to be confusing. While we women here in America are struggling today to retain the rights we already have, many women around the world are trying to emerge from lives of servitude, illiteracy and fear. They are our sisters and we must recognize all of the strength and courage it takes to make baby steps to speak.

They face acid in their faces, beatings, children taken away, being isolated in their homes and being an object a man owns. We must recognize how difficult their attempts are for them to make. We must look at them, different, yet our sisters and applaud them for each step and gesture which enables them to begin speaking.

There are many women here in America who were taught not to speak. They didn’t know what they were taking about, they needed to shut up and take care of the children, they needed to “stifle” like Edith Bunker. Thanks to books such as the Feminine Mystic by Betty Friedan, Ms magazine and the work of Gloria Steinem, we can speak…we can speak out and up. What we have to say as women is as valuable as anything a man has to say.

Here is to total equality for all the people, male and female, all colors, and all religions and forms of spirituality.