Etchings of my womanhood…

You may have heard in this age of technology that there is a smartphone app for virtually everything.  At least that is what I am told by my tech-savvy teenager..  Dinosaurs like me are still adjusting to the pedestrian activities of texting and messaging.

So it came as no surprise that my daughter Cheyenne told me today about an app that I couldn’t even imagine existed – the period app.  And yes, that is period as in menstrual period.  There is a smartphone app that allows women to track when their period will occur, their moods and  symptoms.

Here is what the app – Period Tracker – does:

Period Tracker, the easiest way to track your periods is now on Android!

* Press a button at the start of your period every month. Period Tracker logs your dates and calculates the average of your past 3 months’ menstrual cycles to predict the start date of your next period.

* View your current and future period dates, ovulation and fertile days, your moods and your symptoms in a simple month-view calendar.

* Decorate your phone with an icon that looks great on your home screen and that’s discreet. It reads simply “P Tracker.”


* Take daily notes of moods, symptoms, and intimacy.
* Easily view the number of days until next period or number of days late.
* Know when you’re fertile with flowers that show on your homescreen during your predicted ovulation and eight day “fertile window.”

Period Tracker has been raved about by thousands of users.

Wow…the times, they are a changin’.  When I think of all the years I had nothing but a calendar to track my monthly adventure – how did I survive?  Looking back it was clearly the equivalent of old cave etchings.

The ship has sailed for me regarding the period app.  These days I am dancing across the months on the calendar with a multitude of perimenopause symptoms.  But wouldn’t you know, there is an app for perimenopause too.  It is called myPause.

Beam me up Scotty…me and my calendar. ;-)

Day one thousand five hundred and fifty-nine of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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My old school North Dakota homies…

I attended the North Dakota Emergency Management Conference this past week out in Bismarck.  It has been quite awhile since I have been able to attend this conference as typically I have a conflict with the conference dates and cannot attend.  Fortunately, this year the stars aligned and I was able to attend.

I have to say, it was so good to get back to that conference and to see so many familiar faces that I have not had an opportunity to see for awhile.  I didn’t realize how much I had missed them until I was there with them reminiscing and laughing.  I so love the members of the emergency management community – particularly my old school North Dakota homies.  They are such good folks.

But, the icing on the cake at the conference was the nine NDSU EM alumni in attendance.  Slowly but surely our graduates are becoming seasoned members of the practitioner community.  I must say, seeing them there gave my little mother bird heart a happy flutter.

I was reminded by this conference how blessed I am to be in North Dakota and to be teaching emergency management.  Emergency managers work day-in and day-out to keep their communities safe.  Their work is so very important and they are so fully devoted to it;  and yet, it typically goes unnoticed by the general public.  I believe that in the not too distant future, citizens will come to understand how pivotal a strong emergency manager is to a community.

As for me – I get the value emergency managers can deliver to communities.  I am so honored to work with, and in, the emergency management community.  Truly, it is the most fulfilling professional work I have had the pleasure of undertaking.  And when you add in the opportunity to spend a little time here and there amongst these  folks – well, that is quite the gift.

Day one thousand five hundred and fifty-eight of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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October 11th

When I was young, October meant one thing to me – Halloween.

As I got older, I came to also view October as the month of my mother’s birthday.

After my mother died in 2002, I came to view October as a month in which I memorialized my mother.

In 2010, I came to know October  – specifically October 11th – as the day of the Galleria fire.

Four years later the memories of that horrendous fire are as vivid as they were back then and the feeling of loss is as profound.  The imprint of October 11, 2010 will forever remain with me.  From that event I witnessed the humanity of the Fargo-Moorhead community and came upon new friends that rose up to help those impacted by the fire. I also watched my sons deal with the loss of everything they owned and their pets.

Photo by Michael Vosburg, The Forum

I spent the day today with my daughter and grandson trying to make new and different memories for the 11th of October, but in these quiet moments at the end of a long day I still feel the mixture of sadness and gratitude that the Galleria fire delivered.  It is a somber anniversary, but one that must be noted.  And so it is – a notation on my soul when I reflect upon the month of October. I have not and I will not forget…every October 11th I will come back to the memories of that event and hope that the 150 former residents of the Galleria have found peace.

Day one thousand five hundred and fifty-seven of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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Unpacking decorum-based dress codes…

Many years ago a counselor at Kindred High School told me that she did not want the girls to have VBS.  I had no idea what VBS was at the time.  I could only imagine that it was some sort of new sexually transmitted disease that I had not yet heard of that was becoming an epidemic.  Concerned about being able to help protect young women in Kindred (to include my own daughter),  I asked her to explain what VBS was an acronym for.





Well, that was a relief.  The rule about VBS focused on undergarments being visible – the rule was they should not be visible.  No concern was voiced that a visible bra strap (or any other visible undergarment) would incite sexual thoughts amongst the student body.  Let’s face it, bra straps are not all that sexy.  But then again, I have been told over the years that a strong breeze can be enough to create a state of arousal in a teenage boy when they are moving toward “manhood” – so perhaps the very hint of an undergarment is titillating.  I do recall the days when the Sears catalog underwear section was a young teenager’s version of erotica.  But with the Internet, even the most innocent of searches can turn up images that make the old Sears catalog look like an item from Mister Roger’s neighborhood. I also recall the days when I read The Godfather for the sex part of the book – so I guess some of us skipped the breeze and went right to the read. Oh to be a hormone-filled teenager – what an interesting time.

Here is what I know about this – schools have dress codes for a number of reasons, but the most enduring reason has been to maintain a sense of decorum (and I am not going to unpack that term just yet).  In my day, the rule was that skirts had to be longer than where your fingertips hit when your arms were at your sides.  The same basic rule applies at Cheyenne’s school today.  They also discourage VBS, albeit, they do not call it that.  They have other rules about tops, shorts, and leggings as well – nothing that I have found to be unreasonable in its black and white presentation.

Devils Lake High School officials are in hot water this week because they botched a meeting with female students wherein they addressed the dress code.  In the meeting they showed a clip from the movie Pretty Woman to illustrate the message that what you wear affects folks’ perceptions of you.  Allegedly, a female faculty member also made a statement that certain outfits equated with the types of outfits prostitutes would wear and that such outfits were “distracting” for staff and other students.  The primary focus of the meeting was about the way leggings, jeggings, and yoga pants should be worn to be in compliance with school dress code which essentially calls for a certain amount of coverage.

As an armchair quarterback on this I would say that the missteps here were with labeling clothing choices from a frame that departed from the simple metric of meeting, or failing to meet, the dress code.  That is the only dialogue the school should be having on this front.  We already know that schools create dress codes with decorum in mind and that the implication of decorum-based dress codes is a preference toward modesty.

Of course, the modesty focus does fall primarily on girls and we know there are assumptions and some deep-seated societal issues that underlie such dress codes.  I leave the folks more familiar with gender studies to deconstruct this part of the dress code dilemma.  I will just address the mishandling of the dress code enforcement.  Devils Lake High School made a classic blunder because one or more members of their personnel unpacked the decorum rationale in a way that it could be seen for it is – truly sexist and misinformed.

Devils Lake High School you should have just stuck with the black and white dress code because now that the focus has shifted to the highly shaded nuances behind decorum- based dress codes you are prompting a much larger discussion that goes beyond fingertip skirt lengths and leggings.  Perhaps it is time to have a national discussion about the foundational assumptions in such dress codes…perhaps it is time for all schools to go to a shirt/pant dress code for all students.  You opened Pandora’s box Devils Lake High School and I have news for you – this is no longer just about leggings, jeggings, and yoga pants.

Day one thousand five hundred and forty-eight of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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Are you ready?

I gave my Disaster Preparedness students a challenge.  The challenge was to use rubber ducks about town to remind folks about the importance of being prepared for emergencies and disasters – to get their ducks in a row.   As a part of the challenge they were to encourage folks to go to and learn more about what they could do to keep themselves and their families safe.  They were asked to take photos of their ducks’ travels and post them on Facebook in a group called Do you have your ducks in a row?

Tonight I share some of my students’ posts from the Facebook group.  You may see some folks you know. I hope you will take a moment to check out all the photos they have posted on Facebook.  And mostly, I hope you have your ducks in a row. ;-)





Day one thousand five hundred and forty-six of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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