What have I been up to this summer?

You may have noticed that I’ve been quiet lately.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy, just the opposite.  So I thought I would take a moment and review where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing over the past months. Continue reading

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Marching for Mother Earth: The People’s Climate March

Waiting for the march to begin; wall separating the Hill School from High Street in Pottstown, PA

My readers probably know that since last year’s election, I have become a bit of an activist.  There are so many things to protest, where is a woman to start?  Women’s issues, healthcare, financial regulations, voter’s rights,  jobs, taxes, the environment . . . and so it goes.  In March I met with a few friends and made a suggestion:  we should hold our own march.  I’m not sure at the time that they believed it would happen, but it did.  With the tremendous support of my husband and a few good friends, we pulled it off.   And so was born the Climate March Pottstown. Continue reading

On the road in the Highlands of Scotland

I have been quiet lately.   After returning from our trip to Scotland life took over.  Since late last year and the tears and the depression, I got back up and into the game.  I volunteered for an organization that I care deeply about and have been on their fundraising committee for their big event of the year.   It was hugely successful and thankfully now in my rearview mirror.  Did I also mention I’m running for local office?  That was another of my post-election decisions.  If you want to have an impact on your community, you have to step up and get in the arena.   I have been knocking on doors and meeting lots of people and listening to their concerns.  More on this later, but first I want to take moment to remember the beauty of Scotland. Continue reading

Is it our time . . . yet?

 

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An homage to Rosie the Riveter by artist Abigail Gray Swartz, titled: “The March,” cover of The New Yorker.

The Women’s March on Washington has come and gone, but the commitment remains.  For every woman who marched in Washington or any of the hundreds of other marches that feeling of sisterhood just won’t go away.  We continue to wear our pink hats proudly as a symbol of resistance.  It’s a symbol that says “I am woman” and “take me seriously because I really mean it” and “it’s time for me.”  I think that 2017 just may be the year of the woman.

I”m not really sure why it has taken so long.  We make up more than 50% of the population, we lead companies and families, we wear the uniform and defend our country.  And still the fight continues.  We are underrepresented in Congress, in the boardroom, and continue to be underpaid in sports, the workplace, and elsewhere.  Men just can’t resist mansplaining, protecting, patronizing and putting women in “their place.”  In this time and this place we finally have our chance to be in the front lines.  The time is ours.

I’m not sure that men quite realize this fact.  We continue to see laws being promulgated all over the country to restrict and roll back reproductive rights for women.  It’s an inconvenient fact that women have babies and men do not.  We tend to be smaller and are viewed as quieter and weaker.  Also inconvenient facts.  Women generally do not demand pay raises or apply for jobs for which they are not qualified.  When we fight back or raise our voices we are called shrill or shrews or worse.  Men are tough and strong and assertive.  The same behavior gets a completely different table.  I was in a battle like this this afternoon.  Larry and I went to visit one of our state representatives and when I raised a bill that I did not agree with he began to lecture me, raise his voice, and wondered “how do I not understand this.”

This is the ultimate female conundrum that I have not yet figured out how to resolve.  If you fight back in kind, you fulfill their view of you as a petulant, ignorant, shrew.  If you back down and let them rant, you feel weak and beaten down.  And they know this.  Eventually I just said “we’ll agree to disagree.”  I was beaten down and I was angry.  He went on for another thirty minutes to have a conversation with Larry and never made eye contact with me again.  I was not part of the conversation, I was a minor actor, the little women.

My mother taught me that women  have good manners, know how to dress for every occasion, get a good education, and have household talents like cooking and decorating.  I picked up some of these skills, but others I rejected.  I came of age in the 1970s and 80s when women were learning how to wear pantsuits  and carry briefcases.   Being feminine meant walking a tricky line between being taken seriously as a professional and not appearing to be a man-hater or even worse, like a man.  Mostly it was trial by fire.  And still we fell behind in wages and promotions to senior positions.

So here’s my question:  how do women fight back?  How can we let these neanderthals know that their behavior is unacceptable and downright nasty?   Larry has an answer for this question.  He says don’t get mad, get even.  By this he means that women need to stop complaining and get out there and get in positions of power where we can influence the political scene.  Marching and knitting pink hats is one step in this greater march, but it isn’t enough.  It’s time for women to put their money where their mouth is.  We need to get out of the kitchen and the boardroom and get into the state house and the Congress.  It’s our time to shape our future and finally demand and expect equal treatment.  Are you with me?

On the march on an American island

Our older daughter and a friend at the Women's March on Washington in D.C.

Our older daughter and a friend at the Women’s March on Washington in D.C.

Larry and I got back from vacation a few days ago.  While we are still recovering from jet lag, we jumped back into our lives.  The dogs need to be walked, and laundry awaits.  As I listen to the wind outside and watch the temperature drop, I remember the warm breezes of the Big Island of Hawai’i.  This was our first time in Hawai’i and we decided to get a bit off the beaten path.   No beaches for us.  On the Big Island we were greeted by highly changeable weather and micro-climates, and found common ground with the people we met, both tourists and residents.  The population is diverse.   Native Hawaiians live beside mainland transplants looking for warmer climes, descendants of Chinese and Japanese immigrants, and every other race and creed.   We learned that Hawaiians are not shy about expressing their opinions.  They were enthusiastic participants in the Women’s March on Washington in Kona.  I think this may have been the last Women’s March in the world.  We joined in, and my pussyhat came along for the ride. Continue reading

A pussyhat goes to Washington

 

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A pussyhat in progress.

In the past weeks I have been literally knitting my fingers to the bone trying to complete as many pussyhats as possible for the marchers in the Women’s March on Washington on 21 January.  Last weekend I had to go out and buy more yarn.  Pink yarn is getting hard to find.  Word has spread about this project and it seems that everyone who can lift a needle is making pink hats.  I still have to make labels, photograph them and get them in the mail.  Somewhere in deep stash I found two more skeins of pale pink yarn.  All over the country messages are coming in on Ravelry, requests for more hats to warm more heads who have a seat on one of the buses going to DC.  I am living vicariously through all the anticipation.  I won’t be there, so it’s especially important that I do my bit to support the sisterhood. Continue reading

Pink pussy power: a hat to warm them all

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I hope my readers will forgive me using a certain word in the title.  It’s actually taken from a website and a hat initiative called “pussyhat project” which can be found here:  pussyhatproject.com.  I am a knitter and lately a bit of an activist, so this project appealed to these two interests.  I came across the project on Ravelry, a social network for knitters.  Last week I ordered 18 skeins of pink yarn when my favorite yarn store offered free shipping.  On day four I’ve completed three hats.  I keep coming across more and more people who want to attend the Women’s March on Washington — website here —   and who need a warm pink hat.  Because baby it’s going to be cold outside!

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Making a difference

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As we recover from the past few months of intense emotions and inflammatory speeches, we wonder what the future holds.  Larry and I both worked as volunteers for the Clinton campaign, knocking on doors and talking to people about the candidates and getting people registered to vote.  Now it is over.  The financial markets have settled down, but we remain numb.  We spent long days with like minded people who believed and gave up their time and energy to get the first woman in the White House.  Now we have to pick up the pieces and move on. Continue reading

Film and Fiber, October 2016

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Two weeks ago we went to upstate New York for the New York  State Sheep and Wool Festival, otherwise known as Rhinebeck.  Unbeknownst to us it was also the same weekend as the Woodstock Film Festival.  What luck!  Yarn, knitting, and film.  What more could you ask for but a crisp Fall weekend sporting hand knit sweaters and scarves, independent movies, good food and new friends.   I was in vacation heaven.

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I wrote multiple posts about Rhinebeck last year.  This year I’m just going to touch on some of the highlights.  We only spent one day at the festival this year.   My DH was not willing to go back for a second day.  Boo hoo.  I’m hoping to do a ladies weekend next year so I can fully enjoy all that Rhinebeck has to offer.  That means two days at the fairgrounds.  Woot! Continue reading

Women and the workplace: the journey to full equality

Anyone who has been watching or reading the news knows that there has been a lot of talk this year about sexism and assault of women.  One event that is likely seared in many women’s minds was the light sentence meted out this year to the Stanford University student after being found guilty of sexual assault.   Most women have experienced some kind of harassment from men, sexual or otherwise.  We endure it, we tell our friends about it, sometimes we report it, and often it feels like the system is unfairly tilted against us.    I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what it’s like to experience harassment.  First I’d like to share my own story with you.

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