NYC Women’s March

Yesterday I joined thousands of others- women, men, families, children and dogs in New York City for the Women’s March. As soon as my friends and I left the train station, we felt the energy of the march. We walked to the east side; a friend had found a bagel place to meet up with others joining us before we walked to our designated starting point and assigned time. Of course, this being New York City on a Saturday, the line went out the door and the food preparers said this was totally normal, not at all affected by the march. Food in hand, we walked toward the UN plaza to join the march. By the time we reached Second Ave. it was obvious we’d never get any further and joined hundreds to wait. And wait and wait.

While the march may have started at 11 am, by  12:30 pm, streets were jam-packed. We enjoyed the signs, the costumes, the various hats, and the jovial, respectful, peaceful atmosphere. A fire engine siren sent everyone to either side of the street; this was all done without incident and the firemen high-fived the marchers as they drove through the crowd.

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This morning we attended our granddaughter’s 5th birthday party, happy to participate in a “winter” theme with games and crafts designed by my daughter-in-law. With no snow and a temperate 50-degree January day, the events were inside. We made snow by mixing baking soda and white hair conditioner, pinned the sled on the hilltop, created snow children by wrapping guests in toilet paper, threw paper snow balls, and drank divine homemade hot chocolate   with marshmallows.

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I marched to honor the values I hold; the many causes and concerns that the Trump administration promises to dismantle and destroy. I marched to honor my parents who fought for labor rights, marched for civil rights, and demonstrated against the Vietnam War. And I marched because I have 8 grandchildren and I worry about the world they and all children are inheriting.   Whether it’s health care, equal employment and education opportunities, voting rights, civil rights, marriage and gender equality, or environmental protection, they deserve better.

I will be heard. Again and again.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in celebrations, Civil Rights History, commentary, Education, environment, Family, Grandchildren, Nature, New York City, news, women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

March on Washington: My Father’s Reflections

As poignant and relevant today more than ever.

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Today’s the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom that culminated in Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I have a Dream” speech. Hundreds of thousands of people from around the country gathered to advocate for racial equality and opportunity.

Among the marchers was my father.

Then 35, he’d been active with labor organizing and joined the march with the United Auto Workers. A poultry farmer, he left the farm, my mother and three young children,  me, 7;  my sister, 5;  and my 4-month-old  brother,  to travel to Washington, DC.

We  grew up learning protest songs. “If I had a Hammer,” “Joe Hill”  and “We Shall Overcome” were part of our family repertoire while hiking or on long car trips.

I talked to my father last week about his experiences.

“We took a bus from New York. I remember the discussions as we marched; we…

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Boots on the Ground

Last month concerned citizens rallied in Olympia in solidarity with protestors in fifty state capitals.  We had hoped to convince electors to vote their conscience. In light of all that has passed …

Source: Boots on the Ground

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A 7th Birthday: An American Revolutionary War Party!

My eldest grandson turned seven this week and we celebrated his birthday today. His mother, my daughter-in-law, plans the most creative birthday parties, combining craft activities with games. We’ve attended events with themes of butterflies (my grand-daughter’s 4th) and dragons. (This grandson’s 5th.) We were away last year for his 6th, an Angry Birds party; and I vowed to not miss any more if I can.

Our grandson has been fixated on the American Revolution. He loves the idea of wearing wigs and three-cornered hats, carrying muskets, and fighting for rights.

We began making our own three- cornered hats. It’s always helpful to have a few adults assist with cutting, measuring, and taping. Then we sat in a circle and were each given a cup with five gold (chocolate) coins so we could experience taxation on a personal level. My son acted as the tax collector, and my DIL was King George, informing us that if we’d made more than $5 we had to give one to the coffers. So everyone lost one coin. Then the reasons for taxation become more specific: if we’d eaten breakfast that day, we had to pay a tax. Similarly if we had brown hair and brown eyes or were wearing socks.

Of course this lead to people being very unhappy and charges of “no taxation without representation” resulting in a snowball fight (indoors using wadded up paper). We took a short break to make headbands to disguise the colonists as Native Americans and re-enacted the Boston Tea Party, dumping boxes of tea “overboard,” in this case, down the basement stairs.

After a red, white, and blue cake adorned with soldiers and cannons, we all signed the Declaration of Independence, using a “quill” pen,  adding our names to those already penned in 1776.

It’s never too early to instill American history and the importance of freedom in children.

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Posted in celebrations, Education, Family, Grandchildren, History, parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Pantone Green & A Giveaway

It’s that time of year again. Yes, holidays of course. But I’m referring to Pantone, the color mavens who select a particular hue for the world to embrace, sending the fashion world into a frenzy to create items in the new tone. For spring, Pantone chose a limey-green, and I couldn’t be happier.

Most people who know me know I love the color green. I drive a green-colored car and much of our home interior is in some shade of green. I practice green habits, by recycling, not wasting energy and water, and using public transport when I can. And I engage in “green” sports, like hiking and biking that take me outdoors where I can appreciate the natural world. And I eat green foods, like kale, spinach and salad to stay healthy.

This year green holds even more importance than merely a change in fashion or home décor. With the announcement of the new director of the Environmental Protection Agency, the recognition and disastrous impacts of climate change, and overall concern for the planet hang by a precarious thread. Green jobs, green energy, green pastures, green apples. All this and more may come under scrutiny and threat. Turning back policies designed to save the earth will result in poor health for all.

As I wrote here, we all need to be vigilant and vocal. Being green is much more than what we wear or what we paint.

Back to colors. I love orange too. In fact the only color that doesn’t seem to suit me is red. That’s my opinion. My mother tells me red looks great on me. She’s another color-lover and we wear colors in scarves and stockings, and everything else. In 2012, I published an orange book, Tangerine Tango. Included is an essay by writer and health educator, Judy Ackley Brown called “Serene Green,” where she discusses Green or Eco Therapy and encourages us to “take a bath in the forest.”

I’m thinking it’s time for a new anthology with a green-hued cover. Any writer interested in submitting please contact me. And in honor of Pantone Green, I’m giving away a copy of Tangerine Tango, still available and a perfect stocking stuffer or hostess gift.

Leave a comment why you’d like it and I’ll have the computer do a random selection in a week or so.

Happy Green Living!

 

 

Posted in Blogging, Books, commentary, environment, Fashion, health, Nature, news, Trees, women, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Donald Trump, Blue Beard and the Feminine

Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.” As a writer, I see it this way: all the world’s a story, and all the men and women merely characters. I recentl…

Source: Donald Trump, Blue Beard and the Feminine

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My Election Reflection

I’ve been writing in my head and having trouble finding the words to say, to console, to offer hope instead of fear.

I could blame the election results on so many factors, but I’ll leave that to the political analysts. I could dream (and believe me I do) that I’ll wake up and the news will be different. That something happened while I slept to change the results and dispose of an unqualified President-elect, that so many scholars, both American and foreign warned about. I could wish something will be disclosed that disqualifies him from holding office. I sign petitions and make phone calls, knowing these efforts are probably in vain.

I had hoped that perhaps once elected, he’d put aside his hateful rhetoric. Yet by his appointments, he’s condoning attitudes and practices that threaten the core of our democracy.

I realize I live in a bubble of opinions; that half the country doesn’t think how I think. I wonder who their teachers were and what they learned in school. Where did they learn this blatant disregard for civil rights, freedom of speech, and outright racism and hatred?

I can’t change the results. So I have to stand up and join others to be vigilant, to not allow history to repeat itself, not allow our constitution to be dismantled, and not allow people to be treated badly. But, it is so hard. My children have asked where we’ll go as if we’re ready to leave. We’re not so ready to give up or give in.

Thank you, Dan Rather for your words.

He wrote:

“Now is a time when none of us can afford to remain seated or silent. We must all stand up to be counted.

History will demand to know which side were you on. This is not a question of politics or party or even policy. This is a question about the very fundamentals of our beautiful experiment in a pluralistic democracy ruled by law. “

I’ve been doing a lot of yoga and that seems to calm me a bit. The day after the election I visited an art museum and attended a dance performance in New York City; art is a balm for the soul. Throughout the entire campaign season, a la Dicken’s Madame Defarge, I knit while watching the debates, recording indelible history in the garments. I stopped into a local knitting store recently and the proprietor told me business had increased since the election. In times of stress, people want to be creative.

To quote from the musical Hamilton,  “History has its eyes on you.

It’s up to us.

As Dan Rather ends his essay:

“We are a great nation. We have survived deep challenges in our past. We can and will do so again. But we cannot be afraid to speak and act to ensure the future we want for our children and grandchildren.”

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Posted in aging, commentary, Family, Grandchildren, History, Knitting, teaching, Theater, women, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments