Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tis the Season

There is an organization called WomenArts.  Their mission is to "empower an international community of women artists and allies." 

It was founded by Martha Richards 20 years ago.
Today she turned 65 and WomenArts turned 20.  She wrote a post celebrating both and it inspired me, so I'm sharing a few excerpts:

I want to emphasize the point that WomenArts started with a small group of women gathering in my kitchen and talking about our dreams.  Once we started talking we were able to identify positive steps we could take to move towards our goals.
I encourage all of you to do the same this holiday season. Take time to think about what you would like to accomplish in the coming year and then figure out whether there are people who could help you. Maybe you will gather with friends to start a new organization as I did twenty years ago, or maybe you will create some ambitious new work or plan a spectacular event...   Whatever it is, please know that there are women here at WomenArts and all over the world who are rooting for you to succeed. 
I have one more birthday wish.  As you are sending out your holiday greetings, please take a few moments to contact your favorite women artists and tell them what you love about their work.  This simple action is much more powerful than you might think.  I have learned that you can often give someone the courage to keep working or try something new just by listening to them carefully, acknowledging their hard work, and finding kind, supportive things to say.

What a great birthday wish!
In the spirit of that idea, I am listing three women artists who have inspired me.  There are others, but their work is not online yet, so I am going to hassle encourage them to git on it.

My three merci:

Thank you Leah.
Leah  heals with her words as a story teller and writer, and with her touch as a massage therapist.  She gets inspired by ideas and then forms groups, she gets inspired by books and then organizes readings.  She makes things happen.  If you want to dive into your dreams, contact Leah.  She just finished a two year program.   About dreams.  How cool is that.

Thank you Alli.   
Alli selects beautiful fabric and goes to her attic to turn it into things.  She lives with all boys: husband, sons, male dog, male cat.  Her attic has been declared "penis free zone" and it is where she creates beauty and more beauty.  She kicks arse with a sewing machine. 

Thank you Christine
Christine paints and teaches and lives by intuition.  Twenty years ago she dreamed of living in Hawaii and now she lives and paints in Hawaii.  You can find her work at Maui Hands.

"Give and Take" by Christine Waara
CW002 - Give & Take

Crayon purse by Allison Clark
Image of Crayon Wallet - Country Girls

A class taught by Leah, titled,
"Who’s Wicked? Taking Another Look at Rapunzel"

If you have someone you know who creates things you love, or someone you don't know who creates things you love, send them a thank you for creating.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Plastic Surgery Haiku

I came across Amy Poehler's book, Yes Please, and flipped open to several poems she'd penned about cosmetic surgery.  A sampling:

looks cool while cheek implants are  
less interesting

I have no idea
If you are angry or sad
Since you got fillers 

A face-lift does not
make daughters comfortable
when you chaperone 

Monday, November 3, 2014

30 Days Has November

November is National Novel Writing Month. 
Interested in writing a novel?
Go to

I will not be writing a novel this month. 

Instead, I will be doing National Essay Writing Month. 
Come visit me at NaEsWriMo
I'll be writing an essay a day.

You can read along, write along, or both.

The goal is: Quantity, Not Quality. 

After November 30, I'll be back here, with no more stories left to tell.  All essay-ed out.

Happy November.
See you in 30!

Friday, October 31, 2014


The Mutter Museum in Philadelphia has all sorts of freaky real things on display.  Many of them in jars. 
These are not the kind of things one would want to see in one's canning pantry.

There is a display of skeletons from a certain period of history where corsets were all the rage.  Like Malibu Musk of the 90's.  The skeletons are of the female variety.  And their rib cages do not look good.  They are a bit bent, a bit brittle.  In short, it looks like "beauty is pain" is clearly defined in their bones.  But hey, this is what it takes to make it appear that we, the female variety, have no organs!    What's that you think you see?  Evidence of a stomach, a spleen, a liver?  Nonsense. 
(The Mutter Museum is a great place to tour, should you ever find yourself in the City of Brotherly Love.  Their slogan: "Are you ready to be disturbingly informed?"  If you say yes, click on! )

Photograph of our hanging skeltons display

Corsets, are apparently, back.  It's called "waist training."
I have heard of dog training.
I have heard of marathon training.
But waist training, I think, results in the above photo. 

So, it is with great pleasure I present to you a cartoon reminder that having organs is not so bad.
These princesses, with organs drawn in, are not horrible!
Maybe beauty is having organs, and uncracked ribs and a good belly laugh at the idea of waist training. 

If you want to see Ariel with a stomach, Pocahontas with a spleen, and Aurora sporting a liver, click here.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Spoiler Alert

My mom was spending time with Miss C the other evening while I ran an errand.  Later that night, with Miss C in bed, I got ready to read her a chapter of Anne of Green Gables.

We are close to the end, four chapters to go, and the rivalry between Anne and Gilbert has been going on three years.  Three years of intense silence, ignored apologies, grudges that seem Irish in their tenacity.  Because he called her Carrots.

( My siblings and I joke that when we spend time in Ireland, there is a list of people we are supposed to visit, and then a short list of people we are not supposed to talk to.  Because someone talked smack about someone else's cow forty years ago.  It's like honoring a grudge on behalf of deceased Great Aunt Mary McCreedy twice removed.  This is loyalty.  But because we often mix up the names on the lists, and because all Irish people look the same, we often find ourselves having tea and cookies with The Enemy.  And they make a good pot of tea.)

So I opened up Anne of Green Gables and Miss C sat up and said, "Nana said that Anne and Gilbert get married.

She was half distressed, half in disbelief. 

"Well, I don't know.  Right now she's only fifteen."

"But Nana said so.  That it happens later.  I wish I didn't know that."

"Well, even if they get married, there are so many other things we don't know."

"But they don't even like each other.  So that's a big thing to know."

"That's called a spoiler."

"What's a spoiler?"

"It's when you're part way through a story, and someone accidentally tells you how it ends."

"So Nana's a spoiler.  I'll let her know."

"No no no, that's not what I said.  I said it's a spoiler.  Getting early information.  It is a spoiler.  People aren't spoilers."

"It's a spoiler because you said Nana's a spoiler and I'll let her know."

I think I might be added to that short list.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Financial Abuse

Actress Kerry Washington spoke last month about a tactic in domestic abuse that is both invisible and common:
Finances are almost always a weapon of choice.  Taking away access to cash, destroying credit, jeopardizing jobs -- financial abuse leaves invisible bruises that can take decades to heal.
Melissa Jeltsen explains:
Financial abuse is a tactic often used by abusers to control and isolate their partners. It takes many forms: Abusers may drastically limit their victims' access to cash so they have no money of their own....They may sabotage their victims' ability to work, or pile up debt under their victims' names.

For an abusive relationship to continue, it takes two mindsets: the abuser mindset (control, manipulation, isolation), and the victim mindset (resignation, shame, feeling of powerlessness).  The cycle is broken anytime one of these mindsets shifts.  Most often, it is the victim shifting from shame and powerlessness into survival.  It can be sudden, born of absolute necessity, or subtle, building over months or years.  Survival is one state, and once achieved, self-sufficiency is able to take root and grow.

Washington states,
I think people just aren't as aware of financial abuse.  If a woman isn't even aware of the dynamics of financial abuse -- what it looks like, what it is -- she may not even know that that's part of the tools being used to control her and manipulate her.. ...When there is more information around it, people can begin to identify it and then get the help they need.