Birth Control, Facts, Feminism, Planned parenthood, Women, Women's March

Counting Up Your People.

Day #4.

You may think the hashtags are counting down the days (oh, so many) until we elect someone else. But actually, every day I am counting up the privileges I didn’t appreciate that are now threatened by the new Republican administration. Access to birth control. Accurate news. A president that tells the truth. The presence of elected women in the White House. To name four, on day four.

Women have marched and we are home now, reevaluating our strengths, finances and abilities to make change. The low-end estimate is 3.3 million  women and men that took to the streets on January 23rd, 2017. This is a fact. But I am one woman. What can my impact be?

I have given this a lot of thought — where can I make a difference —  even though by the end of the day I want to go on a dozen crusades. I mean National Endowment for the Arts?  Our National Parks? Freedom of the Press? But  I choose women’s bodies and for starters, Planned Parenthood.

Please unfriend me everywhere if you think God is involved in this decision. We will not agree and I am ok with that. If a man can obtain Viagra to go play I should have the exact same rights to obtain birth control to go play. Let’s put that on the table early here. You have a choice and I have a choice. Don’t click on this blog if you want to rant. I have work to do.

I have two daughters, and the thought that they will lose rights they were born into both stuns and infuriates me. Women are supposed to roll back the clocks to an era where men in suits decide when, where and what we can do with our bodies?


You know, I am going to rewrite my history in the next four years; my history of letting everyone else do the heavy lifting. I now get Twitter and Facebook feed from Planned Parenthood. I am stopping by next week to walk through the door and make an appointment to talk to someone about volunteering. One by one we need to walk, talk, count up and lace up. Remember this:

day32017I am, for better or for worse, privileged to be in my late 50’s and just now hear a call to action. But what better than a white woman full of words with some time to spare?

Find your people. Get to work.


Drawing by Emma Dane Garfield @edg_originals

Feminism, Pussyhat, Vote, Women, Women's March

What She Carried.

Unable to slide my datebook into my purse today, I dumped the handbag unceremoniously over on the counter. Here, at the risk of going over my strict word limit, is what I found:

3 plastic dog poop bags, 4 different Boston restaurant matchbooks, stacks of crumpled receipts, a small notebook, my  checkbook, 2016 medical card (aha), 2 used handkerchiefs, 5 used kleenex, a ziplocked bag with 3 lip balms, 4 pairs of glasses, my Fitbit (finally), 5 hair clips, ear buds, mints, a book of stamps, a comb, five post-it pads, 6 pens, 2 pencils, 6 dusty dog biscuits, and a bra.


I should be embarrassed but in a strange, distancing-myself way I am fascinated by what she carried, this woman who ran rampant over the holidays, making, baking, decorating, wrapping, visiting, drinking, eating, not sleeping, not writing, feasting on family time. She needed lip balm. And very soon got the flu and needed tissue. She lost her glasses over and over. And her favorite bra after a massage session. A lot can be said about me, where I have been and where I want to go, if you look deep to the bottom of my handbag.

The 2016 presidential election has focused an intense spotlight on women — unexpected, thought provoking and worthy of examination. Women supported Trump overwhelmingly across the country despite everything he did that might indicate a different vote. No one looked deep enough into their purses and examined what they were carrying that affected their voting choice; their specific issues on jobs, healthcare, race, feminism. Turned out, just because they carried a purse did not mean they were going to support just any female politician.

I will be walking on January 21 in Seattle at the Women’s March. Don’t think I don’t have reservations, as the organizers dictate when and where participants can be silent and vocal. Or when I read the sheer numbers that are anticipated when as a firm rule I avoid crowds. But I am interested in what we carry, us women, and I hear we will all be there, dumped onto the streets in our pink hats, shouting our views, making the contents of our beliefs and feelings seen and heard.

America the beautiful. America the brave. We the people. Me, the coward, in the midst of it all. It is a year of seismic changes, from the street to my purse. Time to understand each other, to look deep, to lock arms. Even to shout.




Feminism, Women, writing

Kick Butt.

I remember the day my grandmother taught me how to curtsey. She was somehow in charge of me on bridge day and I was dressed to be shown off, squeezed into an uncomfortable wool jumper, the white blouse underneath bunching up around my middle. I knew I fell short on many levels, but determined, she gave me a quick how-to before her guests arrived. Holding my plump hands in hers she positioned me in front of her and demonstrated: slide one foot behind the other, dip my knees together, look her in the eye.

I remember feeling a little sick to my stomach. At home I ran barefoot in the wheat fields. Why am I learning this I wondered. The year was 1965 and I had personally witnessed my mother throwing away her bra. “You can do EVERYTHING I couldn’t” my mother told me as she dropped it in the bin with a flourish. But I also knew, like my grandmother’s even, back-slanted handwriting, that today’s lesson held the key to being a lady, a term my mother scorned but the little fat girl secretly worshipped. I stood by the front door with my grandmother that day and executed a perfect curtsey to each guest. They cooed in admiration. This felt just fine.

So began my conflicted relationship with being a woman that frankly has not abated fifty-two years later. Does it ever abate with any woman my age? I write my essays on being white, middle aged and full of words. I question retiring from life when the kids leave for theirs. My essays and blog posts are sprinkled on the internet weekly and after publication I am full of heavy dread each time I turn on my laptop. Who will be offended? Can I live what I say and say what I mean?

But then we have the elections of 2016 and I face that I have been coasting along, letting other women do the heavy lifting. How to hone feminism and fifty and language to shape the next generation now keeps me awake at night.

“Look what we did for you!” was my mother’s favorite line when she pushed me to college, graduate school, begged me to get a PHD. This year I assure my oldest daughter as she plans her wedding, “You don’t have to do anything you don’t want,” and I know my mother would be proud. Then I order my daughter monogrammed stationary. Because, honestly, I am still doing a little curtsey with a pen in my hand, bridging the worlds that raised me.

If I want my daughter to keep the path for equality and feminism open despite the elections of 2016, for her to be the next female president (why not?) or know her, I need to trample the have to’s and remind myself and other women daily that women can do anything. So here goes another blog, and some more words, and the choice of honesty.

You will still be a lady if you kick butt. Even more of one now in 2016. And you need to.

Thanks for cutting the path, Mom. Stomping on it right now for you and all of us.


Gathering lilacs at Moose Hill. Alexandra Dane, 1965