What to expect when you're expecting

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By request, I am re-posting this entry from August 10, 2006.

picture of smiling LeoAn acquaintance of mine is about to adopt a dog. While it is not her first dog, it is her first extra-large breed dog, and the first time she's planning on having a dog reside mainly inside her house. It's also her first experience with rescue, rather than buying dogs from breeders. So she's asked me quite a few questions lately, and I've given her what advice I can, based on my experiences. This has gotten me thinking about a more general list of recommendations/advice for those who are adopting a dog for the first time, or who are considering their first very large dogs, or first inside dogs, or their first dogs of any kind, or whatever. So I thought I'd start compiling a list.

1. Make friends with your vacuum cleaner. Seriously, if you and your vacuum do not have a good relationship, then get a new one. If it's subpar, replace it now. You are going to be spending a lot of time with it in the near future. This is important particularly if you are adopting your first long-haired dog, but even with a short-haired dog you'll be surprised how often you need to vacuum. It's not just their hair (though it is, at least in our case, mainly their hair); they also bring in a lot of dirt and leave and various other stuff you don't want on your floors. Someone asked me once how often we need to vacuum. Need is an ever-changing thing. In order to keep my house in the shape it was typically in pre-dog, I'd need to vacuum every day, at least once. In order to keep it livable by my new, dog-adopter standards, we vacuum at least twice a week, and usually 3-4 times. So, like I said, learn to love your vacuum, or purchase one you can love. Also, buy stock in the vacuum bag company, because you are going to be changing your bag a lot more than you ever thought possible.

2. Get a Dustbuster. If you have a multiple level house, get one for each floor. Your Dustbuster will get lots of us, and they are not that hearty to begin with, so plan on having to replace it every year or so. We are on our fourth Dustbuster. It's worth it. Any mess that isn't worth hauling at the vacuum for can probably be handled by the Dustbuster, including spilled dog food, small piles of hair/dirt/leaves, etc.

3. Give up your attachment to your carpet, or get rid of it. As I plan to own dogs (and as many as I can fit) for the rest of my life, I will never choose to have carpeting. Simply put, they ruin it. Even if they are perfectly house-trained (which you shouldn't count on, no matter what their foster families say), they will eventually vomit or have a bout of diarrhea and you will have a stain. Depending on the type of carpet you have and how quickly you find the stain, you may be able to get rid of most of it with a carpet cleaner (I particularly like Kids N' Pets, though it can be kind of hard to find), but no matter what you do, something is eventually going to stick. It's better to accept this now. If you are committed to having dogs and have a choice in flooring material, I'd go with heavy duty laminate or tile. Stains aside, it's much more fun to clean up vomit or poop off tile than off carpet. Trust me on that one.

4. Consider your schedule. I can't stress this enough. Dogs are very different than cats. They cannot be left alone for endless hours and expected to entertain themselves and behave. They need companionship, and they need to be let out to go to the bathroom. So, if you work long days regularly, reconsider the dog idea, or figure out a way (lunch at home, a paid caretaker, neighbor willing to look in, whatever) to give your dog what s/he needs BEFORE you get him/her. We are not prize examples of this, because we regularly leave our dogs home for 10 hours a day, but we're lucky in that we have exceptionally mellow dogs with large bladder capacities. Partially this is breed dependent, partially it's age dependent, and partially it's luck. It's not something you should count on, though.

5. Dog-proof your house. What this entails depends a lot on the size and age of the dog, as well as her natural tendencies. My dogs don't generally chew on anything but toys, so we can leave our shoes out, the remote control lying on the coffee table, etc. This isn't true of some other dogs. If you are getting a large dog, consider what might be a tail level (pictures on end tables, vases, etc.). If it's at tail height, the tail will eventually hit it. In the case of my acquaintance, who is planning to adopt a Great Dane, dog-proofing includes removing anything the dog might get into from kitchen counters, because he's tall enough to counter surf.

6. Do your research. If you've never had a dog before, don't assume you know how to handle one. Talk to some folks. Read some books. Sign up for a training class. Look into the traits of the breed(s) of dog you are considering, then disregard half of them because they're so often BS. Look beyond the physical phenotypes that appeal to you and think about the type of personality you are looking for in a dog. No matter how cute you think Australian Shepherds and Border Collies are, for example, if you want a low-energy dog, they probably aren't for you. Think about what kind of relationship you envision yourself having with a dog, and keep that relationship in mind when you are choosing a new companion. All dogs are not good matches for all people.

7. Budget. Dogs are expensive, more so than you'd ever think, and even in the best of circumstances, when nothing goes wrong (and something will go wrong). Estimates of the cost of having a dog abound all over the place, and they are very dependent on the individual dog, but I'd say our dogs cost at least $2,000/year each, and that's assuming they remain relatively healthy. It's important to plan for extreme cases as well--a sick or injured dog's vet bills add up very fast. Look into pet insurance and decide if you think it's a good investment in your particular case (for us, it's worth it for one dog and not for the other, based on risk factors including age and breed). Look at the research and decide if you think premium dog food is worth the extra cost (my feeling is that it is, for a whole host of reasons). Consider whether you are going to have to board your dog or hire a dogsitter if/when you leave town, and factor that in. Consider the costs of preventative medicines (heartworm, flea and tick, etc.), which generally go up in price as your dog gets bigger. What about grooming? Toys, beds, etc? Training? If you considering an extra large breed specifically, I recommend this amusing blog post about how much that costs. Maybe my estimates are low...

picture of Ata curled up on the couchOnce a dog actually lives at your house, everything changes. These are only the few, top of my head things I can think of that you might need to consider. There is much, much more. But please don't let that scare you off getting a dog. There is no question in my mind as to whether they are worth it. There is honestly no way I'd rather spend my time or my money. However, I think that the more realistic your expectations are before you bring a dog or dogs into your life, the happier everyone will be.

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Love Thursday: Family Portrait

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In honor of Love Thursday, and the last day of NaBloPoMo, and just because I wanna, I give you a family portrait of all of the mammalian inhabitants of my house, taken last night, by my friend S. This isn't the one we're going to use on the Christmas card, since not everyone is facing the camera, but it's still my favorite.

Family Portrait

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Woman Making History #35: Mary Cassatt

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Mary CassattMary Cassatt was born in 1844 in Pennsylvania. She was from a rich family and traveled extensively in Europe as a child. At the age of 17, she began studying art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. After studying here for four years, she moved to Paris in 1866, with the intention of studying European art independently.

Cassatt returned to her family in the U.S. when the Franco-Prussian War broke out, but her family was not supportive of her artistic ventures, so she returned to Paris in 1871. At that point, the archbishop of Pittsburgh commissioned her to go to Europe and paint copies of old masters' paintings.

Upon her return to France, Cassatt studied with Pissarro. In 1872, her first painting was accepted into the Paris Salon, where it was criticized for being too brightly colored and too realistic. Undeterred, Cassatt met Degas and in 1879 her work was displayed in an Impressionists show. Cassatt became an active member of the Impressionists circle, painting mostly in pastel, like Degas.

blue-armchair.jpgCassatt's subject matter was most often people, particularly mothers and their children. In addition to Impressionists, she was also inspired by printmaking and Japanese art. At right, her painting "Little Girl in a Blue Armchair" (1878), is emblematic of her work.

In the early 1880s, Cassatt quit painting in order to care for her mother and sister, both of whom were ill and living in Paris. Her sister died in 1882, but her mother regained her health and Cassatt resumed painting by the middle of the decade. At this point, Cassatt stopped identifying herself with any art movement and painted in a more straightforward, simple way than she had in her Impressionist period. Throughout the 1890s she continued to paint and to serve as a mentor to younger artists, particularly up-and-coming Americans.

Cassatt's brother died in 1906, at which time she took another sabbatical from painting, until 1912. She painted for only a couple of years, however, before her health and impending blindness forced her to stop in 1914. At this time, she also became involved in women's suffrage, exhibiting her work to support the movement.

Cassatt died in 1926. Her paintings have grown in popularity since her death, selling for a high of $2.8 million in 2005.

Sources:
Wikipedia
Art Archive
Web Museum

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Woman Making History #34: Marla Ruzicka

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Marla RuzickaThe youngest woman featured so far in Women Making History (I think), Marla Ruzicka was born in 1976 in California. She died in 2005, at the age of 28, the victim of a car bombing in Iraq. Her car was reportedly caught between that of a suicide bomber and a U.S. military convoy.

In her short time, Ruzicka's contribution was great. She founded the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC), an organization providing assistance to victims of the war in Iraq. Previous to her work in Iraq, she was in Afghanistan, working with human rights group Global Exchange to assist Afghani victims of the U.S. attacks there. She lobbied the government to provide aid to families who had lost everything in U.S. invasions, inspiring Senator Patrick Leahy to sponsor a $10 million bill to provide aid to displaced Iraqis and Afghanis.

Ruzicka remained in Iraq even after most international aid organizations deemed the situation too dangerous for their people. She worked tirelessly, often going door-to-door to see what civilians were in need of and what damages they had incurred. Just before her death, she was said to have obtained confidential information from the U.S. military as to the true Iraqi civilian body count.

Sources:
Wikipedia
Democracy Now!
Alternet

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Woman Making History #33: Althea Gibson

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Althea GibsonAlthea Gibson was born in 1927 in South Carolina, but she grew up in Harlem, New York. She was athletic as a child, competing in horsemanship, tennis, and golf. In 1946, she was sponsored to go to North Carolina for tennis training. The next year, she won her first of ten straight national tennis championships for black women.

Gibson continued to play tennis while attending college, graduating from Florida A&M University in 1953. In 1950, she became the first black women to compete on the world tennis circuit. She won many tennis championships throughout the 1950s, including the Italian Championships, French Championships, and Wimbledon Championship (several years in a row). In 1957, she was named the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year and ranked #1 in the world.

In 1958, Gibson retired from tennis. In her retirement, she recorded an album and wrote her autobiography. She also took up golf, becoming the first African-American woman to play in the LPGA in 1968. She was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 1971, and in 1975 she became the New Jersey Commissioner of Athletics, a position she served in for ten years before going to work in other public service capacities, including the governor's council on physical fitness.

Althea Gibson died in 2003, at the age of 76.

Sources:
The Althea Gibson Website
Wikipedia
About: Women's History

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Woman Making History #32: Matilda Joslyn Gage

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Matilda Joslyn GageMatilda Joslyn Gage was a woman's suffragist, Native American activist, abolitionist, author, lecturer, and general freethinking radical. She was born in Cicero, New York in 1826 and, the child of famous anti-slavery advocate Dr. Hezekiah Joslyn, spent her childhood in a house which served as a station for the underground railroad.

In 1845, Gage married a merchant, Henry Hill Gage. She and her husband settled in Fayetteville, New York, and their home, too, became a haven for fleeing slaves. The Gages had four children.

In 1852, Gage became involved in the struggle for increased civil rights and suffrage for women, speaking at the National Women's Rights Convention in Syracuse, New York. She helped to found the National Women's Suffrage Association (NWSA), serving as president in 1875-76, and as either a chairperson or vice president for over 20 years. She was considered more radical than her co-founders, the better known Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

During the Civil War, Gage worked as an organizer of medical supplies for Union soldiers. She also advocated for a Union course of action that was hinged upon full emancipation of the slaves. During the 1870s, she spoke out against the unfair treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. government, even being adopted by the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk Nation.

In 1878, Gage purchased the Toledo, Ohio suffrage journal The Ballot Box. After changing the name to The National Citizen and Ballot Box, she became the paper's primary writer, thinker, and editor for three years. During this time, the paper served as the national journal for the NSWA.

In 1890, Gage founded the Women's National Liberal Union (WNLU), in response to the increased conservativism and single-mindedness of the national women's organizations, particularly the National American Suffrage Association (NASA), which was formed the same year by combining the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) and the NWSA. Gage served as the organizations' president and the editor of it's journal the Liberal Thinker, until her death in 1898. Her focus by this time was primarily on the need for separation of church and state and the danger Christianity posed to women, suppressing them and reinforcing patriarchy. In 1893, she published a book, Woman, Church and State, which made the same arguments.

Sources:
The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation
Wikipedia

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Woman Making History #31: Judi Bari

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Judi BariJudi Bari was a principal organizer of Earth First! She spent her entire life as an organizer and speaker on behalf of environmental causes, particularly the need to protect old-growth forests. She was also an advocate for social justice, a feminist, an anti-racist, and a voice for labor.

Bari was born in 1949 in Baltimore, Maryland. She was the daughter of acclaimed mathematician Ruth Aaronson Bari. Bari attended the University of Maryland, where she spent much of her time protesting the Vietnam War. She dropped out of college in her fifth year and began working in blue-collar jobs, quickly becoming involved in labor organizing.

Bari and her husband moved to California in 1979. They had two daughters before amicably divorcing.

In the mid-80s, while working in carpentry, Bari became interested in wood, particularly redwoods. When she found out the age of the trees the boards she was using came from, she was outraged and began her involvement in old growth protection activism.

In the course of her activism, Bari used music as an essential organizing tool. She played the fiddle and was apt to bring it out at any march or rally. The Earth First! songbook Up Rise Singing includes several of her songs.

Another thing that set Bari's organizing apart from that of some other environmentalists was her argument that environmental activists could and should build alliances with timber industry workers, and that those workers were a prime target for labor organization. In 1989, Bari wrote an article for the Industrial Worker newspaper exhorting the IWW to focus on the labor concerns of timber industry workers.

In the late 80s and early 90s, Bari, her family, and her fellow organizers were targets of intimidation and violence, allegedly by timber companies. In 1989, she and her daughters were rear-ended by a log truck in their car, and Bari used photographs to prove the truck was the same one that had been stopped by an Earth First! barricade only 24 hours earlier. In 1990, a bomb exploded under the floor board of Bari's car while she and a fellow organizer were in it, injuring Bari severely. Police stated that Bari and her fellow organizer were the only suspects in the crime, as they were carrying a bomb in the car for use in eco-terrorist activities. However, no charges were ever filed.

In 1991, Bari and her fellow organizer filed federal civil rights charges against the FBI and Oakland PD, as well as individual agents of both organizations, for false arrest in the bombing case. In 2002, the activists won their lawsuit with a $4.4 million ruling against the FBI and police defendants.

Bari, however, did not live to see this victory. She died of breast cancer in 1997.

Sources:
The Judi Bari Website
Wikipedia

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Woman Making History #30: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

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Elizabeth Gurley FlynnWoah. I had no idea how cool E.G. Flynn was...

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn was born in New Hampshire in 1890. She was educated in socialism by her parents early on, and was dismissed from high school in 1907 for her political activities, at which time she became a full-time organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Flynn organized garment workers in Pennsylvania, silk weavers in New Jersey, restaurant workers in New York, miners in Montana and Wyoming, and textile workers in Massachusetts. She also helped to found the American Civil Liberties Union and campaigned against the executions of Sacco and Vanzetti.

Flynn married in 1908, and gave birth to two children, one of whom died in infancy. She and her husband where separated by the time their second child was born in 1910 and divorced in 1920. Flynn was also partnered with Italian anarchist Carlo Tresca during the 1920s.

In the context of her union work, Flynn worked tirelessly for women's issues. She was concerned with suffrage, birth control access, and male domination of unions. During World War II, she fought for equal pay for women and the establishment of day care centers for working mothers.

Her political activities were limited by ill health in the in the early 1930s, but in 1936 Flynn officially joined the Communist Party, and begin writing a feminist column for the communist newspaper The Daily Worker. In 1938, she was elected to the national committee of the party. In 1940, she was removed from the board of the ACLU for her Communist activities. In 1951, Flynn was arrested and prosecuted under the Smith Act for advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government. Found guilty in 1953, she spent two years in the women’s prison at Alderson, West Virginia, where she wrote The Alderson Story: My Life as a Political Prisoner.

After her release from prison, Flynn resumed her Communist activities, and she became the chairman of the U.S. Communist Party in 1961. She died of heart failure on a trip the Soviet Union in 1964, and she was given a state funeral in Red Square. In 1976, her ACLU membership was posthumously restored.

Sources:
Wikipedia
About: Women's History
Women and Marxism

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Woman Making History #29: Betty Friedan

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Betty FriedanBetty Friedan was born in 1921 in Illinois. She attended Smith College, graduating in 1942. After college, she worked as a journalist for leftist and union publications.

In 1947, Friedan married. She and her husband had three children before divorcing in 1969. In 1952, while pregnant with her second child, Friedan lost her job at a union newspaper. She then worked as a freelance journalist, and became interested in women staying at home after conducting a survey about careers of her classmates at her 15th Smith reunion.

The article Friedan wrote about the results of the survey and her classmates' dissatisfaction with their lives was rejected by every magazine to which she submitted it. This gave Friedan the idea to expand it into a book, which she did. The Feminine Mystique was published in 1963.

The book became a best-seller, with millions of women around the world finding themselves in its pages. Friedan went on to co-found the National Organization for Women (NOW) and serve as its first president (1966-1970). She then helped found NARAL in 1969 and the National Women's Political Caucus in 1971.

Friedan also wrote four more books, It Changed My Life: Writings on the Women's Movement (1978), The Second Stage (1981), The Foundation of Age (1993), and her autobiography, Life So Far (2000).

Betty Friedan died in 2006, on her 85th birthday.

Sources:
Wikipedia
The New York Times
The Washington Post

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Woman Making History #28: Dolores Huerta

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Dolores HuertaDolores Huerta was born in New Mexico in 1930. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she and her four siblings were raised by her mother and grandfather in Stockton, California. Huerta's mother ran a restaurant and then a hotel, when Huerta worked as a child. Her father was a day laborer and coal miner who later became a state legislator.

After high school, Huerta married and had two children. She also became a schoolteacher. Neither the marriage nor the career lasted (Huerta later married and divorced again, and had five more children). In 1955, Huerta became a founding member of the Sacramento chapter of the Community Service Organization. Recognizing the needs of farm workers through both her work as a teacher and her work in the CSO, in 1960 Huerta co-founded the Agricultural Workers Association. In 1962, she worked with Cesar Chávez to found the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee and finally the UFW.

In 1968 and 1969, Huerta helped to coordinate the UFW's national table grape boycott. The boycott was successful, resulting in the entire California grape industry signing a three-year collective bargaining contract. Among other things, this contract secured the first medical and pension benefits on record for farm workers. Huerta was also instrumental in the passage of California legislation granting the right to vote in Spanish.

Huerta's entire adult life has been full of agitating and organizing on behalf of farm workers and other low-income workers, particularly Latinos. She has been arrested twenty-two times in peaceful protests. She currently sits on the boards of both People for the American Way and the Feminist Majority Foundation.

Sources:
About: Women's History
Wikipedia
The Dolores Huerta Foundation

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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I deserve better

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C-List Blogger

Thanks to Bomb for the self-esteem crushing link.

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Woman Making History #27: Amelia Earhart

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Amelia EarhartAmelia Earhart was born in 1897 in Kansas. Her father was an alcoholic, and her mother left him and moved to Chicago, taking Amelia and her sister, in 1914.

Earhart graduated from high school in 1915, then received training as a nurse's aide and worked in nursing in Toronto until the end of World War I. In 1919, she enrolled in the pre-med program at Columbia University, but she quit and moved to California before she graduated.

In California, Earhart saw a stunt flying show and immediately decided to learn to fly. She worked at the telephone company and drove a truck to earn money for flying lessons. In 1923, Earhart became the sixteenth woman ever to be issued a pilot's license by the FAI.

Not able to make a living as a high-altitude flyer, Earhart moved to Boston in 1925, where she began working as a social worker. She also wrote columns for local papers on flying and specifically on encouraging women to fly, and she became somewhat of a local celebrity.

After Charles Lindbergh's history-making flight across the Atlantic in 1927, a wealthy American expatriate living in London, Amy Guest, offered to sponsor a woman to do the same. In 1928, this project was offered to Earhart. For this first flight, however, she was a passenger, not the pilot. Still, the flight made history and made Earhart a bit more of a celebrity.

In 1929, Earhart began to support herself with competitive flying and endorsements. She was dubbed "Lady Lindy" (a reference to Lindbergh) and broke altitude records. In 1931, she married her publicist.

In 1932, Earhart took her solo cross-Atlantic flight. She intended to fly from Newfoundland to Paris, but was forced by bad weather and mechanical problems to land in Northern Ireland. After this first flight, Earhart set several other records, including speed records and the first solo flight from Hawaii to California.

In 1936, Earhart began to plan an around-the-world flight, following the equatorial route. The flight began on St. Patrick's Day in 1937, when Earhart and her crew flew from Oakland, California, to Honolulu, Hawaii. The plane was damaged upon landing in Hawaii and the rest of the flight had to be called off. Funding was secured for a second, try, this time west to east. Earhart and the crew flew first from California to Florida, then made stops in South American, Africa, India, and Southeast Asia, arriving in New Guinea on June 29, 1937.

The plane disappeared between New Guinea and Howland Island on July 2, 1937. There were several hours of garbled communications from the plane, but the Coast Guard stationed on Howland Island was never able to access Earhart's position. Short wave radio calls for help were heard for several days after the plane's disappearance, but nothing was complete enough to find the plane. The Navy and Coast Guard searched for the down plane for two weeks, but it was never found.

Sources:
Official Amelia Earhart Website
Wikipedia

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Motorcycle

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My brother-in-law was in a motorcycle accident yesterday. It looks like he's going to live, but that wasn't a given from the outset. The damage is extensive--collapsed lungs, internal bleeding, broken bones, and a nearly completely severed right hand, which he is undergoing multiple surgeries to try and save. He was riding far out of town and had to wait, alone, for several hours while his companion went to get help. It's a bad, bad scene.

Prayers and other positive thoughts directed his way would be much appreciated.

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Woman Making History #26: Sojourner Truth

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Sojourner_Truth.gifIn 1797, Sojourner Truth was born Isabella Baumfree on a Dutch settlement in upstate New York. She was one of thirteen children born to slave parents.

Truth was sold at age nine to an abusive slaveholder. She increasingly turned to religion to comfort her as her situation worsened. She was then sold to a tavern owner, a safer situation, then to another abusive plantation family.

In 1815, Truth fell in love with a slave at another plantation. When their forbidden affair was discovered, her lover was beaten and taken away. She never saw him again, but bore a daughter. Shortly thereafter, she was forced to marry another slave on the plantation where she was held and she had four more children between 1822 and 1826.

During the early 1800s, the state of New York was slowly phasing out slavery. The man who owned Truth promised her emancipation in 1826, a year before the final abolition if she continued to work hard for him, but then reneged on his promise. When Truth felt she had fulfilled her commitment, she escaped the plantation with her infant daughter.

Immediately after her escape, Truth began work to rescue her son, who at the age of five had been illegally sold into slavery in Alabama. After legal proceedings, he was returned to her. At this time, Truth became devotedly religion, attending a Methodist church. In 1829, she left upstate New York with an evangelical teacher.

During the early 1930s, Truth was involved in a religious organization called The Kingdom. She worked as their housekeeper, but continued to preach. The group's activities were increasingly bizarre until they disbanded in 1834.

After her affiliation with The Kingdom, Truth resolved to make her way as a traveling preacher. She changed her name to Sojourner Truth in 1843 and traveled around the East, mostly alone, mostly depending on the kindness of strangers to sustain her. In 1844, she joined the Northampton Association of Education and Industry, a 210 person cooperative labor and farming organization in Massachutes. During her time there, she worked with famous abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison.

When the community disbanded in 1846, Truth went to live with one of its founders, George Benson. During this time, she dictated her memoirs, which became The Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern Slave (published privately in 1850). The book's success gave Truth the opportunity to support herself with speaking engagements, including her most famous speech, made at the Ohio Women's Rights Convention in 1854, Ain't I a Woman?

Truth then became involved with the Quaker offshoot group Progressive Friends, who worked against slavery and towards non-violence. She spoke on behalf of the Union during the Civil War. In 1870, she began to advocate for the federal government to deed land parcels in the West to freed slaves, work she continued for many years, though it never came about.

Sojourner Truth died in 1883, at the age of 86.

Sources:
Women in History
Sojourner Truth Institute
About: Women's History

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Woman Making History #25: Isadora Duncan

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Isadora Duncan is considered by many to be the mother of modern dance.

Duncan was born in San Francisco in 1877. Her birth name was Dora Angela. She was raised by her mother, her father having left when she was a small child. Both of Duncan's parents were artists, her mother a musician and her father a poet. Duncan's mother supported her family by giving piano lessons, and both Duncan and her sister supplemented the family income by giving dance lessons.

Duncan began her dancing career in Chicago in 1895, where she was rejected by many theaters, who said her style of dancing would never be suitable for the stage, before finding work dancing in a saloon. After being seen in the saloon, Duncan was cast in a small role in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and her family settled in New York.

After enjoying brief and fleeting fame in New York, Duncan and her family moved to London in 1898. After some lean months, Duncan was "discovered" in a park by a London stage star, and her European career was born.

In 1909, Duncan opened a dancing school in Paris, while continuing to perform throughout Europe. She created her own style of bohemian dance, rejected the disciplined postures of ballet as "ugly and unnatural."

Both Duncan's work and her personal life were very controversial. Not only did she expose more of herself on stage and dance in more provocative ways than were considered appropriate at the time, she also bore two children out of wedlock, each with different fathers. (Sadly, both of her children were killed in a car accident with their nanny in 1913.) Finally, Duncan was openly bisexual. Though her life and work were, at least in some circles, accepted and embraced in Europe, she was never lauded in the United States.

In 1922, Duncan, who was sympathetic to the communist experiment, moved to the Soviet Union. She then married a Russian poet 17 years her junior. Her husband was mentally unstable and abusive, and they parted after about a year. He committed suicide in 1925.

In 1924, Duncan returned to Paris. She suffered financial difficulties and alcoholism. In 1927, she was killed in a freak accident when her scarf caught in the open-spoked wheel of an automobile.

Duncan's legacy has lived longer than she did. During her lifetime, she opened two more dancing schools, in Germany and the Soviet Union. In her last years, she wrote an autobiography, Ma Vie, that was published posthumously to very good reviews. Two films, Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World (1967) and Isadora (1968), immortalized Duncan decades after her death.

Sources:
Wikipedia
Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco
Women in History

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Goodwill: Norwood Park

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goodwillnorwoodpark.jpg1015 Norwood Park Blvd.
Austin, TX 78753
512-637-7502

Store Hours:
Mon-Sat: 9:00am - 9:00pm
Sun: 11:00am - 7:00pm

I haven't forgotten about my intention to review thrift stores--just been on hiatus from it for a bit, as I've only been visiting stores (OK, really just the store on Research) I've already reviewed. However, I took a turn by the Norwood Park Goodwill yesterday, so I do have something a bit new to report.

This is a farily new addition to Austin's Goodwill scene. Norwood Park is the location of Goodwill's computer works store, as well as a community center of some sort. And I'm sure those elements of this location are absolutely lovely.

The retail store itself, however, sucks.

It's far, far smaller than the Goodwill locations I frequent (North Lamar and especially Research). About...1/4 the size, maybe? And it's almost all women's clothes--a few men's and children's clothes, but almost no housewares or books. I spent less than ten minutes in the store and felt that I'd seen all I needed to see--and I can easily spend hours in a good thrift store. I left empty-handed.

On the plus side, this store is new and very clean. But that doesn't do much good if there's nothing there.

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For your amusement

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Here's something you probably never expected to see:

headlessinweddingdress.jpg

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U.S. Women's National Soccer TeamThe U.S. Women's National Soccer Team was founded in 1985, the first ever women's soccer team made up of professional, full-time athletes. The team has won two Women's World Cups (1991 and 1999), two Olympic women's tournaments (1996 and 2004), and four Algarve Cups (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005). It is considered one of the most sucessful women's or men's national soccer teams in history.

In 2004, two retired Women's National team players, Mia Hamm and Michelle Akers, were the only two women included in the FIFA 100, a list compiled by soccer legend Pelé of the greatest living footballers.

Sources
Wikipedia
U.S. Soccer Network
United Soccer Athletes

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Woman Making History #23: Ani DiFranco

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AniAni DiFranco was born in 1970 in Buffalo, New York. Her mother Jewish American and her father is Italian-American. DiFranco became an emancipated minor when she was 15.

At the age of 18, DiFranco moved to New York City and started her own record company, Righteous Babe Records, under which she put out her debut album, Ani DiFranco. She built interest in her music through constant playing at local gigs and touring, and spent many years touring constantly on her own.

Over the course of over fifteen years, DiFranco's own career and the popularity of her label has grown exponentially. She has released 18 studio albums and 12 live albums, as well as several EPs and a couple of videos. She has also added other artists to her label, including Utah Phillips, Andrew Bird, and Toshi Reagon. She has also been heavily involved in city renewal in her home town of Buffalo, New York, including buying and renovating a church that was scheduled for demolition and giving it a new life as her record company headquarters and a 1,200 seat music venue. She also started the Righteous Babe Foundation, which backs various grassroots political organizations.

DiFranco uses her position as a musician and a celebrity (at least to her fan base) to encourage political involvement and activism. She is outspoken both in her music and in her comments about anti-racism, peace, and feminism. In 2006, she received NOW's Woman of Courage Award. She is the first musician to have received the award.

In 1998, DiFranco, who is openly bisexual, married her sound technician. The marriage lasted five years. Recently, she has announced she is expecting a baby in early 2007.

Sources
Wikipedia
About: Folk Music
Alternet

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Woman Making History #22: Madame CJ Walker

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Madame CJ WalkerMadame CJ Walker was born Sarah Breedlove in 1867 on a Louisiana Delta plantation. She was the daughter of former slaves and was orphaned at seven. She spent her early years working in cotton fields and married at 14 in order to escape an abusive brother-in-law.

Walker's only daughter, A'Leila, was born in 1885. Two years later, Walker was widowed. She then moved to St. Louis to join her four brothers, who were working as barbers. Earning as little as $1.50 a day as a laundrywoman, Walker still managed to save enough money to educate her daughter.

In the 1890s, Walker began to suffer a scalp condition that caused her to lose most of her hair. After experimenting with several things that were already on the market, Walker began concocting her own creation to cure this ailment. In 1905, she changed her name to "Madame" CJ Walker and began to market Madame Walker's Wonderful Hair Grower.

Walker traveled extensively to promote her product, finally settling in Indianapolis in 1910. There, she built a factory, training school, and salons. In 1913, she went international, traveling to South America and the Caribbean to promote her products. At one point, Madame Walker employed more than 3,000 people.

In 1916, Walker left the day-to-day operations of her business and moved to New York City. There, she participated in many social and political causes. She was especially active in the NAACP's anti-lynching movement. In 1917, she was one of a group of African-American citizens who visited the White House to present the president with a petition for federal anti-lynching legislation.

Madame CJ Walker died in 1919 at her New York estate.

Sources
Official Website of Madame CJ Walker
About: Inventors
Wikipedia

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Any solider

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I don't know if I've made this clear before now, but I'm sure it's not a surprise: I'm against the war in Iraq. I marched against it before it started (and just after), I've written countless letters against it, I'm against it. I think it's a bad idea. I don't think we ever should have invaded. I think it's bad, bad, bad.

That being said, I have a little tradition I started for myself several Thanksgivings ago that I thought I'd share. The first year, I took up a collection at my workplace to do it, since then I've been doing it on a smaller scale on my own. I go over to anysoldier.com and pick out a couple of wish lists, head over to Target to shop, and send a couple of care packages to folks serving abroad. Particularly to women serving abroad.

So why, since I am against the war, do I do that?

Well, to begin with, I don't think that the young men and women who are suffering on the ground have much say in the policy that put them there. Less say than I have in it, probably, due to their lower age and lower socioeconomics. It's not their fault they are there.

Secondly, I empathize with them, for a kind of strange reason. When I was the age some of them are, I was in my first year of college, and I was so, so homesick. I was in a safe, nice place, which I had chosen, which was only a couple hundred miles from home, and I was miserable. And I seriously cannot comprehend how much worse that it would have been to been in a dangerous situation, with few amenities, in a foreign country, where you had the risk of having to kill or be killed. It's beyond my capacity for creative thought. So I feel personally responsible for doing a little something to try to alleviate the homesickness these kids (and they are kids) must feel. For me, nothing helped more than a package from home, and I think it must be the same for them. And I feel especially for the women, whose lists so often ask for things like deodorant and tampons, as they are in a place that has to be alienating to them on a whole other level (both in terms of the military and in terms of the country).

Finally, I believe in being the change you want to see in the world. The change I want to see is for our government not to ever feel that it's the right thing to do to send kids to kill and die a million miles away for spurious reasons. But that's not something I have much capacity to change right now. What I do have the capacity to change, albeit in a very small way, is how horrible it is for those kids. And I want to do that.

Be forewarned that the website is sort of sickeningly ra-ra USA and doesn't mesh with many (if any) of the political views you or I may hold. To me, that doesn't matter. I can look past that, for a minute, and try to just be kind. I think that maybe if more people could try to do that, we wouldn't be in this mess.

Also, if you decide to send a soldier a care package this Thanksgiving (or some other time), please include a letter. From what I've read/heard, personal letters are reallly appreciated.

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Woman Making History #21: Ellen DeGeneres

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Ellen DeGeneresEllen DeGeneres was born in 1958 in a New Orleans suburb. She was raised as a Christian Scientist until the age of 13, when her parents divorced. After the divorce, Ellen and her brother, Vance, moved with her mother and new stepfather to Atlanta, Texas.

Ellen attended the University of New Orleans, where she majored in communications. She left school with one semester left and took a series of jobs (clerk, waitress, oyster shucker), none of which she stuck with. In the early 1980s, she began doing stand-up comedy. In 1982, she was chosen by Showtime as the funniest person in America. Shortly after, she appeared on The Tonight Show, where she was the first woman ever to be asked to chat with Johnny after her first visit.

In 1994, Ellen's stand-up was turned into a sitcom, Ellen. The show ran from '94-'98. In 1997, Ellen used her character on the show to come out as a lesbian. This made Ellen one of the first openly gay performers playing one of the first openly gay characters on network television.

After Ellen was cancelled, DeGeneres returned to stand-up. She also briefly appeared in another sitcom, The Ellen Show. In 2001, she also served as the host of the Emmy awards, for which she garnered mostly good reviews.

In 2003, Ellen started a new venture, a talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The talk show's following has steadily grown and it has become quite successful. DeGeneres has also lent her voice to the animated film Finding Nemo, written a book, and appeared in advertisements for American Express. She will also be hosting the Academy Awards in 2007.

DeGeneres is currently partnered with another lesbian celebrity, Portia di Rossi. They have been together since 2004.

Sources
Wikipedia
Infoplease
About: Talk Shows

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Woman Making History #20: Eve Ensler

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Eve EnslerEve Ensler was born in 1953 to an upper-middle class Jewish family in Scarsdale, New York. She attended Middlebury College, graduating in 1975. She spent much of the 1980s married to Richard McDermott, and is the stepmother of actor Dylan McDermott, who she adopted during the marriage.

In 1996, Ensler wrote The Vagina Monologues, a (originally) one-woman play which channels the voices of women of various ages, sexualities, and races, all talking about their relationships with their bodies, particularly the parts that women have traditionally been ashamed of and afraid to talk about. Since Ensler's original performance of the play in SoHo, it has become an international success, translated into over 35 languages and performed by women as noted as Jane Fonda, Glenn Close, Susan Sarandon, and Oprah Winfrey. The Vagina Monologues won the Obie Award for Best New Play in 1996, and in 1999 Ensler was presented with the Guggenheim Fellowship in Playwriting.

As amazing as the play itself is, out of it grew something even bigger, V-Day. V-Day is "a global movement to stop violence against women and girls." V-Day takes place on February 14, traditionally Valentine's Day, and includes performances of Ensler's play as well as various other anti-violence and pro-woman activities, in cities around the world. The V-Day foundation also provides cash assistance to local level organizations working against violence towards women.

Though it is her most famous, The Vagina Monologues is not Ensler's only play. She is actually the author of more than nine plays and five books. Recently, she has been touring performing her more recent work, The Good Body, which also deals with women's body image. Another newer play, The Treatment, debuted in New York City in September 2006. It deals with the psychological trauma of war.

Ensler's pro-woman and anti-violence activities are not limited to her writing and performing. She is a dedicated activist. Aside from founding the V-Day foundation, she is also involved in the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) and other organizations to support women abroad. She also leads a writing group for incarcerated women at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women.

Sources
Wikipedia
Amnesty International
Mother Jones
V-Day

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Woman Making History #19: Dorothy Day

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dorothyday.jpgDorothy Day was born in Brooklyn in 1897. The Day family moved to Chicago in the mid 1900's. Day's mother was a devout Catholic, and her father, after some time unemployed, was a Chicago newspaperman.

Day entered the University of Illinois at Urbana on a scholarship in 1914. She went for two years, attending more radical functions than she did classes, before she dropped out. She then moved to New York City, where she began writing for the socialist newspaper The Call. She then wrote for The Masses, a magazine opposing U.S. involvement in European war.

In November 1917, Day went to jail with other women for standing in front of the White House to protest women's exclusion from voting. She went with the other women to work camps and participated in hunger strikes until they were freed by presidential order.

Throughout the late teens and early twenties, Day continued to write for newspapers and magazines (as well as write novels), attend protests, and make her way towards the Catholic faith.

In 1927, Day gave birth to her only child, Tamar Theresa Day. She has an abortion several years earlier, for which she felt tremendous guilt and because of which she thought she was unable to conceive, so she considered Tamar's birth a miracle, sealing her faith in God and her commitment to Catholicism. Day both baptized Tamar a Catholic and was received into the Church herself.

In 1932, Day met Peter Maurin, a French immigrant and former Christian brother. It was Maurin's idea to start a newspaper to publicize Catholic teachings as a means of peacefully transforming society. Day ran with this idea, and on May 1, the first copies of The Catholic Worker were distributed.

The Catholic Worker was met with an unusual level of instant success, with a circulation of 100,000 by December 1932. Out of the ideas of kindness, hospitality, and brotherhood featured in the paper, the idea of hospitality houses arose. First Day's own apartment was opened to strangers needing a place to stay, then more apartments were rented for those in need. The number of beds available grew quickly, but, as it was the Depression, there were never enough. What most surprised the people (mostly men) who stayed at the hospitality houses was that nobody tried to reform them or force the faith upon them. There was no idea of deserving poor in the Catholic houses--everyone deserved a roof over his/her head and a hot meal. Everyone deserved a chance.

By 1936, there were 33 Catholic Worker houses spread across the country. There was no time limit for how long people could stay at the Catholic houses--they could stay forever if they wanted to. Once they were there, they were family, Day said.

Even in the times before and during World War II, Day insisted that the paper and the houses remain pacifist--an unpopular position. It took a toll, with 15 houses closing, but Day's program survived. In the 1950's, the houses refused to participate in annual civil defense drills. Day and other dissidents were sent to jail for opposing these drills, for periods of five to thirty days, nearly every year from 1955 to 1960.

The Catholic Workers movement also stressed the importance of civil rights, in keeping with their overall tenants of equality, love, and brotherhood among all people.

Day was last jailed for participating in an illegal protest supporting farm workers in 1973. She was 75 years old.

In her later life, Day was highly regarded, receiving many awards, and visitors such as Mother Theresa. She took communion directly from the Pope in 1967. Many called her a saint. "Don’t' call me a saint," Day said. "I don't want to be dismissed so easily."

Dorothy Day died on November 29, 1980.

Sources
The Catholic Worker

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Woman Making History #18: Angela Davis

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Angela DavisAngela Davis was born in 1944 in Birmingham, Alabama, to educated, politically active, middle-class parents. She attended high school at the Little Red School House, a radical private school in Greenwich Village. She then attended Brandeis on a full scholarship, one of only three Black students in her entering class.

Davis graduated from Brandeis magna cum laude in 1965. During her time there, she spent several semesters in Europe, particularly France, and became involved in the European Communist Party and in the Black Power movement. She living in Germany on and off for several years post-graduation, taking her masters from the University of California, San Diego and her Ph.D. in philosophy from the Humboldt University of Berlin, GDR.

During her time as an advanced student in the late 1960s, Davis began working as a lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1969, the UCLA Board of Regents, headed by Ronald Reagan, made the controversial decision to fire her based on her ties to the Communist Party. She was later reinstated, due to public outcry.

During the late 1960s, Davis was involved in the Communist Party, radical feminist organizations, and the Black Power movement, including the Black Panthers. In 1970, she became the third women ever on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List, after she was charged with kidnapping, conspiracy, and murder in the Black Panther's disruption of the Soledad Brothers' trial and subsequent kidnapping and murder of Judge Harold Haley.

Davis was a fugitive for several months before she was detained in New York City. After spending several more months in jail awaiting and standing trial, she was cleared of all charges in 1972.

After she was released, Davis briefly relocated to Cuba. Upon her return to the U.S., she continued a lifetime of teaching and activism. She has been an outspoken opponent of the U.S. prison system and the death penalty, as well as a prominent feminist leader, for several decades. She is a co-founder of Critical Resistance, a grassroots organization dedicated to abolishing the prison-industrial complex. She currently heads the Feminist Studies department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she teaches mostly graduate level courses. She has also authored several books and speaks widely.

In 1997, Davis came out as a lesbian.

Sources
Wikipedia
About: Women's History
Discover the Networks

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Woman Making History #17: Bessie Coleman

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bessiecoleman.jpgStill sick...forgive me...

Bessie Coleman was born in 1892 to a large Texas family. Her father left the family when Coleman was young, and the remainder of her childhood was difficult. She was unable to attend school much beyond the eighth grade due to financial difficulties. At the age of twenty-three, she moved to Chicago to stay with her brother and look for work.

Coleman worked as a beautician in Chicago for several years before, in 1919, she went to France to attend aviation school (there were no opportunities for a black woman to learn to fly in the United States). She was funded by sponsors and her own savings.

In 1921, she became the first African-American to earn an aviation license. She returned to the U.S. to surprising press coverage. Knowing she'd need public following to make flying pay, she created an exciting image, including dressing in military uniform. She flew in air shows and gave lectures for several years, often refusing to perform unless audiences were desegregated.

In April 1926, Bessie Coleman died in a flying accident before an aviation show in Jacksonville, Florida.

Sources
bessiecoleman.com
PBS

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Woman Making History #16: Odetta

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OdettaLegendary folk musician Odetta was born in 1930 in Birmingham, Alabama. She grew up in Los Angeles and started operatic training at the age of 13. After flirting with musical theater, after 1950 she began to focus solely on folk music, touring nationally and building a solid following at venues such as San Francisco's hungry i and New York's Blue Angel.

Odetta was involved in the civil rights movement both as a participant and as an entertainer, marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and performing at civil rights rallies.

Odetta's career spanned several decades, culminating in being awarded the National Endowment for the Arts' Medal of the Arts by President Clinton in 1999, at which time she released her first album of new music in many years, Blues Everywhere I Go. She followed this album with several more records and an international tour in 2006.

Odetta is credited as inspiring some of the greatest musicians of modern times, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Janis Joplin.

Sources

Wikipedia
World Folk Music Association
NPR

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Woman Making History #15: Clara Barton

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barton_clara.jpgClara Barton's is a name most have heard, but I wonder how many could say for sure what she did? I'm embarrassed to say I couldn't have.

Clara Barton was born in 1821 in Massachutes, the far youngest of six siblings. She was home-schooled, taught by her older siblings as much as her parents. Her interest in medicine began at the age of 11, when one of her brothers took ill. She tended him for two years, administering his medications, including leeches. She was also inspired by an aunt who was a noted midwife.

Barton spent her early adulthood working first as a teacher and advocate for public schools and then as a copyist in the U.S. Patent Office. She was the first woman to have an independent clerkship in the U.S. federal government.

When the Civil War began, Barton became a field nurse. Seeing how unprepared the Army Medical Department was for the casualties coming in, in 1861 she formed an agency to obtain and distribute supplies to wounded soldiers. The next year, she got permission from the Army to bring her own supplies on to the battlefields. In 1865, President Lincoln placed her in charge of the search for missing Union soldiers. She traced the fates of 30,000 men while in this position.

After the war, Barton met Susan B. Anthony and began her involvement in women's suffrage. She also met Frederick Douglass and became involved in early black civil rights.

Barton's hard work during and after the Civil War took a toll on her health, and in 1869 her doctor recommended she take a restful vacation to Europe. In 1870, while abroad, she became involved in the International Red Cross. When she returned to the U.S. after this trip, she immediately began work organizing the American Red Cross. In 1881, the American Red Cross was officially founded, with Barton as its President.

Barton continued her work providing medical aid to those in war and disaster situations late into her life. In 1898, she brought a cargo of medical supplies into Cuba; later she spent six weeks aiding survivors of the Galveston floods. She did not resign from the Red Cross until 1904, at the age of 83.

Clara Barton died in 1912 at the age of 91.

Sources
Wikipedia
New York Suffragists
National Women's Hall of Fame

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Woman Making History #14: St. Joan Chittister

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St Joan ChittisterNote: This one is a bit sparse not due to disinterest on my part, but due to a swimming viral head. My apologies.

St. Joan Chittister is a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania. She is a social psychologist with a Ph.D. from Penn State, the author of more than 30 books, and a regular columnist for the National Catholic Reporter.

Chittister's work focuses on women’s roles in church and society, human rights, and global peace. She speaks widely on these issues, as well as addresses them in her writing. Chittister has been very critical of the Bush administration and their Iraq policy, and she favors the ordination of women in the Catholic church.

Chittister has received several awards and honors, including the Pax Christi USA Pope Paul VI Teacher of Peace Award in 1990 and the Thomas Merton Award in 2001, joining the likes of Dorothy Day and Sister Helen Prejean.

St. Joan Chittister was born in 1936.

Sources
Benetvision
PBS
Beliefnet
Wikipedia

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Woman Making History #13: Rachel Carson

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Rachel CarsonYou'll have to forgive me for the lateness and possible incoherence of this entry. I've got a miserable cold and blogging is a bit much for me right now. However, because I am committed both to the NaBloPoMo project and my own Woman Making History project, I've got to stick it out and get something up here.

Rachel Carson was a lauded biologist, writer, and environmentalist in the first half of the 20th century. She was born in 1907 in Pennsylvania, where she grew up in a small town. She graduated from Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham College) in 1929, then studied at the Wood Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, then received her MA in zoology from Johns Hopkins in 1932. Carson then taught zoology at Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland for several years. She hoped to get her Ph.D., but was unable to attain this goal due to financial difficulties and needing to take care of her mother after her father's death.

During the Depression, Carson wrote radio scripts for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries. She supplemented this income by writing nature-related feature pieces for the Baltimore Sun. She began her long career in federal service in 1936 as a scientist and editor, and worked her way up to Editor-in-Chief of all publications for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Carson also wrote lyric prose, publishing a book "Under the Sea-Wind" in 1941. In the 1950s, she followed with two "biographies of the ocean," The Sea Around Us in 1952 and The Edge of the Sea in 1955. In 1952, Carson retired from federal service to devote herself to her own writing. At this time, she and her mother moved to rural Maine. Carson also adopted the orphan son of a cousin who had died unexpectedly.

Though she wrote several more articles about the living world, and planned another book about ecology, Carson changed her focus after World War II, as she became increasingly concerned about the use of pesticides, particularly DDT. In 1962, she published Silent Spring (first serialized in The New Yorker), which challenged pesticide use and the general behavior of human kind toward the natural world. The book earned her both respect and some attacks by the chemical industry and the government. Carson stuck to her guns, however, testifying before Congress in 1963 about the need for new policies to force humans to protect the environment. In retrospect, many people credit Silent Spring with having launched the global environmental movement.

Rachel Carson died of breast cancer in 1964, at the age of 56. In 1980, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her environmental writing and activism.

Sources:
Rachel Carson.org
Wikipedia
Time

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Woman Making History #12: Margaret Bourke-White

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Margaret Bourke-WhiteExciting! Today's Woman Making History is one who is completely new to me!

Margaret Bourke-White was born in 1904 in New York. She developed an interest in photography while attending Columbia University in the early 1920s. After switching schools several times, Bourke-White graduated from Cornell University in 1927. A year later, she moved to Cleveland and took a job as an industrial photographer.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Bourke-White made the switch to magazine photojournalism. She was the first Western photographer allowed into the Soviet Union, and was hired by Life magazine as their first female photojournalist, with one of her pictures featured on the magazine's very first cover. During the mid-1930s, Bourke-White photographed Dust Bowl victims, and she and her husband, novelist Erskine Caldwell, published a book about the Depression, Have You Seen Their Faces.

During World War II, Bourke-White became the first female war correspondent and first female to be allowed to work in a combat zone. When German forces invaded Moscow, she was the only foreign photographer in the city. She then moved on to North Africa, then Italy. In 1945, she traveled through Germany as it collapsed, accompanying the troops of General Patton.

After the war, Bourke-White produced a book of photographs from the Buchenwald concentration camp, Dear Fatherland, Rest Quietly.

Bourke-White had a knack for being in the right place at the right time to photograph events and people of great historical significance. Just two years after photographing the survivors at Buchenwald, she took pictures of the violent independence and partition of India and Pakistan. She also interviewed and took pictures of Gandhi just hours before his assassination.

Unusual for a photographer of her time, Bourke-White became somewhat of a celebrity. She did endorsements for coffee and cigarettes, and the heroine of Hitchcock's "Lifeboat" is said to be modeled after her.

In the 1950s, Margaret Bourke-White was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and forced to first slow and then abandon her career. After fighting the disease for many years, she died in 1971.

Sources:
Wikipedia
NPR
Boston Globe

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Life in the multi-pet household

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A perennial favorite question: how many cats do you need to have to be the crazy cat lady? Alternatively, how many dogs do you need to have to be the crazy dog lady? What if you mix it up and have both?

The current size of our menagerie is four: two feline, two canine. For some people this would clearly be too many. I respect that. Four pets is a lot of work, a lot of expense, a lot of poop scooping and litter box cleaning and lugging bags of dog food and a million other not wholly enjoyable things. We always have vet bills. We always spend a lot at the pet store. We always have hair on our clothes, on our furniture, and often between our teeth. We spend a ton of time grooming and feeding and medicating and walking and playing. Our pets are our number one priority, the first place we direct our money and time. For many, probably most, people, there is little appeal to this lifestyle.

For Mark and I, though, it simply can't be any other way.

We're only stopped at four due to constraint of space and money. We want a bigger brood. In my perfect world, I'll have a big house with a big yard, rundown is fine, so that I can be surrounded by a whole herd of ambling big dogs and sleek, tempermental cats.

The question, then, is whether that makes me a crazy cat/dog lady.

I'm pretty sure it does. And I'm OK with that. My quality of life has increased exponentially with each pet we've adopted. The extra work is easily overshadowed by the extra love and extra joy each new animal brings.

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1970sOBOS.jpgI have to make my biases known at the outset: this may well be my favorite Woman Making History entry. Of all of the feminist leaders I admire, the Boston Women's Health Collective is very very high on the list.

The Boston Women's Health Collective (originally the Boston Women's Health Book Collective) was formed in 1969, after its founding members met at a women's health seminar and discussed the lack of health resources available to women. The group originally tried to compile a list of doctors in the Boston area who were sensitive to women's health needs and respected their female patients as people. Finding their list far too short, they decided to compile a manual of health advice and self-care instructions for women. A completely volunteer effort, researched and written by the women themselves, the book, the first edition of which was published in 1970 under the name "Women and their Bodies," was originally intended as a companion to a course on women's health. It quickly became an underground sensation, however, selling 250,000 copies in New England with no formal advertising.

The next, expanded version of the book was published in 1973, with the new title "Our Bodies, Ourselves." Since then, the effort has exploded, with a new, updated, and expanded version of "Our Bodies, Ourselves" coming out every few years, and a range of other books as well, including comprehensive manuals about younger women's heath, women's health in older age, and the specific health concerns of Latina women.

2000sOBOS.jpgAs the Boston Women's Health Collective's projects grew, so did the organization, moving from a completely volunteer effort to one with a permanent staff of 11, as well as a volunteer network and an internship program. The Collective is not only responsible for publishing the books, but also for advocacy and consulting in the arena of women's health. The most recent editions of the books have been translated into many languages, and the organization has worked to increase its focus on global women's health issues.

Sources:
Women's E-News
Our Bodies, Ourselves
American Medical Women's Association

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In our Sunday best

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Mark and I got all dressed up today to go to my good friend's wedding. It was a great wedding and we didn't look too shabby, so I thought I'd share.

beforeSkyeswedding.jpg

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Woman Making History #10: Nellie Bly

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Nellie BlyGiven my general disgust with our present-day media, particularly this close to election time, I'm happy to say that today's history making woman is Nellie Bly.

Nellie Bly was born Elizabeth Jane Cochrane in 1864 in Pennsylvania. As a teenager and young woman, she worked in a boarding house, though she dreamed of being a writer. She was hired to write for the Pittsburgh Dispatch after writing an angry editorial letter denouncing a popular columnist for insisting that women belong only in the home. When she started writing for the Dispatch, she took the pen name Nellie Bly, inspired by a Stephen Foster song.

Bly left the Dispatch after a short tenure, as a result of being relegated to women's and society pages, rather than being allowed to do the investigative journalism she craved. When she was 23, she moved to New York and convinced New York World's managing editor to give her a shot as an investigative reporter by pitching an idea for a story in which she would investigate conditions in mental hospitals by having herself committed. Bly then did have herself committed, spending 10 days on at the mental institution on Blackwell Island. After her return, she wrote a shocking piece chronicling the experience, including beatings, ice baths, and force-fed meals. The shocking piece received a lot of attention, and inspired some reforms of New York's mental institutions.

For the next several years, Bly continued to work as an investigative reporter for The World, and she always sided with the poor and disenfranchised in her pieces. Most notably, when covering the Chicago Pullman Railroad strike of 1894, she was the only reporter to write from the perspective of the striking workers.

In 1889, Bly made her famous trip around the world in 72 days, having challenged the fictional hero of Jules Vernes' "Around the World in 80 Days."

In her 30s, Bly briefly retired, after marrying a man several decades her senior. When he died, however, she picked her career back up, taking over her husband's businesses and moving them to the forefront of industrial and workers' reforms, but eventually going bankrupt. She then worked as a journalist for the New York Evening Journal, and covered World War I from the eastern front in Europe.

Bly died from pneumonia in 1922, at the age of 57.

Sources:
National Women's Hall of Fame
PBS
New York Times

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Woman Making History #9: Elizabeth Blackwell

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Elizabeth BlackwellElizabeth Blackwell is a good example of a history-making woman that I should have known about and didn't. She and those like her are exactly the reason I am doing this exercise.

Elizabeth Blackwell was born in England in 1821, moving to the U.S. in 1832. She was unusually well-educated for a woman of her time, due partially to her progressive father's views on education and partially to the private school she, her mother, and her sisters opened in Cincinnati to support themselves after her father's death.

While working as a teacher, first in her family's school, then in Kentucky and North and South Carolina, Blackwell began to study medicine privately. By 1847, she had made up her mind to go to medical school and began searching for a program that would accept a woman. She was eventually accepted to Geneva Medical School in New York, when the students, thinking the application to be a practical joke, voted to let her in.

After many hardships suffered as the first female medical student in the country, Blackwell graduated at the top of her class in 1849. Shortly thereafter, Blackwell returned to Europe and began studying midwifery in Paris. She suffered an infection that left her blind in one eye at this time, forcing her to abandon plans to become a surgeon.

Upon returning to the U.S. in 1851, Blackwell was not permitted to practice at any hospitals, so she bought a house and opened her own private practice, where she saw women and children. In 1853, she opened a dispensary in New York with her sister, who was newly graduated from medical school, and another female doctor. In 1857, the dispensary was incorporated as the New York Infirmary for Women and Children. During the Civil War, the Blackwell sisters helped select and train Union nurses.

After the war, in 1868, the Blackwells opened the Women's Medical College at the Infirmary. The College operated for 31 years, but Blackwell herself moved to England the next year, where she founded the London School of Medicine for Women with Florence Nightingale. She worked there and at the London School of Medicine for Children until her retirement in 1907.

Elizabeth Blackwell never married. She adopted a child, Kitty, in 1854. She died in 1910.

Sources:
About: Women's History
National Women's Hall of Fame
Wikipedia
National Institute of Health

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Woman Making History #8: Medea Benjamin

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medea.jpgPolitical activist Medea Benjamin was born in 1952. She has two masters degrees, one in Economics from the New School for Social Research and one in Public Health from Columbia University. She is married and has two children.

Benjamin co-founded feminist anti-war organization CODEPINK: Women for Peace, and is involved with other anti-war organizations. She's also a founding member of the NGO Global Exchange, a fair trade organization. In 2000, Benjamin ran for the U.S. Senate in California on the Gree Party ticket. She has since become involved with progressive Democrat organizations.

Benjamin is perhaps best known for her controversial political actions, including interrupting speeches and and political conventions to make anti-war statements. She has also travelled widely, particularly to underdeveloped countries, to document and expose military and human rights abuses and sweat-shop labor conditions.

Benjamin has written or edited eight books, including the award winning Don't Be Afraid, Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks from the Heart.

Sources:
Wikipedia
Global Exchange
California League of Women Voters

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November Giving

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Half the Sky logoNovember is National Adoption Month. In that spirit, and in honor of my best kid friend, H., who is soon moving very far away and whom I will miss more than I can say, I've decided to send my November giving to Half the Sky Foundation. Half the Sky's mission is as follows:

Half the Sky was created by adoptive parents of orphaned Chinese children. Our purpose is to enrich the lives and enhance the prospects for the babies and children in China who still wait to be adopted, and for those who will spend their childhoods in orphanages. We establish early childhood education, personalized learning and infant nurture programs in Chinese welfare institutions to provide the children stimulation, individual attention, and an active learning environment.

A little bit of money can make a huge difference in the lives of the kids in China Half the Sky serves. For example, $50 pays for a month of nanny services, and $100 buys a month of art supplies for a preschool. Please consider honoring the kids in your life--adopted or not--with a donation to Half the Sky or some other adoption organization this month.

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Woman Making History #7: Amy Goodman

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Amy GoodmanBorn in New York in 1957, Amy Goodman is, thus far, the youngest history making woman the poster lists. And one of the best known currently, due especially to her very popular radio and TV news program (and podcast), Democracy Now! Many current Goodman fans consider her the "voice of the disenfranchised left."

After growing up in a politically progressive family on Long Island, Goodman graduated from Harvard in 1984 with a degree in anthropology. She then spent a decade as an evening news show producer for WBAI, the Pacifica radio station in New York. During her decade as a radio news journalist, Goodman was attacked by Indonesian soldiers while covering the independence movement in East Timor in 1991. Goodman speculated that U.S. support of the Indonesian military was the only reason she and fellow journalist Allan Nairn were not killed. Goodman credits this experience as the pivotal moment in career, the point at which she realized how important it is to "go where the silence is" and get the word out.

In 1996, Goodman co-founded Democracy Now!. She continued to do the type of journalism she was known for, covering, among other things, the role of the Chevron Corporation in the conflict between Nigerian villagers and the Nigerian Army in 1998. This coverage won Goodman a George Polk Award.

In 2000, Democracy Now! split with Pacifica and went independent, broadcasting from an old fire station. This move coincidentally made Goodman the journalist reporting on 9/11 from the geographically closest location to Ground Zero.

First independently and then reunited with Pacifica in 2002, Goodman and Democracy Now! have continued to provide hard-hitting, left-leaning coverage of national and international politics for the last several years, expanding from its radio roots and adding a televised broadcast in 2001. Perhaps Goodman's best known grilling was the one she gave Bill Clinton when he called before the 2000 election to tell listeners why they should support Gore rather than Nader. Rather than giving him free advertising airtime, Goodman grilled Clinton on NAFTA, capital punishment, and sanctions against Iraq.

Goodman is the author of two books, The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them (2004), co-written with her brother, Mother Jones writer David Goodman, and Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders, and the People who Fight Back (2006).

Sources:
The Nation
Democracy Now!
Wikipedia
Americans Who Tell the Truth

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Woman Making History #6: Ella Baker

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Ella BakerElla Baker was born in 1903 in Virginia. She grew up in North Carolina and in 1927 graduated as the class valedictorian from Shaw University. She then moved to New York City and became active in several social justice organizations, including the Young Negroes Cooperative League, which focused on developing black economic power, for whom she became the national director. She also worked for the Works Progress Administration.

In the late 1930s, Baker became involved in the NAACP, first as a field secretary, then as a branch director. Though she left the NAACP staff in 1946, Baker remained an active volunteer, eventually becoming the president of the New York NAACP branch in 1952. During this time, she led the fight for school desegregation in New York City.

In 1957, Baker returned to the South, moving to Atlanta in order to help organize Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Though her focus was more grassroots than that of the SCLC, Baker stayed on for two years. She also organized voter registrations for African-Americans during this time period.

After leaving the SCLC, Baker went on to become a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960. Significantly older than most SNCC members, Baker served as a "quiet leader" and mentor to the younger activists with whom she worked. She was also a major organizer of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964.

Baker returned to New York in the mid-1960s, where she continued to work as an organizer. She died in 1986. She is perhaps best remembered in Sweet Honey in the Rock's "Ella's Song," which states that "we who believe in freedom cannot rest."

Sources:
SNCC-People
Wikipedia
PBS
In These Times

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Vote NO on 43

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This entry is specifically for any Oregon readers I might have (and bless you for being here, too--I love to think that there is someone from home reading this), but also for anybody with a parental notification measure on their ballot, or a possibility of one in the future.

Folks, you have to vote no on these. As much as it may make sense to you that an underage girl should discuss having an abortion with her parents before she does it, you and I both know that legislating that is a bad idea, not in the least because so many girls would have their right to choose negated by having to get parental permission, and also because of the possibility of harm or violence to a girl who has to tell her parents. Not everyone has good parents, understanding parents, reasonable parents, and parental notification legislation assumes they do.

In the specific case of Oregon's ballot Measure 43, things are even a little bit worse. What Measure 43 requires is for doctors to send a form letter via certified mail to the parents of any minor seeking abortion services. There are no exceptions for rape, incest, or abusive homes. This means that in some terrible cases, notification of a girl seeking an abortion could be sent to the very man who made her pregnant against her will. I can't imagine anything more destructive to choice than that, not to mention how dangerous it might be for the girl herself.

Parental consent is both one brick in the wall against choice for everyone and a separate and infuriating slap in the face of body autonomy for teenaged girls. It is incumbent upon all of us who are safe in our abilities to make our own decisions about our bodies to protect the rights of those whose autonomy is threatened, particularly in cases like this, where the young women who would be effected aren't even allowed to cast their votes on the legislation that could so drastically impact their lives.

Please vote NO on Measure 43, and spread the word.

For more on Measure 43, see:
NARAL Oregon
No on 43
Oregon Education Association
League of Women Voters of Oregon
ACLU of Oregon

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