What I learned from Clinton and Stacy


It may or may not be a surprise to readers of WINOW to learn that I am a fan of TLC's What Not to Wear. I have a love-hate relationship with the show--while on one hand I think they give quite a bit of good advice and I like that they are focused on looking the best you can without changing your body, on the other hand it's pretty clear that they are narrow-minded, shallow, and have no concept of trying to dress oneself on an actual budget. Still, I can't help but watch it, and I'll confess that I really have taken some of the advice they give on the show and worked it in to my own wardrobe.

Some examples:

Trouser jeans. I never would have considered trouser jeans before Clinton and Stacy, and honestly, they're a godsend. I feel way more professional at work in them than in "regular" jeans, they look great, and they are just as comfortable as their more casual alternative. I've got two pairs, this one from New York and Company and this one from Nine West, and both are wardrobe regulars.

Layers. I am a product of my generation. To me, "layers" is when you put a hoodie on over your t-shirt, which is in turn on over your thermal. But I'm trying to get out of that mindset, at least some of the time, and think a bit more about layering when I'm dressing for work or something nicer. I've picked up a few super cute cardigans to aid me in this effort (given my climate, a cardigan is often all you need for a top layer) and am realizing that a hint of camisole shown under a sweater or scoop neck shirt is nice.

Trench coat.
It may have taken me nearly 30 years, but I've finally come around to the position that no, not all trench coats make you look like Inspector Gadget. I bought a classic, tan, unbelted London Fog trench in a waterproof fabric last year and I wear it all the time. Unlike my jean jacket, it makes me appear to be a grown up.

Colored shoes.
It's hard for me to buy shoes, and I tend to want the ones I do buy to go with everything. To that end, I've traditionally purchased any and all shoes in black. Slowly, however, I'm working towards my color in my shoes, most recently these adorable "sunglow" flats by Red Wing. And, surprise! They work with just as many outfits as a "neutral" would.

All that being said, there are some tips from Clinton and Stacy that I am never, ever going to take. Pointy heels aren't ever going to be a party of my daily wardrobe. I see what they mean, and even agree, about how jackets pull things together, especially on larger women, but I still can't make them work for me. And it will be a sad sad day if I ever stop going to the grocery store in my pajama pants.


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Shouting out

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Seems like as good a time as any to show you that I haven't just been writing this month, I've been reading as well. Here are a few of my favorite NaBloPo posts:

Chookooloonks is forever one of my favorite blogs, both for Karen's amazing pictures and her brief and thought-inducing writing. On November 20, she did a particularly good job with both the picture and the provoking of thoughts. I've been thinking about it since.

Dooce has added a new section to her blog, focusing on style in every day objects. I love it. My favorite entry so far is the magnets she featured on November 20 (apparently that was just a good blogging day).

My friend The Princess has been posting lists all month at Flooded Lizard Kingdom. My favorite is a toss-up between her November 24 "10 Things You Can and Should Buy At Thrift Stores Instead of Regular Stores This Holiday Season" and her November 22 "Three Reasons Each That I Am Thankful for Five People In My Life."

On November 26, Eden at Fussy, the mastermind behind NaBloPoMo, wrote a great post about her need for books in her life and living space. Totally something I could have written myself.

Lilysea at Peter's Cross Station can do no wrong in my mind. Still, sometimes she outdoes herself, as in her November 26 post about toxic toys and how just maybe this time it will be enough to change shopping habits to the good.

The Redneck Mommy from Attack of the Redneck Mommy isn't actually participating in NaBloPoMo, but she wrote one of the most moving blog posts I've ever read this month, and I would be remiss not to mention it here.

Finally, I have to shout out to Red Stapler's Suebob, who took an amazing photo in the airport and posted it on November 13. We so have the same sense of humor.


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I will miss you, NaBloPoMo


So National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) wraps up tomorrow, and I gotta say, I am going to miss it. It's been really good, writing every day. It's a practice I hope to stay in after November ends. Even if what I write here is meaningless drivel (or meaningless drivel in list form!), it is still really good just to be writing, and to have made the commitment to myself to do so every day. So I think I'll see how long I can keep that going. With some exceptions, of course. Like dial-up. Nobody should have to use dial-up.

In the meantime, I am crossing my fingers to be chosen for a NaBloPoMo prize! There are some great ones this year! My favorites are the felt dove ornaments and amazing plushies, but there also a zillion other cool handmade things, as well as some exciting and generous gift certificates and stuff. It's a pretty fantastic effort, all in all. My thanks go out to all of the prize donors, and to Eden, for organizing this craziness.

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Can I Sit With You?


Big big news!!!

Can I Sit With You? is a book! For sale! In time for Christmas!

Got a kid in your life who could use some empathy about his/her social situation? BUY THIS BOOK. It's good stuff. For a good cause.

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Dog breeds


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Operation Paperback


As I mentioned last year, it has for a few years now been my Thanksgiving time custom to send a care package or two to enlisted folks via anysoldier.com. I was about to head on over there to get some lists to fill this year, but then heard about a different project, Operation Paperback. Operation Paperback is a troops-supporting endeavor as well, but it is specifically to send gently used books to soldiers living abroad. I can definitely appreciate why books would be a great comfort when you're so far away from home, as well as being a source of entertainment (my understanding is that extreme boredom is one of the biggest problems for soldiers) so I'm going to do that this year instead.

I know I've said this before, but I in no way equate wanting to make this season a little bit brighter for those people who are unfortunate to be stuck on the ground in this stupid fucking war with supporting it. I can both be intensively, obsessively against them being there and want to make being there as easy for them as possible. And, if you are so inclined, so can you.

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how sassy changed my life book cover

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I was a Sassy girl. Though I was a wee bit young for the demographic, being only nine or ten when the magazine started publishing and sixteen or so when it stopped, I loved my every issue of Sassy. It spoke to me. It taught me. It understood my freaky teen aged self.

And, according to Kara Jesella and Marisa Meltzer, authors of How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time, I was very much not alone. They posit that there are a whole nation of us Sassy girls, including luminaries like Bitch founders Andi Zeisler and Lisa Jervis and Bust creator Debbie Stoller, all of whom credit Sassy as a major influence in their work. And the book, as much as being about Sassy, is about us.

As fair warning, this book is not an intellectual criticism of Sassy or the articles that ran in it. While there is certainly history here (Jesella and Meltzer talked to nearly everyone ever involved with the magazine), there is also a fair amount of nostalgia. And near hero-worship of Sassy's staff, particularly the indomitable Christina Kelly, who served first as Sassy's entertainment editor and then eventually as the managing editor. But the book never claims to be impartial--it says right in the title that it's a love letter--so I think that's OK.

Reading the book got me back into thinking about Sassy, and about how different it was to be a girl outside the mainstream in the late 80s and early 90s compared to now. Before Sassy, and the time period that spurred it (grunge and riot grrrl music, the advent of Generation X, etc.) there had for many years been very little commoditization of being "alternative", especially for girls. Sassy was, the book claims (and I agree), integral to making it hip to be weird by the mid-90s. And although that has certainly turned back on itself by now (emo?), I still think it was culturally positive. It certainly made it easier to be me going through high school.

When I did my undergrad thesis research on Ms. magazine in the 1970s, I was astounded at how much difference a magazine can make, especially to people in the middle of the country and outside cities, and especially before we all had the Internet to easily connect us to like-minded souls all over the place. Reading this book's account of Sassy readers, and remembering my own relationship with the magazine, I got the same feeling. Its major purpose wasn't entertaining me, or educating me, or introducing me to the cool new stuff, it was helping me realize that I wasn't alone.

Now that the Internet serves that purpose for many teens, I wonder if the heyday of magazines is really over? The book implies that it is, pointing out that the 90s zine revolution has been nearly completely replaced by blogs. Stupid as it may be, I'd never made this connection, but I think it's astute. And, again as the book points out, blogs are far more accessible to your average small town girl than zines, which had to be ordered through the postal service if you didn't have a hip local bookstore or coffee shop (which I certainly didn't). Which is good. But I still feel a pretty big pang of sadness to think of girls now not having the monthly mail thrill I got when my Sassy came.

So, if you are a teen magazine scholar of some sort, this book is probably going to bug you. However, if you're a nostalgic Sassy girl like me, you'll enjoy it. It's a quick easy read and gives a bit of behind-the-scenes dirt that is still exciting after all these years. And it will really make you wish you'd kept all those magazines, because you'll want to read them again and they are really expensive on Ebay.

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#105: Women's International League for Peace & Freedom

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Women's International League for Peace & Freedom photo(Photo is of a large group of women, probably circa 1915-1920 or so, holding a large banner that says "Peace".)

This is the end, y'all. Last name on the poster. It's been a good run, huh?

In 1915, American suffragists and peace activists including Jane Addams and Carrie Chapman Cat formed the Women's Peace Party (WPP). The organization was formed to work towards suffrage and peace. The WPP then sent representatives to the International Women's Congress for Peace and Freedom in The Hague, a meeting of international women peace activists. The international meeting members adopted much of the same platform as the WPP and the members formed the International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace (ICWPP), with Jane Addams as its first president.

Both in the U.S. and internationally, women worked to end World War I. The international group met again in 1919 and renamed itself the Women's International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF). At that point, the League moved its headquarters to Geneva, to be closer to the League of Nations.

Since World War I, the WILPF has consistently worked again war and for peace all over the world. In 1932, the WILPF collected six million signatures for the World Disarmament Petition. In the 1960s and 1970s, they worked against nuclear testing, including an international disarmament conference in 1975. They have agitated, worked, and invested human rights abuses.

Two WILPF leaders have received Nobel Peace Prizes (Jane Addams in 1931 and Emily Greene Balch in 1946).

In 1998, the WILPF reestablished its American presence, opening an office in Washington D.C. The established goals of the organization are:
* the equality of all people in a world free of sexism, racism, classism, and homophobia,
* the guarantee of fundamental human rights including the right to sustainable development,
* an end to all forms of violence: rape, battering, exploitation, intervention and war,
* the transfer of world resources from military to human needs, leading to economic justice within and among nations, and
* world disarmament and peaceful resolution of international conflicts via the United Nations.

I can get with that.



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Damn thee, catalogs!

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Yesterday, Squid over at The Adventures of Leelo and His Potty-Mouthed Mom provided her readers with some tre excellent info. You know all of those catalogs that have been flooding your mailbox for months and have gotten even worse since Halloween (aka "the holiday season")? You can go to Catalog Choice and use their one-stop shop to get taken off those mailing lists. Just set aside those junk-a-logs for a while, then take a few minutes to go through your pile with the website. Viola, no more catalogs! Or at least, no more catalogs in 10 weeks or so.

Why do they still send them, anyway? The days of Sears & Roebuck are over, kids--it's all about the Internet shopping now.


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#104: "Granny D" Doris Haddock


Granny D Haddock(The photo is a face shot of Granny D Haddock. She is an elderly woman with a mischievous look on her face and a large hat.)

Granny D. Haddock was born Ethel Doris Rollins in 1910 in New Hampshire. She attended Emerson College for three years, then quit when she married. She and her husband started their family during the Great Depression, and Granny D (then just Doris) worked in a shoe factory for 20 years.

In the early 1960s, Doris and her husband agitated against nuclear testing in Alaska. After a ten-year battle with Alzheimer's, her husband died.

In the mid-1990s, Doris became involved in the movement for campaign finance reform. On January 1, 1999, she embarked on a legendary walk of support for reform, leaving the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and walking every day for 14 months. She walked about ten miles per day, at total of over 3,200 miles, and made speeches along the way, ending in Washington, D.C. When she arrived in D.C., Doris, now widely known as Granny D, was 90 years old.

In 2004, Granny D ran for United States Senate in New Hampshire. At 94, she was one of the oldest people ever to run for Congress. She lost.

Granny D has published two books and been the subject of a documentary, "Run Granny Run," about her Senate campaign.

Awakened Woman
Run Granny Run

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Cyber Monday


OK, so a list of Cyber Monday sales. I know there are people doing this all over the Internet, but I thought I'd get my $.02 in anyway.

  • Jockey: 25% off with coupon code 25TURKEY. Expires 11/28/07.

  • Coldwater Creek: $30 off orders of $100 or more with coupon code GIFT30. Also 25% off all jackets, ends Monday night.

  • Gaiam: 15% off with coupon code AP2A. Sale ends 11/26/07.

  • Lush: Several small sales. Use coupon code GREENGOODIE01 to get a free "green" item with your order of $65 or more including a wrapped gift; STUFFIT01 for a buy four get one free sale on bath bombs; STUFFIT02 for the same sale on bubble bars, and free shipping for all orders over $99, no code required.

  • Shoes.com: Code CYBERMONDAY for 20% off your entire order.

  • Overstock: Free shipping on everything, plus get $20 cash back when you spend $100 or more using Paypal.

  • Target: Spend $50 and get $5 off and free shipping, expires 12/1/07.

  • Fabulous Footwear: Buy one, get one 1/2 off, plus free shipping, plus 10% off your entire order with coupon code CYBER2007. Today only.

  • Potato Face: Spend $25 and get any pair of earrings for free--today only.

  • Claudia's Creations: 20% off entire purchase, today only--put "20off" in notes and wait for revised invoice before paying.

  • A Punkin Card Company: 20% off everything, today only. No promo code needed, just wait for a revised invoice.

  • Sweet Spice: Entire shop 50% off until 5pm EST! Put "CMS" in note to seller and wait for revised invoice.

  • Sierra Trading Post: At least 50% off everything on the site, plus free shipping for orders over $75. Ends 11/27.

We both know there are more--so, so many more. Add your favorites in the comments?

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E vet


We spent a couple of hours last night with Leo at the emergency vet. Always a good time. Nothing to worry about, he'll be fine, but still, stressful.

On Friday night, Leo and Ata got into it briefly over something (not sure what). This never happens, so it was scary in and of itself, but what was scarier was that Leo fell and got a pretty gnarly, though small, puncture wound (I think from something on the dog crate he fell against, but honestly I'm not sure--Ata didn't bite him, though, it had to be from the fall). It looked pretty clean and not terrible, and wasn't bleeding much, so we just cleaned it up and bandaged it. However, by last evening it was clear that he was developing cellulitis in the leg below where he was cut, so off to the emergency vet we went.

Two plus hours later, we left with a newly cleaned and wrapped wound, a bottle of antibiotics, a $150 bill, and directions to follow up with our regular vet on Monday. So now we're checking and re-wrapping every 12 hours, trying to keep him from chewing on it, watching for infection, and administering antibiotics with the tried-and-true peanut butter method.

The thing is that the emergency vet hospital that is closest to us, where we spent much of our evening yesterday, is the same one to which Chance was rushed when he got bloat at the kennel. And I know Mark and I were both thinking about that as we waited with Leo. Chance dying was so terrible, and although we intellectually know that Leo is old and we can't expect to him to be happy and healthy and alive forever, it still turns us cold to imagine losing him like we did Chance. Because of that, the emergency vet's concern over Leo's heart murmur, which seems to be getting worse, was particularly troubling.

I know I've posted this here before, but I love this dog. Like I don't think I've ever loved another creature. He is just all good. Even when he misbehaves (which has been happening more lately, oddly), I can't get mad at him. I don't care how bad he smells (and y'all, he does not smell good), or how much his ridiculous vet care costs, or how gross he gets (nasty stuff stuck in his beard and worse). This is as close as I think I'll ever get to unconditional love. And any time he has to go to the vet, I'm filled with dread that this will be the visit where we find out what is going to kill him. Morbid, isn't it? But probably not surprising.

Anyway, it looks like this time he'll be fine. And I will once again remember to treasure every day we have with him.


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#103: Ann Bancroft

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ann bancroft(The photo is of Ann Bancroft. It is a black and white, she is smiling and has short hair and sensible looking clothes.)

First, a note. Ann Bancroft is also the name of the classic actress who played Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate. This is about the other Ann Bancroft.

Ann Bancroft was born in 1955 in Minnesota. She grew up in Minnesota, mostly outdoors, except for two years (fifth and sixth grades) spent in Kenya with her family.

Ann attended the University of Oregon, where she got a BA in physical education. After graduating, she taught special education and PE in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and coached high school sports.

In 1986, Ann was a member of the Steger International Polar Exploration team, becoming the first woman in known history ever to go across the ice to the North Pole on a dogsled. She continued her explorations in 1992, when she led the first women's east to west crossing of Greenland, and again in 1993, when she led a women's expedition across the South Pole. In 2001, Ann took her last major expedition, going with Norwegian explorer Liv Arnesen to become the first women to sail and ski across Antarctica.

In 1987, Ann was named Ms. magazine's Woman of the Year. In 1995, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. She is the founded of the Ann Bancroft Foundation, a pro-female non-profit that provides support for girls and women trying to achieve their dreams. She and Liv Arnesen also founded Bancroft Arnesen Explore, a cooperative effort to inspire young women by speaking about their Antarctic adventure.

In 2007, Ann and Liv attempted an Arctic trek, but they were forced to cancel it seven days in due to safety concerns. Ann currently lives in Minnesota, where she is a spokesperson for the Learning Disabilities Association, Wilderness Inquiry and Girl Scouts of the US. She is also a judge for entrance into the National Women's Hall of Fame and for the Nuclear-Free Awards.

Ann Bancroft Foundation
Bancroft Arnesen Explore
National Women's Hall of Fame


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A few of my favorite things


The new MT has a toy where I can quick post from web pages to my blog. Dangerous, especially since I've been wanting to show a few of my favorite things to my readers (once again, I am so, so influenced by The Shoppista!) So, without further ado, a few things I'm loving--maybe some of them will work for the hard-to-buy-for on your Christmas list? My apologies if any of these are duplicates--I tend to forget what I've already told you about.

  • Austin Natural Soap
    Austin Natural Soap is a favorite of mine--they're local, they make great, animal friendly soap, and they sell it in these sampler packs that are just fabulous. We've had them in our hall bathroom as "guest soaps" for a long time now, and they're always popular. I also buy it in full-size bars at our co-op for us to use.

  • Plush Veggie Dog Toys
    These toys are not heavy duty enough for my dogs, but aren't they the cutest thing ever? There are also fruits. They are very affordable for dog toys, too. And likely made in China.

  • Cheeky Squeaky Pets Dogs Toys
    These are pretty much my favorite dogs toys ever (and I think I've mentioned them here before). They are just. so. cute. And so weird looking. Unfortunately, they don't hold up very well at my house either, so I am not buying them anymore. Maybe I can get some for the smaller dogs in my life for Christmas.

  • Essimar's paper products
    Essimar's Etsy shop has some wonderful cards and stationary made from her original prints. I particularly love the elefante cards. People who make things like this impress me so much.

  • Under the Nile Veggie Crate
    This is possibly my favorite infant present ever. A crate of organic cotton soft vegetables (can you tell I'm into veggies as toys?) by Under the Nile. We got this for my small friend Max and his hippy vegetarian parents, and I plan to get it for every other baby born in my circle for the next many years. I love it that much.

  • Wool Felt Balls
    These are another great present for small friends--small soft balls made of organic felted wool. I think this one is particularly pretty, but you can get them lots of places. And you can get them for dogs and cats as well.

  • Birdie stuff by Joom
    There is a ton of great stuff in Joom's Esty store. Cards, pillows, baby blankets and bibs...I think I actually like the tank tops the best--too bad they are all teeny.
  • Photo Rubix cube
    This is such a cool present idea I could just die. A Rubix cube made with your own photos. I had one made and can attest to decent quality, though it is a bit smaller than I'd envisioned. Close-up pictures with very little blank space work best. Much cooler than a calendar.

There is, always, more, but that's probably enough for now. It was hard to write this without giving away any of the things I am planning to give to folks who made be reading this blog! Please, please add things you are loving in the comments--I'm not done shopping yet!

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Weekend extension


Can I just say how wonderful it is that it's only Saturday morning and I feel like I've already had a full weekend? Extended weekends are possibly my favorite thing ever.

I do have a good bit of work to do this weekend--revisions on my PR--but I can't even get worked up about that, since I feel like I have plenty of time and I'm still faintly interested in the project and I know it will be completely done forever in just a few days.

My blogging guru The Princess upgraded us to Movable Type 4 last night, so as I'm posting this, everything looks totally different. It's kind of disorienting, actually, and I think it's causing me to write in a semi-disoriented way, so I apologize. I have already noticed a couple of excellent-seeming new features, including post auto-saving. So I'm sure I'll get used to it.

Today we're making turkey pot pie. Doesn't that sound good? It's all rainy and nasty outside--what could be better than a pastry crust to deal with that?

I had fantastic luck thrifting yesterday. Not much for myself, but several cool swappable things. I also shopped some excellent online Black Friday sales at small shops yesterday, which I shouldn't have done, but couldn't resist. I should be set for bath products for some time. And a few gifts as well. I love Etsy. Speaking of, have you heard of the Buy Handmade Pledge?

I suppose if I am going to be typing, it ought to be on the PR. Or I could nap...it will be very convenient, as I've not changed out of my pajamas yet.

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#102: Julia Butterfly Hill

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julia butterfly hill in a tree(The photo is of Julia Butterfly Hill, a youngish dark haired woman, sitting in a large tree and hugging it.)

Environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill was born in 1974 in Arkansas. Her father was a preacher and she grew up poor. Julia went to college, studied business, and opened a restaurant at the age of 20.

In 1996, Julia was in a serious car accident, resulting in a mild brain injury. After the accident, Julia went on what has been described as a "spiritual quest." She intended originally to go to the Far East, but never made it farther than the West Coast. Once she was on the West Coast, she learned about the destruction of old growth redwood forests and decided to do something about it.

On December 10, 1997, Julia climbed into a large redwood she called Luna, staging a tree sit-in. Supported by Earth First!, Julia broke all records, engaging in her protest for 738 days without once touching the ground. Before agreeing to come down, Julia struck a deal with the tree's owner, Pacific Lumber/Maxxam Corporation, that it would not be cut down and that a three-acre buffer zone around it would be preserved. As part of the deal, $50,000 earned by Julia and Earth First! was paid to the corporation, which then donated it to a local university for the study of sustainable forestry.

After her time in Luna, Julia continued to agitate for the environment, helping found the Circle of Life Foundation in 1999. In 2003, she organized a "We the Planet" tour, featuring musicians, artists, and speakers traveling around the country to promote environmental sustainability.

Julia has written one book, The Legacy of Luna, and co-authored another, One Makes a Difference. She has also been the subject of two documentaries, Butterfly (2000) and Tree Sit: The Art of Resistance (2005).

Ecology Hall of Fame
Collage Foundation


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What a lovely morning


Taking a tip from Meg, I have to make a love list today. It's just that kind of day.

I Love:

1. How big Illy's belly has gotten.
2. Coffee. God do I love coffee.
3. That today is only Friday and there are two more sleep-in days after this one.
4. How my hands look with my nails grown out.
5. Homemade pizza.
6. This site, which I just found out about and will totally be visiting in January.
7. Making play lists.
8. How easy and fun NaBlaPoMo has been.
9. The "cold snap" we're having.
10. Information and entertainment that comes to me in magazine form.

How about you--what do you love today?


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#101: Virginia Durr


Virginia Durr(The photo is of a middle aged woman, Virginia Durr, unsmiling, with glasses.)

Virginia Foster Durr is one the women about whom I knew little to nothing before starting this project, and now I want to know more about her. She sounds like she was incredible. Learning about people like her is so what makes this worthwhile.

Virginia was born in Alabama in 1903. Her family was wealthy, prominent, and privileged. Virginia grew up a Southern belle, and a self-described "deep-dyed Southern bigot."

In 1921, Virginia enrolled at Wellesley College. At Wellesley, she got her first taste of Northern integration, to which she at first resisted. However, by the time she was forced to leave Wellesley in 1923 due to a family financial crisis, she had begun to think outside her upbringing in terms of both race and gender.

Returning to Alabama, Virginia took a job at the Birmingham Bar Library, where she met her husband, Clifford Durr. They married in 1926.

In 1932, Virginia and Clifford moved to Washington D.C. They at first intended to stay only a short time, but ended up there for 16 years. Virginia joined the Women's National Democratic Club and began to get involved in politics. She worked especially hard to help pass the 1965 Voting Rights act and elimination of the poll tax. In 1938, Virginia helped found the Southern Conference on Human Welfare, an interracial organization working towards Southern desegregation. In 1948, Virginia ran (unsuccessfully) for Senate on the Progressive Party ticket.

In 1951, the Durrs returned to Alabama. Throughout several decades, Clifford and Virginia worked for Civil Rights. In 1955, they bailed Rosa Parks out of jail after she refused to give up her bus seat. In the early 1960s, the Durrs opened their home to Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organizers.

Virginia and Clifford had four children. He died in 1975. In her later years, Virginia worked towards nuclear disarmament with the same passion she had shown for Civil Rights work. In 1985, Virginia published her autobiography, Outside the
Magic Circle: The Autobiography of Virginia Foster Durr

Virginia died in 1999. Upon hearing of her death, Rosa Parks remarked that her "upbringing of privilege did not prohibit her from wanting equality for all people. She was a lady and a scholar, and I will miss her."

Wellesley College
Unitarian Universalist Association

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Maybe it's not exactly original, but I haven't done this yet today, and I think it's important. Today and every day.

Things for which I am thankful:

1. Mark. I don't talk about him or our relationship much here, but he is wonderful and things are good. I am truly thankful for him.

2. My pets. This I do talk about often, but I can't stress it enough--my dogs and cats bring more joy to my life than I ever would have imagined. I am a better person because of them, and also a happier one.

3. My creature comforts. This is maybe not something I should stress, but God is it ever good to have a hot bath, a soft bed, good coffee in the morning...my life is so, so lush, and I really am thankful.

4. The children in my life. I spent a good deal of time with two of my "small friends" (TM Frog) today, and I truly just love being around them. While I am still unsure about whether or not I want to parent myself, I know for sure that I always want children in my life, and I am very lucky to have the ones I do.

5. Blogging. Meta, maybe. Even stupid. But blogging has added a ton to my life. Not only have I met some wonderful people through it, but I've really gotten back into writing daily or near-daily, which is an absolute gift.

There's more--a lot more--but that's good enough for now. It's been a great day, but a very long one, and now it's time to veg.

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Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving! I'm posting early today because we are having guests and plan a full day of cooking, eating, drinking, and socializing. Mark and I generally do Thanksgiving by ourselves (though we have had guests before), so this is a nice change and I'm really excited.

Thought I'd share the Thanksgiving playlist I made up for us last year and to which we are currently listening. I'll probably make up another one today if I have time, as this one is seeming a bit outdated and also completely non-thematic. I was kinda drunk last year.


1. "I Ain't Marching Anymore" by Phil Ochs
2. "My Ai'n True Love" by Alison Krauss
3. "Do Re Mi" by Ani DiFranco
4. "When the Man Comes Around" by Johnny Cash
5. "Have I Told You Lately that I Love You" by The Chieftans and Van Morrison
6. "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down" by Shawn Mullins
7. "Lullaby" by Shawn Mullins
8. "Righteously" by Lucinda Williams
9. "Everest" by Ani DiFranco

More later...guests are here!

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#100: Jane Addams


Jane AddamsJane Addams is a personal heroine of my college professor/mentor, so I know a thing or three about her. She was pretty awesome. Observe:

Jane was born in 1860 in Illinois, the sixth child in a prosperous family. Her mother died when she was two, and her father remarried soon after, his second wife bringing with her two stepbrothers. She was educated in both the U.S. and Europe, graduating from Rockford College in 1882. She wanted to go on to medical school after college, but was not allowed by her parents, who felt too much education would make her a bad prospect for marriage.

In her 20s, Jane traveled extensively in Europe, visiting, among other places, Toynebee Hall, a settlement house in London. Though Jane was not immediately convinced that she should also start a settlement house, it must have sparked a notion in her head.

In 1889, Jane and her friend Ellen Gates Starr opened Hull House in Chicago. Hull House was one of the United States' first settlement houses. Hull House included a night school for adults, kindergarten classes, clubs for older children, a public kitchen, an art gallery, a coffeehouse, a gymnasium, a girls club, a swimming pool, a book bindery, a music school, a drama group, a library, and an employment bureau. Projects that branched out from it included a protective service for immigrants and nation's first juvenile court. At its peak, Hull House served more than 2,000 patrons a week.

Jane wrote a lot about Hull House projects, including eleven books and countless articles. She also spoke widely and agitated for legislation, and was invaluable in passing protective legislation for working women and children, including the Federal Child Labor Law in 1916.

Jane was also the first vice-president of the National Women's Suffrage Association, in 1911. She was active in the Consumer's League, and was the first woman president of the National Conference of Social Work. She also helped found the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920.

Later in her life, Jane was active in the peace movement. She participated in the International Congress of Women at The Hague in 1915 and worked with the Women's Peace Party (later the Women's International League for Peace & Freedom, of which she was the first president). In 1931, she was given a Nobel Peace Prize for her work.

Jane lived and worked at Hull House until her death in 1935.

University of Illinois at Chicago
Women in History

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Gift train update


Remember this post? The one where I offered to send gifts to lucky readers? Well, I'm going to need addresses for that. So, Jenny, Amanda, Kay, Peter--hook me up with your addresses (avengingophelia@gmail.com) and I will get your prezzies in the mail. Be sure to do the same to the folks from your blog, or else this whole train thing doesn't work!

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Loving up on discount stores


So anybody who reads WINOW knows that I love to thrift shop. Still, there are times when a girl has to buy new, especially during the holiday buying season. I talk a good game, but there are plenty of people on my list who probably would be freaked out to get an obviously used present, so I take that into account.

So where does a thrifter shop when she's not thrifting? Well, if she's me, she spends a good deal of time at Ross and Tuesday Morning. Yep, that's right, discount stores. I know some people turn their noses up at these places, and at times I do, too (especially when they accuse me of stealing for no reason, why has happened at Ross). But, like thrift stores, if you go often and look hard, you can find some great deals at these places, for stuff that you can actually use (or gift). And what's bad about that?

So what do I buy? Well, right now, there are two things I'm particularly digging at Ross. The first is knee socks by Chinese Laundry. I LOVE these. They are super cute, comfy, and actually fit on my big ass feet, which is unusual. They're $3.99 at my local store, versus $10 or more retail. I've pretty much bought out my local store--some for me, some for gifts.

The second is this lavender honey moisturizer by Penningtons of Bath. I can't find it anywhere online, and it's probably full of things that are terrible for my skin, but it smells amazing and feels great. I am planning to go back and see if there is any more so I can stockpile it.

In general, Ross is also good for cookware (I bought a cookie sheet, madeline mold, and muffin pan there recently), sheets, some clothes (especially kids' clothes), and some wooden toys (though that is hit or miss).

At Tuesday Morning, I like the toy section the best--they have a lot of wooden toys. I also like towels there--they seem to have higher quality ones than Ross. And the housewares can be great--sometimes they have cheap La Crueset stuff. I've also seen the occasional amazing deal on dog stuff--specifically leashes and collars--there.

So that's my spiel. Support your local discount store and stay the hell out of the mall. Or something.


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Today in blogging


I am always amused when people re-post their old posts for a given day in order to mark their blog histories, but I don't think I've ever actually done it. So here goes, the closet entries to today for the past few years:

November 23, 2003:


It's possible that we may have a new addition to our happy household.
Last night when we were walking Chance (it was 11:30 or so), we got by the gated condo community where I always encourage him to pee, and a cat started following us. We tried to keep Chancey's attention and figured it would go away after awhile. We were wrong. It followed us (at very close range) the entire way home. Then, when we got home, it ran up to the porch and attempted to go inside with us. So Mark took Chancey inside and I brought the kitty some milk. It's a smallish long-haired cat (really funny looking, actually, like with a Siamese body and tail and a calico face) and it's pretty thin, no collar, full claws. It sat on my lap and purred and I petted it. I have no idea whether or not it's a stray, but it's obviously a pretty damn spunky cat if it's willing to even get close to us with monster dog around. Mark and I talk about it and realize there is no way we can bring it in--Chance would kill it, even if he didn't mean to. So I figure if it's still around in the morning, we can start feeding it outside and see what happens. With the claws and everything it should be OK with being an outside cat.
In the morning it seemed to be gone, so I figured it had moved on.
Mark and Chance were just outside, and the cat showed back up. And took a stand against Chancey. Chance barked and growled and the cat stood his/her ground and gave him a swipe across the nose that drew blood.
So...we'll see. S/he seems to like it here. Maybe we can work something out.
Note: The cat, whom I named Purrsephone, was eventually adopted by a neighbor. But not much has changed, huh?

November 23, 2004:

An argument for renter's insurance

We adopted out our last puppy on Sunday. This was a happy and sad occaison. Sad because we'd gotten quite used to her and we'll miss her, but mostly happy, because six and a half puppy-filled weeks is really enough. They've all gone to great families, we have done our job, and we feel good about it.
There were two things about which Mark and I were very excited. The first was having a clean house again. Puppies are messy. We spent all of Saturday afternoon/early evening cleaning, and had 75% of a deep-clean done, I'd say, by the time we crashed out to watch The Wire at 8 o'clock.
The second thing about which we were excited was a long, uninterrupted night's sleep. I happily crawled into bed early (11ish), while Mark stayed up for a bit reading and then took Chance for a walk. When Mark and Chancey came to bed at around midnight, it had just started raining. (Again. Still. It's been raining here for days.)
I woke up at about 1:15 to extremely loud thunder and pounding rain. Something just didn't quite feel right. I got up, I'm not sure exactly why--I think I was planning to look out the front window at the lightning. I walked into the living room and suddenly my feet were submerged. Being as I have been inundated with non-house trained dogs for the last month and a half, my first thought was pee puddle. But I quickly realized that a) the only dog in the house was locked in the bedroom, and b) there was WAY too much pee here for it to have come from a dog.
So I flipped on the light, and found that most of my living room and kitchen were under water. Yep. House flood. Wonderful.
So I woke Mark up and we started trying to figure out what the hell to do. First we shoved some towels under the front door to attempt to stop the water that was coming in from our flooded porch. Then we opened the kitchen door to try to get the water that was already in the kitchen to go out that way. Then we called our landlord.
Four hours later, after much furniture moving, Shop-vac'ing, pumping of water off the porch, digging of trenches, etc., we had no more standing water in the house. However, an elaborate system of fans and a dehumidifier had to be set up to dry everything out. It's loud, and the dehumidifier is drying my skin out.
It looks as if the damage is slight, as far as our posessions are concerned. As for the house itself, who knows? I can't imagine it's good for the floor or the walls. I've never been so happy not to be a homeowner.
And it's still fucking raining.

November 25, 2005:

Ecological footprint

Courtesy of The Princess, I just took the Ecological Footprint Quiz. If everyone consumed what I do, we'd need 3.5 planets. My total ecological footprint is 4 acres for food, 2.5 for mobility, 4.4 for shelter, and 4.7 for good/services, for a total of 16 acres. The average American's footprint is 24 acres, but there are only 4.5 biologically productive acres per person available on the planet.
Gives you a lot to think about.

Note: I took the quiz again today, and my consumption has sadly slightly increased. Now we'd need 3.6 planets if everybody lived like me. My footprint is now 4.2 acres for food, 1.7 for mobility, 5.2 for shelter, and 4.7 for goods and services. Basically, I eat meat and live in a bigger house now, but also carpool more.

November 21, 2006:


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.

Update: I haven't seen my bro-in-law since this happened, but he recovered fully and he and family are all fine.

There was also a profile on Sojourner Truth on this day last year, I as I was participating in the first round of NaBloPoMo.

What an interesting thing...I should totally do this more often. Reminds me how very little things change--and how very much I blog!

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#99: Madonna


smiling picture of madonnaWhether or not Madonna counts as a feminist icon depends wholly on who you ask. However, few would disagree that she's a woman who has made history. So she's on the list.

Madonna was born in Michigan in 1958. She was the third of six children born to an Italian-American father and a French-Canadian mother. Her mother died when she was five, and her father remarried and had two more children.

After graduating high school, Madonna received a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan. At the end of her sophomore year, in 1977, she quit UM and moved to New York to pursue her career as a dancer.

When she moved to New York, Madonna had no money and worked as a nude model, as well as taking a job at Dunkin' Donuts. Eventually, however, she found work in modern dance companies. Throughout the late 70s and early 80s Madonna continued to dance and formed two short-lived rock bands.

In 1982, Madonna signed her first record deal, with Warner Bros. spin-off Sire Records. Her earliest releases were hits in the dance community, but did not have mainstream success. However, three singles off her debut full-length album, Madonna, were eventually successful ("Holiday," "Borderline," and "Lucky Star"), once they were remixed by Jellybean Benitez. With the success of these songs and their music videos, girls all over the country began sporting Madonna-influenced styles, including lace gloves and bleached hair. Madonna's became a definitive female style of the 1980s.

Madonna's next album, Like a Virgin, was immediately successful. Then, in the mid-80s, Madonna began her acting career, appearing in films such as Desperately Seeking Susan.

Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, Madonna continued to release albums (True Blue, Like a Prayer) and appear in films (Who's That Girl?, Dick Tracy). She became very controversial, particularly for the Catholic symbolism used in the video for "Like a Prayer." Following up on that controversy, she released first the sexually explicit music video for "Justify my Love" and then the sexually explicit tour documentary "Truth or Dare." As her controversy grew, so did her fame.

In the mid 1990s, Madonna continued to morph into different characters and surprise and delight her audiences. She released the album Erotica, included topless dancers in her live shows, and produced a coffee table book, Sex, which included sexual and nude photographs of herself and others. She then took a turn back to her R&B roots with the release of her 1994 album, Bedtime Stories.

In 1996, Madonna released her most critically successful film, the musical Evita. She received a Golden Globe for her role in the film, and "You Must Love Me," a song written specifically for the film, won an Academy Award.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Madonna tried out more new sounds, releasing a down-tempo album, Ray of Light, in 1998, and house-influenced album, Music, in 2000. Since then, she has released two more albums, 2003's American Life and 2005's Confessions on a Dance Floor. She's also continued to tour.

Madonna has two children, Lourdes (born in 1996) and Rocco (born in 2000). She and her husband Guy Ritchie are also in the process of adopting a third child, David. This adoption has been very controversial, due to allegations of special treatment of Madonna and her family and the David's father not being willing to give him up for adoption. How that situation will resolve itself is still unknown.

Music Atlas
Notable Biographies

Photo description: the photo is of Madonna, taken recently. She is in her late 40s. She has long blond hair and a gap between her teeth and is smiling widely.

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Sharing my Christmas list

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As I've mentioned, I'm a big, big fan of The Windowshoppist. More than once I have found stuff I really like there, and I've gotten present ideas there as well. So it was the first place I turned when forming my own Christmas list (I know, I know, but my mom asked for one, OK?). I was thinking, though, while making up the list, that I should share it with you, since you all might get ideas from it the same way I do from the great Shoppista. And so, here it is. My apologies to those who already read The Windowshoppist, as some of my Christmas wants definitely came from there!

Libby Dibby skirts (The image is of two skirts, one from the front and one from the back. Both are red and white cotton wrap-arounds.)

1. Libby Dibby Skirt. Why yes, I do already have one of these. I want another one. Badly. Right now, I'm partial to the "Hollywood" and "Original" patterns. Would someone on your Christmas list like one too? They're $69.95 plus S&H, which may sound like a lot, but when you consider how well made they are, and that they're reversible, it's a fair price.

broken plate pendant (The photo is of a smallish pendant made from a piece of broken plate. The plate is white with a light blue and brown floral design.)

2. Broken Plate Pendant. These are so damn cool, if I hadn't sworn off buying myself jewelry I would have bought on a long time ago. The crafts person makes pendants out of broken vintage dishes! I find it impossible to pick out my favorite, but am partially to the ones in browns and blues, generally. Most of these are around $30, too, so they're affordable for the funky-jewelryphile on your list.

sea glass necklaces(The photo shows three necklaces, all silver chains with three small sea glass circles suspended from each one. The sea glass pieces are a mix of greens, blues, gray, and white.)

3. Twigs & Heather sea glass pendant. Again with the gorgeous jewelry, this time made from sea glass. My preference is for the long skinny cobblestone necklaces, but really these are all beautiful. Prices start at $40 for a single piece of glass.

patchwork messenger bag(The photo is of a patchwork messenger bag with a monkey decal in the middle of it. It is very multi-colored, like a crazy quilt, and some of the patches are monkey-themed fabric).

4. Textile Fetish patchwork messenger bag. I'm kind of over messenger bags, to tell the truth, but I can't resist these patchwork ones. How cute and funky are they? I particularly love the one shown, with the sock monkey theme. These are reputably well-made and run about $50 each.

reading is sexy t-shirt(The photo shows a light yellow t-shirt with green cap sleeves. On the front of the shirt is a drawing of a girl looking over her glasses and the words "Reading is Sexy.")

5. Reading is Sexy t-shirt. I've wanted a "Reading is Sexy" t-shirt for ages, but I particularly like this yellow and green cap-sleeved version. I also like that it comes in an XL that would likely actually fit me. It's $14.95.

paper sculpture(The photo is of a multi-layered three-dimensional paper sculpture of an old van with trees and plants around it. It is mostly gray, black, and brown.)

6. San Fran paper sculpture. SanFran's paper sculptures are pretty much my favorite thing on this list. I hope someone bought me one before the ones that were up before were gone, as there is only one left now! The website says more are coming soon, though. They are $55 and I think they're absolutely wonderful art for that price. You can see more examples of work by the artist, Helen Musselwhite, here.

counter compost bin(The photo is of a stainless steel counter composter. It is cylindrical and has a lid with holes in it and a charcoal filtering system.)

7. Counter compost bin. We started composting about a year ago, and while the big Tupperware container we're using to collect scraps inside is perfectly functional, it's not very attractive. I'd prefer a nice stainless steel counter composter like this one, made by RSVP International. I'm not, mind you, suggesting anybody buy it from Amazon, but the price for it there is $37.98.

kitchenaid red tea kettle(The photo is of a bright red Kitchenaid tea kettle.)

8. Kitchenaid tea kettle, red. I have a weak spot that could only be characterized as pathetic for bright red KitchenAid appliances. I have the standing mixer and food processor, as well as some smaller things (spatulas, measuring cups, etc.) and I only want to collect more. However, we also do honestly need a bigger and less worn tea kettle. So, meeting our needs for both function and aesthetics, the red KitchenAid kettle. It's $39.99 at Amazon, but I'm sure could be found for a similar price elsewhere.

kitchenaid coffee grinder(Photo is of a bright red coffee grinder.)

9. Red Kitchenaid coffee grinder. See everything I said above, only replace "tea kettle" with "coffee grinder." $29.99 at Amazon.

kitchenaid coffee maker(Photo shows a bright red coffee maker.)

10. Red Kitchenaid coffee maker. Once again, see above, replacing "coffee grinder" with "coffee maker." And please note that we currently only have a four-cup coffee pot, and y'all, we drink more coffee than that. This model is spendy. It's out of stock on Amazon, but costs $99.98 at coffeemakers.com. I have no idea how much it would be locally.

And thus ends the KitchenAid portion of our list.

11. Small, durable digital camera. I have no specifics here, just a desperate desire for a camera that suck less than the one we have. The one we have is difficult to use and takes bad pictures. I'd like the opposite.

ling glass pendant(The picture shows a rectangular pendant made of red stained glass, with a simple silver outline and design on it.)

12. LingGlass necklace. Again with the fabulous jewelry! These necklaces are made from stained glass and sautered metal, and I think they are amazing. Once again, it's hard to choose just one. I definitely like the simpler, one-color pendants the best, and like the long rectangular ones (like the one shown) and circles ones better than the squares. From there, though...I dunno. These run anywhere from $15-$30, depending on which one you choose, and they don't come with chains, so buy those separately.

13. Small gold hoop earrings. Again, no particulars, I just want something small, gold, and self-fastening.

recycling bags(The photo shows four large square bags, one each in orange, silver, blue, and green, with logos on the front of them indicating if they for paper, glass, etc.)

14. Design within Reach recycling bags. This set of four heavy-duty tarp bags, pre-coded to separate recycling, makes me all kinds of happy. First, they are organizational tools, which I love on principle. Secondly, they are brightly colored, which I also love. Third, they look like they'd hold up and be easily storable when not full, which is great. As a bonus, they'd be a lot easier to clean out than the current plastic buckets we use to collect recyclables. They're also affordable--$22 for the set with free shipping.

15. Lavender & Honey body products. As is known far and wide, I'm a junkie for bath and products. Not makeup or that crap, but things to make my skin feel nice. Currently, I am really digging lavender and honey scents, and one line I'd like to try is Deep Steep.

So there you have it, some stuff I want for Christmas. What do you want? Anything I should know about for the people left on my list? Bring it on!


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#98: Helen Keller

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helen kellerHelen Keller was born in 1880 in Alabama. When she was 19 months old, Helen fell ill with what likely scarlet fever or meningitis. She survived her illness, but was left both deaf and blind by it.

As she grew older, Helen became very hard for her parents to handle. She often threw tantrums, broke things, and screamed. Relatives thought she should be institutionalized. Helen's parents disagreed, and took her to Alexander Graham Bell, a local expert on deaf children. Bell put them in touch with the director of the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the Blind, who in turn sent teach Anne Sullivan to work with Helen.

Anne taught Helen for several years, and Helen then attended the Perkins Institute. In 1900, Helen enrolled in Radcliffe College. She was the first deaf-blind person to ever go to college in the United States. Anne went with her and assisted her. While in college, Helen began to write about her life, and in 1903 she published her autobiography, "The Story of My Life." In 1904, Helen graduated.

In 1905, Anne married John Macy, the editor of Helen's first book. Helen lived with John and Anne in Massachusetts. Helen continued to write, and also, through John, became active in the Massachusetts Socialist Party. In 1913, Helen published "Out of the Dark," a series of essays on Socialism.

In the years after the publication of her Socialist work, Helen traveled and lectured extensively, always with Anne by her side. By 1918, though, Helen's lecturing had morphed from serious talks to a vaudeville type show, which was financially lucrative. Helen toured not only to support herself, but also to raise awareness and funds for the American Foundation for the Blind. In 1922, Anne became ill and was unable to travel with Helen anymore, and another woman, Polly Thompson, took her place.

In 1936, Anne died. Helen and Polly moved to Connecticut.

After World War II, Helen and Polly traveled extensively raising money for the American Foundation for the Overseas Blind. Helen also continued to work towards racial and sexual equality. She supported the Industrial Workers of the World, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Margaret Sanger's efforts to legalize birth control.

In 1953, an Academy Award winning documentary, "Unconquered," was made about Helen's life. In 1955, Helen published a book about Anne Sullivan, "Teacher." In 1959, the play "The Miracle Worker," about Helen and Anne, debuted on Broadway, and in 1962 it was made into another Oscar winning film.

Helen suffered her first stroke in 1961. For the rest of her life, she remained mostly in her home in Connecticut, with few public appearances. She died in 1968. She published 11 books, was the subject of three films and a play, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and was inducted into the Women's Hall of Fame.

Helen Keller Services for the Blind
National Women's Hall of Fame


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More prized items


1976 edition Our Bodies OurselvesThis picture is of my 1976 edition Our Bodies, Ourselves book. It's probably kind of a silly prized possession, as this same book can be had on Amazon Marketplace for $.01, but it is a prized possession anyway. I also have a mimeographed copy of the much less accessible first edition of the book, but it doesn't make as pretty a picture.

I got this book while I was writing my undergraduate thesis, which was about Our Bodies, Ourselves and Ms. magazine's health care coverage in the 1970s. And honestly, I probably did get it from Amazon for $.01 or similar. But it's not monetary value that draws me to it, it's what it stands for. Our Bodies, Ourselves was and continues to be an amazing project, and it was with this edition that I learned about that. Plus it's just a really cool old hippy book. I recently added the 1978 Ourselves and Our Children (found at the Goodwill) to my collection, and it's quickly becoming a prized possession too.


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#97: Judy Chicago

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judy chicagoHow much do I love Judy Chicago? I'm so glad she's on this list.

Judy Chicago was born Judy Cohen, in Chicago, in 1939. She was the eldest of two children in a Jewish family. She moved to Los Angeles in 1957 to attend UCLA art school. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1962, then received her masters in 1964. During this period, she met and married her husband, Jerry Gerowitz. The two were married for only a couple of years before he died in a car crash.

Before showing her first major museum work, "Rainbow Pickets" at the Jewish Museum in 1966, Judy began to use the name Judy Chicago, given to her by a gallery owner due to her Chicago accent.

In 1970, Judy founded the nation's first feminist art program, at California State University in Fresno. The next year, she and fellow artist Miriam Shapiro founded another feminist program, he CalArts Feminist Art Program for the California Institute of the Arts. They then hosted the nation's first feminist art exhibition, Womanhouse.

The Dinner PartyIn 1974, Judy began her most famous work, the installation piece The Dinner Party. The piece is a homage to women's history, with each place setting dedicated to a famous female historical figure. Judy worked on the piece for five years, with the help of hundreds of volunteers. It has been exhibited 16 times in six countries, and is now housed permanently at the Brooklyn Museum, within the Elizabeth A Sackler Center for Feminist Art.

In the early 1980s, Judy brought hundreds of needleworkers together to create Birth Project, a large collection of images of birth created in needlework. She has also done several other large-scale projects with feminist themes, many of which have been collaborations. In the early 1990s, she released The Holocaust Project, a collaboration with her photographer husband Donald Woodman.

Judy has written several books, including (most recently) Through the Flower: My Struggle as a Woman Artist (2006). She is also the artistic director of Through the Flower, a non-profit arts organization created in 1978.

Through the Flower


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Mark has started calling Yogi Smeagol the Beagle. Which is funny, really.

Smeagol totally attacked Ata like 2 seconds after this picture was taken.
(The photo is of Ata, a very large white dog, and Yogi, a largish beagle, lying close together and smiling.)

Clearly a killing machine.
(The photo is of Yogi looking up with an angelic expression.)

And so miserable!
(The photo is of Yogi with a big smile on his face.)

Happy Sunday, y'all. Gotta go help with the lemon-poppyseed Challah French toast now.


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#96: Frances Willard


frances willardFrances Willard is kind of the suffragist time forgot. Her name should be as famous as those of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan Anthony, but it's not. She is one of my most favorite old-school feminists, though, if for no other reason than because she looks so damn serious.

Frances was born in New York in 1839. She spent most of her childhood in Wisconsin. She was the eldest of three children, and her father was a schoolteacher and a member of the state legislature.

Frances attended Evanston College for Ladies in Illinois, then went on to teach at Pittsburgh Female College and Genesee Wesleyan Seminary. In 1871, she was appointed president of Northwestern Female College. When Northwestern Female College became part of Northwestern University, she continued to teach there and was Dean of Women. She also wrote for the Chicago Daily Post.

In 1874, Frances helped found the Women’s' Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), an organization to work towards the prohibition of alcohol, which also supported prison reform, the abolition of prostitution, and women's suffrage, all on moral grounds. In 1881, she became the WCTU president, a capacity in which she served until her death. In this position, she traveled and lectured worldwide.

In 1892, Frances founded a magazine, The Union Signal, and she was the editor until her death. She also helped to form the National Council of Women, of which she served as president from 1888 to 1890.

Though her name is not well known, among scholars Frances is credited as being one of the women who was instrumental in the passages of the 18th and eventually the 19th amendments. She died in 1898 in New York.



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Today is big with the ruling


I don't have much time to post today, but I wanted to stop in and tell you all that I am having an amazing Saturday. I spent some time thrifting this morning, with moderate success, and am spending the afternoon at home with my friends and their kids, a pot roast in the oven, soccer on the TV. Good smells, good conversation, and time spent with people young enough to see wonder in everything.

Life is good.

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#95: Harriet Tubman


painting of harriet tubmanThe exact date of Harriet Tubman's birth is not know, but it is thought to be in 1819 or 1820. She was born into slavery in Maryland. As a child, she worked first as a house slave, then as a field hand. In her early teens, she sustained a serious head injury while trying to keep another slave from being whipped.

In or around 1844, Harriet married a free black man, John Tubman. Afraid that she would be sold south, she escaped in 1948 via the Underground Railroad. After a year or so, she returned south to help others escape to freedom. Her husband had taken another wife, but Harriet was undeterred, returning to the South again and again to help slaves escape, many to Canada. By 1856, the bounty on Harriet's head was $40,000.

By 1860, Harriet had made the trip to help slaves escape 19 times. She is believed to have conducted nearly 300 people to safety in the North. John Brown called her "one of the bravest persons on this continent."

During the Civil War, Harriet worked for the Union as a cook and nurse, and even as a spy. She was refused payment for these services.

After the War, Harriet settled in upstate New York, where she built a home for the aged and needy. She remarried and lived the rest of her life there. She died in 1913.

New York History Net

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Empty Bowl Project

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Today is World Food Day. All over, there are events to raise money to feed those who need feeding and remind those of us who are lucky enough to have constantly full bellies that we live in great privilege. One of my favorite of these projects is the Empty Bowls Project. In an Empty Bowls Project, participants make clay bowls and serve soup in them to guests, who pay a suggested donation (usually $10-$20) for the soup and then keep the bowls, to remind them there are empty bowls all over the world. The donations fund projects working towards ending hunger.

Here in Austin, there is an Empty Bowl Project at Clayworks Studio on Burnet every Sunday before Thanksgiving. That's this Sunday, November 18, from 11am-3pm, at 5442 Burnet Rd. The suggested donation is $15 per bowl. Local restaurants provide soup and there is live music. Get there early, because last year I came late and there was a line around the block.

If you aren't local, you can go here and see if there is an Empty Bowls Event in your neck of the woods.


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#94: Janet Reno


janet renoJanet Reno was born in 1938 in Miami, Florida. She was the eldest of four siblings. Her parents were both journalists, her father a police reporter, her mother an investigative reporter. Janet attended public school in Dade County.

In 1956, Janet enrolled at Cornell University, majoring in chemistry. After her graduation from Cornell, she went to Harvard Law School, one of only 16 women in the 500 person enrolling class of 1960. Between her graduation in 1963 and 1971, she worked at two private law firms.

In 1971, Janet became the staff director of the Judiciary Committee of the Florida House of Representatives. Two years later, she accepted a position at the Dade County State Attorney General's Office. In 1978, she became the Dade County State Attorney General. She served in this position until 1992, which was surprising, given that she was a Democrat in a heavily Republican county.

In 1993, Janet became the first female Attorney General of the United States. She was the third nomination by President Clinton, after the first two were rejected due to having used illegal immigrants for childcare. While she was in office, Janet had low points, mostly notably the FBI-Branch Dividian standoff in Waco, Texas, but she also had many high points. She sent antitrust violators to prison for price-fixing and prosecuted violations of ecological statutes with previously unseen vigor, as well as overseeing the prosecution of the Unabomber and the Oklahoma City bombers.

After the end of the Clinton administration, Janet made an unsuccessful run for Florida Governor in 2002. Since the, she has retired from politics, though she still frequently lecturers.

Women's International Center
About: Women's History


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More important objects

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low-top Converse All-Stars

This is a pair of black low-top Chuck Taylors (or Converse All-Stars). It isn't that these particular shoes, which I think I bought off Zappos a couple of years ago, are significant to me, but rather than this style and color of shoe is significant. I've had a pair of shoes just like these, or a high-top version of same, constantly for probably 16 years. My first pair of Converse was like a religious awakening, fashion, rebellion, and nostalgia all wrapped up in a low priced, made in the USA (then, not now) shoe. And I have been a convert to the Church of Chuck ever since. My uniform, at many ages, was built around Chucks (jeans, black tshirt, Chucks; baggy cargos, cami, Chucks, etc.) They used to make me feel hip, then ironic, and now, just...young.

I honestly don't wear my Converse all that often anymor , but I will always have a pair on hand.


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That other place where I write...


I have a new review up today at Heroine Content. Go check it out. Please?

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#93: Alice Walker


alice walker sitting in a chairAlice Walker was born in 1944 in Georgia. She was the eighth child of sharecropping parents. She began school early, at the age of four, due to her precociousness. When she was 8, Alice was accidentally shot with a BB gun and blinded in her right eye. This accident left a scar, of which Alice was very self-conscious for several years, until she underwent an operation to minimize it when she was 14.

Alice was the valedictorian of her graduating class, the prom queen, and voted most popular girl. After leaving high school, she attended Spelman College, where she became an active participant in the burgeoning Civil Rights movement. In 1963, Alice transferred from Spelman to Sarah Lawrence College, from which she graduated in the winter of 1964.

After leaving Sarah Lawrence, Alice continued to agitate for Civil Rights and began to write. She also moved to New York City, where she took a job at the welfare department. In 1966, she was awarded her first writing grant. She moved to Mississippi to write.

While she was in Mississippi, Alice met her husband, Jewish civil rights attorney Melvyn Leventhal. The two married in 1967, in New York, then returned to Mississippi, where they were the first legally married interracial couple in the state. Alice worked for Head Start and a voter registration campaign, and continued to write. In 1969, she had her only child, daughter Rebecca.

In 1968-69, Alice became the writer in residence at Jackson State College. In 1970, Alice published her first novel, The Strange Life of Grange Copeland, and in 1970-71 she was the writer in residence at Tougaloo College. In 1971, Alice left the south to take a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship. She and Rebecca then moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Alice got a job teaching first at Wellesley, then at the University of Massachusetts. In these positions, she began to teach some of the first African-American literature courses in the country. She also continued to publish books of poetry and short stories.

In 1974, Alice and her family returned to New York, where Alice continued to write and began working for Ms. Magazine. In 1976, she published her second novel, Meridian. She and her husband also decided to divorce. On the strength of Meridian, Alice received a Guggenheim Foundation grant in 1978. It was during this time of intense writing that she began work on her most celebrated novel, The Color Purple.

The Color Purple was released in 1982. In 1983, Alice won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction--the first African-American novelist to do so. She continued to teach, at Berkeley and Brandeis, and to write, publishing a book of "womanist prose" in 1983.

Throughout the 1980s, Alice continued to publish poetry and prose, and in 1985, The Color Purple was released as a film, which went on to be nominated for 11 Oscars.

In 1992, Alice released a new kind of novel, Possessing the Secret of Joy, which chronicled the horror of female genital mutilation. In 1993, she followed the book up with a documentary on the subject, Warrior Marks.

Since the mid-90s, Alice has continued her work as an author and an activist. Her most recent book, a children's book called "Why War Is Never a Good Idea," was published in September, 2007.

About: Women's History
Living By Grace
The Literary Encyclopedia

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Illy update


So as I mentioned yesterday, we found out Monday night that Illy is pregnant. She is, in fact, very pregnant--the vet thinks she will give birth in 2-3 weeks (cats gestate for 63 days). This was, to put it mildly, a surprise. I had noticed her growing belly, but she was so very skinny when she came to us, I just thought she was kind of gaining weight funny and/or bloated. We knew she wasn't spayed, but the idea that she could have gotten pregnant before she showed up at our neighbors' house (which is, clearly, what happened) never even occurred to us.

But we're making the best of it. It has been suggested to me by several people (in the rescue community, even) that we get her spayed now--i.e. get her aborted. I can't do that. Maybe if she was just a wee bit pregnant, but I saw heartbeats on the ultrasound at the vet's office, and there is no way I could be responsible for ending those lives. Maybe that's goopy of me, but there you have it. So we're going to be having kittens.

I've contactIed a lot of local rescues and have a few lined up already who are willing to help us place the babies once they are old enough to be weaned. So we just have to deal with her having them and keeping everybody safe and happy for the first 6-8 weeks. Which we can do. It means canceling the vacation we were going to take over Thanksgiving (we can't leave her alone, as she might deliver), but that's not that big a thing. For Christmas, the babies will be 3-4 weeks old and everything should be stabilized enough that the our pet sitter can take care of her and the kittens.

In the meantime, we've prepared a whelping box, we have her on high calorie kitten food, and we wait. When she seems close, we're going to sequester her in our guest bedroom to keep the other cats and dogs out of her way, and hopefully everything will go well. If it doesn't, we have an emergency vet close by and we'll do whatever we can to make it OK.

There are people in my life who think this is stupid. They think that we should have just taken her to the pound when she showed up, and we certainly should now. But that's not the commitment we've made. She came to us, she clearly needed our help, and we're going to help her. It's that simple.

It's not something I would have chosen, but it's something we can deal with, and since we are, I'm actually kind of excited about it, now that the shock has worn off. I've never seen a small animal give birth (just cows...), and kittens are going to be so sweet.


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#92: Shirley Chisholm


Shirley ChisholmShirley Chisholm was one of four daughters born to parents who emigrated from the West Indies to New York. She was born in 1924. Shirley and her sisters spent much of their early childhoods in Barbados, living with their grandmother.

Shirley attended Brooklyn College, majoring in sociology and participating in debate. She was also active in the Brooklyn chapter of the National Urban League and in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She graduated with honors in 1946.

After she graduated, Shirley had a tough time getting a job that befitted her education, likely due to racism. She worked at a Harlem childcare center and took night classes at Columbia towards a master's degree in child education. She then moved into the administration, becoming the supervisor of New York City's largest nursery school network.

During the 1950s and early 1960s, Shirley and her husband became active in politics. In 1960, Shirley started the Unity Democratic Club, an organization to mobilize Black and Hispanic voters. In 1964, Shirley was elected to the New York State General Assembly by a landslide, and so her career as a politician began.

Shirley served as an Assemblyperson for four years before running for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1968 under the slogan "Fighting Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed". She was the first black woman to be elected to Congress. For her first term, Shirley hired an all-female staff and focused her legislative agenda on civil rights, women's rights, and anti-war activism. She campaigned for higher minimum wage and for federally funded day care. She also co-founded the National Women's Organization (NOW) and the National Women's Political Caucus.

In 1972, Shirley became the first African American woman, and the second woman ever, to run for President of the United States. While she did not win the Democratic nomination, she did get 151 delegate votes. She continued to serve as a Representative for several more terms, retiring in 1982.

After her retirement from Congress, Shirley remained an active political figure and activist, as well as a professor at Mount Holyoke College. She worked on the Reverend Jesse Jackson's presidential campaign, created and chaired the National Political Congress of Black Women, and served as an ambassador to Jamaica.

Shirley died in Florida in 2005. She was 80.

About: Women's History
ABC News

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Objects of my unexpected significance


Yesterday, Jenny of Triumphantly Jenny posted a brief review of the book Taking Things Seriously: 75 Objects with Unexpected Significance, Basically, the book is photographs of objects that artists/literati/etc. give significance to and short essays about why. An interesting idea for a book, I think, and an even better one for blog fodder. So I went around my house last night and looked for significant objects to photograph. In doing so, I learned that there are very few objects that have a lot of significance to me--mostly objects are just objects--and those that are significant are generally representative of larger concepts. But anyway, I'll post a few over the the next few days.

living room bookshelves full of books

The first object I chose is actually objects. It's the built-in bookshelf in my living room. The value of this object is both literal and representative. It's representative of my need to horde books, and my love of organizing things. Literally, it houses some of my favorite books, which are objects I do treasure, as well as some pottery I like a lot, made by the potter in my home town, and some photographs I cherish (photos are definitely among my most valued objects). And, of course, it holds the urn with Chance's ashes.

Plus, if you've never been to my house, isn't it fun to look at the picture and feel like you are looking through my stuff? I did no touching up or reorganizing for this photo, just snapped the bookshelves as they are, in all of their cluttered glory.


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Guess who's having a baby?


God, no, not me!


So probably at least three babies.

Yeah. The new sure-we-can-take-one-more stray cat is pregnant. Due in 2-3 weeks. Isn't life...entertaining?


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#91: Margaret Mead


Margaret MeadMargaret Mead was born in 1901 in Philadelphia. She was the eldest of four children born to two teachers. After high school, she went to DePauw University, where she studied for a year before transferring to Barnard College. At Barnard, she met Ruth Benedict and noted anthropologist Franz Boas, and she soon turned her interest to anthropology.

In 1923, while attending graduate school in anthropology at Columbia University, Margaret married theology student Luther Cressman. Though they wanted children, the two were unable to conceive. After a few years, they divorced and Margaret married New Zealand psychologist Reo Fortune. Margaret also dedicated herself to her work, traveling extensively and in 1928 publishing her first book, Coming of Age in Somoa, which is still in print.

After the publication of her first work, Mead continued to travel and study, publishing several more books, including Growing Up in New Guinea (1930), Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies (1935), and Male and Female (1949). She also pioneered the use of photography in anthropological research. In 1935, she divorced for a second time, marrying Gregory Bateson, with whom she had her only child.

In addition to her books, Margaret published extensive articles, lectured, and worked in the Anthropology department of the American Museum of Natural History. She was also a social activist and feminist, testifying before Congress on social problems on more than one occasion. In her retirement, she gave extensive grants to young anthropologists.

Margaret Mead died in 1978.

American Museum of Natural History
Webster University
Celebration of Women Anthropologists

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Meet Yogi

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The foster dog of the moment is the very lovely Mr. Yogi Bear.

Yogi looking up

yogi looking back

yogi close up


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I Live Here, I Give Here

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On my travels through the Internets today, I came upon something I didn't know about: the website for the I Live Here, I Give Here campaign. Basically, the deal is that Austin is ranked 48th of the 50 largest cities in the country when it comes to charitable giving (though, interestingly third in volunteerism), and this campaign is striving to increase charitable giving by Austin residents by educating them about community needs and the organizations that are in place to meet those needs.

The goal of the campaign is to get Austin residents donating 3% of their incomes, while working towards 5%. Giving that church-based tithing is generally 10%, that seems doable. Right now, the average American household gives 3.2% of its (post-tax, I think) income to charity.

I think the campaign has the right idea--people would give more if they knew how and where their money could be best used. As for myself, their goals and the use of their handy giving calculator (under "How do you compare?") have once again opened my eyes to how much more I should be doing. I'm giving less than 2% of my take-home right now. Given my fairly low financial responsibilities (no kids), I ought to be doing better. And I am hoping this campaign will help me to find ways to do that. I'll definitely be re-checking their site when I decide on December's blog-highlighted charities.


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#90: Julia Ward Howe

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Julia Ward HoweThose who recognize the name Julia Ward Howe probably think of her as the author of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." However, in her time she was noted as a speaker, writer, and activist. She was born in 1819 to a wealthy New York City family. Her mother died when she was young, and her strict Calvinist father raised her and her siblings.

She received more education than most women in her time, both at home and in private schools, and was fluent in several languages and well versed in music and literature. By the time she was 20, she had published anonymous literary criticism in multiple journals.

In 1939, while mourning the death of her father, Julia examined her spirituality and turned toward Unitarianism. Over the next few years, she met several notable Unitarians, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and noted blind teacher Samuel Gridley Howe. She and Howe married in 1843. Over the next twelve years, the couple had five children.

During the early years of her marriage, though her husband did not approve, Julia continued to write, having poems published in two anthologies in 1848 and in 1854 published her own anonymous poetry book, Passion Flowers. As her identity as the author of Passion Flowers, which was well-reviewed, became a more open secret, Julia's husband became more and more displeased with her writing. The couple considered divorce but remained married, mostly for the sake of their younger children. Julia continued to write, publishing another book of poetry, Words for the Hour, shortly followed by her play, The World's Own, in 1857. In 1960, she wrote a piece for the New York Tribune about a trip to Cuba.

During the 1850s, the Howes became involved in the abolitionist movement. It was during this time that Julia wrote "Battle Hymn of the Republic," which was first published in The Atlantic in 1862. On the popularity of the song, Julia began speaking and reading publicly. She also joined liberal organizations including the Radical Club and Caroline Severance. She was a founding member of the New England Woman's Suffrage Organization, of which she served as president from 1868-77 and 1893-1910. She and Lucy Stone also co-founded the American Woman Suffrage Association in 1869. Julia was also an early contributor to Lucy Stone's Women's Journal. She also served as president for both General Federation of Women's Clubs and the Association for the Advancement of Women.

During the 1870s Franco-Prussian War, Julia became a peace activist. She founded American Friends of Russian Freedom in 1891, and served as president of the United Friends of Armenia. She also initiated a "Mother's Peace Day," which has since morphed into Mother's Day. In 1875, Julia called forward the first ever convention of Universalist women ministers.

After the death of her husband in 1876, Julia increased her lecturing appearances, then took a two-year trip to Europe and the Middle East with her youngest daughter. Upon her return to Boston, she continued to write, lecture, and agitate.

In 1908, Julia was the first woman ever to be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Julia died in 1910, at the age of 91.

Harvard University
Unitarian Universalist Historical Society
National Women's Hall of Fame


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Armistice: a temporary cessation of fighting by mutual consent; a truce. (From the American Heritage Dictionary, via dictionary.com)

In Europe, it's called Armistice Day. A celebration, from what I can tell, not of war, but of war ending. To me, this makes sense. To celebrate the end of war, the end of dying and killing and brutality, makes sense.

Here, though, we call it Veteran's Day, and the end of war is not something I ever hear mentioned. Rather, we celebrate those who have fought. And it's not that I don't have respect, or at least sympathy, for veterans--I do. But I don't want to celebrate fighting and dying. I want to celebrate the end of it. I want to celebrate armistice.

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.


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Sunday morning

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Sunday mornings at my house are really nice. Mark and I are currently sprawled on the couch, drinking very good coffee, watching Manchester United beat the pants off Blackburn (boo!). I just made myself some scrambled eggs with extra sharp cheddar and Mark had his usual cinnamon raisin toast with peanut butter (yuck).

Of course, the repose is short lived today. I've spent all weekend hard at work on my master's thesis (or professional report, as LBJ insists on calling it), as the full first draft is due on Monday. I only have about 2/3 of the last chapter left, so I'm making good time, but I'm still going to be working on it most of the day today. The part I have left is in some ways the heart of the thing, and I am just not quite smart enough to get started on it yet. Maybe after another cup of coffee.

Have I mentioned our current foster dog? I wish I could post a picture, but our camera cord is kaput and I haven't had time to go for a new one yet (maybe Mark will do that today). He's great, though. He looks, I swear, like a beagle crossed with a corgi--he's got a beagle face, but an exceptionally round and long body and exceptionally short legs. His name is Yogi, as he looks like a little bear. Or, like Mark says, like he's part beagle and part badger. He's got a lovely personality and is only terrorizing the cats a little bit. More than they'd like, I'm sure, but a lot less than his two predecessors. Anyway, he's a joy. Which is great, since I so don't have the extra mental and emotional energy to coddle a problem foster dog right now.

My mood is going to be so much better once this draft is finished. So, I guess, I'd better go make some more coffee and then work on it.


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#89: Victoria Woodhull


Victoria WoodhullVictoria Woodhull was born Victoria Claflin in 1838 in Ohio. She was one of many children, her father a gristmill operator and get-rich-quick schemer. Victoria spent much of her childhood traveling with her family, working sometimes as a fortuneteller. She rarely if ever went to formal school.

At the age of 15, Victoria married Dr. Canning Woodhall and she soon after had her first child. For several years, she and her family continued to travel and she continued to tell fortunes and sell medicines. Canning was an alcoholic, and in 1864, after having another child, Victoria divorced him.

In 1966, Victoria got married again, this time to Colonel James Harvey Blood, a noted "free love" radical. She and Blood then moved to New York City. In New York, Victoria became friends with railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt (who was reportedly her sister's lover), who backed her and her sister's entry to Wall Street as America's first female stockbrokers. The sisters were very successful and in 1870 started publishing their own journal, Woodhull and Claflin's Weekly.

Victoria used the journal to support progressive causes, including women's suffrage and the 8-hour workday. She also exposed stock market fraud, insurance scams, and corruption in Congress. The journal had about 20,000 subscribers during its six-year publication. In 1872, Victoria spearheaded the first U.S. printing of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels' Communist Manifesto.

Also in 1872, Victoria became the first woman to run for President of the United States. She was the nominee on the Equal Rights Party ticket. Though Victoria's pro-suffrage and social and political reform positions earned her the support of many suffragists, socialists, and unionists, they were too radical for the established suffrage organizers Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan Anthony, who elected not to support her.

Friends of President Grant, including Reverend Henry Ward Beecher, also staunchly opposed Victoria. In retaliation to rumors spread about herself and her sister, Victoria printed news in her journal that Beecher was having an affair with a married woman. She was arrested for sending obscene literature through the mail under the Comstock Act and spent the election in jail. Her name ended up being left off the ballot anyway, since she was only 34 years old and thus not technically old enough to run for President under the constitution.

After her initial arrest, Victoria spent months on trial for libel and obscenity. Though she was acquitted, she was eventually bankrupted by her legal costs, which totaled nearly a half million dollars.

In 1876, Victoria and Blood divorced and the publication of the journal ceased. Victoria became increasingly interested in Catholicism and spirituality. In 1878, Victoria emigrate to England with her mother and sister, where she continued her political work, speaking on spirituality, sexuality, and women's suffrage, and started the Humanitarian newspaper 1895. In 1882, Victoria married a third time, this time to millionaire banker John Biddulph Martin.

After her third husband died, Victoria became very interested in agriculture. She divided one of her estates into smaller plots of land, which she then rented to women farmers learning new techniques. She also opened a small agricultural school.

Victoria died in 1927 in England. She was 88 years old.

Women in History
Harvard University

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October financial update


Last month:
Total credit card debt: $6,495.21
Total student loan debt: $32,990.42
Total savings:$650.00
Checking account balance: $361.62
Total: -$38,474.01

This month:
Total credit card debt: $6,710.72
Total student loan debt: $$32,831.73
Total savings: $358.78
Checking account balance: $522.97
Total: -$38,660.70

So basically, I suck. But I'm turning over a new leaf--I swear. I'm not paying much on the CC this month, because of Christmas travel and how expensive that's all going to be, but I'm not spending, either.

One step forward, two steps back...


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Can I get an amen?

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LilySea is TEARING IT UP today over at Peter's Cross Station with a post about her sexuality and her faith and how no, it's really no trouble to reconcile them. You should read it. In fact, I should read it again. Which I'm going to go do.


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#88: Cindy Sheehan

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cindysheehan.Cindy Sheehan, sometimes called "Peace Mom," has been perhaps the most vocal voice in the United States against the current Iraq war. After the death of her son, Casey, in Iraq in 2004, Sheehan became a very vocal activist supporting troop withdrawal from Iraq. Most notably, she organized a peace vigil, "Camp Casey," outside the Crawford, Texas ranch of President George Bush while he was on a month's vacation there in August, 2005.

Cindy is one of the founding members of Gold Star Families for Peace, an organization created in 2005 to support the families of soldiers who were killed in war. The organization is explicitly political, dedicated not just to supporting families, but to ending the current war(s). The organization supports conscientious objectors and anti-war political candidates, as well as organizing peace rallies and demonstrations.

Sheehan's anti-war activities have not been limited to Camp Casey or Gold Star. She's also pledged not to pay her taxes, was arrested for protesting Bush's 2006 State of the Union Address, participated in the Bring Them Home Now Tour, and founded the Crawford Texas Peace House, among other things. However, in May 2007, Sheehan publicly announced an end to her activism, stating that she was going to dedicate her time to her remaining children.

Sheehan's retirement was short-lived. She has more recently announced her candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives, challenging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Gold Star Families for Peace
Bring Them Home Now Tour
Crawford Texas Peace House
Cindy Sheehan for Congress


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HRC and tipping


I was going to just let this go, but honestly, I couldn't resist.

So I worked as a waitress for several years while I was in high school. Not for a long time, but for long enough to develop the second sense that waitstaff get on who will tip well and who will tip shabbily or not at all.

And I gotta tell you, if I saw Hillary Rodham Clinton walk in (if I didn't know who she was, just someone who looked/talked/acted like her), I'd not be expecting a tip. Her entire countenance screams "I'm too self-absorbed to tip!"

This never would have occurred to me, of course, had it not been for the NPR story about HRC stiffing the waistaff at a restaurant in Iowa. Though the story was later corrected, just the fact that it was brought up, and that it recalled the time during her 2000 senatorial campaign that HRC was accused of and admitted to stiffing a New York waitress, is enough. Because whether she actually did it this time or not, these stories sound very likely to me. Because I already had HRC pegged in my mind as a non-tipper.

This is probably not a fair means to decide who I'd like to vote for. If I was in any way considering voting for her anyway, this story probably wouldn't change my mind about HRC. But I didn't like her anyway, and this is precisely the type of thing that led me to that conclusion.

Obama? I bet he tips well.


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#87: Rosie the Riveter


Rosie the Riveter We Can Do It! posterRosie the Riveter is, I believe, the only icon on the history making women list. The rest of the women have all been flesh and blood. As far as icons of strong American women go, though, Rosie has to be #1.

At her most basic, Rosie represents the six million or so women who took to munitions and materials factories all over the United States during World War II. The idea of Rosie based on that of Michigan riveter Rose Will Monroe, who starred in a government promotional film encouraging women to support the war effort at home. Her most famous image, though, shown in the "We Can Do It!" Westinghouse poster, was based on another Michigan riveter, Geraldine Doyle. Originally, the "We Can Do It!" poster was not meant to represent Rosie the Riveter at all, but the connection between the two was made in the mid-1940s.

Rosie Saturday Evening Post coverThough women's entry into manufacturing during World War II did for a time change their entire position in the United States economy, it was not the force of economic equilibrium it is sometimes painted to be. Women welders and riveters usually made significantly less money than did their male counterparts, and when the war ended, most of them left manufacturing and many of them left the workforce altogether.

Since the 40s, and especially after the feminist movement of the 1970s, Rosie's image has stood in not just for women's entrance into the work force in larger numbers, but for a general feeling of women's empowerment in the United States. The National Organization for Women (NOW) sells t-shirts with her image and the words "NOW Let's Get to Work!" Her image is seen not only telling women that we can do it, but also saying "feminist" and even "Up yours, George!" In 1999, her image was on a 33-cent stamp, and it is featured widely on t-shirts, hats, buttons, etc.

American Rosie the Riveter Association
Rosie the Riveter World War II / Home Front National Historical Park


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Don't go look at the NoBloShoeMo Flickr pool. Seriously. Don't. You'll just want to shop.

I would be embarrassed to join. I'm wearing too large Dr. Scholls clogs with extremely scuffed toes and a separating sole. Clinton and Stacy would be horrified.


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What I'm reading for NaBloPoMo


Yesterday, Sara at Moving Right Along posted a list of blogs she's reading every day during NaBloPoMo. I took several of her recommendations and added them to my Feedreader--I love new blogs, and NaBloPoMo is a wonderful time to start reading, as there are new posts every day pretty much guaranteed. So I thought I'd return the favor, to whomever is out there, and share a few of the blogs I am reading every day.

Flooded Lizard Kingdom: My pal and brand-spanking-new mama The Princess is writing daily lists for NaBloPoMo, and I'm so happy to see her posting at the often-neglected Lizard Kingdom that I am hanging on her every bullet point.

LaurieWrites: Laurie's is a blog I discovered when I met its lovely author at BlogHer this past summer, and I am so happy I did. She's a good writer, has excellent music taste, and has cute doggies, of whom she should post more pictures.

: I don't think Karen is actually participating in NaBloPoMo, but she posts a picture and usually a few words every day, and I just love her blog. She's definitely my very favorite photo blogger, and I always read whatever she writes greedily and wish there were more.

Peter's Cross Station: Shannon has been one of my favorite bloggers for quite some time now, and I am super jazzed she's taking time to write every day this month. She seems to put an unusual for blogging level of thought into her posts, which makes them both educating and fun to read. Plus she makes me aware of things I otherwise wouldn't be and should be.

Red Stapler: Suebob's Red Stapler is another blog I am fairly new to, having met its author at BlogHer. It is both entertaining and edifying without being a brain drain. Plus she's responsible for the super-rad NaBloPoMo rules (which, incidentally, I am breaking in this post).

There are lots of other blogs I'm reading every day, of course, but these are the ones that first sprang to mind, and the ones I thought you might already know about. Go forth and read them. Enjoy!


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#86: Margaret Sanger


Margaret SangerYou can't talk about reproductive freedom without talking about Margaret Sanger.

Margaret Sanger was born in 1879 in New York. She was the sixth of eleven children in a working-class Irish-American family. Margaret's mother was constantly pregnant and sick during her childhood, eventually dying of TB.

Margaret went to college and became a nurse. She focused on maternal health care and worked in some of the worst parts of New York City. In 1902, she married William Sanger, an architect. They had three children before divorcing in the early 1920s.

After spending ten years watching women suffer and die from too many pregnancies, botched abortions and other gender and poverty-related afflictions, Margaret quit nursing become a full-time birth control educator and activist. She wrote a series of articles entitled "What Every Girl Should Know" for The New York Call, giving practical advice on available birth control methods. These articles were later published as a book. Margaret also wrote pamphlets, and then started her own radical newspaper, The Woman Rebel, which many states banned.

In 1914, Margaret was arrested for violations of the Cornstock Act, which banned the transmission of "lewd" materials through the mail. She expatriated to Europe until her case was dismissed.

In 1916, Margaret opened the first birth control clinic in the United States. It was shut down after nine days and she was briefly imprisoned. In 1921, she founded the American Birth Control League (renamed the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942). She traveled and lectured on birth control and family planning through the 20s and 30s, and won a victory when the Cornstock Act was overturned in 1923.

In 1965, the Supreme Court decision in Griswold v. Connecticut legalized contraception for married couples (this protection was extended to unmarried people in 1972). The next year, Margaret Sanger died at the age of 86.

Time Magazine
Michigan State University
Harvard University

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Why you should care about women's bookstores


So following my post yesterday about supporting your local women's bookstore, I got a question (not in comments) about why one should care whether or not she has a local women's bookstore. What are these places for? Why are they important? And it's a fair question, albeit one with a lot of possible answers, so I thought I'd take a shot at it.

Rachel Corbett wrote an article a couple of year ago about the importance of women's bookstores. She makes several salient points, but the big ones I'd hit on are as follows:

1. Independent women's bookstores are important venues for books, zines, etc. by women that otherwise have few markets, which in turn increases demands for these products in a time where it is hard to get anything published (as small presses disappear).

2. Independent women's bookstores are venues for events, including book clubs, lectures, music, etc. that have a hard time finding other homes. They also provide more general and very necessary explicitly feminist public space.

The article goes on to argue that it might be OK that these places are disappearing, since feminism is becoming more ingrained into other types of communities, and since there is ample feminist space online. I think that's a cop-out, frankly. While I cannot note strongly enough how important I think feminist online space is, it does not replace the need for local, in-the-flesh venues where women can meet, talk, listen, buy and sell, etc. And online space doesn't speak at all to the need for women writing non-mainstream things to have a place to sell those things.

As far as the cultural integration of feminism, few things make me madder faster than the claim that feminism has done its work and should go home now, and that's where that leads for me. Feminism isn't integrated into anything. Just because things are better than they were in the days when indie women's bookstores started to take hold doesn't mean they are all fine and dandy now and we can all stop fighting. While women are still being raped, we still need to fight. While women are still being underpaid, we still need to fight. And while there is so little support for the work of women that the nation is down to a handful of stores dedicated to that work, we goddamn well still need to fight.

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#85: Wilma Rudolph


wilma rudolphWilma Rudolph was born in Tennessee in 1940, the 20th of her father's 22 children (from two marriages). She was premature and was very sick as a child, first from pneumonia, then from scarlet fever, and finally from polio. She lost the use of her left leg at age 6 and began wearing metal leg braces. Wilma's early medical care was severely compromised not only by her family's poverty, but by the racial segregation of the south at the time of her birth. In the Randolph's town, there was only one black doctor and no hospital that would admit black patients.

Due to her illnesses, Wilma did not start public school until she was 7. Through determination and with extensive help from her large family, she was able to stop wearing the braces by the time she was 9 and walk without impairment by the age of 12. She then began playing basketball, though the coach of her junior high team didn't play her in a single game for three years. When she finally did get to play as a sophomore in high school, though, Wilma quickly became a state record-holding star.

Wilma received a full scholarship to Tennessee State not for her skills in basketball, but for her speed. While still in high school, Wilma began attending college track practices. Then, in 1956, at the age of 16, Wilma competed in her first Olympic Games. She ran on the U.S. 4X4 relay team and came home with a bronze medal.

At the 1960 Olympics, Wilma became a star. She was the first American woman to bring home three gold metals, for the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, and 400-meter relay. All three events set world records. She was named the United Press Athlete of the Year and the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year. At her insistence, her victory parade was the first integrated event of its kind in her hometown of Clarksville, Tennessee.

After retiring from competitive running, Wilma returned to Clarksville, where she taught school and coached track. She moved on to coaching and teaching positions in other towns before going into broadcasting and becoming a national sports commentator. She married her high school sweetheart in 1963, with whom she had four children before divorcing. She also created the Wilma Rudolph Foundation, a non-profit promoting community sports programs.

Wilma died of brain cancer in 1994, at the age of 54.

Women in History
National Women's Hall of Fame


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Election results


Local election results are here, but to summarize, everything passed, and voter turn-out was something like 8.5% overall.

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Save your women's bookstore


Yes, I know I've written about this before. It's important. I'm writing about it again.

There are only a handful of independent women's bookstores left in the United States. The email I got today from my local and once-again threatened store, BookWoman said that they are one of 12. The Feminist Bookstore Network site lists more than that, but not nearly enough, and I suspect some of those listed are either not there anymore or not independent. chora's list only has six. However many there actually are, it's not many, and many of them are under constant pressure to remain open. Right now, my biggest worry is BookWoman, which needs to raise $50,000 before mid-December in order to keep on keeping on. But tomorrow it could be the one nearest you.

So here's what I think we should do, you and I. I think we should do some of our Christmas shopping at our local feminist bookstore, if we are so lucky as to still have one. I think we should do as much of it there as we can. And in case you don't know what's near you, here are a few I know are still in operation:

Antigone Books
411 N. 4th Ave.
Tucson AZ 85705

Word Is Out
2015 10th Street
Boulder, Colorado 80302

Bloodroot Restaurant and Bookstore
85 Ferris St.
Bridgeport CT 06605

Wild Iris Books
802 West University Ave.
Gainesville FL 32601
352-375-7477 Fax -375-7719

Charis Books and More
1189 Euclid Ave. NE
Atlanta GA 30307
404-524-0304 Fax -522-6663

Women & Children First
5233 N. Clark St.
Chicago IL60640
773-769-9299 * 888-923-7323
Fax 773-769-6729

Womencrafts Inc.
376 Commercial St. / Box 190
Provincetown MA 02657
Fax 508-487-2629

Amazon Bookstore Cooperative
4755 Chicago Ave. S
Minneapolis MN 55407
Fax 612-821-9631

In Other Words - Women's Books & Resources
8 NE Killingsworth St
Portland, OR 97211
Tel: 503-232-6003

Book Woman
918 W. 12th St.
Austin TX 78703

A Room of One's Own
307 W. Johnson St.
Madison WI53703
608-257-7888 Fax -257-7457

And if one of these fine establishments doesn't happen to be in your neck of the woods, maybe consider them instead of Amazon.com for your next online order? And the one after that? Yeah, it's gonna cost you a bit more, but this is one of those things that we've got to work to preserve, or y'all, it's gonna disappear.


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#84: Dorothy Thompson


dorothy thompson Dorothy Thompson was born in 1893 in New York. When she was seven, her mother died. As she did not get along with her stepmother, Dorothy went to live with her father's sisters in Chicago in 1908. She attended private school there, then went to Syracuse University, graduating in 1914.

After her graduation, Dorothy first worked as an organizer for the women's suffrage movement, which she later descibed as "the last romantic political movement this country ever had.”

Wanting to make her living as a writer, Dorothy first tried her hand at fiction, then went to Europe in the hope of becoming an international correspondent. On a 1920 trip to visit relatives in Ireland, she was able to interview Sinn Fien leaders including Terence MacSwiney. MacSwiney died two months later during a hunger strike, leaving Dorothy's interview to be his last. Dorothy continued this ambitious journalism the next year, sneaking into Budapest disguised as a Red Cross worker. Her coverage of the attempt Emperor Franz Josef's grandnephew to reclaim the Hungarian throne ran in papers all over the world and earned Dorothy her first regular journalist job at the Philadelphia Public Ledger.

Dorothy eventually became the Central Europe bureau chief for both the Ledger and the New York Evening Post. She lived and worked in Poland, Austria, Germany, and the Soviet Union. In 1928, she married notable American author Sinclair Lewis (her second marriage), and in 1930 the couple returned to the U.S. and had a son, Dorothy's only child.

After her move back to the States, Dorothy continued to travel and write for newspapers and magazines. She interviewed Adolph Hitler for Cosmopolitan, and was in 1934 the first foreign journalist to be thrown out of Germany by Hitler.

In 1936, Dorothy began writing a column called "On the Record," which was syndicated in newspapers across the country, reaching an audience of 8-10 million people a day at the height of its popularity. She also wrote a monthly column for the Ladies' Home Journal. Next, she started making radio broadcasts on NBC, starting with celebrity-oriented material, but shifting to political, anti-fascist commentary when war broke out in Europe in 1939. For the years proceeding the American entry into World War II, Dorothy's voice was among the strongest in the country to speak against Hitler. In 1939, Time magazine called her one of the two most influential women in America. The other was Eleanor Roosevelt.

After World War II, Dorothy continued to be politically involved. She opposed the creation of Israel and argued for nuclear disarmament. She died in Portugal in 1961.

Museum of Television & Radio
George Washington University
American Cassandra: The Life of Dorothy Thompson

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Last night, I made myself a really good, quick, and healthy dinner. Which is so completely unlike me as to be almost miraculous. If you don't want the recipe, you should. And I'm going to give it to you either way. So there.

I think I'm in need of beta carotene or something, because I have been wanting orange food. So I decided to make pumpkin and sweet potato soup. And I was too lazy to look up an actual recipe, so I improvised.

First, dice up a small onion or half a big one and a couple of cloves of garlic. Get them pretty small. Then cook them in some olive oil with salt until translucent. Add two cans each of pumpkin puree and sweet potato puree (you could, of course, use the actual vegetables, but quick was the name of the game last night, so I used canned) and a quart of chicken stock. Use natural/organic if you want it to not suck, and use veg stock if you are of the non face-eating persuasion. Then add a good dose of heavy cream (1/4 cup, maybe?) and whatever spices suit you. I used curry powder, a bit of cinnamon, and cumin, along with plenty of black pepper. You could add red pepper if you like your food spicy. Simmer it all up. Try not to splash it all over yourself like I did while you are pouring it into your bowl. Eat it with some bread and a nice brown ale.

This is enough to feed you six or eight times, but I only cook in bulk. Use a big pan and eat the leftovers for lunch or something.


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#83: Jolie Rickman

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singing Jolie RickmanPeace and social justice activist and singer-songwriter Jolie Rickman was born in 1970 in New York. In the early 1990s, she interned at the King Center in Atlanta, where she got to know Coretta Scott King, whom she credited with being a major inspiration for her music and social justice work.

Jolie was involved in many projects, including co-producing a CD "Sing it Down" to support closing the School of the Americas. She also helped launch the New York City People's Referendum on Free Trade and the Spanish Camp for Activists. She spend her entire life dedicated to making music and fighting for social justice.

Jolie Rickman died in 2005, at the age of 34, of ovarian cancer.

A sample of Jolie's music can be heard here.

The Indypendent
Jolie Rickman Memoir


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Get your election on

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So tomorrow is Election Day. A lot of people don't bother to vote in elections that don't have national level implications, and that's too bad--in many ways, local level elections, like the one held tomorrow, are more important, or at least have more direct impact on our lives. However, voting in these types of elections is generally a lot harder, as information about them isn't as prevalent. It takes actual effort to find out about the candidates and ballot measures presented to us, rather than having had them shoved done our throats for several months beforehand. I don't know if this is a good thing, though it's certainly less irritating, since most people just don't want to spend the effort to show up at their polling places, much less educate themselves beforehand.

So...in the spirit of helping out my community (not that I think many Austinites actually read this blog, but you never know), I present a brief guide to tomorrow's election. I make no claims about being unbiased.

The following are proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution:

Proposition 1: Angelo State University Amendment
This measure changes Angelo State University from part of the Texas State University System to part of the Texas Tech University System. You can read the full text here. This is basically a "constitutional cleanup" amendment and doesn't seem to have any significant opposition. I'll vote for it.

Proposition 2: Student Loan Amendment
This amendment authorizes the Higher Education Coordinating Board to issue $500 million in general bond obligations to fund student loans. The full text is here. The pros and cons here are pretty clear: pro, affordable education; con, this program is supposed to be self-supporting, but if that doesn't work out, the state will be responsible for the money. My bias here is probably pretty obvious--I think the state of available financial aid is scandalous and new paths for students to get their educations are absolutely essential, so I'll be voting for this one.

Proposition 3: Home Appraisal Value Amendment
This amendment caps increases in appraised value of residences at 10% per year, regardless of the length of time since the last appraisal. Full text is here. The argument for the measure is that it would end "sticker shock" appraisals in which people's home values increase a huge amount when they haven't been appraised for a while. The argument against is that it would make appraisals more frequent and might be unnecessary. It seems unnecessary to me, and it smells like a way to get out of paying property taxes somehow, so unless I hear differently before tomorrow, I'll be voting against it.

Proposition 4: Maintenance, Construction Bonds Amendment
This one authorizes the state to issue up to $1 million in bonds to pay for maintenance, construction, and equipment. Full text here. The cons are the usual--unsupervised and possibly unnecessary spending. The pros are also typical--not deferring maintenance, making things like asbestos in state buildings go away. This also is intended to build a new facility for Texas Youth Commission. More than anything else on the ballot, this seems contentious to me, so I went to look for a list of who is supporting it and who isn't. Which of course I can't find, because compared to Oregon, Texas does a really lousy job of providing its voters with information. After digging around some, I came to the conclusion that this measure is more about building new prisons than it is updating state buildings and supporting state parks, so I'll probably be voting against it.

Proposition 5: Small City Downtown Property Amendment
This is an amendment to provide tax incentives to downtown revitalization projects in small towns. The full text is here. On the pro side, it would be good for city growth and revitalization, and likely tourism. On the con side, it would probably be an unfair tax policy favoring businesses. I don't see a big need for this, and I'm afraid it would end up helping big retailers like Wal-Mart, so I'll be voting against it.

Proposition 6: Motor Vehicle Exemption Amendment
This amendment provides a motor vehicle tax exemption for one vehicle per person used for both business and personal use. The full text is here. It is intended to help small businesspeople. Arguments against it are both that it doesn't go far enough (why just one vehicle?) and that vehicles should be taxed like any other property. It sort of falls under "I don't care" for me, so I'll likely vote against it.

Proposition 7: Eminent Domain Amendment
This one is kind of confusing. As best I can tell, what it does is allow property owners whose property has been acquired by the government by means of eminent domain laws to buy back their property for the same price that was paid to them if it is not used within 10 years for the reasons for which it was first acquired. The text is here. It is intended to "stop indiscriminate use of eminent domain" and treat property owners more fairly (currently they have to buy back at market rate, I guess). Cons are the ubiquitous "unnecessary legislation" and the claim that the property owner would get an unfair financial windfall by not paying market price. Eminent domain laws kind of make me itch. I think I'll probably vote for this.

Proposition 8: Home Equity Loans Amendment
This amendment is for "clarification" of existing home equity laws. One of the most important provisions is to waive the one-year requirement between home equity loan applications in the case of natural disaster. The full text is here. The pros are clear--cleaning up confusing language to protect homeowners, make provisions for disaster situations. The biggest con is that it may provide too little protection to homeowners. Seems to me that some is better than none, and the disaster stuff could be essential in the hurricane-prone parts of the state, so I'll vote for it.

Proposition 9: Disabled Vet Tax Amendment
This amendment allows for property tax relief for disabled veterans, at rates connected to their rates of disability. The full text is here. The benefits are that it allows disabled vets to keep their homes in situations where they might not otherwise be able to, and that it more evenly distributes this benefit by disability. The cons are that it is too expensive and that current exemptions are sufficient. I'm going to vote for it, as it seems to make current laws more fair, and I don't think that "there are going to be more disabled vets, so it will get too expensive" is very good logic.

Proposition 10: Inspector of Hides and Animals Amendment
Good Lord, what a title. This amendment is another constitutional clean up, removing references to the "Inspector of Hides and Animals." Full text is here. Since it's just clean up, there are no cons, I'll vote for it.

Proposition 11: Legislative Vote Records Amendment
This measure requires Texas legislatures to record their votes by name. Absolutely integral to legislative responsibility, in my opinion. Full text is here. I am so for this it isn't even funny.

Proposition 12: Highway Improvement Bonds Amendment

This is another general obligation bond one, for no more than $5 billion, to fund highway improvement. The full text is here. The pros are clear--yay safer highways! The cons also pretty clear--bad fiscal management, wrong source of revenue. I'll be voting against.

Proposition 13: Family Violence Amendment

This proposition authorizes denial of bail in certain family violence felony and misdemeanor cases, if the accused is thought to be a danger to his/her family or community. The full text is here. This is a victim protection measure, with the cons being the possibility of jail overcrowding and the infringement upon the rights of the accused. The basic literature left me torn, so I went looking for more, and found Texans Against Sexual Assault and the Texas Council of Family Affairs both support it, and that is has a Republican sponsor Joe Straus. The Chronicle is against it, as is the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. I am going to have to give some more thought to this one, but my hunch right now is that I will vote for it.

Proposition 14: Justice and Judge Mandatory Retirement Amendment
Currently, Texas judges have to retire at the age of 75. This changes the ruling so that if a judge turns 75 during his/her term, s/he serves until the end of the term, if it is a four-year term, of the end of the fourth year, if it's a six-year term. Full text is here. The pros are that judges would be allowed to complete the terms to which they are elected and the need for temporary replacement judges would be reduced. The cons are that it may undermine the reasoning for the mandatory retirement age in the first place, or that there shouldn't be one at all. Finishing out the term to which you were elected makes good sense to me, so I'll vote for it.

Proposition 15: Cancer Research Amendment
This is the only amendment for which I have seen much hype at all this year. It's supported by the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Susan G. Komen Foundation, among others. It would establish the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and authorize up to $3 billion in bonds to fund it. The full text is here. The pros are obvious--fighting cancer is good, and the center could be good for the economy. The cons are that it would cost too much and that Texans shouldn't bear the costs of it, and that there is no reason state money should focus exclusively on cancer. Overall, it seems like a good use of funds to me, I'll vote for it.

Proposition 16: Sewer and Water Supply Amendment
This amendment provides "economically distressed" areas of the state with financial assistance to create adequate water and sewer services. It would be funded by general obligation bonds not to exceed $250 million. The full text is here. Cons are the typical no spenders, pros are that the current funding is running out and this is necessary for public health. I'll vote for it.

And that does it! I am deeply indebted to About.com: Austin and the Texas League of Women Voters for being the best web resources I could find on this subject.

If you need help finding your polling place, go here. Now vote!


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#82: Jeannette Rankin


jeannette rankinJeannette Rankin is one of the women on this list that a lot of people have already heard of. That doesn't make her any less worth the time to write a blurb about, though, because personally I find her story inspiring.

Jeannette was born in 1880 in Missoula, Montana. Her parents owned a ranch and her mother taught school. She attended the University of Montana, graduating in 1902. After living in New York City and working as a social worker, Jeannette moved to Seattle to attend the University of Washington. At this point, she became involved in women's suffrage both nationally and in her home state of Montana.

Women were granted suffrage in Montana in 1914. By 1916, Jeannette, now a Republican, had been elected not only the first female Representative to the U.S. Congress from the state of Montana, but the first one in the nation (national women's suffrage did not take effect until 1920). Jeannette campaigned on a platform that stressed the need for a woman's view in Washington and highlighted the need for social reforms in areas including child welfare and prohibition.

Only a few days into her first term, Jeannette cast an unpopular vote against U.S. entrance into World War I. She was one of 50 people in the House of Representatives to vote against the war. This vote put her at odds with many of her suffragist supporters, who considered their cause to be threatened by Jeannette's pacifism. Jeannette, however, was dedicated to her pacifism. In 1915, she was one of the founders of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

During her term, Jeannette not only maintained her opposition to the war, she also introduced legislation on midwife education, visiting nurse programs to reduce infant mortality, and state and federal funding for health clinics.

During Jeannette's first term in the House, her district was reshaped to heavily favor Democrats. Knowing she would not be re-elected to her House seat, Jeannette ran for her party's nomination for U.S. Senate. She was narrowly defeated in the primary and then waged and unsuccessful third-party campaign in the general election.

For the next 20 years, Jeannette worked in Washington D.C. as a lobbyist. She was a field secretary for the National Consumer's League, pushing for legislation promoting better health care, particularly for women and children. In 1920, she became a founding vice-president of the American Civil Liberties Union. From 1929 to 1939, Jeannette lobbied for the National Council for Prevention of War.

In 1940, Jeannette was elected to a second term in the House, this time on an anti-war platform from the start. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Jeannette was the sole member of the House to vote against entrance into World War II. She reportedly said, ""As a woman, I can't go to war and I refuse to send anyone else. I vote 'NO'." Given the tiny minority in which this decision put her, Jeannette did not seek further office after her term ended.

In the 1960s, Jeannette once again returned to the spotlight, speaking out vehemently against the war in Vietnam. In 1968, she led more than 5,000 women, calling themselves the "Jeannette Rankin Brigade" in an anti-war march on the capitol.

Jeannette Rankin died in 1973, at the age of 92. As part of her estate, she left seed money for what is now The Jeannette Rankin Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to offering scholarships to women, particularly those 35 and older.

U.S. Senate
University of California
Jeannette Rankin Foundation

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Art from the Streets


My very favorite Austin event takes place yesterday and today. It's called Art from the Streets. The city homeless shelter has a large art program, and once a year they have a show where their clients sell their art pieces. It is the shelter's major funding source for the year, pulling in $80K in 2005, the first year I went, all by selling pieces priced from $20 to $300.

When I first attended, I was completely blown away by the size and quality of the show. In my excitement, I bought not one or two but five art pieces (which was about four more than I could afford). All of them are displayed in my house.

So yesterday I headed downtown to see the show. Since I was better prepared for it this time, I set a spending limit in advance and had specific wall spaces I wanted to fill with whatever I bought. I was hoping for more work by a couple of the artists I bought from last time, and of course any new artist discovery I could happen upon. I also have a much better idea of where Mark's art tastes overlap with mine now, which makes picking out things for the house we share less stressful--I was flying pretty blind the first time, though he ended up liking everything I bought.

Once again, I was overwhelmed and overjoyed. The show is amazing. First, the quality of some of the work is astounding--lots of different styles, mostly paintings but also drawings and prints and collage and photography and this time even jewelry. Majority modern and abstract styles, but definitely not all. And yeah, some of it is amateurish and not stuff I'd want shown in my house, but a lot of it is absolutely wonderful.

Most of the work is sold without frames, backed on foam core and covered in protective plastic. Each artist gets his or her own space where art is hung on the walls and laid out in bins and on tables, and the customers walk through and pick up pieces they like. At the end, there is a cashier who tallies up your purchases and identifies them in the records by artist. All of the artists are on-site, at their booths, so you can talk to them about their work.

I walked through the entire show once before picking anything up this time, which I think was a good plan. After walking through, I knew which artists I wanted to look closer at. Specifically, I was interested in the work of Howard Cook, from whom I bought an amazing self portrait the first year I attended that hangs in our living room; Zebra, who does mostly naive-style animal paintings that I just love and from whom I also bought a piece in 2005 that hangs in our living room; Richard Vasquez, whose abstracts just about knocked me down when I walked by them; James Briggs, who makes jewelry and was new to the show this year; and John Curran, who had an amazing display of seascape type pictures that would be perfect for the empty wall space in my bedroom.

After a second (and a third) walk through, I had my art in hand. I could easily have spent a LOT longer deciding, but after something I think I wanted got snatched up from under my nose, I decided it was time to be decisive. There were several Howard Cook pieces I'd have loved to have, but his work is priced quite a bit higher than some of the other artists, so it would have meant blowing my whole budget (and then some, probably) on one piece, so I passed them up. I also passed up Richard Vasquez's abstracts, although one of them nearly brought me to tears, because I didn't think Mark would like them. I bought a gorgeous necklace from Jim Briggs that I will probably gift to someone for Christmas (but I might keep). And I bought two paintings, with which I couldn't be happier. The first was a large one from Zebra of a rhino. I talked to her briefly and she explained that she did a series of three rhinos from a picture from National Geographic, but she felt that this one had female energy so I should take it. It's a wonderful simple rendering, fairly close up, in thick paint. Her style seems almost childish until you look closer and realize that the details she chooses to focus on (in this case, the expression on the animal's face) are rendered perfectly realistically. It will go beautifully on the same wall with the picture of monkeys on a beach we bought from her in 2005. The second picture was from John Curran, whose work I'd admired previously but not purchased. He had a lot of paintings of large, bright, simple seascapes that I'd love in my bedroom, but I ended up being the most drawn to a smaller one which features a female nude from behind in the foreground and the ocean in the background. He also had some Picasso-esque Cubist paintings that I loved, but I knew Mark wouldn't like them, so I passed on those. In the end, I came in under budget, which is great, and with three gorgeous pieces of art.

If you are in Austin and you haven't been to Art from the Streets, go. Go now. It runs 12-5 today downtown at the ARCH. If you aren't in Austin, look to see if your city has this type of program. If not, come to visit me next November. Seriously, the feeling I got walking through that show yesterday simply cannot be described. Not only is it a chance to buy some really amazing art at prices that are actually doable, and to support a great thing at the same time, but it's a wonderful environment. These artists are people who are likely not treated well in much of their lives, and here they and their work are considered with absolute seriousness. They are artists and they are treated as artists, and behave as such, and it's a rare and great pleasure not only to be able to purchase their work, but to be able to see it in this state and talk with them about it. Go.

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Best laid plans


I had this grand plan that I was going to use this month to make my great entry into photo blogging. So, of course, my digital camera isn't working. Instead, a picture of home, taken by my mom and sent to me. Probably just to rub it in.

picture of Umpqua River

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Dixon for Heisman


Dennis Dixon throwing football

This is just...beautiful.

Which is good, since I picked up a new foster beagle today and he hates me.

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Go Ducks!


Fighting duck logoSo probably nobody cares, but my college football team (well, I didn't actually go to school there, but it is close to where I grew up and my parents are fans, so it feels like they're "my" team), the University of Oregon, have a big game today. They are currently ranked number 5, and they are taking on the only higher ranked team in the Pac-10 conference, Arizona State, who are currently #4. I believe ASU is favored by 7 points, but I'm not sure. Kickoff is at 3:45 Pacific, and it is televised nationally on ESPN.

I am so excited already I'm jittering. This should be one worth watching. The Ducks RULED versus evil evil USC last week and they are running a Heisman campaign for their bad-ass quarterback, Dennis Dixon. I love it when Oregon gets into the big time--everyone is always so damn surprised! Those boys can actually play football out there in Hippyville--who knew?

Anyway, I'll be watching, and you should too. And if you are going to comment and tell me football is barbaric and I am a traitor to my sex or my beliefs by watching it, don't bother, I've heard it all before and all I have to say about it is


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#81: Tsuyako Kitashima

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Tsuyako KitashimaThe internment of Japanese Americans during World War II is one of the ugly places in American history that our textbooks and popular culture would often prefer we forget. Without the lifelong struggles of Japanese American internment survivors and activists like Tsuyako Kitashima, that may well happen. It is a credit to her and those like her that it has not.

Tsuyako Kitashima was born in 1918 in California. She was one of six children of parents who immigrated from Japan. Tsuyako and her family owned a small strawberry farm in what is now Fremont, California. When she was 23, on December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

Like 120,000 other Japanese Americans, Tsuyako and her family were "relocated," first to a temporary camp in California (where they lived in a stable for several months), then to a camp in Topaz, Utah. Responses on a loyalty questionnaire split up the family, with Tsuyako's mother and brothers being sent to another camp and Tsuyako staying in Utah with her sister and her brother-in-law.

Not long after her family's release, in 1945, Tsuyako married. She and her husband relocated from Utah back to California and she worked for 30 years at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center, retiring in 1981.

After her retirement, Tsuyako focused her energies on achieving justice for herself and the thousands like her who were interned during the war. She helped organize participation in the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians hearings and was a spokeswoman for the National Coalition for Redress and Reparations. In 1988, these efforts came to fruition when the Civil Liberties act granted a formal apology from the country to the interned Japanese Americans and began the process of issuing reparations.

Tsuyako was active in many other facets of the San Francisco Japanese American community aside from her redress related activism. She served on the city's advisory council on aging and volunteered at multiple organizations dedicated to helping Japanese American seniors, including Kimochi, Inc., with whom she helped to create a Japanese American elder care facility where she volunteered for over 25 years.

In 1998, Tsuyako was awarded a Free Spirit Award from The Freedom Forum for her efforts at redress.

Tsuyako died on December 29, 2006, of heart failure. She was 87 and living in a San Francisco care facility.

Jewel of the Desert
Educational Justice


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Rules of NaBloPoMo


Over at the Red Stapler, Suebob has some rules for NaBloPoMo. I like them, so I'm going to use them to guide my NaBloPoMo efforts as well:

1st RULE: You do not talk about NaBloPoMo.
2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about NaBloPoMo. I'm serious. After Nov. 1st, quit writing about it and just do it.
3rd RULE: No whining. If you whine, I will delete you from my Bloglines and Blogroll and crush your bones in my teeth. This isn't brain surgery. It is a blog post a day for a month, fer goodnesssake.
4th RULE: It doesn't have to be brilliant. Write a stupid post already. Literally a stupid post. It wouldn't be the first time somebody ever wrote a crap blog post. If you need reassurance, just read my archives. Do not be afraid. There are no NaBloPoMo referees.
5th RULE: Only one post a day, that's all you need. See Rule #3.
6th RULE: No recycling old posts. No one likes a cheater.
7th RULE: If you miss a day, bow out gracefully. Or keep going and don't mention it.
8th RULE: This was your idea. So just do it already. It's spozed to be FUN! GO!

Well, I'm going to mostly use them. I'm ignoring #5, due to my aforementioned need for verbosity and continuing my history making women series while still producing daily content. And I'm adding a rule of my own:

9th RULE: This is about community, not just you. So don't just write every day, post a comment or two somewhere else every day as well.

Thanks, Suebob!

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#80: Barbara Smith


Barbara SmithSince its inception, there have been problems with the feminist movement speaking mostly to the needs and desires of middle-class white women. Despite the not-always-warm reception mainstream white feminists have given them, women of color have been movement leaders in many cases. One of those cases is Barbara Smith, a feminist writer and activist since the 1960s.

Barbara was born in 1946. As a teenager, she was involved in the Civil Rights Movement in Cleveland, Ohio. She attended Mount Holyoke College, graduating in 1969, then went on to take a masters degree in 1971. By the time she got out of school, Barbara was involved in the feminist movement though Black feminism. (Her twin sister worked at Ms. magazine.) In 1975, Barbara reorganized the Boston chapter of the National Black Feminist Organization. She then went on in 1980 to co-found (with Audre Lorde) Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, the first U.S. publisher for Women of Color.

Smith carefully defines herself as a feminist, a radical, a socialist, a lesbian. Her writings have been included in such momentous feminist works as The Reader's Companion to U.S. Women's History and This Bridge Called My Back. She has also lectured widely and written for magazines including Ms. and The Nation.

Off Our Backs

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Giving list


Someone inquired as to what my criteria are for the organizations to which I give and highlight each month. I answered truthfully--I have none. Got me thinking, though--where exactly is my money going? What's the breakdown? Does it reflect my values? So I thought I'd tally up my former giving orgs and see where it all falls out.

The name that shows up on my blog most often is SafePlace, a local organization working to eradicate domestic and sexual violence. I have given to them four times in the past two years. SafePlace is followed in popularity by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and Amnesty International, each to whom I have given twice. After that, there are a bunch of one-time donation organizations. These include:

Dog organizations
Rocket Dog Rescue
Blue Dog Rescue
Lucky Mutts Rescue
Spindletop APBT/AST Refuge
The National Canine Cancer Foundation

Other animal organizations
Austin Zoo
The Elephant Sanctuary

Feminist/women's organizations
National Women's Law Center
Lilith: A Fund for Reproductive Equity
Feminist Majority Foundation

Health organizations
Breast Cancer Research Foundation
Covered the Uninsured Week
Doctors without Borders

Arts/culture organizations
Blanton Art Museum
Austin Public Library
Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Environmental organizations
Texas Campaign for the Environment
Austin Parks Foundation

Labor organizations
Sweatshop Watch
Texas State Employees Union

Human service organizations
Katrina Relief Fund
Catholic Charities Justice for Immigrants
Half the Sky Foundation
Any Soldier
Orange Santa

The Special Olympics
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
Basic Rights Oregon

A total of 32 different organizations, 12 of them local, 16 national, and 4 local to somewhere else. As I expected, animal organizations are overrepresented. Labor organizations are really underrepresented, as are feminist organizations, and that is something I hope to fix in the next year. I like and hope to keep my fairly local focus. All in all, I'm pleased.

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November Giving


The organization I am giving to in November is one that is very near and dear to my heart, and has been since Mark made me a member as a birthday present several years ago: The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. I hope to someday be able to afford to give at the $5,000 level, because the you get an invitation to go visit!

The mission of the Elephant Sanctuary is:

To provide a haven for old, sick or needy elephants in a setting of green pastures, old-growth forests, spring-fed ponds and a heated barn for cold winter nights.
To provide education about the crisis facing these social, sensitive, passionately intense, playful, complex, exceedingly intelligent and endangered creatures.

For the most part, the elephants who live there are former circus and zoo elephants, and many of them have been treated quite badly in captivity. The sanctuary seeks to let them live as peaceably and naturally as possible for the remainder of their lives. I love elephants, and hate how they are treated around the world, and I am 100% in support of the sanctuary's mission. So today I am renewing my newly-expired membership and I encourage anybody out there who is interested to consider becoming a member.

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#79: Ida Tarbell


ida tarbellIda Tarbell was born in 1857 in Erie County, Pennsylvania. She grew up in oil country, her father working as an oil producer and refiner. In 1872, due to an agreement between the up-and-coming John Rockefeller's refiners and the Pennsylvania railroads, the whole region where Ida grew up was hit hard with a recession.

In 1880, Ida was the sole woman in the graduating class from Allegheny College. She worked first as a science teacher, then as a journalist at a small newspaper, then went to Paris in the late 1800s to write a biography on French Revolution figure Madame Rouland.

In 1894, Ida was hired as an editor for McClure's magazine. Her popularity grew very quickly when a series she wrote about Abraham Lincoln nearly double the magazine's circulation. Though her talent for historical portraits was clear, Ida wanted to use her writing for something more germane to the current situation, so she soon began work on a series about Rockefeller and Standard Oil.

Originally slated to be a piece in three parts, Ida's series on Standard Oil was immensely popular and grew to a 19-part series, published from 1902 to 1904. The series was notable for the breathe of Ida's research, as well as for her condemnation of Rockefeller's unethical behavior. Though some criticized Ida as “muckraking”, her Standard Oil series has also been hailed as a breakthrough in the history of investigative journalism. The piece was later printed as a book.

Even though Ida worked as a journalist in a time when there were very few women writing, she was not a feminist. She opposed the suffrage movement and said that women's rights campaigns belittled the important contributions of women in the private sphere. Ida turned down offers to be part of Peace Ship to end World War I and President Wilson's Tariff Commission (on which she would have been the first woman).

Ida died in 1944, at the age of 86.

Allegheny College
Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission

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Today is the first day of NaBloPoMo, and I am mad excited. I just realized, however, thanks to someone who pays more attention than I do to the fine print that writing posts in advance and scheduling them to publish each day is actually against the rules. This is, of course, what I had planned to do. SO. I am going to keep my scheduled posts (the history making women series) posting and write an additional post each day to stay within the rules.

Verbosity, thy name is Grace.

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