Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The fundamental missing piece of women's equality

Reposting: (originally posted 6/20/16) Still an issue.

I have thought and REthought this post.  I have changed my mind a million times. I decided that there is no good reason I can think of to write another "Debbie Downer"- style post, unless there are some practical solutions I can personally subscribe to on my own, ask you to join in, fuel your fire, and leave you feeling hopeful and encouraged.

So that's what I aim to do here.

I read an article written by Melinda Gates very recently, and it blew my mind, because it expresses the truth so clearly.


There's an old business maxim: what gets measured gets done. Well, it's true. Data drives results. Unless you can measure a problem—and thereby prove it exists—you can't start solving it.
One of the reasons that progress has been so slow for the world's poorest women is that we have very little data about them. There are still women who live and die entirely unrecorded. They leave behind no birth certificate, no death certificate, and no data about the struggles and challenges they faced—whether they had the chance to go to school or earn an income, whether they suffered from violence or disease, whether they died preventable deaths.
What little data we have about the world's poorest women is incomplete and, to put it bluntly, sexist.
Nowadays, we are in the dark about where most of our clothing comes from.  Even when it is created by our very own hands, the origins of and conditions from which our fabrics and supplies needed to make our clothing and accessories come are a mystery to us.

I have worked on my own, and for large and small companies, sometimes, discovering, much to my dismay, that something the company is doing is wildly unethical.  So, the truth is, once I know, I'm part of it.  As I sit here typing, I'm wearing a super cheap, perfectly fitting pair of jeans  from Old Navy, made of a fabric I've jokingly termed "barely denim", due to its whispery softness, but incomprehensible durability.  No way these jeans should have cost as little as they did.  But what do I KNOW for sure about them?  Nothing, really. 

Okay... looking at the label.  Made in Cambodia.  Although the RN# (factory number) is listed, it yields no results in my internet search.

So we can sit and complain about so many things, get lost in hand-wringing and lamenting the plight of the less fortunate, but it doesn't make anything happen.  We can all comfort ourselves by boycotting brands we know are operating unethically, we can hoist picket banners into the air, write to politicians, donate money to charities dedicated to fighting the exploitation of workers and children everywhere, or... we can reach out and be examples, leaders, and support to people we know, and people we don't... like this little girl:



There's some data we can measure.

What am I doing? I am helping kids. My help will be through a program that is teaching leadership skills to teenagers this summer. More on that later.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

UFO's...

I just read an article on ADHD and possibility clutter that lit up my brain.  Recently finding myself in a stack of UFOs, and no particular reason for my roadblocks, I discovered something monumental.

Ready?

The fear of starting over.  I thought to myself, so I have enough materials to start over, repair this, rethink this, and in most cases, the answer is YES!  So, that's what I'm doing with my current stack.  Cutting slashes into what isn't working, starting what isn't yet started, writing and actual schedule.

Committing.

Deep breaths.  Let's go.  Starting now.

And by now, I mean this very minute.

Pictures to follow.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

On the day of Maya Angelou's passing...

Repost from 5/28/14




This autograph, photo postcard and quick note, written and given to me (she wrote my name!)  from Maya Angelou, will be my forever keepsake. I am an enormous fan of her creativity, beautiful writing, and a unique artistic point of view.  I specifically pursue all opportunities to embrace creativity in my own life and can't seem to stop creating, making, and writing all the time, even when I don't have much to show for all of that effort! I am greatly inspired by her work, philosophy, and work ethic.  She talked about her writing habits; rising early, and immersing herself in her work (often in spare hotel rooms) until at least noon.  After working, she would shower and prepare herself for the social part of her day, sometimes sharing her writing with her husband, inviting no critique from him. I particularly love her commitment to turning off the switch at some point during her day, which is something I have not yet learned to do.


"There's beauty in the patterns of life" is a tagline from a movie in which Maya Angelou was a co-star, about 16 years ago.  "How to Make an American Quilt" was not a great movie, by anyone's definition, but parts of it did speak to me... 


That quote made me think of a post from my old blog, (originally posted November 29, 2007) that begins with the image of my sister's painting, ca. 196...?


I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.
-Virginia Woolf


They say a picture is worth a thousand words...


Over the past few weeks (remember, these are my words in 1997), I have been haunted by the question, "Why blog?"

I started writing entries simply to combat the frustration I felt over not being free to leave the house, socialize and have grown-up time when I wanted to...

The triple-whammy of my difficult pregnancy with our toddler daughter to care for, followed by my son's serious birth defect and neuro-surgery, followed by an incredibly tight and grueling therapy schedule have left me very little "me time". So I started writing this blog. What I have found to be far more valuable than the catharsis the blog has given me, is the absolute joy of reading the blogs of others...

So it seems, I have found a "community". I was inspired to say this today, as this realisation is hitting me.

When I read your blogs, I "hear" you. I hear the love you all have for your children, (whether they are small or big)and the absolute passion you all share for expressing yourself through your words, garments, and creative fingers. I am learning so much through you. Today, I want to celebrate that!

Just so you know, since this online life can be isolating, there is someone eagerly awaiting your next posts, even when I don't comment!

So, why the picture and quote?

Well, when my sister was little, she painted this image of my mother at the sewing machine. It was the 60's, so you can see the color choice was very "of the moment", and the roundness of my Mom's afro is a great fashion statement, isn't it?

Notice my Mom's back to her - she is absolutely in her own world. And happily so. Even at my sister's tender age, she could appreciate that my mother had her own passion, and my sister took the opportunity at that time, to explore her own creativity.

At the time, anyone would have said, "What a cute picture of your Mom at the sewing machine!" But the picture expresses so much more than that. It is not about feeling "left out" of my Mom's creative world, it was encouragement and permission to find her own creative space.

As a Mom, finding your own space, your own moment to just create and really be who you are, is so important. And letting your children know that you are entitled to that space, and having them respect it, is vital. Well, husbands and friends too, but mine don't give me any conflict about my sewing. I am still carving out my own time, slowly but surely, since I have discovered that I truly cannot live (and be pleasant, ha!) without it.

So now, Maya Angelou's "back" is turned to me (and us) forever, and I hope you will indulge this thought I am about to share...

There will be no more words written by Maya Angelou... but her work needed to be written every bit as much as she needed to write them.  There is a synergistic flow in art, poetry and literature, and one of the many torches is being passed... 


That you are here—that life exists and identity,That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

-Walt Whitman







Friday, November 2, 2018

Wealth, fun, intellectual pursuits, love...

Repost (original post 3/14/17)


(Time to make a new flannel shirt!)

I asked my dad if I have ever made him cry in front of me before, because I don’t remember ever seeing him cry. He said, “Once.” He told me that when I was 3 years old, he laid out a pen, a dollar, and a toy of some sort in front of me. He wanted to see which one I would pick. I think that a lot of Chinese people do that… It represents what you’ll value most when you grow up. Like the pen is intelligence, money, is well, money, and the toy is fun. He was just doing it out of curiosity and boredom. It was interesting for him to see which one I’d pick anyway. He said that I just sat there and stared at the items. He sat across from me and waited patiently. According to him, I crawled towards them, he held his breath, and I pushed everything aside and went right into his arms. He didn’t realize that he was one of the choices. And that was the first, and the only time I made him cry.
-author unknown (to me, at least)

I don't know if this story is true or not, nor do I know who the original author is.  Does it matter? Not really.

Today is a snow day.  I made biscuits and sausage.  Drank coffee and ate yogurt.  It is really coming down hard. Had quiet time with the kids at the breakfast table.  Looking out at the snow, my son (11) quietly said "Wow".

"What?"

"You look so pretty right now."

Did my son just say that to me?  His mom? I think he just earned himself that flannel shirt he's been longing for. "I know you're busy, Mom.  You don't have to make one, really.  We can buy one..."

No.  We won't buy this one.