Anita Hill: A Hero for All of Us

Jane

Jane

Anita Hill came to our town last week as the keynote speaker for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of “Our Voice”, our wonderful rape crisis/education/prevention center here in Asheville.

When I heard she was coming, I was immediately right back there on my sofa in Roxbury, New York, glued to the television set, watching every moment of those hearings.  I remembered how I felt completely inspired by her courage, her composure, her refusal to back down.  And I relived how completely horrified and despairing I felt when that panel of white men managed to find a way to approve Clarence Thomas anyway.  Along with millions of other women, I felt kicked in the gut.

Anita HillSo, I was excited to see her.  What I didn’t expect was how, once again, I would be completely inspired by this amazing woman.

Here is a woman whose life was turned upside down simply because she decided to come forward, to do the right thing, to speak the truth.  Here is a woman who believed in our system of justice and fairness, only to get kicked in the gut herself.  But here is a woman who also has never backed down and has managed to find a way to forgive all those people on the Judiciary Committee and to say, “it was not the failure of those individuals; it was the failure of the system.”  The committee, after all, decided not to call in experts to testify or to bring in the other women who were ready to corroborate her testimony.  But here is also a woman who, when asked if she would do it again, answers yes, without a doubt.  ”I found my voice in 1991, and I am not about to give it up ever again,” she said.  She said that is what kept her going, what brought her back to life after the hearings, were the letters and phone calls from people all around the country who thanked her for giving them the courage, finally, to speak out, to bring sexual harassment or sexual violence against them out into the light of day–to confront their predator and to bring justice.

I have to say it brings me great pleasure to see how, in the big picture, she has come out on top.  She is a national icon, a hero for women everywhere.  While that other person, who will remain nameless, will always be associated in most people’s minds with sexual harassment and othe predatory behaviors. Continue reading

The First Heavenly Blue Morning Glory, and New Chicks

Sadhvi

Sadhvi

Every summer I wait and wonder if my favorite morning glory will appear.

There are many of the deep purple “Grandpa Ott’s” and the pink “Carolina Morning” variety, as well as lots of white and light blue ones with blue stripes that start to bloom very early in the season. They are lovely, but by this time of the year I am pulling them out because they start to take over.

There is only one that truly makes my heart beat fast, and that one starts to open at the end of summer.  It’s called “Heavenly Blue”, for a reason.

Oh! "Heavenly Blue"!

Oh! “Heavenly Blue”!

I saw the first one by the chicken run the other day and it made me feel so happy…that shade of blue, its unreal!  Even if I am stressed and in a hurry or having a time keeping up with things, or missing something or someone, I have no choice but to stop and stare at “that blue” and fall into the moment.

When it was time for our “Sally” hens to be “harvested” a few weeks ago, I decided that I would be able to do something that I was not able to do with the previous 3 flocks we’ve had,  and that is, to eat them.

I can’t do the actual killing, and I can’t even be around the killing of them, but really, since I am a meat-eater then I should be all right with eating them, right?  Some of my friends find that thought horrifying!  I also have friends who cannot stand having the bones in the meat they eat because it reminds them that they are eating what was once a living animal.  But really that is what eating meat is!  We couldn’t have loved our hens any more than we did; we fed them homemade organic kefir and organic feed and scratch, and since they had to die one day, I believe they would want us to eat them!

I went back and forth as to whether or not we should get another batch of chicks, because I feel like we’re getting older, and I know that I might have to clean out their house once, plus maybe I don’t want to get attached to another batch of hens.  In the end, I found myself calling McMurray Hatchery to place another order of “Black Star” hens.

Here is how they looked on July 21st when they arrived by post.

Then they started to get bigger and a few days ago I took a video of them coming out of their house.  I decided to name them “Shanti” instead of “Sally” (my mom’s name) since I think it is good to say the word “peace” as often as possible these days.

For the next 2-3 years, these hens will be part of our lives, and I’m OK with that idea.  Plus, I cannot wait until they start laying eggs because once you have had fresh eggs, it is not easy to eat any others.  Om Shanti!

To Shop or Not to Shop On-line: What do you do?

Annice

Annice

To Shop or Not to Shop On-line – That is the Question? I am not an on-line shopper – at all.  However, after spending an evening with several female friends (they know who they are) I’m wondering if I should be.  Over dinner, they listed all the advantages:  time saved; never running out of things; catching some great deals; and of course they never pay shipping.  So there I sat eating my Salad Niçoise at the Laughing Seed with two nicoisewomen I admire and respect trying hard to figure out what’s up with me that I don’t shop on-line.  Weeks rolled by, and I forgot all about that conversation until I grabbed my must-have Deva (curly) hair product only to realize I couldn’t squeeze out one more drop, and I did not have another one stashed away in my closet.  I’d have to live with a bad hair day for sure.  Digging deeper into this 21st century  phenomenon, I started thinking about my big aversion to shopping on-line is and why I find it all so overwhelming.

Deva

Deva

For starters, I’m on the computer much of my day at work, and then again in my spare time at home working on my book whenever I can, so getting back on the computer to shop doesn’t excite me.  It’s not that I’ve never shopped on-line.  I admit to buying presents at holiday time for out of town family and friends because I hate packing up presents not to mention the waiting in line at the post office during Christmas time. Another reason I hate shopping on-line is all the popcorn, bubble wrap, shredded paper and boxes I have to deal with from my husband who does shop on-line. The packaging spills all over the kitchen and then it piles up in the garage where I then have to nag my husband to break it all down and schlep it to the recycling bins across town.  All that packaging can’t be good for the environment and then what about the carbon footprint?  Besides, I still like to touch things and try things on and neither my feet nor my body always fit into the same size.  And returns?  I really hate that too, re-wrapping and taking it to the post office.

Last Saturday, I was out doing errands – a lot of errands.  I think I spent close to 4 hours driving all over town to Trader Joe’s, Pet Smart, the dry cleaners, and worst of all to the Mall to get the Deva product I had run out of, and then finally to the kitchen store to get the Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Slicer Cutter (millions sold in Europe) and I got to thinking veggie cutterabout my two smart friends who said they save SOOOOOOOOOOO much time, and what about the price of gas? It’s a dilemma for me.  So, what do YOU do?  Any advice?

Sadhvi Sez: “The Hundred Foot Journey” and, it’s still Summer

Sadhvi

Sadhvi

Summer is not over yet, but seeing all that Halloween stuff in the stores, you might think it’s just around the corner – it is not!  It is still summer, and only on Tuesday, September 23rd will I start to think it’s Fall!

I love summer, and this one has been pretty dreamy, but a lot hotter than I can remember.  Has anyone noticed how stressed out people are these days?  Everyone seems to be jacked up on Mountain Dew or something!  Or maybe because it’s getting hotter.

I don’t know about you, but I have given up on being freaked out or surprised by things these days.

I also have given up on trying to figure people out.  I am sure there are lots of folks out there on drugs and meds, in pain, or having a hard time, so my heart is wide-open like Our Lady of Guadalupe.

oops50 hundred foot Being “over the hill” and not knowing how much time I have left, I’ve decided to try enjoying my life.  I know, I know, I should have been doing that for a long time now.  But I happen to be a work-a-holic, and love to create things, which means, I am almost always doing something.  Always.

So taking the time out to go see a movie once in a while is really good for my soul.

There are SO MANY movies to choose from!  To make it easy to pick just one good one, I am going to let you in on one that you MUST see: “The Hundred Foot Journey”.  It takes place in a small French village, and it is, well, I don’t want to tell you anything about it, just go see it!

I hope you are enjoying what is left of summer, and this beautiful life.

Our Voice’s 40th Anniversary Celebration: Anita Hill in Asheville!!

Anita HillWe invite you to join us on September 4th for Our VOICE’s 40th Anniversary Celebration, 40 years of Starting Conversations, at the Diana Wortham Theatre featuring keynote speaker Brandeis University Professor of Law Anita Hill. Ms. Hill started a national conversation by disclosing her experience of workplace sexual harassment and focused the country’s attention on a difficult topic too often met with avoidance and silence. Welcome reception is scheduled for 6 pm; program beginning at 7 pm.  

One of the biggest challenges we face in ending sexual violence is silence. Many survivors are silent about their experiences, often due to the shame, fear, and victim-blaming that our society perpetuates. Many community members are also silent because the topic makes us uncomfortable or we feel disconnected.

But while it can be hard to think and talk about, remaining silent is the surest way of encouraging the harassment, abuse, assault, and rape that affect so many in our community.For forty years, we have been committed to breaking that silence by starting and sustaining conversations with many different people and community partners. Our counselors start conversations with survivors regarding their next steps to recovery.

We start conversations with law enforcement agencies and medical centers to improve responses to sexual violence. We start conversations with students around staying safe online and bystander intervention. We start conversations with Spanish-speaking survivors who are now able to work with one of our 4 bilingual staff members. We do this work because we know that in order to prevent sexual violence we all have to talk about it, and once we are all talking about it, we are working toward eradicating it.

Our meaningful accomplishments throughout our agency’s forty-year existence have been possible only through the caring involvement and generous support from people like you and me. Much work remains to be done, none of which can happen without our continued support.

With this in mind, we invite you to sponsor the Our VOICE 40th Anniversary Celebration. Enclosed is a list of sponsorship opportunities for your review. You will find a number of sponsorship benefits, including a reception with Ms. Hill, but undoubtedly the most valuable benefit is offering the opportunity for healing to people who have experienced a great injustice and helping us prevent these crimes from ever happening. Community support is essential to the work of Our VOICE.

We invite you to be part of it.
All the best,
Andrew B. Parker,  Board President

Angélica R. Wind, Executive Director

To purchase tickets to this wonderful event, visit Our Voice’s website at www.ourvoicenc.org.  Also, join us for a special screening of the documentary, “Anita HIll:  Speaking Truth to Power” at the Fine Arts Theater, Asheville, Thursday, August 28th, 7 p.m.  Tickets on sale at the theater for $10!!!!