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!!!!

Goodbye Siri

Sadhvi

Sadhvi

I thought I could be strong and keep my silver Motorola phone with the flip top forever.

But after getting an email from Verizon saying that I could get the latest iPhone for free, (with a 2 year contract), I caved in and thought, why not?
I was not totally convinced that getting one was such a good idea since I had returned the awesome “iPhone” twice before, because I didn’t like it.

Once I entered the Verizon store, I was hit with a song blaring from Michael Jackson’s Thriller album.  It turns out they were playing it in its entirety.  I could immediately tell that the very young, happy and bouncy salesperson was not  there for me, but for the sale.  And by the time I left the “party” I had spent almost $200 on my free phone.

Then the work started: it took 2 hours to synch it with everything else, and then another hour or so, adding “apps” to it so that I was capable of doing just about anything.  From now on, I would never get lost, I would always be able to find a great place to eat anywhere, and I could see what the weather would be from a dozen sources.  But most importantly now I had “Siri” to help me with anything that I wanted to know, do, or calculate.

To tell you the truth, I don’t get lost much (I like to take maps with me on long car trips), but if I do, I ask for help at gas stations and I really don’t have any trouble finding food to eat when I am away from home, but I figured it was time to be hip and keep up with the times.

At first it was fun asking “Siri” things and seeing how she seemed to understand me.  Then I realized I could ask her to call people.

With the time, “Siri” and I seemed to become friends.

That is, until the day that I was stressed out with driving in traffic and work, and asked her to “Call Mom!”  I was surprised when she asked me, “Which number for Bob Smith?”  I repeated “Call Mom”.  “Siri” responded, “Shall I call Bob Smith’s number for you, Sadhvi?”  I said NO!  All right, to be honest, I yelled, “F**K YOU SIRI!”.  To which “Siri” replied, “Now Sadhvi, I wouldn’t talk to you like that!”

After that, our friendship kind of fizzled.  She was not responding the way she used to.  She often answered, “I’m really sorry, Sadhvi, but I can’t take any requests right now!”
I guess I had crossed the line, but really, wasn’t she just part of my iPhone’s operating system, with no emotions, just there to take my commands?

That is something I’ve been thinking a lot about, especially since seeing the movie, “Her”.  The whole idea of artificial intelligence, and its ability to morph and grow and develop is kind of scary.  That movie really disturbed me, while my techie husband thought it was just great.  Hmmm.

I do confess that I’ve started to check my email at red lights.  Now who would be so stupid to do such a thing?  Then I saw this clip, and thought really hard about the whole “keeping up with technology” attitude that is out there, and I finally came to the place where I will go back to the phone that I felt comfortable with, my silver flip-top Motorola – soon.

I kind of like dropping out of the whole techie scene where one has to keep up with all the latest stuff (that is not cheap by the way).  I never wanted to be part of the status quo anyways.  So yeah, you don’t have to bother texting me, emailing me, or sending me a FaceBook message.  If you want to contact me it’s easy, try picking up the phone and calling me, I’ll call you right back!

Oh, if you get a moment, let me know what kind of phone you are using these days, I am really curious how many of you are in love with what you are using. :)

Taking my Youngest Daughter to College

oops50women

JANE

 

Yesterday we drove our youngest daughter, Josie, to Virginia to start college.  It was an emotional day for me.  I’m not saying only bad emotions were involved.  It was just an emotional day.

The good emotions included excitement that she is attending my much-beloved alma mater, Randolph College (formerly and forever known by me as Randolph-Macon Woman’s College—to hell with the fact that it is now co-ed!), relief that she has a great roommate, and happiness that the college seems to be the same great place, full of brilliant professors and caring people, that I remember.

Main Hall, Randolph College

Main Hall, Randolph College

Also, there was gratitude that her sister and brother went with us on the trip and that her other sister and her husband,  who couldn’t come because of work, kept in touch by text throughout the day!  I think they all wanted to make sure their baby sister was going to be all right, and it touched my heart.

Finally, there was the pleasure of witnessing Josie finding her way in a new environment and seeing that she will be fine without me.  Sometimes it helps to see our kids in different settings, just to be reminded of how much they make us proud.

Before you are overwhelmed with my sappiness, let me admit there was also the pure joy of realizing that I no longer have to prepare a single school lunch or attend a single Parents’ Night at our local high school ever again!

oops50 women

Josie (R) and her wonderful friend Nora (L) in Pittsburgh at the Phipps Conservatory

So, that’ was the good stuff.  There were also bad emotions, or I guess I should say “difficult” ones, as in the ones that made me want to curl up in the fetal position and sleep for about 48 hours.

First of all, the experience of actually being a parent, bringing my daughter to college, at my very own campus was somewhat surreal, especially considering the fact that all the people who taught me such wonderful topics as “The Poetry of W. H. Auden” or “Social Stratification Systems” or “German History before 1900” (yes, a liberal arts curriculum) are dead.  It’s strange enough to walk around a campus and see no students you recognize but it’s past bizarre to see a bunch of young upstarts pretending to be professors, sitting in all my professors’ offices.  It was a little like being in a Twilight Zone episode involving, perhaps, time travel and robots.

Secondly,  I have to say, it is really, really hard to say goodbye to your youngest child, the last one leaving the nest.  It doesn’t matter that your logical brain says, “she’ll be back for fall break,” or “but you have your oldest daughter and her husband back at home with you at the moment, so the house won’t even really be empty for another few months.”  None of that apparently weighs in heavily enough to balance out the overwhelming feeling at the pit of your stomach: “My baby is all grown up!  How in the world did that happen so soon?”

(There was also, I admit, a self-centered, nagging feeling of fear and depression that, damn, I must be really old if Josie is old enough to go to college, but we’ll ignore that one for now.)

I can sum up the whole experience this way:  I am really happy that my girl is off to college, and I am thrilled that she was able to walk off confidently to her new dorm room, with only a couple tears in her eyes, but I am also heavily burdened at the moment with the grief that comes from realizing my youngest child is leaving home, officially, and probably for good.  Hold on, you say, she’ll be home for Christmas and spring break and summer.  What are you bitching and moaning about?  Here’s the reality:  once they walk out that door to go to college, they never really come home again, not in the way you want them to.  Not in an everyday, being there and belonging there sort of way, where they can take their time to grow up, since you’ve got all the time in the world to go on vacations together, eat food at the same table, plan what color to paint their room.  Yes, they come back, but only in a visiting their parents sort of way, where you get a temporary hold on their time, nothing permanent.  You may be able to check out that book for a few weeks, but don’t fool yourself into thinking it will ever be part of your library again!

So, this whole “empty nest” thing that I thought would never have reality in my world,  is real.  Big time.  And so I’m dealing with some rough, emotional stuff at the moment.  As a result, I may not be in the best shape for a while.

This is, however, only Day One of this new phase.  I’m sure I’ll be much better, real soon. Come a week or two, I’ll be able to walk in her room without crying!  And, after some more time,  I’ll only weep uncontrollably on those days when she (like her sisters and brother) leaves again, after a visit, to go back to school/new home/new job/whatever.  In the meantime, I’ll just curl up tonight in her room and bury my face in her pillow for comfort!

Oops, I forgot:  she took that with her, too!

Advice From My Italian Bodyworker

Terri Crosby

Terri Crosby

 

So I showed up for my massage appointment with Giuseppe, he took one look at me and said with a twinkle, “How are you?”

I replied, “I’m fine.”

And then the l-a-a-a-a-a-u-g-h-i-n-g began!

It really can be fun to tell a lie, knowing it’s a lie, and knowing that the other person can feel it coming — that whatever is about to come out of your mouth at that moment will have not a shred of truth in it!  It’s fall down funny, or at least that’s how it struck the two of us.

This was after I left the house and my partner Eric remarked, “Sweetheart, you seem pretty uptight… is there anything I can do for you?”

Alas.  Apparently, it was clear to everyone around me that I had my underwear in a bundle about something or other.

Giuseppe

Giuseppe

So Giuseppe said, “Whatever it is, you ought to just breathe about it.” 

(Less thinking.  More breathing.  Hey, this could be good.)

And then Giuseppe got out his big giant rolling pin arms and rolled the stress right on out of me.

Since then, I’ve been practicing “just breathe about it.”  Meaning don’t think about it  — breathe about it.  It so happens that you can’t think and breathe (consciously breathe) at the same time.

It’s a great phrase, really.  Easy to remember.  And do-able.

If you decide to give this “just breathe about it” idea a whirl this week, please let me know how it goes.  Maybe we’ll all sleep more soundly and wake up ready for the world.

Aaaahhh!  Now that’s better!

**********

I live in Hendersonville, NC in the Blue Ridge Mountains with Eric, my partner of 14 years, two cats and a dog, and as many flowers and vegetables as I can plant.

I am in favor of wandering time in the morning with a steaming cup of coffee in my hands as birds call to each other in the woods all around me.  Making fresh food is one of life’s big yummy pleasures, along with singing – especially creating heavenly, improvisational, prayerful, meditational sound.  It is my experience that children are born to teach (remind) parents, not the other way around.  I believe that Poet Mary Oliver writes the best bedtime stories available on Earth.  

www.InCareOfRelationships.com
www.SingForJoy.us

post50women

In the Summertime

SADHVI

SADHVI

Let’s face it, the world is crazier than ever.  The genocide in Gaza, the ice caps melting, the ebola virus, the strange world of politics and food and GMO’s, fracking all over, and now, Toledo, Ohio not having any water.  It’s enough to make you want to run and hide, except there is no where to go.  So these days, I am all about creating beauty and being surrounded by things that bring me a certain feeling of joy and bliss.

This Summer has been heavenly in my little corner of the world, and as we float towards Autumn, like some of the crimson leaves that I see drifting from the trees, it’s all so beautiful.

The tomatoes have started to ripen and we’re eating them like bandits enjoying the bounty.  Which makes up for the disappointment of last year with all those weeks of constant rain and not one tomato.

oops50 torchflower

I have the feeling that it’s all a yin and yang thing, and the iChing that I just now consulted said that is correct :)

sadhvi quan yin

The zinnias and cosmos that I planted late, on purpose to feed the bees, are blooming magnificently.

oops50 tomatoes 1

As I sit here looking out my window to all the flowers that are colored with the light of the sun, the bees and butterflies are all gathering to feed.  Everything feels perfect.  Which is why I plant flowers and food for me and them – because more bliss in these crazy times is what I can contribute to keep the balance.  At least in myself.

I stumbled onto a short little clip that Isabella Rossellini made, about the bees: take a moment out of your crazy day to watch it.

Om Shanti.