Hay Fever Isn't a Crime
Recently, when all I wanted was to purchase a blister pack of legal decongestant, I ran up against the roadblocks the state of Georgia placed in my path. Perhaps you have found that you can take one of the many medications left on the shelves that don’t require interrogation, but I am not so lucky. Moreover, I’m not sure why I, a model citizen, must be treated like a criminal in order to gain access to a medicine I’d bought for colds and allergies for years with no hassle.
Yes, I understand that certain legislators are concerned that some people use these pills to create other illegal drugs, namely methamphetamine. But I am not procuring a hundred boxes. All I want is a twenty pack, so I, too, like the rest of my fellow Georgians, can breathe through my nose during hay fever season. Ask anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies, and they’ll tell you that the pursuit of our happiness is tied directly to our sinuses.
Oddly enough, other over-the-counter drugs which cause an equal or worse amount of harm remain easily accessible and are prominently displayed from grocery to convenience store shelf. People can even throw them in their cart and buy them with the rest of their groceries. I wonder if what I’m facing isn’t just overreaction to some people abusing my favored decongestant, but perhaps discrimination against those of us with over-stimulated nasal passages. The only thing worse than throbbing, plugged sinuses during hay fever season is being made to feel like a criminal.
In order to get unplugged, I must now schlep my grocery cart and the little card with a picture of the medicine I want over to the pharmacy drop off desk. This card, by the way, sits next to the wide variety of pills that either don’t work for me or that have cough suppressants or some other ingredient I don’t need added to them. I could blithely toss a pack of these “good” pills into the cart with my milk, eggs, and a three-pack of economy-sized tissue, and, believe me, I would if they worked. Once I gain the pharmacist assistant’s attention, she glances at my card and tries to pawn another medication off on me. I then have to explain that I am certain I want the twelve hour Sudafed. I know it works. She claims XYZ will work just as well for some people. But I am not some people. I want to ask her why I should be coerced into spending money on something that probably won’t work for me when I’ve done nothing wrong. I am tempted to rant about the last decongestant they took away from me, twelve hour Tavist D, may it rest in peace, which was pulled from the market because a handful of people had strokes. But all I say in a firm tone is that I prefer the Sudafed. It doesn’t end there.
Next, she asks me if I am sure I want twenty and not ten caplets. Like I want to come back any sooner to go through this again? I want to scream, “Don’t you see the pollen outside? Don’t you know I’ve got another month of this crap to get through?” I merely say, “I need the twenty pack.” The assistant then asks for my driver’s license, which I hand her. She takes it to a desk, looks at some list which indicates perhaps who is allowed to buy this medicine and who isn’t. When she returns with my license and the clipboard I have to sign in order to receive my perfectly legal decongestant (People, we aren’t talking oxycotin here), I am compliant. I walk around to the pick-up desk about twenty feet away where I must now write a separate check for the medication. I’m not sure why but suspect our legislators are afraid that some drug addict posing as an allergy sufferer might steal the Sudafed from my grocery cart before I get to the main checkout registers; these decongestant bandits will then, perhaps, turn my twenty pills into an illegal drug. Even though I’m admittedly irritated and embarrassed, I don’t cause a fuss. After all, it’s not the pharmacist assistant’s fault that our lawmakers are forcing us into this silly dance.
What’s next I wonder? Will crafters have to show their drivers’ licenses and sign on the dotted lines to buy glue because some people sniff it to get high? Will we place cans of spray paint behind counters at the hardware store and create a spray paint registry database of known spray paint purchasers? Will this ridiculousness end soon, or will I be standing in some room of hayfever and cold sufferers saying, “Hi, I’m Maureen, and I like to breathe through my nose”?
Stop by my other blog
...I'm giving away fifteen copies of The Rest Falls Away
between now and April 15!
Labels: Colleen Gleason, contest, Gardella Vampire Chronicles
Congrats to the finalists!
As Delle mentioned in her post yesterday, RWA’s Golden Heart and RITA finalists were announced, and the following Noodlers are finalists this year. Congrats to everyone, and good luck in the finals. It's fun because no Noodlers are competing against each other -- well, except me, and I'm competing against myself. :)Golden Heart:
Mary Fechter, BENEATH THE SURFACE, Single Title
Moni Thompson, ACCIDENTAL TRUTH, Inspirational
Theresa Ragan, RETURN OF THE ROSE, Paranormal
Trish Milburn, COVEN, Young Adult
Trish Milburn, THE WISHING TREE, Young AdultRITA:
Terry McLaughlin, MAKE-BELIEVE COWBOY, Long Contemporary
Stephanie Rowe, DATE ME BABY, ONE MORE TIME, Paranormal
Labels: awards, GH, RITA
Surviving OMG Day
I got so excited watching all the RITA and Golden Heart finalist announcement today, I almost forgot to blog! And that's what I was going to blog about!
I love this day. I was one of those on the GH list six different years, and one year twice. That means I know finalists from 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 because we shared the honor. And there are others in other chapters I also know. True, I quit entering (what would I do with more Golden Hearts? Make earrings?) but that doesn't make it any less exciting to see their names pop up. Just looking at thenames we know from Melynda Beth Skinner's unofficial list, I know over half of them. Hooray and congratulations to all of you!
But there's the other side of finalist announcement day. For every finalist, there are about nine others who didn't final. Nine-tenths of the entrants are feeling really disappointed. I've been there, too, and I know it hurts. REALLY HURTS.
Not finalling doesn't mean you are bad writers, or even mediocre writers. It doesn't mean you didn't make the grade. At the same time, it doesn't mean the RITA and Golden Heart are valueless crapshoots. Lord, how I hate that term!
It does mean that judging of any creative endeavor is not objective. I'm always amazed at how hard we work to quantify something that can't be quantified. It's an impossibility. How can you compare how much I love a book with how much you love a different book? Impossible. We don't ever want it to be any other way, because in order to quantify the creative, we'd have to give up everything esoteric and measure what only can be measured. We'd be left with such marvelous qualities as the ability to paginate and set margins precisely.
At the same time, it really hurts when an author learns her particular five judges didn't love her story as much as another author's five judges. Maybe she missed by a mere fraction of a point. Or maybe, horrors, she happened to get the very judges who could not appreciate her story. Or maybe, just maybe, the judges who read her story saw the flaws she secretly knows are there. --Maybe she really wasn't good enough--
Don't tell yourself that. It will accomplish nothing but cutting holes in your self esteem. Stories that don't final one year frequently final the next year. Maybe they just need more polish. Maybe that sneaking suspicion that you should have cut out the prologue was right. Maybe it needed major re-construction. Don't beat yourself up over it. All authors have to fight these battles. The ones who "win" are the ones who throw every effort they can into uncovering their story's flaws (and all stories have them) and meticulously work to fix them.
Maybe it was your competition. Your story may be great but maybe this year your competition was nothing short of spectacular. You will never know. And maybe it was really nothing more than that their stories touched the hearts of those who judged. And that's what makes the best romance every time.
The only thing you really know is your work. You can learn how to make it better, and believe me, it can be better. The biggest battle a writer faces is in honing the story.
So get busy. Do it.
I have a critique group meeting this weekend, and for the first time ever I don't have anything to bring. Not that I haven't been writing, but the story I'm working on, I'm not ready to share.
It's not that I don't trust my cps. I know they are good writers and can see plot holes and have my best interests at heart. But I don't trust myself to continue to love the story if they say something negative about it. I've had trouble writing this past year, and my confidence is still pretty shaky. This book is different for me and I just don't trust my ability to hold onto the love of writing. And my worry is, if they shake my confidence, will I have trust in anything else they tell me that will make the story better?
I need to remember how to trust myself. This is my first paranormal, and as I'm not much of a plotter, I'm not all that great at the world building. It's had to come to me as I write. Only I've been letting the world building bits lock me up, and I wasn't writing. Well, I was, but it was slow going.
So Saturday night I went outside to sit on the front porch. I wrote and wrote and wrote, and the legend just came. It's been there the whole time, but I haven't trusted myself to know this.
My friend sent me her first chapter, a book she's been working on for over a year. She's stepped away from it and gone back to it, and it's a fantastic story, a shapeshifter, very sexy (and not usually my cuppa). So I read it last night, and sent back comments. But now that I'm thinking about it, I don't know if I couched my words so she'll continue to have faith in the story. Will she react the same way I did?
Where do you place your trust in your writing?
And just a PSA - Grey's Anatomy is a rerun tomorrow, but Supernatural is all new - and about werewolves!!
What 300 Can Teach Us about Storytelling by Diane Gaston Perkins
In its opening weekend, the movie 300
earned a whopping $70.9 million, the best March opening ever. I did my part! In fact, I’ve seen 300 three times now. I LOVED THIS MOVIE. It is no secret that I’m a card-carrying Gerard Butler
fan, so I was primed to love the movie, but even I was surprised it was as good as it was.
For those who may not know, 300 is based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller
. It tells the story of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, when 300 Spartans sacrificed their lives battling the largest Persian army ever assembled. This battle is considered a pivotal event in history preserving Western Civilization. The movie was filmed against a blue screen; the setting and special effects were computer generated, making it a whole new movie-going experience.
The movie is visually stunning and the performances are superb. I was totally sucked in to the world that was created. What was it about this movie that worked so well for me?
Anyone who has seen photos like this one cannot deny the appeal of all those fantastic male physiques. Gerard Butler is truly magnificent looking. But, at least for me, the actors quickly became Spartan soldiers and I forgot it was Gerry Butler and felt like I was watching King Leonidas.
But what can I learn about storytelling from 300?
1. Have something HUGE at stake. In 300, what is at stake is Greek freedom from the Persians. History tells us that perhaps the whole of Western Civilization was in the hands of the brave 300.
2. Have strong universal themes. In 300, it is very clear to me that the themes are of honor and sacrifice, to do what is right no matter what the cost. As Leonidas said, “Spartans never retreat. Spartans never surrender. Spartans die.”
3. Also have something at stake that is more personal, more human. The movie makers used the strong love between Leonidas and his wife, Gorgo, in this way. In part, you know that each are fighting for the survival of the other.
4. Make your love scene count for something more than a love scene. Too often we read love scenes that are just kinda stuck in a story, but in 300, it is as Leonidas comes to bed with his wife that he makes his decision of whether to fight or not. Gorgo asks him, “Ask yourself, my dearest love, what would a free man do?”
5. Have a worthy villain. The comic-book version of Xerxes, as all good comic books do, is an over-the-top, fantasy character who is deliciously sinister and seductively tempting. Add that he commands a million soldiers, he seems more than a worthy adversary to King Leonidas, who looks as invincible as a man can look.
6. Make every minor character as vivid as you can. One of the things that so impressed me about 300 was how the movie makers, in very light strokes--a few scenes, a bit of dialogue--made us care about the Spartan soldiers, made us boo Xerxes minions.
7. Create images that are memorable. The movie makers did this with their computer images, but as writers, we do this with our words. We ought to use language that creates vivid images; create lines that readers will remember.
I said this same thing after watching Phantom of the Opera-
-maybe there is more to learn from the movie than I’ve noticed so far. Maybe I should go see it again. Anybody want to go with me? Let’s go to an IMAX theater this time!
Did you see 300? Not everyone gushes about it as I do. What did you think?
What elements of storytelling do you think are important?
Diane-who-is-counting-her-pennies-to-see-if-she-has-enough-for-the-matineeThis blog is also posted at Warner Women
Labels: 300, Diane Gaston, Diane Perkins, Gerard Butler, Storytelling
Is fame the new love? -- Kiki Clark
I lunched with my writer friend Richard Goode-Allen, and we covered our usual topics of writing, relationships, writing conferences, children, writing revisions, and personal growth. We were standing on the curb, trying to disengage before our parking meters ran out, when he summed up that day's particular conversation by saying, "Fame is the new love."
Consider the following.
- A recent poll by the Pew Research Center showed that 51% of people in their 20s picked "to be famous" as their generation's most important goal in life.
Now, granted, the five choices (wealth, fame, altruism, leadership and spirituality) did not include love or happiness. But fame?
It used to be that if you wanted to be picked out of a crowd ("You, with the face!"), you had to at least dress up and go to Hollywood. Now YouTube, blog notoriety and reality shows give the impression that Andy Warhol's ubiquitous 15 minutes have lengthened to at least three seasons of television and a recording contract, followed by permanent residency in the tabloids. Princeton Review lists "personal assistant to someone famous" as one of the best entry-level jobs. Sure, you might work up to 80 hours a week, but you also get "a glimpse of how the truly fabulous live," as well as access to "the glamour professions."
Of course there is a downside to fame. To see that, you only have to look at Britney Spear's pathetically denuded pate on a magazine cover. Fame means that everything -- the way you treat your children and pets, your bad habits, your addictions, your finances, your career, your house, your sex life, your skin, your hair, the jokes you tell and the company you keep -- is scrutinized and criticized by everyone who sits in a dentist's waiting room or takes a magazine into the john. If the Pew Research Center had included "complete loss of privacy" as a goal choice, how many people would have chosen that?
Richard and I have a theory that this phenomenon is circular. In a culture that values wealth, fame and general fabulousness, the idea of compromise and (gasp!) sacrificing things that you want for the good of a relationship seems intolerable. And yet, without some one to love you, where do you get your emotional support and validation? From the masses, baby!
For those who list fame as their most important goal, I have a few questions. Is fame easier to get than love? Does it require less personal sacrifice? If everyone found love, would love be worth any less? As more people achieve fame for less reason, what is fame worth?
My Story Angels—The End of the Journey
In September, I blogged about my struggle to get my story, BERRY’S LICK, rolling. After several attempts to find a familiar structure, I gave up and decided to break the story into two parts separated by a period of 30 years. I had no idea whether the structure would work.
The characters led the way. It was a wild ride with lots of surprises along the journey. Now at the end, I can say it was one of the most interesting writing adventures I’ve been on. I can see why “flying into the mist” writers approach each writing day with a sense of excitement. I was as curious to know what was going to happen to my characters as I imagine the characters must have been.
If you’ve seen the movie STRANGER THAN FICTION, you can imagine what it felt like for the character Harold Crick not to know how his story was going to end. Writing blind feels the same way. After awhile, Harold quit worrying about his fate and started living his life in color instead of the black and white. The rewards for his bravery were tremendous. He learned to play the guitar. He found he loved cookies and a woman--things he never would have found if he had given into his desire to play it safe.
I must admit my story angels have been generous along my journey. I’ve found plenty of threads to tie the two parts together so they feel like one story. There are mirror scenes, continuing conflicts and character arcs, all conveniently placed. I’m actually looking forward to the editing process. I can already see themes and motifs, which, once heightened, will make the story even stronger.
My writing experience with BERRY”S LICK has convinced me that the first draft of a story needs to be told with an adventurous spirit. I had a painting teacher in college who encouraged his students not to be afraid of making mistakes. He’d often tell us, “If you’re going to make a mistake, make it a big one.” In other words, half-hearted attempts were just not acceptable. Be bold. And then he’d take your canvas, turn it upside down, and tell you to start again.
I know this hard when a writer finds a safe process that brings marginal success—even awards and publication. We writers tend to want to repeat the process that worked the first time and not adventure off into the unknown. In order to stay fresh, we need to grow. Growing means change. We must be brave.
If your story angels are like mine, you probably don’t have a choice. Commiserations and congratulations are in order! Go forth and be brave!
For those of you who have no interest in sports, March Madness usually means college basketball. I admit to being an avid fan and have blogged on this subject before, but this year March Madness has nothing to do with basketball. It means spring cleaning.
Taking a slice of advice from Stephanie Rowe in a previous blog, hubby and I have regrouted our shower. I must confess he did most of it, but I worked quality control by making sure he didn't miss any places. It is looking quite good. The mildew stains are gone. Mildew has a way of growing in the shower overnight here in Florida, so getting rid of that is an accomplishment.
In addition to the shower, we'll be cleaning out the closets and garage. (Why don't garages stay clean?) Since we've only lived in our house for five years, I wonder how two people have accumulated so much stuff that our closets are packed. We can't find anything. So lots of stuff will need to go. That leads me to the madness part. I have trouble parting with stuff, even stuff I haven't used in ages. That definitely includes items of clothing I haven't worn in the five years we've lived here. I know that's pathetic, but I keep thinking I'll wear them sometime. So I'll have to be strong and say good bye to those tops that are pilled and the pants that are faded. I'll miss them, but my closet with be cleaner. A bright spot in all this madness is the opportunity to fill the empty hangers with new clothes. That's a nice thought.
But before I clean out any closets, I have to fill out my brackets for the real March Madness. It starts tomorrow.
A Chance to Win!
Diane Gaston is guest-blogging (and gushing about Gerard Butler's appearance in 300
) over on Colleen Gleason's blog today...
She's also giving away a copy of her latest book, Innocence and Impropriety
.Stop on by
and comment for a chance to win!
Labels: Colleen Gleason, contest, Diane Gaston
Eyes of the Dragon
by Bridget Stuart
Stress, baby. That's the word. Stress. When you're about to close on a new house and embark on a series of major renovations before you can even think about moving in, while struggling with a few minor (okay, MAJOR) legal hassles, AND you have several deadlines you have no prayer of meeting, AND also have to manage to give your children enough confidence-bolstering, relationship-building, loving face time to meet their needs...stress is your bosom buddy. Stress is your puppy, dogging your every footstep. Stress is your lover, keeping you awake for loooong sheet-tossing, pillow-biting nights. Stress is your--okay, you get it already.
Continuing on the loss-of-sleep theme, I should mention that I did get a prescription from the doctor to help ease my path into dreams. I use it only occasionally--very occasionally--but, ahhh. The pills work. Sadly, in my Calvinist way, I allot myself a mere half-pill each time I simply can't lie there like a two-by-four any longer at three a.m. No siree, no taking a whole pill before turning off the light at ten for me! I grit my teeth and lose an entire five hours before debating whether it's too late to actually try my meager half-dose, wondering if I'll be able to wake up at six if I drug myself at three, etc., etc. Does anyone else do this to themselves? God, I hope not. Maybe I have some rare form of pill-phobia.
The result ain't pretty. I was volunteering in my little boy's classroom the other day, and the kids were making paper dragons, coloring in all the details with marker pens. I was particularly proud of my guy's cool, red-veined dragon eyes. "Awesome, Richard," I said. (Yes, around first-graders I admit to saying 'awesome' quite frequently.) "Where did you get the idea for the bloodshot eyes?'
"From your eyes, mommy! They look just like that!"
Must. Sleep. Must. Sleep.
Extreme Makeover--Home Edition
I had to comment on tonight's episode of Extreme Makeover. In this month's edition of the Wet Noodle Posse e-zine, we did a superheroine article on one of the teenager's involved in helping make a dream come true for a family who suffered a triple whammy of tragedy. First, they lost their home to a fire. Then they lost their son/brother in a head on collision while trying to rebuild their home. Then Faith Tipton-Smith lost her job and they were unable to finish rebuilding the home her son Ransom had designed before his death.
The community came together and applied to Extreme Makeover to have the house finished, and tonight we got to see it happen. Did you watch the show? I don't know about you, but I've never watched that show without bawling at least once. Tonight, I cried most of the way through it. Partly because I heard about the accident at the time it happened through the mother of Chelsea Korzenko. Chelsea was one of Ransom's many friends, and the loss was devastating for her, as it was for all the student's at Cherokee High.
I almost feel like I know Missy after writing the article and seeing her picture so many times. I was so impressed with her on the show, her obvious love for her mother and little sister, her love for her brother. The whole show gave me warm fuzzies that will stay with me for a long time.
And if you're not an organ donor--as Ransom was--why not? We got to meet the very talented young lady who received his heart. And that was pretty awesome all by itself.
I may have a hard time falling asleep tonight, thinking about that show. ABC, you're awesome for doing that for this family. Thank you.
Oh, boy! Encouraging reluctant readers, part II
By Charity Tahmaseb
If you’ve had a passing acquaintance with the male of the species, chances are you’ve encountered the: that’s chick lit
or that's a chick flick
argument of why He Man won’t read/see that book/movie.
We’ve run into this with my son, with a slightly different take. Recently, a girl who sits next to him at school was reading a book from the Dear Dumb Diary series--the one about haunted pants (truly, I have no idea, otherwise, I’d elaborate)--and shared parts of it with him. She’s also the girl who pokes and flicks him at regular intervals. This, my son tells me, is how you know ten-year-old girls like you.
In any case, my son read the entire series, devoured each book. He has read enough that he qualifies for the end of the school year trip to the local amusement park.
Except, he won’t do the write ups on the diary books and turn them in. These are “girl” books. To do so would seriously damage his ten-year-old-boy street cred.
This week’s crisis involved the award winning book he had to choose for the regular monthly book project. He picked Because of Winn-Dixie
--and got flak for it. It’s a “girl” book, with a girl protagonist.
To his credit, he stuck with it. He read it fast, not out of fear of being caught, but because he couldn’t stop. He’d walk to and from the car with his head down, eyes on the page.
What more can a writing mom ask for?
Except maybe a good conversation about books and perception and how there really isn’t such a thing as a girl book or a boy book. There are just books.
Now if I could only get him to do those write ups.
In love with love stories
Last weekend I was fortunate to be able to attend the Celebrate Romance conference in Kansas City. What a wonderful time I had, meeting fellow fans of the romance genre and sharing with them my passion for love stories.
I've always loved reading, ever since I was little. Remember the monthly catalogues from Scholastic books? I used to beg my mother to let me order extras. And summer vacation reading programs at the local library? Heaven. I was always one of those who won a prize for the most books read--the easiest awards ever earned.
As I grew older it became difficult to find a steady supply of the types of stories I craved. My tastes were fairly eclectic, but my favorite authors couldn't possibly produce new books at the rate I devoured them. I asked friends for recommendations, I haunted bookstores, I reread my favorites, I even scanned old college texts.
Ten years ago, something wonderful happened: I read a romance novel. I wasn't aware that it was a romance novel when I read it, but I soon found out during my next trip to the bookstore. I discovered an entire genre of books like the one I'd just read--books filled with lush history, or suspenseful mystery, or snappy contemporary flair. Books to satisfy my eclectic tastes and provide me with a happy ending every single time.
But the best perk of my newly adopted genre, I've found, is meeting other romance readers, readers like the people I met in Kansas City last weekend. Intelligent, articulate, passionate people who deeply love their love stories, who sigh over endings, who eagerly trade their favorite titles, who travel great distances to share their excitement with others. It's almost like being caught up in a romance of my own: a love affair with love stories.
I love romance. I love every part of this genre's world, from the stories to the authors to the readers. I love every character in it, those in the books I treasure and those sharing my table at a readers' luncheon. I love every step toward the next happy ending, whether it's struggling through a story's black moment or hiking through an airport on the way to a conference. This particular reading road stretches far ahead, paved with all the optimism of new love and new friendship, bound at the edges in fanciful covers and beautiful smiles, waiting to satisfy my craving and lift my spirits.
The happy sigh you hear today isn't because I just started a great new book or finished another, it's not because I have a to-be-read pile stacked to the rafters and know which bookstore shelves are stocked with more. It's because I've got a new batch of friends to share in the joy.
Friends Helping Friends
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship, and about the kinds of things friends do for one another and expect from one another.
A very dear friend of mine was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She and I belong to a close-knit group of writers, and everyone in the group has rallied around to support her in whatever way they can—providing transportation and accommodation when she has to travel to the city, and accompanying her to appointments and medical treatments. My friend finds this quite overwhelming. She told me that she’d do exactly the same thing for anyone else but would never ask for it or expect it from others.
When I thought about what she said, I realized I feel the same way, even though there’s no logical explanation for it. Why soldier through a terrible ordeal alone when I can surround myself with the love and support of my very dear friends? I believe that somewhere in the answer to that question lies the true meaning of friendship, and that perhaps we don’t have to ask our friends for help because in our hearts we know they’ll be there when we need them.
Labels: breast cancer, friendship, support
Are We Crazy?
Today is my daughter's second birthday. My son is ten weeks old. And my husband and I are contemplating a family trip to Europe next month.
So obviously, the answer is yes, we are crazy. My husband is tempted to go on a business-related trip to Amsterdam, and I'm thinking, heck, I might as well pop over to London and meet my editor at Harlequin Mills & Boon. And haven't I always fantasized about us being the type of parents who manage to lead interesting lives of adventure, while at the same time inculcating a sense of culture in our children? (For instance, our baby is sure to appreciate Buckingham Palace - and I'm sure our two-year-old can't wait to view the masterpieces at the National Gallery!)
My question is this: have any of you ever tried to do something so brave/stupid? How did it turn out? Are we absolutely certifiable to even try?
International Women's Day
I received a promotional cd recently. "Putumayo Presents Women Of The World Acoustic."
It was compiled in recognition of International Women's Day, March 8th. This led me to scratch my head and wonder what the heck International Women's Day was. Here's what I learned:
A Women's Day was first celebrated in the United States in 1909. A quick Google to Wikipedia tells me:
"It is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women. Among other relevant historic events, it commemorates the Triangle Factory Fire (New York, 1911), where over 140 women lost their lives."
A full history of the tradition is here:http://www.un.org/ecosocdev/geninfo/women/womday97.htm
where it states: "International Women's Day is the story of ordinary women as makers of history; it is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men."
Wow. And it's been going on for almost a hundred years!
Actually, when I think about it, a hundred years seems a bit tragic. I mean, what happened to women before there was a day designated each year to looking at their struggles and triumphs?
And what happens today in countries where women's struggles and triumphs aren't even recognized once a year?
I always feel a bit helpless when I start contemplating what women are going thru in undeveloped countries--or my own, for that matter. But I feel like I'm just some ordinary woman living in tiny-town Canada. I'm not in a position to effect change.
However, that's not true. I received this cd, which is wonderful, by the way. It's a compilation of female vocalists from around the world, backed up by guitar and other strings. Only two cuts are in English and they're all mellow and perfect.
So I'm sitting here listening to it while I Blog and contemplate women and struggles and triumphs. I likely wouldn't have even looked up International Women's Day if this cd hadn't happened into my mailbox. I wouldn't have read that bit about "ordinary women as makers of history." Not that I think I'm making history here, but this ordinary woman is now inspired to make a small contribution by passing along the message that International Women's Day is important.
Women need help all over the world. They need help in our own communities. Sometimes *we* need help.
On March 8th, take a moment to reflect on a woman who has mentored you. Celebrate your own achievements that may not have been available to a woman a hundred years ago. Take a moment to feel the joy of being a woman and what you offer the world, even if it's simply your unique perspective.
And if you're in a mood to pamper yourself while making a contribution, check out the Putumayo cd. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Global Fund for Women in support of their efforts to promote and defend the human rights of women and girls around the world. www.putumayo.com
I have a friend named Renee who lives in Ft. Lauderdale who’s (I’m guessing here) about 20 years older than I am. She’s as lively and fun as some of the women I know who are 20 years my junior.
I spoke to her tonight about an upcoming visit to the Orlando area. She wants to go to EPCOT (one of the Disney theme parks) and I agreed it would be a great idea. The weather has been beautiful here and I can’t imagine a better way to spend the day—laughing and talking and visiting the different national pavilions. Breakfast in France, lunch in China, dinner in Spain or Canada, or Sweden-—talk about your globe trotting! And the shopping!!! Will I be able to leave the credit cards at home???
Before we hung up she mentioned that though we’d known each other for a number of years (almost ten, by my count) the number of hours we’ve spent together is relatively small. Yet, somehow we’ve forged a bond that time and separation can’t break.
I told her we’re soul sisters—-and I believe it with all my heart. She’s someone with whom I have so much in common that I can’t believe we didn’t pop out of the womb side-by-side.
I have two other very dear friends. One lives in northern Ohio and the other outside Nashville. Though I rarely get to see them face to face, we talk on the phone whenever we can. Even when things get crazy busy and we go a month or so without a call, we can fall back into the rhythm of the relationship within seconds. We have that sort of psychic connection that has the phone ringing when we’re at our lowest ebb and yearning for a friendly voice. My friend Norma even sends perfect Christmas gifts—-I invariably open her packages and think, “Exactly what I needed. How DID she know?”
I’m godmother to my friend Elizabeth’s oldest son, and proud to say that he and his wife are making me a great god-mother this summer—-and even more proud to say that I was one of the first people Elizabeth called when she learned the happy news.
I’m blessed because of my friends-—the sisters of my soul, of my heart. I guess it goes without saying that my Noodler sisters hold a special place there, too.
I’ll bet you’re thinking about your soul sister right now. I’d love it if you’d tell me about her. Then, when you’ve got a minute to chat, maybe you can give her a call.
Making dreams come true
I'm a big fan of ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
. There isn't an episode during which I don't tear up listening to the trials each family has gone through and how the beautiful new home they're receiving is giving them a much-needed break and hope for a brighter future. I've heard a few critics of the show say things like they shouldn't spend so much on each house so they could do more modest homes but a greater number of them. Well, here's the thing, would the show have the ratings it does and ABC continue to be able to build homes if they built 10 average Joe houses each episode? I don't think so. This show is about what seems like an unattainable dream. The smiles and tears on the families' faces are priceless. I don't know any of the recipients, but I'm truly happy for each of them.
This month's Wet Noodle Posse e-zine pays tribute to a young SuperHeroine, Chelsea Korzenko
. Chelsea took part in one of the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
builds. The new home in rural Georgia was for her friend Missy and her family. Like all the families ABC helps, the family had been through some truly tough times -- the loss of a son to a car wreck and the loss of their home to fire. Be sure to read about how Chelsea and her friends came together to help build Missy and her family a dream home designed by the brother Missy lost. I'm guessing your eyes won't be dry when you're finished, but your heart will be lifted. Then share a comment here. Are you a fan of the show? Which one(s) stand out in your memory the most?