Dear Maria

Last Saturday I participated in the Women’s March in Chicago. It was kind of a spontaneous outing for me. On Wednesday or Thursday my daughter asked me if I wanted to go for a walk on the nature trail but I said I wanted to go to the march. On Friday at work we were preparing for an event this Monday which coincidently included posters. That’s where I got the motivation to make a poster for the march. My first attempts were:

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I have a long simmering hatred of Trump. I feel he is an opportunistic, self serving liar. You may feel different but as you see I am much more concerned with him taking payments from foreign governments while he is president AKA conflict of interest.

My next posters were a little more personal:

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My second problem with Trump is his racist comments-Mexicans, Muslims…illegals.

Let me explain my last poster-

#1 I am a woman, mother, grandmother-I have a daughter, daughter in law, sister, nieces. I do not want them to ever experience that uncomfortable feeling, as I have, of being not quite good enough because they are female. At times I feel like young women have gone too far in the “girl power” arena but then I think back on all the small slights I have suffered. For example, I was laid off from a good paying US government contract job which utilized my Air Force skills when I was 5 months pregnant. About 6 weeks later a head hunter called me raving about my skills and promising me big money–when could I come in for the interview?? I said great but there’s just one “thing”…I’m 7 months pregnant. His words and I quote because they still burn 32 years later were…”Who is going to hire you like that?!?”

I have been a victim of sexual assault or in my case I was beaten up because I had my period-this happened in the basement of a house-while my girlfriend was having sex with her boyfriend in the next room and his family watched TV upstairs.

#2 I am a veteran. Okay, I served under Jimmy Carter but then under Ronald Regan. Things changed and got very serious, very quickly. I understand what it means to be an airman, your body is literally owned by the government. I served in a remote location in Turkey and gave birth to my daughter by emergency c-section in a trailer hospital. I experienced a Turkish military coup d’etat and lived under Turkish military rule for my 12 month deployment. I was placed on a rapid deployment team and had several “practices” in my last year. I signed a paper giving my babysitter custody of my daughter on a moments notice and transfer that custody to a family member for up to 6 months.

Trump apparently has plans to privatize the VA, my current employer. In some instances, say for a hip replacement or prostatectomy that may be perfectly acceptable but the VA provides a wide range of mental health services which focuses on PTSD and other veteran specific conditions. I admire our social work service for their sensitivity and expertise dealing with veterans who struggle to describe the horror of being in combat.. I do not support sending young (or old) vets to a local hospital for the multitude of veteran issues-they will be lost. Simply, the VA offers a camaraderie and acceptance that is not achievable in the private sector.

#3 I am a nurse. RN. For the last 30 years I have worked mostly in ICU, both in the US and England. iI someone asked what I do I would proudly say-“I save lives”.

Trump and the republicans are hell bent on dismantling the ACA. I vehemently disagree with this. I know how much work has gone into transitioning people to ACA. I believe in getting as many people as possible some form of health insurance. I have seen what happens when people do not have health insurance and do not participate in preventive medicine.

If there are issues with the ACA then address those issues but don’t just wipe out a whole system because it reminds you of a previous president.

Back to my title for this post

I have a very dear friend who is pro-life. I totally respect her view because I feel that she lives it and never wavers.

I just want to say

Dear Maria,

Please don’t let this march come between us. This march turned out to be a great moment of hope for me as I have been suffering extreme anxiety and worry since the election. It was not a single issue march and I think it was a bad decision to exclude pro-life groups.

Many people had many different views. The most empowering part was seeing 250,000 women (and men!) from infants to wheelchair bound –all graciously acknowledging each other on a warm. sunny Saturday in January 2017.

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Other things

Under stress people cope in different ways. I am increasingly desperate to retire to the country and raise chickens, grow vegetables, gather a collection of pets…waiting for some little people to call me granny.

In the meantime, I have started looking into my genealogy on that popular website.

I knew that 3 of my grandparents were German but thought all my life the key person, my paternal grandfather, was Irish. He and all the men before him back to the 1700’s were Scottish. Renfrew, Glasgow Scotland specifically. I have long wanted to visit Glasgow over its more tourist friendly big brother Edinborough because of its association with Rennie Macintosh.

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So this family tree thing is a little harder than I thought….and it is becoming a feminist thing. Despite having a mostly immigrant family, I can find loads of stuff about the men…the ladies?  more tricky.

Their lasting identity is their married name. Men have naturalization papers, WW1 draft registration cards, ship manifests~~~the women were too busy at home to make any impact on social registers. I have yet to come across a woman in my family that didn’t have at least 5 children.

Anna Weber and Theresa Garber, who were you before you married Julius and Micheal???

Theresa and Micheal are a particularly endearing couple. They arrived in this country separately in 1906, Micheal had $7 in his pocket but they married in 1907 and subsequently had 6 daughters. (#2 being my grandma)

So much more pleasant than reading today’s news~~

never too late…

Today I did something quite casually that I have never-NEVER done in my entire adult life. I bought mascara and lipstick. Shocking?! Yes, between living in NYC and agreeing to be a guest at a wedding, my current state of grooming is just not cutting it.

So, there’s two thing here…being a middle aged, white haired women is next to invisible. There are plenty of middle age women but they are clearly dyed~complete with cleavage wrinkles and chicken wings. If I was a photographer I would have pictures of these manicured women (young and old) with pic of their backside with various labels….”fake tan” “crazy” “botox” “stalker” “boob job” “anorexic”…because that is what they are.

Up until this point I have been completely natural-I wax my eyebrows and pluck the odd hair off my top lip but the rest is just the way I am. But with my hair going rapidly from gray to white (thanks grandma) I look washed out…

I have agreed to accompany a good friend (and lover) to a wedding in October. I will meet his very judgmental Italian family. I’m sure they are lovely people but even the grooms backwards Pennsylvania family will not prevent me from having to walk the gauntlet….

Mascara and lipstick seems to have made miraculous advances in the past 40 years…

What’s next??? Some Amy Winehouse eyeliner??