Why I Marched and What Comes Next For Me

Panoramic shot of my view of the Chicago Woman’s March, 2017.

I wrote most of this post before the world went crazy with people sniping and commenting for and against the Woman’s March last weekend. To me, this event was democracy at its finest.  Aren’t we lucky to live in a country where we we can stand up for our beliefs, try to affect change?

If you chose not to join, that is absolutely your right. If you participated, I hope it encourages you to engage. Instead of women (and men) ripping on each other for their choices about the rallies over social media, and the negativity that has spread, try to TALK to people who might think differently than you: learn WHY we joined, we watched, we marched, why we spoke. Don’t let the outcome of this worldwide event divide us further.

I choose HOPE as the new administration starts office. I also choose awareness, involvement, and vigilance. And don’t be daft enough to ask if I voted—of course I did.

MY experience
I joined an overwhelming estimated 250,000 women and men this past weekend during the Woman’s March in Chicago. My first protest rally ever! The thought that people were marching around the country and world only lifted my spirits more.  The aerial shots are amazing.

It was a gorgeous, sunny January Chicago day. I was buoyed by those around us—every age, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, physical ability represented. The mood was so empowering, curious, bold, and positive, volunteers and vendors welcoming, the police calming and strong, drivers engaged as we marched through the city after the rally.

Amazingly, we ended up 10 feet from the main stage during the rally. We listened to a wide range of speakers talk passionately about their life experiences. And many who work on the front lines daily with organizations involving women, immigration, Native Americans, LGTBQ, Chicago Teacher’s Union, Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, and many more spoke. A complete list can be found here.

(note: leads from Hamilton spoke, then led the crowd in singing “Let it Be”)

The organizers tried to cancel the march, since the route was overflowing with participants (5 times the expectations!). But the masses ruled that day, filling the streets with pink hats, engaging signs, strollers, wheelchairs, joy, purpose, calm. The shouts of “this is how democracy works” filled the air, as the streets of the Loop became one. From what I heard, there were zero participant arrests among 250,000 in Chicago.

Why I participated
People have asked me, why did I choose to be part of this event? I joined for myself, for my daughters, and family, for my friends, for those on the bubble of so many women’s and human rights issues in our town and country. Not agreeing with the misogynistic words and previous actions of our new President,  I wanted be part of an event that lets this new administration that we will be watching what they do with women’s rights, with immigration, with health insurance. It far surpassed my expectations.

So what now?
As one speaker said, “if do you do nothing after today, then this just becomes a giant pep rally.”

I think we need to personally choose the area(s)  we want to help galvanize, by involvement and/or supporting financially. There were many number of issues discussed at the event; it would be impossible to be involved in all of them.

We need to watch the changes this administration implements, to not move women’s rights backwards. I will take some time to select which group(s) to become more personally involved with.

For work, I will continue to speak and write about promoting women working in technology, since we are woefully under represented.

And if you chose not to participate, or do not understand our fears and anger, that it okay too. We are fortunate to live in a country where we can have a variety of ideals. .

And why did I share my personal story?  So I remember.  And am counted in one of the largest single day demonstrations in the world.  Time to march forward.



Just 10 Minutes a Day #10MaD

Ten minutes a day.  (10MaD) That’s all the writing time needed to fulfill my new years resolution. (see related post here for more details about the #10MaD project). Simply write or work on a photo project. Why is completing 10 minutes of decent writing so hard?  After 2 weeks, I think it’s in the planning.

When I start a larger project, like writing a blog post or shooting a basketball game, the 10 minute minimum quickly becomes 30 minutes, an hour, two.  On unscheduled project days, I remember at 10:30 pm that I need to write. My creativity is stalled, my brain fatigued, and my excitement become a chore. Turning two hobbies I love into a reluctant “must do” is certainly not a sustainable way to maintain momentum.

Awareness is the driver to success here! I will carve out quieter and set times to complete on the on-going writing and photo projects.  Better preparation and the reality I am not writing at full creative strength as the day winds down will certainly improve my chances to actually work on that dreamed-of novel. 

Finding 10MaD isn’t the hard part. It’s finding the right 10 minutes that will help lead to success.


P.S.  Thus far, I have written creatively or done a photography project each day in 2016. So the resolution is still intact.

Bow to the Giant Zucchini

Zucchini bread. Grilled zucchini.  Zucchini in stir fry.  Zucchini tart. Zucchini fritters. Raw zucchini on a veggie platter.  Zucchini enchiladas with homemade sauce.  It is zucchini time of year!   It IS a bit of zucchini over-abundance, sharing them with friends and family, wanting to slip them in neighbors’ cars.  But zucchini is so versatile, and it has given me a chance to try some new recipes.  I think about winter, when the fresh veggies come from countries away, and I am thankful to have my bountiful garden outside.

Zucchini, peppers, cuke and a myriad of tomatoes, oh my!

Our favorite recipes so far were the sauteed zucchini/peppers/onions in the enchiladas with a no-cook sauce.  And my girls would swear by the zucchini spice bread with the chocolate chips I tossed in. There are only a few more on the counter to whip up to zucchini parmesan and maybe some zucchini calzones.   I feel like we are eating healthier and more inventive, when the garden crop comes in.

Let the tomato and jalapeno onslaught begin! C

Toxic Relationships

Your doctor. Your  neighbor. Your high school friend.  Your previous roommate.  Your hairdresser.  Hopefully NOT your spouse or partner. Hopefully NOT your family members.

We all have a few toxic relationships in our lives.  Those people we cannot let go, despite the negative energy that surrounds us when together, the chase to freshen the air. And when does the relationship change from fruitful or comfortable to toxic? Sometimes we can pinpoint one specific event, sometimes it is a path we journey on together.

Why do we maintain these relationships?  Why not sever them?  Maybe it is because it’s easier to just say YES than explain why NO should be the new answer.  Maybe it is because of the history of two players—or three-or four—who we think know more of our history than others do.  Maybe it is because we think we can move backwards, before the toxicity moved in between us, if we work hard enough.   Maybe we HOPE that by working hard enough, we can remove the toxicity, re-create the past.

It might be a combination of any of the above, changing by the person in question.

This question has been in my mind for a couple of years now, on and off.  And I still do not have an answer.  Any suggestions, my readers?  And suddenly I wonder if I might be the cause of any toxic relationships, of which I am unaware.  I certainly hope not.

P.S.  In case you wonder, I doubt any of my readers are in danger of falling  into the toxic category.

and an after thought on 5/22/12–I am thinking that some relationships simply “run the course”  and are fading, but not yet disappeared.

Shutting off the Email

People can wait.  The beep of the email arrival doesn’t mean that every message deserves equal, critical attention the moment it hits the in-box.

For years, I tried to answer emails as they came in.  The ding in the in-box was like the proverbial snap of the finger—read me now!  Give me your attention! This certainly did not allow me to focus on what I was working on. Then I realized that people began expecting immediate answers, day and night.

Over the past couple years,  I made a conscious effort to not answer emails right away.  More recently, I have taken the more drastic step of completely shutting down email for an hour or two each day, allowing me to focus on the project in front of me.   Sometimes I do this a couple times a day, and I have found that my productivity has increased dramatically, my work quality has improved, I am less stressed about the in-box to-do list, and not one person has complained about me responding to an email in a few hours rather than a few minutes.

I have the freedom of mainly working from home, juggling several clients.  With a lack of face-to-face meetings, I think it was easy to get into long-term email conversations.  But our in-boxes have been overloaded.  People cover-their-asses by copying everyone on group emails, then replying to everyone, and so on and so on, exacerbating the email glut.

So I am not only emailing less, I am using the phone more.  It is so easy to misconstrue ideas in an email. Talking through a large project, timelines, or  resolving a problem can oftentimes be resolved quicker in a call than 57 emails, with less room for disconnect between the parties involved.

Email is still a great tool I use through the workday.  But it can distract, overload, confuse.  And it doesn’t take place of the human voice, the handshake, the conversation, the doodles that can help provide a solution, inspire our creativity, keep us on task with goals, and simply add back the human element back into our workdays.  C

Thankfulness Journal, Week 4

This Lenten Journal of finding three things to be thankful for each day is becoming more difficult, when the weeks are filled with routine, seemingly mundane activities. Especially since my goal is to not repeat the same item more than once.  It’s made me become more aware of what is around me.  At least we will soon have a vacation to break it up!

3/14/12 I am thankful for 

the cacophony of  frogs. 

Devon voted “Team Wolf Pack” award by her volleyball teammates. 

Escaping the pool party with Mary for an hour of successful shopping in Lake Geneva.

 3/15/12  I am thankful for

Heavenly cloud sculptures.

Middle school choir voices—especially boys with changing voices.

 Managing work projects.

 3/16/12 I am thankful for

all-clear to exercise, post-op!

 things running on schedule. 

Tara dancing with the Shannon Rovers.

 3/17/12 I am thankful for

 flash mob Irish dance teens, having fun between shows, making others smile.

Dancer moms I enjoy spending time with. 

an incredible dance with original choreography at the Genesee Theatre! 

3/18/12 I am thankful for

One more year of Irish dancing around St. Patrick’s Day.

 A glass of wine on the porch, after dark, no coat on. 

 Coyotes talking to each other.

3/19/12 I am thankful for 

Tracy and Theresa stopping by unexpectedly, then joining them for a walk.

 Shrimp tacos.

 A quiet night at home after an extremely busy weekend.

3/20/12 I am thankful for

a well-needed massage, to ease a pinched nerve.

The whimsy and selection of Trader Joe’s food.

Blossoming forsythias and dogwood.


Money, Money, Money

Please stop asking me for money.

When we were kids there were collection tins on store counters, begging for change.

As an adult, those collection containers remain in shops, for anonymous giving.  Several years ago, grocery stores starting asking at check out “would you like to donate to [insert charity name]?”  If you said yes, as a winner they would write your name on a paper balloon/shamrock/rainbow and hang it on the wall for all other shoppers to know that you were a donator.

Me, I would rather make my donations privately, so I was forced to say NO in front of the clerks, other shoppers, sign of a smiling kid starting to tear up. At first I was embarrassed to say no, but the repetitiveness eventually made it easier to stick with my answer.

This weekend I was shocked at the drive-thru Burger King window when asked if I wanted to donate $1 for coupons, for a charity.   NO, I was hungry for a veggie burger and fries.  I so rarely eat food from BK I doubt I would be back to use the coupons.

For some reason, I don’t mind the Salvation Army bellringers at Christmas.  The smiling ones, anyways.  This past winter I had a brief idea of dropping change into each bucket I passed.  I swear, I think those ringers multiplied with that thought, and I quickly began to see 5-10 ringers a day. I changed my offering to giving money to the first ringer I passed each day.

I like the freedom of being able to choose the charities I want support.  There are organizations we help annually. I willingly give to most of my friends and family who are participating in a walk/run/triathlon/head shaving/elephant race.  I buy cookies, popcorn, coupon books, flowers from neighbors and friends.  And yes, we sell some of those coupon books and raffle tickets ourselves.

I am sure that charities must raise lots of money asking every shopper at every store to give to the Important Cause of the Week Fund, but I find it rude, presumptuous. Just let me buy my toothpaste, my milk, my onion rings.  I will make my own donation tonight, from my computer. Trying to publicly shame me into giving money just turns me off. C