Thursday, January 26, 2017

Mrs. Harrison Goes To Washington

Recently, I went to Washington D.C. and marched with 500,000 other women who are concerned for the state of our nation. Since I have been home, there has been a LOT of discussion about whether or not the march was impactful, what it means for the women who marched, for the women who didn't, and what it was all about anyway. And just like so many things in our country (in our lives), the march was complicated and multifaceted. If you weren't there, you may not have heard about all the things we were standing up for. You may still not know what the whole thing was even about. So I want to tell you what that day meant for me, and what my take aways from that experience have been. Because I have been encouraged by it in a way that surprises even me.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a strong supporter of the LGBT community. And so when I first heard about The Women's March, it was my desire to support my LGBT family that drove me to say yes to the invitation. As the march was forming there was a lot of discussion about what the purpose of our gathering actually was. If you weren't receiving those emails and updates, then you could be unaware that there was a large intention to have voices from all female walks of life at this event. This was not going to be the women's movement of the 70s, but an inclusive moment to make sure all female voices were heard, with all the issues pertaining to them (most of which pertain to men as well). The march was organized by a multigenerational, multicultural and intersectional panel of women. I was encouraged most by this.

And as the day of the march drew near it was clear that all of us were attending for many different reasons. We were concerned for our black and brown sisters and their families, for the the LGBT community, for the immigrants among us, for the environment we were leaving to our children, for the lack of representation in our government, for families dealing with a system of incarceration that is inherently unfair, for the lack of understanding that diversity makes us stronger, and for those who had suffered abused and sexual assault. The list of speakers reflected these concerns.

As I was walking down Independence Avenue that morning with my longtime girlfriends and women I had never met, there was a sense pride in participating in a long standing tradition in our country. We were bringing our concerns to our elected officials in a way they could no longer ignore. We had no idea how many were there, but there were going to be enough of us to matter.

Since I have been home, I continue to be asked what it was like to be in that great throng of people. And the word that keeps coming back to me is: generous. Women were helping women. When a women near us collapsed, all it took was the chant of "medic" and there were 3 women at her side. Throughout the day women who had been separated from one another were announced from the stage and reunited in short order. I held hands with white and black and immigrant women alike. We helped one another and even if we didn't agree fully with one another, we were generous with each other. It was ok that your issue wasn't my battle cry. It was ok that you were not the same as me. Because in our differences we still had a common purpose. We were all determined to make the future better for the next generation.

Making the future better means a lot of different things to different people. I may not have the same ideas as you about what that is. I didn't love, or even agree with, every speech from every speaker; but the prevailing wind at that march was generosity to others. Give me space to be the American I need to be, to push through barriers I no longer want, to seek growth and richness in my life, to leave behind a better place than this. And I will give that to you in return. I don't need you to be pro-choice or pro-life (or any other label). I need you to allow me to be me. That's the generosity that was expressed that day, all around me.

What I experienced at the march was the best side of America. For the first time in a very long time, I felt proud to be an American. I felt proud to be with other people who were welcoming and who had clearly been advocating for their causes for a long time too. It's hard to explain what it's like to be part of a minority. But one thing is universal, fighting against a system that has not been built for you is exhausting. These people knew that and came anyway. They had been fighting too, and they too were not going to give up. And what was so incredible for me, is that we felt like a majority. It felt like we were strong, and that our fight was worth it. It's hard to convey just how meaningful that is.

I don't think I will ever forget being in D.C. that day. Not only was it a shot in the arm, a moment of unity and generosity, but it was galvanizing in a way I had not dreamed. Standing there in that sea of women and allies, I knew that I was going to do more. From now on, I needed to get more involved. I am still not exactly sure what that will mean; but I have started to call my representatives to let them know how this constituent feels about the legislation and appointees before them. And I am becoming more vocal and intentional about what I support. I plan on being more involved in the democratic process. It's more than just voting. I'm ready to put my energies into organizations that are doing the work, to be part of the work. Engagement is the key.

The day of the Women's March my feet were my faith in action. But that day was also a jumping off point. That day will be a dividing line in my life. It's the day that my trajectory shifted. With some trepidation I am walking in a new direction. My purpose is clear, even if I can't see the end just yet. But I know one thing: this is what democracy looks like.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Amy's Own Sock Club

So a girl can collect a lot of yarn. Especially a sock-knitting girl. It's really easy. Especially with socks. Because you only need one skein of yarn to make a pair of socks. And when you see that a beautiful, soft, squishy yarn is on sale in a color you don't have a pair of sock in yet, well . . . you get the picture.

As such, I seem to have collected enough yarn to knit nine pairs of socks (and that's not counting the two pair - that's right, two pair - that are currently on my needles). This being the case, I've concocted my own sock club (inspired by the Yarn Harlot). I've paired each yarn with a pattern and packaged them all up so I can just grab a bag and go. Now, since I have a very accident-prone, investigatory, one-year-old, I may not be able to manage the traditional one pair a month schedule. I figure, once I'm done with one pair, I'll pickup and start the next. I can at least count on a couple nap-times a week, right? It's a possibility. And in the end, I'll have 11 new pairs of socks to wear. And I'm telling ya, nothing beats a great pair of hand-knit socks. Nothing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

40 for 40: Month 4

So it was a little crazy this month with all the candy making, but I'm still making progress on that 40 for 40 list. Here's where it stands:

  • Yoga Classes Taken: 11
  • Scrapbook Pages Uploaded: 61
  • Pintrest Ideas Completed: 37
  • The knee socks are slow going:

             (But they are going to look AWESOME when they are done!)

  • My Amy Quilt top has been completed; ready to figure out the next step.
  • I went on a date with RJH for his birthday.
  • I went mushroom hunting twice - it was a bust both times. It's been a strange season so far.
  • And I finally got my file drawers organized. 
Not too shabby for a busy month!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Great Candy Making Adventure Review

I am proud to say, I did it. Well, there was one candy variety I didn't make, but that is because I already had so much I knew it wouldn't get eaten.

I made:

Salted Caramels - so delicious and easy. These will definitely make it into the Christmas present rotation.
Gumdrops - as you can read here, I loved them and they were yummy! I let them cure for a week. It was a good call.
Chocolate Dipped Oreos - 'nough said. So, so good.
Chocolate Pretzel Sticks - also good
Caramel Filled Chocolate Eggs - Really good. Absolutely worth doing again, but trying with a bit of cinnamon, lavender syrup, orange essence, coconut...mmmm.
Chocolate Bunny Pops - these were just so-so.

The best part? I didn't have to worry about my baby getting ahold of anything nutty (except his relatives, of course), and everyone found something they liked. If you have the urge, I highly recommend candy making. Most people think you worked really hard and the compliments feel pretty damn good.

I used my Silhouette machine to make these darling carrots (that were the perfect house for the gumdrops). I also used it for the little blue bunny box in the photo above. I even found foil wraps (in the candy making aisle!) for the chocolate eggs.

Happy Easter, Easter Bunny. Bawk, bawk!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Great Candy Making Adventure: Gumdrops!

So the most amazing thing happened: the gumdrops are great! The first attempt seems to have been wildly successful. And aside from being time consuming, they are really pretty easy.

I was able to use this Tupperware veggie tray to divide the syrup so I could color and flavor each section separately. Bonus points to the natural food dyes for not staining the tray!

The mixture was cloudy, but once I sliced them and rolled them in sugar, it wasn't even noticeable. Also, using a hot knife to slice these was a terrific idea.

And this is what they looked like once they were rolled in sugar:

Awesome! At this stage you could totally stop and call them fruit jellies and be golden. I'm tied to the idea of gumdrops, however; so I will be curing them for two days to see what happens. As such, I've had to take protective measures:

So far, so good. I'll keep you posted!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Great Candy Making Adventure Continues

Today I tackled gumdrops for the first time. These little candies are not for the impatient. Cook, flavor and color today; chill for 24 hours; cut and finish tomorrow; cure for two days. That's right: TWO DAYS. Not a last minute project for sure.

I decided to give them a go today incase they don't go as planned. (And let's face it, when does a project ever go as planned?) I will at least have time to try another batch before Easter. I was pleased to find pure anise, lemon, lime, orange, peppermint and vanilla extracts to use. And thank you India Tree for the natural food dyes! They may not be as vibrant as the store-bought version, but there should be some variation in color. And that's a luxury around here any way you slice it.

I will post pictures no matter the outcome once the little beauties are chilled thoroughly. I'm hopeful. I did as much research as I could. Now we wait.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Great Candy Making Adventure Begins

Jack has developed a peanut allergy. It's mild and causes no airway restriction. We're lucky. But apparently, the more exposure he gets, the worse it could become. So I'm being careful. A LOT careful.

This brings us to Easter. As I was shopping for Easter candy to fill the baskets, I realized that there will not be any commercially made candy in our house this year. If it's chocolate, it's been manufactured in a facility that could have used nuts on the same machine (it says so right in the package). And if it's not chocolate, it's packed full of artificial dye; Hayes is a hot mess if he gets ahold of that. So this leaves me the alternative of making it myself. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, it's all me. And I could not be more grateful that my in-laws will be here the week prior to Easter morning. I'll need the time!

The plan then, is to make all of the following:
Gumdrops (& I have to admit, I'm excited about this one!)
Salted Caramel filled chocolate eggs
Lemon chews
Chocolate covered Oreos
Chocolate pretzel rods
Molded chocolate lollipops

I have some thoughts about natural food dyes, I'm hoping will work out. And thank heaven for Pintrest! So many great ideas out there. Right now, my hopes are high. Stay tuned for the unfolding story of the Great Candy Making Adventure!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, March 04, 2012

40 for 40: week 9

It's been busy around here - so busy that February flew right by without a post! So here it is, the updated 40 for 40 progress report:

Yoga classes taken: 8
Scrapbook pages uploaded: 45
Pintrest ideas completed: 24

The reclaiming of the closet has morphed into a brand new addition to the house - that is in the final planning stages. Then it's off to the HOA to get approval. Huzzah!

And I have cast on the first of 2 fabulous knee socks. They will certainly be a long term project, but I am hopeful they will be worth it! Plus, I love Glenna C's amazing sock patterns. You can check out the Neptune High socks here. Mine will be in pumpkin and chocolate! And hopefully ready for fall :).

Lastly, I've almost completed the top to my Amy quilt. I'll be moving on to creating the binding soon.

Progress feels good, but I'm aching to cross something off that list soon!