Women & History: My favorite words of wisdom from women I have known

Women & my favorite quotes
sunflower attached to Women & quotes

When I looked around the room, everyone would say why we could not do a particular thing,I always suggested how we could do it…from a very successful businesswoman.

 ♥What is wrong with just operating in your own little sphere of influence?;   ♥It is too bad, but an individual must move on;   ♥What can I tell you, there is no accounting for people…from the mother of a dear friend.

 ♥ No surgery, but I intend to stay current until I die, reading the Sunday Times, et al. … from a 91-year-old woman after her best friend died and she, herself, was diagnosed with heart failure.

 Unitarian Universalism & Therapy: those are the only two things I push on people.;      ♥Gee, when I was growing up, a good Sunday was one in which you had a nice dinner and read the New York Times all day… from a dear friend of my husbands and mine, and the best friend referred to above

Life is short, don’t waste your breath… from a friend I taught with for 10 years, after some crazy incident at the school.

Stay home, I wish I had taken more sick days…  from the same friend’s mother (and a hard worker).

Every day I make a list of 3 goals for home and 3 for work…  from the school librarian before I got married.

 ♥Learn to say No.; Incompetency will follow you where ever you… from our commencement speaker at SUNY Geneseo, Class of 1983.

 How to stop talking when you can’t stop talking… from a friend, on lines of wisdom for women, in a book we may someday write.

 Yep, the Lord he work in mysterious ways from a nurse’s aid as she pushed the gurney of a loved one to urgent sudden surgery.






Beautiful online things from women

running stream
running stream, creation of mother nature

Women create a lot of beauty in the world, for which we need more of a cheering section.  Imagine, The World Cup of grace, flowers, and all things lovely.  I think the beauty manifests itself in many forms:  physical objects, the way we look at the world as expressed in writing, and just sometimes in the way we can cushion the rough edges for humanity.  Here are three lovely blogs I found last night on the physical objects we make:




In addition, here are three interesting blogs that I have read this week from friends from Ithaca College and Ithaca.  In this order: Fun styles, great perspectives on international life, and tales from Ithaca and Lansing showing that even obituaries have their beauty.





Revised: The Phoebe Snow ran through my Grandmother’s yard

lantern from the Phoebe Snow, circa 1960s

One day in the  fall of September 2005, I was talking to my parents about the trains.  It had been over twenty years since my grandmother had moved from her home on  Lake Street in Elmira.  My grandmother’s house abutted a viaduct and when I stayed there as child in the 1960s, the rumble of the train reverberated through the home.  The Erie Lackawanna Railroad ran above my grandparents’ front and back yard on its trips between New York City and Buffalo.

“Yep,” my Dad said, “on the other side of the viaduct was a train stop, in the middle of the night, on many nights, the Phoebe Snow, a popular passenger train, stopped and Grandma opened the store up for the passengers.”

In my mind’s eye, I saw my 4 foot 10 inch Grandma throw on her navy blue coat and walk out the side door with her unique gait, landing heavier on her right foot.  Down the red brick drive to the front of their building, turning the key to Grandpa’s store and the glass cases lined with Mallow Cups and cigarettes in their Lucky Strike and Winston-Salem wrappers.

I wondered how the passengers transversed the viaduct, apparently there existed a set of stairs that climbed up and down to the other side.  “What if they needed other things…things not at the store?”

“Oh, your grandmother, she’d help them out,” my Dad said.

I liked this story, it was comforting somehow, like the trains.  The trains which I still find calming, the repetitious rumble, powerful moving ahead while standing still.  I later asked my Aunt about Grandma opening up the store for people on the passenger train.

“Oh, yes,” she always did that.  “In fact, on the last night the Phoebe Snow went through, the conductor gave her this lamp:  ‘Here you go, something so you will never forget the Phoebe Snow.’ ”

My Aunt went into her garage and pulled out the lantern in the above picture.  “We saved it after the Flood of 1972 but I need to clean it up, maybe a project for this winter.” she said and walked it back into the garage.

My Dad passed away soon after that and my Aunt never got around to the lantern.  It is passed on for another  time when it may bring people together and light the way.

Link to YouTube video about the Phoebe Snow:  http://youtu.be/P6yjxjtVcuY

Obituaries, Women’s History Month, & the art of women’s work

Women's History Month
Women's History Month...a thought


Obituaries, Women’s History Month & the art of women’s work

For a month last year, I started noting the number of female obituary columns to male  in the New York Times .  I soon realized that my guess  was correct.  A greater number of men were listed each day than women.  I did no research about why this was the status quo.  I did think, however, that there were many unsung heroines out there.  The women who do  the “women’s work” so the men can do the “real stuff”; the women who tell the men, yes you can, when they feel in their gut, no I can’t; and the women who give their sons unconditional love that makes it possible for them to thrive in this world.  (And of course, women do  things for women too. )

It must just be that we don’t get the value of what women do, we can not monetize it, quantify it in a world that spins on numbers and production.  What would we say, gave 4 hugs today, pitched in with extra information at work 3 times, and bought my man two of his favorite goodies at the store?

I remember when I was first married, I wanted to be Martha Stewart.  That was until I found out how hard it was to work and then do all the wonderful things women at home do.  Somehow, some marketer convinced my generation that we could have it all:  a successful job, family, and a signature dish to serve the stars.  I bought in and it took me way too long to buy out.  I can’t do it all and I’m glad I no longer want to, and these days I strive for balance.

We need to commend women for the balance they bring to the world and not just in the obituaries, but  for the history they quietly weave every day.  But who knows:  a few extra obits in the yearly average might  be a place to start.

For some interesting resources on women’s history, see: