Virginia Women’s Monument

During my visit to Richmond a couple weeks ago, I was able to attend the Groundbreaking for the Virginia Women’s Monument. I’d attended an event several months prior and learned about this amazing project, and immediately started doing my part (my very, very small part) in helping to get the word out about it.

In 2010, the General Assembly established the Virginia Women’s Monument Commission to “recommend an appropriate monument in Capitol Square to commemorate the contributions of the women of Virginia”.

“Voices from the Garden is the first monument of its kind in the nation recognizing the full range of women’s contributions.  Voices takes the form of an oval shaped garden that encompasses twelve bronze statues of significant women from different centuries, backgrounds, and areas of the state.  The statues will be surrounded by a glass panel, etched with names of other noteworthy Virginia women”.

It was a bright, beautiful December morning, and I was glad that I arrived early as the seats filled in quickly and it was soon standing room only.

  One of the attendees was Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley (1818 – 1907).  The actress (I wrote down her name, but regrettably I lost the slip of paper) portraying Elizabeth stayed in character during the ceremony and shared some of her story.

A slave who bought her freedom, Elizabeth became Mary Todd Lincoln’s seamstress and confidant during the White House years.

She established the Contraband Relief Association, which provided support for recently freed slaves and wounded soldiers, and she wrote a book called “Behind the Scenes in the Lincoln White House: Memoirs of an African-American Seamstress”.

Governor McAuliffe, long a champion of this project was present as was Nancy Rodrigues, Secretary of the Administration and a chief fundraiser for the project.

After the ceremony, many people picked up a shovel and took the opportunity to be captured in a photo.  Of course, I had to as well!

The inspirational woman on the right, in response to my comment about how I didn’t really break the ground said “oh yes you did.  We ALL did, and we still are”.

How right she is!

Fundraising still needs to be done.  Please follow this link if you’d like to contribute to the Virginia Women’s Monument.

Hiking Buffalo Mountain

Thank goodness for friends who encourage you to add fun to the calendar, and Karen, from The Unassuming Hiker makes sure that we do.

A couple years ago, Karen started a hiking club for women of all ages and hiking abilities, and while the group often ventures out during the week, Karen makes sure to plan a weekend hike several times yearly for those not retired.   In addition, she schedules the date for those hikes several weeks in advance so that we make sure to set aside the time.

“Buffalo Mountain is one of the most significant natural areas in Virginia.  The combination of high-elevation (3,971 feet), wind-exposed openings at the summit, and magnesium rich soils make it unlike any place else in the Commonwealth”.

Karen suggested that we arrive early knowing that it would not be long before the trail became crowded.  The image below is the parking area that morning.  By the time we left a few hours later, the place was packed with cars jockeying for position in what few parking spaces were available.

It was a gorgeous fall day and the hike to the summit, while up hill the entire way, was only a mile.   What an incredible view!

The 4 of us have hiked together before and the comraderie, the combination of silence and talk, and the excitement of being outdoors is a great fit.

Being on top of a mountain is exhilarating and I scrambled around the rocks like a child, at one point losing my lens cap over the ledge.

Beth sent me these images and I’m sharing them because they reveal the feeling of being on top of the world.

The shale and rock were beautiful and while this image doesn’t show it well, the flecks of color glittered in the sunshine.

Climate change has affected the color of the leaves this year, but the beauty remains.

All in all, a wonderful day on Buffalo Mountain.

Please visit Karen’s blog post about our day and read about the kind folks we met along the way.

International Women’s Day #BeBoldForChange

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD) and the 2017 theme is Be Bold For Change.

The IWD website offers suggestions about how we can all Take Action to make the world a more inclusive, gender equal place.  My friends and I are hosting a gathering where we’ll enjoy coffee, conversation, collaboration, and celebration.  It will be a simple affair, designed so that already busy women can learn strategies to #beboldforchange.

You can be a part of this day, too.  Visit this resource link, invite a friend, and Take Action!  Be Bold!

To all the Bold Women out there, and to all the men that love them:  Thank You!

Make It a Movement

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I find that I have to keep the tissues close at hand as the emotions of 1/21/2017 overwhelm me.
Millions marched the world over.
More than 500,000 in DC with no arrests.
Not one negative comment or action did I witness.
Solidarity. Love. Passion. Commitment. Unity.
As my good friend and fellow marcher, Jim, noted “Now it is time to see that this marvelous moment becomes a meaningful movement that perseveres forward toward a future where justice and equality prevail. We shall not rest”.
That is our challenge.

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About these images: As we walked the 2 miles along East Capitol St, from RFK Stadium to the rally site, the people who lived there welcomed us with signs, high fives (and high walkers), cheers and thumbs up.

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As you might imagine, I have hundreds of photos to process.  I’ll be sharing more about this historic march as the days and weeks go by.  I realize that not all of you agree with me on these issues, but for those who do:

Let’s Make it a Movement!

I’ve already planned a Let’s Elect More Women event and havee got a postcard writing party in the works.

10 Actions / 100 Days

One Week From Today!

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Peter Nowell designed this poster for the Women’s March on Washington.  It is freely available for anyone to share and use.  Peter Nowell, when sharing this design said:

“When I heard about the Women’s March, I felt inspired by the causes behind it and how inclusive it is. Contributing a poster design felt like an opportunity for me to show up for, and support, so many of the people that I love.

Let’s use it to spread the word and inspire even more people to join. You can share it on social media, print it out, remix it… it belongs to all of us”

Thank You, Peter Nowell!

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I look forward to marching in DC next week, surrounded by women, men, and children from all over our nation.  I will walk with them, and in spirit with people who will be marching in every state, and in some countries around the world.  I will also walk for those who will not be able to walk whether because of work, finances, or ability.

Women’s March on Washington Unity Principles

I know that Alys from Gardening Nirvana will be marching in San Jose.  Where will YOU be marching?

Riding on International Female Ride Day

In it’s 10th year, International Female Ride Day (IFRD) is a one-day, globally synchronized ride exclusively for women motorcyclists.

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Having found out about IFRD too late to organize a group ride, I was none the less determined to get on the bike.  Okay, let’s be honest.  I was determined to get on the bike even if it wasn’t International Female Ride Day.

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I met Dave and Michael, two of my favorite biker buds who I’ve written about before, at 11 on Saturday morning.

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We flirted with rain all day but stayed dry, and thankfully so, as the roads we took were full of fun curves and twists.

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We stopped at Big Walker Lookout, a 100 ft observation tower on top of Big Walker Mountain.

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Built in 1947, the tower offers great views of mountain peaks in 5 surrounding states.

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 It costs $6 to climb to the top, and while I’ve made the climb in the past, today we enjoyed the views from the bottom.

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In addition to the observation tower, there’s a General Store, a swinging bridge, and this collection of old license plates.

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At one point during the day, we got caught at a railroad crossing.  This building caught my attention and I literally ran back, huffing and puffing in my helmet and boots, to take a photo while waiting for the train to pass.  I managed to take a quick shot, but had no time to gather any history, as the crossing bars started to rise signaling that it was time to ride on.

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My friend Karen gave me an action camera, similar to a Go Pro, and I cannot wait to start using it.  If I’d been riding alone, I would have stopped far too often for photos.  Since Dave and Michael like to keep on riding, the action camera will allow for some fun shots and video without having to stop so often.

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As always, we finished the ride with a cold beer, a great meal, and the chance to make a new Gravatar.

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I’ve already marked my calendar for the 2017 International Female Ride Day, and if I get my act together, I’ll try to organize a ride.  Until then, here’s a bit more information about IFRD.

The guiding principles of IFRD are:

  1. Freedom – women are encouraged to participate and enjoy the day in any manner they choose.  Just Ride!
  2. Brandless – the event is not to be taken over by any one motorcycle, manufacturer brand, product, or country.  The idea is to UNITE not exclude
  3. One Fixed Date – IFRD occurs on the first Saturday of May every year.
  4. Open Good Will – to not impose on any rider, group, or club’s charity purpose.