Sometimes I try to explain to people in boiled down sentences why I am pro-choice. This is a more than difficult task. It begins with a long-standing belief in the capability of a woman to make decisions about their own bodies in health. It was reinforced, with college classes about the history of abortion in the world, about the AMAs calculated move to take birth out of the hands of the midwives and medicalization of each step of pregnancy and birth. It was cemented, as I realized that abortion laws are rarely made by women, and that abortion is politicized only as a means of winning elections.
But the following, long, but very much worth it read from 2004, is why I believe that abortion should always be a choice made by an individual woman. It is a choice that should be unhampered by politics and lawmakers or socio-economic back ground and geographic location. unfortunately each day in this country brings us closer to a time that only existed in the past, a time when only women of privilege could gain access to abortion.
Please join me in helping to provide that equal access to abortion does not become a vestige of our past. I will be bowling for a local team to raise funds for The National Network of Abortion Funds – Would you consider making a donation to our team?
By Gretchen Voss. This article was originally published in the 1/25/04 edition of the Boston Globe Magazine and is posted with permission.
President Bush’s attempt to ban partial-birth abortions threatens all late-term procedures. But in my case, everyone said it was the right thing to do — even my Catholic father and Republican father-in-law.
Among my blessings this year, is a woman I think, may be one of the best principals in Western Mass. She is assisted by a woman who has to be the best school administrative assistant in all of Massachusetts. Where we live is the smallest school district in the state (where I teach, across the river is the second smallest district). Because of the size of the school, this sweet little school is run by just the principal and her admin. And just because the school size is smaller, this doesn’t mean either of their jobs are easier. The same reports need to be filed for an increasingly demanding DESE every year, just as the same needs of children in a large district need to be met. So yah, their job is tough – but on top of that – the two of these women must be some of the best communicators ever – I am never left to wonder what is happening at my son’s school. Ever.
With all of that, yesterday, while on December break, I got an email from the principal that included the following information – I honestly had no idea that this day was coming up – and am very pleased to know that my tiny little town will be doing it’s part to celebrate.
Community Celebration of the
150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
1:00pm on New Year’s Day
at the First Congregational Church of Hatfield
Hatfield will join other towns and churches in Western Mass to commemorate President Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, at 2:00 p.m.
Signed 150 years ago during the Civil War, the Proclamation led to the permanent end of slavery in the United States.
Come join us at 1 pm on New Year’s Day for an inspiring community celebration that will include the singing of great American Spirituals, an excerpt from the Emancipation Proclamation, part of a narrative about Hatfield slave Amos Newport (written by Robert Romer, author of Slavery in the Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts), and remarks by Rev. Dr. Peter Kakos of the First Congregational Church, Father Robert Coonan of Our Lady of Grace Church and others.
At 2:00 pm, the church-town bell will be rung 150 times in joyful commemoration of this important step toward freedom for all. Don’t miss this historic event. Refreshments will follow.
Outside of the work I do for MotherWoman, the Western Mass Food bank is my favorite, local non-profit. I think that regardless of one’s position in life, no one should ever go hungry. Unfortunately, according to the Western Mass Food Bank, 20 percent of households with children in Massachusetts (1 in 5) said they were unable to afford enough food. The food hardship rate for households without children was 14.4 percent. It was with that in mind that I volunteered to walk for an hour Thursday morning with Monte Belmonte of WRSI to raise money and awareness for the Food Bank. Yes, yes, I will be shopping a souped up shopping cart on Rt. 9 – Yes, yes you should honk your horn and wave wildly as you pass me by on the way to school.
My goal is to raise $200 by Thursday afternoon. If you can help in any way, that would be greatly appreciated. I will be collecting donations tonight and tomorrow. If you would like to send the funds electronically, drop me a line.
Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
I probably started reading the Almanac as soon as I could read. Gram’s copy was always lying around, and I always liked to read graphs and charts (nerd from a young age). I have bought a copy most years since I’ve been a grownup (date of that genesis debatable). Funny that I missed this blurb.
“28th – 31st. Turning stormy over the Atlantic seaboard, with heavy rains. . .; some wet snow could mix in over . . . New England”
The newest edition is on news’ stands now. With the way weather treats us these days, maybe we should all have one laying around.
According to the wmeco website, about 100 percent of the Valley has no power. This is not hyperbole. As I sit on my dark, cold, kitchen floor, I can’t help thinking, this wasn’t the trick-or-treat the Valley was looking for. The sun though, is still scheduled to come up soon, and things are bound to get better in the day light.
Sometimes I have to remind myself of things I do, and why I do them. I do a lot. More than I should. I teach six classes, manage ten independent study students, advise four extra curricular activities, and chair the English department. I am raising two boys the best that I can, and co-managing a household with my co-navigator. I make play dates and mama dates, and sometimes I sit in front of the tv, and sometimes I write. Sometimes I host parties, and sometimes I think of a project too big to manage. And sometimes, well, not sometimes, actually, more like currently, I sit on the Board of Directors for MotherWoman. Read the rest of this entry
This is today’s haul from three of the farm stands in my neighborhood.
2 yellow squash
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 huge bunch of basil
14 ears of corn.
Want to guess on the price? Or consider the grocery store equivalent?
Updated to say – I did the math. So this stash of veg that would cost you $18.76 if bought through peapod (I didn’t add in delivery), cost me just $13.00. Corn was the only thing that costs more at the farm-stand. Basil was a considerable savings by over half. But since it’s the best corn on the planet, I’m okay with that. In addition, all of this food was bought within a mile of my house, making it’s carbon footprint tiny.
Want to check my math, take a look at the quick spreadsheet I did up.
Thursday night, and I have quarts of strawberries in front of me. My fingers are stained red with berry juice. The smell of June wafts through the house. I was ruthless tonight. I went late in search of berries, and when I finally got to the last farm stand on the river way – there was just one flat left. One flat, and two quarts – and they were looking like jam berries, and not dip in chocolate berries. I told the farmer, I’m going to take your last quarts here – and he looked at the display, and told me take them all for the price of a flat.
A woman behind me looked crestfallen, she had come for berries too. The farmer told her she could pick still. But as I was checking out, the girl at the register said the fields were done, they hadn’t let people pick in a couple of days. The woman asked me what I was doing with them – “jam and crumble, and pie” I said, “and freezing”. And then, I turned on my heel with my stash, as if I had burgled the deliciousness in the flat.
Some other day I might have shared the bounty, but tonight I was a woman who needed pie.
. . .and its name is produce.
Lame right? Yeah, well I’m making my 2nd batch of rhubarb bars in just two days. Tonight I ate asparagus, fresh from the field’s of Hadley, with enthusiasm that lions don’t even know as they’re felling zebras.
The goal for the rest of the summer is local, and in season. And if not super local, at least East Coast. It’s hard habit to break, having grown up with the world’s produce at my beck and call – but it’s just insane to eat bananas that had to burn jet fuel to get here, when I can eat strawberries that grow around the corner.
We planted peas last weekend, and I think they are nearly as cute as the kiddo I let help plant them.
how long till snow pea stir fry?
loving the garden
Okay, that’s pushing it.
Cherished students who trust me with secrets, and dreams, who believe in English class and writing , and pictures pasted in on-screen layouts. Sweet girls who dote over my sons, and try to make them laugh and smile.
Co-ops that appreciate members, and who fill their aisles with goodness – bulk bins, to scoop from - eucalyptus smelling sweet and sharp, coffee robust and strong. Bell jars packed in plastic, brought home in anticipation of late summer bounty.
Baby boys scrubbed clean by daddy, dressed in footed pajamas – little boys who curl in close to mama – nestle delicious, soap-scented heads into the curve of my neck that fits them perfectly. Long-lashed, heavy eyes blink shut while I carry them to bed.