Tag Archives: Wisconsin

Remembering Jane

Jane Rowe 3/25/1932 -10/19/2017 

Jane was many things to many people. To me, she was a friend, the mother of a friend, Michele, the spouse or partner of friends, Carol, Bea, and Elthea, a mentor, a member of a fellowship we shared, and my first sponsor in that fellowship. Together with other women we founded a peer support recovery center WISH (Women in Support and Healing) which continued to sponsor meetings after the doors closed. I had the privilege of recording Jane’s oral history interview for the University of Wisconsin – Madison Libraries Oral History Program, LGBT Community, 1960s-Present. Continue reading

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Music to My Ears (and Heart)

“Music can change the world because it can change people.” ― Bono

Today is the 100th day of the 45th President’s new administration. Many of us are weary of his Tweets, Executive Orders, his incompetence, narcissism and probable untreated mental illness, his misogyny and prejudice, and his lack of understanding how government works and who government represents. As I’ve written before, I probably spend too much time watching cable news and the parade of talking heads, the circus of Trump’s cabinet and Republican Congress, and reading fake news, social media posts, and online opinion pieces. Like many others, I periodically take a break on Facebook and look at videos of babies, jumping goats, mischievous cats and cucumbers, and dogs who talk or do other incredible feats. This week I also played a Facebook game by listing 10 concerts, nine of which I attended, one that was a lie. It helped me survive this week of political madness. Continue reading

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Filmgoer’s Dispatch: 2017 Wisconsin Film Festival

“Movies touch our hearts and awaken our vision, and change the way we see things. They take us to other places, they open doors and minds. Movies are the memories of our life time…” ― Martin Scorsese

The first signs of spring in Madison, Wisconsin: The Wisconsin Film Festival premieres in theaters on the University of Wisconsin campus and near east and westside neighborhoods, usually during the end of March and early April, the terrace chairs return to the UW Memorial Union, and the first Dane County Saturday Farmer’s Market arrives. Continue reading

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No More 9 to 5!

It’s still winter in Wisconsin. After a week of record-breaking temperatures of spring-like weather — a hopeful tease of things to come — then came the rain, sleet, ice pellets, followed by snow and howling winds. We’re reminded that winter remains for a few more weeks before spring arrives. Spring is a season of hope and new beginnings. So is my life today, as I cross the threshold of my third act. Cue up Dolly Parton, no more “9 to 5.”  Continue reading

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Marching, Mourning, & the Meaning of It All

How marching with the pink pussyhat power posse of my family and friends — and people from all over the world — helped me mourn and mark the anniversary of my mother’s death.

My mother’s favorite color was pink. I grew up in a home in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s that boasted a curvaceous coral pink sectional couch. Our bathroom was always painted pink, with bubble gum pink towels, little pink perfumed soaps, and plastic pink flowers. Mom always dressed in pink, including the day we buried her. At the visitation, our family wore pink in her memory; pink flower sprays adorned her white casket and flanked her like honor guard sentries. When family members returned home after the funeral service and burial — the sky was resplendent in pink — a message from our mother wishing us safe travels. Continue reading

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Red Letter Days (and Nightmare Nights)

Red Letter Day

Definition: a day that is pleasantly noteworthy or memorable

Like most of my left-leaning, liberal, tolerant, and progressive friends, family, and neighbors the days leading up to the presidential election were bright. In fact, in the words of friends Pat and Barb MacDonald of Timbuk 3 from their song,The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” the lyrics echoed the optimism that though the race was close, most prognosticators predicted Hillary Clinton had over an 80% chance of reaching or surpassing the 270 electoral college votes needed to secure the election. It was a Red Letter Day that then turned into a nightmare night.  As we all know now, she won the popular vote and lost the election. We were shocked and stunned. Continue reading

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Home: Hearth and Heart

“In life, a person will come and go from many homes. We may leave a house, a town, a room, but that does not mean those places leave us.” — Arik Berk

The following essay and poem are excerpts by this author from a new anthology published by Nectary Press, Home: Writers Explore Its Meaning. The anthology features “…writers with Madison, Wisconsin-area ties who were asked to personally explore the concept of home. The result is a collection of place, belonging, identity, resilience, and love.” On November 2, 2016 OM Build and OM Village Tiny Houses Occupy Madison, Inc. hosted a fall fundraiser for the organization. Contributors read their work and the evening included the sale of the anthology, a silent auction of handmade items, and a performance by the Raging Grannies. All proceeds benefited, OM Village Tiny Houses. Continue reading

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Ode to Blue-Collar Working Class Heroes

“There’s room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill”
 —John Lennon, Working Class Hero

In July both the Republican and Democratic Presidential Conventions concluded. Each party, their supporters, speakers, and candidates have driven stakes, describing in detail— some more than others — their position on the issues, their plans for the future, and identified who their party represents, or not. The Republicans embraced fear, law and order, and promised to “Make America Great Again.” The Democrats expressed optimism for the future and reaffirmed that America is already great, in fact, in the words of Michelle Obama, “This right now is the greatest country on earth.” And as a people, we are “Stronger Together.”  Continue reading

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Home/Homelessness

“By adapting and adjusting to randomness, you shape but do not control your endpoint.” ― Bob Deutsch

“Without the sleeping bag I’m just somebody up early in the morning, sitting under a tree. With the sleeping bag I’m nobody up early, sitting under a tree: a slight, but important difference in how I’ll be perceived.”  Craig Stone

I started writing this essay on July 4th, Independence Day, which began as a quiet morning that ended in fireworks. It wasn’t a random occurrence, but planned. What happened in between was a combination of the two, the interplay of intention and randomness. Lately, with all the random and planned violence, inequality and poverty in the world, it’s an unsettling and dangerous time, difficult to know how to prevent tragedy, how to be safe, and how to engage in the discourse and solutions. Continue reading

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Pajama Day: Or How I Failed at Hobnobbing

Pajama Day: A day, usually on a weekend or during a day off, when you have nothing to do and sit around lazily in your pajamas, not leaving the house. Often involves eating cereal for every meal and excessive television/video games.

Hobnobbing: Mix socially, especially with those of higher social status. To hobnob means to chat and share a laugh and a drink in the presence of other people at a function or party.”

First, a little background: Things that make you say “Hmmm!” It’s April in Wisconsin and on the eve of the Presidential Primary election statewide servers were down for several hours Friday — April Fool’s Day — disrupting the last day of in-person absentee voting. Next, it’s officially spring, yet yesterday’s weather was bipolar, alternating between blizzardy snow with blustery winds and blue skies with powder puff clouds. Continue reading

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