Brave in Ribbons by Patti Howard

This post is from Patti Howard.

“Then up rose Mrs Cratchit, Cratchit’s wife, dressed out
but poorly in a twice-turned gown, but brave in ribbons,
which are cheap and make a goodly show for sixpence; and
she laid the cloth, assisted by Belinda Cratchit, second of
her daughters, also brave in ribbons … .”

– Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

This is my favorite Dickens quote. I’ve always wanted to write about it because, to my knowledge, it has been inexplicably overlooked. Yet the very first time I read it, it struck me deeply. In its simplicity and seemingly throwaway description of a hardworking and stoic woman waiting cheerfully for her beleaguered husband to come home so they can begin their meager, heartfelt Christmas celebration, volumes are said about the resilience of women in general.

A twice-turned gown – meaning it the skirt, sleeves, and neckline have been rehemmed more than once to hide fraying and wear – is a testament to Mrs. Cratchit’s pride, and sense of pride in herself, that she is not defeated by the poverty and appalling working conditions that typified not only her husband Bob Cratchit’s at the hands of Ebenezer Scrooge, but the conditions of workers and families in newly industrialized England itself. And, further, she adorns the gown with ribbons – cheap and pretty – that undoubtedly lifted her spirits for the celebration of the holiday that she was determined to make memorable for her family. She was indeed brave. And brave in ribbons.

I love Mrs. Cratchit. She is a minor character in A Christmas Carol, yet she epitomizes the best in women – the strength, the ability to take care of as many as need caring for in whatever situation, the ability to take charge, and the depth of the commitment they are able to show loved ones. And to occasionally look pretty while doing it all. (Which, let’s face it, makes everyone feel better.)

The year is ending. She has endured the trials and tribulations of yet another one. She is ready to celebrate. And the nicest part for me is that she has clearly even passed this on to her daughter, Belinda, “ … also brave in ribbons.”

Whatever we have been through during the year, it’s nearly at an end. We’re still here. We’ve survived it in some fashion or other, at least for now. We tended to those we care about, and maybe even made someone happy, whether we knew it or not. We can fly our flags – our pretty ribbons of endurance. At least we should. I urge you all to just say “I did it”! It might not have been much in your eyes or the eyes of others, but I’ll bet it really was. And then put on the clothes that make you feel special, however old and worn or new and sparkly they might be.

You are brave. Now be brave in ribbons. And tell your daughters.


Photo: Hermione Baddeley, A Christmas Carol, 1951.

Fab Celeb Updates

Check out our Celebrated Contributors page for an updated roster of notable women who have shared (or plan to share) their own DTBF stories. Below are some of their latest updates. (Click on their names to link to their DTBF stories!)

Ginny Lambrix

“I am now the Director of Winemaking and Viticulture at Truett Hurst. We have launched a new brand- VML- named after me and dedicated to Pinot. Very cool… And I have a nice little flock of goats and sheep… Perhaps the biggest news is that Jon and I are expecting a baby boy in February…. So lots of changes, all good. My first company picture was wearing my DTBF tee shirt!”

Renel Brooks Moon

Renel on the mike during her last show on Kiss FM

After 25 years of hosting 98.1 KISS FM’s “Renel in the Morning,” Renel Brooks-Moon has decided to step down. The radio station hosted a party in her honor and pictures and message boards are linked on their website, linked above, for her fans to visit. Meanwhile, Renel continues to be the public announcer for the San Francisco Giants. It’s been 10 years and she’s enjoying every minute! Read a recent interview with Renel, “Off radio but still at microphone,” published in the San Francisco Chronicle on August 27th.

Jill Robinson

Jill addressing the audience at the Second China International Animal and Nature Film Festival


Jill was in Chengdu for workshop meetings and events on site, then in Southern China as an invited participant for the Second China International Animal and Nature Film Festival in Sichuan province. Her China team was invited to join the event, which recognizes local and international filmmakers. The following quote is an excerpt from Jill’s blog:

“On the last night, it was like a scene out of Hollywood, with thousands of people crowded together in a huge auditorium, together with film crews shooting for live transmission on TV. “ While on stage to hand out a documentary award, Jill used the opportunity to discuss the endangerment of sharks and pandas along with re-iterating the need for China to stop the cruel practices inflected on her beautiful moon bears. She continues in her blog, “Now, since the festival, we’ve had several fairly high-profile people in both local and international film and media asking if they can come along and visit the bears – and so the message widens and perhaps our little piece of heaven in Chengdu will convince them to do more.”

Never resting, Jill then headed to Europe where she will be for another 3 weeks.

Terri Lyne Carrington


“My new CD “More To Say” is finally out after nearly 2 years in the making! I am real proud of it and hope that other folks like it too! Most of my time these days is spent chasing my 3 year old around or teaching at Berklee, as well as gigs and session, so I am busier than a one armed paper hanger! All good – I am not complaining…. Until next time….” Terri Lyne

Check out Tavis Smiley’s recent interview with Terri Lyne regarding her new CD.

Rory Freedman

Rory in her kitchen, as seen in the New York Times

Rory just returned from a two-month backpacking jaunt around Europe and has never been so inspired creatively. She’s ready to get crackin’ on another book—maybe even one that’s fiction.


Nalini Nadkarni

Nalini speaking at the TED Conference.


I gave a talk at the TED Conference in Long Beach this spring. It is a high-profile conference with many “idea people” who talk about their work, dreams, and accomplishments. Each talk is only 18 minutes, and it is hard to cram all the things one wants to say into that time. It has been seen by many people around the world, and nearly all of the feedback has been about people who are excited about trees and forests and trying to save them. That is very hopeful to me.

There were some good developments in terms of science outreach beyond science. Several of my projects were featured on the splash page of the National Science Foundation website. One of them was the “canopy rap” project I created, in which I hired a rap singer to accompany me and two other scientists with 40 urban youth (middle school aged) into the forest to learn about the plants and animals. The rap singer made up songs about the forest, and the kids did, too! They ended up making a CD of their songs in the sound studios of my college, and each student took home a copy of it for their friends and family.

In addition to these, I was really happy to be in the forest this summer. My family (husband and two teenage kids, Gus and Erika) took a six day backpacking trip to a remote area of the North Cascades National Park. We saw only 4 people in the six days we were there. And just last week, I took my annual solo backpacking trip to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness for six days. It was great to be out there on my own, just hiking, watching marmots, eating simple food, watching the starts, and letting my thoughts quiet and settle away from the everyday hubbub of life. But I’m glad to be back with my family and garden and work!



Ingrid Newkirk


“I’ve been on tour with a book lately. I’m asking people to consider loaning a copy to that person at work who loves dogs but who doesn’t think about other animals, that neighbor with the fur coat in the back of the closet – too embarrassed to wear it again; and that relative who insists you have “just a little” of the turkey at Thanksgiving, as well as to that wonderful kid on your block who rescues the birds fallen out of trees or who won’t cut up the frog in class. I’ve used real life stories to bring the individual animals alive and give them a voice and the book is packed with great resources, simple options, and compassionate solutions to rid our lives of the casual cruelty that wheedles its way into what we buy, eat, do and wear. I hope you take a peek and enjoy it a lot!



Dianne Reeves


Dianne Reeves can be seen on tour throughout the rest of this year . She is also recording a new album which will be out next year. We’ll announce it as soon as it’s out!

Kamala Lopez

Kamala at the New York Latino International Film Festival.


“The good news is that A Single Woman won the Exceptional Merit in Media Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus in DC!

Also, I am developing a TV series about girls and gangs and I wrote a related article on Huff Po about what’s going on with that.




Kelly Dobbins


Kelly is currently training to compete in the NPC National Bodybuilding and Figure Championships this November.



Julia Butterfly Hill

Julia’s recent photo in the SF Chronicle.


Julia continues to inspire people to speak up, take action and make a difference in this world. Check out “Catching up with…Julia Butterfly Hill,” an article that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle last April. Julia also continues to update on her own blog.

“We did it!”

When I was in high school, my friend Cara and I would share our dreams and enthusiastically coach each other into believing them into truth. We concurred that thinking of our dreams as having already happened and speaking of them in the past tense, telling each other stories about what had already occurred, was one way to take them further into manifestation. Thus was borne our mutual and enthusiastic cheer, “We did it!” We would say this to each other whenever we parted. When my family moved away at the end of my junior year, we gave each other silver bracelets with this phrase engraved on top, and our names on the back.

Sometimes, I wondered if telling each other stories and using the past tense might not be such a positive exercise. I wondered if perhaps it was simply a case of two girls descending further into the Lala land of our imaginations … and further away from a focus on ‘reality.’ Now, however, I realize there was something to it. There’s a lot to be said for moving into belief. (Mind you, I’m also an actress and Lala Land was exactly where I ended up. So hey, maybe it worked!)

There are many ways to affirm the vision of one’s future. Affirmations, in general, tend to get a little ridiculed, though there’s certainly nothing wrong with the idea of feeding yourself positive statements throughout the course of the day. (Frankly, the negative ones seem to come all too naturally for most people.)

Some life coaches will tell you this: when you want to realize something in your life, get very specific on how you want that to look. See it in your head. Affirm it constantly. Personally, I don’t tend to set my sights on results. For me, it’s the journey that I want to affirm. (That probably comes from how I grew up, moving from country to country and never knowing how long I’d be in one place.) My feeling is we’re always in the journey. Right? We may experience temporary bliss upon having achieved a particular goal, but then, we’re back into the journey almost instantly. There is no there there.

So given this, I want to affirm a joyous and fulfilling journey. A journey that leads to many wonderful surprises and discoveries. A journey filled with love and laughter. A journey where my inner being feels whole and at peace. I actually like not knowing exactly where I’m going. I steer myself as best I can, but I like to stay open and to let the rest reveal itself. I even do this when I go on a long hike. I don’t like to look at the destined peak ahead and factor in the distance between us. I know it’s there and I know that’s where I’ll be eventually, but unless I need to look at a map or track my path, I like to be in the moment to experience the unfolding of the journey. I’ll look back and see the course behind me later. I’m better at that. Then, that course is a known and experienced entity.

Positive thinking is something we all could use. I made an affirmation tape for myself years ago, when I was living in L.A. I would listen to it in the car as I drove to and from auditions. The affirmations I chose for myself were based on the general themes of creative fulfillment, health, happiness and love. I recorded them in my own voice. I used the first person and the present tense and affirmed all the qualities of a life that I wanted to fully realize. I listened to that tape when I went to meet with a top commercial agent in L.A. and I felt really upbeat during our meeting. She signed me on. I listened to that tape on the way to an audition for Star Trek, and I remember feeling really grounded, really connected, when I waited in the hallway to go in and read. Later that day, they called to tell me I got the role.

Mind you, there were many more days and many more car trips to audition after audition after audition that I didn’t land too; and there were days when I couldn’t bring myself to listen to that damn tape again. It bored me. It was repetitive and it felt ridiculous and I told myself that it didn’t work. But I forced myself to listen anyway, thinking of it like I would if I was going to the gym; it was my daily mental and emotional exercise. By exercising my brain this way, I allowed myself to default to a more positive place on a more frequent basis. And that could only help me in the long run.

Affirmations can be created in a number of ways. From the positive statements we repeat to ourselves each day, to the visualizations of something we want in our future, or even to using the present tense to talk about these things as if they’ve already happened. Positive thinking is always a good idea. It beats telling ourselves we’re not good enough, we aren’t liked and problems are all that await us. I say bring ’em on.
Dare to be fabulous every day.



Goodbye to Simon Chaitowitz

Almost a month and a half ago, we lost one of our great contributors and supporters to complications stemming from treatments for breast cancer.

Simon Chaitowitz was a dear friend to both Johanna and me and someone who continually kept the wind under the sails for many. Rather than writing about her on this site immediately after her passing, Johanna and I both felt the need to sit with this one for a bit and just absorb what the loss of Simon meant to both of us.

Simon was an enabler in the very best sense of the word. Though a brilliant thinker and writer herself, she was forever excited about what others were doing to make the world a better place – especially for animals, women, and the environment. She provided encouragement for any and all projects of her friends and colleagues. She was completely nonjudgmental and saw only the best in everyone. Simon was a great cheerleader for Dare To Be Fabulous as well. It meant a lot to us that such an incredible person and writing talent would take the time for us, especially at such a challenging point in her life.

Johanna and I have both known Simon for years. I first met her when I was organizing a fundraising event for a sanctuary in Cameroon that took in orphaned chimpanzees – victims of that country’s brutal bush meat trade which butchered their mothers for food right in front of their infants. Desperate for volunteer help, I put out an APB and Simon answered – enthusiastic, capable, and inspired no job too small for her, including finding a babysitter for the sanctuary founder’s baby daughter. She again came through for me when I was later organizing and animal advocacy conference in Washington, D.C., a short time later. Simon and I have been both friends and colleagues since that time.

I know Johanna has similar feelings, if I may speak for her. Simon was a great champion of Johanna’s advocacy work in getting vegetarian options into professional sports arenas across the country, And in spite of her own precarious health, she was a wealth of knowledge, encouragement, and support for both of us with our own health issues a – a side of Simon I saw manifest with many other women who were also diagnosed with cancer.

Our greatest gift from Simon was her example of living fully each day, as well as she could, no matter what. Until she could absolutely no longer manage it, she kept up her wonderful blog with stories about her treatment, her hiking and kayaking, her getaways, and beautiful photos that she took herself of the nature around her that she loved so much. She continued to publish op-eds and letters to the editor, and had a column featured in the Huffington Post a month before her death.

Simon lived more fully than many of us ever will. Her time was too short and her value to all of us great. People often say the loss of someone is untimely, but in Simon’s case it is especially true.

Simon is the second member of the DTBF family we have lost since our inception. The other is the incomparable Gretchen Wyler whom we also lost to complications from breast cancer. Both of these amazing women believed in the power of encouraging other women to be who they are and do what they were put on the planet to do, without letting the opinions of others get in their way. They were both clear in their focus, clear in their dreams, and clear in their world view. They were both immeasurably fabulous.

We miss you, Simon. Say hello to Gretchen for us.


Click here to read Simon’s obituary in the Washington Post.

The Upper Hand

I read a column in Time Magazine about a month ago that has since been resonating with me. The column was about how the current economic crisis has given many employers the upper hand. With unemployment numbers increasing daily, and job opportunities shrinking, individuals who still hold jobs and benefits are feeling more grateful than ever. They know that their options are limited at best, and that simply keeping a job in this market has provided them with a very fortunate circumstance. Feeling beholden to their employers, they are aiming to please at all costs.

Many employers have tightened their budgets to compensate for the economic downturn. To this end, some have had to let go of employees and/or have implemented a hiring freeze. If the business is still keeping pace, this means that existing employees are carrying more of the load than they did before the economy turned sour. They are working harder and longer hours than ever expected and they are being asked to do more than their original job description ever outlined. All this without an increase in pay, I might add. And here’s the thing: they don’t dare quit or speak up, because they don’t want to lose their jobs. They have families to feed and bills to pay.

It’s become easy to take advantage of workers, so it’s important to keep this in check. People who have jobs are willing to take on extra duties or to work extra hard because they are focused solely on the gratitude of having a paying gig in the first place. That’s how things get unbalanced. The stress level alone takes a huge toll on them. And the fact that they aren’t being assertive in a way they might’ve been before, takes a further toll on their self esteem. They may have work and they may be able to pay the bills when their neighbors can’t, but that doesn’t make it okay.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t blame business owners for cutting back on their budgets right now. Many businesses are simply trying to stay afloat and, for the most part, they’re just trying to be pragmatic around the current circumstances. It makes absolute sense. There’s no arguing with limited funds and the prospect of a possible or likely decrease in business. However, there are temporary solutions that can be implemented to keep hard working employees fulfilled, if not at least, truly grateful.

An office I know has approached it this way. Though the staff may work long hours on some days, they’ve been granted the opportunity to come late or leave early on the days when it’s less busy. This has helped pick up their spirits significantly. They get to recoup and recharge, and their appreciation is palpable. They smile more often. They come into the office looking rejuvenated. They joyfully talk about what they were able to do with that extra time. There are other options that can be considered, too. What about extending them a few more days of vacation for this fiscal year? Or, if that isn’t viable, what about getting them gift certificates for an hour massage? After all, employers can easily write that off for next year’s taxes. And their staff will appreciate being given the opportunity to truly relax during this stressful time.

At the very least, employers should remember to give thanks. Employees are doing most of the thanking these days because they’re grateful to have a job and be spared the experience of standing in long unemployment lines. However, it’s just as vital for employers to realize when their workers are putting in that extra mile for them. Pats on the back and warm words of appreciation go a long way. Acknowledgement of the situation on both sides is key.

One thing we’re all learning as we watch the fall out of banks and auto manufacturers and investment groups is not to take anything for granted. Nothing comes with an absolute guarantee. So let’s take the time to express gratitude for what we do have, and to extend a helping hand in both directions. We’re all in this together.

’tis the season

Season’s Greetings! Isn’t it lovely to see all those lights? Patti and I agree that Christmas lights are probably our favorite decorations. They’re festive and bright and twinkly. Quiet and radiant. I love them.

Christmas marketing started awfully early this year. It was really disturbing to see Christmas advertising before Halloween. Aren’t Christmas festivities supposed to officially begin the day after Thanksgiving? Can’t we just celebrate one holiday at a time here? Undoubtedly, the state of our financial markets helped to dictate the early campaign to push consumers to BUY BUY BUY. It’s just disappointing. The emphasis on consumerism and that push to purchase has been out of control for a long time. The sad thing, in my opinion, is that people are literally buying into it. They’re buying the notion that purchasing is the key to creating happiness. That getting someone that hot new product or that expensive item, is the most emphatic way to say “I love you.” I ponder how it used to be, before credit cards were the norm. The simplicity of it all. The real connection between what we could afford and what we purchased. But those days ended a long time ago…and now, look at the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into.

A friend recently said that he wasn’t going to let the push for purchasing ruin his holiday spirit. He loves Christmas and he loves celebrating this season, and he said he was going to make it his own, regardless of incessant TV advertising or the early onset of merchandisers’ holiday music. He didn’t want capitalist pushers to mar his spirits. I think this is the key for all of us. Plus, we can all relate to that sense of social pressure during the holiday season. It doesn’t matter what religion we may practice or whether we purchase each other gifts. It’s that whole sappy notion that is somehow driven into us that we’re SUPPOSED to be festive and happily family-focused during this season. Unfortunately, that notion backfires and often creates an opposite effect: melancholy, because the truth is, it often doesn’t pan out that way.

If you’re among those that are feeling that pressure this season, don’t let it get you down. Remember that the true spirit of the season is about love and peace and charity. There are plenty of individuals out there that have tragic family histories, or at the very least, truly dysfunctional families. (We hear that term all the time and wonder what functional is supposed to look like, right?) It’s not about pretending that your family is where it’s at. Or buying things you can’t afford and making yourself miserable with the debt later. My friend is right. Celebrate the season your own way. Allow yourself to bask in whatever makes you feel happy and warm and fuzzy. Know that you are loved and allow yourself to bask in the glow of that feeling. Surround yourself with those that bring out your sense of gratitude. And while you’re at it, donate what you can, be it time or money, to a cause you support.

BTW. Our Guest Column this month features a greeting from Anne Made Cards. There’s still time to get greeting cards if you haven’t already. Her cards are fabulous. Check it out!

Peace on Earth. Good will to women. And all those that love them. 🙂


Election 2008

Patti: I can’t believe the day has finally come and gone. It seems like it took so LONG to get here – election day! Johanna and I couldn’t let this pass without some sort of mention, so we thought we’d talk to each other here in this column about our impressions from both coasts — East and West!

Johanna: My  mother, who is 82 years old, told me that it reminded her of when Kennedy won.  The jubilation, the sense of hope.  She said she’d forgotten how that felt until Obama won on Tuesday.  She noted how he’s inspired so many young people and how Kennedy did the same thing.  “John and Jackie are coming back to the White House,” a friend of hers said yesterday.

Patti: You know, I thought about that. I was pretty small at the time, but I remember how people talked about it. I gotta say, it was pretty exciting that people were spontaneously celebrating in front of the White House — totally unprecedented! I can’t believe I didn’t hop in the car myself and head on down there, but I had to catch an early flight the next morning — god, I’m lame! (But still working on fabulous!) As it was, I was up until after 1 a.m. listening to speeches — how could you not? What a historical moment. I definitely envied you West-coasters, though, who were getting it in prime time!

Johanna:  It was truly FABULOUS.  I watched the election coverage at a friend’s house, with about ten other people.  We were tuned into Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.  When Stewart just announced that Obama had won, we jumped out of our seats cheering and clapping.  We heard some cheers coming from outside the house and went outside on the landing to see other families coming out of their homes and cheering.  When Henri and I drove home to Berkeley, all cars on the road were honking in joy and when we finally got into bed later that night, we could hear the cheers of UC Berkeley students, who had poured into the streets.  In fact, a Cal freshman that I know told me that she was getting into bed in her dorm room at around 11 p.m. and when she found out fellow students were headed out, she said, “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” and joined them.  I’ll attach a snapshot she took on Telegraph Ave. at midnight.

Patti: This election wore me out. As I get older, the negativity takes more and more of a toll. But when I went to vote –which, let’s face it, had a slightly different feel to it this time than in elections past with the huge turnout — I felt like I was honoring all the women who came before me and made it possible for me to be standing in that line at all. They defined fabulous, and they endured some of the most humiliating and dehumanizing treatment imaginable –incarceration in jails and insane asylums, starvation and force feeding, beating, you name it.

I just feel I have to talk about the suffragists here. I don’t want people (women, especially) to forget  their bravery and how much they put themselves at risk for all of us women to have the vote. If I voted for no other reason, it would be that. And please don’t call them suffragettes! That was a derogatory term made to diminish them and make them seem less consequential. just silly little girls. I’ll get off my soapbox now, but I did want to talk about that and give them the recognition they deserve.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m good with the way the election turned out, but I can’t wait until our president is a woman, though!

Johanna:  Very good points.  It’s so important to remember our history as a gender, because it can be taken for granted.  I think about Gloria Steinem or Betty Friedan.  I think about the fact that women’s rights was considered “radical.”  We still have a ways to go, mind you, but it’s thanks to women like that, who were willing to stand up to what was conventional and accepted, and to rock the boat, if you will.  I fight complacency.  I try every day to remember all that happened before my time and all the energy and sacrifice that others made, in order for my way of life today to even be possible.  I try to fight my own fights in the same way, remembering that though the causes may not be understood in today’s conventional society, there’s a bigger picture here.  Rights and equality and compassion for all.  That’s the bottom line.  But don’t get me on MY soapbox!  My goodness.  

This election gave hope back to people who lost it, or more, never even had it in the first place.  Did you know that 69% of first time voters in this election, voted for Obama?    

Patti:  That’s pretty great! When do we get to start calling him Barry, like Michelle does? 🙂 Sorry — I felt the need to lighten this up all of a sudden. Hey, did I tell you I wrote myself in for State Board of Education? I just didn’t really like the people running, and Washington, D.C. schools are in a heck of a state. I figured I could do at least as well! DTBF! It felt kind of fun and empowering — I don’t know why it had never occurred to me before. Maybe you can manage my campaign next time and I can make an official run!

Johanna:  I love it!  I told a few people about that.  I think that was a wonderful idea.  Patti for Board of Ed!   BTW.  Before we get off the women and politics subject, two sites I suggest to check out.  I’ll refrain from describing them to keep the text short here.  Definitely worth a click!   What’s Your Point, Honey? and A Single Woman (we’ve mentioned that one a few times.  A film directed and produced by our DTBF sister, Kamala Lopez.)

Patti: I’m glad you included those links, thanks! By the way … I know all of you have voted in different ways for different things this election, and some things went your way and some things didn’t. It’s pretty much the same for all of us, I guess, and a little painful when we are voting with our hearts. I feel sad that gay marriage didn’t fare well in a few states, among other issues. I was thrilled with Prop 2 out there in California, though, right, Johanna? That must have been pretty thrilling to live in a state that is saying yes to humane treatment of animals — and “yes” by a landslide! You must be pretty proud! And Question 3 in Massachusetts! The cruel sport of greyhound racing will be a thing of the past next year in that state! Those are just a couple of the things I’m happy about.

All in all, I’d say I’m feeling more optimistic now than I have in a long time — I think people daring to be fabulous is making a difference — standing up for beliefs that we thought wouldn’t have even have had a shot a few years ago. That reminds me — if you have an election day related story to share, please send it to us! Maybe we’ll include them on the site! I can honestly say that in the long time I have been voting, I’ve never heard so many people say in different ways how empowered they felt. So share your story with us!

Johanna:  Proposition 2 was a big victory in California.  Residents of this state were given the opportunity to declare that the treatment of factory farmed animals matters, despite what the industry standards might be.  Unfortunately, most people are unaware of the reality of the suffering that is endured, so there was some satisfaction in seeing the ads that showed even the tiniest glimpse of that world to people who never realized this was the case.  I do want to say one more thing about this, before we close on this column.   I’ve heard a few individuals actually compare Prop 2 with Prop 8, expressing their disappointment that animals got the vote when gays didn’t.  I am befuddled by this comparison.  Why must they be opposed to one another at all?  

I think this year’s election and Obama’s victory has already become one of those “where were you when?” stories.  I’d love to receive stories about your election day experiences.   Post them as a comment below this column, or if you want to expand on them, perhaps as a DTBF story submission of your own!  

Patti: I don’t know what to say about that comparison, Johanna. Yes, I do. It’s never Fabulous to wish that, because you were not treated kindly, that someone else who did receive a kindness shouldn’t have been able to receive it in the face of your own disappointment. It is just. not. cool.  And Johanna, I totally agree with you. I think people will be telling stories for a long time about where they were, what they were doing, who they were with on election night. Except me. i was being too dull at home in my jammies.

I’d like to say just one more thing before wrapping this up. If any of you have volunteered on any campaign doing the hard work of phone banking, door hanging, or whatever, or worked on any election as a poll worker or on a GOTV effort — you have looked around and saw that the great majority of those doing this work were WOMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Women … make… it … happen.  I just had to say that. It’s true.

Johanna: Amen, sister.  Or rather, Awomen!   We’ll wrap it up on that note and look forward to your stories!

Dancing on the Rooftop

Image: “Dauphine,” by Teresa Moore.

I danced on my roof tonight. Yes , I actually did.
I live in a nine-story building. A lovely generous person plants that roof each summer with a beautiful potted garden – it’s a place I always think when I am there, “why don’t I come up here more often?”
This afternoon it rained hard – thunder and lightening, diminishing to a soft sprinkle that left the evening air cool and fresh, and perfect for reading on the rooftop. My book, The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, was striking cords in my psyche left and right. The view – a gorgeous panorama of all of Washington, D.C., its trees and monuments and houses and churches. The air was clean and fresh. I was sore but relaxed from an earlier intensive dance workout.
Then it hit me. The urge. To dance. On the rooftop.
“No, I can’t, someone might see.”
“It’s dusk. And no one is looking all the way up here.”
“Someone looking out the window in the next building might see.”
“Then they’ll be entertained. For free.”
“No, I can’t. I should read.”
“OK, go ahead then. Read.”
I kept reading. But my legs and body protested and yearned to move in that cool, fresh air, over that wide expanse of open, rain-puddled space, among the pots hibiscus and lantana, way up high over the city, over George Bush and Dick Cheney, and high gas prices cellulite and everything else.
I danced. Flamenco, modern, jazz. It didn’t last long, but I did it. I’d get all poetic and tell you how fabulous it felt – wind in hair, open arms, blah, blah, blah – but we both know that would be crap. Well, it was kind of fabulous, actually, but also silly and a little embarrassing. And fun. And it really did feel good. If I had been five years old I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. So why would I now? Exactly. We should just dance if we freaking feel like it. Damn it.
I’m going to do it again. I’ll let you know how it goes.