Equal Rights… Did You Think We Had them?


“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

The proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution


ConstitutionThat’s it.  That’s all of it.  24 words.  It says nothing about having to endure dual-sex toilets or the draft.  It pretty much just outlines what most of the young women of this generation think they already have:  equality under the law.

But, of course, they don’t have that.  The current debate on contraception and Choice – a debate in which both secular and religious old men seem to think they have the right to determine what rights women should be “allowed” to have about their own bodies – makes that abundantly clear.

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Posted on March 29th 2012 in The Philosopher’s Teacup, Women

A Free School Based on Talent and Heart

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“The Heart of the Matter is Free Education.”

                                                Caroline Simonelli, Fashion Designer


Caroline Simonelli and studentsHow many people do you know who delight in the idea of working or vacationing in Beirut?

My dear pal Caroline Simonelli, fashion designer and fashion educator extraordinaire, has just returned from her third trip and has every intention of spending as much time in Lebanon as her duties as Professor in the BFA Program at Parsons School of Design in Manhattan will allow.

All because Caroline and one of her very talented former students Sara Hermez had a dream.  They envisioned reinventing the way in which fashion design is taught, and offering a free education to young Middle Eastern men and women of talent, who could not otherwise afford such an opportunity. Continue reading “A Free School Based on Talent and Heart” »

Posted on March 23rd 2012 in The Philosopher’s Teacup, Women

This Wisdom Thing…


MoonSomebody called me a Wise Woman the other day and it almost made me laugh out loud.  Isn’t that something like those Lifetime Achievement Awards they give you in Hollywood when they can’t find roles for you anymore, I wondered? But it set me to thinking…

Nobody sets out to be a Wise Woman.  You set out to be sexy, smart, loved, a wife, a mother, a friend, a success… yes.  But to be Wise?… not so much.   Continue reading “This Wisdom Thing…” »

Posted on February 10th 2012 in The Philosopher’s Teacup, Women

Biology in the Bedroom


Young CoupleEver wonder why women have sex and think they’ve fallen in love, while men have sex and think they’ve just had sex?  I may have stumbled onto an answer worth passing along.  I’m not sure I can affect anything in the interaction of the genders by making this information public, but if it could simply make women more aware of the source of our own vulnerabilities, perhaps it would be worthwhile knowledge to possess.

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Posted on January 11th 2012 in Love, The Philosopher’s Teacup, Women

List for Dakota


DakotaMy daughter Dakota is just about to graduate from college, and I have the awful maternal fear that I might have forgotten to tell her something that’s really important. So I made a list. 

I know the accumulation of wisdom is a lifelong task and can’t be hurried or culled from someone else’s hands – but maybe it can be supported by the good will of one who truly loves you. At least, I hope so. These thoughts probably don’t have much to offer her at this moment of youthful discovery and untried freedoms, but maybe one day, a while from now, she’ll look at them again and understand what I’d hoped would sustain her, as she climbs life’s mountains. Like an On-Star System to turn to some dark night on a lonely road, where the path is not quite as clear as it seems today, and the task of finding the way home seems daunting.

The original list held 100 hopes, but I’ve picked out 25 today, because this seems like the time of year when introspection and wishes for those we love, intersect. If any reader would like to see the rest, please let me know.

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Posted on December 2nd 2011 in Notes to My Daughters, The Philosopher’s Teacup, Women

What Price Beauty

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I spent a lot of years in the Beauty/Fashion industry… I starved myself like everyone else did.  Looking beautiful and sexy was a different kind of nourishment, and I made the tradeoff gleefully.  But looking back, I’ve had lots of second thoughts about the unrealistic dream of beauty we’ve left our daughters.  Real women don’t look like the retouched ones in magazines.  Strong women can’t live on a starvation diet.  Able-bodied women can’t run or walk, or protect themselves, should they need to, in 6 inch stiletto heels. Continue reading “What Price Beauty” »

Posted on November 18th 2011 in The Philosopher’s Teacup, Women

Body of Wisdom

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Have you ever looked in the mirror and just wanted to cry?  I did that one recent morning, having had too little sleep and far too little coffee to cope with revelation.  My body wasn’t any of the things I’d wanted it to be… that was clear from the get to.  Not tall as Julia Roberts or thin as Calista Flockhart, not straight and lithe and sexy as when it was young and innocent of life.  My face, while it’s a perfectly good face, shows signs of more experience than you could shake a stick at.  My breasts – always my best feature – seemed to be holding their own pretty well, but my abs, God help them… they were never made of steel, but of flesh that’s carried children, and comforted life’s large or small hurts with one too many tea and toasts, by the look of it.

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Posted on November 18th 2011 in The Philosopher’s Teacup, Women

Friends to the End

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“Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you who you are.”

Russian Proverb

“Laugh and the world laughs with you.  Cry and you cry with your girlfriends.”

—Laurie Kuslansky

Thick, thin, life, death, moments, decades, loves, losses.  Hearts blood or chicken soup, it’s the women friends who’ve been there.  Advice or a boot in the fanny… cheering up or cheering on… a phalanx at the graveside, a standing army through life. Continue reading “Friends to the End” »

Posted on November 11th 2011 in Women

Time Shares in My Body


“How would you like to do a sacred ceremony to free you from whatever you choose not to carry with you, anymore?” my Medicine Woman friend asked me earnestly.  “In tribal custom,” she continued, “when the time comes for you to become a Wise Elder it’s necessary to become whole again for the good of the tribe.” Continue reading “Time Shares in My Body” »

Posted on October 28th 2011 in Medicine, Women

What I Learned About Love


I wanted to love and be loved forever.  I wanted to grow old with the man I loved.  Like Yeats with Maude Gonne, we’d love the sorrows of each others’ changing faces, and it wouldn’t matter one whit if we weren’t young and beautiful anymore, because we’d laugh together at the losses and infirmities, and we’d see each other on the inside, where our hearts and souls would still be lovely as before, and we’d bask together in the beauty of a life well-lived, a family well-raised, shared accomplishments to look back on with pride and affection. Continue reading “What I Learned About Love” »

Posted on October 21st 2011 in Love, The Philosopher’s Teacup, Women

On the Death of a Child

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Losing a child is a special kind of grief, irrevocably out of sync with nature.  We’re not supposed to bury our children — the mind and heart rebel and struggle to find a place to contain the unbearable and unthinkable.

We give birth to infinite love when we give birth to our children.  Joy, hope, dreams, ambitions all crystallized in one tiny new life, unsullied by the world’s perfidies or sorrows.  We hold our small miracle in our arms in a state as close to ecstasy and God as humankind ever gets. Continue reading “On the Death of a Child” »

Posted on April 10th 2011 in Death, Family, Sorrow, Women

Swimming in the Ancestral Gene Pool

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Because she didn’t understand that love was meant to be soft and warm, but she intended to be loving, nonetheless, my mother gave from her brain, instead of her heart.  I believe her heart had been battered shut in childhood by a tyrannical father and ineffectual mother, but her mind was limitless and her teaching skills formidable, so that would have to do.

When I was five, she insisted the local librarian permit me access to the adult library.  She disapproved of children’s books, except as occasional recreational airbisquits for the brain, and even at that, Anne of Green Gables was about as airbisquity as was acceptable.

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Posted on February 17th 2011 in Family, Women

Some Things You Never Forget


Some things you never forget.  Like the comfort of your father’s hand in yours when you’re small and afraid, or the final ember of light in the eyes of your dying child.

Other threads are inextricably woven into the softer fabric of soul. The sensuous, cold satin of summer’s first ice cream on your five year old tongue… the careless rapture of life before cognizance of consequences tempers immortality.  The first triumph that defines your path.  The first loss that staggers you into the inexorable realization of death.

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Posted on December 4th 2010 in Life, Sorrow, Women

What I Think About Life, So Far

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By the grace of God and a fast outfield, I find myself the mother of a 21 year old, born so many years after my first two daughters, it might as well be considered a separate lifetime

Dakota is perched on the precarious edge of womanhood now, and she’s a deep one, never precipitous in her approach to life, always observing and assessing.  Because of the difference in our ages I sometimes wonder when we speak of important question marks in life whether she’s tucking away what we say to each other on the great tape-recorder of soul, for some faraway day, when I’m just a memory, and she’s standing at the kitchen window, wishing she could share a cup of tea with me again… just as I often find myself wishing I could sit down with my own parents, now long gone, to share some thoughts on what the years have wrought.  I wonder if whatever I say now will seem quaint and old fashioned by then, or if whatever comes directly from the heart, never ages at all.

Continue reading “What I Think About Life, So Far” »

Posted on December 4th 2010 in Family, Happiness, Love, Loving Life, Women

Womanhood = Triage

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Women have always rocked the cradle, supported their partners, striven to make the planet a habitable place. These days, they also head families, earn their own keep, watchdog the environment, fight the lies society abounds with, “earn the bacon and fry it up in a pan,” raise their children, often alone, and struggle to prevail over fate, not just endure it.  At the same time, they strive to be healthy, beautiful and sexy.

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Posted on December 4th 2010 in Women
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