- Orange Over Wyoming -


Sometimes I wonder,
"Why stay inside?"
When sunsets like this
Wish me goodnight.

- These Parts -


When you see litter,
Ask: "what would Longmire do?"
And pick up the trash!

- Haze -


Drifting smoke wanders
From Distant wild fires:
This ruddy lunar orb.

Starlings


The murmurs of a heart beat dancing between the clouds. The fluid motion of the ocean's currents, violent in transition. They are liberated of the bondage which holds me. Free like I will never be.

My solitude, locked in this stone walled cell. Locked inside my mind, unable to leave the confines of doubt. So I watch them dance. A private viewing of nature's ballet, accompanied by the wind rushing through the drying leaves; the chirp of grasshoppers; the buzz of the cicada.

These walls separate me, my fingertips brush the breeze as it blows past, ahead of these iron bars. But my reasoning holds on, my sanity glides on their wings; dependent on their annual flight.

Until they come again, I'll wait.

- The Bzzzzz -


She's takin' my pic - 
Mind your own bee's wax, lady!
Like I ain't workin!

Ode to Fish Tacos

How hard for you I've searched!
My hopes remained high perched.
Every experience I failed;
All satisfaction jailed!

I scoured where you'd often haunt,
My labors you did always taunt.
Disappointed you weren't there
Proving just how you were rare.

I suppose it I did deserve;
Demanding you, I had some nerve.
Taking you for granted,
I'll sow the seeds I have planted.

I know now your full worth.
Though you laugh at me with mirth.
My wicked ways I've repaired.
My love for you I've often shared.

Long journeys end in all lost;
I had no idea what this move would cost.
Maybe you were just a dream;
Your denial to me some cruel scheme.

Replacements I have pondered
Across man drawn borders I have wandered.
To forget you I endeavor;
But, in truth - I could never.

Oh! To the utter delight of my soul!
In Nebraska: The Mixing Bowl!
There they were, a surprise - 
Paired with sweet potato fries.

I beg, be still my beating heart.
There on the plate: it's food; it's art!
Mango salsa, kale, aoli sauce;
We share a name, me and the boss.

Lessons I have learned - 
For fish tacos I have yearned.
Found, I promise I'll cherish you now.
Forever grateful, I wipe my brow.

Fish Tacos from The Mixing Bowl in Gering, Nebraska

- Cat Naps -


Pulled in close to you,
I use you as my pillow.
The room fills with snores.

Matching to Save a Life


When I was in middle school my cousin was diagnosed with Leukemia. It was a shocking blow to our family, as cancer always is. I remember many of my older family members volunteered to be a marrow donor and I remember wanting to participate, but I was too young. It was a feeling that stuck with me even after she had passed and I vowed that if ever the opportunity arose again I would be first in line to offer. 

But then I forgot.

See, life gets in the way and you forget the silly fancies you had as a child. Except this one isn't silly. It just wasn't prevalent in my life any longer. Until now. My cousin (a different cousin) has a little girl named Sunny and she is quite the courageous little spirit. Sunny was just recently diagnosed with Systemic Mastocytosis this summer. This disease has no cure and one day, eventually, she will need a bone marrow transplant to reset her system.

Sunny is three years old.

Then her parents posted a link on Facebook to Be The Match which allows you to sign up to be a marrow donor for anyone in the world. That was all I needed to know. Suddenly that small child within me started screaming out "What are you waiting for!?" I could feel past me's eyes burning into me as I looked around on the site. I didn't feel relief from her until I finally clicked "join." 

Here's something you should be aware of when you click to join the registry - they are going to ask you for a lot of personal information, your social security number included. And here's why: Say you give them your current address and then move four times in the next 10 years. Then, say you come up as a match for someone in Boston who needs your marrow donation now. You haven't updated your information with the registry - how are they going to find you? With your social security number they can ensure you are legally who you claim to be as well as track you down in the event that you are a match. There. Now you won't be surprised.

After I filled out the "paperwork" online I waited for my kit to come in the mail. And viola! It came this last week!


"Buccal" means your cheek. Nothing scary here! All you have to do is swab the inside of your cheek for 10 seconds with four different giant q-tips.


And you get to make super sexy faces while you do it. Note to self: don't make direct eye contact with the camera!

All done! Absolutely painless!


You slap some barcode stickers on the stem and secure the q-tips in their packaging.


They've included a self addressed and pre stamped envelope for you to return your yummy cheek goop in. Mail it off as soon as you are done so that it can get to them quickly. It takes approximately two months to get your name on the registry. That's two months someone could be waiting for you!



Here's the bottom line:

It's free to sign up.
It's absolutely painless to get your tissue samples to the foundation.
You're volunteering to help save someone's life!



What have you got to lose? 




To keep up on Sunny's story, check out the family's GoFundMe page, Sunny's Super Heroes! She was accepted to a program which specializes in Systemic Mastocytosis in Boston and the family is raising funds to help with her medical and travel bills. 

- A Day At The Beach -


From atop this prairie dune of hard caked sand; 
Ancient layers jutting up from a green sea.
The ocean comes to me.

Gusts of wind that cut the skin;
Bringing chill that steals warmth from the sun.
The ocean comes to me.

Violent grasses strike together;
Pine needles shiver in the breeze.
The ocean comes to me.

Landlocked by fields of corn;
Wheat stalks sway like thrashing waves.
The ocean comes to me.

Smoke from fires wild and untamed;
Fills my lungs with memories.
The ocean comes to me.

Salt from dried plains flies in the air;
Flooding the taste of my lips.
The ocean comes to me.

A piece of me lost on summer days;
Has found its way home.
The ocean comes to me.

Chicago's Vice


The fog floods my lungs as I struggle to my feet. Cramped legs protest my subtle, silent movements. I wince with pain. 4:30. My watch tells me I've been hunched behind this stack of wood crates for an hour longer than I had hoped. Maybe my informant was wrong. Maybe she lied. Impossible. She owes me too much. Her information is solid. 

I shake out the damp locked beneath the collar of my canvas jacket in time with the fog horn blowing off the docks. Jesus, I can't see a thing. Just a thick blanket of mist infiltrating every pore, every crevice; growing rust on every ship. I want to leave; to turn tail and go home to the warmth of my salon. Who am I compared to Giuseppe the Bottleneck: smuggler, businessman, mafioso? Me, some flapper tart from uptown who got a funny notion. 

I'll wait just a few moments more. He has to be here, there's no other way to get that poison into our town and I need it. I need the proof on his label, the evidence of his hands on the bottle. I've tracked him this far; from darkened stairwells, behind passwords and doors I have followed him, the king of this city. And I will bring him down. Just a few minutes more.

Waves lap the pylons that keep this wharf upright, the boards moan under the moisture in the air, under the booted footsteps of men. I crouch low, my auburn hair hidden beneath the black scarf I borrowed from the housekeeper. He won't see me until I want him to, the woman who will end his reign. More boots, the muffled cough of age behind a limp cigarette. It's embers marking the man's pace. I can smell him. 

Their eyes stare into me, their breath mingling with the fog. They wait for the signal. Soon, I promise resolutely.

Where would they be without me? Treading water in an open case; never drawing nearer. The morning I threw open those brass doors they were saved. A little woman in white trousers had outdone them all. A little woman in white trousers had handed them a prize. My facts checked out, though they tried hard to poke holes in my theory. A girl can learn a lot more than a copper can in a lounge they aren't supposed to know about. And I did. 

The crowbar wrapped in his gloved hands cracks open a wooden crate just off a gangplank. It's silent, but for the fog horn - a sound I'll hear for days after, imprinted in my mind. He takes a glove to his teeth and slides it off his hand. Each bottle is inspected. I step out from the shadows and I know he sees me. Then the men. This day would change him. This day he would remember his daughter, Francis Falcon: Investigative Reporter and snitch.

- Eyelashes -


Framing the brown depths

Of a life and age unknown


Rescued from the wilds.

- Toms -


Wrapped up in cardboard,

Canvas peeps beneath the lid.


Not just shoes for me!

- Love Thyself -


The truth within us

Is greater than imagined.


We are, but shadows.

- Salmonella -


Never in my life

Has anything been more worth


The risk - Cookie Dough!

Feature: "It's Only Hair," Part Two

Part One

Story Time -

When I was growing up I was quite the Tom-Boy. I played hard on the playground with the boys, dressed in jeans and t-shirts... I hated dresses! My mother even had to bribe me with jewelry to get me into a dress for photos... but that's another story. However, I wasn't so Tom-Boy that I refused to get my ears pierced, which they were.

Anyway, I was in first grade and I decided to cut my hair into that classic 90's bowl cut. It just seemed like a completely normal thing to do and I was fortunate enough to have a mother who gave me my freedom to do so. One afternoon my mom and I went to an arcade (remember, this is the 90's) to pick up my older brother who was there with his friend. While I stood in the lobby holding the friend's coat a young boy came up to me and exclaimed incredulously:
Your dad let you get both your ears pierced?!
Before running off. I was shocked because, um, obviously he would let me get both my ears pierced because I would look silly otherwise.

It wasn't until I became an adult and this memory hit me that I realized the boy had thought I was just another boy. He was blown away because my father let his "son" get both his ears pierced, which was not a popular thing back then. To me I was just a girl comfortable in her skin. To him I was a boy with both ears pierced. Kids are funny.

Growing up I remember my parents always encouraging me to put my long hair in a pony tail "to show off my face," but when I got older I heard "why do you always wear your hair up?" I'm not quite sure when the transition happened, but I remember the battle for my hair quite plainly.

Beginning in the second half of high school I became quite the adventurer with my hair, much to my mother's dismay. I've had brown, red, and blond hair. I've had dreadlocks and a perm. This is my second pixie.



My mantra (and defense to my mom) was simply, "It's only hair." How greatly that truth has changed this last year. There are quite a few women in my life who have gone the way of "the big cut" - here is a continuation of their story:

Shawn

Shawn

Occupation:
Membership Marketing Coordinator
Why did you cut your hair?
 I came out of a marriage where my husband would not allow me to cut my hair short nor did he ever compliment me. I went through a complete life change and needed to feel empowered again.
How long was it before?
Shoulder length
How does your short hair make you feel?
It makes me feel bold, empowered, energized. Short hair represents my rebellion against society's norm. As women we are expected to have long hair.
Are you treated differently by the public? How?
I get tons of compliments all the time from men and women both. Men find it sexy on me and women tell me how they wish they could be brave and cut their hair off. Young children have commented I have a "boy's hair."
How do you view yourself with short hair?
A trend setter. My self-confidence has come back and I feel sexy. I can wear my hair wild or tame depending on my mood. 

In Shawn's own words:
Live outside the box. Who has the right to tell us how to wear our hair? It's hair. Live a little on the wild side and shine!
Shawn and I met while I was training prospective foster parents in Arizona. She was a "student" earning her license in hopes of one day adopting a child - it was such an honor to work with Shawn and all the experience, wisdom, and love she has to offer this world. I'm happy to say she successfully adopted a little girl a few years ago making her family complete.

Jessica
Jessica
Occupation:
Outside Sales Engineer for a Mechanical Representative - I graduated with a Bachelor degree in Construction Management with an emphasis in Mechanical Engineering. I work with local Engineers designing HVAC equipment systems for commercial building (i.e. Jails, Government Buildings, Apartments, High Rises, Schools, Warehouses, etc.) The sales aspect is selling to my customers who are generally local mechanical contractors.
Why did you cut your hair?
I cut my hair in 2009 after having long hair my entire life. I was an athlete most of my life and because of this I would tie my hair up on a regular basis. Besides having straight and, what I considered, "boring hair" I had recently moved out of my home state of Oregon down to California. Looking back now I think a large part of cutting my hair was a statement about me finally being who I am and not pretending to be someone I wasn't. 
Growing up where I was surrounded by "girly girls" with long and beautiful hair was always a bit intimidating and it almost felt like I had to keep my hair long to keep up with the "normal" look. I had never been in my own skin and was ready for a change. I felt like I was in a place where I wouldn't be judged because my look wasn't normal. So I did it, and let me tell you what, I cried for hours after cutting it; wishing I had never done it. I love me short hair now.
How long was it before?
My hair was midway down my back prior to cutting it.
How does your short hair make you feel?
I love my short hair. It makes me happy. I have finally grown into the person I always was and I don't have to hide behind something I'm not. I like that I can have five hair styles in one cut - I have to give my wife, who is a wonderful hair stylist, props for that. 
Are you treated differently by the public? How?
When I first cut my hair there were many situations where I was called "Sir," which still happens to this day, but not as often. I honestly think that the world has become more open to the fact that it's okay for a woman to have short hair, and it doesn't mean they are some sort of "bull dyke." However, I am also a bit naive because I live on the west coast, whereas when I've been to the middle parts of the United States I have encountered much worse situations. 
One example: I was on a work trip in Missouri and I hadn't eaten so I went down the street from my hotel to a local restaurant. I was sitting by myself finishing up my meal when a couple of men came walking into the restaurant and sat down in the bar area. I could see them out of the corner of my eye staring at me and the entire situation didn't feel right. So I asked for my check and as I was signing the bill I heard a loud "DYKE!" shouted from the guys sitting at the bar. At this point I got up and started walking to the front entrance. I decided to call my friend who was waiting at the airport to pick up my wife who was flying back from her work trip. I instantly felt I needed to have someone on the phone with me just in case a situation arose. Next thing you know, I turned around the same two men were chasing after me and yelling offensive gay slurs at me. I started running and thankfully made it all the way back to my hotel. This was a huge reality check for me that not all the places in the world are as open to short hair.
On average, I feel like I am treated mostly normal by women when they see my short hair. It doesn't generally seem to be an issue, at least that I recognize. More often than not, women do not react to the length of my hair in the same way that men do. I'm not sure if it's because men are intimidated by a woman with short hair or if there are higher social expectations by men for women to wear their hair long, but the reaction inference between the sexes is noticeable. 
How do you view yourself with short hair?
I view myself as confident, edgy, and fun with short hair. I also can be self-conscious at times and very nervous about having a certain look with my hair being worn short, especially in conservative environments. People seem very comfortable assuming who I am in my sexuality based on the style that I wear my hair, making me feel exposed.

In Jessica's own words:
For the most part, having short hair is wonderful; it's freeing and brave. I recommend to all ladies taking the plunge and shearing the length at some point in their lives!

I have known Jessica since I was in elementary school. We were friends, but also competitors. Mostly in basketball. I'm thankful for Facebook's way of connecting people - it's allowed me the great honor in watching Jessica and her family grow!

Feature: "It's Only Hair," Part One

In January of this year I had an itch to do something drastic to break the mold of my daily routine. I felt like I was in a rut. Every morning I woke up, ironed my husband's work clothes, showered, dressed, and dried my hair. By mid-day my hair would be in a pony tail and out of my face. I hated how much time and effort I had to put into something that wasn't important to me - it was just something that stood between me and what I wanted to accomplish that day. And I was tired of things standing in my way.

So I lopped it off:

August 2014 vs. May 2015


These photos were taken nine months apart. My hair used to be past my shoulder blades and, as you can see, VERY blond! The first thing I did the day I got it cut was style a mohawk... because why wouldn't you?! I have to say, it's my favorite daily accessory and it only takes me about 5 minutes to throw together in the morning... tops.

A side effect to having short hair that I had no idea existed is that my confidence and energy level have spiked. I feel more feminine, more adventurous, and more authentically me than I have ever felt. 

I am fearless.

I feel liberated from convention; more out of the box of society's categories. I feel like I have taken back ownership of who I am and who I am going to be. I made this decision out of restlessness, but this pixie and mohawk have been a gift to my self-esteem and self-worth. This fearlessness comes from an outward expression of defiance to the person I once was. And I can tell you I have become a stronger person since "the big cut." With this short hair I've asserted (to myself) that I don't need the attentions of men, the approval of others, the permission of my husband to be happy with myself. I know it seems silly that such a small act could produce this affect, but it has. It has changed me in so many more ways than I can express.

To clue you in, this is what it feels like inside my head everyday:



Believe me, there have been critics. In my small town, tradition is master and so it has taken a while for the old cowboys and their wives to smile at me again. Even my husband has mentioned he missed the long hair and prior to "the big cut" I probably would have taken that to heart and changed for him. But not now. And I know he loves me for that - for that unwavering confidence that says:
I did this for me.



Lately I've started thinking about the other gals I know who have gone the route of the "pixie" before me and what affect, if any, it has had on their lives. 

Here's what I found out:


Sinatra
Sinatra
Occupation: 
Self-employed artist, designer, and adventurer
Why short hair?  
Long hair is so boring. My hair is thick so it was such a pain to deal with. I have the face for short hair. I can do more with it, style it, and dry it faster.
How long was it before?
About 2 inches past my shoulders.
How does it make you feel?
Fierce
Are you treated differently in public? How?  
Yes, people are always commenting on my hair or taking pictures of it to show their stylist!
How do you view yourself with short hair?  
I love it! It fits my personality and it's edgy. 

In Sinatra's words:

Women who want short hair should never fear the cut. I always see it as just hair; it will grow back. I used to be a hair model for Bumble & Bumble when I lived in NYC. I was picked for short hair cuts; nothing extreme, mostly asymmetrical pixies or a-line bobs. There's something empowering about having short hair. It's like freedom from the weight of a low self-esteem that is cut away one strand at a time. You feel like there is nothing in the world that you cannot conquer!
Check out Sinatra's Etsy account for some great holiday fun! 


Jansen
Jansen

Occupation: 
I'm a stay at home mama to three crazy kiddos. I blog in my spare time (Ha! Spare time!) I mean, I blog really late at night.
Why did you cut your hair? 
I have had my hair every length, style, and color under the sun in my adult life, but in February, I shaved my head. A very special little boy in my life was diagnosed with Leukemia (AML). When he began his chemotherapy and began to lose his hair, his dad had the idea to host an event where we (family and friends) all shaved our heads in support of Chase's fight. The evening was inspiration for many tears both happy and sad. I'm thrilled to be able to say that after six long months, Chase is home recovering and cancer free. (Read about it on her blog!)
How long was it before? 
My hair was in a jaw-length cut-in bob when I shaved my head. Only a year before it was well beyond my shoulders.
How does your short hair make you feel? 
Honestly, it makes me feel like a grown up. For some reason, I've always equated short hair with maturity. As I've become a woman in my thirties, I've noticed fewer and fewer women pull off long hair as well as they tend to pull off shorter hair. Maybe it is some hormonal connection? I'm not sure. Either way, short hair makes me feel like I'm comfortable with where I am in life - wife, mother, adventurer! 
Are you treated differently by the public? How?
When my head was shaved I was certainly treated differently. I think most people were just curious as to why. Was I in cancer treatment? Was I some kind of rebel? Or making a statement? I'm a stout six-feet tall, so I should mention that I think my height plays into how people react to me. With that said, I think short hair elicits an air of confidence. Long hair is considered traditional. Any time a woman bucks tradition there tend to be responses both good and bad. My short hair seems to be complemented by most women and few men, and questioned most by older gentlemen and young girls.
How do you view yourself with short hair? 
There are times when I think longer hair helps me feel more feminine. This feeling of lack of femininity is also a by-product of my aforementioned height. Most of the time, I view my short hair as fashionable, feminist, and something I like to think I can "pull-off!"

In Jansen's own words:
I love the fact that both of my daughters also shaved their heads this past winter in support of their friend. So often young people, especially girls, tie their identity too tightly to what they look like (adults do that too - I'm guilt of having done so before). Figuring out who you are isn't always easy, and sometimes experimenting with things like hair can help to cultivate and express who we are. I'm glad I've never been afraid to experiment. "It's only hair," my mother would say when I was growing up. It is... and it isn't.
Jansen is a talented writer whom I know you would enjoy following! Check out her blog: The Tall Mom!

Lisa
Lisa

Occupation:
Family Mentor
Why did you cut your hair?
I cut my hair many years ago because it's thin and won't grow.
How long was it before?
It made it to my shoulders.
How does your short hair make you feel?
It makes me feel like I have to try harder to make it look feminine.
Are you treated differently by the public? How?
I don't feel treated differently by the public, but I do get many comments.
How do you view yourself with short hair? 
I have had short and long hair. I don't view myself any differently.

In Lisa's own words:
I try to change the colors to keep from being bored. Last year it had an orange patch.
Lisa has been an inspiration for me over the years I have known her in more ways than one. Her fight, compassion, and service to others are a constant reminder in my own life about Faith. And I absolutely love how brave she while in the salon!



Check in Tuesday for Part Two!

- An Argument for Cowboy Boots -


Far worse than Goat Heads,

Sand burs stick to everything.


I was not prepared!!

- Long Distance Friendships -


: The morrow's coffee.

I gladly sacrifice sleep


For late night talks.

- Lightbulb -


Lofty ideas

Leave room underneath for plans


That lead to success.

- Time -


Meteor Shower.

Back to bed for little rest.


Coffee first, then work.

Build 'em Up

My generation of women has a lot to answer for.

Perhaps it's all generations of women and I'm just being narrow sighted. We bully ourselves, we gossip about others, we tear each other down when no one is looking.

Why?

Why do we go to high school reunions to see who got fat? Or stalk people on facebook and smile when we see they are struggling? Why do we believe bringing someone down will lift ourselves up?

I haven't the answers. The only thing I do know is that I don't want to be an:
Oh my god Becky! Look at her butt! It is so big...
I want to be an:
Oh my god! Becky!! Your butt looks amazing.
Or rather:
Becky! You've worked so hard, I can tell! 

My facebook feed is full of aspirations. I can't tell you how many friends I have right now who are trying to make it in a home based business such as Mary Kay, Beach Body Health Coaching, and Scentsy; or through self-employment such as a blog, photography, and real estate. Nearly every single one of them - and the posts are every day.

Videos of Cize work outs dominate my feed every morning... and I absolutely love it! These women are brave. They are strong. They are trying for something and putting themselves out there and I will "like" every video; I will "share" every announcement; I will gladly participate in their surveys because I know that it boosts their business.

Nike recently produced an amazing commercial that embraces the idea of working together. Their slogan: Strong alone. Unstoppable together.



That is the world I want to live in - one where we build each other up. Every dream is worthy of my time. If there is something I can do to help them grow then I should do it.

It takes no skin off my back to engage in their FB Pages or Groups. To send them a word urging them to keep pushing forward or telling them how proud I am of their progress. But do you know what it means to them that I've done it? Do you understand that each "Like" pushes their business further; each engagement creates future revenue? Social media is a helluva tool and when we all participate in each other's dream we see just how big of an impact that can be.

Following someone's blog and sharing their posts, even if you aren't interested in underwater basketweaving, can attract advertisers. This means money. Your sharing someone's post makes that someone money. Did you know that?


I challenge each of you to reprogram your mind to offer support and love first. Even if you are not personally interested in what the other person is doing with their life offer a word of encouragement. Show them you are there to watch their success, not witness their failure.

I'd like to say "I'll see you at the top!" But I would rather walk (or run) beside you as we get there together.

- Dual Majors -


A heart in the sky

(Chasing dreams; just give me time)

And feet on the ground!

Empowering Women Since 1881

This summer I joined a cause which really revs my engine. I had no idea this organization existed until I was invited to a picnic in the park for the local branch by my supervisor who is the president for this area. We are a small community and so our membership at this branch is particularly small, but it is growing. I am the youngest member; however, I hope that before too long I will no longer hold that title for our branch.

AAUW Torrington-Wheatland Branch, July 2015

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) was started in a living room in 1881 when a recent college graduate came to her friend out of frustration of how little opportunities there were available for her, a woman, to exercise her degree. From two women it grew into 16 and from there, over the last 134 years, it has blossomed into 170,000 members and supporters!

Here are a few things you can thank AAUW for having a heavy hand in:
Marie Curie, Nobel Prize winner 1903, 1911
  • 1885 - Research disproving the theory that higher education harms women’s health.
  • 1913 – Reporting that women were paid about 78% of what men in similar positions were paid.
  • 1920 – Raising $156,413 toward the purchase of one gram of radium for Marie Curie’s Nobel Prize-winning research on radiation. 
  • 1940 – Assisting women who were fleeing the dictatorships of WWII.
  • 1946 – Early advocacy of the United Nations (they have been accorded permanent observer status).
  • 1955 – Supporting the first legislative proposal for pay equity (which passed in 1963).
  • 1964 – Helping pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • 1965 – Helping pass the Voting Rights Act.
  • 1972 – Playing a key role in the passage of Title IX of Education Amendments which prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded educational institutions.
  • 1981 – Taking on five of the famous “Cornell 11” staff who claimed the university paid them unfairly – the women won a $250,000 settlement in 1984.
  • 1988 – Leading the passage of the Civil Rights Restoration Act which reinvigorated Title IX after a US Supreme Court decision had undercut the law.
  • 1992 – Releasing How Schools Shortchange Girls which sparked a national debate that improved classrooms across the country.
  • 1993 – Successfully advocating for the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • 2009 – Leading efforts to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (which Obama signed into law).
  • 2013 – Awarding $100 million in fellowships and grants to 12,000 women in 130 countries over the course of 125 years!

In 2015 there is a push for pay equality among the genders. We hear about this a lot in the news and, to me, it is shocking how prevalent of an issue it is when you think of how far we have come in recognizing and enforcing civil rights. Yet, here we are. The national average for the gender pay gap sits at 78%, as of 2013. Not much has changed since 1913. Naturally, this percentage varies from state to state. 

Check it out – how does your state fare?

Source    - Fightforfairpay.org

The piece that really hooked me into this organization was their support for the STEM fields. While they support higher education for women on any level for any degree, the researchers for AAUW have noticed a severe disparity in female representation in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

There are many possible factors contributing to the discrepancy of women and men in STEM jobs, including: a lack of female role models, gender stereotyping, and less family-friendly flexibility in the STEM fields. Regardless of the causes, the findings of this report provide evidence of a need to encourage and support women in STEM.
What I like about this statement is that last sentence saying we need to encourage and support women in STEM. It's not that men are bad for holding the majority, it's that we need to get young women excited about science, math... engineering! Technology is all around us and yet women make up only 27% of all computer science jobs.

This is something I can be passionate about because I am going into a STEM field, myself. At the age of 29 I have decided to go back to school and start chasing dreams. I will probably spend the entirety of my 30’s behind a thick stack of books on mathematics, physics, and astronomy. We all have our own motivations for why we have chosen the fields we are currently in and some of us are completely content with our decisions. I am not. I was never a math person until I met my husband who has his masters in applied mathematics. He helped change my view of math from “I can’t do it” to “I’m going to conquer this!”

That’s another thing I love about AAUW – it’s not just for women! Yes, it is focused on representing women, but there is an understanding that this is an equality issue which involves both sides of the gender equation. Men are welcome to join!

AAUW Members are the movers and shakers in policy making, education advocacy, and leadership building. Their contributions to the academic careers of women the globe over will continue to impact for generations to come as they help pave the way for equality in pay, education, rights, and confidence!

Who can become a member?
  • Graduates of a 2+ year college
  • Current college students who are attending courses
  • Women and Men


Are you a 2015 graduate or know a graduate who would like to sign up?! Let me know and we can connect you with the Give a Grad a Gift option with AAUW which gifts a year’s membership!


- Humbled -


Tonight I saw it,

The dust of our galaxy,


For the first time. Tears.

- Wake -


Murky green waters,

Splash droplets of ice against


Liberated toes!

Black Beetles


Fields of wheat flow together in the breeze like a golden river. The dry, dying leaves of our oaks rub together like leathery wind chimes and with the setting sun I finally feel relief from the restless heat. My eyes become transfixed by nature's dance - the random patterns swirling in the fields, forced about in a fit of passionate wind. And for a moment, I forget.

There is a constant movement out here. A peacefulness that never rests. It matches the shifting clouds blanketing the ruddy sunset just beyond the trees you helped me plant.

And then I remember.

The cicada's song tells me you've been gone eight months. That's some time when you think of all that can happen in a Dakota winter. You missed the snow, the storms, the chill, the frost.

But you were always here with me... in a way. 

I suppose you will always be here; your memory haunting me as my days grow shorter with the coming of autumn. I'm not sure I ever knew how to live without you. I may never find out. When your family came looking for you and asked about her I introduced them to my new garden and then shrugged my shoulders. You left me in December and so they went away.

Don't worry, my love. I've tucked you away where they won't find you.

- Bell on Wheels -


We call it mercy,

But I have lost my shadow;


A piece of my heart.

- Windowsill -



If I were so small

My heart would still beat fire;


My dreams be as big!

- Police Log -


It's dark where I am,

But know he is out there;


Touching my baby.

- Sturgis -


Like a pack of wolves,

Their rumble cries in reply


To the rally's call.

Fair Week in Torrington

This weekend marks the anniversary of when Hubbins and I rolled into our new home in the little town of Torrington.

Population: 6,500

It was hot, the air was stagnant, and I was sticky from 17 hours in a car. We were exhausted, but happy to be "home." It was a Sunday and the first thing we noticed when it came to be dinner time was that of the six sit-down restaurants in town, all of them were closed. So we settled for some fast food; sitting on boxes, eating off the wrapper, and going to bed without a fan to cool us off.

Main Street

Flash forward to today and it's hot, the air is stagnant, and I'm a little sticky. But I know my little town now and have had the incredible opportunity to meet friends, understand the culture, and appreciate the... um.... eclectic weather.

When we arrived in town we had missed the county fair by a day which nearly broke my heart. I love the fair. I love the people, the food, the animals, the rides! So I was determined this year to participate.



Little did I know Fair Day, this last Thursday, is kind of a big deal around here. Like close-the-whole-town-including-the-college big. There was a parade down Main Street which lasted 75 minutes and then a migration to the fairgrounds for festivities.


There is no short supply of cowboys in this town!

Oxen pulling a wagon - these animals are enormous!

Search and Rescue shared their dogs with us and an amazing "float"

This guy, apparently, is a staple of University of Wyoming football games - rain or shine, snow or hail he is in his barrel!

In 90° heat we flocked en masse to the dusty pathways of the carnival; drank sugar loaded, fresh squeezed lemonade; ate our weight in french fries; and lurked the 4-H aisles. 




They bathe their cows, brush, and blow dry them for the competitions. The fluffiest cows I have ever seen!

It's a tiny fair compared to what I'm used to back on the west coast, but it didn't matter. I watched the kids' rodeo where toddlers rode sheep, known as Muttin-Bustin, and the town's youth roped goats. I had a blast meeting new people and eating funnel cake. 




It's been a busy week, but I am thankful for this restful weekend! 

What's your favorite part of the fair?