Sunday, November 15, 2009

OF Thanksgiving and Oscars

It wasn’t a “leap year” with that one extra day, yet the year, 2009, has been long, both figuratively and emotionally and we have not yet reached December 31st. With so many challenging events in my life, my family’s life and some of my friend’s lives, I could easily have felt sorry for myself and just curled up in a corner sucking my thumb (not really, I was never a thumb sucker, but definitely I could curl up with my teddy bear–now a pooch). But with Thanksgiving approaching, I am in awe of all the things and people who continue to make my life so rich and fulfilling. This is a little bit like accepting the Oscar and/or Emmy for best whatever, but it is really my Oscar for surviving 2009 and thanking the people who helped me along the way—and in some cases we helped each other survive.

These “thanks” are not in any particular order of importance or otherwise, just the way my mind rambled through the past 10 1/2 months!

Ann—many breakfasts and lunches offering each other emotional support during our lean laid off months.

Kathy B—the friend whose smile and thoughtfulness is consistent and one of a kind

Margaret–for your unwavering loyalty as a friend.

Donna—for putting your own life on hold to help me through some very trying days and who continues to be warm and caring and deserves my support through her tough times.

Susan—for her knowledge and eagerness to help me utilize so many employment resources and letting me support you through your hard times.

Marie—for keeping her word in a world where so few do and being the perfect mentor and friend.

John—for the most amazing type of friendship and network, where you always find a working spot for me, especially in lean times, that cannot ever be misconstrued for charity.

Jim B—for pointing many working opportunities my way and continuing to be a good friend.

Bobby—for supporting my children through their darkest and most challenging hours

Mom—for your unconditional support and love

Justin and Jenny—for putting family first

Meredith—for listening, even when you are having your own “issues”

Rocky and Bingo—for your four-legged, tail wagging unconditional love. May Rocky R.I.P.

Louise B –for giving us Bingo and Jenny

Marti—for giving me opportunities and having faith and knowledge that I would not let you down

Joanne H—for some excellent HR advice!

It may seem corny, but before December 31st arrives, I want these people to know that I am Thankful they are in my life and I hope they are Thankful that I am in theirs.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

No "What Ifs" Allowed

October 29, 2008

No "What Ifs" Allowed

Below the Belt: A Column by NOW PAC Chair Kim Gand

Let's face it, you're probably not undecided at this point. If you're reading this column, you don't need another comparison of the candidates' voting records and policy positions. You don't need to be warned about the fate of the Supreme Court and women's reproductive rights. You don't need to be reminded about the candidates' efforts (or lack thereof) on issues like violence against women and equal pay.

In my estimation, however, there is one caution that feminists definitely need to hear: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT pay attention to the polls.

Okay, for a few precious moments you can revel in the apparent trend in favor of Obama-Biden and the dozens of women-friendly candidates for Congress. Now stop -- that's long enough!

We cannot afford to get complacent. All those new registered voters we keep hearing so much about -- will every one of them turn out to vote? Or, since things look so good, will they avoid the long lines and let everyone else take care of business? Or maybe those who have stood in line election after election might be tempted to sit this one out, thinking the conclusion is foregone?

Reject this line of thinking immediately. Your vote and the vote of every other women's rights supporter is crucial in creating a margin that can't be denied, stolen, challenged or ignored.

Each and every one of us needs to work our butts off until the final moments. None of us wants to wake up on Nov. 5 to another 2000 or another 2004. Remember, those elections were decided by a single state. Could that state be yours? Even if your state is as blue as they come, nobody wants to wonder . . . what if I had done just a little more? What if I had just logged in and made a few more calls to undecided voters in Ohio or Virginia that last weekend . . .

And I'm not just talking about getting out the vote for Obama-Biden. We need to elect a pro-woman Congress, with a filibuster-proof Senate, and we must defeat dangerous ballot measures in states like California, Colorado, South Dakota and Florida.

Which brings me to another concern -- if Obama is reported as the likely winner before the polls have closed in the West, will progressive voters in the Mountain and Pacific time zones break open the champagne instead of going to the polls? If they do, we risk losing the critical ballot measures on abortion and marriage in Colorado, South Dakota and California.

What can you do? Here's an easy one -- send emails to everyone you know reminding them to vote, especially if they live in a swing state. And even if you assume they're voting for your candidate, make your best pitch anyway and encourage them to call you if they want to talk about it. Then, move on to volunteering with a campaign - make phone calls, knock on doors, drive voters to the polls, whatever you are capable of doing. In addition, I want to urge you to take this weekend to volunteer with Obama or a local campaign. Heck, take off Monday and Tuesday if you can afford it -- you don't want to miss the fun and excitement!

NOW PAC has specific action ideas and links posted online. And if you do just one thing from that list, and then one thing more, and then something else, and I do one or two or three more things, heck, we could push this election right over the top.

As you track Tuesday's returns -- on TV, the radio, the internet, your cell phone -- into the wee hours of the next morning, you'll want to be able to say to yourself proudly: This was my election. I have no regrets, I did everything I could.

Do You Know Someone Who Says They Won't Vote This Year?

While listening to NPR this week (all about the election, swing states and supposedly "shoe-ins"), one of the guests on "Talk of the Nation" spoke of why it is so important to get everyone out there to vote. He also mentioned a friend who won't vote this year and that he (the guest on the show) calls "Rickey".

We all know many "Rickeys" who say they are not going to vote this year for any number of reasons--it won't count, I don't like either candidate and on, and on, and on!

A new website,, was developed to get the "Rickeys" of this nation to vote and/or to help you get them to vote during this election...and any other election. Check it out!

"Only Rickey Can Prevent Forest Fires

Hello, Rickey. The Matrix has you. Follow the white rabbit to the nearest polling location.


It feels like that, doesn’t it? For many of us, it feels as though the last eight years of our lives have been controlled by machines bent on reducing us to fodder for some absurd political agenda, and it’s impossible for an individual to have any effect on turning that around. It really is a turbulent time.

But now, with the election of our next President at hand, we the people actually do have a chance to turn things around—if we get out and vote our voice. That’s why I was moved to create RickeyPAC.

You see, I live in Vermont, a state whose three electoral votes will go to Obama unless he devours a live kitten on national television on Election Day, and even then I’m not sure they wouldn’t. So my vote won’t count for much in the grand scheme of things. Neither will the votes of my fellow Vermonters, the Texan, the Californian, nor the Illini I know."