Serendipity: the Artwork of NWSA and Baltimore.

Saturday was full of art. The best kind of day.

I walked around the NWSA (National Women’s Studies Association, by the way) poster session and looked at the booths from different organizations and publishing companies, and was so inspired. I had to get a print of this amazing artwork I found at the Syracuse Cultural Workers booth.

Art by Erik Drooker, words by Käthe Kollwitz, a 1920s German artist.

You can purchase the print, as well as these powerful postcards I picked up at their website,   SyracuseCulturalWorkers.com

Saturday was a day of serendipity. I met so many completely unique and inspiring individuals. One of them, an artist named Minnie Chiu, approached me while I was writing a few postcards to home. We started talking about our conference experiences and about art. 

Turns out, Minnie was a fantastic feminist artist. She told me about how after the election, she took all the rage and disappointment she was feeling and channeled it all to make a postcard series. She then used those postcards to spread word of the Women’s March. 

She was just so inspiring and I wish I was a bit more eloquent but I don’t know how to describe the awe I felt around all the powerful, fierce women and feminists at the conference. She even gave me a few of her postcards!! 

Postcards by Minnie Chiu.

You can buy her artwork at her Etsy store Practicing Democracy.

Later that day, after going to a roundtable on publishing in feminist scholarly journals, I decided to go out and explore the Charm City a little bit.

In truth, I had heard there was a free art museum that has a very famous collection, and I knew I would be disappointed if I didn’t stand in front of an original Vincent Van Gogh painting and contemplate life when I had the chance. Not only did the Baltimore Museum of Art have Van Gogh, but they also had the largest collection of Matisse paintings in the world! 

It was an emotional experience, to be sure. Georgia O’Keefe, Diego Rivera, Andy Warhol, the list of names goes on. I actually took a ton of pictures, but I’ve decided not to post them. It just doesn’t do it justice. 

What I will say, is if you ever get the chance to go to the Baltimore Museum of Art, take it. Admission is free, but hours are limited so be sure to check their website. 

Bonus Tip: take the Purple Route of the Charm City Circulator to get to the museum from the Federal Hill area. It’s free! 

As I was waiting for the bus to take me back towards the convention center, I spotted some awesome street art. Taped to the light pole at 22nd Street, miles from the convention center, a poster for Trans Rights. Social Justice in action. Feminism hiding in plain sight. I was moved.

Found at St. Paul and 22nd, Baltimore, MD

I joked with my roommates when I got home, the word of the weekend was serendipitous. Seriously, though, the muses shone down on me this weekend. 

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NWSA Round up Day 1

Day 1 of the NWSA conference is coming to a close and I have so many thoughts buzzing around my brain. I’m going to try and grab some of the slower moving ones and share them with you, because the stuff I’m learning is too important not to share.

We got to the conference around 9am and checked in. I had time to go to one session before ours at 11, so I chose Digital Transformations: Scholarship and the Public Sphere which really drew my interest because of this right here. An Adjective and a Noun. I’m always looking for ways to improve the blog and, of course, make it more feminist. 

I learned a lot about digital archiving that I really never knew. As a scholar in the 21st Century, you can imagine how much I use online databases and digital archives for research. I never really thought about how much work goes into those, and the potential politics and special interests that go into “simple” things like categorizing and tagging literature. 

I also spoke with someone from the blog Nursing Clio, which is not about nursing at all, but about feminist history. I encourage you to check it out at Here. I especially liked the post about fleas, because it made me examine something I thought I was sure of, my hate for fleas.

Next was our roundtable discussion, titled Community (Colleges) of Resistance: Revisiting Class in the Intersection of Women’s Studies and Activism. My good friend Jill moderated it while I and 2 other JCTC students answered some questions on activism projects we’ve started in the community. It felt so amazing to sit next to these accomplished individuals and talk a out something important to us– activism. We also had a great turnout, at least 15 people were actively engaged in our conversation, gave thoughtful questions and fantastic feedback. I wish I could say more but honestly, I am not far from K.O. so before my brain turns to mush I am going to bid you all good night.

Stay tuned for another Round Up tomorrow. There’s so much I haven’t shared with you yet!!

✌ Rach

Hiking Closer to Home

I’ve been missing the forest something fierce since we can’t back from the gorge. Today it has been raining and yucky and I haven’t even been able to use my coping mechanism for wilderness withdrawal: hiking closer to home. Everywhere we’ve ever lived, even the smallest apartment in the slummiest neighborhood, has had a park within a ten minute drive. If there’s a park with actual wooded areas within fifteen, I’ll drive the extra mile.

A couple of days ago, my roommate and I took her dogs for a hike in the park around the corner, called Lapping Park. They have a couple of great hiking trails of varying shorter lengths, one a little less than a mile, one about a mile and a half, and one around three miles long. The longer two follow Silver Creek for a ways and offer beautiful views of the water. 

We elected to take the medium sized hike, due to time restraints. The dogs had a blast, especially when they saw we were collecting sticks (which I was doing for a project I might tell you about another day). We even found some fallen logs and a wooden bridge to work on their agility. It felt so good to just get out and breathe in the fresh air. To be around nothing but trees and not see cars, power lines, and screens everywhere. 

I recommend everyone find their local park and go for a walk as soon as possible. No matter the weather, your bound to find something beautiful to see and the fresh air will certa do us all some good. Here’s some pics of how cute the pups were and how awesome Lapping Park was.

Red River Gorge: fall trip

Last weekend the Hubby and I took about 36 hours to reset and unwind. Our favorite place to do that is in the Gorge. If you are from Louisville or any of the surrounding areas, you know Red River Gorge is a backpacker and camper’s paradise. It’s located in Daniel Boone National Forest and it is full of gorgeous scenery, great hiking trails with awe-inspiring views, and great fishing. We set up camp in our usual spot, on a sandy beach cozied up against a curve in the Indian Creek, an offshoot of the Red River.

We call it our home away from home, our special camping spot. It is literally the perfect spot and no one can ever find it because it is hidden among the back country and primitive camping sites. We tend to avoid camping grounds and try to always set up away from other people. We’re here to enjoy the most basic wilderness, and maybe a couple of human comforts like fire and booze. 

The evening was spent with a couple of great friends, food cooked over an open fire, and great conversation. We took turns hunting for firewood and tending to the fire. The sense of community built in the time it takes to pitch a tent and organize your campsite is an indescribably good feeling.

Sunday was spent on the trails. We got a late start but thought we might have enough time to do the double arches loop. It’s about 5 miles round trip. On a normal day, it would be simple. This Sunday we had 4 dogs and a 3 year old. It took a bit longer than expected and we ended up walking at least a mile in the dark. Luckily they had a gravel trail for easy trekking. 

The trail was arduous but so very worth it. Red River Gorge in the fall is the most beautiful sight you could think of. I felt like I was standing in a stock photo. The colors were fantastic and when viewed from the height we achieved they felt almost unreal. 

I can’t wait to return to the gorge as soon as possible. I haven’t been yet during the winter, but I would love to wake up and peer from my tent to see a soft powder coating the ground. There are so many more trails to explore, and I haven’t even begun to talk about the super cool rock structures that the gorge is full of.

Gorillaz Fictional Band Member Drops Sick Playlist

gorillaz_noodle
Photo credit: Wikipedia  

 

Mostly, Facebook is just a great way for me to waste a lot of time, but every once in a while, I find a real diamond in the rough of my news feed. This week, that diamond came in the form of an article from Bullet about Gorillaz fictional bandmember and lead guitarist, Noodle’s newest project: a playlist on SoundCloud. To be honest, I had forgotten about the Gorillaz until I saw this article. I was so excited to learn that the Gorillaz have a new album coming out, and they’ve been doing super random, cool promotional stuff, like giving each band member their own origin stories. The newest thing that’s been released in the ramp-up to their new album is this playlist I mentioned on SoundCloud, and it is everything my feminist dreams are made of.

Noodle has released a funky, fantastic, and feminist playlist to hype you up and get you moving. I have listened to the 28 minute long playlist at least 5 times since I found it a couple days ago. Every voice you hear is female and that is pretty damn cool when they’re rapping about riding low and singing about not giving a fuck. Noodle’s playlist is a fabulous reminder that being a girl is powerful!

Plus, like 26 minutes in, she hits me with the Tardis! Girl, you’re awesome. Thanks for the tunes 🙂

Ok, now I gtg find these backstories… Who is Noodle?

Listen to 私 Noodle❗️ by Gorillaz #np on #SoundCloud

Free & Cheap Yoga in Louisville **Updated 7/18/17**

I love Yoga. I love going to yoga class, more than practicing at home, because being in the space, surrounded by like-minded yogis, seems to really help me center myself into my practice more than I can when surrounded by the distractions of home. That being said, I do not have a yogi’s bank account. Yoga classes in Louisville can range from $20-25 a class, a luxury I simply cannot afford for an hour of stress relief and exercise. I have compiled a list of free and cheap or donation based classes for myself, and I have been asked about the list a couple of times now. So, I thought I would share it with all of you lovely people. Many of these classes are called “Karma Classes,” which is a great practice many yoga studios follow, where they offer a donation based or “pay what you can” class. I encourage you to please donate something, if you can, in order to keep these classes around. I categorized the classes by DAY to make your life easier.

Your Welcome!

Sunday

  • The Inner Warrior @ 1760 Frankfort Avenue has a FREE class from 5:30-6:30. They have a Karma Jar out for donations, though, and it goes toward their Karma Drive which help keep homeless Louisvillians warm  this winter. **You must register on their website before class.
  • 502 Power Yoga has Yoga for Recovery from 2:00-3:30 pm. This is a donation based class. This class ties in the 12-Step program, for those of you who may be struggling with addiction.

 

Monday

  • St. Paul’s Church at 2000 Douglas Blvd in the highlands has a yoga class for $5 from 5:30-6:30 pm.
  • Shelby Park Community Center has a free community yoga class from 6-7 pm on Monday nights.
  • There is a $5 yoga class at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park on Mondays at 6pm. During warm weather this is outside, and I honestly don’t know if they move it indoors to the community area for the winter. If anyone does know, please comment and share!
  • Wanna enjoy some hops with your bend? Flat 12 Brewery hosts a donation-based yoga class at their brewery every Monday at 7:00pm. They are located in Jeffersonville at 130 West Riverside Drive. There is a $5 suggested donation, and $1 off your pints!

 

Tuesday

  • There is a yoga class on Louisville Waterfront Park from 7-8pm now until September 12th. It costs $5.
  • There is a class at 6:00 pm at the Fern Creek Community Center for $7 on Tuesdays.
  • From 4:30-5:45 Yoga East offers a $5 community class at their St. Matthews Studio at 115 Wiltshire Avenue, 40207.

 

Wednesday

  • E. P. Tom Sawyer Park has a yoga class at 6 pm on Wednesdays for $5. Like the Monday class, I’m not sure if it’s been moved inside because of the winter.
  • St. Paul’s Church at 2000 Douglas Blvd in the highlands has a yoga class for $5 from 5:30-6:30 pm.
  • The Inner Warrior @ 1760 Frankfort Avenue has a FREE class from 7:30-8:30. They have a Karma Jar out for donations, though, and it goes toward their Karma Drive which help keep homeless Louisvillians warm  this winter. **You must register before class on their website HERE
  • Across the water, at the Jeffersonville Riverstage, you can catch a yoga class from 10:30-11:00am hosted by Inner Spring Yoga. Its FREE!
  • Yoga East has a community class from 4:30-5:45pm for $5. It is at their St. Matthews studio. They also have a $5 Gentle Yoga class at their Highlands Studio from 11:00-12:15.

 

Thursday

  • There is a community class at the Family Health Center at 834 E Broadway from 6:00-7:15pm. It is $1. This class is hosted by the Kentucky Yoga Initiative. They have a whole schedule of community classes. You should check that out HERE.

Friday

  • Yoga East has $5 Chair Yoga class from 10:30-11:45am. Chair Yoga is great for seniors and yogis who are in a wheelchair.

 

Saturday

  • 11am-12pm at Tim Faulkner Art Gallery there is a donation based yoga class. This is sponsored by the Kentucky Yoga Initiative and it is my personal favorite yoga class.
  • Yoga on Baxter has a $5 community class on Saturdays from noon to 1 pm.
  • From 10-11am at the Jeffersonville Riverstage there is a free yoga class hosted by Inner Spring Yoga. I love that this class is outside, but hopefully early enough to beat the heat, plus nice and breezy by the river.

 

This is, by no means, a complete and comprehensive list of affordable yoga options in Louisville. I would love to keep adding to this list, so if you have anything to add, please comment!! Also, if you’re looking for a yoga buddy, don’t hesitate to reach out.

 

Namaste,

Rach

Zucchini Bread

When my sister and I were young, my Mom worked hard to pass on her few domestic skills to us. I remember her teaching me how to make french toast, how to take a blood stain out of a favorite pair of pants, how to sew a button onto a new blouse. One of my favorite memories, though, is making zucchini bread.

I can remember every step of the process, from the garden my parents tended in our spacious backyard every summer, to the warm, sweet smelling loaf. If you’re from Kentucky, you know, the first Saturday of May is the Derby, the second Saturday of May is for planting. Every year, without fail, my Dad tilled the deep brown earth into perfect, symmetrical lines. Then my mom, and some years my sister and I, would walk along the rows and put these adorable baby starter plants into indentations carved by our thumbs.

Every morning of our summer break, before the heat and humidity of Kentucky summers made it miserable to do anything, we would grab a wicker basket and gather the red tomatoes, plump and firm in our hands, the yellow squash, just as pretty as the blooms they were born from, and of course, the zucchini. I’ve often wondered if it was just our soil, or a Kentucky thing, but the zucchini grew the best. Within weeks we had deep green, gorgeous zucchini, as big as your forearm.

When you have pounds and pounds of zucchini sitting around, you have to get creative to get rid of it. People don’t realize how versatile zucchini is, either. You can fry it, bake it, grill it. It can be sweet, spicy or savory. It can give you different textures depending on how you treat it, but it always tastes good. I can remember our kitchen counters, and eventually table, too, having stacks of multicolored vegetables, a cornucopia kitchen. We had to get creative in reclaiming our space.

By August, we were all tired of zucchini. People stopped accepting our gourds as gifts and held their hands up in surrender. No more zucchini! That’s when the baking would begin. I’ll be honest, Mom and Dad did the bulk of the work when it came to the garden, but when it came to the baking, Allison and I stepped up. Mom would announce, usually on a day when  we were stuck inside by rain or sweltering heat, that we would be making zucchini bread. My mom is not known for her cooking. She will freely admit that. But she makes a mean zucchini bread, and luckily, she passed that recipe on.

On these Zucchini days, we would pull every loaf pan in our house out and line them up in an anticipatory row, the aluminum disposable ones sitting next to the glass and the blue cornflower patterned ones that make me think of ancestry and heritage and recipes passed down for generations. The goal here was to make an assembly line, efficiently filling, baking, and pulling the loaves from counter to oven and back up to counter.

The real bulk of the work, though, came from peeling and grating zucchini. Allison and I would sit at the kitchen table, one of us with a trash can in between our knees, peeling zucchini and revealing its soft, white-green insides. The other sister would balance a big bowl on her lap and grate zucchini into it until our hands ached and our fingers were shiny and red. Mom would play the same albums that stand as a soundtrack of my childhood, The Beatles, Sheryl Crow, Dido, and Van Morrison.

Once we had grated our weight in zucchini, mom would supervise the measuring and mixing. My mother, who claims to be terrible at math, taught me how to add and convert fractions as she explained why we should make a double or triple batch to speed up the baking process. Filling our assorted loaf pans with thick, cream batter and sliding them long-ways into the oven was always deeply satisfying. The smell that filled our entire house was warmth and cinnamon and melted brown sugar. Everyone’s mouth was watering on the whole block by the time the first batch was done. The first couple loaves never even made it to the cooling rack, as we all burnt our fingertips and tongues on the soft, sweet, spongy bread.

What I remember most about zucchini bread, though, is giving it away. After it had cooled and been covered in plastic wrap and, sometimes, tied with a bow, Allison and I were instructed to go to our neighbors and give them bread. I remember one neighbor, an elderly, widowed woman, was always so happy to see us. We would also walk in and sit with her for a little while. Through these visits, and many more instances in my life, my Mom taught me to be kind to everyone. Zucchini bread taught me to put love and care into baking. It taught me to have and show gratitude when cooking, because it is an opportunity to feed yourself, your loved ones, and your soul.