Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Thoughts on women...

Living in a 1913 heritage home has taught me a lot about acceptance.
The Humble Bungalow is over 100 years old
full of flaws and imperfections 
we could amend and improve 
we have not.

One thing I regret in our efforts to improve the kitchen
 is that the floor re finishers sanded
the dipped worn area in front of the kitchen sink 
this is where several generations of women stood doing dishes...
I specifically asked them to leave it and work around it 
but that afternoon many years ago 
I came home from work only to discover a level freshly sanded floor
and felt sad...
I remember brewing a pot of tea and staring at that spot.
I may have even wept...I cannot say for sure, as it was so long ago.

I had to accept that change but I have never forgotten that worn out spot.
where bone weary women would have stood
looking out the same window
at the mighty oaks 
growing and stately standing 
on the rocks 
above The Humble Bungalow.

Our home has a history of women who were widowed 
were the major bread earners and were responsible 
to tend to the children and keep the home fires burning.

Wearing many hats must have been a challenge back in the 1930's and 40's...
perhaps even in the 1950's 
when many women "stayed at home" 
 life and times were simpler.

Staying at home was not a "free ride"...
the days were filled with hard work.

mothers, grandmothers, daughters

whose job it was to keep the homes running

the family needed to be fed 
the soiled clothes washed
the house cleaned
 the garden planted and tilled.

I am thinking about, and honouring,
 these women 
who worked diligently and toiled even when fatigued
the same women who raised and  nurtured the children 
in this home 
over a hundred years before us...

 Women have influenced society 
while tending their homes and nurturing their children
taken a stand against and fought injustices
spoken out 
marched when there were issues that they felt strongly about
wrote letters 
fund raised
got dressed up
put lipstick on
smiled in the face of adversity
made our world
a better place.

Any time women come together with a collective intention, it's a powerful thing. Whether it's sitting down making a quilt, in a kitchen preparing a meal, in a club reading the same book, or around the table playing cards, or planning a birthday party, when women come together with a collective intention, magic happens.  

~ Phylicia Rashad ~

In the light of recent political changes
women are rising up again...

we have a voice
let us unite and not be silent
nor complacent

harness the collective power
speak up and if need be, rally
if only for
the future of our children and grandchildren
 consider the possibilities
the risks

I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, 
but so that those without a voice can be heard...
we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.
~ Malala Yousafzai ~

I am not sure what will happen next...

We will do whatever needs to be done.

In the year of the rooster...
expect change

Rooster is almost the epitome of fidelity and punctuality. For ancestors who had no alarm clocks, the crowing was significant, as it could awaken people to get up and start to work. In Chinese culture, another symbolic meaning of chicken carries is exorcising evil spirits.

As you know my blog is not political...
these are just a few personal thoughts and observations
that have been percolating 
I felt the need to write them down...

Please be kind and respect others...

~ Be Well and Be Kind ~


  1. The women in my family used to spend Sunday evenings after the dinner washing and drying the dishes. My mother kept her good china in individual bags so someone's job was to put each dish away. There was a lot of chatting. Today I am off to bookclub where women of different backgrounds discuss life and literature. One of our ladies is Iranian-born. I'm not sure what the future holds in Europe or in America. The shootings in Québec were heart-breaking. Only through love and acceptance can humankind survive. When I was a girl, the people behind us had chickens and I grew up with the rooster's crow. Hopefully, our rooster will exorcise the spirits of intolerance.

    1. I always enjoy reading your day it would be lovely to meet up.

  2. Thank you Hostess, I attended the march here in the U.S. along with my teen daughter. My sister attended in her city. My 90 year old mother, who raised four children single-handedly, told all of us she was proud of us for doing it.


    1. Many attended a march here in our city....I did not attend.
      I have not been involved in a demonstration since my teen years...our son,DIL and grandchildren were at the rally.
      We have a group of older women here who call themselves the raging grannies...some have been arrested over the years protesting causes that they feel strongly about.

  3. Leslie I think your voice is so important. You speak for the women who sustain the home, and who find happiness in "domestics," as you call it. Given the bad emotions that have been attached to the term "feminist" (via a long effort by certain groups I might add), it is critical that someone who can be heard by those who are traditionally conservative can speak up for issues that should transcend the traditional divide.

    1. We have the right to speak up about things that we feel compassionate about and with human rights in the forefront right now I feel compelled to remind my readers that kindness, respect and our ability to initiate change is very much our option, if not our responsibility....

  4. My mum had a spot by the sink where the lino was worn bare. She used to joke about us in the future looking at it saying poor mum. Now I've been mum and breadwinner. It's still hard these days wearing many hats.

    1. It's a big job running a home and raising a family and to do it as a single parent is incredibly challenging. We need to respect and support women in all walks of life.

  5. Hostess, you have a nice blog. I enjoy it very much. I would like to pose you a question, do you consider women who have different political views from you not be kind or gentle and not womanly? I personally believe kindness, gentleness or being a fulfilled woman has nothing to do with the politics of the day. What about the many women who did not attend the march, what do you make of them? Just because someone disagrees with you on political views, does that make them somehow not kind and not gentle and not worthy of love?

    1. i did not attend the march...what do you make of me?

      I am a kind, compassionate and caring individual who just happens to be a woman who enjoys the simple things in life. I respect others and believe in the golden unto others as you would have them do unto you.
      May I pose a question to you?
      Why did you not sign your name and why do you want to remain anonymous ?

    2. Thanks for replying. That is exactly my point, do not divide but unite. Politics are politics, we will always disagree, it is the different opinions and perspectives that make the world interesting. Love, kindness, gentleness is universal. Just because someone disagrees with you politically, it does not mean that they are someone to be condemned or labeled. I do not think you do that, but many unfortunately do.

      I do not participate in social media and I do not need to tell you who I am except that I am an immigrant, a woman, a mother, a wife, a hard working doctor, a non white person, and a proud American. We can be all that and be kind.

  6. Thank you Hostess for today's post. As an immigrant, a woman and mother of a daughter, I feel despair due to current political environment. However, I also choose to continue to believe in the kindness of people regardless of their political beliefs and continue to hope. Elly

    1. Elly it is so unfortunate that you are in a place of despair...from what I hear on the news many are feeling as you do.

      My family were immigrants too...they came from Ireland when there was a potato famine...they landed at Ellis Island and lived in Virginia before moving to Canada. They arrived with next to nothing and came in search of a better life.
      Many new immigrants are in the same situation that I understand my ancestors experienced...with empty pockets, hopes and dreams, relying on the kindness and generosity of relative strangers...awareness of your situation will hopefully mean actions and improvement for you and other immigrants.

  7. I grew up in a house backed by many acres of land in the middle of a small town. One of our close neighbors raised chickens (including some roosters), so I woke up every morning to the sound of crowing. As you say, no alarm clocks needed.

    We built our house in 1993, but even so, there is a worn place in the wood floor's finish in front of the sink. No dip in the floor yet, but you can definitely see that some work has been accomplished in this area.

    Kindness and gentleness is defined differently by various people. Some of us see concern for our environment as kindness to our Earth. This does not figure into the sentiment of others. Some are so horrified by the lack of respect Trump has shown to women in general (think objectification) that we could not help but be opposed to his ascension to the presidency. Other women are not concerned by this. These are some of the issues which I think merit discussion in a calm collaborative manner. Is that possible? I would like to think so, but I am not sure if it is possible in today's political climate.

    Oh how I am so envious that Canada has a leader with the temperament of your Prime Minister Trudeau.

    1. Prime Minister Trudeau is not popular with everyone!
      Like any leader he cannot please all the people all the he is taking a lot of heat for his decision not to reform the voting electoral system as promised in his campaign...
      I am sure there are forums out there or political blogs where you can engage in dialogue and discussions on the you, my sense is that they may become very heated and that tempers might flare...

    2. I don't even know where Trudeau stands on issues---but his temperament seems to be first rate--which is so important in a leader. I used to post in a political forum online. I finally stopped because both the liberal voices and the conservative voices were way too strident for me.

  8. Beautiful post. As always, a calm and kind voice in these tumultuous times. Thank you.

    1. It sounds naive, I know, but I wish for peace for all humankind...

  9. Thank you for your thoughtful post. As a US citizen, I feel very sad to hear our leaders or their representatives saying things that are untrue, unkind, and meant to divide. I am not at all surprised that women have led the resistance against intolerance and hatred. We must find a way to bridge the gap between us- for all of our sakes-while standing up for our rights and the rights of others.

    1. We are living in unsettling times...
      perhaps women have always felt the reverberations of turmoil deeply.
      I can only listen to so much negativity before I need to turn the TV or radio off...

  10. I enjoy your posts so much. Your words are very wise and I agree with every word. As William Ross Wallace said "...For the hand that rocks the cradle, is the hand that rules the world"

  11. I did not attend the march either. donated instead to my favorite charities. Hoping to ease someones pain,do my small part for goodness.

    Off my box of soap now, Roses and chickens, what more could I ask for.

    1. "Small" actions of charity add up...your kindness has made a difference.

  12. I appreciate the thoughtful and gentle manner you have used to express your feelings. So much of the commentary about events at the moment is so blunt, aggressive, and even rude that I find it difficult to respect whatever point the person is trying to make, including those who in principle I agree with.

    1. Thank you Susie,
      A post such as this one, can easily be misinterpreted by was written with my thoughts of how women have been a guiding force at home and others have been active making changes in the community beyond the hearth.

  13. I've been a subscriber of yours for some time. Your blog posts speak to me whether you're in your kitchen, shopping, traveling, cooking, or writing about your children and grandchildren. Most of your posts are calming. All of them make me think.

    You seem to be a gentle and caring, but strong, woman. You're exactly what the world needs...a kind, thoughtful, intelligent woman who speaks her mind.

    I look forward to every post, no matter the subject.
    Nancy O.

    1. Oh my goodness...your words are giving me pause for thought...
      Readers never know what will pop up next and you really DO get a variety of topics here on the blog!
      I don't think of myself as a particularly "strong"woman but I do have ethics and opinions about how people should treat others.
      Thank you Nancy O.

  14. I loved every word of this post. You're a wonderful woman! Linda in BC

    1. I don't really see myself as particularly wonderful, I am really very pedestrian and ordinary...I just happen to like writing and on occasion, the blog becomes my soap box!

  15. Leslie....I think this is one of your best Posts. Thank you.


  16. These are truly difficult times. Unfortunately, some take the position, "you are with us or you are against us. This is polarizing and not helpful. Everyone should have a voice. Mutual respect should be upheld across the board.

    Women have always and continue to work very hard in many different capacities. It is said that women have to work twice as hard to get ahead because it is a male dominated world. I find this true, even today. In my experience woman can and often do work smarter and can make a difference. I am always supportive of women and have great admiration for the accomplishments of women. I appreciate your blog and your thoughts. Thank you for sharing. Susan

  17. You make some valid observations Susan and we do have to work hard to get ahead.
    I support and shop at many small businesses here in Victoria run by women, I feel honoured to give them my business and I admire and recommend many of them here on the blog.
    Women may need to start meeting to discuss those events that put people on opposite sides of the might become the new "book club"

    1. I agree entirely, bringing women together (e.g., the new book club) and being able to work across many lines can only make things better for everyone. The current climate is truly not healthy and damaging in many ways. Sadly, people from other countries, many full citizens of the USA, feel very uncomfortable. Fiding common ground is imperative. Susan

  18. I received a comment regarding abortion and pro life which I chose not to publish as this blog is not going to engage in a debate of this nature.

  19. This is one of my favorite posts you have done. I lived in a 100+ year old house which 3 generations of my family occupied before me. I know exactly what you mean about a dip in front of the kitchen sink. I had one, too. It always felt so comforting to me to stand there and feel that connection. You are so right in what you are saying here. Women must claim credit for all our many contribution to this world. Janice McCombs

    1. Heritage homes have many quirks...wear and tear from former generations like the dips at the sink make them much more charming. Sounds like you appreciate these little details too.

  20. I celebrate being a woman and embrace the differences between men and women. We compliment each other in our differences and together we become "one"
    I worked outside the home for 45 years before I retired. It seems strange to be home now and helping to raise a great granddaughter. I hope to instill in her my values, faith and strength of character to succeed in whatever endeavors her future holds for her.
    Thank you Leslie for your excellent blog. You are like a friend that I stop in to see every day.

    1. Your great grand daughter will grow up learning from your experience and really does take a village to raise a child and the more involved we are with our children and grandchildren really pays off...

  21. Hostess- I know you like to read so I would like to suggest a book you might like by someone you quoted in this post- Malala Yousofzai. Her book is called, "I am Malala" This is just a suggestion to check it out- you know best what type of books you like. I really enjoyed it. Bridget

    1. Thank you Bridget I have read her book...I do not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who has not read it.

  22. Mothers for generations have told us we are judged by the company we keep. I think that is why we are looking carefully at the politics of others, it says a lot about a person...what they value, how carefully they consider their choices. I won't support people who deal in hate and fear mongering. And I will disagree vigorously with those who do. But I come here to your site, not to fight, but to enjoy a peaceful interlude. The time I lived and spent in British Columbia was profoundly wonderful. If retirees were allowed to become citizens, I would be applying in a New York Minute! Be well....

    1. I wonder why US retirees cannot move to BC? We had a former neighbour on our street who lived 6 months in the eastern US and 6 months here...
      Not sure about the requirements to relocate here as I have not looked into it...
      I do know that many people from across Canada retire here.

  23. Thank you for this beautiful post, I got goosebumps reading it. XO

    1. The topic moved me so much when I wrote it that it must have spilled over and resonated with you too.

  24. Hi, I really want you to know that I was not trying to upset you by talking about abortion. I've devoted my retirement to ending abortion, and it's a sad topic to deal with every day. So, that's why I look forward to reading your blog every day. It's a great diversion due to your usual topics, and I usually read the books you read. Thanks and God bless.

    1. We all have our opinions about contentious issues and I understand that you are very passionate about your cause but my blog focus is not to divide or upset readers.
      I prefer to keep things calm and serene as there is so much turmoil out there in the world.
      I share beauty, offer a safe haven for those who may feel stress in their lives, promote gratitude and joy to those who feel sorrow, we celebrate our friendships, through respect, understanding and kindness.

  25. This is a beautifully written post and I really appreciate its content on many levels. It prompts me to share something I've been mulling over recently regarding women's strength in difficult times. For a long time we've known about humans' "fight or flight response" to danger. A lesser known and more recently studied response, said to be stronger in women, is framed as "tend and befriend." (I've also seen it as "tend and defend.")As I decide how I will behave and what actions I will take, based on all that I respect and value, during these difficult--even dangerous--times, this framework resonates with me.

    1. That's interesting to me because my responses of flight or fight are usually much more profound than my husband's responses. I have had several episodes when our children were young where I felt that we were in grave danger, once in a flood and the other in a storm on our boat and both times I was controlled but inside I was hysterical and I think I suffered post traumatic stress after the events!

  26. Very wise!! Thank you for putting words to my vague thoughts of these past few weeks.

    1. Many of my friends have also been feeling a sense of trepidation and unease...

  27. Thank you for this blog Hostess - I found it thoughtful and thought provoking.
    Many bloggers have seen reason to take a stand over recent issues - on both sides of the Atlantic - and I feel that they have the right to express their own opinions on their personal blogs. If others do not agree with their stand then they are free to not log back in.

    What I have found truly appalling - and frightening - is the viciousness and hatefulness with which some respond - on both sides of the political spectrum. Comment sections and blog forums used to be a wonderful place to find differing views, opinions, and ways of doing things - more and more they are becoming places where we must either all agree or we are "the other".

    Personally, I don't see the world in shades of black & white - I see many shades of grey - with the occasional disturbing predominance of black and the occasional flash of brilliant white. Consensus and progress can only be reached when discussion and compromise are engaged - at the moment emotions seem to be too raw for this to happen. I understand this initial reaction - but - at some point in time the yelling and name calling and blind adherence to one side or another will need to stop so that something (anything) can be accomplished. The current mood and often knee-jerk reactions on both sides is only inflaming the situation and I think everyone needs to take a step back.

    This doesn't mean that I don't believe in protest and even civil disobedience but I think there are also other ways to affect change - even if it's just within our own small circle. As you say Hostess - demonstrating kindness, charity and thoughtfulness to others, and especially to other women goes a long way in this world and the personal can often mitigate
    and override the political.
    Have a wonderful day in your lovely home.

  28. I think that if anything our current age is the age of the Woman and I am very proud of that. It also is a time for women to stand up to protect and nourish the rights and privileges that it has taken decades to achieve. Love, and understanding is of course a part of this and who better to know that then wives, mother, daughters, and sisters. It might be the year of the rooster but don't forget who really rules the roost.

  29. Margie you share your thoughts with such eloquence...
    I also feel uncomfortable with yelling and name calling...many people prefer to act out in a dramatic way but that stresses me too much.
    There are serious issues and times of peril where strong actions are warranted and demonstrations are needed to initiate change...

    For me personally I like moving quietly "behind the scenes" taking action for causes that I feel passionate about...donating money or time...making a difference in my local community.
    Thankfully we all have different "gifts and abilities" we must try to understand and embrace our differences.
    The sun is shining here today and there are snow flurries predicted for tomorrow...
    take care.

  30. I feel nourished reading the many wise responses of the women who read and enjoy ( and write) this blog. Some of us are more comfortable taking a public role in any dissent, some of us prefer a behind the scenes role. All are necessary. I just want to reflect that we all stand on the shoulders of giants, however. It seems hard to believe, but it is only a little less than a century that women earned the right to vote, own property in their own name, or even have the right to keep their own children should a family break up. Each of us who benefits from these rights should be grateful to the women who did take public stands on these issues and suffer for them.

  31. Thank you from a longtime reader and admirer of your blog...and a terrified American. That the world not judge us by this current insanity, is my hope. Thank you for your always insightful reflections on home and the strength of women.

  32. You have said so much in a wise,kind,patient and civilized way- a beautiful post

  33. We are in tumultuous times. Your voice is so important. Great post.

  34. Yellow roses...a nod to the suffragettes. I have a pair of yellow rose S&P shakers painted by women who were china painters at the Roycroft way back when. I grew up just a few minutes away from the Roycroft, love the ideas and aesthetics of the A&C Movement which are so relevant today, so I enjoy your thoughts and seeing your antiques.

  35. Thank you for sharing your thoughts... we need to hear the concerns of all women. Happy weekend

  36. I'm not a politically intelligent person; but I believe that women are the key that unlocks the door to change.
    I have also read Malala's book.
    I subscribe, and donate to The Clarion Project, and purchase their videos. There are some powerful and inspirational women of the board.
    I was born in the Year of The Rooster. My son is half Chinese. I'm very close with my former inlaws, and honour and keep many of their traditions. My son's grandmother is the first woman president of the Wong Association of Ontario. She is such an inspiration to me.