This week the blogosphere gave us sharp portraits of family caregivers, a new power woman politico in Portland, Ore., brain-teasing art in New York and new reasons for women to dance as if no one’s watching. 

  • We’ve been curious about the new Talk to Me interactive exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York since we learned about it. At The Blog That Ate Manhattan, Margaret Polaneczky, M.D., reports on a card game with the following premise: “If your DNA determines who you are, and defines both your strengths and limitations, then you could say we all live our lives with a pre-dealt deck of cards.” In the game, she writes, “Players send in swabs of saliva; the designers send it out to be analyzed and then generate a customized 50-card deck from each player’s specific DNA.” Click over to see the rest, and maybe you’ll be curious to experience it.
  • We love it when women of substance enter electoral politics. Naomi at A Little Red Hen introduces us to Eileen Brady, a New Seasons executive now running for mayor of Portland, Ore. She notes that “earlier this month, one thousand people showed up at New Seasons to apply for positions in their new Beaverton store. A number of them were already employed but this employer is known for providing great health benefits, good wages, opportunities for growth — and a very positive work environment. That shows and, aside from the great produce and environmentally conscious food choices — we always feel it’s almost our neighborhood store. Even though we have to cross the Willamette River to reach their Seven Corners store. It’s a great place to snap photos as I did HERE in 2009 — if the very polite manager does not catch you!” Naomi adds: “It would be wonderful if Portland, Oregon, had another woman mayor in sync with the 2012 centennial of woman suffrage in Oregon. She would not be the first. Dorothy McCullough Lee, who served from 1949-53, was described by a historian as, “more qualified by experience and training to serve … than anyone in Portland’s previous history.”
  • WVFC godmother Gail Sheehy and writer Susan Baida might be interested in this week’s series at Forbes Woman about the challenges of caring for an impaired family member. “Caregivers take on several unpaid jobs they never applied for — chauffeur, financial adviser, personal care attendant, nurse. They spend hours in relatives’ homes and at doctors’ offices. Caregivers often report real satisfaction in knowing that Dad is eating right or that Grandma has her medicine. But they also report high levels of stress, financial difficulties and health problems. In this special series from News21, five families describe the worries and rewards of long-term care.” The result is a mix of cogent information, video interviews and sharp writing. Go look.
  • This spring and summer have featured tons of headlines about women and war, including a special summer issue of On the Issues Magazine. The latter features a trenchant media commentary from Prof. Kathleen Barry, author of  the new Unmaking War, Remaking Men: How Empathy Can Reshape Our Politics, Our Soldiers and Ourselves. In looking at war crimes, she writes, “I saw the rage of blinding macho that is not unfamiliar to women who are victims of male violence. It does not matter whether or whether not a woman is ‘guilty’ of the charges he hurls, or if a woman ‘provoked’ a man to rape her, as men claim, or if a person was merely riding in a taxi. When the world of blinding macho is unleashed, devastation follows.” But, she adds, women are helping change the landscape: “Empathy for those who are at the other end of U.S. guns and for those reduced to killing machines by the US military can engage us with a new consciousness in which the old masculinity of violence against women and in war is no longer possible. That kind of empathy in all of us makes war personally intolerable and will give rise to new political action. For feminists, those kind of connections are already embedded in our politics,” Barry asserts. We can’t wait to see the book.
  • Sometimes, you just gotta dance, WVFC’s Alex MacAaron reminds us at her blog Lovin’ the Alien. MacAaron’s essay pirhouettes from the preschool twirling of her daughter (the “alien” of the blog title) to her own youthful dance studies to a motherhood-induced break to her own recent discovery of Zumba and Nia dance-exercise classes. Nia’s “combination of eastern martial arts and modern dance is also a tremendous workout. But, the emphasis is on the joy of movement and on listening to and honoring your individual body,” MacAaron writes. “While I’m often one of the oldest women in my Zumba class, Nia tends to attract a more mature crowd. There are women of every shape and size and we are all there to ‘dance as if no one is watching.’” After reading her blog and looking at the video below, we’re tempted to sign up — or at least to dance around the house more.
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