Photo: Tom Gralish, Philadelphia Inquirer

This week, blogs offered lots of Women’s History Month goodies, some advance notice about fashion designer Sonia Rykiel’s new line, and an incantatory vocal work set to the poetry of WVFC’s own Carol Muske-Dukes.

  •  At WVFC, Maryann Helferty has shared some poignant memories, reluctant to mention her day job as an environmental scientist with the Environmental Protection Agency. But now Helferty has begun to write at the EPA’s new blog, Greenversations; she reported last week from  the Philadelphia Flower Show, where EPA employees  “share our thousands of teachable moments with the EPA pesticide program.” The agency offers numerous volunteers, Helferty writes,  “to create the magic of a blooming lesson on ‘green’  gardening. Some care for herbaceous plants in personal greenhouses; others force mountain laurels and honeysuckle to flower in winter.” (Probably not, however the glorious five-petaled orchid at right, also at the show.)  Click over for details and for more Greenversations, including a Black History Month post by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson that could double as a post for Women’s History Month. Jackson traces prominent black women through the years, from Phillis Wheatley and Harriet Tubman to her own mom and other “mothers, sisters and daughters whose stories we may not have heard.” We learned about Greenversations from Helferty, who was also excited to learn about Dominique Browning’s Moms Clean Air Force and  has promised  WVFC that she’ll share for more of her environmental expertise from now on.
  • “The smiling model. So rare. Like some exotic Arctic animal that a National Geographic photographer stakes out for weeks,” wrote Fashionista Leah Chernikoff late last week, introducing one refreshing Fashion Week exception: the fall line of Sonia Rykiel, which included those smiling models, “plenty of  ‘signature’ coats . . .  simple and chic wool pea coats; thicker plush sherbet colored ones–one in fur and a chunky one with a rolled collar that buttoned on the side; and even some cropped blazers,” as well as new looks underneath:  “Cropped crease-front wide leg trousers, body-hugging ribbed knit tops and skirts, effortless flimsy silk blouses, and all of it cinched by a simple skinny black belt with a round gold buckle.” Click over for photos, and more posts.
  • Is Women’s History Month still relevant, asks author Gloria Feldt, when “we’ve seen a woman first almost everything, every door has been opened at least once”? Giving a partial answer at the blog for her book No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change the Way We Think About Power, Feldt reflects on the resilience of that glass ceiling.  “While researching No Excuses, I was shocked to find a recurrent approach-avoidance relationship between women and power . . . I’m talking about women who voluntarily leave the workforce instead of banding together to change workplace policies so they can have a family life and earn a living. I mean women’s unwillingness to negotiate aggressively for salary and promotion costs each of us a cool half million dollars on average over our career lifetime.” Click over for more, including an explanation of the “Generational Power Paradox.”
  • “Being alone is very difficult,” Yoko Ono is famous for saying and quoted by Geri at Fab Over 50, who asks why women our age sometimes feel the lack of a partner most. “Some women won’t go unescorted to dinner parties, movies, or on a trip. I adore going to the movies alone.  Besides, who talks to her companion during a movie, anyway? ” Of course, this may be a recent trend even for us: “My mother never dined out without my dad, a friend or relative, but when daddy died, she was comfortable having dinner at a restaurant by herself. Sometimes we’re forced to do things that take us out of our comfort zone,” Geri writes,  “but I do think it’s worthwhile trying them when we don’t have to.”
  • We’re sorry we missed this concert last week in San Francisco, which was honoring one of our top Voices in Verse,  California Poet Laureate Carol Muske-Dukes. The famous Volti voice ensemble performed a setting of Muske-Dukes’s poem White Key, scored by young Yale composer Reena Esmail. “During the program, which includes five compositions, Volti explores the border between the poetry of words and pure musical sounds,” reads the announcement from University of California, where the poet is a professor.  “In White Key, a West Coast premiere, Esmail captures the raw emotion of Muske-Dukes’ poem about new love’s expectations.” We are deeply grateful to the composer for making the video available so soon: her composition is almost as haunting as the poem itself.

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