Women’s Independent Press

Informing Women About Our World

Archive for February, 2011


February 28, 2011 By: admin Category: Events

March 4 – March Unblurred at Dance Alloy -  Sneak Peek into “Life”Choreographer Ursula Payne’s Work – Things You Miss – 5530 Penn Ave (Corner of Stratford) 7 PM, doors open at 6:30 – Call 412-363-4321 for reserved seating

March 5 - 7:00pm - OSCAR WINNING - MUSIC BY PRUDENCE - Friends Meeting House, 4836 Ellsworth Ave, Bake sale at 7:00, movie at 7:30pm - Admission $5.00 -Proceeds to benefit King George VI School for children with disabilities in Zimbabwe

March 8 – E-Magnify presents Impacting Commerce & Community: A Women’s Entrepreneurial Symposium – Featuring Marie Wilson, President and Founder of White House Project – Seton Hill University Performing Arts Center – 8 AM – 12:30 PM – visit e-magnify.com

March 8 – International Women’s Day - Building Bridges, Not Bombs - Join us on the Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh! - On this International Women’s Day, thousands of women (and men!) worldwide will gather on bridges from San Francisco to Congo to demonstrate that women build bridges of peace and should have an equal role in their nations’ peace processes - Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - 12:00 pm to 1:00pm - For more information about this event, please contact volunteer Munah Pavlik atmpavlik@zoominternet.net.  See you on the bridge!

March 18 - Be a part of the longest running networking lunch in Pittsburgh!  - 1:15 to 3:00 p.m - Ciopppino Restaurant -RailRoad St. Strip District - $30.00 cash at the door - Parking Lot above the restaurant - RSVP must be received by end of business Wednesday, March 16th - This month we are starting our new quarterly speaker program with a well respected figure in our community.  Jennifer Antkowiak will present her  latest topic on  “Starting A Second Career” which is one you will not want to miss - RSVP to Suzannef@zoominternet.net or Call 724-452-5152

March 23 - WORD-FM at our Business Symposium - Regional Learning Alliance in Cranberry Township – 850 Cranberry Woods Drive – 8am – 3pm – Cost $40 (includes breakfast and lunch) $35 (each with groups of five or more) – Topics include Networking / Social Media, Branding/ Marketing, Purpose in Life / Work – Call 724-741-1000 for additional information – visit www.wordfm.com to register

March 23 - Join JF&CS’s Cognitive Enhancement Program Coordinator, Ellie Eisenstat, and our Director of Clinical & Elder Care Services, Jordan Golin, Psy. D, at the AgeWell Dunkin’ Brunch - The eight-week Dunkin’ Brunch series features healthy food items, a stimulating lecture and an exercise class and is held at the JCC Squirrel Hill, Room 202 - For more information or to register, call 412.521.8010, ext.135 or ext. 225. Space is limited.


March 25 - CMU 2011 International Film Festival Screening of “Pink Saris”‘ - at 7:30 at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater accompanied by a reception - Ticket Pricing: Opening Night (March 17) with Reception: $15/$10 Student, Regular Admission: $7/$4 Student, Full Access Festival Pass (Excluding opening night): $40/$20 Student (A valid student ID must be presented when picking up tickets for student pricing)

For further information regarding the CMU 2011 International Film Festival, please visit our website, www.cmu.edu/faces, or contact Festival Director Jolanta Lion, jola@cmu.edu, (412) 445-6292.

March 26 - Pittsburgh’s Largest Pajama Party All fees and monies raised from the vendors and services are donated to the UPMC Cancer Centers Patient Assistance Fund - Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the door; or visit our website at www.thinkpinkevents.org for more information - Proceeds from this night will benefit the Washington Women’s Shelter. Call the Hilton Garden Inn at 724-743-5000 for your room reservation -Verizon Wireless’ Hope Line will be sponsoring a phone drive.  Bring your old cell phone and drop it in the HopeLine box.  For every phone collected, Verizon Wireless will donate $5 to Washington Women’s Shelter.


April 9 - Greater Harmony Chorus will host its annual fashion show and luncheon, at The Chadwick, One Wexford Square, Wexford, PA - Fashions by “Pittsburgh Elegance” will be featured - Luncheon will be served - Guests will be treated to a Chinese Auction of theme baskets, sales of gently used purses, jewelry and scarves, as well as used books. The doors open at 11 a.m.  - Tickets are $25 adults and $10 for children 12 & under.  Tickets are available by calling 724-444-7682 or 724-856-3685, or by visiting www.greaterharmony.org for more information. The deadline for obtaining tickets is April 6, 2011.


April 4 – Pittsburgh Public Schools presents Minority / Women Business Department – 5th Annual Business Opportunity Extravaganza – Tenth 19th Street Pittsburgh – Keynote Speaker Keith B. Key – 1:45 – 4:45 PM – Call 412-488-4661  or email rsears1@pghboe.net for details


April 9 – 2011 Organ Donor Awareness Night – Pirates vs. Rockies, Zambelli Fireworks – Outfield Box $20 ($5 donated) L/R Grandstand $12 ($2 donated) – 7:05 PM – Contact Chaz Kellem at 412-325-4731 or by email chaz.kellem@pirates.com for tickets


April 30– Women’s Expo - 9am-3pm - Hosted at the Four Points Sheraton in Greensburg  - 100 Sheraton drive, Greensburg – For more information, call 724.837.3713 or email: ellendeslamwomensexpo@gmail.com




March 18-20 – Veterans of Foreign Wars presents Women Veterans Retreat in Green Bay  - Please take a moment to look at the website for this event at www.sheserveswi.org


April 5 - JF&CS Presents the Brain Builders Club - Each of the workshop topics are designed to teach new skills and address one of the three components of cognitive enhancement: brain stimulation, stress reduction and physical activity. Participation in this innovative and fun program is free. Brain Builders Club graduates not only enjoy the workshops; at the end of each eight-week session, many ask to sign up for the next one!


To be eligible for the Brain Builders Club, participants must meet the following criteria:

· Age 65-85

· Be able to get to JF&CS for workshops on their own

· Able to do moderate physical exercise

· Commitment to full, eight-week program


JF&CS currently is recruiting for its spring session of the Brain Builders Club, which begins April 5 and meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9:30am to 12:30pm* at JF&CS (5743 Bartlett Street, Squirrel Hill).


For more information and to apply, please contact Ellie Eisenstat, JF&CS’s Cognitive Enhancement Program Coordinator, at eeisenstat@jfcspgh.org or 412.904.5960.


April 20 - Greater Pittsburgh NAWBO’s Annual Make the Connection Awards Dinner, Sheraton Station Square - 300 West Station Square Drive - 6:00 P.M. until 9:00 P.M.

Organizations participating should have the information on the enclosed form returned no later than Thursday, March 31, 2011 for your volunteer to be recognized at the dinner. Please only one volunteer per organization will be honored. Please call Mary Pam Kilgore at 412-854-4827 if there are any questions - Tickets to the dinner for staff, friends, and family and community leaders will be available for $75.00 individually or a table for 10 may be purchased for $650.00. 


Save the Date


May 6-15 – Silk Screen - Asian Film Festival – visit silkscreenfestival.org for more details

5 Simple, Must-Follow Tips to Car Buying Today, by Anne Fleming

February 27, 2011 By: admin Category: Consumer Education


It is a great time to buy a car. in fact, when is it not?  Follow these tactic applications, one by one, and you will be in the driver’s seat — as well as in partnership with the dealer to get the vehicle that is right for you.  


1.       Research. Know what type of vehicle you want to buy - make, model, features. Narrow it down to 2 or 3 models. This will save you time running between dealerships. And, do business and look at the Top Rated Women-Friendly Dealers®.

 2.       Take your time. Be sure you are buying a car that works for you – functionally, technologically, and financially. Do not fall in love with a car that you cannot afford. Remember that you will typically make payments for 3-5 years; be sure you can manage the payment.

3.       A real test drive. Drive the car just as you would drive it after you buy it. Let your salesperson know you want to mimic real road conditions and he or she will direct you to the nearest appropriate road. Dealers truly want you to be happy about your purchase – now and six months from now. Ask if you can have the car overnight—that will help you buy the right car for you.

4.  Be clear that about your expectations. Let the dealership know what you are willing to pay and how much time you have to finalize the deal. Even bring in other offers. Know what you are willing to trade your current car for, also. Backup what you say with actions. In the dance of negotiating, the other person needs to make money, too.

5.       Financing Details

a.  Know your credit score going in to the dealership. The higher your score the better your rate.

b. There is little need to discuss your trade-in or financing up front. Negotiate them separately, with the trade-in or financing as one part, and the car price as another.

c. Don’t buy strictly on the basis of a monthly payment amount. Various finance factors can change which could  result in paying more. And, you may want to consider an extended warranty. Check with your insurance agent about the cost to insure. Work toward knowing the entire number.

d. If time is a big concern and you know exactly what you want, work with the Internet Manager – they will get you their best price the first time. It’s easy, comfortable and saves time.


Anne Fleming
President and Car Buying Advocate
Twitter, womendrivers: Facebook, Women drivers



February 27, 2011 By: admin Category: Consumer Education


            They hide from everyone in my family. Except me. My mother can go months without seeing one. In fact, before I come to visit she vacuums her house extra-good, especially her basement. But when I go down there to use the shower, I’ll spot them anyway. Not one, not two, but four or five. Mom will come down the stairs, laughing and shaking her head.

            “There’s one, there’s one, and there’s another.” I’ll point out each one nestled against the baseboard.

            “How can that be? There were no spiders in this basement this morning.”

            As she wipes down the basement, I’m squealing from the shower room. “Mom, you have got to see this.”

            She comes into the room and I point. A spider perches in a web that is attached to the toilet paper and the wall.

            Would you believe that at this time I was 25 years old? Go ahead. Laugh. I know, it’s pathetic having your mom do a spider check before you visit. I suppose she got used to doing it. I mean, my dad could only take it so many times when I was a kid and would scream for him to kill some little speck on the wall.

            There is just something about spiders that bothers me. The creepy legs; the furry round bodies or the skinny, hooked ones; the way they crawl or sometimes even hop. Oh, the hopping ones. They bother me the most. If I tried to smash one with my husband’s shoe—notice I didn’t say my shoe—the darn thing would hop down off the wall and scamper away.

And forget about my getting one off the ceiling. It could drop down onto my shoulder or get stuck in my hair. Then I’d be left flailing around trying to get it off of me. Or passing out.

When my oldest child was a toddler, I noticed a spider on the ceiling above her crib. My husband was at work and none of my neighbors were at home.

I know. I called them.

But I did reach my friend across town.

“Could you come over and kill a spider for me?” I pleaded. (My apologies to the spider-lovers out there. I would think there are a few. The question is, why?)

She laughed. “Absolutely not. You’re going to scare your daughter. You have a sponge mop. Use that to smash it into the ceiling.”

Okay. I could do this. I retrieved the mop from the basement, pushed the sponge onto the spider, and then pulled the mop away. Voila!

But, nooooo. The spider crawled under the sponge and into the handle of the mop! Now what was I going to do?

With one hand, I opened the window, pushed up the screen, and tossed—yes, tossed—the mop out the third floor window. I made my husband retrieve the mop from the back yard when he arrived home. And I made him shake it out. He imagined the neighbors’ reactions had they seen a mop sailing out of our top floor window.

            Now let me just say here that I know spiders are extremely helpful creatures. If they didn’t eat all those bugs, we’d be overrun with them. I know. I get it. I just don’t want them in my house. They can live in their “houses” outside while I live in mine inside. Sounds fair, right?

             A couple of years later my husband and I were camping with our two little girls. Yes, I know. You’re probably wondering how a confirmed spider-hater can go camping. What can I say? I really and truly love the outdoors.

Anyway, it was a rainy evening, and the girls and I cuddled up, reading a story. I noticed something between the pages in the back of the book. A little hair wiggled out from the bottom of the book. Then another. I swallowed hard and slowly peeled back the pages. Not a hair. It was a LEG!

A daddy long legs was nestled in the center of the book with two legs hanging out. I tried not to startle my children as I handed the book to my husband who promptly put the spider outside and checked the rest of the book for me. (Now I ask you, have you ever heard of this happening? See, they come after me!)

            Even though I didn’t scream, I still did what my husband calls the “spider dance”. I jumped up and down and then ran in place, shivering, shaking my arms and hands at my sides. All the while with an “ick” look on my face. He laughed, but it made me feel better.

            According to dictionary.com, the definition of a phobia is “a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.” This fits my spider fear to a “T”. It’s kind of funny that above the phobia definition on the website is a link for “severe anxiety disorders”. That fits me as well. When I was 38 years old I was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder which is an anxiety disorder. So my dad can rest easy now. I wasn’t just being petulant. I had a disorder! Wow, that news made me feel so much better about spiders. . .not.

            Now that I’m in my mid-40s, I’m doing much better. I try not to kill spiders if I can get someone to take them outside. The other day I found one on our enclosed back porch. I tried–I really did!–to get it onto the fly swatter so I could carry it out. The darn thing kept hopping off. I kept talking to it, probably to keep myself calm. I could feel the anxiety creep up my chest, could feel the shivers on my arms and back. Finally, after it jumped off the swatter for the fourth time, I had no choice but to smash it.

But my burning question is why don’t these arachnids show themselves to my husband or kids? Are they like cats and know who is afraid of them and then they’ll become pests (pun intended)? Just so they don’t try to wrap themselves around my legs. . .

Julie Ann Monzi grew up in the Pittsburgh area but now lives in Gettysburg, PA, with her husband, three children, and five cats. She enjoys reading, walking the Gettysburg Battlefield, and watching British mysteries.



Women & Children First – Not Women & Children Overboard!

February 27, 2011 By: admin Category: Feature Article

By Heather Arnet, CEO, Women and Girls Foundation

412-434-4883 (office)
We “Will Work for Equality” – Will you?
Join us today by making a donation at www.wgfpa.org
When women and girls thrive communities prosper!

On Thursday, Feb 24, 2011, the Women and Girls Foundation co-hosted a press conference with the National Council of Jewish Women and Pennsylvania NOW at our offices at Station Square. We invited over a dozen social service agencies in our community to participate in this press conference to report on the impacts the proposed federal budget cuts, being suggested by the U.S. House of Representatives, will have on our local economy and the lives of millions of women and girls in Southwest Pennsylvania. We hosted this press conference because we were shocked by the drastic job cuts and service cuts being proposed by the United States House of Representatives. 

Representatives from the following organizations spoke at the press conference:  Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children, Fair Housing Partnership, Just Harvest, WQED Multimedia, Women’s Center & Shelter, PennFuture, Planned Parenthood, Adagio Health, The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Community Services, Action United, ACLU Pittsburgh, Women’s Law Project, New Voices Pittsburgh, National Council of Jewish Women, National Organization for Women, Pennsylvania Health Access Network, Health Care for America Now, and the YWCA.

Congress’s newest members arrived with a promise to focus on restarting the economy and creating jobs.  We are saddened to learn that the very first priority of this new Congress – H.R. 1 – is focused instead on eliminating millions of jobs in this country that will result in thousands of unemployed Pennsylvanians.

This job cutting bill will throw American families even further into debt and poverty and then as these families find themselves in a free fall – they will find that there is no longer any safety net.  

This bill cuts nutritional aide for infants, housing assistance for our elderly and veterans, early childhood education, community and family health care centers, and environmental protection of our water and the air we breathe. Some of these programs were enacted under Republican presidents and have long had bi-partisan support. And it does so while leaving billions of dollars of subsidies for millionaires, corporations, and foreign wars unscathed.

The phrase women and children first, used to mean, in an emergency these groups should be the ones first given the lifeboats to safety. It did not mean, in a crisis, throw the women and children overboard. But that is exactly what this US House budget does. It makes the most vulnerable in our community bear the brunt of the sacrifice.

The recession had a devastating impact on millions of Americans, especially women raising young children on their own. In 2009 single female headed households with children made up 74% of those living in poverty in Pittsburgh. Unemployment rates for single mothers have doubled since 2007 and are TWICE that of their married male counterparts. (11.3%)

These budget cuts will not only result in decreased social services for the poor. They also will cut millions of jobs. Jobs in the health care, education, and child care sectors. The majority of which are held by women, many of them raising children on their own. The National Women’s Law Center, recently reported that women lost 86 % of the jobs cut in the government sector during 2010. And so if these cuts are approved by Congress not only will the women and children currently served by these programs suffer. But more families will be moved from economic self-sufficiency to unemployment and poverty.

This is not a job creation strategy. This is not an economic recovery strategy. This is an attack on society’s most vulnerable. As we watch our brothers and sisters in Egypt struggle to achieve freedom and equal access to jobs, healthcare, food, and education, American women should not have to fight to retain their rights here at home. Pennsylvanians need to become informed as to the local impact this job cutting bill would have on our local economy and local working families. And we must speak out against the passage of this bill through the U.S. Senate. Congress can be fiscally prudent without being cruel.

Organizing Your Space, By Carole Brecht

February 27, 2011 By: admin Category: Organizing your Space

Hello to you! I hope this finds you in a good place/space of mind and life is treating you well.
The new year is well under way. My hope is that you’re making progress in your life, decluttering,
 both personally and professionally. I came across an organizing tip the other day I thought well worth sharing.
It goes like this: Put Things in Their Place Immediately aka The Ice Cream Rule. If you walk into your house
 with a pint of ice cream, you don’t leave it on the counter for an hour, do you? No. It goes in the freezer now,
or you’ll be sorry later. Apply The Ice Cream Rule to everything in your home and/or office. Doing so will
 minimize the likelihood of creating a cluttered living space. Now it sounds very simple and in fact is, but it
 takes a conscious, consistent effort to make this rule apply. I’ve been applying this concept and find I have
far less “stuff” to move around, rearrange or find a place for. It has become automatic to get things where
they belong.
 Things can pile up quickly and then it can seem overwelming to make it all go away.
It requires much more effort to figure it all out and often times sits for a much longer period than necessary.
Next time you want to just drop something any old place, think about The Ice Cream Rule and hopefully that
will give you the impetus to take action and put things back where they belong. Keep on truckin’ towards
a more organized life, it’s so worth it, whatever it takes!
 Here’s to moving forward, Carole
Need a Professional Organizer/Personal Assistant? Please contact me via e-mail or telephone.
 I’ll be glad to help get you from point A to Z.
Carole Brecht
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/?closeTheater=1#!/pages/Organize-Your-Life-Now/167825409901347

“Real life, real women, real leaders” by Donna McAleer

February 27, 2011 By: admin Category: Book Reviews

Real life, real women, real leaders”

By Donna McAleer


In an era where the American public is saturated with images and accounts of women selling sexuality and self-centered materialism, PORCELAIN ON STEEL: Women of West Point’s Long Gray Line (Fortis Publishing, 2010) by award-winning author Donna McAleer spotlights 14 women, all West Point graduates, who chose to make a positive contribution to society. 


The United States Military Academy at West Point is America’s oldest and most respected leadership institution.  Since 1802, West Point has given the country some of its greatest generals and presidents. For 173 years it was all male. In 1976, it opened to women, allowing women to break the gender barrier and reach the top levels of leadership in the army.


There is much to be learned from the women that enter and graduate from the US Military Academy. As a strong and positive influence, the examples West Point women set can help others understand their own limits and then show them how to ignore them to achieve their goals. 


Rich, poor, immigrant, native born, black, white, Hispanic, straight, and lesbian, representing a cross-section of American Society, each came to West Point with different personal goals but sharing the desire to serve their country.


These women come face to face with challenges like losing a limb in battle, fighting life-threatening cancer and dealing with the death of a spouse. Their qualities and strength of character would lead to success in any era, but their stories are especially relevant today. They give inspiration that when one is determined to succeed—it can be done, regardless of barriers.


Their stories include:


Performing a soldier’s marriage ceremony and then his funeral—how do you comfort someone who went from wife to widow, from bliss to bereavement in only a year? How do you help cadets, soldiers, and military families that struggle to manage competing demands of serving both God and country and with the moral dilemma of faith and fighting? How do you deal with a mother institutionalized for mental illness and growing up in foster homes and juvenile detention centers? What kind of life does that set you up for? Cynthia Lindenmeyer can tell you how she does these things and how she turned an arrest for shoplifting as a child into the determination to change her life. A 1990 graduate of West Point, she ultimately became an Army Chaplain and earned a Master’s Degree of Divinity from Duke University.


After a successful career of 16 years of active duty, Lissa Young, a 1986 graduate, Army helicopter pilot and former West Point instructor was outed and forced to resign her commission because of the nation’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Instead of fighting back, Lissa chose to embrace her dismissal as an opportunity to explore new ventures.


During a parachute jump while in the Army, Nancy Hogan plummeted with both main and reserve parachutes tangled around her neck. Terribly injured by the impact, doctors felt she would never walk again on her own. Then, she was diagnosed with kidney cancer. She overcame both devastating challenges to live and walk again. A 1995 graduate of West Point, Nancy, though still physically challenged, is now a dedicated advocate for veterans having served as a director at Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and now as a legal counsel for the US Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.


The women profiled in Porcelain on Steel forged successful careers in the military and in civilian life, giving back to their country and their communities.  These are the stories of mothers, daughters and wives; the stories of educators and athletes; of doctors and lawyers, and officers; who all started as soldiers.


Awarded a Gold Medal in 2010 for non-fiction by the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA), Porcelain on Steel is a book for your daughter, your sister, your best friend, and yourself. America’s youth as well as parents in search of stories of inspiration, education, courage, loyalty, public service and leadership that set a positive direction for our young people should read this book.


About the Author: Donna McAleer, a 1987 West Point graduate, attended St. Cecilia Academy, a girls college preparatory school in Nashville, TN. An award-winning author, she has been an Army officer, business leader, non-profit executive director, high school coach, and National bobsled team member. She earned an MBA at the Darden Graduate School of the University of Virginia. Donna lives in Park City, Utah, with her husband, daughter, and faithful dog, where she consults, writes and teaches skiing.  Porcelain on Steel is available at various on-line retailers at www.porcelainonsteel.com


February 27, 2011 By: admin Category: Business

This title doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with an employers’ W-2’s, but it does. A provision in the Act now affects any employers who sponsor health care plans. 

“Increasing Transparency in Employer W-2 Reporting of Value of Health Benefits: This provision requires employers to disclose the value of the benefit provided by the employer for each employees health insurance coverage on the employees annual Form W-2.” (quoted from PPACA Detailed Summary)

Employers must now realize that they need to become aware of and adjust to the new reporting requirements that will take effect in 2013.  However, because employees can ask for their W-2’s early, for instance, if they terminate employment during the calendar year, employers will need to have their payroll systems adjusted to be able to report this in early 2012.  While the IRS had originally slated this to be effective for 2011, they have since changed this and made reporting of the health insurance value information optional for 2011. Since employers have only 30 days to respond to the W-2 request, it is in the employer’s best interest to prepare for this new provision immediately. 

A detailed summary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is available online at http://dpc.senate.gov/healthreformbill/healthbill04.pdf .  As you can see in this 14 page summary, the Act covers everything from Americans having affordable health care to revenue provisions.  As there may be future regulations to help employers clarify the different types of coverage, such as how to report for less than a month’s coverage, if coverage starts or stops in the middle of the month; or how it applies to former employees who are provided health care coverage, including retirees, COBRA participants or even surviving spouses; it is important to work with your accounting department, payroll company and health insurance providers to stay abreast of the ever changing regulations surrounding healthcare reform. 

This article courtesy of Pomaybo, Inc., providing solutions to workforce issues. Please visit www.pomaybo.com for more information.

Book Review by Kathryn Atwood

February 27, 2011 By: admin Category: Book Reviews










Kathryn Atwood


A Very Dangerous Woman: Martha Wright and Women’s Rights”


By Sherry H. Penney and James D. Livingston

 ISBN 1-55849-446-4

University of Massachusetts Press


“No matter what a wife’s annoyances may have been during the day, her countenance must always be wreathed in smiles on the approach of her husband.”

– Martha Wright, excerpt from a satirical newspaper piece.


“Just get hold of life’s reverses & disappointments in a ridiculous point of view, & it helps along wonderfully – there is a great deal of fun, among all the annoyances, if one can only find it.”

– Martha Wright, excerpt from a letter to a relative.


The first women’s rights convention, held in July, 1848, in Seneca Falls, New York, was organized by five women, two of which have achieved nigh-sainthood in women’s rights history: Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  Lesser known is Martha Wright, Lucretia Mott’s younger sister, also one of the Seneca Falls organizers, and the great-great-grandmother of author James D. Livingston.  Livingston and his wife Sherry H. Penney have sought to shed light on Wright’s life and work with the publication of their book, “A Very Dangerous Woman.”


Twenty-first century readers might find the book’s title highly ironic when encountering the self-effacing, thoroughly domestic, and humorous Martha Wright within the pages of “Dangerous Woman.”  But set within the framework of 19th century America, Martha Wright — who not only promoted abolition and repeatedly provided hospitality to Frederick Douglass, but whose home was also part of the underground railroad; who not only promoted the idea of female suffrage but also the concept of fair divorce and wage laws — was indeed deemed quite dangerous.


During the numerous women’s conventions that followed Seneca Falls, Wright served in various capacities but her main contribution was that of writer and the copious inclusion of her lively personal letters in “Dangerous Woman” sheds light not only on her variegated personality, the numerous women’s rights and abolitionist conventions she took part in, but also on the characters of 19th century luminaries who she encountered.  For instance, after a visit from Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Wright was charmed: “We all fell in love with Mrs. Stanton, the merry twinkle of her eye and her genuine hearty laugh.”


After the war, when Harriet Tubman was settled in Auburn, she and Wright became quite close and when Tubman missed a chance to see Wright’s visiting daughter Ellen (married to the son of William Lloyd Garrison, one of Tubman’s heroes) and her new baby, Wright notes that Tubman was “so disappointed that her eyes filled with tears.  She [had] never shed a tear in telling me of all her troubles.”


When she visited the Boston transcendentalists after the war (Bronson Alcott, father of the famed author, among them), she was unimpressed and wrote “Just between ourselves I think those radical meetings a great humbug.  Each essayist, in turn, trying to see how obscure he can make his meaning, by wrapping it, like a mummy, in spiced cloths, and then aping Emerson in the reading.”


Penney and Livingston spend a good deal of time on the civil war and its affect both on the women’s movement in general (the push to grant suffrage to freed male slaves basically shelved the women’s suffrage movement) and on Martha specifically.  Her tolerance of those with differing opinions and her peaceable nature is evident in her continued correspondence with her confederate relations from her first marriage, even when war was looming.  When one of these young relatives expressed his approval of the vicious attack on Senator Charles Sumner in retaliation for Sumner’s critical speech of a South Carolina senator, Martha reproved the young man thus: “I felt very sorry that you should justify the murderous attack on Sumner, & that you should be willing to endorse the sentiment, so unworthy an American citizen, that personal violence, under any circumstances, was allowable, for words uttered in debate . . . “


Yet, she signed off the correspondence thus: “I shall always be happy to hear from you & I trust that more mature reflection, & the generous impulses of youth, will lead you to judge wisely on this momentous question wh. is destined to shake the Union from centre to circumference.”


However, the war became close and personal when her own son joined the Union forces and it affected the generous nature of Quaker-born Wright: “I dread any misplaced ‘magnanimity’ towards the leaders of the Rebellion, & the murderers of our prisoners.  I would not have one hanged, but disfranchised & their land confiscated.”  Later she wrote even more pointedly, “I for one wd. rather the war wd. last till the South is depopulated.”


Her attitude says more about the war’s powerful influences than it does about Martha’s character because for the most part, Wright was a renowned peacemaker especially within the ranks of the sometimes divided woman’s movement.  Attempting to make peace between these warring factions she once quipped: “What’s the difference between a bird with one wing & a bird with two? A mere difference of a pinion. Indeed, her humor was such an intrinsic part of her nature that William Lloyd Garrison, writing an obituary after Wright’s death in 1875, said that “Beneath [Wright’s] habitual gravity there lurked a keen sense of the ludicrous, her wit and humor being always at command.”


“A Very Dangerous Woman,” like its subject, is intelligent but accessible, a long overdue biography on a very interesting – if occasionally, dangerous — woman.


 “Kathryn Atwood’s book reviews have appeared in numerous print and online journals and she is the author of the new young adult title, “Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue.” 


Bodywork The Science of Yoga Nidra

February 27, 2011 By: admin Category: Health and Wellness


The Science of Yoga Nidra

Written Researched and taught by

Deanna Markesteyn LMT BA RYT

Advanced Bodywork 412-983-8688


Yoga Nidra, a Calming Yoga, is a powerful therapeutic tool empowering participants to heal past experiences and make healthy changes in their life.

‘Yoga’ means integration and ‘Nidra’ means sleep. Therefore Yoga Nidra is integrative sleep. The difference between sleep and Yoga Nidra is that the participant in Yoga Nidra is in a conscious state. The body reaches that state of bliss also known as delta sleep or deep sleep tapping into the “internal pharmacy” (Depak Chopra).  In the delta sleep state our bodies release reparative hormones. In this conscious state of sleep, Amrit Yoga Nidra, the participant has the ability to become the witness not choosing for or against what they are witnessing. In this state a person is naturally happy, there is no I like it, I do not like it. Emotions habits and past events can be released or changed without reinforcing present unhealthy nerve path ways.

Albert Einstein said “You can’t fix the problem with the mind that created the problem”. Yoga Nidra is a tool that helps people move out of the thinking mind into the feeling centers of the body, in psychological terms this would be known as moving from the conscious to the subconscious mind. Dr. Candace Pert refers to the physical body as the subconscious mind. In my twenty years of experience in the field of bodywork and massage therapy, I have found this to be true. The reason this is important when using Yoga Nidra for PTSD is that nerve pathways are constantly being regenerated and rewritten.  Yoga Nidra helps to regenerate and reprogram nerve pathways intentionally. The participate becomes active instead of reactive when faced with a life challenge or choice. Yoga Nidra helps to allow people to take action in life, instead of reactive responses that are driven by unconscious programing.

When nerve pathways are being reinforced the problem persists and can even get worse. The body does not know if the memory is from the past or in the present the body’s response, in a physiological way, acts as if the trauma is reoccurring. I like to use the example of being in love, when you are in love with someone you may relate a smell to that individual and if you smell that scent and the individual is nowhere in sight your body may feel a warm yummy response. Depak Chopra using the example of a young boy who was receiving chemo therapy the child was once exposed to the smell of the chemo ward without receiving chemo therapy his body remembered the side effects of the chemo therapy and he became physically ill as if he was receiving the chemo therapy.

Yoga Nidra is over 7000 years old; the ancient yogis developed this system without microscopes or studying cadavers. The terms used are often Sanskrit an ancient language. But there are several systems that correlate with the modern systems of the body we know today. For instance the chakra system correlates with the nervous system and the prana correlates with the endocrine system.

The first part of Yoga Nidra a Calming Yoga is the asana or poses this activity helps to relax and stimulate the biological systems helping to get the participates relaxed and releasing energy. This method also helps to balance the autonomic nervous system. When practicing Amrit Yoga you take the body into action and then relax the body, mimicking the way the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous systems operate in a healthy balance. This is an opportunity to practice letting go and feeling your body and getting out of the thinking centers and into the feeling centers. The asana or movements can be individualized according your ability to move.

The second part of  Amrit Yoga Nidra a Calming Yoga is a deep meditation. The meditation is a guided meditation. The facilitator uses techniques and tools like breathing, imagery, sound and vibration. The participant uses a mantra, an intention, in this deep conscious state. The intention aids the participant in reprograming the old patterns of thinking, acting and feeling.

I have personally experienced and witnessed incredible responses to Yoga Nidra. The least it can do is quiet mind, relax body, trigger the relaxation response and help participants to sleep deeply.

Classes at Marshall Municipal Building Tuesdays at 7:00 pm until March 29


If your Senior Won’t Let go: Tips to De-Clutter a Hoarder!

February 01, 2011 By: admin Category: If your Senior Won't Let go: Tips to De-Clutter a Hoarder!, Tips for Seniors and caregivers


Hello again!  For fifteen years, the Home Instead Senior Care® franchise network has been devoted to providing seniors with the highest quality care in their own homes, and to arming families with the information they need to make the best decisions about caring for aging loved ones.


In this last article of a three-part series for the Women’s Independent Press, Home Instead Senior Care would like to remind you that caring for a senior includes being attentive to your loved-one’s surroundings.  What is more, getting rid of stuff is actually a two-step process: sorting and deciding, on the one hand, and disposing on the other.  For more information, please visit www.homeinstead.com.  Until next time…


Convincing seniors to de-clutter can be a challenge.  That’s according to University of Kansas Professor Dr. David Ekerdt, who is coordinating a “household moves” project to determine the role that possessions play in older people’s housing decisions.

The following are strategies if your loved one doesn’t want to let go from Katherine “Kit” Anderson, CPO-CD, president of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD), and Vickie Dellaquila, certified professional organizer and author of Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash.

1. ARRANGE AND CHEER SMALL VICTORIES. Suppose you spend a short time helping your loved one clear off a table. Celebrate the accomplishment together.

2. CONDUCT AN “EXPERIMENT.” If your loved one has 150 empty margarine tub containers, suggest donating 15 of those to a school for a painting project. Allow some time to go by and ask how she felt giving those up. Chances are she won’t feel as awful as suspected.

3. GENTLY APPROACH THE IDEA OF HEALTH AND SAFETY. Remind your loved ones that too much clutter can actually keep them from being safe in their homes, which could jeopardize their ability to stay at home. They could trip over papers on the floor or lose bills and medications.

4. DRAFT AN AGREEMENT. Agree to box up unused clothing or tools. Carefully list what’s in the box and track that for six months. If your loved one does not use the items in that time, suggest they donate them to a charity.

5. CONSIDER THE CONTROL ISSUE. Clutter is all about control, but so is being the one to decide where stuff goes. Remind your loved ones if they don’t decide where something will go, someone else will.

If you, or any organization of which you are a part, is interested in learning more, please contact our office.  We would be happy to speak to your group free of charge about this subject, our services, and even employment opportunities. 




Rebecca Champagne, Human Resource Coordinator

Home Instead Senior Care

1102 S Braddock Ave

Pittsburgh, PA 15218

Phone: (412) 731-0733