We begin again

Another year comes to a close. I learned an awful lot in a year that I decided to be more fully present in, for myself, my family, and my friends.

It has been a good year for me (most of them are, having really cheated death at 25, and showing early stage cancer who’s the boss at 50).

In January I stood silently with strangers for marriage equality on a brilliantly sunny winter day. Seven months later in late afternoon July heat I stood for equality with my sister, nephews, and Guilford friends. In Washington I was proud to see a young man I met while he made his way though college lead Georgians in our country’s biggest climate action.

I didn’t paddle 12 rivers in 2013, but I did nine, and loved everyone one of them (including the weekend we chalked up three).

This year allowed me to stretch beyond the confines of fighting Plant Washington. I am no less passionate, but glad to have fewer sleepless nights as this project continues to wither.

And again, I circled back to welcome another year with women I have known and loved for decades.

I’ve got plenty to do as the New Year eases in. My middle-aged body will have to work harder to whittle away this season’s eggnog. Adequate sleep needs to be a priority (said she who is up after midnight, again for the second night). Less time in front of a monitor and more time reading is a priority.

It is a New Year. Be present and look for the good in it and each other.

Doc, I’d like a prescription for two old bathtubs

He couldn’t get the General Assembly to pass a bill restricting state employee insurance funding to cover abortions, so Governor Nathan Deal worked another Back Room Deal and got insurance companies to stop covering abortions for state employees. It sort of begs the “Never you mind, missy” about medical procedures that are still legal and safe for women.

This closed door tactic earned Governor Deal a much deserved award from Planned Parenthood. Our Governor is Planned Parenthood Action’s Gynotician of the Week! 8-9-13-Georgia-Governor-Nathan-Deal-Gynotician-blog

As Planned Parenthood Action points out, Deal earned his B.A. and his law degree at Mercer University. But he lacks a medical degree and I bet he hasn’t even played a doctor on TV. “Never you mind, missy” a gynotician (a politician who feels more qualified than women and their doctors to make women’s health care decisions resulting in a combination of the words gynecologist and politician) knows way more than a woman and her board certified, state licensed doctor do about the best health care decisions for her.

Deal follows last week’s recipient, North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory and his attempt to assuage women protesting outside the governor’s mansion by offering them cookies after he signed a bill restricting abortion access which he clearly said as a candidate he wouldn’t sign. McCrory walked away to a chorus of “Hey Pat that was rude! You wouldn’t give cookies to a dude!”

What I wonder is if there are any back room deals to add old bathtubs as part of the 67325-57735state employee health insurance coverage plan. I don’t watch a lot of TV but it sure does seem like some men who need erectile dysfunction (ED) medicines (covered by state employee health insurance) also like a nice soak in an old bathtub outside with a woman in a tub next to them (can’t see their wedding rings from that distance so I can’t call them married).

And what about men in same sex partnerships? This could really run the price up on old bathtubs if every sexually active man got two tubs with his ED meds.

If the state continues to cover men’s prescription erectile dysfunction drugs, we might see some job creation for plumbers installing all these outdoor tubs and architecture salvage companies could see the demand soar for old bathtubs (I’m only guessing that because based on the number of commercials I’ve seen there must be A LOT of men who need these drugs).

Governor Deal I hope you enjoy all the accolades you’re receiving for dialing back access to health care for the women you work among every day in your office and the taxpayer-funded mansion you live in now. Some of those women might be willing to help you pack your bags after the election next year.



Among good friends and family

What I might write here about Moral Monday 12 on July 22 won’t add anything better than what has been captured in the photos and two videos below.

My nephews Dillon and Andrew are on the left, my friend Sarah Chew is behind the sign on the right. Photo credit to Armed Democrats for the man in the middle of this collage.

My nephews Dillon and Andrew are on the left, my friend Sarah Chew is behind the sign on the right. Photo credit to Armed Democrats for the man in the middle of this collage.
Mary Helms from News 14 Carolina coverage
Mary Helms from News 14 Carolina coverage

My sister Mary Helms on News 14 Carolina:

Amy Axon from NAACP video, July 22, 2013
Amy Axon from NAACP video, July 22, 2013

The NAACP’s video includes my Guilford College classmate Amy Evans Axon at 5:40

When a tax credit becomes a poll tax

The North Carolina Legislature’s slash and burn budget includes eliminating a $2,500 tax credit for families with college students by tying it to voter registration. SB 667 will require college students to vote at home if their parents claim them as a dependent and receive a $2,500 state tax credit. Students who register to vote where they attend college will also be required to move their vehicle registration 60 days prior to voting.

Connecting college tuition tax credits to where a college student votes and pays taxes on their vehicle sure does seem like a poll tax to me. Why would the Republican controlled North Carolina Legislature want to do this? Could it be because counties with heavy student populations where students traditionally vote Democratic (think Appalachian and Chapel Hill) could see students turn out in heavy numbers and threaten Republican control of state and Congressional seats? Is this a back door effort for legislators to add tax dollars to some counties via car taxes while taking it from others? Nope. It is a poorly veiled effort to control what would be legal student voting via a family’s checkbook.

Fortunately thousands have packed Halifax Mall outside the state legislature on Mondays to shine a bright light on the efforts to roll the clock back decades, if not centuries. Doctors in their white coats, faith leaders in vestments, teachers, retirees, attorneys, and hundreds of other tax paying, voting citizens have come forward to be arrested.

Wake County law enforcement officials went to work today knowing today is Moral Monday 12. Come rain or shine, the citizens will be there to peacefully demonstrate for a state that values equality, fair pay for teachers, Voting Rights, clean water and air, and a woman’s right to make her own health decisions.

Checking in at mid-year

This year I decided to be physically present in my beliefs by showing up. I started 2013 with wise and funny women at the North Carolina coast. Being Present has led me to stand silently while same-sex couples requested, and were denied, marriage licenses in Decatur. Being Present has taken me to a TEDx conference, the nation’s largest Climate Change action in DC, and a ribbon-cutting for the Dublin High School solar energy installation.

Next week I’ll Be Present with Guilford College alums at an unofficial Guilford College Reunion organized by alum Tom Dawson. We’ll come together in Raleigh, North Carolina at Moral Monday outside the state Capitol. Tom’s call to gather includes:

Why: This is not an official college reunion. Our truest reunion will always be in the field helping others.

We’ve seen so many Guilford friends representing their communities and the highest principles of their education and selves. Let’s meet up for a common purpose and represent together. This is a good way to connect across communities and bring out people who haven’t come to a Moral Monday yet, but are concerned about North Carolina.

When: 5:00, July 22 rain or shine

Where: Come to the word “Awed.” You can find it under the you are “a child suitable to be awed” inscription on the Public Instruction Department building on the left side of the commons facing the general assembly. Closest streets are the North Wilmington and East Lane Streets.

Who: Guilford alumni, students, faculty, kids, partners, friends, it’s complicateds, Quakers, strangers you meet on the street who have that certain “glow” about them. It’s a big field. Let’s fill it.

What: Wear Guilford colors if you like. If the spirit moves us, lets form a “Silent Bloc.”

My sister, Guilford College ’88, and her sons will go with me to Raleigh. She’s already working on a sign to carry. I’ll probably make mine with my nephews after I arrive.

It is important to me that I stand with my family for them, for my friends in North Carolina, for my high school and college alma maters, and for the millions who call the Old North State their home. I’ll be in the best of company.


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