Sunday, September 27, 2015

The week that was

So it's been a week now, and I'm still vacillating between mad and sad. Progressive Organized Women PAC (POW-PAC) paperwork has been filed with the WV Secretary of State. The checking account is ready to accept donations. I still need to set up an online account. I'm taking my time. It'll all get done, eventually.

I've spent a lot of time this week resting during the day and not sleeping at night. Or, rather, sleeping for three hours and then waking up with IDEAS. STRATEGIES. PLANS. My brain is on overdrive.

Your comments from my last post are most appreciated. Thank you all.

What happened last Saturday is a microcosm of what's happened to the Democratic Party here in WV. Possibly elsewhere. I've had my eye on North Carolina politics for a while now, as WV has been following in its footsteps. I've blamed it on the Koch Brothers and all that money, but that's not the entire story here in WV.

The heart of West Virginia's Democratic party is not in the statehouse in Kanawha County. It's in Marion County, home of Senator Joe Manchin (DINO-WV). Joe Manchin – the only Democrat to vote for defunding Planned Parenthood. Joe Manchin – who voted against the Iran Deal (make war, not diplomacy!). Joe Manchin – who called me "honey."

Joe Manchin and those who follow him care more about their power in the structure of the party than they do about the strength of the party itself. We've been bleeding Democrats for years. Clearly there are a lot of Democrats who are voting for Republicans, if you take a look at election results for the last 15 years. The flip of the statehouse in 2014 from blue to red was stunning. The only Democrats in power now are our Governor, who cannot run in 2016, and … Joe Manchin.

What does that have to do with the WVFDW election? Very little, actually. Except that the chair of WV's Democratic Party is a past president, her county voted as a bloc against the nominating committee's slate, she brought the greatest number of county delegates … and she's from Marion County.

In a nutshell, having control over the women who belong to WVFDW was somehow more important than moving women's issues and interests forward in WV. The chair of the party is someone I trusted, liked, considered a friend. Oddly, though, I don't lay total blame on her shoulders. A good deal goes to … Joe Manchin.

Whether POW-PAC makes a difference for West Virginia women lies in our ability to get our message out. It will take a lot of work and dedication. We'll surely ruffle some (more) feathers. One thing is certain: It's not about me, nor is it about any of the other strong, progressive women who are working to make it happen.

It's about West Virginia. And it's about West Virginia women.

Monday, September 21, 2015

As weekends go, this certainly was one

I don't think I've written anything about the election that happened here in WV over the weekend. It took place at the state convention for the West Virginia Federation of Democratic Women (WVFDW). My county chapter was the host. I've shared a little bit about how busy our group was preparing for that. But the election? Not so much.

I was nominated for vice-president. Traditionally, the assembly accepts the recommendation of the nominating committee, everyone sings kumbaya, and you go to a banquet. But not this year.

Three of the top board positions were challenged by floor nominations. Mine was one of them.

The woman nominated for president and I ran as a team. She went down in the first ballot of the day, and I realized then that I didn't need to give quite as powerful a speech as I'd planned to. It was referred to by one witness as a kamikaze speech.

WVFDW is a club, politically oriented, obviously, but not beholden to the public. It's nice, though, to know the members of a group you've served for several years appreciate you and welcome your contributions.

Yeah, that didn't happen.

Don't get me wrong: MANY, many women approached me and told me how much they appreciated my work for the organization. (I took care of the website and created most of the memes for the Facebook page. Oh, and started a blog, a newsletter, and a Zazzle shop.) From my brief parenthetical resume, you can see I was a big contributor to the digital side of things.

The nominee for president came up with the ideas. Having more time than she, I executed them. We really are a good team. As I said in my speech, she's the spark plug and I'm the mechanic.

But talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. You don't show me you value my service by then voting me out.

I learned a lot from the entire experience, most of which I will keep to myself. What I will share is this: For Democrats in West Virginia, longevity trumps all. The longer you've been a member, the longer you've had a D beside your name, the better. The lifetime Democrat who is a charter member of WVFDW wins the prize.

Which is silly, really. If you want your group to grow and attract new and younger members, you look at records. My record, and that of the nominee for president, has hundreds of thousands of digital fingerprints all over it. Social media is where those potential younger members are. And that's where we worked the hardest, while also creating the newsletter to make sure we were reaching those who don't spend much time online.

Without being too melodramatic about it, I guess I'm making my way through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You don't have to have all of them, and you don't have to have them in that order. But most people experiencing an impactful loss feel some or all of these emotions to some degree.

I'm pretty sure I skipped denial and went straight to anger. I'm not sure bargaining is relevant. I feel stuck between mad and sad right now, and I'm really very close to acceptance. I will be all right. I'm already making plans for how a way to work on issues that mean something to me and to other progressive women who feel that WVFDW chose a different set of values.

There was a lot of discussion at this meeting about adding a standing committee just for social media. And after all was said and done, it was added. The social media team will no longer serve at the pleasure of the president, but will be an elected office and a voting member of the board.

I'm happy about that.

I'm just sad I won't be on it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What I've been doing with my time

Now that I'm not spending a couple hours a day walking (see previous post if you're not keeping up with my medical history), how am I spending my time?

You'd think, with a blog called Knit. Run. Reap. Eat. that I'd be knitting. Or gardening. It's a fact I'm not running, nor haven't been for quite some time.

It's also a fact that I've been doing a little knitting. I finished a self-designed V-neck pullover, very simple and very wearable. It's kind of an oatmeal color, the yarn (I forget what it's called but I know it's long-discontinued) is a wool/cotton blend and kind of "nubby," and it's all stockinette, except for the lower edge and sleeve cuffs. They're 2x2 ribbing. I finished the neckline with attached I-cord.

I love the sweater. Tunic-length, quite comfy. I can't wait for fall so I can wear it.

I started another project, the Oat Couture Seville Jacket, but I'm not sure the yarn is going to work for it. I chose a fuzzy mohair blend, and I think it needs something smooth and classy. Or classic. Fuzzy mohair isn't it. But I'm two balls into the back of it, so I guess I'll keep going.

Maybe. I'm just not excited about this the way I am about that pullover.

If you're a regular reader, you know there's no gardening going on. It just hurts too much. The weeds are epic this year. It might be time to put cardboard down and be done with them.

The one thing I'm doing a lot of is eating. I'm feeling very emotional about the "old-ness" of needing a total hip replacement. And since I'm an emotional eater, I've been chowing down. Candy. Bread. All the stuff I've avoided for years is creeping back in. I'm giving myself until the first of next month to get over it and get down to business.

Because the biggest fact is surgery and recovery will go much better if I'm at a normal-ish weight and in somewhat reasonable physical shape.

I've reached out to a yogi and have some videos to work with. I've only rowed a couple times, probably too much, because it caused a great deal of pain. But I'm going to keep trying it, because I think rowing is a great total-body workout that could be what I need, if I do it moderately. I've been using some very light weight dumbbells on an irregular basis.

So that's what I've been up to. I don't have much else going on in my brain except thinking about having surgery. Or, actually, thinking about recovering from it.

P.S. I've also been spending a LOT of hours preparing for a statewide convention coming up NEXT WEEK. Most of that work is done. What's left is mostly computer work, which takes time, but doesn't hurt. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015


Considering that I'll be 65 next spring, perhaps I am old. But I don't feel old, I don't think old, I don't look old, and I don't act old. So I'm not old, amirite? (See, I even know how to use young-folk slang appropriately!)

Maybe I do look old – grey hair is creeping into my temples and I sport crow's feet wrinkles laugh lines on my face – but I swear I don't feel or think or act old.

I keep up with current music (thanks, Pandora!), although I didn't watch the VMAs. But I don't watch videos much, anyway. That's not an age indictment. That's a preference. I keep an open mind, try to catch myself when I'm judgmental, stay teachable. I think those are all qualities of a younger mind and personality.

By now you've both noticed I haven't mentioned that pesky right hip that's been bothering me.

I might, actually, be old after all.

I watched as the radiology report came up on the monitor in my doctor's office.

Diagnosis: Marked osteoarthritis.

Dr. C turned from the screen and, without even looking at the images, said, "You need a total hip replacement."


Imagine that.

When you look at the X-ray, you can't tell where the ball of the hip ends and the socket begins. They appear to be fused together. [They aren't; that's just how it looks.] And I know they're not fused because I can hear them grinding on each other when I move.

Grinding. That's a word Dr. C used a lot yesterday.

"The reason your hip hurts so much in the evening is because you've been grinding the joint all day."

"Rowing, walking, biking … they all still will cause grinding of the ball and socket."

"You won't cause any more damage by waiting. The grinding action of continued activity will cause pain, but the damage is done."

Honestly? I thought I'd go in, he'd prescribe some physical therapy, maybe an injection, and I'd be on my merry way. Because only old people have hip replacements, AMIRITE?

[Injections provide only temporary relief, 10 to 12 days. And I know there are other conditions that require hip replacements in young people. In fact I know someone who had one when he was in his 30s.]

Bone on bone doesn't heal itself with physical therapy. Treatment: Total hip replacement. I hope to wait until next spring to have it done. Because next spring I'll be 65. Medicare, baby! I'll be old!