My grandfather hates feminism

The Sandy Vagina

Feminism is the radical notion that women  are people. Photo by Flickr user juliejordanscott.

My grandmother is going through chemotherapy for the second time right now. I live three hundred miles away so I try to give her a call at least once a week to check in. I gave her a call last Wednesday and my grandfather answered. He normally just passes the phone right to my grandmother and didn’t bother to talk much to me (which isn’t anything new) but this time he asked how things were going. I was actually quite pleased that he was really taking to me. Granted, he was more interested in how my husband was doing and less so in me… but I take what I can get.

A small part of my answer to “anything new?” was that I will presenting at a conference in April. Immediately after I said it I regretted it. My conservative, religious grandfather is not the…

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Air: Capturing a Woman’s Final Days

Dignity therapy at its finest.

Jess Dewes

On January 30th, 2014, a woman walked into my photography studio carrying a tote bag full of oxygen tanks and jewelry. She smiled at me from under the hose that disappeared into her nostrils and I fell for her instantly.

On film, first meeting, 1/30/14.

A few months prior to the day Julie VonderHaar came to my studio for a portrait, I was invited to be part of a group photography show at a gallery called SOHA in South St. Louis, MO.  I was informed that the theme of the exhibit was simply AIR. Each photographer (8 total) was to interpret the theme however they liked and create something for the show. As a businessperson, exhibiting in shows like this is rarely lucrative, but the artist in me couldn’t resist the opportunity to stretch a bit beyond my work portfolio of baby portraits, corporate head shots, and wedding documentation.

I knew…

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R.I.P, Mom

A touching story of a son’s thoughts on his mother’s last days.

Smoke Signals

One day, I had a call from mom.

It was one of those routine calls she used to make to my wife and I, more as a means of reaching out than because she had some news of import to convey – the telephone line as umbilical cord.

So she would call and ramble on about my eating habits and smoking and how the neighbor was remodeling his home and the dust was settling in thick layers all over our home as a result and about the other neighbor whose daughter, based in the US, was pregnant, and…

I listened patiently to those stream-of-consciousness chronicles of the mundane ticks of her time because I knew she was, in her own way, trying to make up for lost time. Through a torrent of words, she was trying to make up for the grim silences of the past.

So that day, she…

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Eldercare: The Forgotten Feminist Issue

In an age where more women are engaged in the workforce, who will fill the roles that women are leaving? This article raises some important questions.

hoodfeminism

(This was written late last year; I pitched it a few places but received little interest. I’m posting it here because, well, it’s an important conversation.)

One of my favorite pictures of my mom. Mom, back in the day.

As I write this my mother is fast asleep in a nursing home, her third stint in 15 months. It is a heartbreaking thing, watching your parent slowly succumb to her mortality. You try to prepare yourself for the call you’ll get in the middle of the night from a nurse reluctant to give you the news you’ve been dreading for years. But no amount of preparation will ready you for that call. No amount of alcohol will lessen the pain. Even writing about it is hard because it forces you to deal with an absolute, inescapable truth. She is dying, and you are powerless to stop it.

The woman I now visit several times a week is not…

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