There is a special place in Hell…

for women who do not help other women.

Says Madeleine Albright and my mother-in-law…from time to time…or, ya’know, all the time.

This quote has been at the front of my mind recently…maybe as a result of #MeToo…or maybe just because as a woman, it should be.

Just yesterday I thought about it as I was leaving our gym…yes, Chickens, we have a gym on campus and if you haven’t checked it out…you are missing out…because it is becoming ‘the’ place to be. Every time I head over for an after-work-workout, we (women) are ‘reppin’ in the gym and it always makes me so satisfied in some way.

Regardless of age, body type or shape, clothes, musical preferences (not-so-subtle hint, you-totally-know-who-you-are Pat Benatar) …it’s just pickin’ up good juju as a place where we Chicks (as in the ‘Chicken’ sense of the word not the MadMen ‘chics’ sense of the word) are heading to feel good and strong and totally supportive and nonjudgemental…and not in a “Heeeey gurrl, let’s get a pedi…” kind of cliche…but in a real I see you kind of way…

I’ve never been one for sentiment, or even girl-friends for that matter, but I am coming to a greater appreciation of what it means to be a woman in a world created by and for men.

What does this have to do w/Northern? Um. Everything. If you’re a woman. And we are the bulk of the WVNCC community…and academic communities nationwide. In this vane, let’s play a game…fact or fiction. Below I’ve listed 10 statements. Your task is to identify which is historical fact and which is fiction. Ready? Yes-you are.

  • Women were not permitted to prosecute husbands for rape.
  • Women couldn’t open bank accounts in their own names until 1975.
  • In the 1970s women could be refused an alcoholic beverage if unaccompanied.
  • Today, women earn 80 cents to every dollar earned by men.
  • School textbooks have instructed girls on “How to Be a Good Wife” by “Hav[ing] dinner ready: Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal — on time. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.*2. Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. His boring day may need a lift.” AND…
    “Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.”
  • Women in labor were expected to serve ‘groaning cakes’ to guests. Let me say that again- Women. In labor. Were expected to serve cake.
  • Roberta Gibb was the 1st woman to run the Boston Marathon in 1966 and because women weren’t “allowed” to enter the race until 1972, she received no official credit for doing so.
  • A 2015 study of advertising found “just 3% of women were portrayed as aspirational or in leadership positions; Only 0.03% of women were portrayed as funny; Only 1% of women were portrayed as heroes or problem solvers”
  • A 2017 study found that girls begin to believe they are intellectually inferior to boys at the age of six. (Interesting to note that being “nice” becomes more important to girls at this age than being “smart.”)
  • A 2016 study found that “when women don’t feel good about the way they look, nine out of 10 women and eight out of 10 girls will opt out of important life activities.

Okay – so it isn’t much of a game – these are all fact.

So to my sisters, though we may have markedly different stories and experiences, our gender is a narrative we share. I recognize, now, that each of us has to be part of shaping the next chapter and the next…adding to the evolutionary work of so many women who came before.

If it is to be a work of significance, it can’t be written by one or two individuals…

So…to my Northern ‘Chicks’ (see above)↑…if you haven’t yet visited the gym for your personal health and wellness, I’ll see you there…where the ceiling is not made of glass.

Dry Shampoo…whaaaaaaaat???

I’ve heard it called a miracle, a life-saver, a game-changer…today, I used dry shampoo for the first time. I mean, is there no end to the wonders of our world, Chickens? Consider me woke.

Related image

But we just never know, do we, what event – what disregarded detail of our day – may come back around, in some way, to stay.

Speaking of game-changing events, we’ve got one lined up for you tomorrow. But first…a word about transformative experiences↓

Man has been creating since prehistoric times…lest you buy into the fallacy that art is a feminine domain. If Captain Cave Man was compelled by instinct to etch gods and beasts on cave walls…don’t think for a minute that art isn’t in our collective, unisexual blood.

Image result for cave painting
courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine

ANNNDDD…lest you think we are absent art here at Northern…je vous prie de différer, mon ami artiste! Any job can become a career when performed with artistry. Not to mention the actual craft involved in welding, cooking, manufacturing…

The employment of art and creativity in work and life has been a game-changer for me and science now asserts it is, indeed, a life-saver for many:

In 2010, a review of existing literature on the benefits of the arts by Stuckey and Noble considered more than 100 studies, concluding that creative expression has a powerful impact on health and well-being … Most of these studies concur that participation and/or engagement in the arts have a variety of outcomes including a decrease in depressive symptoms, an increase in positive emotions, reduction in stress responses, and, in some cases, even improvements in immune system functioning…

As of 2015, additional studies indicate that creative self-expression and exposure to the arts have wide-ranging effects…not only cognitive and psychosocial health but also physical conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, various forms of dementia and cancer. One of the most compelling studies was recently conducted by the Mayo Clinic and proposed that people who engage in art activities in middle and old age may delay cognitive decline in very old age.

*Psychology Today, 2015

Related image
courtesy of Artyfactory

There you have it, Chickens. Art and creativity are not elitist endeavors…rise up with me, Chickens, I will gladly lead the populist charge to bring art back to the people, to its roots, to the streets, alleys, bars, and basements where it has so often flourished…

So…I know you totally stopped reading after dry shampoo…but the point (finally) of my uprising is to say, take time tomorrow to release your inner cave (wo)man:

Art Therapy LL

Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares

about doing it right or better.

~John Updike

Do we look like ears to you?

Image result for all ears

Well looks can be deceiving…because we are ears…we are all ears…big, beautiful auricle-canal-tympanic membranes, Chickens.

I mean if we could bug the place, ya’know, listen-in on the innocent, everyday confabulations of righteous, groovy Chickens like you…kind of how ‘big-brother’ keeps tabs on all of us through our cell-phones and Google search history…

Image result for cuckoo for cocoa puffsWait. What?!? No, I mean…I’m totally not a cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs conspiracy theorist or anything…but we are uber-interested in everything you say, Chickens! I mean, it’s kind of like a side-hustle we’re runnin’…

Because we are totally out to get you…get you graduated, get you a job, get your bags packed for a trip on the U.S.S. Happiness & Success.

And your experiences and perceptions are what help us set that ship a sail; our main gig is your success. So anything you can feed-back that may help us do better by you…well we are tuned-in.

Hoisting the sail each semester, I try to throw out some of the ‘feed’ gathered from our FYS students…so without further blather…(reprinted exactly):



feed 1

feed 2

feed 3

feed 4

feed 5

feed 6

feed 7

There you have it.

When students talk, Northern listens.

Cock-a-Doodle-Doo, the Colonel’s Coming for You…

That’s right, Chickens, Halloween is upon us. The day each year when it’s fun to be afraid because our fears are fantasies.

My son gave me the ‘REALLY?!?!’ face when I asked him to consider staying home with his family for the holiday.

Family??Holiday???? (cue→face)

But we need to, right? Use every opportunity for community – at home, at work, at school. Day-to-day can be scary. Life can be a real Frankenstein. So let’s claim Halloween as a day to have fun with some fear-fiction, high-fructose-corn-syrup-induced flights of fancy, and good ole’-fashioned playin’ make-believe.

Northern is a spirited community and All Hallow’s Eve festivities abound…be sure to take a few minutes out of your monster-schedule to tune-in and walkabout…it’s hard to know what specters may be seen!


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My Halloween treat (trick?) for you (in addition to the awesome Door Prizes we’re giving away in the ASC today)...a poem (no – it isn’t Poe).

All Souls


A few of us—Hillary Clinton, Vlad Dracula, Oprah Winfrey, and Trotsky—peer through the kitchen window at a raccoon perched outside on a picnic table where it picks
over chips, veggies, olives, and a chunk of pâte. Behind us others crowd the hallway, many more dance in the living room. Trotsky fusses with the bloody screwdriver puttied to her forehead.
Hillary Clinton, whose voice is the rumble of a bowling ball, whose hands are hairy to the third knuckle, lifts his rubber chin to announce, “What a perfect mask it has!” While the Count
whistling through his plastic fangs says, “Oh,
and a nose like a chef.” Then one by one
the other masks join in: “Tail of a gambler,”
“a swashbuckler’s hips,” “feet of a cat burglar.”
Trotsky scratches herself beneath her skirt
and Hillary, whose lederhosen are so tight they form a codpiece,
wraps his legs around Trotsky’s leg and humps like a dog.
Dracula and Oprah, the married hosts, hold hands
and then let go. Meanwhile the raccoon squats on
the gherkins, extracts pimentos from olives, and sniffs
abandoned cups of beer. A ghoul in the living room
turns the music up and the house becomes a drum.
The windows buzz. “Who do you love? Who do you love?”
the singer sings. Our feathered arms, our stockinged legs.
The intricate paws, the filleting tongue.
We love what we are; we love what we’ve become.

So what is it you want from us, anyway??

Duh.Image result for duh

It’s easy to feel like that’s an on-point response to the “Why go to college?” question.

But Chickens, one thing I’ve learned is that it’s easy to make the mistake of assuming. Another thing I’ve learned is that people, Chickens, well people are crazy complex and interesting organisms. Just when I think I’ve passed the test on human beings…

Image result for failed test
Oh yeah…

Don’t know about you, but I’m so glad to be a Chicken.

Image result for chicken feetPeople, I mean, people have sooo (w/3 o’s) many different reasons and motivations… soooo (w/4 o’s) many different ways of thinking about life. So (just 1) it’s totally good for people to put their fingers on exactly what they’re doing and why. And totally good to recognize that others may have their fingers in totally different places.

College, for instance. I mean…we Chickens have that in common with people, right? So check out this list of reasons people go to college (courtesy of Dr. Marsha Fralick’s book College and Career Success) and see if you can put your fingers – or feathers or hocks – on why it is you’re here:

Reasons List

It’s good for us, Chickens, to have our claws in deep to a few of these reasons because when the going gets tough & temptation’s easy……(yep, that’s 6 dots/2 ellipses=micdrop) our reasons are our wings.

Image result for chicken feetImage result for chicken feetImage result for chicken feet

courtesy of Jazzie Menagerie