A Love Letter to the Farm Women’s Market

Dear Montgomery Farm Women’s Market,

It was, without question, a standalone highlight of visiting Bethesda, to step inside your beautiful doorway and peruse the wares of the many women vendors of your market.

During an era where the rights of women feel as though they’re being slowly stripped away, it is a wonder to experience the comfort of knowing that women such as those of your co-operative market have long been the workers, the providers, and the community builders.

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Established in 1932, by farmers’ wives, your market has been the destination for preserves, baked goods, produce and more for many generations now. While the offices rise from the pavement that surrounds you, I feel relieved to know that so many patrons value the home-grown goods over the shiny corporate alternatives, that are much easier to come across, albeit far less soul-satisfying.

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In a fun moment of serendipity, it was during my first visit to the market that I was also able to taste my first Girl Scout cookie. As a Canadian and former Girl Guide myself, of course I had to support the young female entrepreneurs in their cookie-selling! Plus, I was anxious to try a few of the new-to-me flavours offered by the American contingent. (I went with the Caramel deLites and I was NOT disappointed.) Plus, it just felt appropriate to make a purchase from the next generation of women-in-business (cookies or otherwise).

IMG_7141I have learned recently that the ongoing development of downtown Bethesda has driven up the rent of the market space significantly. It breaks my heart to think of another faceless corporation bulldozing in to sell discounted fast fashion or some other single-use plastic-esque business.

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While I may have a new, much closer, farmer’s market to visit, I will cross my fingers and toes that the community will continue to support the Montgomery Farm Women’s Market. Bethesda and all of Maryland will be better with this ongoing piece of history that supports women and the wonderful ways they have always contributed to the local economy.

xoxo Krista

Design

A Love Letter to Snow Days

Dear Snow Days,

I’ll admit it, I once took you for granted.

When you grow up with at least a couple of the magical, unexpected days off, it’s easy to assume that the trend will continue. I remember, when I moved to Thunder Bay in high school, that we were sent home less often because it was too snowy than because it was just too cold. (Yes, that’s correct. When it’s so cold even the school board deems it better to stay warm and indoors.)

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The eve of a snow day in Halifax.

As a professional (and adult) there was no decline in the pure delight of receiving the notification that business days were cancelled. Instead of mornings with my ear glued to the radio, I would make sure my phone was next to the bed with the alerts system activated so that I would know right away if I could count on a few extra minutes beneath the covers the next morning.

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A snowy day in Baltimore. 

Even living in Baltimore afforded more snow days than we had expected — although, yes, the criteria for a cancellation was significantly lower. If there was enough snow that required sweeping (yes, sweeping, not shovelling) from our front stoop, then a snow day was imminent.

Being both self-employed and working remotely with clients (possibly in much warmer regions), brings with it a loss of that hopeful, enchanted announcement. I miss the relief of the broadcast that declared, “Go ahead and cozy up for some pancakes folks. All that’s expected of you today is to stay warm and *maybe* shovel the driveway.”

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Blowing snow in Cape Breton.

Perhaps one day I’ll find something that bears an equivalent source of joy but, until then, don’t go changing. While some people spend their winters wishing away the snow, I only wish for more.

xoxo

Design

 

A Love Letter to the Women who Swim

Dear Women who Swim,

I’ve spent so much of my life in a pool or on its deck. Some of my earliest memories are of walking though the open-concept showers on my way to lessons or practice or camp. Hearing the happy chatter of women post-swim in this communal, safe environment. Some in their suits, but many not, I think it was seeing so many of you pragmatically going about your exercise, then showering and dressing for the day, that encouraged me to be comfortable in my body.

I will always appreciate the freedom of being able to change without judgement, next to the much younger and much older women. Of course, there are the exceptions who favour modesty…but…I think it’s something special to a women’s pool change room that doesn’t translate to every other gym or fitness locker room. I’m so grateful to have been surrounded by the many shapes and sizes, some hairy, some dangly, all human. The women who swim.

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I also love our shared ability to change entirely without showing an ounce of skin — if we so choose. At the peak of my competitive days I could strip into or out of a my swimsuit in a minute flat, somehow without removing any other item of clothing. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about.

In my teenage years I watched from the deck as you swam laps after the children had finished their lessons, or pre-dawn before the school bells started to ring. So many of you so consistent in your routine, I could predict your arrival, your strokes, and your departure down to the minute.

When I first started teaching Aquafit, I overheard a few of you complaining that I wasn’t as good as the usual instructor (the woman who had been teaching for a decade or two). You didn’t see me cry for a minute as I retrieved the pool noodles and flotation belts for that workout but I took your words to heart. I was only 16 or 17 and, after all, I had bounced with you so many days of the week as a participant in the class. As I invested my weekends in the training course, I was excited to share some new moves for targeting different muscle groups. I had been writing down every action with acute attention to detail — pairing moves with songs to the  precise measure so that each swivel or step matched the accompanying music. So many of you gave me good feedback those beginning weeks though. I try to hold onto that…but, like so many instances of criticism, it pulls me immediately back to that moment of feeling inadequate and undeserving.

I’m glad I now enjoy my time in the pool as only a participant — whether it be in an aquafit class or just swimming lengths. I can take in the comfort of the (usually over) chlorinated water and not have to worry about keeping everyone else happy or challenged or safe. It’s just time for me. Just time for fun.

I love to hear you discussing the days when you were devoted to training or just practicing your flip turns. I was delighted to watch your eye-rolls when you informed me that the sauna is “co-ed.” (Can you imagine?)

I can’t wait to spend another few dozens of years swimming in your company.

xoxo

Design