27 Jan
2016

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29 Days of Loving Winter 2016

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on January 27, 2016   comments 0

In 2014, I admitted that February is a really brutal winter month for me.  Long, dark commutes and cold cold weather start to wear me down at this point in the winter.  Instead of succumbing to the SADness, I challenged myself to write 28 things in 28 days about what keeps me in Minnesota in the winter.  And you know what?  At the end of the month, I still had things to love!

#lovemnwinter 2014 posts

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In 2015, the Grease Rag family participated in a beautiful project- #lovemnwinter became a group project! We all spent our February being inspired by each other, and embracing this snowglobe wonderland we bike, walk, and ski through.

#lovemnwinter 2015 posts

This year, we're trying it again!  And because it is a leap year, there will be a bonus 29th day.  Hooray!  Together, we will inspire a positive mental attitude in us all, while doing what we do best at Grease Rag- Elevating and celebrating WTF voices.  Hear us!  We are here!

Some posts will be written by me, some short, some long, some with pictures, some 140 characters or less. I'm so excited to read about the things people love about our most infamous season!

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#lovemnwinter 2016 posts

  1. Holly loves ten things that only winter brings
  2. Low loves hidden views revealed
  3. JJ loves early mornings
  4. Judy loves cranking
  5. Dana loves walking in the winter
  6. Daphne loves being able to throw snowballs
  7. Heidi loves lights
  8. Anneka loves winter in photos
  9. Rachel loves squeeky snow
  10. Maggie loves trying new things
  11. Michelle loves working up to showing up for it
  12. Monica loves Jack
  13. Kadence loves winter
  14. Cali loves work and when you run a bike shop there is a never ending supply!
  15. Kat loves first tracks
  16. Buzo loves winter-warmer soundtrack
  17. Anna loves messing up
  18. Emily loves #trackiscoming
  19. Lisa loves gear and skill sharing
  20. Josephine loves making snowgirls
  21. Leap day!
  22. Lee loves knowing how to ride with ice
  23. Amber loves these Lucky Stars
  24. Mariah loves Minnehaha Dog Park
  25. Dakota loves #noexpectations
  26. Lindsey loves sweater weather
  27. Lauren loves MN winter highlights
  28. Ana loves the plants
  29. Stephanie loves Ulu's joy

Want to play along?

Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls, or check out #lovemnwinter posts from the past.

15 Dec
2015

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Kitty Check-up

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on December 15, 2015   comments 0

It has been awhile since I wrote about transporting my most precious cargo, my kitties, to the vet!

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These snuggle lumps need their vaccinations!

I don't have a car.  When my cats have needed to go to the vet, I have walked with them, bussed with them, and had someone drive us.  All of these options were traumatic in their own way.  One really cold winter's day I decided to try biking them the few blocks to their vet, and it was pretty awesome.

Since then I've moved a short distance and put them on my cargo bike, biked to the vet many times over the years, and it is a lot less stressful for us both.

They are my furry little buddies.  They trust me and I can pick them up and put them in their carrier without too much struggle.  They might not like it crammed in a box together, but they don't loose their chill.

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I wake up every morning to this face and tuna breath purrs

After they are secured in the Meow Box, I load them into the trailer and we go for a 3 mile ride.

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They mostly don't complain, unless the road is really bumpy or we are stopped for too long.  (I know, I know, kitties... me too.)  I can go about 9 mph, but I slow down to 6 or 7 mph when it is bumpy to make the ride less stressful for them.

 

When we get to the vet they don't cry, they just like to take a moment to settle in, and then start exploring.

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People always look and stare, because we are super interesting and they want to get to know us.

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Obviously. Because this is totally normal.

16 Oct
2015

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Why do/don't you use pronouns in introductions?

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on October 16, 2015   comments 0

Using pronouns in introductions

I've written about pronouns here before.  Specifically 5 Whys and 5 Hows for using pronouns, and a guide to how Grease Rag uses pronouns in our spaces.

To explore a different facet of this topic, I asked some professionals I work with, 

"Why or why don't you use pronoun introductions in your meetings?"

Some people used them every time, and felt very comfortable with the practice. Some people needed more information about how to explain that in a different language, or how to answer questions that might come up, or how to deal with people not respecting the process, e.g. "I don't care what you call me! I never think about gender identity so you can call me 'mud' if it makes you happy!" #cisprivilege Another person said they just don't think about it, and honestly, would never ask/offer in a professional setting.

Let's define some terms

PRONOUNS

That's a fancy college-word. Really, it means, "How do you like to be referred to?" As she? As he? As they? (And there are others, too! And it's okay if you don't feel comfortable sharing that with me.) Why is it important? Because we all experience gender in different ways, and using someone's self-identified pronouns is a great way to honor their experience and identity. 

If you need a primer on "gender," check out the Genderbread person.

"Cis"

Short for "cis gender," and refers to folks who identify with the gender they were given due to their genital arrangement. Born with a "female" genital arrangement? You were probably assigned "girl/woman." If you identify as such, you are a cis woman!

Cis-privilege

If you are a cis gender person, you have cis-privilege!  Not sure what that looks like?  Check out this privilege checklist.

Start this conversation with people around you 

I am so happy I started this conversation! I was able to offer up some thoughts and experiences to help people get more comfortable with the practice of using pronouns. I encourage you to start this conversation with the people in your life.  I recognize that everything I write about gender and identity are my OPINIONS.  They are not univeral truths. Like all things related to identity, there are a lot of ways to navigate, and everyone has different comfort levels and preferences. Communication is your best compass.

Pronouns are "unprofessional" 

But let's take a moment to think about what it means to hear, "I will not discuss pronouns in a professional setting." Hearing this reminded me that, for some people, there is no place for transgender people (in the broadest sense, including genderfluid, agender, and other identities) in professional settings. Basically, your non-cis gender identity is "unprofessional."

"Professional" is a code for a classist, masculine, male world. A place where there is a strict/expensive dress code, women are expected to wear makeup and look a certain way and can be called a "bitch" for behavior which might cause a man to be lauded as a "strong leader." A place where transgender people are not considered. This is not news to me. But we can do better by contributing to spaces which honor trans identity.

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15 Oct
2015

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QBP Bike Mechanic Scholarship for Women

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on October 15, 2015   comments 2

Opportunity for "woman-identified" Grease Rag'rs

QBP, local distributor of bikes and bike parts, is doing a second round of scholarships for women to attend a professional training/certification program for bike mechanics.  There are some concerns and questions that we have, which are included at the bottom of this post.

There are 16 scholarships, deadline is October 31st

APPLY HERE

One of the perks of being a Grease Rag volunteer is that we will write recommendation letters and help you with these types of opportunities!  If you are considering applying, know that we have offers to proofread and strengthen your application.  (We do need time so don't wait until the last minute!)

About the Scholarship

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From their website

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14 Oct
2015

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Boycott MOA: #BlackLivesMatter

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on October 14, 2015   comments 0

#BlackLivesMatter

#BlackLivesMatter is a movement started by three black queer women, in response to black people being murdered by police.  Please read this Herstory.

When you design an event / campaign / et cetera based on the work of queer Black women, don’t invite them to participate in shaping it, but ask them to provide materials and ideas for next steps for said event, that is racism in practice. It’s also hetero-patriarchal. Straight men, unintentionally or intentionally, have taken the work of queer Black women and erased our contributions. Perhaps if we were the charismatic Black men many are rallying around these days, it would have been a different story, but being Black queer women in this society (and apparently within these movements) tends to equal invisibility and non-relevancy.

We completely expect those who benefit directly and improperly from White supremacy to try and erase our existence. We fight that every day. But when it happens amongst our allies, we are baffled, we are saddened, and we are enraged. And it’s time to have the political conversation about why that’s not okay.

We are grateful to our allies who have stepped up to the call that Black lives matter, and taken it as an opportunity to not just stand in solidaritywith us, but to investigate the ways in which anti-Black racism is perpetuated in their own communities. We are also grateful to those allies who were willing to engage in critical dialogue with us about this unfortunate and problematic dynamic.

Grease Rag focuses our energy on safer spaces that include trans and femme folks using bikes, honoring and educating around gender, and increasing access to transportation, as well as fostering a positive and uplifting community. #BlackLivesMatter directly relates to Grease Rag and this work because oppression reaches down and disrupts all of the pieces of our identities. We are all connected in this struggle.

Grease Rag was recently asked to send volunteers to a Free Bikes 4 Kidz event at the Mall of America, where Black Lives Matter protesters have been used as an "example" for anyone wishing to exercise their right to assemble and freedom of speech in a monument to capitalism. (Initially, MOA had been seeking restitution for "profits lost" during the protest, sending the message that profits>black lives.) Until charges are dropped, BLM has called for a protest of the Mall.

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