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Welcome to Ask Gail – a place to share questions and answers about what matters to us most: family, friends, community, health, peace, books, favorite resources, what feeds our soul… Ask Gail is also where we can create and share very important information like “Gail’s Guide to Going to the Hospital” and “Gail’s Storm Checklist.” Stay tuned for more…

 

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Happy V-Day 2011

Posted By Gail Ostrow on February 14th, 2011

One of every 3 women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.  Visit Eve Ensler’s VDAY site to learn what you can do to stop violence against women and girls.  Attend a V-Day production of  “The Vagina Monologues.”  Donate the money you would spend on Valentine’s Day gifts or dinner to helping stop violence against women and girls wherever it occurs—around the world or right in your neighborhood.

Watch Eve Ensler’s TED talk on happiness here.

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International Literacy Day — September 8th

Posted By Gail Ostrow on August 30th, 2010

What does literacy mean to you? Can you imagine not being able to read your child’s homework or report card? A birthday or valentine card? A bus or train schedule? Driving directions? A prayer? The newspaper?

International Literacy Day focuses attention on worldwide literacy needs. More than 780 million of the world’s adults (nearly two-thirds of whom are women) do not know how to read or write, and between 94 and 115 million children lack access to education.

literacy-day-image

To view more information about the event, click here.

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My hands are now blessed…

Posted By Gail Ostrow on May 4th, 2010

This week is National Nurses Week, and yesterday I attended an event at Norwalk Hospital, created by my friend and dharma sister Meg Burdett. Called “Nourishing the Nurses,” Meg gathered healing arts practitioners to offer chair massage, Reiki, singing bowls, acupressure, yoga instruction, reflection & intention writing, and even a labyrinth—all to remind the nurses to practice self-care.

The most moving part of the day for me was when I stood in front of Carol Bauer and her assistant Elaine Sleath, my hands held in prayer position above a beautiful white shell-shaped bowl. Carol asked me what I do. I said I am a teacher. She then poured warm water over my hands and asked G-d to bless these hands that labor for others and shape young minds and hearts. Her words washed over my heart as the water over my hands.  Her blessing was so intimate and immediate that I felt it flowing from the universe through her into the water and onto me.  And I wept.

Blessing of the Hands

Get out of 1968…

Posted By Gail Ostrow on March 29th, 2010
one-hot-number2

Bahamas June 1968--Hair growing back after chemotherapy.

I have spent a considerable amount of time researching and writing about the events of my life in 1968.  It was a pivotal year for me–a very big “before and after.”  I lost a baby, had cancer, my marriage was not doing well, my son was being taken care of by relatives and friends, and my sister came to live with us.  I was estranged from my mother and fighting with my father.  Then Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered in April and I was distraught.  We lived in Dearborn, a suburb of Detroit, and they celebrated his murder.  Part of my recovery and return to normal life was my decision to go to nursing school.  I was scheduled to take the entrance exam in June, but Robert Kennedy was murdered the night before—my devastation was complete.

My husband then had a business opportunity in Grand Rapids, so we moved.   Shortly after that I had another cancer scare and more surgery and more tests.  I felt betrayed and abandoned by my mother, who I didn’t want to see anyway, and by my husband who could not be faithful but who I chose to stay with.  I wanted another child and I needed an “intact” family to adopt.

I keep looking to make sense of how the events of that year shaped the rest of my life between then and now.  Reading the history of that time period, I see how the country was also in a state of before and after.  It was as if the assassination of President Kennedy had been the worst thing that could happen to us, and then there we were burying Martin and Bobby.  And I was burying my innocence, my sense that the world was a safe place and that the life I was living was safe.  I see now how I was asleep, mindless, living a life that I reacted to rather than created.  But who knew?  I didn’t know that language or practice mindfulness then.

So, here it is 2010.  And my friend Pat Singer says to me “forget 1968 and wake up to who you are now.  And you are beautiful!”

More about that later.

V-Day is coming!

Posted By Gail Ostrow on February 7th, 2010

One of every 3 women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.  Visit Eve Ensler’s VDAY site to learn what you can do to stop violence against women and girls.  Attend a V-Day production of  “The Vagina Monologues.”  Donate the money you would spend on Valentine’s Day gifts or dinner to helping stop violence against women and girls wherever it occurs—around the world or right in your neighborhood.

Watch Eve Ensler’s TED talk on happiness here.

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A mother who made war on the Vietnam War…

Posted By Gail Ostrow on December 28th, 2009

Peg Mullen’s first-born son, Michael, was killed by friendly fire in Vietnam in 1970. From that moment on, she protested the Vietnam War and supported other families whose sons died there or returned damaged beyond repair. She lived long enough to protest both Iraq wars. We are all mothers. Why are we not protesting?  Read the full New York Times article here.

Peg Mullen with newborn Michael

Peg Mullen with newborn Michael

Posted in PEACE, WOMEN'S ISSUES
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The way we die now…

Posted By Gail Ostrow on September 24th, 2009

Here is a voice of reason if we can stop the rhetoric and fear mongering and listen.  Spending less money on often unnecessary and painful procedures in the last six months of life means paying more for hospice aides and palliative care—especially for those who want to be at home rather than in the hospital that can rob our loved ones of dignity and quality of life, and bankrupt our health care system.

Click here to read this short excellent blog post.  If you have aging parents or an ill spouse or friend, get help and begin the conversation.  It’s never too early but it may be too late if you wait.

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Another amazing woman, a change maker, dies…

Posted By Gail Ostrow on August 11th, 2009

Eunice Kennedy Shriver died today at 88.   She was the founder of the Special Olympics and probably the Kennedy who will have had the most positive effect on the world.   Click here to read the New York Times obituary.

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I was away, but not really…

Posted By Gail Ostrow on August 9th, 2009
Harkness State Park June 2009

Harkness State Park


Interestingly enough, I have convinced myself over the years that everyone else in the world is able to relax and do nothing on command.  OK, it’s vacation time, so I am vacating.  I am vacant.  I am at peace.  I am having fun.  I am totally relaxed.  Not me! I have to leave and pay money to be somewhere else—to be away in order to be someone else—to be someone on vacation!

Isn’t this ridiculous?
(more…)

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Natalya Estemirova is dead…

Posted By Gail Ostrow on July 17th, 2009
Natalya Estemirova

Natalya Estemirova

Natalya Esemirova was kidnapped and killed this week in Chechnya.  Click here to read more about this fearless human rights investigator.

Posted in PEACE, WOMEN'S ISSUES
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