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Free Home and Garden Show tickets for Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog doug and fansIt's fun to meet other gardeners at the Duquesne Light Home and Garden Show.

It's the official start to the gardening season as the Duquesne Light Home and Garden Show continues at the Convention Center. I'll be there today from 4-6 p.m. giving a presentation on gardening. I'll be there the same time on Friday and then on Saturday 10-12noon. The idea is, you get the free tickets and come see me speak, then you can enjoy the rest of the show. I'm on the second floor at the P-G Showcase Stage near the river side between aisles 2500 and 2600.

I'll also be giving away packets of 'Limbaugh Legacy Potato Top' tomato seeds and other seeds. The tomato is  a favorite around our area and the world. I ask people to grow out the seeds and send some back to me at the end of the season. Here's the full story about the wonderful Pittsburgh Heirloom Tomato.

Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like some tickets.

Hope to see you there.

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Snow crocus emerge bringing first color to the garden

Written by Doug Oster on .

As soft, warm rain fell, the unmistakable tight blue buds of the snow crocus pushed fall leaves aside beckoning spring.

The garden is shrouded in fog as temperatures slowly begin to fall. Gardeners were teased by one warm, sunny day, but the appearance of these tiny flowers confirms what we already know; winter is fading away. It's not going without a fight, but the arrival of snow crocus can do nothing but put a smile on your face and warm your heart.

The flowers bring a little color now, but are guarding their spectacular deep blue blossoms and orange anthers, waiting for the right time to unfurl. When they do, the bees will gorge on their first taste of pollen for the year.

On hands and knees, this gardener observed the little particles of dirt the buds brought with them as they reached towards the sun. The tip of one flower hinted at the color which was yet to come.

blog snow crocus 031214I used to be surprised by the arrival of snow crocus. Now I wait patiently to see the tight buds unfurl. Photos by Doug Oster

blog snow crocus tight 031214The flowers, covered with spring rain bring with them a little garden soil as they emerge.

blog snow crocus whats to comeThe tip of this blossom hints at what is to come for these beautiful flowers.

 

 

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Free tickets to Home and Garden Show today and free seeds too with Doug

Written by Doug Oster on .

 

blog fred limbaugh 37The late Fred Limbaugh stands over seedlings of his beloved 'Potato Top' tomato. Photo by Doug Oster

It's the official start to the gardening season as the Duquesne Light Home and Garden Show continues at the Convention Center. I'll be there today from 4-6 p.m. giving a presentation on gardening.

I'll also be giving away packets of 'Limbaugh Legacy Potato Top' tomato seeds and other seeds. The tomato is  a favorite around our area and the world. I ask people to grow out the seeds and send some back to me at the end of the season. Here's the full story about the wonderful Pittsburgh Heirloom Tomato.

Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like some tickets.

Hope to see you there.

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
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Part 2: Q & A with the “Director of Madame Presidenta: Why Not U.S.?”

Written by Natalie Bencivenga on .

 

After the film premiere “Madame Presidenta: Why not U.S.?” on March 8 at the Carnegie Museum of Art, I sat down with its director and producer Heather Arnet, CEO of the Women and Girls Foundation in Southwestern Pa. As was promised in my yesterday’s blog post, I am sharing our conversation below.

 

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Natalie Bencivenga: Why Brazil? This was a question asked by the audience, and I’d like you to explore it further.

 

Heather Arnet: I thought it was interesting once I started to think about how Chile, Argentina and Brazil had all elected female heads of state before us. But once I started researching it, I was blown away by the history of this country that I knew very little about. They resemble the United States in that they are a huge country, incredibly diverse, have the 6th largest world economy, and have some bad history there, like we do.  Presidenta Dilma Vana Rousseff was someone that I could admire, especially after learning her story.

 

I was so shocked by how casually the word “feminism” was used in the film by Brazilians. Why do you think it is considered a “dirty word” here in the States?

 

I was so struck by that as well when I visited Brazil! I remember being at the airport in Brazil and a woman and her daughter started to talk to me about what I was doing. The mother used the word feminist to describe herself, and did so casually, without apology. That doesn’t happen here. It wasn’t an accident as to why the word became demonized, but we are in a moment of change. Cate Blanchett, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Beyonce and Meryl Streep have all recently talked openly about equal rights. We don’t have to apologize or ask permission for that.

 

The film revealed that birth control can be easily obtained over the counter in Brazil. That struck me as bizarre, considering Brazil is an officially Catholic nation. What were your thoughts on that?

 

Yes, I found that to be interesting as well. Here I was in a conservative, Catholic nation, and yet they are advancing all of these reproductive freedoms, which are intricately tied to economic stability and human rights. When I would ask Brazilians about it, they would say, “What does one have to do with the other?” And yet, politicians here at home don’t make that connection. When the majority of people living in poverty here at home are single-parent, female-headed households, we have to make note that economic development is tied to the ability of women to have control over their health and bodies.

 

Many critics would say that the feminist movement is dead here in the States because it is too fragmented. But, it seemed in the film that women from every background were able to come together (and with men, too!) for social change.

 

I think one thing that seems to be bringing people together is the idea of raising the minimum wage. Mostly, women work minimum wage jobs, and so this is something that could unify. In the past, reproductive health has been used to divide, but the more we talk about it as an issue every woman and every family faces, the more we can depoliticize it.

 

What did you learn from making this film?

 

I was inspired by how women became actively involved, how they didn’t ask for permission. They didn’t want to integrate into the system, they chose to change the system instead. As women, we must support one another. This will help us move forward politically and economically, as well as improve our lives and the lives of our families.

 

“Madame Presidenta: Why Not the U.S.?” premieres March 29, 2014 on WQED.

 

Set your DVRs, believe me you DON’T  want to miss it!

 

Follow @HeatherArnet and @WGFPA on Twitter

 

 

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Film Premiere of “Madame Presidenta: Why Not U.S.?” Drew Sold-Out Crowd at Carnegie Museum of Art

Written by Natalie Bencivenga on .

 

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When I first heard that Heather Arnet, the CEO of the Women and Girls Foundation (WGF) of Southwestern Pa., had produced, written and directed a documentary called “Madame Presidenta: Why Not U.S.?” about why the U.S. has yet to elect a female president, I was intrigued. But, when I realized she had traveled to Brazil to seek answers to this question, I was confused. What could we, the people of the United States, possibly learn from Brazil?

Well, as it turns out, a lot.

Ms. Arnet’s quest for answers began after her grandmother and activist, Vivan Goldstein, asked a burning question a propos Brazil electing their first female president Dilma Vana Rousseff in 2011: “How the hell did they do it?” Ms. Arnet together with WGF partners ELAS: Women’s Social Investment Fund in Rio de Janeiro committed to find the answers and make the film about it. Ms. Arnet would go on to interview politicians, activists, business owners and mothers both here at home and abroad, using translators and coming back with 36 hours of footage.

 

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The film premiere of her incredible journey to Brazil and back took place so fittingly on Saturday, March 8, the International Women’s Day, at the Carnegie Museum of Art to a sold-out crowd. The audience’s reactions were much like my own after witnessing the eye-opening film: anger, excitement, frustration and inspiration were only a few of the emotions experienced in the theatre.

After the film, Ms. Arnet sat on stage for a Q&A with Elizabeth Mulenga, an 18-year-old member of WGF, who is interested in running for political office later on after gaining experience and skills at the workshops that the WGF offers. The audience asked a wide variety of questions ranging from “Why is the United States backtracking as a political community?” “How does the film connect to people in Southwestern Pa?” “Where do you think women’s rights will be in the future?” “Why Brazil?”

But my favorite question came from Ms. Arnet’s young son, Travis, a self-proclaimed feminist who asked, “But mom, what do you REALLY think is the reason we haven’t elected a woman president yet?”

Ms. Arnet eloquently responded:

“I think it’s our system. We’ve paid too little attention to the important things. And while some would say, ‘The media sexualizes women,’ I saw plenty of pictures of bikini-clad women in Brazil! It’s deeper than that. As shown in the film, Brazilians treat voting as a mandatory obligation, not a privilege. Change is happening in America, though. It happens when we decide that it’s time.”

During the dessert reception following the film, I was able to sit down and talk with Ms. Arnet (in between filmgoers asking for photos and applauding her work) about what this film means to her and to all of us.


Check out my Q & A with Ms. Arnet in tomorrow’s blog!

 

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To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.