Gloria Steinem came to town this weekend. She is awesome. Her advocacy for equality among all genders, races and socioeconomic classes is inspiring. She is 85 years old, brilliant, calm and quick-witted. When she greeted the audience at Nashville's War Memorial Auditorium, only to realize that her microphone wasn't working, she quipped without skipping a … Continue reading Ms. Steinem and the Cable Girl
What a delight it was to walk into the Building Construction Technology classroom at Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Nashville -- my alma mater where I spent 16 months with a herd of men -- to find the workshop filled with girls! Organized and led by the women of Turner Construction Company, the inaugural … Continue reading Introducing Girls Who Build!
Last summer in construction class, I built a tiny (really tiny) house to serve as a neighborhood library. I installed it in the perennial border at the end of my driveway, where at any given moment it holds an assortment of fiction and nonfiction, young adult novels, doggie poop bags for neighborhood canines, and a … Continue reading Mint to Share
Thursday is Chicken Day in Building Construction Technology class at Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Nashville. We used to drive to Publix to grab buckets of fried drumsticks and eat in the classroom among the sawdust. Since then, the tradition has evolved into a field trip to a nearby chicken shack. Now that I've graduated, one of the … Continue reading Ain’t Nobody Here But Us, Eating Chicken
When I was a Girl Scout selling cookies door-to-door, I was jealous of the Cub Scouts in my class, always verbally jousting about their Pinewood Derby strategies. How many times did I have to listen to those smug boys talk about weights, decals and axle lubricants, while I spent my winter weekends hawking Tagalongs on … Continue reading Look at That GS Car Go!
Look what just arrived in the mail: my diploma in General Construction! I could not be more grateful to my unflappable instructor, Kenton Pleger, or to the whole team at Tennessee College of Applied Technology Nashville, for welcoming a middle-aged mom with no relevant experience into the school's new class in Building Construction Technology. (Nor … Continue reading Big News in the Mailbox
Was I the only person watching Madam Secretary last night who thought the episode might have been brought to us by SkillsUSA? Because when Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord's water pipes burst in her D.C. brownstone, Earl the Plumber was talking more sense than the Commander-in-Chief. His commonsense and seasonally appropriate monologue about strong foundations … Continue reading Madam Secretary has Plumbing Problems, Too
Let me tell you about my new bottle opener. It's made with the same technology found in much contemporary plumbing—namely PEX tubing. Short for Cross-Link Polyethylene, PEX tubing is increasingly used in place of copper and other metal piping, because the plastic material is easier and more flexible to install. Rather than soldering or threading … Continue reading Cheers to Plumbing with PEX
A few months ago, my talented cabinetmaker classmate left the Building Construction Technology classroom at Tennessee College of Applied Technology Nashville for a work-study program at 1220 Exhibits. Now, instead of coming to class, he gets school credit while getting paid to learn on the job. I recently visited my classmate at work in the … Continue reading Skills On Display: A Visit to 1220 Exhibits
This week, my Building Construction Technology classmate Maher Farag heads to Louisville, Kentucky, to compete in the 53rd annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. Maher is a brilliant carpenter, who never ceases to dazzle our class at Tennessee College of Applied Technology Nashville with his cabinetmaking skills. He designs complex furniture in his head, without sketches; … Continue reading Meet Our SkillsUSA Team: Maher Farag