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TEN THINGS ABOUT WINTER: FINDING THE GOOD AND PRAISING IT

Winter tonic. On a Meyer lemon and elderflower hot drink binge. Ice skating cures my winter weary head, but does nothing for my hat hair. XoS

1.28.13

I am setting about this list as snow blurs my view of the street from my studio, Yoyo Ma plays quietly in this still chilly room and tears, loosened by my elderflower and hot lemon drink perhaps, gather and spill for no reason other than, it is Monday and after a particularly full weekend, I am catching my breath and writing. Like a tapped tree, I pause and tears flow.

1. Winter- oh I will find the good and praise it, despite the cracked skin on my forefingers, my sore shoulder from something I did last week, the salt stained mudroom floor, the slippery roadways and this ridiculously bad hat hair I have. Winter is saved today because I went ice skating earlier. I love ice-skating. I am terrified to step out on the ice sometimes, even though I know it is six inches thick and can easily hold my weight. There is a thrill and a shudder of terror until I push off. Then, skating is heaven.

On the Lake by Suzi Banks Baum

2. Remember my ‘cave call of winter’? That cave call is getting louder and louder despite the passing days. Okay by me. I love the snow, I love the slowed down days, I love being home.

But I am dreaming of Costa Rica.

Suzi in Costa Rica

3. It takes not one bit of effort to love my Powder Keg Session writers. We met yesterday and there were some significant revelations and amazing doodles. Mostly, we loved being together. The Powder Keg Sessions will resume in April- one Sunday a month for three hours of writing and creativity. I am extremely fortunate to get to gather warmth in a circle of women and write.

#doodleaday2013 Sunday night #doodle xoS

4. The Full Moon is called the Wolf Moon this month and if you live where the sky is clear, unlike the Berkshires which promise snow then rain (sigh), the moon will be still round tonight.

Full Moon over St. Peter's in GB by Suzi Banks Baum

5. I love going to the greenhouse just to smell the green. I bought a hyacinth, even though I know it will bloom and likely dry out and be compost before spring comes, but for the vivid purple amid all this white, I am willing to splurge 4 bucks.
6. We are still so in love with our heated mattress pads. If you are trying to figure out how to stay warm at night, but keep your house cool, try these. I spoke to a friend whose husband loves to keep their sleeping space really cold. She woke up with a cold nose one too many times this past week. Peg, this one is for you.
7. I love that I made my way in to New York City on Saturday for Mama Gena’s Intro. This program changed the way I live my life today. It is an investment in your life that you will not regret, I promise you. During the afternoon, we wrote about Desires. Not intentions, desires are what you yearn for, the space you long to inhabit and just thinking of your desires makes you salivate. Here is something about desire.

@mamagena Fantastic Intro today. XoS

8. I love planning my workshop for the International Women’s Writing Guild.
We will be working in to small accordion fold books using collage techniques to create found word poems. We will be learning a few easy-to-replicate-at-home techniques that can jump start your creativity. I am honored to teach with the circle of women leading the workshops that weekend.

Found Word Poem by Suzi Banks Baum

9. I love the quiet that happens during a snow day.
10. I love wearing long johns. My whole family wears them around the house and they remind me of my dad so much. You readers in the south will have to bear with this list of things to praise about winter. This list is really a lifeline to finding something positive on a day where that heated bed sounds like a mini-vacation. Here is what happened yesterday morning when I curled up in the sun to doodle while rainbows streamed in the window.

Rainbow Heart by Suzi Banks Baum

How about you?
If you ‘found the good and praised it’, even on this snow clogged winter day, what would you come up with? Give me ten.
Just go easy on that shoulder.

Xo S

Poem of the day via my Alison

The Word

by Tony Hoagland

Down near the bottom
of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between “green thread”
and “broccoli,” you find
that you have penciled “sunlight.”

Resting on the page, the word
is beautiful. It touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent from someplace distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing

that also needs accomplishing.
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds

of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue,

but today you get a telegram
from the heart in exile,
proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,

—to any one among them
who can find the time
to sit out in the sun and listen.

“The Word” by Tony Hoagland, from Sweet Ruin. © University of Wisconsin Press, 1992.

Thank you Ali. Thank you sunlight.
Thank you time.

Love, S

Dr. Christiane Northrup from MindBodyGreen by Jason Wachob

DSCF0408

I just came upon this interview with one of my She-ros, Dr. Christiane Northrup. She has extensive views on the health care and pleasure, on women’s health and nutrition. If you have not yet opened one of her books to help you research a question about your life as a woman, I highly recommend her work. I have spoken to women who don’t resonate with Dr. Northrup’s opinions, but I do urge you to read the complete interview that I have excerpted here.

My first live experience of Dr. Northrup was at a theatre in Portsmouth New Hampshire, where they were filming a PBS special about menopause. My women’s group took a field trip to be in the audience at the filming. Dr. Northrup spoke with such conviction, humor and care about her passion for women’s lives I was completely taken by her. Since that day I have come to know her and her work. Her work greatly impacted my decision to have a hysterectomy over 2 years ago. The protocols for preparation for surgery that she includes in her “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” were significant contributions to my well being as I traversed that scary terrain. I was comforted by her words. I am sure my healing was impacted by her suggestions. As she says, if you don’t like her books, they make great doorstops, each one weighing a few pounds. Her books are the heftiest on the library shelves in the women’s health section.

Here’s a section of Jason Wachob’s piece:

Could you speak about your work in using the discipline of pleasure in our lives?

When you decide that you’re going to be more positive, there’s a physiologic effect on the people around you. The mediator of this effect is an odorless, colorless gas called nitric oxide, produced by the endothelial lining of every blood vessel in your body under conditions of health and pleasure, meaning sustainable aerobic exercise. Marathon running and over-exercising does the opposite-it causes oxidative stress. Orgasm, or anything pleasurable that is sustainable increases blood flow to every part of our body.

…We have to think of it not just as sex, not just as “get him up and get him off” because a happy, healthy woman uplifts whatever she’s involved in.

Women think that women’s health is getting a PAP Smear and a mammogram — that’s what they’ve been brainwashed into, that’s the discussion of women’s health. It’s unbelievable to me. I’m actually going to talk about women’s health. When women feel great about themselves, their spouses are going to be happier and healthier. It’s a win-win. There’s no downside whatsoever. Because we are relationship-oriented, we are taught that it’s more blessed to give than to receive. Our role models of what is a good woman is Mother Theresa, someone who gives until it hurts. We see in award ceremonies: “She was a tireless worker for women’s rights. She never rested.” I don’t want that on my gravestone. Because you can’t get health out of working tirelessly, out of being a crusader who is always angry, tired, or depleted.

What I’m out to do is to turn this whole idea of self-sacrifice on its head, knowing full well that we live in a world where the majority of the population still prefers a son to a daughter. In India, China, and Muslim countries, women are seen as a burden. In North America and Europe, we women are in a very privileged position. The higher we take ourselves, the more effective we will be in turning around the entire planet. The Earth itself is female, and how an individual woman treats herself, how she allows herself to be treated and how the Earth is treated is the same.

Autumn Joy Clematis loves July

As I spend time on the Web reading other writers, particularly women, I am struck with wonder and joy at the diversity of our expression.
Just do a Google search on women’s wellness or creativity and whammoooo…you could be reading for hours.
I dip in like the hummingbird in the bee balm and suck up the wealth and wisdom that appeals to me and run on that for a good while.
What has inspired you this week? Have you read or experienced something that incites you to action?

I must tell you my readers that I so appreciate the time you give to me here on the Laundry Line. It is no small gift and I am aware of the choice you make to be here.

Until my next post, or yours, if you share something here with a link to your work-
I send you love from the voluptuous bosom of summer,
S

From the Sublime… to the Sublime

Tuesday, my daughter and I picked strawberries at Thompson Finch farm. A hazy cool day, not too anything but summer. We left with a boxful of red and headed back in to Massachusetts. I drove up and over Bash Bish waterfall area on Mount Washington. I could not pass up these invitations for wonder- first by the turkey vultures, then the mountain laurel.

Turkey Vultures on 2 Silos

There were 13 vultures in this cluster. If you go to my Flickr site you will see another cluster we found of 15 further up Route 22.

Was it meeting day for the vultures?

I have a desire for this summer.
Every day I desire to do something new or different. I desire to embellish my days with pleasure.

Maybe you are curious about pleasure? Maybe you want to know why I have 4 tiaras from my multiple graduations from the School of the Womanly Arts?

Pleasure.

It comes in all shapes and sizes. Even 13 turkey vultures sitting on a silo.
Or the fairy carousels in the woods, the wet and twinkled woods.

Fairy Carousels

What is your pleasure today?

Love and strawberry kisses, S

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