Join a commune. Pester your congressman
about a pet cause. Pierce one of your parts.
Start a women’s choir. Go back to school.
Write an erotic novel. Do 100 pushups.
Register on Match.com. Raise chickens,
sell eggs. Read your camera manual.
Blog every day for a year. Be unexpected—
wear a uniSexy tuxedo to a black-tie event.
Enter a Competition Open a pop-up shop. Make up a holiday
and have a party to celebrate it. Film a
30-second movie on your phone video.
Trade houses with someone in another
country. Choose a new first name. Learn
to make one dish flawlessly. Come up with
three ideas for a start-up business. Lose your
fear of death. Lose your fear of dancing.
Be an astonishment to the world. Cover copy by Nikki Hardin, Art by Bella Pilar
“Amazement awaits us at every corner.” James Broughton
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Nikki Hardin email@example.com Greenville Editor
Sheril Bennett Turner firstname.lastname@example.org National Editor
Margaret Pilarski email@example.com National Art Director
Caitilin McPhillips firstname.lastname@example.org Director of Sales
Angela Filler email@example.com Sales Executive
Kathryn Barmore firstname.lastname@example.org Graphic Designers
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skirt! is all about women... their work, play, families, creativity, style, health and wealth, bodies and souls. skirt! is an attitude...spirited, independent, outspoken, serious, playful and irreverent, sometimes controversial, always passionate. Calendar Submissions Send information or mail to email@example.com, or mail to skirt! Greenville, 1708-C Augusta St. #335 Greenville, SC 29605.
Letters to the Editor
the amazing issue Essays
Stacy Appel ................................................................................... 10 The Summer of The Big Pink Bus
All letters must include the writer’s name and city/state.
Terrie Adden ............................................................................... 13
Writers & Artists
Maybelle vs. the Memoir
Our guidelines are available online at skirt.com. Submit artwork or essays via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alison Piepmeier ........................................................................ 24 Breach Birth
Stephanie Hunt............................................................................ 28 skirt! is published monthly and distributed free throughout the greater Greenville area. skirt! reserves the right to refuse to sell space for any advertisement the staff deems inappropriate for the publication. Unsolicited manuscripts must be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Letters to the editor are welcome, but may be edited due to space limitations. Press releases must be received by the 1st of the month for the following month’s issue. All content of this magazine, including without limitation the design, advertisements, art, photos and editorial content, as well as the selection, coordination and arrangement thereof, is Copyright © 2010, Morris Publishing Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this magazine may be copied or reprinted without the express written permission of the publisher. SKIRT!® is a registered trademark of Morris Publishing Group, LLC.
The Starry Night Women Women make make more more than than 80% 85% of of all all purchasing purchasing decisions. decisions.
Giulietta Nardone .................................................................... 30
From the Publisher/Editor and Letters.............................6 Women spend Women almost 2 ofspend every 3 almost 2 ofdollars. every 3 healthcare healthcare dollars.
Calendar.............................................................................................. 8 Skirt of the Month........................................................................ 9
Women control 2/3 of the nation’s disposable income.
skirt! Loves................................................................................... 14 She’s So Skirt with Eileen Bunch....................................... 16 She’s So Skirt with Kim Hix.................................................. 18
Women Women influence influence 80% 80% of all all car car sales. sales. of
She’s So Skirt with Wanda Sanders.................................20 He’s So Original with Kevin Lynch...................................22 Products............................................................................................ 23 She Said, He Said......................................................................... 26 Fword................................................................................................. 27 Meet...Katie Williams................................................................. 32 Browse............................................................................................... 33 Planet Nikki..................................................................................... 34
Ja n u a r y 2 0 1 1
What takes your breath away,
makes your heart go boom-boom, gives you goosebumps, turns the dial of your life to High Five?
I love skirt! and I eagerly await the beginning of each month so I can read the new issue. I read it in all one sitting and then have to wait another month for the next issue! But I just recently discovered your Greenville website (greenville.skirt.com) and now can read fantastic writing anytime I want. Yeah!
Cover Artist Bella Pilar’s whimsical feminine watercolor illustrations take a traditional medium and push it to it to a fresh, pretty new place. Her strong ties to fashion began with work in visual display and a career as a make-up artist before going on to her true love, illustration. Bella was trained in art and fashion at both FIT in New York and Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. Her work has appeared in all sorts of places—advertising (Hewlett-Packard), magazines (Cosmo Girl), retail display (Macy’s NY), licensing and greeting cards (Marcel Schurman), galleries, and the many walls of friends and family. bellapilar.com
skir t. c
❉ skirt .
I would like to recommend someone for your She’s So Skirt feature: Eileen Bunch. She is the owner of Sew Creative Studio and teaches women, children and even men how to sew. But she’s more than just an instructor. She is a mentor, inspiration, and a friend to women and girls alike. Her teenage classes have decorated a Christmas tree for St. Francis Festival of Trees for four years now and often coming in first place! And, at the end of the classes in May, she (with the help of her “Teen Board”) put on a fashion show at the Haywood Mall so all the girls can show off their creations to their families and friends. “Queen Eileen” teaches that sewing is a life skill, but also a fantastically fun artistic craft.
From the Publisher
the amazing issue Last month, I had a guided reading via phone with an energy healer/ spiritual channeler in New York City. If you’re muttering “crackpot” as you read this, that’s okay with me. As Leonard Cohen wrote, “There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.” And this year, I’m trying to be open to most anything from talking to spirits to strength training to Tantric yoga. I took away lots of interesting things from my reading, but the best one was his injunction to “Be surprised.” It came up over and over in my 60 minutes with him, and I’ve thought about it constantly ever since. About how hard it is to see the same old route to work in a fresh way, to be moved by a work of art, to be taken off guard by a cloud formation, to say “yes” to something that has the potential to be either frightening or fabulous—or maybe both at the same time. Most of all, I realize how difficult it is to surprise myself by recognizing hidden powers I might have or facing old wounds that have never fully healed. Have you ever caught a glimpse of yourself in a store window and been shocked and pleased with the reflection, as if you were looking at a stranger you admired instead of the self you routinely accuse of being too fat, too flawed, too disappointing? It happens all too rarely for me, but that’s exactly how I’d like to amaze myself in 2011.
Sharon Johnson Greenville, SC
[Ed. Note: Queen Eileen is featured as one of our “Wow” women in this month’s issue of skirt! Greenville!] I loved “November Loves” on the November cover... just wanted to tell you so. Teowonna Clifton Columbia, SC
From the Editor One of the best things about my job is that every month I get to meet some pretty amazing people. Recently I attended a book launch by Monnie Whitson, best known locally as the radio personality behind “Monnie in the Morning” which used to air on Magic 98.9. A Daughter Reborn: From baby girl to midlife orphan, Monnie’s diary of the last days with her parents, is an amazingly candid read and my Browse page book pick this month. I also enjoyed conversing with our three amazing women
! s u is
❉ skirt .
profiles that wowed me with their lovely spirits and open hearts. On a cold and windy day, I giggled as our He’s So Original man wrested with a wrap skirt as he demonstrated the art of therapeutic massage—and a amazing sense of humor. Finally, in our brand new Meet profile, we’ll all get to know a spirited young lass whose amazing handmade soaps are making a big splash. It may be cold and dreary outside, but hopefully this issue of skirt! will give you a good excuse to curl up by the fire, indulge in a glass of good Merlot, and meet some of your amazing neighbors.
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Free, fun and accessible to the whole community, don’t miss Chautauqua 2011 - “Ideas that Changed America” where the mission is to bring history to life, through interactive theater, where compelling discussion stimulates critical thinking. greenvillechautauqua.org
Olé! Starting today, learn basic Spanish vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation—with no tests—at the W. Jack Greer Branch of the Greenville Library. Call Lifelong Learning at 355-6059 to register.
World Leprosy Day was established more than fifty years ago to call attention to this devastating disease. Women are at particular risk due to their general disadvantaged position in society. Find out how you can help at leprosy.org.
Happy 2011! 1.Enjoy festive piano music and a four-course New Year’s Day Holiday Brunch at the Westin Poinsett Hotel in downtown Greenville! westinpoinsett greenville.com
Stop In! The yW empowerment center provides leadership, self-esteem and business acumen skills and mentorship to young and adult women in Greenville County. ywcagreenville. org
Curtain Call 1-22. Catch the newest of new plays by the 2010 winner of Centre Stage’s annual nationally recognized New Play Festival. centrestage.org
Dream BIG 17. Remember your dreams this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Fill ‘er Up! 4,11,18,25. Every Monday at Brew & Ewe, get two stamps for every one coffee drink you buy on your frequent customer card. Get seven stamps, and get a free coffee drink. brewandewe.com
Get Moving 22. The Greenville News Run Downtown is a 5k run/ walk throughout the streets of downtown Greenville. Go to gvltrackclub. clubexpress.com to register.
Turn Up the Heat! 7,14,21,28. Head to Studio 54 on Thursdays where the salsa is always steamy. Classes start at 8:30pm. salsagreenvillesc.com
Fab Art! All month, check out skirt! girl and local artist Janina Tukarski Ellis at her new studio at 1207 Pendleton St. in downtown Greenville. janinaellis.com
Winter Feels Good Marvelous Mahler 8. The 16th annual National Winter Trails Day is back at Sugar Mountain Resort. Children and adults new to snow sports get the chance to try snowshoeing for FREE. skisugar.com
Memory Lane 22. Don’t miss the world famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, with performances of “Moonlight Serenade,” “Little Brown Jug” and “Pennsylvania 6-5000.” ficiviccenter.org
15-16. You’ll be swept away by Mahler’s beloved symphonies known for their extreme passion, gigantic proportions, and bold expression. greenvillesymphony.org
3’s Company 29. Enjoy coffee or glass of wine while the principal musicians of Greenville Symphony Orchestra revitalize your soul with this intimate evening of trios. greenville symphony.org
C h a n g e Yo u r S t a r s M o n t h • C l e a n U p Yo u r C o m p u t e r M o n t h • N a t i o n a l O a t m e a l M o n t h • G e t O r g a n i z e d M o n t h • H o t Te a M o n t h
Personal Self-Defense Awareness Month • Poverty in America Awareness Month • International Creativity Month • Volunteer Blood Donor Month 8
Traci Daberko is an illustrator and graphic designer in Seattle, WA. See her work at daberkodesign.com.
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...suddenly the offer of Valium made perfect sense.
ou can do a right thing for what seem to be all the right reasons, yet once in a while things can still go terribly wrong. When I think back to the winter years ago when I worked at the hospital, I never imagined that one minor, well-intentioned act would almost cost a life. I managed the Oncology, Hematology, and Bone Marrow Transplantation department, a demanding, complicated job which I nevertheless enjoyed. No clinical duties were involved, a good thing since I’ve always hated needles—sewing needles, sharp pine needles stuck in my socks, and most especially shots doled out in a sterile white office by a grinning physician. As a child, I accompanied my father once on a visit to his doctor for a tetanus shot, and the moment I saw the needle pierce his arm, I fainted next to him. In years following, the smallest pinprick required to draw blood from my fingertip caused me to swoon immediately to the floor; nurses had to rush ammonia-soaked cotton under my nostrils to revive me. Looking back, I’m amazed that I blocked this history out of my mind so thoroughly. At the start of the year, my department was asked to provide samples of healthy bone marrow for a research study by a prominent laboratory. I was the first to sign up, assuming that by doing so I’d set an enthusiastic example for the rest of the staff. Here was our chance to contribute to an important scientific project, which might one day help any number of seriously ill patients. Many of our clients underwent a bone marrow biopsy at some point in the course of treatment. By volunteering my own marrow, I’d gain a direct and personal understanding of the invasive test I helped order so frequently, though of course these benign circumstances could never match the stress of a sick person’s procedure. The lab would give each of us a couple hundred dollars, which seemed extremely generous to me. I felt I would gladly have given my healthy marrow for free. On the day of my scheduled aspiration, I locked my office door and walked down the hall to an exam room, where I shed my tailored navy suit and pumps for the booties and flimsy flannel gown which awaited me on the exam table. My boss, R.J., the same physician who’d draw my bone marrow, poked his head in and told me that Paula, a nurse, would be in shortly, and, if I liked, could give me some IV Valium. The offer brought on the first mildly queasy feeling of the morning. Was I supposed to need a sedative? Yesterday, we non-clinical staff members had been informed by the doctors that the marrow draw wouldn’t hurt for more than a few seconds at the deepest point. We’d be in and out of the room within 30 minutes, they’d said, and back to business as usual once the local anesthetic had worn off. Now I wondered if they were any more sincere than the grinning pediatricians of my childhood. Paula pushed open the door and began to set up a tray with instruments, syringes and other supplies. When she showed me the Jamshidi needle, a hollow syringe which would be inserted into me, suddenly the offer of Valium made perfect sense. This needle was gigantic. It was the sort of instrument one might use to tranquilize a tiger or a crazed elephant. Clearly the wrong size to insert into the pelvic bone of a nervous department manager, who now fought an urge to run from the room.
R.J. reappeared in green scrubs and surgical cap. I had sat next to R.J., our most experienced physician, at staff meetings for years. He was my boss, and also my friend, but now I had to trust him with this entirely unfamiliar procedure. I knew he performed bone marrow biopsies routinely on patients without incident. Lying as still as possible on the exam table, I tried to forget about our last office birthday party, when he’d broken the cork of a bottle of Chardonnay by twisting the corkscrew in at the wrong angle. I’d had to rescue the bottle and work the chipped cork out slowly “All set?” he asked, as Paula turned me onto my stomach, covered most of me with a cloth, and cleaned a patch of my hip with antiseptic before administering an injection of Lidocaine. “Ready as I’m gonna be,” I said, wishing I’d opted for the sedative. Complications are extremely rare from bone marrow aspirations, and practically unheard of during the procedure itself. I was the unnerving exception. As the needle was inserted into bone, I felt a deep ache, and then a fierce, deeply painful pulling sensation as marrow was extracted from my body. Contrary to all I’d heard, it hurt more than anything I’d ever undergone. I lost consciousness. I would learn much later from Paula that R.J. had somehow botched the job: the Jamshidi went in at an angle, forcing him to twist it slightly into position. Today, I was a bottle of Chardonnay at the wrong party. Amazingly enough, it was delightful being out of my body. I felt myself float toward the ceiling, cushioned by a soft current of ambient warmth, high above the exam table and tubes and smell of antiseptic. I could keep floating forever, I felt, out of the room, far from the hospital, above the city, upward on a gentle flying carpet of tranquility and comfort. I inhaled the pure atmosphere around me, feeling contented beyond measure. Far below, R.J. and Paula tried frantically to revive me. They’d gotten their sample, but lost the donor. At one point, as R.J. raised my eyelids and peered into my pupils, I dipped back into my body again, only to immediately jump out, like a fish wriggling free of a net. Far more enticing to swim back into the ether, back into the lovely weightless feeling. I was aware of my mind with crystal clarity and the joyful freedom of being in this light, body-less realm. A commanding voice pierced my relaxed reverie. “You have to get back in your body now.” The voice was not a human voice, rather, a stern mental directive which entered my mind with absolute authority. It seemed I had no choice but to obey. Sliding back into my body was like falling through gravity, back through increasingly solid planes of matter. I had a seizure, my first (and only), upon reentry. Finally I was all the way in, noting the stifling warmth of the exam room, the soft flannel gown, the claustrophobic room smelling of ammonia and fear. I heard R.J. murmur, “I think we’ve got her back,” to Paula, who hovered over me with a bloodpressure monitor. She told me afterward that they’d been on the verge of calling a Code Blue to jump-start my heart. We kept the incident a secret between the three of us, knowing any hint would deter the others from giving marrow. I suffered no physical after-effects, other than a phantom pain in my pelvic bone which, when it occurs, reminds me that I’m living on borrowed time. In the years since my sample was taken, the bone marrow aspiration procedure has been streamlined and improved. My experience was clearly an anomaly, a miscalculation. Maybe it wasn’t even a mistake. For I got an unexpected gift, a different angle from which to view this precious, precious life. I realize I really can’t do without it just yet.
Stacy Appel is an award-winning writer in California whose work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune and other publications. She has also written for National Public Radio. She is a contributor to the book You Know You’re a Writer When…. Contact Stacy at WordWork101@aol.com 10
the way your stomach plummets when you fall in love.
your first time you saw snow, the ocean or shooting stars.
It was a rite of passage to go to the beach for the first time with friends rather than family.
he summer we were 15, we dreamed of the beach and imagined our life if we were not trapped in a hot inland valley, where smog from Los Angeles collected, layering our town in a brown haze. On especially awful days, there were warnings to stay indoors to avoid respiratory problems or heat stroke, and the distant mountains were invisible. We looked for friends with pools but what we really craved was the ocean, waves, and the thrill of the funky coastal lifestyle. The slightly sleazy teens with sun-bleached hair who lived near the ocean definitely had more experience than we did and we longed to be half as cool. It was a rite of passage to go to the beach for the first time with friends rather than family. Once we tasted the freedom of the California coast without parents, we plotted ways to return. Occasionally an older sibling might deign to drive a few of us but such largess was rare. Living 90 miles away, we might have languished at home through most of that summer were it not for one amazing short-lived miracle: The Big Pink Bus. We found out that someone, who obviously loved the beach, convinced the city to paint a large bus bubble gum pink and devote its schedule to rescuing teens marooned in the San Gabriel Valley. Somehow, we convinced our parents that it offered the perfect antidote to moping around the house, and we were given the go ahead. The Big Pink Bus lumbered up to a stop near the city shopping center, to which we had either walked or begged a ride. To our complete giddy delight, it opened its creaking doors and, for a few dollars, took us away from our land-locked, middleclass Quaker-influenced, overheated suburbia. We carried beach bags stuffed with our favorite towels, a transistor radio, baby oil to prefect our dangerously deep tans, a Seventeen magazine purloined from our big sister’s stash and a small amount of cash to pay for the essential beach snack: Strips—long, evenly cut lengths of corn tortilla, fried and served with melted cheese. Not the orange petroleum by-product smothered on today’s nachos, but real melted cheddar. The two-hour-plus bus ride was fun in itself, especially with a large group, but the real payoff came when the doors of The Big Pink Bus finally opened at the end point: a dingy stop a block away from Huntington Beach, the coolest place in the Universe. The beach was an endless expanse of bright white and so wide that about midway to the water, we had to dig out our thongs, the name for flip-flops back
then, unable to take the searing heat of the fine sand for another second. The scent of seaweed mixed with coconut oil drifted on the breeze as we wound our way through people and sea gulls clumped together in similar small groupings. Finally, we staked out the perfect spot, near boys if possible, unfurling towels that caught on the breeze like large terrycloth sails. Our heads formed the center of the flower, our glistening bodies radiating outward, the petals. Should we slather on the oil first or test the delicious shock of the cold Pacific Ocean? Did we want to save our money until we were starving or beat the crowd to the Beach Shack and feast on hot oil and chips now? It didn’t matter; we were free to do whatever we wanted with no parents watching, no cautionary advice dispensed, and no judgmental glances. Tying the strings a bit tighter on our tiny bikinis, we headed to the water, suburban mermaids pulled toward the powerful freedom of the sea. The waves could be enormous, but we learned to count, timing our entry after a set of nine, shrieking madly into the cold water and diving with outstretched arms through the pounding foam, kicking with golden legs until our lungs almost burst, breaking through to the safety of deep water. Floating on our backs, we wondered if the boys would appreciate our breasts bobbing on top of the blue or notice our sleek dolphin dives. When we opened our eyes underwater, we saw the sunlight filtering down into darkness, spooked by the unseen but exhilarated by the weightlessness of our bodies, the caress of the water that made us feel awake and alive with infinite possibility, a feeling that lasted all day. Back on dry land, we listened to the Rolling Stones and oiled each other’s backs. One or two of us headed out for provisions while the rest soaked up heat from the sand, turning faithfully every few minutes like roasts on a spit. Now we could look around and evaluate our neighbors—the boys who threw us admiring glances, the mothers whose small children didn’t understand beach etiquette and ran directly over our towels oblivious to the care we took to keep them sand-free, the lovers who kissed with abandon a few feet away. It was all there for our critique, and if we ran out of material, we could take the quizzes in Seventeen or Cosmo. Then the heat would drive us back into the water once again. The summer of The Big Pink Bus was an amazing moment in time. Not only did we not have to beg our heartless siblings for rides, we were also becoming resourceful at getting out on our own, and it was exciting. We learned a valuable lesson about our orderly parents too: If we kept our rooms neat and put our wet towels in the hamper, they let us be and forgot about summer school or part-time jobs in the family business. Best of all, we briefly felt we were the masters of our fate, and bathing in the delicious deep blue sea, we felt our souls awaken.
Terrie Adden is a freelance lawyer and writer happily living near the beach in Santa Barbara, California. She is currently working on her first novel. skirt.com
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Kathryn Sales Executive
picking up the phone to call someone and theyâ€™re already on the line.
Women Who Wow Us
Eileen Bunch | Queen Sewing Bee Eileen’s business—Sew Creative, School of Sewing Arts—may just be one of this area’s best-kept secrets. Known as “Queen Eileen” to her students, Eileen empowers about 100 kids and teens and over 40 adults a week by teaching them the sewing arts. Many of her students, in fact, go on to major in fashion, costume and interior design at prestigious art and design schools. “I have helped stay-at-home moms begin sewing businesses and I have given shy, insecure kids a confidence that has changed their lives,” Eileen says. “It’s something I really have a passion for and look forward to every day.” Eileen’s protégées also make and donate hats for homeless children, carriers for walkers used to assist the elderly and wrist cuffs for hospices. “My next goal,” says the royal-hearted stitcher, “is to publish a sewing book for kids.” Photo by John Fowler
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Women Who Wow Us
Kim Hix | Good Mom Kim Kim’s son Zack, now 15, was born with emotional difficulties that any normal mother would have found difficult to cope with. Kim, who has a BS in Psychology, is no normal mom, though, and was up for the challenge. After years of struggling to get a diagnosis and help for her child, Kim wrote a book, No One is Perfect and YOU are a Great Kid, to help Zack and others like him deal with similar issues. She also put her son’s artistic talent to good use, encouraging him to create t-shirt designs for a business that has evolved into a full-time family affair. “Good Boy Roy (goodboyroy.com) is Zack’s dream and passion,” Kim says. “He does all of the drawing and character creations and we help with the rest.” In Kim’s “spare” time, she also volunteers as Guardian Ad Litem for Greenville County and works part time as a personal trainer for Upstate CrossFit in Mauldin. Photo by John Fowler
Growing Families ...
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Open 7 Days: M-F8am-10pm, 8am-10pm, Sat Sun 1pm-8pm Open 7 2QHKRXUVHVVLRQFRQVLVWVRIDPLQXWHPDVVDJHDQGWLPHIRUFRQVXOWDWLRQ Days: M-F Sat8am-8pm, 8am-8pm, Sun 1pm-8pm DQGGUHVVLQJ3ULFHVVXEMHFWWRFKDQJH5DWHVDQGVHUYLFHVPD\YDU\E\ORFDWLRQ $GGLWLRQDOWD[HVDQGIHHVPD\DSSO\Â‹0DVVDJH(QY\)UDQFKLVLQJ//& 2QHKRXUVHVVLRQFRQVLVWVRIDPLQXWHPDVVDJHDQGWLPHIRUFRQVXOWDWLRQ 2QHKRXUVHVVLRQFRQVLVWVRIDPLQXWHPDVVDJHDQGWLPHIRUFRQVXOWDWLRQ DQGGUHVVLQJ3ULFHVVXEMHFWWRFKDQJH5DWHVDQGVHUYLFHVPD\YDU\E\ORFDWLRQ DQGGUHVVLQJ3ULFHVVXEMHFWWRFKDQJH5DWHVDQGVHUYLFHVPD\YDU\E\ORFDWLRQ $GGLWLRQDOWD[HVDQGIHHVPD\DSSO\Â‹0DVVDJH(QY\)UDQFKLVLQJ//&
John E. Nichols, MD â€¢ John F. Payne, MD 17 Caledon Ct. Ste. C Greenville, SC 29615 1330 Boiling Springs Rd. Ste. 2200 Spartanburg, SC 29303 864-232-7734
Unique furniture, art, and accessories imported from
China and Thailand. IMPORT FURNITURE & ACCESSORIES 1175 Woods Crossing Road (behind Haywood Mall)
Mon-Thurs 10-6, Fri and Sat 10-9
OPEN Sundays 12:00-6:00
Women Who Wow Us
Wanda Sanders | Mission Possible As the Development Coordinator for American Leprosy Missions (ALM), Wanda is dedicated to spreading the word about people worldwide still affected by leprosy. “I did not know that leprosy still existed until I answered an employment ad to work as a department assistant and discovered there are still hundreds of thousands of new cases of leprosy each year,” Wanda says. “Now I assist with raising funds to cure and care for leprosy-affected people in the 15 countries where we serve.” Wanda is also scheduled to graduate in December from USC Upstate, but is already putting her future IDS BA degrees in Journalism, Speech and English with a cognate in Music to good use as a Classic Rock examiner for Examiner.com. After graduation? “I’d like to write a romance novel and travel in search of great musicians to listen to,” says this on-the-move multitasker. Photo by John Fowler
Ready To Love Your Life?
Now is the time!
Let 2011 be the year you love the life you live! Life Coach Joy Tanksley will creatively and compassionately lead you from feeling stuck and stressed to living the life that you’ve always dreamed of living. If you’ve always wanted to see what life coaching is about, Joy offers a FREE initial coaching session.
Special offer for skirt! Readers
Quilt & Sew
any coaching package when you mention this ad!
imagine a place...
Located in the Bloom Shopping Center. Take 385 to exit 29.
A place that will encourage and challenge your child’s superior mind. A place where imaginations are nurtured and creativity is celebrated. Five Oaks Academy, a Montessori school in Simpsonville is that place.
Store Hours: Monday - Friday 9:30am – 6:00pm Saturday 9:30am – 4:00pm
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Check website for a class listings and sales. Repairs on all makes and models of machines and sergers.
Please join us for our Open House January 18, 2011 9:00 am and 6:00 pm Come and find out why the founders of Google credit their Montessori education for their enormous success... Come see what ,every parent wants to imagine for their child.
LAW FIRM Family Court Attorneys
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minds opened here 864-228-1881 www.fiveoakscademy.com RSVP: email@example.com Academic excellence for children ages 2-14 Limited space available for Fall 2011 skirt.com
He’s So Original
Kevin Lynch kneads stiff muscles. As a licensed massage therapist and owner of Actual Massage, Kevin applies therapeutic massage techniques to those in need of relief from soft tissue discomforts. In other words, “I help folks relax,” he quips. While working with the airlines, Kevin realized he had a knack for helping coworkers with shoulder, neck and back pain, so after 19 years of moving with his job, he decided to settle in Greenville, where he went to school for massage therapy and later met and married wife Jane. “In my nine years of practice, I have never tired of the looks of calm and ease on my clients’ faces as a result of our time together. If more people felt calm and comfortable, then we would all win!” he laughs. What’s the best thing about reading skirt!? “It’s not on the heavy; it’s a great read.” What’s the best thing about wearing a skirt? “There are so many colors and choices to match my other outfits and handbags!” Photo by John Fowler
BowWow Flats by Kartell for Moschino moschino.com
Flat Out Amazing
Talloni Shoe Salon
113 E. Poinsett St.
1922 Augusta St.
Muse Shoe Studio 2222 Augusta Rd. Greenville 864.271.9750
M ay b e l l e v s . t h e M e m o i r I was grief-stricken because I didn’t have the child I expected. But, of course, nobody gets the child she expects.
Over the last few months,
I’ve been reading memoirs by parents of kids with disabilities. Most of these are fairly recent, written in the last decade, about kids with Down syndrome, autism, and other developmental disabilities. And what keeps surprising me is that the overriding emotion in most of these memoirs is grief: “I was happy, but my life has now been derailed in such a terrible way. Because of my child’s problems, I’m miserable. Let me tell you for the next 150 pages, in great detail, how sad I am.” Generally the memoirs have a turning point around three-quarters of the way through and end on a happier note, but the damage is done. The books leave you as a reader with the feeling, “God, I’m so glad I don’t have a kid with a disability!” The thing is, I do have a kid with a disability. And I don’t appreciate a book arguing, or even just implying, that a child like mine is a rational cause for 150 pages of misery.
Maybelle vs. the Memoir
The Children’s Museum I understand some grief. When I learned, a day after she was born, that Maybelle has Down syndrome, I did feel that my life had been derailed. I was shocked. I had heard of Down syndrome, and I suspected it was very bad news. Bad news as in, will she ever communicate with us? Will I be able to keep my job? Is it okay for me to love this little person? Am I cut out for this sort of work? I cried for days. I’m not alone in that grief. The community of friends I’ve made, friends with kids who have Down syndrome, have shared similar stories. Some of that grief was sharp enough that we cry, even now, describing it to others. But that’s not where the story ends for any of us. That’s not 150 pages of the story. That’s roughly one paragraph, the main point of which, for me and my friends, is that we were really uninformed. As it turns out, society had given us a lot of poor information about what it meant to have a child with a cognitive disability. The rest of my story would go like this: Starting almost as soon as she entered the outside world, one of Maybelle’s favorite things has been music. For her first year of life, listening to her daddy play guitar to her would calm her almost indefinitely, her attention locked onto the strings and onto his face with a satisfied intensity. Now, at age two, she’s not a person who reclines and listens to a guitar. She grins when he gets it out and then as quickly as she can, stands up and gets her hands all over it, trying to imitate what his hands do, strumming and plucking the strings. She doesn’t talk very clearly yet, but she knows sign language, and she uses it not only to tell us what she wants but to sign along with her favorite songs. She does a funky, dance-oriented version of the chorus of “Yellow Submarine,” and she recently learned to sign the word “crying” from Cheap Trick’s “I Want You to Want Me.” I did question some of our choices for Maybelle’s playlist last spring, when Roger Miller’s “Dang Me” came on. As he sang the chorus, “Ought to take a rope and hang me, high from the highest tree,” Maybelle gleefully signed the word “tree.” I thought she might be understanding more of this than I’d expected. Through having Maybelle in our lives we’ve learned that kids with Down syndrome face a number of delays, but they aren’t delayed in all areas. In fact, they’re often quite good at taking information in visually. Sign language is useful because it makes speaking visible. This trait also means that kids with Down syndrome are often very good readers, if they’re given the opportunity to be. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Maybelle loves books. She’ll sit engrossed in Hug or But Not the Hippopotamus for chunks of the afternoon, calling out, “Mama!” when the baby chimpanzee in Hug reunites with her mother. Even without pictures, she can identify phrases like “more cereal please.” In other words, my daughter—the two year old I was afraid wouldn’t ever be quite fully human—is calmly undermining people’s assumptions about kids with disabilities, including my own. Of course there are challenges we face in being Maybelle’s parents, but these aren’t challenges that are qualitatively different than the sorts of challenges any parent of any child faces. As one of my good friends said shortly after Maybelle was born, “You’re starting your lives as parents with more information than many parents get about the needs of their particular child right at the beginning.” She went on to say, “Maybelle is still her own person. This syndrome will give you a cluster of information about needs she’ll have, but then you still get to have the adventure of getting to know her particular needs and gifts as a person, her dearest Maybelle-ness.” I was grief-stricken because I didn’t have the child I expected. But, of course, nobody gets the child she expects. The person who arrives on the scene isn’t made according to our specifications. She is who she is, and that’s not reason to mourn. In fact, by being the person she is, Maybelle derailed the poor parenting her dad and I might inadvertently have done. Now we’re not the nightmare parents worried about training the perfect child for the perfect Ivy League education (although an increasing number of colleges nationwide are opening their doors to people like Maybelle). Now we have the delight of getting to do everything we can to help our daughter live the life she chooses to live. The fact is, anybody would be lucky to have Maybelle in her family. This isn’t because she’s exceptional, more advanced than other folks with cognitive disabilities and therefore acceptable. This also isn’t one of those clichés about special families getting special children. Maybelle isn’t “special” because she has Down syndrome, and she’s not “exceptional” compared to other kids with disabilities. She’s special and exceptional because she’s her own person in the world, a person with strengths and weaknesses, with preferences and personality traits that are all hers. Her Maybelle-ness. That’s what these memoirs should be saying. Alison Piepmeier lives in Charleston, SC, where she teaches, writes, and encourages the world around her to recognize people with disabilities as whole people. She blogs about Maybelle and other things on her mind at baxtersez.com.
OF THE UPSTATE
BIG TOP TOP BIG
Friday, January 14 -Monday, January 17 Enjoy a weekend of circus-themed fun and enter to win a Family Four Pack of Tickets to the Circus at the BI-LO Center!
Plus, special Children’s Museum and Circus combo tickets are available!
February 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6!
Reduce, Reuse, Repair & Recycle!
Super Kids Save the World, our newest traveling exhibit, opens on January 29! Super Kids Save the World is a hands-on traveling exhibit created by The Magic House and made possible by a grant from the Crawford Taylor Foundation and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
The Children’s Museum of the Upstate 300 College Street / Downtown Greenville 864.233.7755 / TCMUpstate.org skirt.com
“The reason women don’t play football is because 11 of them would never wear the same outfit in public.” Phyllis Diller
“Football incorporates the two worst elements of American society: violence punctuated by committee meetings.” George F. Will
f-word [ Feminism Free-For-All ]
Made in Dagenham is a film about the 1968 strike by women machinists at the
plant in Essex, UK, to demand equal pay with male workers. Think of it as a British Norma Rae. Frida Kahlo: Face to Face, a new book by Judy Chicago, examines a hundred of the feminist icon’s portraits that speak to the full spectrum of women’s experiences. amazon.com
As sung by the magical L.A. Ladies Choir, an amazing group of women whose slogan is “Sing Joyfully,” the beautiful Yoko Ono song, “Sisters, O Sisters,” should be the
D o w n l o a d
f r o m
i T u n e s .
We want a t-shirt with the famous image of Jane
giving the power-to-thepeople salute in the mug
For more than 40 years, director Lynn Hershman Leeson has collected hundreds of hours of interviews with visionary artists, historians, curators and critics who shaped the beliefs and values of the Feminist Art Movement. Her new film, !War (Women Art Revolution), is showing at Sundance Festival this month. womenartrevolution.com
shot taken when she was arrested on bogus drug charges in the Nixon era. janefonda.com skirt.com
We had happened upon more than a spectacle; we were observing the indomitable, amazing force of nature, the way and will of all living thingsâ€” to surge forth, to say yes, to survive. Stephanie Hunt
It was late winter, and the cold and dark had outworn its welcome. The planet may have been on its post-solstice slow tilt back toward the light, but I was still slipping downward, soul weary and just weary, weary. Too many days marked by too little sunshine and too many to-dos began to fold in on me, and I wanted—I needed—to steal away. To tuck into a cozy cave with books, wine, long naps, bad TV. Lacking a cave, we headed to a condo. Actually, our family headed to the land of condos—tacky, high-rise, has-been, edge-of-the-continent mega condo-world, a.k.a. sunny Florida, which in late February isn’t all that sunny. Especially under the deep shadow of ubiquitous For Sale and foreclosure signs. My in-laws have had a time-share in this particular condo development south of St. Augustine for decades, so we retreat here often. It’s easy and familiar. We settle into beachy routine, with no compulsion to go explore uncharted territories. Here, we simply chill. We walk on the wide, white sand beaches, read or snooze by the pool and, if energetic, play tennis on the condo’s lone court behind the parking lot, where garlic exhalations from the pizza joint across the street derail my focus. We have our favorite landmarks and haunts along A1A: the biker bar with the Ten Commandments posted over the entry; the Shell Shack with its pet hermit crabs; the WAVES store that likely accounts for half of China’s GNP through its massive inventory of Florida shot glasses. On the other hand, the world-famous Alligator Farm is always good for jump-starting the vacation mind-set. Nothing like watching hundreds of gators idle like prehistoric statues to get you in a glorious do-nothing mode. On this winter-break escape, do-nothing was the goal. My high school girls needed a mid-semester reprieve, and I needed a midlife one. Grappling with difficult diagnoses for both my parents left me feeling more like a member of the gauntlet generation than the sandwich one. So I was curled up on the couch, reading, when my husband got up and looked out the window. “Hey look, there’s something BIG!” he exclaimed, eyes peeled on the ocean. “Seriously!” he added, after we didn’t budge, assuming he was joking. “Really big!” and he ran outside. We followed, and sure enough, something big and gray emerged then splashed down in a heavy freefall. A few seconds later, another rise and fall—it looked like two oddly-shaped pewter canisters twisting and then plummeting in a hefty splash, a watery exclamation. Pelicans floating nearby took flight. “Whales!” my daughter realized. An immense mermaid tail rose up, heaved left and right, as if waving an affirmative, “You got it!” We watched, mesmerized, as these creatures hoisted themselves in the air, twirled and plummeted. Awkward arabesques in a sheer choreography of heft. At one point, it looked as if one whale was standing on its head, waving its fluke back and forth like a beauty queen in a small town Christmas parade. They rolled and rollicked, danced and breached, only about 75 yards off shore, oblivious to their gawking audience on the sand. We learned from other passersby that these baleen Baryshnikovs were migrating right whales, and that they venture down from New England each winter to this very spot, their birthing grounds. What we were witnessing was hard labor, a thrashing, frothy delivery, leaping and lurching toward new life. I’ve since learned that only 19 right whale calves were born last year, total. In the world. There are fewer than 400 North American right whales in existence, by all accounts a critically endangered species. We had happened upon more than a spectacle; we were observing the indomitable, amazing force of nature, the way and will of all living things—to surge forth, to say yes, to survive. In The Moon by Whale Light, writer Diane Ackerman sets out to crack the mystery of whale song. Along the way she learns about right whales from scientist Roger Payne, who claims that “the right whale is an important bellwether of the human condition.” This, he explains, is because the right whale is the only near-decimated species on earth to have the run of the ocean. “Every species of animal that we have brought to extinction has occupied a limited area—an island, an archipelago, a continent. We have never in our tenure on earth brought to extinction a truly cosmopolitan species, one with a worldwide distribution.” If we did, he says, it would “be the lowest, the most careless, the most outrageous thing that humanity had yet done to the planet.” So here, off the coast of one of our most built-up and debased shorelines, a land of spec houses, specious greed and condo-fied fat-cat retirement, we watched this magnificent mammal do her urgent part to help stage a comeback, graciously redeeming our species while she was at it. Her display of aerial grace and splashy wonder both humbled and awed me. I had ventured south to recharge and renew, and so, too, had she. As I realized that this huge and rare animal swims in the same surf that I do, that we frolic in the same waves, that we both give birth and dive deep and hold our breath, I felt a solidarity, a sense of fierce hope and sober solace. The stakes are high, my whale friend, and the ocean is vast. But we find our way back to familiar waters, we return to our stomping grounds, we dance the wild and necessary dance, and endure.
Let us take care of your precious smiles!
Mary W. Crockett, D.M.D Board Certified Pediatric Dentist
102 South Venture Drive Greenville, SC 29615 (near intersection of Pelham Road & Patewood Drive)
Stephanie Hunt is a Mt. Pleasant, SC, freelance writer, whose work appears in a number of regional and online publications, including skirt!, Literary Mama, and the blog, A Life Still. Contact her at stephaniehuntwrites.com. skirt.com
The best gifts in life can’t be found at the shopping mall.
An after-hours work
party 10 summers ago changed my attitude toward life. Following a familiar party pattern, I’d spent the bulk of my evening wandering from colleague to colleague bitching and moaning about the perceived injustices being foisted upon me by the upper management where I worked as a marketing associate. “That guy should be a bouncer not a vicepresident.” “I’m not going to take that sales development program. It turns you into a Stepford-employee.” “To get promoted around here, you need to be willing to stab folks in the back and the front.” I stopped my social flutter when I struck up a conversation with Gene, a colleague I’d only exchanged candy stories with in front of the vending machine. He preempted my rant with, “Want to go outside?” Married, I hesitated at first. Didn’t he see this big hulking diamond ring on my finger? I decided if he got too frisky I’d just set him straight. He led me to the middle of the backyard in the quiet residential neighborhood, stopped and said, “Look up.”
The Starry Night
Hundreds of stars decorated the blackened sky. “Oh, my,” I said to Gene, completely captivated by the front-row view. “I haven’t gazed at the stars since summer camp.” “See that bright one?” he pointed to with his index finger. “It’s Jupiter. And that constellation south of it? Sagittarius, The Archer.” The stars humbled and awakened me at the same time. An almostforgotten nursery rhyme pranced through my head. Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are? Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky. Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are? For the first time in my life, I acknowledged those lyrics. What are stars? What am I? What is this mystery I see before me? Although I didn’t have the answers, I felt connected to something greater than my bleak work existence. I felt part of something infinite, eternal and spiritual. I felt like Joe Bank in Joe Versus the Volcano when he jumped into the volcano prepared to die and jettisoned out into the ocean. And the words of the Patricia Graynamore character from that same movie spoke to me with a newfound sense of urgency: “My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.” It frightened me to think I’d been sleepwalking through my days, that I’d been taking this wonder called life for granted, that I’d been wasting my short visit to Earth bitching about work. “Thank you for this gift,” I said to Gene. “Do you take a lot of folks outside to experience the stars?” “No. Just the ones who haven’t given up on life.” After Gene returned to the party, I picked out a star and anointed it my muse. It took a few months to get up my nerve, but I enrolled in a painting class at a local art museum, something I’d always wanted to try but hadn’t out of fear that I needed to be able to draw, fear that my effort would elicit gasps of horror, fear that it wouldn’t look like a van Gogh. As it turns out, I had a natural affinity with color, texture and subject. My third painting of an antique Sicilian lock got rave reviews from my classmates and teacher. “Gorgeous colors.” “Expert use of the palette knife.” “It looks just like antique metal.” When I put down my paintbrush and stepped back to admire my creation, I did so with the same awe that occurred when I looked at a star. It was magnificent. Equally as important as my creative undertaking were the people I met in my painting class. One of my classmates recreated van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.” He told me van Gogh painted it in 1889 while in an insane asylum in Saint-Rémy, inspired by the night itself. I did some research and discovered that when working on the painting Vincent wrote to his brother Theo, “It often seems to me that the night is much more alive and richly colored than the day.” I agreed. It took a dark night for me to find my own way back into the light. It took a dark night for me to see the rich colors of my own life. It took a dark night for me to get out of my own insane asylum. For way too long, I’d let work dictate the rhythms of my life. Now my life was going to do the dictating. To stay connected to the Universe and my own creative core, I go out almost every night about 10pm when the traffic dies down and give thanks to the stars. Sometimes I lift my arms towards the sparkling heavenly bodies and yell, “How fantastic,” a suggestion I read in an e-zine. Other nights, I just let the stars blink celestial messages at me like, “Come see us more often. We’re here to inspire you.” or “You light up the Earth for us.” What’s cool about stargazing and its power to spark creativity is that it can be done for free. In a memoir I read a few years ago, the author’s dad takes her and her siblings into the Arizona desert to each pick out a star for Christmas. It reinforced what I’ve longed believed to be true: The best gifts in life can’t be found at the shopping mall. I’d like to pass along the gift my colleague Gene gave to me when I needed it most. Go outside at night and look up at the stars. Pick one out, make it your muse, and visit it often. I can almost guarantee that you will begin living in a state of constant, total amazement.
rick Rick Turner Construction
new construction . remodeling . repairs (864) 906-1113 or firstname.lastname@example.org rickturnerconstruction.com
Giulietta Nardone is a freelance writer from Ashland, MA. When she isn’t writing, she’s singing at karaoke nights, saving open spaces and wishing upon stars in her backyard. Visit her blog at giuliettathemuse.com/blog. skirt.com
Meet Favorite TV Show: The Amazing Race
Katie Williams, mom, soap artisan and entrepreneur, whose home business started out in a 900 square-foot town home. Still based at home, but in a roomier garage, Peace, Love & Soap all-natural products are a favorite at local Mast General Stores, Whole Foods Markets, and at Williams Hardware & Cafe in Travelers Rest.
Where I Shop Locally: Salon 864 & Boutique
Dream Vacation: Maui
One Item Always In My Purse: PL&S Lip Balm
My Secret Ambition: To be a folk singer
My Gadget: My Droid Favorite Restaurant: Takosushi Favorite Flower: Hibiscus My Workout: Zumba Favorite Shoes: My Furry Uggs Where I Get My Coffee: My new Keurig Signature Scent: Patchouli Lavender Favorite Feminist: My Mom Three People I Want At My Dream Dinner:
Photo by John Fowler
Dave Matthews, David Spade & Jack Black What We’d Eat: Wouldn’t matter, I would be laughing too hard to eat! My Handbag: Kathy Van Zeeland
Highlight When you find part of an article or blog online you want to share with a friend, use awesomehighlighter.com to show them the section you want them to see. It allows you to highlight text on web pages and then gives you a small link to the highlighted page that you can email, saving time and getting right to the point.
Film Turn your still photos into video slideshows at animoto.com. It’s free for a 30-second video and you can upload music to go
Books we are enjoying
with it and add text.
Join nolabels.org is made up of Democrats, Republicans and Inde-
365: A Daily Creativity Journal Noah Scalin Nikki Hardin Publisher, skirt!
pendents who are united in the belief that we do not have to give up our labels, but just put them aside to do what’s best for America.
Backup Do you forget to back up your computer or risk theft or loss of your computer when traveling? Consider subscribing to carbonite.com, which offers secure, automatic online backup whenever you add or change a file. Just $54.95 a year.
A Daughter Reborn: From baby girl to midlife orphan Monnie Whitson Sheril Bennett Turner Editor
Donny Miller’s work is edgy, dark and cynical, and that’s why we love him. See his art pieces in his online shop at donnymiller.com.
Brandi Carlile & Ha-Ash In Sleep
I’m Through With Love
“All this nonsense has
“I let go of expectations,
“Many years ago I
me crazy about 40
mine and yours. Of any
remember hearing a very
something women who
need to be clever, rich, thin,
successful writer speak and
like much younger men.
quieter, hot, even happy. I
he said he never has any
I just don’t get it. I mean,
let go of people who made
ideas, he simply spends all
sure they look pretty…
me feel less than. I let go of
his time preparing a run-
ripped abs, nice teeth, tight
people who are addicted
way for the ideas to land.
ass, good head of hair but
to misery. I let go of any
At the time I thought he
need to be clever or
was just giving us a
sophisticated or hip.”
glib answer. However in
Come Up With Me
my ten years as a paid writer I have come to believe him.”
planetnikki [ a visual journal ]
I love meeting people who are adventurers— the questers, the pilgrims, the seekers, the unsatisfied. The ones who suddenly decide to walk El Camino de Santiago or move to a foreign country
long after it’s
safe or sensible.
For some people it’s just innate to set off on adventures, but I’m fascinated with the ones you least expect to change the status quo. People who wake up and realize they’ve ordered the same skinny latte People who
wake up one day
with one raw sugar every morning for years. on the job and decide they can’t sit in the damn cubicle one more hour.
People who simply wake up and can’t go back to sleep in their old lives. People whose stories give me
change at any moment on
that we can be surprised by
Going to visit the friend in London I started the Muse to Muse blog with years ago when she was living in Prague. It was the inspiration for my current blog on Hoping for new creative ideas!
London calling—I hope it’s as magical as I remember.
“Winter Song” by Sara Bareilles with Ingrid Michaelson is a beautiful ode to the season and to love. I listened to it all last month.
I dreamed I went to Paris wearing Dries Van Noten, my current designer crush. More likely I’ll be in Uggs and down parka.
Nikki Hardin is the founder and publisher of skirt! magazine. She blogs at fridaville.com. 34
Smart fashionistas know how to save money and still look fabulous!
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skirt! Magazine Greenville