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October 2011



Ana Beatriz






ANA BEATRIZ Speeding towards her dream By E. Hart, Staff Writer t was a paramount weekend in Baltimore for 26-year-old Indy car racer, Ana Beatriz. She was one of a few women drivers taking part in Baltimore’s inaugural Grand Prix. I spoke to Beatriz Thursday, before the big weekend started. “The course will be a challenge, a lot of details to adapt to. The corners will be a challenge and there are many asphalt to concrete areas that are different than other courses I have raced on” said Beatriz. Larry Curry, Beatriz’s general manager, concurred, stating, “this course has similar characteristics of other courses we have ridden on before, but there are a few different challenges presented here.” Curry and his team used live telemetry during races so they were able to see every component in the turns to better inform Ana of how she is racing. When asked how she got started in such a male dominated sport Beatriz replied, “Being from Brazil, it is a macho sport. I had interest from a young age. I would sit in my dad’s car and pretend to drive. I saw my first go-kart at age 5 and I told him I wanted to race.” Beatriz’s childhood dream has become a reality. She is the only woman in the world to win the Firestone Indy Lights race. “From the 1970’s to today, women have broken a lot of barriers and today we have great drivers like Danica Patrick and Sarah Fisher,”


WomanScope NewsMagazine • October 2011 Beatriz remarked. Competitive sports require a lot of training, and racecar driving is no different. Drivers must acquire and maintain ample muscle strength to endure the long rides required of them, because as Beatriz points outs, the cars do not have power steering; she has to work out her arms a lot to be able to turn the car for the duration of the race, at speeds of up to 170 mph. She also incorporates biking and circuit training into her work out regime when she can. Earlier this year Beatriz hurt her wrist, which confined her to a brace while competing. Her grip was not as strong as she would have liked. A scar from her injury reminds her of the challenges it has brought with it. “If the gear shift was done by hand and not on the pedals,” Beatriz told us, “I would have had a

lot more issues than I did.” Cars once had gear shifts on the dash and racers had to shift by hand; luckily today’s racers shift using foot pedals so Beatriz was able to focus on driving. In Baltimore she drove brace free, allowing her to focus on the race and her competition. “I think everyone is my competition; it is a new track for all of us. Baltimore was a new track for everyone involved and they all seemed to agree that it would be a challenge” said Beatriz. When asked if she has any race day rituals, Beatriz shared that she likes to pray to be able to fight hard and to have the energy to do her best. She also likes to concentrate for at least 10 minutes without any distraction. Beatriz also connects with her fans through Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. “You learn to be open with your fans as much as

One of only three female racers, Beatriz finished 16th in the Baltimore Grand Prix

you can” she says. Having social media outlets to keep in touch with her fans gives her a little insight into how other 26-year-old women are living. “At 14 and 15 [years old] I lost the opportunity to go to parties, but I don’t mind it. I had to fight for what I wanted to do and have had a lot of fun.” Unfortunately, even during a long weekend in Baltimore, Beatriz is limited to a schedule that keeps her from sightseeing or taking time away from the race to do tourist related things. “I am very busy this weekend. We are all on a schedule and I was in Detroit last night working with an organization and then flew in to Baltimore today.” With a great team behind her and an exciting race ahead, Beatriz was excited to get out there and do her best. Thousands of fans and tourists were able to experience all that the Grand Prix had to offer in Charm City. You could feel the excitement throughout the streets. Hotels sold out, restaurants swelled with hungry patrons, and the stadium stands were filled with eager fans. It’s not every day you can come within feet of the mechanics fine tuning the cars, have the chance to meet the racers and see an inaugural race all in one weekend. Beatriz, who began the race in the 20th position, finished in 16th . For the fans that were fortunate enough to experience the Grand Prix this year and better yet for those who may have missed it, good news hangs in the balance; Baltimore will be hosting the Grand Prix race for the next 5 years. ON THE COVER Photo by Rachel Lea Johnson, Staff Photographer

October 2011 • WomanScope NewsMagazine



From The Publisher’s Desk…


By Janet Davis-Leak, Publisher/Editor-in-chief

Woman of the Month .. 4, 5

Off the Shelf .................. 15

Mom Central .................... 5

Beauty ............................ 15

Fitness ............................. 6

Smart Woman ............... 16

Move of the Month .......... 6

Woman of Faith ............. 16

Health & Medical ............ 7

Arts & Entertainment .... 16

Community News ............ 8

Education.................17, 18

Organizations Corner ...... 8

Pet Care ......................... 18

Wired ................................ 9

Car Care ......................... 18

Advise............................. 10

Finance .......................... 19

The Healing Place ......... 10

Political News ................ 20

Travel .............................. 11

International News ........ 21

Green Living................... 11

Editorials ........................ 22

B'more Book Festival .... 12

Inspirationally Yours ...... 22

As we enter fall, moving towards the upcoming winter months, my mind immediately turns to all the joys wrapped up in these seasons; beautiful fall leaves scattered, apple cider and pumpkin squash; warm fires; boots, warm coats and scarves; rosy cheeks and marshmallow toasts. Good times with family and friends sitting around food-laden tables. Conversely, the seasons also bring to mind, those who haven’t enough to eat, are homeless and may be in cold weather and in desperate need of warm boots and other winter wear. Let us stay mindful of how blessed we are in our individual lives, and in so doing be sure to extend helping hands of kindness to others who are less fortunate. Commit now to clearing out that closet you’ve been meaning to get to, and give those gently used garments to your community “clothes closet”. Take time to volunteer with a community organization of your choice, and make a positive difference in someone else’s life. I know I plan to do this, and hope you will join me. Our cover story this month, written by staff writer Erin Hart, highlights Ana Beatriz, one of three female racers who competed in the Baltimore Grand Prix. Our exclusive interview reveals Ana’s reasons for entering this male-dominated field and what motivates her to continue to compete. Political writer, Alis Amason, follows-up on the outcome of the Baltimore primary mayoral race and examines each candidate’s position. Our Health columnist, Lisa Davila gives tips on flu prevention, while Angeline Huffman cautions that we should “know our financial standing” in our Finance section. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and our Woman-of-the-Month is Lillie Shockney, administrative director of the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center and a two-time cancer survivor. Written by Erin Frost, managing editor/staff writer, Lillie’s inspiring story of the faith and hope she displayed while dealing with this devastating disease is truly inspiring! Learn how her program is helping hundreds of women cope and regain control of their lives and their health. Lindsay Stroh writes on how to start a “green” movement in your community and Leslie Orndoff shares information on how to deal with the “shy child” in her Mom Central column. Been to the library lately? Well, you may want to visit after reading Jeff Barken’s engaging article about Enoch Pratt and its librarian, Selma Levi. We are proud to launch our Woman of Faith column this month with words from Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton of the Beit Tikvah congregation, located in Baltimore City, MD. The rabbi shares her recent experiences while traveling to Ghana and the exceptional women she met there. She reminds us of how very fortunate most of us are, when compared to many people living in other countries (women and children in particular) and reveals how this experience has moved her to want to increase her outreach ministry through doing missions in other countries. Please read these, and all of the other wonderful offerings we have for you this month. Be sure to take care of yourselves (get your flu shots and mammograms)……. and don’t forget to pass the good word about WomanScope! Happy reading!


Sports............................. 14

MARYLAND NEW DIRECTIONS, INC. Celebrates 38 Years of Service Honoring Carol McGowan Tuesday, November 8, 2011 6:00 to 8:30 PM at Mt. Washington Conference Center Co-Chairs Winnie and Neal Borden Tickets and Sponsorships: 410-230-0630 Maryland New Directions is a 501(c)(3) charity



Lillie Shockney

By Erin Frost, Managing Editor/Staff Writer


leanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” This quote came to mind within minutes of sitting with one of the most extraordinary women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Lillian D. Shockney is Associate Professor in the Departments of Surgery and Gynecology and Obstetrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the University Distinguished Service Assistant Professor of Breast Cancer, and the Administrative Director of The Avon Foundation Breast Center at Johns Hopkins. A two time breast cancer survivor herself, Lillie knows all too well the devastation that follows hearing a diagnosis such as this. Breast

WomanScope NewsMagazine • October 2011 cancer affects about one in every eight women and is the second most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in women (skin cancer ranking first). Roughly 20 to 30 percent of women diagnosed with this disease have a family history; the risk of diagnosis doubles if there is a first degree relative who has been diagnosed. As we sat comfortably in her office, Lillie began her story. “I was diagnosed the first time at the age of 38, which was a huge surprise. It was not something I had anticipated to be on my radar screen, no family history, no known risk factors,” and echoes documented research, that “70 percent of diagnosed patients have no family history.” Exactly two years later, she was diagnosed again, this time on the other breast with multicentric cancer (more than one tumor). Denial and feelings of being overwhelmed rushed through this young mother. What came next was an unyielding desire to survive, as she told her doctor, “You do whatever it is you have to do, I have a 12 year old to raise.” Armed with the support of her family and friends, willfulness and a healthy sense of humor, Lillie began her long battle of fighting this disease, beating the odds. Nine years ago, Lillie became a candidate for breast reconstruction. Simultaneously, she felt excitement and a sense of guilt. Knowing that with the surgery would come much needed recovery time, she worried about the patients that she would be leaving behind during this process. To get to know Lillie is to have a keen understanding that selfishness is not a part of who she is, so much so that, on the morning of her surgery, concerned that the doctors who would be performing surgery on

her would have trouble because of their close working relationship, she taped humorous messages --- one read “Super size me,” and the other, “I’m here for a front-end realignment” -- to each of her breasts hoping the messages would put her colleagues at ease. It worked. Safely out of surgery, Lillie, who had already been working full time at Johns Hopkins as a Registered Nurse, as well as logging hours volunteering, now felt the need to be connected to breast cancer patients coming in after her. Immediately following her procedure, “There were several things that were done, that I felt could have been done better,” she recalls. For example, after her procedure, Lillie began to experience what is known as phantom limb pain, a “mild to extreme pain felt in the area where a limb has been amputated.” Not knowing whether it was because it was assumed that with her medical background she would just “know” how to handle the aftercare, or whether it was a missing piece of patient education, Lillie decided to make it her mission to fill in the blank spaces. Lillie offered to develop patient education information, as well as a survivor volunteer team; she would be its first member. This would offer newly diagnosed patients support and education from someone who had experienced breast cancer first hand; it could help reduce some of the anxiety that patients experience. Lillie wanted her patients to know that regardless of the road ahead, “This is going to be doable.” She wanted to educate and support her patients particularly with the difficult psycho-social topics, such as sexuality and body image that are often left out of post

surgery conversations by doctors. It is her goal for patients to look at the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and not just see it as doable, but to provide the treatment needed in such a way that it is “the least physically and emotionally traumatic.” Having survived cancer not once but twice, one may expect Lillie to spend moments contemplating her misfortunes, and asking, “Why me?” Instead, she says she feels “blessed” to have gone through what she has because it enables her to do the work she does. Initially volunteering six hours a week, within three months she was carrying her full time 60-hour R.N. caseload and volunteering 24 hours a week. It began to take its toll and it was then that she had a discussion with her husband; something had to give. Lillie recalls during that conversation that her husband confided, “I can tell if you stayed late for your regular job, or for the breast cancer center.” Affectionately, he said, “you either look like Eeyore when you come through the door, or you look like Tigger; and I like sleeping with Tigger.” Lillie knew immediately that Tigger was in the breast center---where she was meant to be full-time. Less than three months later, she made that happen. In addition to her full schedule, she also runs weekend long retreats for patients who are dying from Metastatic disease and their partners. These intense retreats are a time for patients and their family members to prepare for what lies ahead; it is a time for them to solidify a plan for the future and to get strength from each other. The retreats, the only ones in See Beating Cancer, page 5

October 2011 • WomanScope NewsMagazine

Growing Up Shy Tips for Raising a Shy Child By Lindsey Orndoff, Staff Writer Every parent has a vision of what their child will become. Maybe she will be a successful doctor. Perhaps he will grow to be a great artist. Whatever the vision is, parents universally desire for their child to be well adjusted and happy. Often times though, a parent is confronted by the realization that their child is not excelling in a vital area of development. He or she may withdraw from groups of children or be unable to express themselves clearly, if at all, to an unfamiliar adult. Some may act confident and content at home, but when crossing the threshold into the outside world, become introverted and shy. Children who do so need a little extra encouragement, understanding, and help developing into confident, self-assured individuals. “First, make sure there are no neurological or sensory integration issues,” says Family Therapist Karen Katrinick, LCMST. “It is best to rule out anything biological before confronting the psychological.” Though the theory of sensory disorders and the way they affect behavior has been circulating since 1970, it is an idea that is virtually unknown among parents today. A child with Sensory Process-

it instead of encouraging interaction. Encouraging your child to interact with others is vital to helping her overcome her tendency towards shyness. “Start by having one on one play dates, then gradually add more children,” adds Katrinick. This slow introduction allows ing Disorder (SPD) is processing sensory inyour child to develop a level of comfort with formation incorrectly. They may interpret the one child so that as the new playmates are introsensation of a tag on a shirt as painful, or the duced she has one person whom she can lean sound of a ticking clock may seem loud and on socially. This support will frightening. SPD symptoms hopefully, help her overcome can be misinterpreted or misher shyness with the other childiagnosed as other disorders dren. This slow approach will such as ADHD, or at the boost her confidence allowing other end of the spectrum, as her to develop the skills she debilitating shyness. A develneeds to make new friends and opmental pediatrician can eimaintain friendships. ther diagnose or rule out the possibility of SPD. A shy child may also enOnce the possibility of counter challenges within their classrooms. They may SPD has been eliminated, fall behind academically there are a number of techbecause they lack the confiniques a parent can employ dence needed to engage the to help a shy child maneuteacher. He or she may be ver in a world that demands fearful of asking questions confidence and assertivePHOTO/ISTOCK and participating in classness. “Don’t force your child There are techniques to help room activities. Be sure to to talk,” cautions Katrinick, a shy child develop confitalk to your child’s teacher “and don’t shame him; cre- dence and assertiveness and compare notes. See how ate an environment where they react at home verses at he feels safe.” Make sure not school. Take that information and work out to draw attention to the fact that your child the best way to assist them in dealing with withdraws or acts shy. In doing so you are their issues in the classroom. If your child is simply reinforcing the behavior, facilitating

BeatinG CANCER...TWICE Lilly Shockney, from page 4 the country, are held four times a year and are not limited to Johns Hopkins patients. As there are only 24 hours in a day, Lillie should be out of time; but that is never the case for this one woman pioneer. In 2010, the supply and demand of cancer patients and those entering the field of oncology crossed; it is projected that by 2020 there will be a 40-41 percent deficit of oncologists. Now, Lillie has yet another focus and project. She has been asked to direct Johns Hopkins Medicine Survivorship Program. Based on patient’s stage of their disease, treatment given to them, and risk of the disease returning, she, along with her team members, will determine how long an appropriate time is to follow those patients’ treatments in the breast center. Once determined, she will work with her patients to reengage their PCP’s and gynecologists so that they will have a support system within their communities. And not just for breast cancer patients-for all cancer patients. Lillie will assist in forging these relationships so that patients, with their doctors, will be able to look for reoccurrence, monitor themselves and minimize side effects. “I want all my patients to be confident in their self management skills.” says Lillie. Accomplishing this goal means that less at risk patients can manage their care outside the

hospital, thus opening spaces for those newly diagnosed. Whether comforting a newly diagnosed patient or celebrating a patient’s final round of chemotherapy, Lillie is prepared and honored to be their advocate. She is the epitome of selflessness and leadership. A recipient of more than 25 National Awards, author of over a dozen books including her latest published in June 2011, “100 Questions and Answers About Advanced & Metastatic Cancer,” Lillian Shockney also answers hundreds of questions a day on Yahoo’s “Ask an Expert” medical website. She is a recognized national public speaker on the topic of breast cancer and is the co-founder (along with her mother) and Vice President of the "Mothers Supporting Daughters with Breast Cancer" nationwide non-profit organization. On September 26, 2011 Lillie received more amazing news; she has been nominated by a co-worker for the “most amazing nurse” award given by Johnson & Johnson. This award requires public votes; those who wish to do so can, beginning Sept. 27 until Oct 18th by following this link: http://www.!/jnjnursingnotes?sk=a pp_215728808468120.


MOM CENTRAL young, preschool through third grade or so, you can visit his or her class. Read a book or volunteer to help out with an activity. Your child will view your presence as a treat, and will most likely experience a much needed boost in confidence as a result. Role play can also aid in combating classroom anxiety. You can pretend to be the student and let your child direct the lesson. You may be surprised to find issues that unmask themselves, such as the presence of a school bully or fear of failure with a particular activity or lesson. You can then address the issue, devising methods of coping with it. Role playing can be an invaluable tool to utilize when assisting your shy child with making friends. Have him or her practice making eye contact and come up with methods of initiating play with others. Guide your child in the best approach for joining in games at the playground. Let them know that they should find their niche in a group by observing first. Always model the behaviors you would like to see in your child; be outgoing, make eye contact, and act relaxed in social situations. They will then sense your comfort and will hopefully, follow your lead. Some children are born ready to soak up the limelight, while others need a gentle push. Regardless of which category your child falls into, love, understanding, and patience are the traits parents need to guide a child through the difficult task of growing up.


WomanScope NewsMagazine • October 2011


Cultivating a positive self-image For your body and life

By Jason Bosley-Smith, CSCS, FDN; What do you see when you look in the mirror? Is the reflection one of reality or a skewed perception of self? Do you accept your body for where it is right now or, like many, do you harbor feelings of negativity towards your body and self? Body image is the perception or picture you have of your own self. Unfortunately, research has shown that negative body image can harm many people, especially women.“There is clear evidence that negative body image is linked to serious health and emotional problems,” states Lisa Druxman, a psychology/weight control specialist. “People with poor body image are more likely to experience depression, disordered eating and anxiety disorders. They are also more likely to go to unhealthy lengths to change or alter their bodies and appearance.” Statistics from the National Eating Disorders Association state that in the United States alone, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. These statistics are frightening and illustrate the psychological and social impact that negative self-image can have on such a vast portion of the population. Signs that indicate poor body image

can include having a distorted perception of your shape and being ashamed, being selfconscious and remaining in an anxious state regarding your body. The first step to accepting your body starts in your mind. Look in the mirror without judging yourself; view yourself as a whole person instead of compartmentalizing your body. Change from negative thinking to a more positive thought process by developing rituals that you perform each day. Here are two great examples to begin with: 1. Daily Affirmations. An affirmation is a word or phrase that you repeat either out loud or in your head to reinforce the positive attributes you are working on creating. There are no rules to crafting your own personal affirmation – the only requirement is that it speaks to you. Your affirmation may sound something like “I am beautiful both inside and out,” or “Confidence, courage, clarity.” Start each day with a brisk 10 minute walk while repeating your affirmation. Exercise, even brisk walking, produces a physiological effect with the release of endorphins. Paired with the affirmations, you’ll create a state of positive energy in both mind and body. 2. “Beautiful Body” Journal. Journaling is a proven method to enhance your

thoughts and outlook. While most journals focus on life experiences or career goals, you can create a journal specifically designed to foster a better image of your body and self. In your journal you can set goals in terms of achieving physical health and emotional well-being rather than obsessing about your physical appearance. You can even clip out images of healthy, realistic individuals that you aspire to be more like or words that express the sensations you want to achieve such as “energy” and “vitality.” Another important component to improving your self-image and accepting your body is physical activity. As I mentioned earlier, physical activity results in the release of “feel good” hormones that can boost your sense of well-being. Find a physical activity that you enjoy and can sustain; accomplishing something physical will boost your selfesteem. Partner up with a friend who has similar goals to help each other not only remain accountable, but to generate some “positive vibes.” Accept where you are today and recognize that you have the power to create change in your life if you so choose, but always start from a place of positive thoughts and feelings about yourself and that image that reflects back at you from the mirror.

References Hitzman, Sue. (2004) Boosting your body image. IDEA Personal Trainer. Volume 2005, Number 5 (Crowther et al., 1992; Fairburn et al., 1993; Gordon, 1990; Hoek, 1995; Shisslak et al., 1995). National Eating Disorders Association.

MOVE OF THE MONTH LATERAL BAND WALK A great move to target trouble spots in the hips, the lateral band walk can be easily incorporated into your routine by using the following technique: DESCRIPTION: Stand with a resistance band under the feet; feet shoulder-width apart. Grip the handles of the band, cross them, and draw them up towards waist level. Bend your knees slightly and while maintaining tension on the band, slowly lift foot and step to the side. Lift the other foot and bring it towards the first. Continue this side step motion, walking laterally - wide step with the lead leg, followed by shorter step by the following leg. MISTAKES: 1. Dragging feet 2. Slumping over in poor posture. 3. Allowing band to jerk leg quickly; motion should be smooth and controlled. Yours in Health, Jason Bosley-Smith, CSCS, FDN Founder,, "Your prescription for a healthy, fit lifestyle." Connect with me:

DO I HAVE TO EXERCISE TODAY? By Tonya Wigfall, Staff Writer/ Fitness Trainer/Instructor I’m several weeks into my training and on this particular day I just wasn’t feeling it. Have you ever had one of those days? Of course you have. We all do, even the most athletic person you know who exercises regularly has days like that. So, what do you do to get through the hurdle, plateau, and/or lack of motivation? You have to focus on your goal! Well, my mind-set changed after yet another conversation with my dad. “So, I told one of my Army buddies that you are doing the Army 10-miler with me,” he says. I really wasn’t too shocked because if your father is anything like mine, he found great pleasure in sharing that information with his buddy. What amazed him, however, was my response to his next statement; “My buddy seems to think you’re going to beat me.” I replied, “Well, I am and if I don’t I won’t be that far behind you!” Wow, did I really say that out loud? Not only did that motivate me to get serious about my training, but my response motivated the competitive side of my father as well. I just simply can’t have my 60-year old father beat me no matter how good of shape he is in. Yes, I’m competitive too! What motivates you? Think about the reason you set the goal in the first place. Did the doctor tell you that you need to lose weight? Is your 10-year class reunion fast approaching? Or, do you simply want to feel better? So, I exercised that day in spite of how I felt. It actually made me feel better. There are numerous benefits to exercise. Exercise gets your blood pumping, which then delivers oxygen to your entire body. It can boost your self-esteem and help instill a pride in yourself knowing that you accomplished something. Exercise can also provide a time for reflection; which can go a long way in reducing stress. People who exercise stay healthier longer and can even keep from developing some health conditions. And, one of the best benefits of all; exercise allows you to add more calories to your diet. Now, this doesn’t mean you can pig out though! Although I increased my miles this week, I still ran at the same pace as before. That too, made me feel better but I’m definitely going to have to push myself in the future, if I want to beat my father. After my run, I walked to cool off and then I stretched. The main purpose of the cool down is to promote recovery and return the body to its normal state prior to exercise. The cool down/stretch also assists your body in its repair process and helps to reduce muscle soreness. You should always warm-up before and cool down after every work-out. Another day of my journey done! What’s your motivation? If you have any questions or just want to share your goals, please feel free to “ASK TONYA”.

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October 2011 • WomanScope NewsMagazine

Women and the Effects of Alcohol Women at Higher Risks for Serious Medical Consequences By Buddy T, Guide Women have higher risk than men for certain serious medical consequences of alcohol use, including liver, brain and heart damage, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. A recent NIAAA Alcohol Alert reports that women achieve higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood and become more impaired than men after drinking equivalent amounts of alcohol. They are more susceptible than men to alcohol-related organ damage and to trauma resulting from traffic crashes and interpersonal violence.

Alcohol and Gender Differences "We know that some of this risk is due to gender differences in metabolism; it also could quite possibly be due to gender-related differences in brain chemistry, in genetic risk factors, or to entirely different factors that are currently unknown," said NIAAA Director Enoch Gordis, M.D. Women absorb and metabolize alcohol differently than men. Women generally achieve higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood after drinking equivalent amounts of alcohol.

Multiple Factors


Flu prevention Get an early start By Lisa M. Davila, Staff Writer

Fever. Chills. Sore throat. Add body aches and fatigue and you might have the flu. If spending a week in bed feeling miserable isn’t on your “to do” list of winter activities, prepare now. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that annual outbreaks of the seasonal flu usually occur during the late fall through early spring. “Late September and early October is when people start thinking about the flu. With the kids back in school and more people staying indoors because of cooler weather, we begin to see flu outbreaks spreading around the state,” says Greg Reed, program manager of the Center for Immunization at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Unlike the 2009-2010 flu season, in which H1N1 was the predominant strain, two other types (H3 and B) made up approximately 55 percent of cases in Maryland during the 20102011 season. The rest were H1N1, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH). [EDITOR: ]. NEVER TOO EARLY TO PREPARE Even while the weather’s still mild, flu viruses lurk—with sporadic reports of illness occurring across the state and the U.S. But it’s best to get vaccinated before widespread outbreaks start. “The flu vaccine should be available to people sometime in September,” Reed says. Despite a vigorous vaccination campaign by the federal and state governments, some

The following are some of the areas in which women experience more effects than men who drink alcohol at the same rate as women: Liver Damage -- Compared with men, women develop alcohol-induced liver disease over a shorter period of time and after con-

people procrastinate. “By the time January rolls around, many people forget about it even though flu season typically peaks from January through March,” Reed says. “It’s still worth it to get the vaccine, even very late in the season.” A DUBIOUS PAST There are people who are afraid to be vaccinated. Some of these fears may have arisen because of the 1976 flu vaccine campaign. In less than three months, over 40 million doses of vaccine were administered with the hope of curtailing an imminent swine flu pandemic—which never came about. Within four months of the campaign’s start, the vaccines were suspended because more than 500 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS—a rare neurological disease that causes muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis) were reported, including 25 deaths. In 2004, the Institute of Medicine issued a report concluding that scientific evidence indicated that the 1976 swine flu vaccine may have caused GBS in some cases. TODAY’S SAFER VACCINES Since the 1976 campaign, there has been no scientific evidence of an association between later flu vaccines and adverse effects, including GBS. Both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continually monitor the safety of all vaccines. Other people have concerns that the vaccines can cause the flu. But studies of millions of people have shown conclusively that this does not occur. The nasal spray form of the vaccine can, however, cause side effects including runny nose, cough, fatigue, sore throat or headache. These symptoms are typically mild and don’t last long.


HEALTH suming less alcohol. Women are also more likely than men to develop alcoholic hepatitis and to die from cirrhosis. Brain Damage -- Women may be more vulnerable than men to alcohol-induced brain damage. Using MRI, researchers found that a brain region involved in coordinating multiple brain functions was significantly smaller among alcoholic women compared with both nonalcoholic women and alcoholic men. Heart Disease -- Among heavier drinkers, research shows similar rates of alcohol-associated heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy) for both men and women, despite women's 60 percent lower lifetime alcohol use. Breast Cancer -- Many studies report that moderate to heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk for breast cancer, although one recent study found no increased breast cancer risk associated with consumption of up to one drink per day, the maximum drinking level reported by most women. Traffic Crashes -- Although women are less likely than men to drive after drinking and to be involved in fatal alcohol-related

IF YOU’RE STILL HESITANT Consider these facts: • More than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications each year • Approximately 23,600 people in the U.S. die each year from flu-related illness Getting the vaccine will lessen the chance that you’ll spread the virus to your family and friends, and will help protect those who are particularly vulnerable, like people with underlying health conditions, seniors, babies and children, and pregnant women. “The most important thing you can do for your health and those around you is to get a flu vaccine early in the season,” Reed says. “Hand hygiene throughout the season is also paramount to prevention. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.” If you have any questions about whether you should get a flu shot, ask your healthcare provider. For more information, check out www. or DHMH []. Seasonal flu vaccination clinics are offered all over Maryland. Call your local health department for dates, times and locations.

crashes, women have a higher relative risk of driver fatality than men at similar blood alcohol concentrations. Laboratory studies of the effects of alcohol on responding to visual cues and other tasks suggest that there may be gender differences in how alcohol affects the performance of driving tasks.

More Research Needed Researchers are currently attempting to identify gender-specific genetic factors whose interactions might contribute to differential sensitivity to alcohol's effects. "The alcohol research field has begun to recognize the importance of understanding gender differences in how alcohol is used, in the consequences of alcohol use, and in the development of alcohol dependence," said Dr. Gordis. "The more science can tell us about gender-related aspects of alcohol-related problems -- not only what they are but why -- the better job we will be able to do to prevent and treat those problems in all populations" he said.



FLU FIGHTER You can help the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene monitor our state’s flu activity by signing up for the Maryland Resident Influenza Tracking Survey. [http://www.marylandfluwatch. org/maryland-resident-flu-tracking] EVERYDAY PREVENTION According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, follow these guidelines for good health during flu season. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze, or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or sneeze into the crook of your arm. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Viruses spread this way. Avoid close contact with sick people. Stay home if you are sick until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (100°F or 37.8°C) or signs of a fever. While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.


WomanScope NewsMagazine • October 2011


Shadowing Mrs. Levi By Jeffrey F. Barken, Staff Writer In an era of bleak economics, when even the survival of the US Post Office now seems in jeopardy, Americans despair. Despite shrinking state budgets, in Baltimore, the local library continues to perform its essential role for our community with notable success. The children’s department at the Enoch Pratt Central Library, in particular, demonstrates the strong commitment to early education, as well as its winning strategy, reaching out to its reading patrons and their families in these worst of financial times. Dickens would be pleased. Selma Levi, the supervisor of the children’s department is one of two full time staff members, assisted by two part time associates and a secretary at the central branch on Cathedral Street. Asked to comment on the financial restraints confronting the library, she acknowledges, “We are extremely short-staffed.” But then she smiles, revealing optimism about the creativity of her colleagues and the future of the library system as a whole. On this busy afternoon, a computer glitch stretches Mrs. Levi’s staff resources thin. As she darts back and forth between the shelves in another room and her desk to generate a list of books for a teacher, two boys are using the research computers to play online games. Children are permitted to play one game per thirty-minute session. It is recommended that they play the pre-approved games listed on the library’s “Kidsbuzz” page. If they change

games, an administrator must unlock the computer. Mrs. Levi is the only one working on the floor. Visibly stressed by the children’s frequent demands, and their growing frustration with the computers, she nevertheless remains patient. “If we are accommodating and inviting, 90 percent of the time the children playing games on the computer will take a look at a book once their computer time is finished.” Levi observes. Her reflection demonstrates the fundamental role that the library plays in American education: exposure to the written word. Mrs. Levi stresses, “The library exists to open doors and facilitate processes of learning and discovery.” The adoption of new technologies into the library setting, like computers, and Nook Ereaders, should therefore not be frowned upon, even if they come at the expense of additional demands on supervising staff. In the long run these tools broaden the spectrum of what is possible, offer children and adults knowledge at their fingertips, and, sometimes, help to engineer new and unconventional pathways back to the library’s most prized asset: its treasure of books and skilled librarians. For Levi, the outreach strategy is simple. “You use everything you’ve got,” to achieve success. What is not immediately evident on a trip to the library is the degree of assessment and applied psychology that the Enoch Pratt staff performs daily. In the children’s department,

librarians provide a “Readers Advisory” service geared toward finding young readers books that suit their interests. This is no easy task. “You have to evaluate the child’s perspective, and spot the outside influences,” Mrs. Levi says, acknowledging the sway parents have over their child’s reading choices. “If parents want their child to be reading chapter books, and the child only wants to read about sports, then you have a problem. The challenge is to find something for both the parent and the child so that they can share the experience of reading simultaneously. Bottom line; you have to use finesse. You may only have one chance to get the child to read.” To accomplish this, librarians use a “Goldilocks” approach. They ask pointed questions to assess a child’s particular interests and offer examples of genres to connect with reticent young readers. “Too hard? Too Easy? Just Right?” A good librarian establishes reading patterns and preferences, introduces new ideas and subject matter, generates suggested reading lists, and, with time together, may discover the root cause of a child’s reluctance to read. Ideally, the end result is a success for the whole family; parents and children are brought together through books. Our library serves a stressed and needy community. Every day, before opening, a long line of patrons waits to gain entrance. Mr. Roswell Encina, the library’s Director of Communications, acknowledges that roughly 30 percent of Baltimore’s population is without a computer or Internet access. This means that the library is the starting place for information access, conducting a job search, or for the simple pleasure of recreational reading. The community’s utilization of the library is remarkable. “Since the recession,” Mrs. Levi observes, “they have been coming in droves!”

A borrowed book or a bit of computer time is still the cheapest form of entertainment, as well as a springboard for opportunity. When asked what the most important genre is that children can read today in preparation for an uncertain future, Mrs. Levi recommends Fantasy. In essence, this genre follows the same educational model as the library as a whole. It opens a million doors, stimulates a playful imagination, and lets the reader explore an uncharted world of ideas. For Mrs. Levi and her dedicated staff, children’s fantasy, or the “Harry Potter effect” is the achievement of that noble goal, an organizational strategy that the Enoch Pratt library implements daily with measurable success.

Enoch Pratt Central Library helps to "open doors and facilitate processes of learning and discovery" for children


Do you have a neighbor going to bed hungry tonight? By Janice L. Williams, Vice President, Development St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore The recent headline in the Baltimore Sun was not news to the many service providers that have seen the numbers of people seeking assistance at in increasingly alarming rate over the past three years. St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore is an independent 501(c) 3 organization whose mission is to ensure that individuals and families in our community have the resources and the opportunity to care for themselves and build a better future. One of the oldest charitable organizations in the world, St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore emerged in 1865 as a source of material and spiritual aid for the poor. More than 145 years later, St. Vincent de Paul remains a pioneer in the development of social programs and the advocacy of social justice through a wide continuum of services that ranges from meeting basic human needs,

to empowering people to improve their quality of life, reach their fullest potential, and care for their families. We seek to make a measurable, targeted impact by building programs consistent with community needs. The poverty statistics are mirrored by the number of people who struggle daily with hunger. One in ten families and one in four children in Maryland are hungry. These numbers are deceiving when you consider that some of the richest counties in the nation are located in here. Hunger is prevalent in Baltimore. While one in four people in Baltimore City lives in poverty, which includes food insecurity, the number of hungry families in Baltimore County has nearly doubled in the last two years. The challenges of hunger are exacerbated by the existence of food deserts in Baltimore City. Food deserts are areas of the city where there are no full service grocery stores. As a result, people with limited incomes, and those who receive food stamps, lack access to fresh, nutritious foods and are required to shop at overpriced “corner stores’ where their dollars are quickly consumed. Last year, 20 percent of Baltimoreans were living in poverty; it has since increased to 25 percent. It is because of this astound-

ing increase in such a short amount of time, that it has become imperative that the local government, foundations, philanthropists, and others who are able to lend a hand maintain strong safety nets by ensuring ongoing support to service providers like St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore. St. Vincent de Paul’s Food Share program provides food to over 140 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in Baltimore City. On a quarterly basis, over 100,000 people (roughly 1 in 6 people in our community) receive this food. Through St. Vincent de Paul’s Samaritan Center $1,000,000 a year is distributed to prevent evictions and utility turn-offs. At Beans & Bread, our day resource center, 300 hot meals are prepared and served each day for people experiencing homelessness or living in the adjacent community. Nearly 1,000 children in our Head Start programs receive two nutritious meals and a snack daily. We engage families who have shared their blessings in the past by donating food to our programs and now find themselves seeking our assistance. The issues that lead to a family’s food insecurity are many; the staggering unemployment rate, rapidly rising expenses for utilities, and gasoline prices increasing are a few contributing factors. Even those

who are employed often have incomes that cannot compete with many of these costs, forcing families to skip meals. Whereas previously it wasn’t considered, families are now accessing food pantries and other community resources. National statistics reveal that one third of families with children living below the poverty line include an adult with full-time, yearround employment. As we read the headlines announcing that 25 percent of Baltimoreans live in poverty, it is even more startling to realize that 60 percent of those families have at least one adult with a full time job. When this picture is cast onto a national landscape the numbers are equally disturbing. In 2010, 45 states and the District of Columbia had at least one in five households with children (20 percent) struggling with food hardship. Consider this- on your next trip to the supermarket, count the houses you pass and remember that in every 10th house there is a family, a senior living on a fixed income, a person with a disability, or working people just like you and me struggling daily with hunger. For more information on hunger and how you can help go to

October 2011 • WomanScope NewsMagazine

Open Source A Sense of Community By Rita Engdahl, Staff Writer The Arabic language has a wonderful word which resonated with me the moment I heard it. The word in English is pronounced “Nafeer,” and it loosely means community. I like this word because it translates to “many people working together as one community.” Working within a positive and community-oriented environment enables great results to occur. In the world of computers, a comparable environment is Open Source (OSS) software. Open Source software fosters a sense of community. (OSS) projects are developed by various people from different organizations working toward a common goal. Imagine truly innovative software which isn’t dependant upon a developer, company or origin of country. OSS users are free to utilize and to distribute the open source software. Its code is used to write programs whose licenses give users the ability to run the program for almost any purpose. Companies and developers can educate themselves on the software, change and enhance the software and most significantly, redistribute copies of the software. Software Developers can redistribute the original software and also the modified version without paying royalties to anyone. Pleasantly, the OSS developers do not feel exploited because it is all done good-naturedly to satisfy of the software project’s OSS community. How cool is that?! You may have heard of some of the more successful OSS software projects such as: Linux Kernel, GNU Utilities and compilers, Ubuntu, OpenSSH and OpenSSL, Apache and MySQL. MySQL is a popular open source database management application and a suitable case study. Just like any successful business, it takes time, but more importantly the right people, at the right time, to successfully build an opensource community. It all begins with an idea

to build a platform to provide a software solution which enables organizations to gain more value from their applications, systems and databases. Initiating an OSS project often begins with funding, vision, optimism and energy in order to get off the ground. Usually, there will be a profitable company who desires the development of the OSS project. In many ways, MySQL is the quintessential commercial opensource success story. MySQL began as an Open Source Software project designed to meet the requirements of users who wanted a simpler and more comfortable database management application. After a few years MySQL continued growing strong with almost $90 million users before being acquired by Sun Microsystems in 2008. MySQL built an incredible developer and user community which registered millions of downloads. It was one of the pioneers encouraging open-source communities. I remember working with a small company where we created all manners of digital widgets. Our company didn’t have a lot of money at the time, and it was a huge benefit for us to use MySQL to test queries and setup databases to run our in-house projects. We decided to use it because of the high level of affordability, in other words, it was free. Our development team wrote to the project administrator for MySQL and requested to be formally added to the open source project as a contributor. We were able to download the code and play in our own little in-house sandbox. We were also able to suggest MySQL to our customer base as a free tool since the reliability and performance were both dependable. Our junior developers were able to get their work done without needing more than a basic knowledge of SQL and database management systems. There was no need for training and no requirement for robust Database Management Systems (DBMS) when we only required support for Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) and Open Database Connection (ODBC) scripting languages. Our widget solutions were able to run on major operating systems. Our internal development team was able to work with support members who had direct access to the open source software developers. By allowing businesses and average folks to use a free database management system, the MySQL Open Source project opened up lines of communication which would have been difficult to establish otherwise. One of my personal sayings is “Fear and innovation cannot live in the same head space.” In order to innovate, one must feel free to imagine, be free to create, and have the freedom to make mistakes. OSS is an example of the incredible value that can result when software developers have the freedom to imagine and develop solutions which have the potential to enhance productivity for the entire OSS Project’s user community. When two or more come together in this manner, the inspiration can be beneficial to all.



October is National

Breast Cancer and

Domestic Violence Awareness Month Let’s keep fighting this disease and stop the violence!


WomanScope NewsMagazine • October 2011


Woman to Woman By Dr. Renée Parks, Staff Writer


Dear Dr. Renée, what is a healthy time frame for an engagement to become marriage? My fiancé and I have been together for three years, yet engaged for two. We also live together and have a child. What’s the hold up? Am I moving too fast? - Engaged Longtime

starting his own business. Tell your man how much potential that he has and the opportunities that are available for his skill set. A man can grow, when his queen believes in him but set a deadline and stick to it.

Hello Engaged. There is no mandatory time frame for marriage as this is based on the comfort level for commitment of both partners. Whether you’ve been together a year or twenty– the question is what are you willing to accept. Ask yourself what type of relationship do you want to model for your child. Go with your gut on this one. Married or shacking, choose the construct that looks more promising to you.

Dear Dr. Renée, I am a heavyset woman suffering from very low self-esteem. My depression has become so bad, that I have begun pushing myself sexually on men to feel wanted. I hate where I am, and need help to stop this promiscuity. Wanting a child has also caused me to not to use any protection. I am scared, but don't know how to stop. Please help. - Anyman Willdo


Dear Dr. Renée, it seems like I always fall for the “bad-boy” type. My current boyfriend has been incarcerated several times, but treats me like a queen. He can't find work due to his past, so I find myself providing for everything financially. My friends say that he is using me. What can I do to help my situation? - Financial Lockdown


Hi Financial. Lots of people are having challenges finding employment right now but if your man is able-bodied, then it’s not your responsibility to take care of him. This is a good time for him to explore his skills by

Until death do us part: When an Abuser Twists Sacred Vows By Annie Louise-Burton, Staff Writer Since the dawn of time these words been recited: “Until Death Do Us Part” at the majority of wedding ceremonies. The sacredness and purity of these vows reflect a couple’s pledge of a love that can only be separated upon the death of the other. When taken from that perspective, these words commemorate the infallibility of a marital relationship where one commits themselves eternally for the sake of oneness in love. And in the natural progression of most marriages, marital vows symbolize a healthy union. What happens, however, when an abuser twists these sacred vows? The majority of individuals who recite these vows do so from a spirit of selflessness, and pledge to remain not only faithful to the one whom they wed, but also as a metaphorical commitment of a never-ending connection, for as long as the two remain on this side of earth. From an abuser’s perspective however, it is not merely commitment, but rather a venue through which they can, what they believe, “legally,” assert power and control. Abusers, by their very nature are insecure, narcissistic people who will go to extreme measures to mask their abusive behavior. When an abuser makes these vows, “Until death do us part,”

those words take on a whole new meaning. According to Kurt Smith, in his article “Warning Signs of An Abusive Husband,” the long-term effects that may result from emotional and verbal abuse include: • distrust of her spontaneity • loss of enthusiasm • distrust of future relationships • uncertainty about how she is coming across • concern that something is wrong with her • inclination to reviewing incidents with the hopes of determining what went wrong • loss of self-confidence • growing self-doubt • internalized critical voice • and so many more consequences Ergo, when an abuser makes these vows, he or she is pledging that their significant other belongs to them from a space of selfishness. To abusers, the profession of these vows means that you commit yourself “Until death do us part,” as a symbolic gesture of being indentured, property, chattel, and in their own depraved mind, the vows are more than likely related to “your” death but certainly not theirs. In the marriage covenant, many abusers will jokingly make comments such as “I paid for you,” “You belong to me,” or perhaps, proclaim “You will have to die your way out of this.”

Understandably, marriage partners are endued with certain “legal” rights and when approached from that vantage, it makes perfect sense that “rights” are asserted, particularly when it comes to the painful issue of divorce, division of property and more importantly, custodial rights to ensure parity. And while divorce is one of the most traumatic events one could face in life, it is quantifiably and qualitatively more emotionally and physically taxing when trying to escape firm grips of an abuser. Abusers often suffer from many underlying conditions such as bi-polar disorder, drug addiction, alcoholism and/or other disorders that are artfully masked, since abusers become masterful at appearing to be charming, charismatic and the last person of whom one would expect abuse. In fact, those who are the most skillful, lead their victim into believing that perhaps something has gone awry with them, and often use what is commonly referred to in domestic violence as “crazy-making.” According to Connection Between Abuse and Mental Illness, “When a perpetrator commits deliberate acts, or manipulates to make a victim feel crazy, or to believe they are crazy, it is a form of power and control.” Feelings of disbelief, confusion and shame are all a part of crazy making. Crazy making can involve verbal abuse–threats, taunts, shame, blame, humiliation or name calling. It can involve physical abuse, coercion, retaliation, deprivation or physical harm. Society has bought into the myth that domestic violence is always about physical or violent acts of crime and often look in disbelief that you were, in fact, a victim because your



Hello Anyman. Weight does not define a woman’s character, so do not go there. Our issues are just a reflection of what's been going on inside. Many women are damaged by pain from the past. You can free yourself and build your self-esteem by forgiving the perceived wrongs. You can also affirm yourself daily: “I am beautiful, healthy, worthy of love and in control of my life”. A smart woman uses protection and gets a man’s permission before she uses him to make a baby Dr. Renée is wellness practitioner and the author of Paths to Wellness, Change Your Life in 30 Days. She can be reached at 410-630-6989. Submit your lifestyle questions to:

bruises are not readily transparent. Yet, they are there. As subtle and unseen as they may be, the silent sufferers have an internal bruising that results in the same consequences and traumatic experience. Just ask any victim who has later become a victor. One such woman I met during a speaking engagement at a church who happened to be a victor from abuse by a man who had touted the title of District Attorney for domestic violence, told me in her Southern drawl, “I fought back, honey, and I won!.” Remember when your mom (or dad) would say “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” Well, he or she was correct and whilst speaking with a colleague today, I drew her attention to the “infamous” car fox that shows up in marketing advertisements for Car Max. The polite, unassuming consumer says great deal but “show me the car fax” all the while the salesman, trying to consummate the deal, insists it is a great buy. Well, yes, I now ask for “The Man Facts.” And while that disclaimer is reflective of my sense of humor, lo and behold, a website exists where one can take a free “husband rater quiz (both for wives and husbands) and can be found at the link below. Alas, I was not far off in my colorful, allegorical comment. Someone actually cared enough to create such a quiz. What may appear to be a good deal for another is fine and good but as for me, the facts are underneath the hood! Until next time, Hope and Believe; and most importantly, BE GOOD TO YOURSELF! Remember to join us on Face Book at Healing Place and use “The Power of the Pen!”

October 2011 • WomanScope NewsMagazine


Safe travel tips for women


By Jenna Swartz, Staff Writer Today, more than ever, women are choosing to do something that was once thought to be not only taboo, but too dangerous; they are traveling alone. In 2010, Travel and Leisure Magazine estimated that 50 percent of frequent fliers were women; a modest increase from years prior, and that number is slated to increase in coming years. Traveling solo can be an exhilarating experience. First, it offers freedom; you can plan every detail of your trip according to your interests and adhere to the schedule you alone create. Exploring sans partner can be a rewarding experience, and is a perfect time to relish your independence and self-actualization. Women from all over the world have shared their personal accomplishments and stories of being enlightened while on solo trips. Dangers and risk factors lurk whether traveling alone, with a partner or in groups, and certainly these risks increase when alone, however, following a few simple rules can ensure that you remain safe while on your adventure. WHEN IN ROME Doing a little research about the area you are visiting is of utmost importance before you step foot into that region, particularly if you are traveling abroad. Innocent and respectful gestures here in the U.S such as eye contact and smiling, are considered disrespectful in other countries, and in some regions, will signal that you are interested in a date or liaison to locals. Take care to observe others around you and follow their lead. HOME, SWEET HOME Everyone is looking for the best deals when planning a vacation. There are many legitimate deals which can be found online or from travel agencies. When cutting corners however, the last place you should be willing to compromise on is your hotel location. Many reputable hotels run deals, especially if you are booking an extended stay, so try to stay with a hotel name you are familiar with. These reliable hotels are located in tourist areas, where streets are better lit, maps are available and most importantly, pedestrian traffic is higher. Although a higher volume of people can also mean more opportunity for those with ill intentions to be present, you are safer in numbers, where possible threats are outnumbered. Ask for a room located near an elevator. This will keep you from having to walk a far distance down possibly dim lit hallways. If you are ordering room service, call in your order to the front desk rather than hanging a menu card on your door. This can alert predators that you are dining alone. If your hotel requires you to leave your room key at the front desk, always hand it to an employee. Do not just leave it on the counter. This is a prime time for a predator to take it and gain access to your room while you are out exploring. FASHION FORWARD If you are like many women, a shopping spree will be in order prior to your vacation. While you may be tempted to channel that

“inner diva”, keep it to a minimum. Of course you want to look great, but leave that flashy tube top and mini skirt at home. Your clothing should not attract attention (which can quickly turn to unwanted attention) to you. Again, know dress code of the area you are in. Other regions have much stricter dress codes and are less forgiving of midriff bearing. SHOW ME THE MONEY We live in a debit/credit card time. While it is smart to not carry large amounts of cash on your person, do keep enough money on you for emergencies. Have enough fare for transportation back to your hotel and change to make a phone call should your cell phone not work in a particular area or the battery dies. Try to bring with you only 1 or 2 credit cards at most, in case of theft. Not only does this limit the thief’s spending, but it also limits your headaches should you have to call and cancel your stolen cards. Keep copies of important documents in a safe, separate location (passports, credit cards, I.D). Many hotels offer safety deposit boxes to hold your valuables, so inquire within. YOU’VE GOT A FRIEND Leave a detailed (as much as possible) itinerary with a friend or family member back home. Check in with said person regularly. C’MON, C’MON, COMMON SENSE Common sense, female intuition and gut feelings will carry you a long way. Don’t venture

down dark or poorly lit streets. That drink or appetizer the stranger next to you may offer is probably harmless, but don’t chance it. If you believe you are being followed, cross the street and go into a shop and/or blend in with a group. Pack as light as possible so that you are not slowed down, creating an opportunity for dangers. Keeping these tips in mind will ensure that your trip is memorable and that you return home safely.

Starting a Green Movement in Your Community By Lindsay Stroh, Staff Writer On a wild green space along a quiet little road near my home, a developer is planning to construct a seven-story building with 400 parking spaces! The wildlife

CALLING ALL WOMEN OF FAITH!! Are you a Woman of Faith? (Christian, Jew, Hindu, Muslim ~ ALL faiths) Pastors, ministers, lay persons share your ministries, programs and visions with our WSNM readers! Have your activities and events showcased here! Worship members, recommend a Woman-of-Faith to be ~~Spot-Lighted ~~ In this very special section of WSNM!

Email your information to the publisher at: Or fax to: 410-522-5889 (Send by second Monday of each month for inclusion in an upcoming issue)

will lose their habitat, and we’ll be contending with traffic congestion, noise and air pollution. My neighbors and I are speaking up at meetings, writing letters, signing petitions, and studying environmental regulations. For years we’ve been carefully recycling and taking other energy-saving steps, but when it comes to the big issues, we’ve learned that greening ourselves individually is not enough. What environmental issue is of greatest concern to you? Is it unsafe food, polluted air, deforestation, water pollution, global warming? Of course they are all important, but you can be most effective by focusing your energies on just one or two issues. A good way to get started is to find an organization that is working on a cause you care about. A visit to or will help you research agencies related to your interests. Getting involved with a green organization can be done as a volunteer, a green collar employee or as an attendee at charity functions. You might support them through your community association, club or faith-based organization. Networking and seeing their programs in action will give you a hands-on education. Another approach is to find out where your local legislators and candidates for office stand on environmental issues. You can check out their voting records at the League of Conservation Voters, When they have green interests that match your concerns, volunteer and establish a rapport with staff members. What if you can't find an organization that matches your concerns, or suppose an issue comes up that hasn't been addressed publicly before? Consider spearheading a cause of your own! Get a group of like-minded people together to research the issue, set goals, and develop strategies. Look for volunteers with talents you’ll need such as special event planning, legislative experience and environmental expertise, and have a treasurer you would trust with your life! Your media releases will be on recycled paper, or course, but mostly you’ll go paperless with a well-designed website—that’s essential! Invite green companies and foundations to be sponsors, and be sure to recognize them in your publicity and on your webiste. At your meetings and events, show that you are eco-savvy by offering local, organic foods and using products that are easily recyclable. You can raise public awareness and attract more people with a special event that includes trivia contests, green prizes, interesting speakers and activities related to your cause. Jenn Sevedge’s book, “The Green Teen,” is an excellent guide and includes inspiring stories of teens who have used people power to make a difference. High school student Erica Fernandez started an organization that successfully opposed a liquefied natural gas plant that would have increased air pollution and destroyed local farmland. “It showed everyone that when our community gets united we can be more powerful than a multinational billion-dollar company,” she says. “It gave everyone hope.”



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WomanScope NewsMagazine • October 2011


Jenny Simpson stuns the world... and herself... winning 1500m gold in Daegu By Ann Gaff, Women Talk Sports Blogger As I tried to keep my eyes open at 6:55am this morning to watch the women's 1500m final at the World Championships in Daegu, I wondered why I thought it was so important to catch this race live. "Why can't I just wake up in a few hours, stay off Twitter, and check the results online? This is insanity." I know that 6:55am is not that early, but it is when you've been up past midnight every night working. I was struggling. I dozed off during the first lap and found myself waking up when I heard the announcers exclaim that there had been a tussle and runners had fallen to the track. I looked closer, and one of the victims was Morgan Uceny of the USA. Bummer! She was our hope for a medal, having rounded into peak form at the right time in 2011, upsetting the other favorites for the win at the U.S. Championships in June, and then going on to win a couple of races on the Diamond League stage. An American woman, a favorite to possibly win the 1500m? No American woman had done so since Mary Decker in 1983, the first year the 1500m (a.k.a. the "Metric Mile") was contested on the world stage as opposed to the full mile. But Uceny was undoubtedly a viable contender. But now, she was dozens of meters off the back of the lead pack with no chance to recover. The 1500m is too short to make up that much time against a world-class field. I figured Maryam Jamal, defending champion, would take the gold now. I was awake now, so might as well stay awake until the end, even though it seemed to be anticlimactic now that Uceny was out of the picture. As the lead pack rounded into the homestretch, I watched to see who would pop out and power home with the best finishing kick. Natalia Rodriguez of Spain was leading, and the announcers were focusing on her, as she looked strong. All of a sudden a runner in navy blue bolted ahead with beautiful form. that who I think it is? The livestream window isn't large

Smart women read

and I wasn't in fullscreen mode because that usually makes the stream choppy. But I was pretty sure it was Jenny Simpson. But if it was, why weren't the commentators saying anything? This was a big deal! This was unexpected! This was not the American we had hinged our hopes on! A couple years ago, we may very well have been hinging our hopes on this woman. She had run under 4:00 that year in the 1500m as a college senior competing at the Prefontaine Classic. She trained under her college coach, University of Colorado head coach Mark Wetmore, through that summer season, finishing it with an American Record 9:12.50 and 5th place in the steeplechase at the World Championships in Berlin. If she had chosen to compete in the 1500m, which had been on the table at one point, she would have been one of the favorites, at least for one of the medals if not gold. But now, two years later, Simpson has had some struggles. Her first year as a pro was packed full with planning a wedding, finding an agent, choosing a sponsor and hiring a coach. As she said, "working with Coach Wetmore is no longer an option," and therefore she had to find both a place to call home for her and her new husband as well as someone to take over the guidance of her running career. She decided to move to Colorado Springs, where she had access to the Olympic Training Center and was a short commute to the Air Force Academy, where head coach Juli Benson presides. Simpson had met with Benson, among other potential coaches, and ultimately decided she was the best fit. This decision did not occur without criticism. "Who has Benson been successful with anyway?" "Isn't this just another college coach that won't be able to give a pro athlete her full attention?" "Why wouldn't she choose a place that offers pro runners as training partners?" It didn't help when Simpson found out she had a stress fracture in her right femur in 2010 and had to sit out the majority of the season to heal. It seemed that the magic had gone. She was no longer invincible, as she had seemed during her college career. As she made her comeback in the indoor season this past winter, there were signs that she was back - she won both the mile and the 3000m at the USA Indoor Championships

- but the extra magic was still missing. There wasn't a sub-4:00 clocking in the 1500m this outdoor season. There were no Diamond League victories. There was no outdoor USA Championships title. Sure, she made the team. But we weren't entirely sure she'd make it through to the final in Daegu. But as the pack barreled down the homestretch, I thought, "There she is, doing what she does best. There's Jenny." I still wasn't entirely sure I wasn't dreaming. Why weren't the announcers yelling with more excitement? Well maybe because they're British and they were more excited about Hannah England getting the silver! I'm not sure Jenny knew what to think when she crossed the line either. I rewound the video to watch the race again - this time taking screenshots as she crossed the finish line. This is the face of a woman who has just done the unthinkable: I'll let Jenny tell you what was going through her head (quotes courtesy of It is something that you dream about. It’s not like you just go and win a race. Everything has to come together at the right time. You have to make it through the first round and a prelim. This is the U.S. team - you have to make the U.S. team. Just making this U.S. 1500m team is difficult. I think I ran the same time tonight that I ran in the U.S. championships to get here. Just getting here was such a thrill and I think I was really calm coming into tonight because what more can I ask for - I’m in the final and I’m healthy. The last few meters was all about where my head was going into (the 1500m final). Standing on the line, I was thinking about what this could mean for my life and what this could mean for my family. My little sister [Emily] is serving in the army, so I thought, ‘man, if I win gold I get to play that national anthem for her.’ So coming down the last 100 meters I was thinking about my little sister and thinking, ‘let’s get that song playing.’ Once Simpson was able to register what had just happened, the celebration began. Her face erupted in a smile and she took the American flag and jumped for joy. She posed for the cameras and gave the World Championships mascot a big hug. Then she found Benson, who was able to come down and jump onto the track to hug her athlete in exuberance. What a moment for them both:

PHOTO/GIANCARLO COLOMBO A joyful Jenny Simpson reacts to winning the race As always, Simpson exhibited great sportswomanship and made sure to give credit to her other competitors, specifically her American teammates: Shannon (Rowbury) medaled at the last world championships and Morgan (Uceny) has been on fire all year, so I think this has been such an incredible American buildup to something that I was able to do tonight. I don’t want to lose sight of the way they pioneered back up to the world stage in the 1,500m with me. Morgan Uceny was frustrated of course but made no excuses, noting that pushing and shoving are part of the game in the 1500m: With 500 meters left, people are trying to get fancy. Someone brushed me at the wrong place and at the wrong time and I got cut off. I had no time to react. I think it was the Kenyan (Hellen Onsando Obiri). It's no one's fault. It’s the nature of the beast. When you get in these big races you have to learn to get in a different spot. One of the greatest American collegiate distance runners of all time won the 1500m at the World Championships today. She is well on her way to being one of the greatest American distance runners of all time. ...and I'm really glad I woke up early to witness history.

WomanWords... “The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.” ~Gloria Steinem

October 2011 • WomanScope NewsMagazine



Miss Invisible By Laura Jensen Walker Reviewed by Kim Sisto Robinson/Contributor Freddy is a bit over weight. Big Deal. As women, we can identify with her, feel empathy for her, and accept her exactly as she is. We get it. We know what its’ like to be unconventional in a society driven by thinness, superficiality, and pretention. Don’t we? You see, Freddy is a little anxious about her curves. In fact, her lack of confidence is placing boundaries on her life; actually, controlling her destiny...but when Freddy begins to see herself as more than just a big-

boned woman, she also begins to find her substance, depth, h aand inner Goddess. She becomes who she S is supposed to be. I loved Miss Invisible. I appreciate that visi Walker W l can take a character like Freddy, who in the beginning appears Invisible and Insignificant...and transforms her into an interesting, strong, capable, funny character. This book is like one long hug after another. And in the end, we come to the realization that we are truly hugging ourselves. Walker's book, "Reconstructing Natalie", is another gem worth feeling good about.


Cold weather skincare By Kathleen Novak, Staff Writer


oodbye warm and long summer days and hello chilly, short winter days! While packing up your swimsuit and pulling out your heavy coats, why not take a peek at your skincare products? Cold weather can wreak havoc on your skin, leaving it dry, red and flaky. The products that kept you glowing through the summer months are not going work as well for you in the winter. When the temperature drops, it’s all about moisture, moisture, moisture! Here are some tips you should keep in mind when revamping your skincare routine for winter. That heavy-duty cleanser you have been using to wash the summer sweat and grime off of your face is going to strip your face of much needed moisture when the weather gets colder. Switch to a hydrating milk cleanser or a gentle foaming cleaner. After cleansing, don’t reach for an alcohol based toner or astringent; instead, choose a hydrating, alcohol free toner that will be kinder to your skin. Or look to nature to soothe your skin by using witch hazel or rose water. These toners run between $7.00 and $12.00 and can be purchased at local health stores or your neighborhood drugstore. Make sure to exfoliate at least once a week. This will remove dead skin cells and prep your skin for further treatments. Removing dead skin cells will help your serums and moisturizers penetrate your skin easier, yielding luminous results. Let’s talk about your moisturizer. Moisturizer is the number one weapon in your skincare arsenal. It protects your skin from dry, cold weather. Ditch that lightweight summer lotion and pick up a rich, oil-based cream. The oil will create a barrier on your skin helping it retain its moisture. Be choosy

when picking an oil-based cream. Read the ingredients and look for oils like avocado, mineral, primrose and almond that will not clog your pores. Also look for ingredients that will bring moisture to your face such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, sorbital and alpha hydroxy acid. Finally, even though it is overcast and twenty degrees outside, sunscreen is still a must! Choose a face cream that contains at least an SPF 15. Before you retire to bed, break out a night cream to help regenerate your skin while you are sleeping. Night creams are formulated differently than day creams; they omit ingredients like SPF that you don’t need while sleeping. Night creams are important because they are created specifically for your resting skin when the powerful, beneficial ingredients can penetrate your skin easiest. They work hard for you while you catch up on your beauty sleep. Put away those clay-based masks made to purge pores. They could strip your delicate, dry winter skin. Instead, slather on a deep, hydrating mask for glowing results. Invest in a humidifier to keep on in your bedroom while you are sleeping. Having the heat blasting in the house zaps all of the moisture out of the air. Using a humidifier will put that moisture back into the air, which will keep your skin moist. Do not leave the house without lip balm. Protect your pout and reapply frequently to prevent painful, chapped lips. Choose lip balms that contain Vitamin E and SPF. Your lips will be super soft, hydrated and primed for lipstick at all times. Follow these simple skincare tips and you will be ready for winter. Now put your best face forward and show the world your beautiful rosy glow!


WomanScope NewsMagazine • October 2011



Vinegar, the wonder elixir By Melanie Love

Welcome to “Smart Woman, Consumer Information for Today’s Savvy Woman.” I am Melanie Love and I promise to provide you with valuable and helpful tips on the many different ways that you, as a customer, can save money. This month I want to tell you about one of the oldest and versatile, natural products found at your local grocery store; vinegar. Vinegar has been a staple for man. It has been used as a miracle elixir by the Sumerians, Babylonians, Egyptians, and Romans. However, in modern times consumers have gotten so accustomed to man-made quick cleaners, that they will pay an arm and a leg to get (mostly toxic) products to do everyday tasks on a daily basis. As a result, a lot of individuals are unaware of the many great uses of vinegar. As a child I wondered why Grandma always kept a gallon or two of white vinegar under the kitchen sink. She would use it to clean the entire kitchen. Vinegar is relatively non-toxic, biodegradable and is less likely leave harmful residue behind after its use. It will clean your kitchen floors, countertops and oven. But the best part is that it will kill germs and bacteria. In 2010 consumers spent an average of

$639.00/per year on household cleaning supplies. Meanwhile, consumers could have saved a lot of money and spent $2.50 on one gallon of white vinegar that can achieve the same result and, in the process save your family’s health. With the recession and global warming being a constant threat to the way we live, here are a few recipes that can save you money as well as save the environment. Instead of using your usual household cleaner, douse a sponge or dish cloth with some white vinegar and wipe your oven down that way. Once finished your oven will not only be clean, it will have clean fresh smell. Once this task is complete, you will then have all the remnants from your oven hibernating on the sponge/cloth you just used to clean it. Try washing them in vinegar water, and soaking them over night in a quart of water with about 3 tablespoons of vinegar- your sponge or dish cloth will be good as new. How about that garbage disposal? Add a tray of ice cubes to your garbage disposal, along with 6 tablespoons of vinegar and run your disposal for 20-30 seconds. If you do this at least once or twice a week you will always have a fresh smelling kitchen sink.

Finally, one of my favorite uses for vinegar is as microwave cleaner. If you are like me, cleaning the microwave is a chore that you would love to delegate to others! Try a few tablespoons of vinegar in a microwave safe bowl with one cup of water and microwave the bowl for about 45 seconds. Carefully remove the bowl, (because the vinegar mixture will be hot), and wipe the walls down. Any leftover food or liquid will easily wipe away. Cleaning the kitchen with vinegar will save you time, money and health. No more inhaling those awful toxic chemicals for the sake of having a clean kitchen. Until next time, stay safe and always try to think outside the box when it comes to ways of saving your hard earned money and your environment. References “Vinegar 1001 Practical uses”, M. Briggs, 2007 Metro Books “Vinegar: (Almost) the Only Cleaner You'll Ever Need”, “The Harsh Reality of Household Cleaners” www. “Protect Yourself From Harmful Chemicals in Cosmetics and Household Products” http://loveyourbody. Food history, Down to Earth,

Peabody on the Court October 7, 2011 | 12:00pm - 1:00pm The Walters Art Museum 600 N. Charles Street Baltimore, MD 21201

This concert features Caleb Johnson in a classical solo viola performance. This season?s concert continues our partnership with the Peabody Institute, which first launched in the 1960s.

Mid Day Cabaret October 26, 2011 | 12:15pm - 1:00pm Waxter Senior Center 861 Park Ave. Baltimore, MD 21201

Mid Day Cabaret is a monthly lunch time showcase hosted by Dance & Bmore that's fun and free for seniors. With lots of music, laughter, poetry and dance, this event is a refreshing break from the office routine and is open to all Mount Vernon residences and neighbors of any age.


Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton What would impel a woman rabbi from Baltimore city to visit a community on the coast of Ghana? I play a lot of different roles here at home. Mornings I’m a single mom, getting my son off to school. The rest of the day, week, and weekends include being an organizer, sermonizer, listener, writer, speaker, teacher, liturgist, and still fitting in the chauffeuring, cooking, washing, shopping, and bill-paying. There is always something that weaves through it all: a consciousness, awareness, a sense of obligation to make who and where I am better. I’ve chosen – been called – to do that work as a rabbi, but it isn’t just about my people, or my profession. I understand my religious calling to be specific to me, but also inclusive and universal. This summer, I traveled with the American Jewish World Service to the coastal city of Winneba, Ghana. AJWS is an international development organization motivated by Judaism’s imperative to pursue justice. It is dedicated to alleviating poverty, hunger and disease among the people of the developing world regardless of race, religion or nationality. In Winneba, we worked with Challenging Heights, an NGO that provides education to former child slaves and resources for families whose children are at risk for slavery and human trafficking. Guided by group leaders and working

alongside local workers, sixteen rabbis, we spent our mornings mixing and pouring cement, carrying bricks, and making mortar for the foundation and walls for a new IT Center, under the direction of a local contractor and alongside local workers. Afternoons and evenings were spent learning about social justice and global responsibility from Jewish texts and traditions. I had been thinking about local hunger and food issues. My pastor friends in the Interfaith Community of Roland Park and I had discussed how to support local efforts and needs. I’ve long been aware of the food “deserts” right here in Baltimore; I had been inspired by the gardening and cooking efforts at my son’s urban school. At this time of year especially, making the world a better place involves fitting in a heck of a lot in between making school sandwiches and cooking for the Jewish fall holy days. It also involves making choices, as we juggle our responsibilities at home, for our families, at the workplace, and to our communities. The connections between home, food, poverty and social responsibility became clear to me early on a Saturday morning in Ghana. I awoke at dawn to see a woman and a girl from our host’s family sweeping up trash in our courtyard. Clearly, the goats got to our trash before we made sure it was safely stored and before we burned it. We had enjoyed a

special Friday night dinner for the eve of our Sabbath; we sang songs, told stories, and ate extra treats. Now others were taking on extra work because of our enjoyment, sweeping up the rabbis’ garbage while we slept in on Shabbat morning. From among the many complex and difficult things I witnessed on that service learning trip the image I feel the most deeply is that of a young girl holding her back while bent over my trash and food scraps, sweeping it up, making the hard brown dirt of her courtyard clear once again. For every dinner we eat, every day of the year, we are inextricably intertwined with many unknown folks across the globe-- trash collectors and their families, planters and gleaners, packers and shippers, and vendors. How -and whether - we eat is connected to how - and whether - others do as well. Though many in the United States suffer from food insecurity, overall we are challenged by overconsumption and poor food choices; we suffer from the serious health consequences, such as obesity and diabetes, which come with these issues. The girl who cleared up our trash doesn’t have enough food. We have too much. I know; I witnessed. What would it take to achieve greater balance--for others, for ourselves, and ultimately for the sake of the planet? I returned from Ghana surprised by only one aspect of my experience: that I want to return. I am even more deeply committed to the juggling – to be conscious of the realities of my privileged existence in Baltimore and to

be conscious of the ways I can act to sustain my sense of connection to a young girl sweeping a courtyard in Winneba, Ghana. Each of my holy days – indeed, each day – presents an opportunity for me to participate in repair of the world. May all of our religious celebrations inspire us to be aware of our sacred duty to care for all who dwell on the planet, locally and globally.

Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton has served Congregation Beit Tikvah, a Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation that meets at First Christian Church in Roland Park, since 1999. *To learn more about AJWS and their global activities, visit their web site at

October 2011 • WomanScope NewsMagazine


GOING BACK TO SCHOOL WHEN YOU'RE OVER 40, 50 OR 60 Source: Are you considering going back to school? If you're over 40 it may have been years since you've studied anything in a formal classroom setting. Maybe you just want to keep your mind sharp. Perhaps with the shifting state of the economy you are considering ways to strengthen your resume to achieve greater financial security. Or, are you being drawn to the vibrant college environment with its variety of viewpoints and social opportunities? Whatever your reasons for considering continuing your education, it can be a difficult, even intimidating step to take, but one that may well be worth it. How will you handle the cost of tuition? Is there financial aid out there for you? Do people over 40, 50 or 60 really belong in a setting dominated by undergraduate students in their late teens and early twenties? Fortunately the situation is far different from what you may imagine. It is becoming much more common for people who spend years in the workforce, or who take years off to raise children, to decide to go back to school. What Type of School is Right for You? The easiest, and often cheapest, back-toschool option for "non-traditional" students, which includes the over 40 crowd, is often to enroll in a community college. Anyone who lives in the community can enroll to take courses at a price much lower than a more traditional university. This can be an excellent way to take a few classes close to home. You'll get a feel for the college environment while earning college credits. Once you are comfortable with attending a community college, you may decide it is the right environment for you, or you may decide to continue your education at a larger university. To a great degree which school you attend will be based on your location and ties to the community, or on your interest in relocating. And now there is even the growing opportunity to get your degree or take continuing education classes at home on line. Campus Life for Older Students It's a good idea to look into the social environment of the schools you are considering. Some schools focus on full-time students, and schedule courses almost exclusively during daytime hours when older people may be unable to attend classes. Other colleges and universities run special programs to ensure their schools are viable options for older students. For example, Sweet Briar College in Virginia runs the "Turning Point" program which is only open to students over the age of 24 (it doesn't matter how far over) who have been out of higher education for at least four years. This includes a separate admissions process and access to financial aid. There are also schools and programs that focus their attention almost entirely on less traditional students. Numerous small career training schools across the country design their schedules around making classes available at hours when adult workers are most

likely to attend. Two helpful blogs to check out if you are thinking of returning to school after a long time off are: The Non-Traditional Student Blog and the Older Non-Trad Student The Enrollment Process In most cases, if you are going back to the same school you attended as an undergraduate the enrollment process is fairly straightforward. They will have records of your grades. You will not need to deal with SAT or ACT scores or high school transcripts. If you are going to a different school you will need to have the former school transfer information. If you have not attended college and are starting off as an undergraduate freshman, you will need a high school transcript of your grades. Your previous grades are the primary consideration for acceptance. Regardless of how stellar your work experience may be it will not carry a great deal of weight in the enrollment process. It is best to speak with the administration office of the schools you are considering to determine their exact needs, particularly if you anticipate having difficulty securing the required documents. Financial Aid for Mid-life Students Student loans and state assistance:Older students are often able to get significantly reduced tuition for accredited classes if they are state residents and meet the age and income requirements. $15,000 annual income is a typical threshold for tuition discounts for accredited classes. Most student loans are available to all students, not requiring that you be young in order to qualify. They may be affected by other considerations, such as whether you already have a degree. Some schools only offer financial aid programs for the first bachelor's degree; others waive the restrictions if the student is an adult who is returning to school to earn a second degree in preparation for a career change. Your income will certainly be considered in the years leading up to when you enroll. A great resource for state-by-state information for senior education and costs is Federal aid programs: These do not have age restrictions. Pell Grants are often given to non-traditional students, more so than private scholarships. But a student who has already earned a bachelor's degree is no longer considered an undergraduate student, and is therefore ineligible for the Pell Grant. Scholarship and fellowship programs: Most do not have age restrictions. Check out for a scholarship database of over 50 awards that have a minimum age restriction of 30 years or older. There are more than 230 awards for those over 25 and nearly 2,000 awards with no age restrictions. Additional resources: If you are currently working, you may have other resources to tap to help pay for continuing education. Ask your human resources department about the

availability of tuition assistance. Seven out of eight large companies provide some sort of tuition assistance. To get financial aid you may have to agree to continue working for the company for a number of years. You may also be required to maintain a minimum grade point average. Don't overlook the other financial benefits you can receive as an enrolled college student, including free or very low cost medical visits and dental care, free cultural events, childcare, mental health counseling and many more services. But don't expect discounts on other expenses, such as married student housing or family health insurance. Tax Breaks: When you enroll in college you may be able to get a break on your income taxes. Programs such as the Hope Credit, the Lifetime Learning Credit, and the American Opportunity Credit can potentially take thousands of dollars off of your tax bill if you qualify. Tuition and fees can also often be used to rduce your taxable income. The financial aid office of the school you want to attend should be able to give you guidance about these programs. If your tax situation is at all complicated it's always wise to consult a tax professional before making any irreversible decisions. Take Advantage of the Job PlacementCenter Schools know they are often judged on their ability to help their students find jobs after graduation. To improve the chances (and improve the statistics that they'll quote to prospective students), they run career centers to help students write resumes, coach for interviews and help identify job opportunities in individual fields. Every type of school typically does this, including community colleges and less traditional career training schools. Job placement centers also post available job listings to help you find work in your field of interest before or after classes, or during the summer. As you near graduation the listings for career opportunities can offer valuable leads for your job search, as can the staff and volunteers who work in the job placement center. Learn for Free - Earn Credits without Breaking the Bank Many state universities, and some private universities, have policies of either waiving tuition for senior citizens or offering greatly reduced rates. If you live in Virginia, for example, depending on your income you may qualify to have the tuition waived. Considering the amount of money that this can save you, it's well worth your time to check with the admissions office of the schools in your area to find out whether you qualify for this type of program. There are also other free training programs available, some of which are supported by local and government programs designed to help displaced workers find a new career. For example, the BidwellTrainingCenter in Penn-

EDUCATION sylvania offers training and career placement to people living in the area completely free of charge. Your local employment offices and libraries should be able to help you find out about free or discounted training and career placement opportunities in your community. Learn for Free - Keep your Brain at the Top of its Game! If your goal is to learn about a subject, without receiving college credit, you may be able to "audit" classes for free or at very reduced prices. For example, legislation in Ohio enacted in 1974 has mandated that state-supported colleges and universities permit people 60 and older to attend classes on a non-tuition, non-credit, space-available basis. People over 60 can sign up for "Ohio State Program 60" one or two days before the start of classes, to ensure there is ample room for enrolled undergraduates. While auditing a class, the student has the option to take, or not take exams, write papers or complete other class work. Depending on the state, the age threshold for free class auditing is typically 60, 62 or 65 years of age.Some schools also offer the choice of taking continuing education courses exclusively for "mature" adults (often 50 and older). They usually run four to eight weeks and may or may not offer credits. Both options offer the opportunity to get back into college life, build your knowledge and meet new friends with similar interests. Also see below for some mind-boggling free on-line programs. Taking Classes On-Line The web offers a wealth of college and university on-line bachelors and graduate degree programs, as well as enrichment classes. This can be an especially important option for homebound seniors or those who live a distance from a college or university. In many cases scholarships, grants, discounts, college loans or other financial aid may still apply. Make sure, however, before enrolling in an online degree program that you determine that the college or university is accredited. Free On-Line Learning Opportunities Some of America's most prestigious universities invite you to sit in on lectures online, free of charge. Open Yale Courses provides a wide variety of videos of actual course lectures, everything from psychology classes about dreams to lectures on astronomy, history and literature. Check out the free on-line course list at See Education, page 18


WomanScope NewsMagazine • October 2011



"Can we get a dog?" By Aileen Gabbey, Staff Writer If you are the parent of a young child, you have likely heard the pleading question, ‘Can we get a dog?’ It is a wonderful experience to grow up with a beloved pet, and children can have such loving and positive moments with a pet in the home. The question then often becomes, ‘Do we want a puppy or an adult dog?’ Here are some things to consider and discuss before bringing the new family member home. Time: This is the most important factor to consider before getting a pet at all. Do you have time? Puppies will definitely take more time than adult dogs. When young, they will need to be fed more often and go outside more often than a mature dog. Puppies may also get into more trouble as they learn the house rules. Housebreaking: Are you prepared to take a young puppy outside frequently? A general rule of thumb for pups is to get them outside every few hours – add an hour to each month of age. For example, a three-monthold puppy should be taken outside for a potty break at least every four hours. Often, adopt-

The Maryland SPCA has worked hard to find good homes for animals for over 140 years

ing an adult dog means you have very little or no housebreaking training to do. Size: If you adopt a mixed-breed puppy (the best, in my opinion!), you may not know what size he’ll grow up to be. When you adopt an adult dog, you know his size and can decide what works for you. A big dog doesn’t necessarily mean you need a big yard. Walks and some safe indoor play should provide enough exercise. Rules and Habits: An older dog may have picked up some bad habits, such as barking or chewing. Often, exercise will address many behavior issues. A tired dog tends to be a good dog! With a puppy or an adult dog, you want to set house rules and be consistent. For example, having your dog wait before eating or giving him permission before he can get on any furniture are good ways to show your dog that you are the pack leader. Personality: Certain breeds tend to have specific personalities. For example, Border Collies and Jack Russell Terriers tend to be very high-energy and not for everyone. An adult dog will show his true personality. It may take your puppy a while to develop his personality. At first, he’ll likely be a bundle of energy! Regardless of your decision to adopt a young puppy or an older dog, it’s always a good thing to adopt from an animal shelter or a rescue group. An adoption center such as the Maryland SPCA will already have provided many treatments, vaccinations, and the neuter surgery. You will also have access to training and behavior advice. Even with all your planning, you may surprise yourself. Prepare to fall in love!

Continuing Your Education - It's Never Too Late Education, From page 17 Another amazing resource for free college classes is On this site you can stream lectures from some of the country's top universities including Princeton, MIT, Harvard, UCLA, Columbia, Michigan, Northeastern, NYU, Oxford, Stanford and Berkeley. The eclectic course list truly offers something for everyone, and at the price (free) and the convenience (at home) this is one of the best learning opportunities you will find. If you are looking to improve your computer skills there are also a number of courses you can take at no charge on-line. offers free computer courses and web design, as well as finance, marketing, foreign languages, music lessons and more. also offers free interactive training courses, where you can learn at your own pace. Microsoft offers free online training courses for Excel and Powerpoint at CR100654571033.aspx.

YouTube is also a resource to tap if you are interested in learning a certain skill or technique. Thousands of individual instructional videos walk you through the step-by-step process of nearly everything imaginable, from building a website to cooking a lobster to installing windows to playing bagpipes. The quality and content widely vary from absolute amateurish to professional, so it may take quite a bit of effort to find videos that will best serve your purpose. When you do, be sure to bookmark them for future reference and to pass on to friends. Whatever your motivation or situation, continuing to learn is vital to keeping your mind sharp, while maintaining your ability to contribute to society in a meaningful way. Whether you choose to go back to school to advance your formal education, or decide to audit free classes to learn more about a specific topic, or choose to watch interesting on-line lectures, the key is to mentally challenge yourself every day in every way possible.

Finding the right repair shop Source:

Women have become a driving force in the service and repair of today's vehicles, according to the experts at the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). ASE officials point to national trends showing that today's women account for more than half of all drivers, account for more than half of all automotive service and repair customers, and have substantial influence and veto power in the purchase of new and used vehicles. "Since women are responsible for making more automotive repair decisions today, it's important that they take certain steps to ensure that their repair experience is a more positive one," says Ronald H. Weiner, ASE president. As a service to female motorists, ASE offers the following advice on how to find the right repair shop and how to effectively communicate with technicians and service advisors. DO YOUR HOMEWORK Before taking your vehicle in for service, make sure you do your homework: • Start shopping for a repair shop before you need one • Ask friends and associates for their recommendations • Look for a neat, well-organized facility with vehicles equal in value to your own in the parking lot

AT THE REPAIR SHOP Once you choose a repair shop: • Start off with a minor job. If you're pleased, return with more complicated repairs • Be prepared to describe the symptoms and supply a written list of recent problems STAY INVOLVED It's important that you stay involved in the repair process: • Ask as many questions as you need. Request explanations in simple terms. • Don't rush the service writer or technician to make an on-the-spot diagnosis • Before you leave, be sure you understand all shop policies regarding labor rates, guarantees and methods of payment ASE has prepared a brochure with tips for female motorists. For a free copy, send a self-addressed, stamped business-size envelope to ASE Motorists Brochure, Dept. NU993, 13505 Dulles Technology Drive, Suite 2, Herndon, VA 20171-3421. ASE was founded in 1972 to help improve the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians. More than 450,000 ASE-certified automobile, truck and collision repair technicians, engine machinists, and parts specialists work in dealerships, independent shops, service stations, auto parts stores, fleets, schools and colleges.

October 2011 • WomanScope NewsMagazine

Know Your Financial Standing By Angeline M. Huffman, MBA, CPA, Founder/Owner HFS Associates It’s been a rough time for many of us the last several years. In spite of the fact the many experts tell us the Great Recession ended somewhere around mid-2009, many people are still feeling the effects. Unemployment is still very high, bank lending remains tight, the housing market shows continued shakiness, and many investment portfolios have yet to recover. We can continue to worry about the economy and point fingers as to who is to blame for the recession or we can take our financial lives into our own hands and accept responsibility for our financial standing. At the end of the day, we cannot control the overall economy but we can control our own financial actions. I believe many people would have better weathered the economic storm if they had had a better understanding of their personal financial position; knowing their personal financial position would have allowed them to act positively to reduce their personal financial risks before the economy declined. Many who were hurt by the Great Recession may have avoided that hurt if they had ignored the investment, housing and other financial “experts”; many of these “experts” were not true financial experts but salespeople trying to sell a product they knew little about. Instead, we should have each spent time gaining an understanding of our

own financial standing. GATHER COURAGE So how do you gain a solid understanding of your financial standing? You gain an understanding of your financial standing by following the process listed below. The process is actually simple; however, it will take some time and a good bit of courage. Many people avoid assessing their financial standing because they are afraid of what they’ll find out, but this is equivalent to sticking your head in the sand: while you could go along for years without facing any consequences, the reality of your situation will catch up to you. One day you might find you’ve been laid off from your job and your spouse has been diagnosed with cancer, or it could be as simple as checking to see if you are financially ready to retire and finding out you are not. If you do not face the facts of your financial standing until a crisis forces you, you no longer have time to fix it. So gather your courage and get to it. LIST IT OUT • List What You Own: This includes the value of your home, the current total in your bank accounts, total value of your retirement accounts, and the value of anything else you own that has true re-sell value.


FINANCE • List What You Owe: This includes the balance on your mortgages and any other loans against your home, balance of car loans, credit card balances, what you owe family and friends, etc. • List Your Monthly Take Home Income: Be realistic here. Actually look at your paystub. If you have a business, subtract the taxes you will owe on the business income. Don’t include bonuses if they can be easily taken from you. • List Your Monthly Expenses: This is another place to be realistic. Review not just your monthly bills, but also find those bills you might only see annually or quarterly, such as homeowners’ association fees and car insurance. Examine your credit card bills and bank account statements for all of those expenses that deduct automatically, like Netflix. You might need to obtain and collect receipts from several months before you can get a real handle on your true monthly expenses. If you would like forms to help you collect your lists, go to and click on Contact Us. Mention this article and that you would like the forms. I’ll get them right out to you. ADD IT UP Add the totals of each of the categories. (Now I know many of you are breaking out into hives at the thought of doing math! Grab a tube of anti-itch medication and just do it.) Subtract

your monthly expenses from your monthly take home pay. Is the result a positive number? Fantastic! Is the result a negative? It’s better you know now while you can do something about it before a financial crisis happens in your life. Subtract what you owe from what you own. Is the result a positive number? Fantastic, again. Is the result a negative? Again, it’s better you know now while you can do something about it. Perform one more calculation. Subtract your monthly expenses from the total value of your bank accounts and assets you can easily sell. Don’t include your retirement funds. This tells you how many months you could be out of work before you would be in real trouble. Is PHOTO/ISTOCK the number more than 6 months? You’re in okay shape. Less than 3 months? Only a couple of weeks? Get working on improving your financial standing now. WORK TOWARDS IMPROVING There’s no magic wand or slick financial theory that will radically and quickly improve your financial standing. Doing that is as simple as cutting your expenses, paying down your debt, and saving more money. But it is not easy! It will take time. However, you can improve your financial standing bit by bit, week by week. Remember that every little bit you improve your personal financial standing increases your ability to endure a poor performing economy rather than worrying.


WomanScope NewsMagazine • October 2011


Rawlins-Blake secures the Democratic nomination for Mayor of Baltimore City By Alis Amason, Political Columnist Stephanie Rawlins-Blake’s recent victory makes her the favorite to win the upcoming general election in November. In a city where Republicans make up about 10 percent of the Registered voters her win is all but assured, after defeating her five challengers for the Democratic Primary for mayor. Her Democratic challengers were: 1. Catherine Pugh, at 17,743 votes (25% of the vote) 2. Otis Rolley, at 8,991 votes (13% of the vote) 3. Joseph Landers, at 4,870 votes (7% of the vote) 4. Frank Conaway, at 1,899 votes (3% of the vote) 5. Wilton Wilson, at 215 votes (0% of the vote) The Republican challengers were: 1. Alfred Griffin, at 828 votes (51%) 2. Vicki Harding, at 806 votes (49%) Overall, the Republican vote was modest in comparison to the democratic turn-out at the polls.

Historically speaking, the last time we had a Republican mayor in Baltimore was in 1967, when Theodore R. McKeldin left office; he held office from 1963-1967. Incumbent Rawlins-Blake, the 57th Mayor of Baltimore, is the second female mayor in Baltimore’s history, succeeding Sheila Dixon our first female mayor, when she was asked to resign due to a conviction for embezzlement in 2010. Rawlins-Blake is currently ranked in 22nd place out of 1,167 US mayors with populations over 30,000 residents and out of 203 women mayors in America she is ranked in the top 4 percent. With Baltimore’s population of 651,154 as of September, 2011 she is also one of only two African American women Mayors, residing in her role as mayor, the other is Marilyn Strickland of Tacoma, Washington who also took office in 2010. Strickland ranks 110 with a population of 193,556 as of July, 2011. Women currently make up 59 percent of the workforce

but only 20 percent of state and local government and only 10 percent of national government. From 1973-1993, the proportion of women in state legislature quadrupled from 5 percent to 20 percent, and the number of women mayors form 1 percent to 18 percent. At this current rate of increase it will take American women 400 years to achieve political parity. However, our incumbent, Rawlins-Blake is well on her way. She has managed to rise above the challenges she inherited after replacing previous incumbent Dixon. Since Rawlins-Blake has taken office, the city crime rate has declined. The crime rate for Baltimore in 2011 is expected to be lower than in 2009 when our city’s violent crime wave was higher than the national violent crime rate. Since Rawlins-Blake has taken office she has enhanced focus through her safer-streets initiative; recruiting a record 350 new police officers for 2011 and pursuing criminals who are most likely to carry illegal guns and commit acts of violence. SOME OF HER LONG TERM INITIATIVES INCLUDE: BETTER SCHOOLS She has instituted new educational grants to programs, Teach for America and Experience Corps. Also Mayor Rawlins-Blake is empowering youth through the Youth B-More initiative targeting at-risk youths. STRONGER NEIGHBORHOODS

Eliminating vacant housing and blight through the launch of “Vacant to Value” a new approach to rehabbing vacant homes in Baltimore City that does not rely on taxpayer subsidies to create value. GROWING ECONOMY - BOOSTING BALTIMORE’S TOURISM AND IMAGE Recently secured a 5 year agreement with Baltimore Racing Development to allow for Indy car Baltimore Grand Prix Over the next 5 years the race alone is expected to generate $11 million in city tax revenue and $250 million in spending injected into the city’s economy. Bmore for healthy babies-reducing infant deaths and improving the health of Baltimore families INTRODUCING “BUDGETING FOR OUTCOMES” This starts with the results that matter to citizens and funds programs based on their value in achieving those results With a 9.1 percent unemployment rate in Baltimore City, Mayor Rawlins-Blake has urged Baltimoreans to support President Obama’s, American Jobs Act. Rawlins-Blake stated, “I will do everything in my power to urge the House of Representatives to move the American Jobs Act forward and get our country on a stable path to economic recovery.” We need more mayors like ours who will step up and work to make a difference in their city.

Senator Barbara Mikulski – A Pioneer (From On Saturday evening, U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., received a muchdeserved honor. She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, N.Y., the home of America's women's rights movement. Sen. Mikulski was the first Democratic woman senator elected in her own right. On Jan. 5, 2011, she became the longestserving woman senator in American history. As a United States senator, Mikulski puts her values into action to make a difference in people's lives, fighting for access to quality education, standing up for America's seniors, working on the side of cures and research, leading on women's health, fighting for America's veterans and military families, and supporting volunteers and national service. Sen. Mikulski was among 11 of the

Credit: Getty Images photo by Brendan Hoffman

Hall's 2011 inductees, who included: Dr. Loretta C. Ford, an internationally renowned nursing leader; Helen Murray Free, a pioneering chemist; Lilly Ledbetter, a pay equity advocate; Dr. Donna E. Shalala, a groundbreaking educator and politician; and Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to officially enter the Boston Marathon. Acceptors also were on hand for the following historic inductees: Coretta Scott King; Abby Kelley Foster; Dorothy Harrison Eustis; Billie Holiday; and Saint Katharine Drexel.

October 2011 • WomanScope NewsMagazine


India's Home-Based Workers Fall Through Safety Net By Pamela Philipose, WeNews correspondent Work-from-home women in India are often trapped in physically draining, sometimes hazardous, tasks that pay far less than the minimum daily wage. Labor activists are lobbying the government for change. NEW DELHI (WOMENSENEWS)--She lives in a cramped dwelling tucked away in the warren of bylanes near Asia's largest mosque, Delhi's Jama Masjid. Every day, after the household chores are done, Naseem Bano, 45, sits on the floor with her bowl of bone beads and threads them into necklaces. They will be marketed as an example of India's rich handicraft tradition. But for Bano there is no hint of richness in her own life. No matter how hard or long she works on any given day, she'll earn only about 50 cents, far below the statutory daily minimum wage of about $5.50 for workers in the capital. "We do this work, hour after hour, day after day, because we need every rupee to keep our households running," says Bano, who complains of backaches and numbness of the feet because she sits for three to four hours at a stretch--often late into the night--to craft her necklaces. Sita Kumari, 35, has been making bindis-the forehead decoration--from her home in Delhi's Manakpura. A contractor supplies her with the materials and she places her creations on small cardboard pieces for distribution and sale. Like Bano, she can never expect to come close to the minimum daily wage. "Not being trained in anything else, we have no escape," she says. Bano and Kumari provide a window into the country's "unorganized enterprise" sector. About 32 percent of this work force is female, half of whom work out of their homes, according to a 2007 government study.

Many Indian women labor to create beautiful handicraft, like these Bindis, earning far below minimum wage

The All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), a longstanding advocacy group with chapters throughout the country, has been petitioning both the national and Delhi governments to formally recognize this category of workers, provide them with identity cards, ensure guaranteed employment and comprehensive social security. FOOD SECURITY CONCERNS The association is working on this effort with another advocacy group, the Janwadi Mahila Samiti, which is particularly concerned with food subsidies. "We are also raising issues of food security," says Sheba Farooqui, secretary of the Janwadi Mahila Samiti. She says women must be provided with BPL-- below-poverty-line--cards so they can buy food grains at a subsided rate. Sudha Sundaraman is general secretary of AIDWA, which has headquarters in New Delhi. "It breaks your heart to see the conditions these women work in, how after a full day's hard work they end up getting just a few rupees," she says. "The most shocking aspect is that over the years their wages have actually fallen even as the cost of living has risen several-fold. The global economic crisis has hit this section very hard." AIDWA has documented the variety of tasks performed by these workers. In a 1989 study in Pune city, in the state of Maharashtra, the group identified around 150 kinds of home-based work. Almost a decade later, it conducted a similar study in Delhi and identified around 48 types of piece-rate work. In addition to handicrafts, jobs included embroidering fabric, filling "chuna" (edible limestone) into containers and fashioning key rings out of thick metal wires with pliers. There was also some semi-specialized work such as assembling TV parts, making insulators for ironing elements and chemical washing of car parts. After working an average of nearly seven hours a day--often with help from other family members--the earnings of home-based workers in Delhi were around the same range as that of Bano and Kumari. The majority of the women performed more than one sort of piece-rate work and an increasing number were forced into such work by a shrinking job market. Sometimes a crisis in the family--the death of a husband or sudden expenditure because of illness in the family, or even because the

children needed extra milk--compelled many to take up these occupations. SEASONAL, PART-TIME WORK Much of the work was seasonal and parttime. The women, on average, worked about 16 days a month and seven months a year. The rates for each piece remained the same for several years for 43 percent of the women, with 16 percent reporting higher rates. Fortyone percent said their rate had fallen and they felt helpless to demand higher payment for fear of losing the work altogether. "The trouble is that we have no identity as home-based workers," says Kamala, who has been working to organize other female home-based workers in Delhi for five years. "Everybody pushes us around. The contractors, the suppliers, even the police. We spend our whole lives working like this. What happens when we are too frail to work? Who will support us then?" Kamala says most of the home-based women are ignorant of their rights.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS "They are just grateful that they get a little money without having to leave their homes. We are struggling to make them more aware, but it is a long and difficult process," she says. The Unorganized Sector Worker's Social Security Act says social security should be provided, but makes no budgeting or implementation provisions. The one requirement of the 2008 law--setting up advisory state level boards to formulate social security and welfare policies--has not been implemented. "How has this law helped the hundreds of thousands of women in home-based work?" asks Sundaraman of AIDWA. "There has been no attempt to set up the separate boards mandated by the act. There has not even been an attempt made by the government to enumerate them. Many of these women are performing highly hazardous activities, working with shards of glass and toxic chemicals. Who is looking at their health needs? A worst injustice than this--given the neo-liberal paradigm that marks India's economy today--is hard to imagine."

WomanWords... “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any” ~Alice Walker


WomanScope NewsMagazine • October 2011



On His Mind:

No glass ceiling to shatter? The female advantage in politics By Clayton M. McCleskey / Dallas Morning Views Blog With the 2012 elections nearing, women considering a run for office can take comfort in knowing that they need not worry about breaking through the glass ceiling. It may not actually exist. The Economist reports on a study released in the California Journal of Politics & Policy that overturns the belief that female candidates are at a disadvantage when facing voters: ... empirical analysis has not found a bias against female candidates. In fact, a new study in California suggests that voters are, if anything, biased in favour of women. That glass thing in American politics, in other words, might be an elevator, not a ceiling. I don't know about you, but I find that rather surprising. Obviously I am not a woman and have never run for office, but I've always just accepted that women going into politics face much tougher campaigns than their male counterparts. This study

suggests otherwise: Overall, [researchers] found "some support for a positive bias" toward women. In the Democratic races, women fared much better than men. This might be expected, because voters seem to associate women with more "liberal" issues (starting with, well, women's issues), and Democratic primary voters tend to be liberal. More surprising, perhaps, were the results of the Republican primaries. Conservative voters tend to be more concerned with allegedly manly issues such as law and order and defence. This should put female candidates at a disadvantage. But it didn't. Even among Republicans, a male name carried no advantage. It's undoubtedly an interesting find. But I still tend to be sympathetic to the view that women face more challenges in politics than men. What do you think -- is it time for us to stop talking about the glass ceiling?

Are you living without regrets? By Vicki T. Lee When Debbie found out that her cancer was terminal, it had already destroyed her breast cells and accelerated throughout her body. In as little as a few months, death took her out of the pain that the morphine could no longer relieve. Before she died, I would take her baby niece to see her. In between nods from the morphine, Debbie tried to mask her intense pain with smiles; tried to coo to the baby she could no longer pick up; tried to answer me truthfully when I asked her whether she had any regrets in her life. Her answers never came, but I thought I saw them anyway: when she looked at my daughter; when I recalled the monotony of her life: work, sleep, and more work; dependent upon caffeine and nicotine to keep moving every day. Her life mirrored most everyone else’sblending work, bills, and responsibilities. But I wonder whether she ever fulfilled her version of living before she died. Did she live without regrets? What about you? If you had to face your eternity tomorrow, would you be satisfied with your life today?

“ Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you're living? ~ Bob Marley

There is no set formula for living. The concept of living is chameleonic – it changes according to the individual. But there is one common denominator that we all need to live our lives fulfilled: balance. Human beings are multi-dimensional. We are physical, emotional and spiritual. In order to live without regret, we need to address each dimension of that balance. The idea is to keep your daily needs, dreams for the future and all aspects of your health in front of every task you perform and every person with whom you interact. Merely working to pay the bills won’t balance our lives. Need a test? Look for your own patterns. Are you so stressed that you yell when you could’ve just spoken? Do you lash out when you could’ve just stepped back? Are you irritable, impatient or out-of-sorts and can’t pinpoint why?

Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Chances are, you may be missing something from your life and the only way to find out what that is, is by taking the time to ask

yourself, “What does life mean to me? Am I happy with how I’m living it? What do I need to do to make my life the best that it can be?” Change is good. The details of our lives are not set in concrete. Living without regret means understanding that it’s okay to question your life: Am I getting what I need from this job, this romantic relationship, or this friendship? Is my church, neighborhood or city adding positive things to my life? Is my life energetic, or do I drag myself from one part of it to another? Do I wake up eager to face my workday, or throw my alarm clock? It also means understanding that it’s okay to fear the answers; okay to be angry at the roadblocks when you are in survival mode trying to make it from one day to the next; okay to cry when you’re so frustrated that you think you can’t make it to your next step.

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek ~ President Barack Obama

So, ask yourself: “What does “living” mean to me?” Is it all about climbing the ladder of success to get as close to the top as possible? Is it about finding your soul mate, putting down roots and raising a family? Is it about multi-tasking between your job, family, community activities, and personal time? Don’t fret! There’s no right or wrong answer; it’s your answer. It’s easy to get so caught up in daily needs and wants, that we forget to look forward. Life is a journey, with numerous paths to take – all yours for the choosing. Your path, your mode of travel and your speed are all dependent upon your own goals and dreams. To satisfy you, you only need to keep moving, switch paths when necessary, and maintain a balance.

“ And

in the end it's not the years in your life that count; it's the life in your years ~ Abraham Lincoln

Like most of us, Debbie probably thought she’d have tomorrow: for her new niece, her son and future grandchildren. We all know tomorrow’s not promised. Let’s live like we believe it.

WomanScope NewsMagazine Supports the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women!

WomanScope October 2011 Issue (click on cover)  
WomanScope October 2011 Issue (click on cover)  

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