reflections

Winter Rules


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As we march toward spring, take a look at these Winter Rules, as published in the Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner, February 5, 1881.

  • Never begin a journey until the breakfast has been eaten.
  • Never take warm drinks and then immediately go out in the cold air.
  • Keep the back – especially between the shoulder blades – well-covered, also the chest well-protected.
  • In sleeping in a cold room, establish the habit of breathing through the nose, and never with the mouth open.
  • Never go to bed with cold or damp feet; always toast them by the fire 10 or 15 minutes before going to bed.
  • Never omit regular bathing, for unless the skin is in an active condition, the cold will close the pores and favor congestion or other diseases.
  • After exercise of any kind, never ride in an open carriage nor near the window of a car for a moment. It is dangerous to health, and even to life.
  • When hoarse, speak as little as possible until it is recovered from, else the voice may be permanently lost, or difficulties of the throat be produced.
  • Merely warm the back by a fire, and never continue keeping the back exposed to heat after it has become comfortably warm. To do otherwise is debilitating.
  • When going from a warm atmosphere into a colder one, keep the mouth closed, so that the air may be warmed by its passage through the nose, ere it reaches the lungs.
  • Never stand still in cold weather, especially after having taken a slight degree of exercise; and always avoid standing upon ice or snow, or where the person is exposed to a cold wind.

So, are you a rule follower?!

Our Day of Remembrance


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I wasn’t sure what to title this annual tribute. My previous posts about December 13 are listed here, if you want to revisit them:

https://marthareynoldswrites.com/2012/12/12/ten-young-women/

https://marthareynoldswrites.com/2013/12/13/bring-all-the-priests/

https://marthareynoldswrites.com/2014/12/12/what-december-13th-means-to-us/

https://marthareynoldswrites.com/2015/12/12/the-memory-of-sense/

We were all affected by the Aquinas fire in 1977, whether we slept through the event (as I did) or witnessed it first-hand and survived. 39 years later, that memory is as sharp as it was then.

My classmate Michelle Dumont Vezina ’80 writes, “I experienced December 13th somewhat as an outsider looking in. We stayed up late that night studying for finals. We must have been in a deep sleep when everything was happening.

“I remember calling my parents to tell them. They had heard that morning that the largest dorm at Providence College was on fire. They assumed McVinney was the largest because of its height and thought I had been in the fire. They were relieved when I called.

“My mother picked me up that morning for what became the beginning of Christmas break. The campus was quiet, eerily so. I remember looking at Aquinas Chapel from my dorm room window, thinking about the girls who died.

“At that time, I had never experienced death of anyone close to me.  I didn’t really understand the feeling. No one really understands until they lose someone close to them.”

*****

A survivor, Kim Fasolo Martin ’80 writes, “December 13, 1977 changed every part of me down to my soul. For many years, I tried to figure out a specific event in my life that I was saved for, such as my marriage or the birth of my child. It took me decades to realize that I was saved for many reasons. I try to give the lessons that I learned from that terrible night to anyone who will listen. These are some of these lessons that I live by:

“Be kind to people. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you and how much you love them every chance you get. Never go to bed mad at anyone. Cherish your friends. Do not judge people for how they act until you know what has happened in their life.

“There are so many more lessons that I learned and am still learning.

“All the women who suffered this tragedy on December 13, 1977 share a bond that cannot be broken even if we have not spoken to each other.

“Sometimes, out of tragedies, there is good and when this happens,  we have to share this good to anyone who will listen.”
*****

The Aquinas fire claimed the lives of ten women living on the north end of Aquinas Hall’s fourth floor on Dec. 13, 1977. Katie Andresakes ’80, Jackie Botelho ’79, Barbara Feeney ’81, Donna Galligan ’81, Sallyann Garvey ’81, Gretchen Ludwig ’81, Cathy Repucci ’81, Laura Ryan ’81, Debbie Smith ’78, and Dotty Widman ’81.

Book-a-Day #Giveaway! Claiming Space by Patricia Hinkley


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Claiming Space introduces a novel perspective: You have a right to claim time and space to be happy and feel truly alive! That is your right!

A fast pace and information overload can leave you stressed, out of control, and unhappy. Why? All of nature, including humans, require intervals of action and rest. Cell phones, social media, and multi-tasking interrupt an innate balance and fragment our minds. We even teach children busy-ness by over-programming them. This has consequences. Non-stop availability drains your recovery and hides what you really care about beyond the phone calls, computer games, television, and distractions. Neglecting the impulse toward quiet time wired into all humans is unnatural and ultimately unhealthy.

It’s your choice— keep the pace—or interrupt it for less stress, more calm, and untroubled happiness in the space between actions.

Well-being and happiness are inside jobs. Claiming Space shows you how with simple ways get to a more natural state of harmony, health and a peace of mind connection beyond the mundane of everyday life.

Time for self also leads you to become more alive and linked to your place on earth. Your actions at this critical time matter to the planet we call home.

A reader wrote, “Claiming Space is priceless in its vision and breadth of detail about what claiming space is and isn’t, and how to find ways for each unique individual to claim space. The writing and ideas in this marvelous book lifted me up in times of sadness. Your book is one that readers will reach for again and again in moments of forgetting to love ourselves enough to take care of our self. Claiming Space, what power in those two wonderful words!”

 

pat-hinkley

Patricia Hinkley holds a BS in Nursing and a Master of Arts in Holistic Studies and Psychology. She raised two grown children, served clients, was an artist, and made time to be active in her community. Through it all she has learned the value of finding the stillness within. What she has learned is worth sharing. Claiming Space is Pat’s first book.

You can WIN a copy of this book! Just leave a comment below. One winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication.

Book-a-Day #Giveaway! Life is All This by Sheila Blanchette


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In the summer of 1975, Samuel Ryder sets off to hitchhike to the Grand Canyon where he realizes life is very good. Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona the road ahead appears to be one neverending smooth ride full of fun, adventure, and pretty women.

Late at night in a vacant hotel lobby in South Florida, decades later Sam finds himself trying to come to peace with the fact that plans do not always work out and the life you imagined is not always the life you end up living. Alone at the front desk, he writes novels and communicates via email with his wife who has left him and now runs a food truck in Colorado. The two of them alone but at the same time together, trying to work things out, trying to hold onto a marriage that has moved just out of reach.

With a sharp eye for the world around him, Sam’s memories wander through the decades of his life as a traveling salesman, husband, and father. His story takes the reader on a journey from 1960’s New Hampshire where he writes letters to his brother in Vietnam, to Boston and New York where he and his wife raise their young family during the tumultuous years at the turn of the century, to South Florida during the Great Recession.

Against the backdrop of the conflicts and anxieties of a changing world, Life Is All This is the story of a modern American family facing life’s hardships with hope, optimism, and humor while discovering that pain, loss, and distance can strengthen their love and enrich their lives.

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Sheila Blanchette is the author of three novels, including Take Me Home and The Reverse Commute. All are available here

You can WIN a copy of this book! Just leave a comment below. One winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication.

Book-a-Day #Giveaway! The Street or Me by Judith Glynn


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In general, homelessness is about statistics. Rarely does the subject convince an ordinary citizen to step up and rescue a street person – until now.

The Street or Me: A New York Story begins with a sidewalk hello between two diverse women in a sketchy Midtown Manhattan neighborhood. Michelle Browning is 33, a former Italian beauty queen, habitually drunk, homeless for six years and near death. Author Judith Glynn is middle-aged, divorced with grown children, and struggles to support herself in her adopted city. As their street friendship develops, Glynn sets out single-handedly to restore Michelle’s dignity and return her to her family in Italy.

This book sounds like a do-gooder, co-dependent story, but it’s not. It’s part mystery – why do we connect with some people and not with others. Crafted as part horror story, too, Glynn shares just enough of Michelle’s life experience and what her daily existence was like on the streets:  the beatings, the stench, the body lice, the freezing cold, the zombie-like state of late-stage alcoholism, yet Michelle’s spark of a vibrant human still inside her drives the narrative.

Glynn’s inability to understand her fixation to rescue Michelle is ever-present, as is her depth of self-reflection and action amidst uncertainty. Is it worth the danger and futility she faces trying to rescue a street person or the sacrifice to involve her family with her homeless friend? One casualty is the severed relationship that occurs with her own mother. Prominent in this memoir’s closing chapters is Glynn’s son who comes to his mother’s and Michelle’s aid during her final street days in New York.

At stake during Glynn’s riveting memoir is whether Michelle’s alcoholism will enslave her to a street life and a death in a gutter or will she follow the author’s lead back to sobriety.

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Discover more about author Judith Glynn at her website http://judithglynn.com

You can purchase her books through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Apple.

You can WIN a copy of this book! Just leave a comment below. One winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication.

Book-a-Day #Giveaway! Daughters of Divorce by Terry Gaspard


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Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Their Parents’ Divorce

Today, more than 40 percent of all Americans between the ages of eighteen and forty are children of divorce. For years, researchers have identified the damage divorce inflicts on the lives of children. In recent decades, many studies have examined the negative impact of parental divorce on children into adulthood.

In fact, daughters of divorce are more than twice as likely to divorce themselves when compared to their counterparts from intact families. However, few books have offered concrete strategies for women who desire happy, long-lasting intimate relationships.

Grounded in research and thirty years of clinical practice, Daughters of Divorce is filled with poignant real-life stories and offers a clear road-map to help women increase their self-awareness and to develop better relationship skills so they can heal the wounds of the past and build the healthy, happy relationships that they deserve.

During over 300 in-depth interviews, I identified seven key emotional challenges faced by daughters of divorce that are nearly universal:

  • Trouble trusting romantic partners
    • Damaged self-esteem
    • Issues with intimacy and commitment
    • Extreme self-reliance
    • Pessimism about the stability of relationships
    • A father-daughter wound

With greater awareness, women can learn to recognize the forces that shape them and build healthier relationships for themselves. It can no longer be about her parents’ attitude or behavior. It’s time for her to create change in her life and move forward. She will discover she can change self-defeating patterns in her relationships and build ones based on love, trust, and intimacy.

terry-gaspard

Terry’s new book Daughters of Divorce: Overcoming the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-lasting Relationship offers a powerful look at the impact of parental divorce and provides concrete ways women can improve their relationships. Follow Terry at movingpastdivorce.com, Facebook, and Twitter.  

You can WIN a copy of this book! Just leave a comment below. One winner will be chosen at random and thew author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Winding Stream


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I’m in the habit of doing ‘soft’ releases – minimal fanfare and proclamations. Nevertheless, I’m incredibly proud to announce the publication of this new book, and the first in my portfolio that’s non-fiction.

A Winding Stream chronicles the two-week canoe and camping trip that my maternal grandfather, Earl R. Handy, made with his friend, John B. Hudson, in 1924. 1924!  Five years before the Great Depression, seventeen years before Pearl Harbor. In June of 1924, the Snyder Act granted US citizenship to all American Indians. George Mallory and A.C. Irvine died attempting to climb Mount Everest. And on the last day of June in 1924, the Democratic National Convention adjourned at midnight with William Gibbs McAdoo and Al Smith deadlocked in balloting.

This little book (54 pages) may be of interest (outside my family!) to those interested in the region, canoeing and camping, the environment, local history, or to anyone wanting to take a quiet journey back ninety-two years. Paddle down the rivers with Earl and John for fourteen days. And if you think you might like to re-create this adventure, please let me know!

Pick up your copy at Amazon and come see me in December at one of my book events!

Thursday, December 1 (6:00pm) – Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library in Harrisville, RI

Saturday, December 3 (11:00-5:00) – RI Authors Expo at Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet in Cranston, RI

Focus on the Positive


“Find every opening to reinforce the value of returning to right and reason in your own life.”

~ Deepak Chopra

I thought I’d post this one line instead of Chopra’s entire article (which you can read here if you’re so inclined). I didn’t want to turn it into a political post – haven’t we all had enough of this exhaustive ugliness anyway? It’s Sunday and I’m feeling a little bit lazy, so here are some pictures to brighten your day. Focus on the positive when you can – all this negativity does you no good.

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All photoS by M. Reynolds

Gandria, Switzerland

Gandria, Switzerland

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Wilcox Park, Westerly, RI

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Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence, RI

 

 

It’s Sexual Assault and It’s #notokay


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On Friday evening, when the online communities were ablaze with the topic of Trump (again), Kelly Oxford asked women to share their stories of sexual assault and rape on Twitter under the hashtag #notokay. Three hours later she was getting a new post every second. By 2:00 a.m. Saturday morning, a million women had posted about their assaults.

I posted mine. One of two. Both times, I was a 20-year-old college student living overseas. Once in France, once in Switzerland. Both times, I wasn’t drunk, I wasn’t dressed provocatively. I don’t look like a model, never have. I wasn’t ‘asking for it.’

The first time, I had just arrived for my junior year abroad and was spending an evening in Nice with college friends – some new, some established. We were drinking beer. I had had one beer. I got up to find the bathroom, which was inside the cafe, down in the basement. Before I could enter the stall, a burly, hairy man in a white apron reached out and grabbed a breast before I could slam the stall’s door against him. I was afraid to leave the stall and stayed there until one of my friends came downstairs looking for me.

The second time was months later. There was an outdoor festival with German music. I had had one or two beers, tops. Everyone was dancing to the music, no one was paired off. My girlfriend and I joined the group, and after moving around for a few minutes, I found myself face to face with a man probably in his forties. As he exhaled a breath that stank of beer, he grabbed my crotch through my jeans. I staggered backwards and away from him as he grinned.

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), an American is sexually assaulted every two minutes. That’s females and males. We cannot allow children to grow up in a society that permits such behavior. It’s not ‘boys will be boys.’ It’s not ‘locker-room talk.’ It’s assault. And it’s not okay.

October


photo by m. reynolds

photo by m. reynolds

October