A Message From The Creator

A Message From The Creator

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Wilma Rudolph

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Wilma Rudolph

Inspiration Of Motherhood: I Went To India For IVF

Inspiration Of Motherhood: I Went To India For IVF

Inspiration Of Style: Fashion 2012

Inspiration Of Style: Fashion 2012

Women’s Health: Jodi Jaecks, Cancer Survivor

Women’s Health: Jodi Jaecks, Cancer Survivor

A Message From The Creator

As the light shines through my window I awaken.
I am reminded once more that today is another day stolen from borrowed time.
Today I will live and live to will. I will be thankful for all I love and all I have.
Every breath taken in shall be full as I take in the world around me.
I will push away the pain, hide my tears and sorrow and drown out all that threatens my very being.
Today I will climb that rock and sit on top staring and soaking in the beauty of nature, of life.
I will let the wind whisper in my ears and flow through me filling my every sense, breathing life once more into my soul.
Just for today I shall truly live, making the best of everything, because I know as the sun sets and sleeps, so shall I.
I will be there once more to watch the last ray of the sun disappear, knowing that one day it may never awaken me.
Just for today I will live.

-Laurah Lynn

Inspirational Woman Of The Day: Wilma Rudolph

Born premature on June 23, 1940, in St. Bethlehem, Tennessee, Wilma Rudolph was a sickly child who had to wear a brace on her left leg. She overcame her disabilities through physical therapy and hard work, and went on to become a gifted runner. She became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field events at the Olympics, and later worked as a teacher and track coach.

Athlete, Olympic track and field champion. Born on June 23, 1940, in St. Bethlehem, Tennessee. Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field events at the Olympics. But the road to victory was not an easy one for her. Born premature and sickly as a child, Rudolph had problems with her left leg and had to wear a brace. It was with great determination and with the help of physical therapy that she was able to overcome her physical disabilities. Growing up in the South during days of segregation, Rudolph attended an African-American high school where she played on the basketball team. A naturally gifted runner, she later recruited for the track team.

While still in high school, Rudolph qualified for the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia. At the age of 16, she was the youngest member of the U.S. team and won a bronze medal in the sprint relay event. After finishing high school, Rudolph enrolled at Tennessee State University where she studied education.  She also trained hard for the next Olympics.

Held in Rome, Italy, the 1960 Olympics were a golden time for Rudolph. She won the 100 meter, 200 meter, and sprint relay events, making her one of the popular athletes from the games. This first-class sprinter became a sports superstar, celebrated around the world for her achievements. She made numerous appearances on television and received several honors, including being named the Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year twice.

After retiring from competition in the early 1960s, Rudolph worked as a teacher and a track coach. She shared her remarkable story with the world in 1977 with her autobiography, Wilma. Her book was later turned into a television film. In the 1980s, she was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and established the Wilma Rudolph Foundation to promote amateur athletics.

Rudolph died on November 12, 1994, near Nashville, Tennessee, from brain cancer. In 2004, the United States Postal Service honored this Olympic champion by featuring her likeness on a 23-cent stamp. She is remembered as one of the fastest women in track and as a source of great inspiration for generations of African-American athletes.


Inspiration Of Motherhood: I Went To India For IVF

Adrienne Arieff

Principal, Arieff Communications

I feel the heat first. It rouses me from disorienting, sticky dreams. The walls of my hotel room are an earthy reddish brown, like the interior of a tandoori oven — steamy, close, and designed to intensify and tenderize its contents. I’m slow-roasting. My thoughts are slow and muddy — this heat! How can anyone think in this heat? — and as I rub my eyes and look out my window, I remember. Oh my God, I’m in India!

I’ve just traveled nine thousand miles to arrive here, a rural pocket of northern India near the border with Pakistan, to have a child. I have come here under the direction of a fertility specialist to whom I’ve only spoken over the phone, to undergo IVF treatment and have children at last, with the help of an Indian surrogate I’ve never met. There is no guarantee that any of this will be successful.

I slide open my window to relieve the stifling heat in my room. This, it turns out, has the opposite effect. As hard as it is to imagine, it’s actually hotter outside. While the inside of my room is baking, it is nothing compared to the sopping, still air of the street. The humidity is a wall on this windless day; the atmosphere is completely and eternally inert. These are the dog days of Indian summer.

When I open my window, I not only invite in the heat but also the carnival of life in the street. All five senses are immediately assailed with a riot of sensation — color, noise, pollution, heat, incense — and everywhere the incessant, high-volume hum and honk of village life.

There’s no doubt about it, I’m not in the Bay Area anymore. The urban comforts I have come to rely on are nowhere in sight. My smartphone is perpetually losing signal, and I don’t imagine that there is a latte or a martini or even a good roast chicken to be found within five hundred miles. Anand is a district located in the state of Gujarat, which is strictly vegetarian. No restaurant, hotel, or self-respecting citizen serves beef, pork, chicken, or fish, even to a foreigner like me. Gujarat is also a dry state, no alcohol allowed, though if I had a drink in this heat, I swear I might pass out. But, after the day I think I’m about to have, I might be willing to risk it.

I look up the street and then down, trying to get the lay of the land, but it’s a jumbled puzzle of honking and yelling and rumbling, and unexplained explosions in the distance every now and again, explosions that nobody seems to pay much attention to. I can’t make any sense of it. There are no cultural landmarks to guide me, no familiar sights, sounds, or smells. I feel as if I have been dropped on a foreign planet. A dry, screaming-hot planet with no cheeseburgers.

I sigh, turning back toward my cramped hotel room. I am, after all, a capable and well-traveled woman. While in college, I interned with the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C., and at an international telecommunications firm –both took me to places I had never dreamed I would get to visit, from Guatemala to Mexico City to Hong Kong. After graduation, I went to Israel and lived in a kibbutz for four months, and then was off to follow a Spanish boyfriend to Madrid.

This knowledge — the certainty that no matter how strange my surroundings, I will find friendship, laughter, and love — is the only thing that is giving me courage right now. I cling to these thin straws of strength; they are a raft in a vast and unfamiliar ocean.

Let’s face it, I am embarking on a bold and frightening new adventure.

Right now I feel like I’m having an out-of-body experience, or that I am trapped in a foreign film without the benefit of subtitles. I feel numb, and nervous, but very excited too. My emotions are as chaotic as the traffic in the streets, all traveling at max capacity toward a head-on collision with the unknown.

Even though I’ve been on planes, trains, and automobiles to get here, the full weight of my passage and of what I hope to achieve in this journey has not quite resonated until now. I’ve held off the full awareness of what’s happening until this, the absolute last moment. I have no choice but to go forward. Truthfully, I think I only made it this far by closing my eyes to the sheer madness of the adventure. When you’re facing something as intractable and incomprehensible as infertility, and you’re feeling helpless and hopeless, denial can be your best friend. It’s what makes it possible to run where angels fear to tread. My mom taught me that. I thought she was crazy the first time she said it, but now I understand the method to her madness.

Three elephants lumber nonchalantly past my window. They are as unremarkable and routine a part of this landscape as the children skipping by on their way to school, or the tangle of traffic in the streets. Behind them are strutting, screaming peacocks pecking in the dust for a few breakfast crumbs. On the corner a group of sacred cows linger, superior and detached. Wagons rattle on their way to the old town market, weighed down with mangos, watermelons, bananas, jasmine, roses, handcrafts, and spices of all varieties. Whole families linger on the sidewalks, selling a few sparse wares — an embroidered pouch, a used tire, a flavored ice, or something fried — and letting the morning roll untroubled into afternoon beneath the relentless July sun.

I’m exploring a brand-new frontier of emotional and ethical hills and valleys, without a clue as to where I’m headed. Except for this: I know that at the other end lies the possibility that my husband, Alex, and I will become parents; that I will finally, after so many years, so many hopes, so many heartbreaks, become a mother. So I’m willing to take the journey, and write the map and the guidebook as I go.

I’m at peace with Alex’s and with my decision ethically, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. I know in my gut, the way one does in watershed moments, that we’re doing the right thing. No matter what happens, we will make sure that we take care of ourselves, our surrogate, and hopefully, our soon-to-be-born baby. And yet…

Oh my God, I’m in India!

Copyright © 2012 by Adrienne Arieff From the book THE SACRED THREAD by Adrienne Arieff, published by Crown Trade, a division of Random House, Inc.

Inspiration Of Style: Fashion 2012

Fashion of 2012 promises to please every kind of woman.The accessory that can not be left out during the summer of 2012, shall be the girdle. May be made of leather or another type, such as tissue, but should always mark and the waist. The prints will be present trend in accessories, so many belts have floral appliques. The trend for sandals colorful and will jump off. Taken by the tendency of vibrant colors, sandals in 2012 will be very colorful.Fashion 2012 seems ready to please all tastes. For women who have good taste and good sense, trends promise to please. For anyone who can combine prints and daring, fashion next year will offer many possibilities. Take the chance to combine the various accessories with colors and vibrant detail.

Women’s Health: Jodi Jaecks, Breast Cancer Survivor

The Stranger


On a cold morning in February, breast cancer survivor Jodi Jaecks walked into the Medgar Evers Pool in the Central District to swim a few laps. Several women in her breast cancer support group had recommended the public pool for its warm temperature and low chlorine levels. And as a lifelong athlete, she was eager to reclaim her fitness after months of ill health. So she took the tour, checked out the locker rooms, and then politely warned the desk manager she planned on swimming topless.

Jaecks didn’t think it would be a big deal. A bilateral mastectomy in 2011 left her as flat-chested as a child, and two thin scars now cut across her chest where her nipples once lay. There is simply nothing left to cover up.

Still: “I wanted to be respectful by making them aware,” 47-year-old Jaecks says.

But swimming topless—breasts or no—was a big deal for the city. She was told she couldn’t swim that day.

Jaecks tried explaining to the Seattle Parks and Recreation officials that she suffers from nerve pain across her chest and neck, which is a common side effect of mastectomies. “It burns all the time—a pretty searing, intense pain,” she says. Wearing post-mastectomy swimsuits, which often feature extra material for prosthetic breast forms, is simply too uncomfortable. Further, she is part of a growing population: Jaecks is one of roughly 1,200 women in this state annually who have their breasts removed and choose not to have reconstruction surgery.

But the parks department, which maintains the city’s 10 public pools, insists that Jaecks is simply trying to be shocking and subversive.

“She made it clear she wanted to show her scars as a ‘badge of courage’ and wanted to use the pool to spread her message,” says parks spokeswoman Dewey Potter.

The parks department posts a dress code at each public pool that says women must wear tops and bottoms. Potter explains that bathing suits must be “appropriate at a family facility,” ensuring that people from different cultural backgrounds feel comfortable swimming. Jaecks was told that her topless body would disrupt the family-friendly environment.

After weeks of waiting for the parks aquatic manager to address her request, Jaecks was once again told she wouldn’t be welcome unless she wore “gender appropriate swimwear.”

As a lesbian who describes herself as “pretty androgynous,” Jaecks is offended. She wants to know how the rules apply to transgender swimmers. “A transsexual would wear a bathing suit of the gender he or she is at the time of using a pool,” says Potter.

As Jaecks points out, if she were to dip into Medgar Evers Pool with the exact same body but called herself a dude, her naked chest would not be considered offensive or anti-family. But because she’s a woman, parks officials told her that if swimsuit tops are too painful, she should try swimming in lightweight fitness tops.

“This clearly reflects how politicized women’s bodies and breasts are in our culture,” says Dr. Patricia Dawson, a breast surgery specialist at Swedish Medical Center who called the policy both “stupid” and “incredibly misguided.”

Not only misguided, the city’s policy is also more restrictive than city law.

“Nudity is not illegal,” explains Sergeant Sean Whitcomb, a spokesman for the Seattle Police Department. This is why nude sunbathers and free-flapping Fremont Solstice Parade bicycle riders aren’t hauled away every year in handcuffs. Streaking, sunbathing, even swimming at public beaches topless is not against the law unless it’s “accompanied by behavior that causes a reasonable person affront or alarm,” Whitcomb says.

Approximately 4,500 women in Washington State will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, according to the National Cancer Institute, and roughly half of those women—or 2,250—will have mastectomies. Of those women, only 37 percent will decide to have reconstructive surgery, according to a 2008 study from the American Association of Plastic Surgeons. Which means thousands of women each year are adjusting to living without breasts and learning to love their new altered bodies.

“I’m frankly appalled,” says Brittney Stewart, another double-mastectomy breast cancer survivor who occasionally swims topless with her children in Lake Washington. “I’m trying to teach my kids that my body isn’t something to be ashamed or afraid of. Policies like this make it much harder.”

As for Jaecks, she’s not done fighting the rule. “It’s good for kids to be exposed to the positive reality—not only of the existence of cancer as a fact of humanity, but also the example of surviving it with strength and spirit intact,” she says. “I have no intention of accepting this pronouncement.” recommended

UPDATE: Responding to this story, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Christopher Williams announced on June 20 that he would overturn the policy for Jaecks—and Jaecks alone. Williams will consider future requests from breast cancer survivors with double mastectomies to swim topless only on a “case-by-case basis.” While Jaecks says she “never expected that the response would be so quick,” she is upset that the rule was construed so narrowly to apply solely to her. More here.

UPDATE TWO: On June 21, Superintendent Williams announced that the city will consider “wholesale changes” to public pool policies.

Seattle Parks and Recreation superintendent Christopher Williams will consider revising the rules for all people using the city’s public pools—not just one breast cancer survivor who was granted an exception to swim topless.

“We recognize we may need to make awholesale policy change,” Williams said in an interview with The Stranger this morning, while adding that he can’t comment on what that new policy might look like yet.

The announcement comes after a growing controversy, sparked by a story in yesterday morning’s Stranger, that has reached international media markets. Yesterday evening, the department reversed a months-long decision barring breast cancer survivor Jodi Jaecks from swimming topless in Medgar Evers Pool. Earning that exception was a small victory for Jaecks, but it hardly amounted to meaningful public policy change.

But Williams, a cancer survivor himself who explains that he only learned of Jaecks’s situation yesterday, says he’s extended an apology to Jaecks and an invitation to be part of the rule-changing process.

“Sometimes we make mistakes, but I think our commitment is what we try to correct those mistakes,” Williams says.

The department’s next step is assembling a small work group of five-to-eight people—mostly health care and legal professionals—to examine the current parks policy and advise how it can be made more inclusive for more than just cancer survivors:

“Frankly, I don’t know all the situations that we may encounter,” Williams says. “I think we want a diverse set of eyes on this so the decision is not made in a vacuum… We are only talking about double-mastectomy patients right now, but there may be a whole world of disabilities or differently figured people who we recommend some policy guidelines for.”

“It’s time the rule be reviewed,” agreed Seattle City Council member Sally Bagshaw, chair of the council’s parks committee, in a phone conversation this morning. She then dismissed the argument—once used by the parks department to deny Jaecks use of its facilities—that seeing women’s mastectomy scars would disrupt the pool’s “family friendly” environment:

“It strikes me that when someone’s gone through something this serious,” Bagshaw says, “people can and should take care of each other.”

%d bloggers like this: