Did you know six percent of Americans currently identify as vegan—an increase of 600 percent in just three years? Some are vegan in diet only, and others are lifestyle vegans and avoid anything made from animals. Let’s meet three Tidewater women who are choosing a kinder—and many say healthier—way of living in this month’s TW cover story, Living the Vegan Life.
After that, we know you’ll be hungry to try some Tasty Vegan Recipes chosen by our cover story ladies. How about Egyptian Red Lentil Soup? Try the Flexy Sexy Asian Slaw with a surprising special ingredient! And, don’t be fooled, you won’t miss the chicken in this zesty Lemon Pepper Chik’n Salad.
Also in the April issue, catch Tidewater Women’s 2018 Spring Arts Guide, and discover enriching performances, activities, and classes to help you find your inner artist.
Homeschooling is a great opportunity to impart values, gain quality family time, and provide for kids’ individualized educational and health needs. Take a look at this month’s TF cover story, A Homeschooling Primer, to catch a glimpse of an enriching day for some local homeschool families.
April’s 2018 FitKids Guide offers healthy programs and activities to keep your family in tip-top shape. We’re also continuing our extensive Summer Fun Guide, so you can choose the best summer camp for your children. (Psst… check out 7 Tips for Choosing a Camp to help you decide on a program!)
Need ideas for what to do on a rainy day? Please visit our website for tips and trends from previous issues. Plus check out our Go-To Guides, featuring businesses that offer goods and services your family needs, and much more. Don't forget to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter, too!
Do you own a party-planning business? Want to reach a receptive target market? Many TW readers are actively involved in planning special occasions for their loved ones yet don’t know where to turn when it comes to getting professional help for their parties. That’s why our upcoming May issue will feature our 2018 CELEBRATION PLANNING GUIDE, the ideal place for you to spread the word about your party business/catering services! Whether you provide venue space, flowers, catering, entertainment, rentals, or other party services, you will reach decision makers with your ad in this special issue.
Mother’s Day is fast approaching! Loved ones are looking for the perfect gifts for the moms in their lives. Got great gift ideas? Whether it’s gift certificate for a massage or a celebratory dinner out, let us help you get your business in front of Tidewater Women readers in our May MOTHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE, a special advertising section that’s perfect for letting local women know about your gift ideas.
Now more than ever, parents are concerned about creating a safe environment for their children. They want to ensure that their homes are free of toxins, that the food their family eats is pesticide-free, hormone-free, and non-GMO, and that the products they buy and the businesses they patronize support sustainable living practices.
This May Tidewater Family will feature helpful editorial about healthy, eco-friendly living. We’ll also feature our special 2018 GREEN LIVING GUIDE. It’s the perfect opportunity to get the word out about your farm/produce stand, eco-friendly business, health food restaurant, or health care practice to an ideal demographic.
There’s still time to let area parents know about your summer programs, too. We’re featuring our ever-popular 2018 Summer Fun Guide from now through June.
Peggy’s back in Mexico! Experience Magical Mexico Moments in her latest trip to San Miguel de Allende in this month’s Tidewater Women travel story.
Feeling a bit nostalgic? Kayak along Kentucky’s Green River, a peaceful, green slice of paradise, with Peggy in Tidewater Family’s By the Green River.
You’ve read all about Living the Vegan Life, and now you’re dying to try some delicious vegan recipes, right? We asked Chelta, Betsy, and Connie to share some of their favorite recipes with our hungry readers. Some ingredients may even surprise you!
Chelta’s Fave: Egyptian Red Lentil Soup
(Makes 6-8 servings)
5 cups vegetable broth or 5 cups water
1 cup dried red lentils
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped potatoes
8 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
1 T. canola oil
2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. turmeric
1 t. salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 T. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
1. Add the first 5 ingredients to a large pot; cover and bring to a boil.
2. Lower the heat and simmer 15-20 minutes or until the lentils and veggies are tender. Take pot from stove burner and set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, add the oil; warm over low heat until the oil is hot but not smoking. Add in the cumin, turmeric, and salt; cook and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes or until the cumin has released its fragrance (be careful not to scorch the spices). Set spice mixture aside for 1 minute to cool.
4. Stir spice mixture into the lentil mixture; add cilantro, stir to combine. You can puree the soup, in batches, in a blender OR you can use an immersion blender and blend to desired texture.
5. Add in lemon juice; stir to combine.
6. Rewarm soup in soup pot; season if needed with salt/pepper.
Betsy’s Fave: Flexy Sexy Asian Slaw
(Makes about two servings)
Betsy’s note: Be sure to serve this slaw in an Asian bowl with chopsticks to make a mouthwatering presentation that is as fun to eat as it is pretty. The surprise ingredient–popcorn–may sound odd, but it is delicious and nutritious.
1 T. vegan butter
3 T. vegan sour cream
1/4 t. prepared Thai Red Curry Paste (or more, to taste)
1-2 T. vegan fish sauce, lime juice, or half of each
6 cups popped kettle corn (slightly sweet and salty)
1/2 cup shredded purple cabbage
1/4 cup lightly roasted and salted cashew halves or peanuts + a couple for garnish
1 T. pinched fresh cilantro leaves + 2 sprigs for garnish
1. In a medium-large bowl, melt butter with sour cream in microwave for 30 seconds to a minute.
2. Whisk in curry paste and vegan fish sauce.
3. Fold in remaining ingredients, except garnishes.
4. Pile into two small Asian-style bowls, garnish with cilantro sprigs and cashew halves, and serve immediately with chopsticks.
Connie’s Fave: Lemon Pepper Chik’n Salad
(Makes about four sandwiches/servings)
1 package Beyond Meat ® Chik’n Strips, thawd (Grilled or Lightly Seasoned flavor)
Juice and zest of 1 large lemon
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Just Mayo ® (or more, to taste)
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 t. dried marjoram
1 t. dried dill
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
1 rib celery, minced
salt, to taste
1. Shred the Beyond Meat® strips, using a fork to separate by lightly twisting the strips. (Alternatively, strips can be cut into cubes). Place in medium bowl.
2. Combine lemon juice and zest with pepper and salt. Add to chik’n and allow to marinate at least an hour (a bit longer if you have the time).
3. Mix together remaining ingredients with chik’n.
4. Serve as sandwich or scooped atop butter lettuce or arugula.
Chelta Wray spent much of her 20s taking care of everyone but herself.
The once fit career developer and case manager had stopped working out, was depressed, and at one point, carried 234 lbs. on her 5’4” frame. When a vegan friend suggested a plant-based diet might “bring life” into her body, Chelta decided to try it for one month. In a few days, she wrapped her mind around going from carnivore to vegan, ridding her kitchen of all animal-based products and donating canned goods to local food pantries.
A year later, the 30-year-old Virginia Beach resident continues to be an energized, happy, and 62 lbs. lighter vegan.
“Being vegan is on the up and up,” she said.
Indeed, it is. According to a 2017 report by the research company GlobalData, 6 percent of Americans identify as vegan, a number that reflects a 600 percent increase since 2014. Some are vegan in diet only, and others are lifestyle vegans, those who resist anything made from animals. Health and cruelty issues are prompting women like Chelta to move away from animal-originated products.
Let’s meet Chelta and two other Tidewater women who are at different stages on their vegan journeys but who are committed to what they consider a kinder way of living.
RESPECT FOR NATURE
Chelta used to eat for the sake of eating and had a real fondness for cheese. “I ate food because it was there,” she said.
Having recently celebrated her one-year anniversary with no animal products in her diet, the Norfolk native doesn’t feel deprived and has more energy than ever, hitting the gym several days a week and walking on other days. She’s also not spending as much money at the grocery store.
The transition wasn’t difficult.
During her first month, she ate only fruits and vegetables and drank a lot of water. She prayed often and was cheered on by her non-vegan parents. Before her “trial period” was up, though, Chelta traveled to New Orleans to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Surrounded by Cajun cuisine, beignets, and birthday cake, she realized she was in the middle of the ultimate test. How did she do?
“I aced it!” she said. “I didn’t realize how much willpower I had.”
She’s now brought healthy starches back into her diet, but she limits them, occasionally treating herself to the vegan mac and cheese at Norfolk’s The Conscious Planet. Beans are a daily staple for her, and one of her favorite concoctions is the lentil soup at Pasha Mezze, also in Norfolk. Add the restaurant’s “Vegan Sunrise” plate (tomatoes, olives, and eggplant), and Chelta’s tummy is happy.
She does have a hankering for dessert at times and will often satisfy it with the cheesecake at My Vegan Sweet Tooth in Virginia Beach. The first time she took a bite of it, she thought, “There’s no way this is not dairy; it’s better than The Cheesecake Factory!”
Chelta feels that eating vegan has deepened her faith and her respect for nature. She’s learned more about animal cruelty, and she questions how anything good comes from mistreating or killing animals. In fact, she has emptied her home of most animal products but holds onto her grandmother’s leather purses for sentimental reasons. One day Chelta wants to start a family, and she would love for them to live a vegan lifestyle.
Although she occasionally misses a piping hot stack of pancakes, she doesn’t plan on returning to her former way of eating. She loves her healthier and slimmer self, her renewed energy, and the many new friends she has.
“Why change it if you feel great?” Chelta said. “I’m still a baby in the process, but I don’t plan on going back.”
In 2008, Betsy DiJulio hosted a birthday dinner for some friends. When the meal was over, the longtime vegetarian got up, put her plate in the sink, and decided to forever eliminate all animal products from her diet.
The catalyst? The dining conversation included a woman who’d read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. She pointed out that the “happy” cows in dairy ads aren’t necessarily happy and the “family friendly” farms aren’t necessarily friendly. Betsy listened and thought about what was being discussed as she ate a meal that included some dairy products, finally saying, “That’s it.”
The now 56-year-old Virginia Beach artist and teacher discovered a new excitement in eating vegan. As a Mississippi high schooler, she’d given up beef and pork products to rid her diet of excess fat. When she chose to forgo all animal food products in midlife, she found her culinary curiosity and creativity renewed, pitching a story to The Virginian-Pilot, for whom she was already a contributor, about her new passion. The published article resulted in her offering newspaper-sponsored vegan cooking classes and starting a blog called “The Blooming Platter.”
One and a half years after starting her blog, she signed a contract to write a cookbook with the same title.
Betsy’s kitchen is like an art lab where she dreams up and serves original recipes for family and friends, though some dishes are not pleasing to her partner. The first time Bob ate Betsy’s pad thai—made from spiralized sweet potatoes instead of noodles—he said it tasted like kerosene and lawn clippings. Now he and their frequent guests enjoy her roasted vegetable dishes and snack mixtures, such as cashews and pumpkin seeds roasted with vegan butter and nutritional yeast. If Betsy finds herself with leftovers, she likes to pile them on a rice cake for a quick lunch at school.
The author and chef enjoys dining out on an array of ethnic foods, especially Chinese, Indian, and Thai. She also loves Mesob, an Ethiopian restaurant in Virginia Beach. In fact, her list of favorite restaurants is quite lengthy, but she particularly likes the vegan fish tacos at Pelon’s in Virginia Beach and the vegan options found at the prepared food bar at Whole Foods. Like Chelta, she drops by My Vegan Sweet Tooth for little indulgences, most often for her students. Since she no longer eats dairy products, which coat the tongue and can block taste, she now appreciates the true flavors of food.
Besides having cleaner taste buds, Betsy has also a cleaner conscience. She feels more connected to and in harmony with the natural world because of the way she eats. She refuses to look at photos and videos of abused animals but doesn’t judge others for eating animal-derived foods. In fact, most of her friends are not vegan.
Being vegan is also good for you, Besty says. Following a recent complete blood panel, her doctor declared Betsy “really” healthy. She attributes this in part to a diligent practice of reading labels, making sure there are no animal products of any kind in canned and other prepared foods and noting fat content. She says it can be challenging for vegans to be healthy because of the large amount of fat, sugar, and calories found in many plant-based food products.
Betsy uses nothing on her skin that contains animal ingredients or is tested on animals. She’s nearly cleared her home of any animal-derived goods except for a few pairs of leather shoes, purchased second-hand. Betsy’s furniture, clothing, and accessory choices are ethics-driven, and she reads labels carefully for leather, wool, and silk.
While her lifestyle is driven by her concern for the mistreatment of animals, Betsy doesn’t get into debates about the issue, particularly on social media. She simply continues to lead by example and show people a different way of life.
With a smile and a roll of the eyes, she said, “It helps make up for some of the other things I may have done.”
A BETTER HUMAN
Connie Faivre was driving to a Thanksgiving feast in 1984 when she noticed turkeys trotting around a farm. Initially, the Chesapeake resident thought nothing of it. A few hours later, her host pulled a turkey out of the oven and said, “Just think: This little fellow was running around at the farm down the road yesterday.”
Connie became a vegetarian that day. In 2012 she evolved into what she calls a “true” vegan, eschewing all animal products in her diet and her home. You’ll find no leather or any other animal product in her kitchen, closets, or elsewhere.
“Vegan is a lifestyle,” said the 63-year-old founder and former director of Tidewater Humane, Inc.
Looking back, Connie’s path to veganism and standing up against animal cruelty began in her native Indiana, long before she saw those turkeys. At age 5, she broke away from her mother to grab a whip from someone who was beating a horse. A year later, she climbed inside an animal enclosure on a relative’s farm, where her anxious family later found her, quietly cuddling with a pitbull mix named Blackie. As a high school student, she saw on television a raccoon that was caught in a trap, and she wrote a paper about it from the raccoon’s point of view.
Animal cruelty is the driver for Connie’s vegan lifestyle; the health benefits are subsidiary.
“I’ve always eaten healthy,” Connie said. “I’ve never been a big meat fan.”
Like Betsy, Connie enjoys the creative aspects of her vegan diet and finds that casseroles and soups are particularly ripe for bringing out her experimental chef. A recent dinner in the Faivre home featured cauliflower and potatoes roasted in mustard, garlic, thyme, and vegan mayonnaise and served over pearl couscous cooked in vegan bouillon. A fresh salad completed the meal.
She cooks a lot for church gatherings, too, and her “chik’n salad” always goes fast. Her chili has been a big hit, too. A fellow parishioner recently exclaimed, “This chili is so good!” but after seeing Connie’s smile, he added, ”Wait. Who brought this?” Yes, her ministry pals are indulging in and becoming educated on plant-based meals!
When she wants a break from cooking, she heads to some of her favorite restaurants that cater to vegans’ palates, such as Baladi at Hilltop in Virginia Beach and Pasha Mezze. And, like Betsy and Chelta, she gets her sweet fix at My Vegan Sweet Tooth.
Connie’s hurdles as a vegan are few. The occasional overseas flight requires her calling the airline to arrange for meals. A big challenge is going to events where food is involved because many meal planners don’t consider some guests may be vegan. She also at times misses not having to give food preparation much thought. She can once again enjoy an occasional Guinness beer, though, thanks to the brewery’s decision to omit isinglass, a substance derived from fish, from the filtration process.
For Connie, the rewards greatly outweigh her few challenges as a vegan. She feels she’s kinder to people and sees her spirituality as directly connected to her view on animals, adding that she’s not “arrogant” enough to think her life is more important than every other creature’s life.
And when people imply that she’s making animals into humans, her response is, “No. I’m just making myself a better human.”
Ready to give the vegan life a try? Here are a few tasty vegan recipes chosen by our cover story ladies!
There’s a monster in your medicine cabinet. I’m not trying to scare you, but a monster might be roaming around your bathroom, checking your prescriptions, and perhaps helping himself to a few of your pain meds. That monster might be your teen or grandchild.
As our kids grow up, it’s easy to think of them as innocent children. Experiment with drugs or alcohol? Not my kid! The fact is, according to www.drugfreeworld.org, “Every day in the U.S., 2,500 youth (12 to 17) abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time.” Where do they get the drugs? That’s where your medicine cabinet comes in.
What can you do? It’s simple: keep your meds under lock and key.
Another problem involves prescriptions for ADHD, drugs like Ritalin and Adderall. While these drugs are meant to help kids with ADHD focus better, kids without ADHD who take them experience a speedy rush, a feeling I have heard can be quite addicting. So guess where the kids are getting these drugs? From their friends with prescriptions who sell them to make some extra money.
What can you do? If your child is prescribed these drugs for ADHD, keep an eye on his prescription refills.
You may wonder why I’m writing about this topic. It’s partly because I’ve seen how misusing drugs has affected people I know. But mainly it’s because our society seems to be relying on drugs too heavily. I’m blessed to not need any mood-altering drugs (though I will admit to having a fondness for wine, which is a drug of a different kind). But I do feel that, as a society, we need to consider other options before taking strong drugs.
For example, people who are dealing with depression and anxiety might try drug-free therapies. This could involve meeting with a therapist to talk about ways to make your life better. Or you could try exercising on a regular basis: swimming, jogging, cycling, yoga, or even something as simple as taking a walk out in nature. Getting exercise and being outdoors can do wonders to lift your mood and chase away the blues.
Pursuing a hobby is also a fabulous way to reduce stress and anxiety. Many find gardening is the perfect way to unwind. For me, cooking is a great escape from the day-to-day grind. I love the sensory experience of cooking: chopping fresh vegetables, smelling the aromas, and of course tasting the delicious end result.
I also have an interest in herbs—not only their use in the kitchen, but how they are used to ward off health problems and perhaps even resolve them. The Chinese have used herbs medicinally for 5,000 years. Other ancient civilizations—from Egypt to India—have prescribed herbs to help people get well and stay well. Even today, you’ll find herbalism being practiced around the world. Check out your local health food store or talk to an herbalist about remedies that might help you. Of course, let your health care practitioner know if you start taking any supplements.
Of course, prescription drugs are essential for serious conditions. Many people owe their lives to modern medicine. I take meds to lower my blood pressure and cholesterol, and I’m glad to have them. But I also know that a few dietary changes and more exercise would make them less necessary. I’m working on it!
We all have choices. Let’s choose to be careful about the drugs we take and make sure they are not accessible to the young people in our lives. And the next time your doctor prescribes a new pill, ask yourself if it’s alleviating the symptoms or the root cause. Then take steps to get to the root of the problem.
Finally, don’t be afraid to try alternative or complementary medicine. Even something as simple as a massage can do wonders for your mental and physical health. Try one soon and you’ll see what I mean.
Good luck on your wellness journey.
Welcome to Tidewater Women’s April 2018 Calendar of Events
Easter Brunch - 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Music, entertainment, egg hunt + visit from the Easter Bunny. RR ($) Founders Inn 424-5511 (VB)
Prayers for World Peace - 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Most Sun. Adults. Keajra Kadampa Buddhist Ctr. 504-4425 (VB)
Fellowship of the Inner Light Service - 10:45 a.m. with Dr. PMH Atwater. 620 14th St. 428-5782 (VB)
Drag Yourself to Brunch - 11 a.m. & 2 p.m. Every Sun. Age 18+. High-energy entertainment from female impersonators. RR ($) Croc’s 19th Street Bistro 428-5444 (VB)
Sunday Brunch -11 a.m.–3 p.m. Every 1st & 3rd Sun. RR ($) Sweetwater Cuisine 403-7073 (VB)
Easter Brunch - 12-3 p.m. RR ($) Hilton Garden Inn, 100 E. Constance Rd. 774-9073 (S)
Group Life Coaching & Hypnosis - 1-3 p.m. Every Sun. Manifest your dreams. RR ($) 101 N. Lynnhaven Rd. #205 729-2716 (VB)
Monday Yoga Flow - 10-11:30 a.m. Every Mon. ($) Wells Therapeutics 490-9488 (VB)
Cardio Quick Class - 12-12:30 p.m. MWF ($) Seven Cities Dance Studio 362-4973 (H)
Stretch, Flex & Tone: Chair Class - 12-1 p.m. Ages 50+. Every Fri. Improve joint mobility. RR ($) MacArthur Center 625-5857 (N)
Lunchtime Meditation - 12:15-12:45 p.m. Most Mon. ($) Keajra Kadampa Buddhist Center, 156 Newtown Rd. #A2 504-4425 (VB)
TCC Literary Festival: Charlotte Blake Alston - 12:30 p.m. TCC VB Student Center 822-1122 (VB)
Saints Alive Senior Chorus - 12:30 p.m. Every Mon. St. Paul’s UMC, 437 Providence Rd. 543-5721 (C)
Chair Yoga - 1-2 p.m. Ages 50+. RR ($) Macarthur Center 625-5857 (N)
Yoga for Special Needs - 4:30-5:45 p.m. Mon. RR ($) Wells Therapeutics 313-4962 (VB)
Sophisticated Steppers - 5:45-7:15 p.m. Every Mon. Seniors dance. ($) Cuffee Community Ctr., 2019 Windy Rd., 382-6411 (C)
Manic Monday Bike Rides - 6-8 p.m. Every Mon. MacArthur Center Green 627-6000 (N)
Mineral Monday w/ Detox Dandy - 6-9 p.m. Also 4/16 & 4/30. Detox, massage + more. Good Vibes Wellness, 233 16th St. 563-3567 (VB)
Functional Forum - 6:30 p.m.1st Mon. Health news. Holistic Fam. Practice 685-4325 (VB)
The Noblemen Monthly Meeting - 6:30 p.m. The Eagle’s Nest, 600 Nevin Rd. www.thenoblemen.org (VB)
Peace Circle Group w/ Rev. Laura - 6:30-8 p.m. 1st Mon. Unity Church of Tidewater, 5580 Shell Rd. 804-818-6084 (VB)
Drum Circle - 7-10 p.m. Every Mon. Donations accepted. Mystic Moon 855-3280 (N)
Yoga in the Galleries - 8:45-9:45 a.m. Every Tues. RR ($) Chrysler Museum 664-6200 (N)
Spring Dig & Divide - 8:30-11:30 a.m. Learn the proper way to dig and transplant plants. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Yin Yoga - 10:45 a.m. Every Tues. Seniors. Improve flexibility and strengthen muscles. RR ($) PrimePlus, 7300 Newport Ave. 625-5857 (N)
TCC Literary Festival: Eric Hause - 12:30 p.m. Outwire757 publisher and LGBTQ advocate. TCC Norfolk Student Center 822-1122 (N)
Keep Me in Stitches - 2-5 p.m. Every Tues. Knit & crochet for cancer patients. Grace Comm. Church, 1725 Salem Rd. 404-6593 (VB)
Cooperative Co-Parenting - 4-8 p.m. Every 1st Tues. Prevent problems related to divorce. RR ($) 135 Hall Ave., 624-6666 (S)
Peppy Steppers - 5:45-7:15 p.m. Tues. Seniors. ($) W. Branch Comm. Ctr. 382-6411 (C)
Life 101 - 6-7:15 p.m. Every Tues. ($) Wells Therapeutics 490-9488 (VB)
YMCA MixxedFit Class - 6:30-8:30 p.m. Every Tues. Enjoy dance-inspired fitness. Donation ($) MacArthur Center 627-6000 (N)
Magic of Harmony Show Chorus Rehearsals - 7-9 p.m. Every Tues. Visitors welcome. Tabb H.S. Chorus Rm. 566-8600 (Y)
Spontaneous Theater Troupe Training - 7-9 p.m. Every Tues. RR ($) Fellowship Center, 620 14th St. 472-0662 (VB)
In-Depth Study Program - 7-9:30 p.m. Every Tues. Meditation, chanted prayers & more. ($) Keajra Kadampa Buddhist Ctr. 504-4425 (VB)
Harmony & Fitness Yoga - 9:30 a.m. Every Wed. ($) Eliz. Gardens 473-3234 (Manteo)
Moms in Prayer International - 9:30-10:30 a.m. Every Wed. Pray for children and schools. Suffolk Family YMCA 809-0985 (S)
Great Dismal Swamp Safari - 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Also 4/8, 4/13 & 4/14. Learn about history, lore, and wildlife. RR ($) Great Dismal Swamp Wildlife Refuge 514-4130 (S)
Crocheting - 10 a.m.-noon. Seniors. Every Wed. Bring supplies. South Norfolk Community Center 543-5721 (C)
Outdoors Day - 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Activities, demos + educational programs. Center for Wildlife Education, 453-0221 (Corolla)
Chesapeake Social & Newcomers Club: Chinese Auction & Luncheon - 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 1st Wed. RSVP by Fri. before. RR ($) Traditions Grill, Chesapeake Golf Club 966-9000 (C)
TCC Literary Festival: Kevin So - 12:30 p.m. Chinese-American singer confronts identity, relationships, history, family, and racism. TCC Chesapeake Student Center 822-1122 (C)
Food Truck Hump Days - 4 p.m. 1st & 3rd Wed. thru Sept. Gourmet dishes + Kids’ activities & music. Courtyard Square Park 408-2245 (C)
OBC Trivia Night - 6-8 p.m. Every 1st Wed. ($) O’Connor Brewing Co. 623-2337 (N)
Weekly Meditation Class - 6:30-8 p.m. Most Wed. ($) Fred Heutte Ctr. 504-4425 (N)
Va. Stage Company: Disgraced - 7:30 p.m. Times vary thru 4/22. Ages 16+. Tensions rise when talk turns to religion, politics, and Islamophobia. ($) Wells Theatre 627-1234 (N)
Hip Hop Class - 8:30-9:30 p.m. ($) Seven Cities Dance Studio 362-4973 (H)
Paint 4 Fun - 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Every Thurs. Seniors. River Crest Community Ctr. 436-3100 (C)
Farmers’ Market - 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Every Thurs. City Center Oyster Point 873-2020 (NN)
TCC Literary Festival: Drew Anderson - 12:30 p.m. This hip-hop artist & slam poet connects with audiences through satire. TCC Portsmouth Student Center 822-1122 (P)
Art Connections - 1 p.m. Every Thurs. Seniors. All mediums accepted. PrimePlus 7300 Newport Ave. 625-5857 (N)
Ask the Artist - 5:30 p.m. Every Thurs. Engage with works of art through artist talks. d’ART Center 625-4211 (N)
Planetarium Show: Zodiac Stars - 8 p.m. Every Thurs. in April. Explore what makes these constellations unique. RR Chesapeake Planetarium 547-0153 (C)
Friendly Friday Yoga Flow - 10-11:30 a.m. Fri. ($) Wells Therapeutics 490-9488 (VB)
Floral Design Workshop: Ikebana - 10-11:30 a.m. Celebrate the changing seasons. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Seasoned and Sassy - 2 p.m. Every Fri. Get active & socialize! Black Library 441-5806 (N)
First Friday Concert Series - 5-8 p.m. 1st Fri. thru Oct. Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center 393-8543 (P)
First Friday Street Parties: Super Doppler - 5-8:30 p.m. Music, food & fun. TCC Plaza, Granby St. 623-1757 (N)
Meditation: Unwind the Mind - 5:30-6:15 p.m. Most Fri. ($) Keajra Kadampa Buddhist Center, 156 Newtown Rd. #A2 504-4425 (VB)
ViBe Story Exchange: Melissa Schappell - 6-8 p.m. 17th St. Marketplace 621-9469 (N)
Maria Schneider Orchestra - 7:30 p.m. ($) Sandler Center 385-2787 (VB)
Paint Night - 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Every 1st Fri. ($) Downing Gross Ctr. 247-8950 (NN)
Virginia Symphony Orchestra: Carmina Burana - 8 p.m. ($) Ferguson Center 892-6366 (NN)
Lynnhaven River Now: Bird and Plant Walks - 7:30-9 a.m. Every 1st Sat. RR Pleasure House Point Natural Area 962-5398 (VB)
10K run/walk + 1-Mile Family Fun Run - 8 a.m. After-race events include active play, refreshments, crafts + more. RR ($) Victory Family YMCA 867-3300 (Yorktown)
Farmers’ Market - 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Every Sat. Olde Towne Portsmouth 397-6395 (P)
Suffolk Farmers’ Market - 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Every Sat. Suffolk Visitor Center 514-4130 (S)
Asian-Inspired Soups - 10 a.m.-noon. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Old Towne Antiques to Flea Market - 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Every 1st Sat. 70+ vendors. Middle Street Garage 339-1876 (P)
South American Family Day - 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dance performances, art activities, live animals + more. Chrysler Museum 664-6200 (N)
The Seashore Art Festival - 10 a.m.-5 p.m. thru Sun. Vendors, activities, music + food. First Landing State Park 403-4435 (VB)
First Sat: Make-N-Take - 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center 393-8543 (P)
Yoga Class - 10:30-11:30 a.m. Every Sat. Stretch your best in this vinyasa flow. Donations ($) MacArthur Center 627-6000 (N)
Magic with Mark Nizer - 11 a.m. A spellbinding performance incorporating 4D glasses. ($) American Theatre 722-2787 (H)
Twerkshop: A Crash Course - 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Drop, pop, shake & sweat! RR ($) Seven Cities Dance Studio 362-4973 (H)
Create Your Own Milk Chocolate Bar - 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Every 1st Sat. Choose your own toppings. ($) The Royal Chocolate 557-6925 (VB)
Kiwanis Fun Hunt - 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Restaurant tastings, free entry to Va. Air & Space museum, shopping discounts & scavenger hunt. RR ($) Hampton History Museum 727-1610 (H)
East Coast She Crab Soup Classic - 12-2:30 p.m. Sample recipes and vote for the best! RR ($) 24th Street Park 385-7873 (VB)
Indoor Winter Farmers Market - 12-3 p.m. Every Sat. in April. MoMAC Brewing Co., 3228 Academy Ave. 383-9572 (P)
Nano Day - 12-4 p.m. Small-scale science demos. ($) Children’s Museum 393-5258 (P)
SkyWatch - 7 p.m. Northwest River Park 382-1359 (C)
Fireside Chat & Chomp - 7:30-8:30 p.m. Northwest River Park 382-1359 (C)
Gala with a Purpose: Red, Black & White Affair - 7:30-11 p.m. Adults. Hosted by Nursing CAP. Support ongoing youth programs. RR ($) Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront, 100 E. Constance Rd. 218-6871 (S)
SkyWatch - 7:30-11:30 p.m. See planets, star clusters, nebulae & galaxies. Northwest River Park 421-7151 (C)
Virginia Symphony Orchestra: Carmina Burana - 8 p.m. ($) Chrysler Hall 892-6366 (N)
Attucks Jazz Club: Peter Bernstein, Guitar - 8 p.m. ($) Attucks Theatre 622-4763 (N)
Second Sundays Williamsburg - 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Enjoy living history, various artisans, and more. Merchants Square 879-3029 (W)
Back at The Shack: Grand Re-Opening Party - 12-7 p.m. Live music, food, vendors + more. ($) The Shack, 712 Atlantic Ave. 319-5146 (VB)
Virginia Symphony Orchestra: Carmina Burana + A Michael Daugherty World Premiere - 8 p.m. ($) Sandler Center 892-6366 (VB)
Atlantic Shores: Dancing w/ the Seniors - 10:30 a.m.-noon. Bi-weekly thru 5/21. Ages 55+. RR Sandler Center 385-2787 (VB)
The Publicity Mastermind - 1-2:30 p.m. Learn to establish yourself and grow your brand. RR ODU Women’s Business Center, 4111 Monarch Way 683-7150 (N)
Job Search and Career Exploration - 5 p.m. Every 2nd Mon. Learn about various topics. Jordan-Newby Library 441-2843 (N)
Women’s Voices Book Club - 7:30 p.m. Every 2nd Mon. New members welcome. Barnes & Noble, 4485 Va. Beach Blvd. 671-7929 (VB)
Azalea Celebration Walk: Enchanted Forest - 9:45-11:15 a.m. Enjoy this guided tour through the azalea collection. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)f
Women’s Forum of Coastal VA: Earning Your Worth - 11 a.m.-1 p.m. RR ($) Clark Nexsen, 4525 Main St. 683-3000 (VB)
25 Mics: Spoken Word and Open Mic Night - 7-8:30 p.m. Every 2nd Tues. Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center 247-8950 (NN)
Motown the Musical - 7:30 p.m. Thru 4/12. Enjoy oldies but goodies in this smash hit. ($) Ferguson Ctr. for the Arts 594-8752 (NN)
SWaM Certification Information Workshop - 9 a.m.-noon. Learn about the process, required documents + more. RR ODU Women’s Business Center 683-7150 (N)
Tidewater Arts Outreach Senior Series - 2-3:30 p.m. Ages 55+. Mini tour + collage workshop. RR ($) Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center 393-8543 (P)
Croc’s Cooking Class - 6 p.m. Every 2nd Wed. Incl. tastings and wine. RR ($) Croc’s 19th Street Bistro 428-5444 (VB)
ODU Dance Theatre Spring Concert - 7:30 p.m. Thru 4/14. Times vary. Enjoy a variety of styles and thought-provoking performances. ($) ODU University Theatre 683-5305 (N)
VB Human Services Dept.: Mental Health Forum - 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Learn about existing mental health services in the city. RR ($) VB Convention Center 385-3200 (VB)
Alzheimer’s Support Group - 1-2:30 p.m. 2nd Thurs. Beth Sholom Village 420-2512 (VB)
Y’Art Sale Reception - 5:30-7:30 p.m. Art sale 10 a.m.-5 p.m. thru Sat. Purchase, collect, and donate your gently used artwork. d’Art Center, 740 Duke St. 625-4211 (N)
Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes - 7 p.m. Times vary thru 4/15. Enjoy this live action-packed battle. ($) Scope Arena 664-6464 (N)
Va. Beach Spring Craft Market - 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thru Sun. (10-5) 150+ crafters, decorating ideas, demos & more. ($) Convention Ctr. 417-7771 (VB)
Friends & Family Game Night - 6-7:45 p.m. Basketball, ping pong, board games + more. ($) Ft. Monroe Community Center, 100 Stilwell Rd. 727-6831 (Ft. Monroe)
Hope House Foundation: Feather the Nest - 6 p.m. Donate home furnishings & gift cards to help those in need. RR ($) KDW/Shades of Light, 1828 Laskin Rd. 625-6161 (VB)
H.E.R. Shelter: Night of Gratitude - 6:30 p.m. Music, food, and a message of hope and resilience. RR ($) Norfolk Hilton The Main, 100 E. Main St. 485-1073 (N)
Muse Jam - 7-10 p.m. Every 2nd Fri. Read your work, play music, or just listen. Muse Writers Center, 2200 Colonial Ave. 818-9880 (N)
Hampton Arts: Pump Boys and Dinettes - 8 p.m. Times vary thru 4/22. Enjoy this tribute to the sounds of the Grand Ole Opry. ($) American Theatre 722-2787 (H)
Dismal Swamp Stomp Running Festival - 8 a.m. Swamp Stomp; 8:15 a.m. 5K; 11:30 a.m. Children’s Cub Run. Entertainment + more. RR ($) Dismal Swamp Canal Trail 373-4174 (C)
Volunteer Day - 9-11 a.m. Be a river hero. RR Paradise Creek Nature Park 399-7487 (P)
River Cleanup - 9 a.m.-noon. Every 2nd Sat. All ages. Locations vary. Spon. by Lynnhaven River Now. 962-5398 (VB)
Terrarium Workshop - 10 a.m.-noon. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Spring Mud Jam - 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Truck demos, open pits, merchandise + more. ($) Suffolk Executive Airport 539-6751 (S)
National Council of Negro Women, Inc. Meeting - 11 a.m. Every 2nd Sat. Stanhope House, 2715 Stanhope Ave. 264-1748 (N)
Basic Bellydance Crash Course - 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. RR ($) Seven Cities Dance Studio, 47 E. Queens Way 362-4973 (H)
ViBe Story Exchange: Artist Phillip Scruggs - 6-8 p.m Va. MOCA 621-9469 (N)
The Painted Garden Art Show & Reception - 6-9 p.m. On view thru 5/12. Beach Gallery, 313 Laskin Rd. 646-0232 (VB)
ARTini Drinks & Hijinx - 7-10 p.m. ARTini tasting, creative cuisine, entertainment + more. RR ($) Va. MOCA 425-0000 (VB)
Va. Arts Festival: Bernstein at 100 - 8 p.m. Enjoy the Chichester Psalms, TR Dance performance + more. ($) Chrysler Hall 664-6464 (N)
Eckankar Spring Video Talk - 11a.m.-noon. With Sri Harold Klemp. Tidewater Eckankar Center, 1500 E. Little Creek Rd. 588-5683 (N)
HR Metro Band - 2 p.m. Celebrate the 74th anniversary of the Battleship Wisconsin’s commissioning. ($) Nauticus 664-1017 (N)
Va. Arts Festival: Israel Story Live - 7:30 p.m. Storytelling, music, video, art & dance illustrates Israeli society. ($) The Gallery at Waterside District 282-2822 (N)
Katie Thiroux in Concert - 8 p.m. Talented jazz bassist plays with the John Toomey Trio. ($) ODU Chandler Recital Hall. 683-5305 (N)
PassPORT to Norfolk’s Sister Cities - 6-8:30 p.m. Enjoy celebrity chef cuisine and international entertainment. RR ($) Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel 627-0530 (N)
Tales of Mirror Lake: Walk and Talk - 9:30-11 a.m. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
Va. Arts Festival & SevenVenues: Rhiannon Giddens - 7:30 p.m. Enjoy songs that reflect the history of the African-American experience. ($) Attucks Theatre 622-4763 (N)
History and Horitculture of Tea - 1-3 p.m. Discover the global impact of tea. RR ($) Norfolk Botanical Garden 441-5830 (N)
REVIVE! Lay Rescuer Training - 6-8 p.m. Learn how to recognize an overdose and administer naloxone. RR Behavioral Health and Wellness Prevention Services, 258 N. Witchduck Rd. 385-0803 (VB)
William & Mary: Into the Woods - 7:30-10 p.m. Times vary thru Sun. Your favorite storybook characters are haunted by the consequences of their actions. ($) William & Mary, 601 Jamestown Rd. 221-4596 (W)
SonRise Christian Music Festival - 4 p.m. Times vary thru Sun. Enjoy Christian music artists. Food donations to the homeless accepted. ($) Oceanfront 24th St. Stage, 589-9636 (VB)
Campfire Fun & Wetlands Hayride - 4:30-6 p.m. S’mores, hot chocolate + hayride. RR ($) Sandy Bottom Nature Park 825-4657 (H)
Street Beats - 5:30-9:30 p.m. Enjoy music, food, games + more. Williamsburg Taste Festival, 421 N. Boundary St. 800-368-6511 (W)
The Sound of Soul - 7-8 p.m. Tidewater Eckankar Ctr., 1500 E. Little Creek Rd. 588-5683 (N)
Birmingham Royal Ballet: Romeo & Juliet - 7:30 p.m. Times vary thru Sun. Forbidden passion, dangerous secrets & star-crossed fate collide. ($) Chrysler Hall 664-6464 (N)
Historic Garden Week - See vagardenweek.org for tour schedules thru 4/28. Tour noble homes and handsome gardens. RR ($) Locations vary, 804-644-7776 (VB)
MATE Mid-Atlantic Regional Underwater Robotics Competition - 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Local students compete to design the best ROV. ODU Recreation & Wellness Center 664-1017 (N)
SUN-days - 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Observe the brightest star. Elizabeth River Park 382-1359 (C)
VB Farmers Market Birthday Bash - 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Hoedown 7-10 p.m. 3640 Dam Neck Rd. 385-4388 (VB)
Earth & Arts Festival - 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Music, plant sales, sustainable vendors + more. Westminster Church, 3488 Godwin Blvd. 652-0689 (S)
Earth Day - 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Exhibits, displays + activities to green your lifestyle. Mt. Trashmore 385-2990 (VB)
Social Cycle Norfolk Bike Class - 12-1 p.m. Every 3rd Sat. How to prepare a bike camp kit + more. MacArthur Center 627-6000 (N)
Lynnhaven River Now: Oyster Roast - 12-3 p.m. Shucking contest, silent auction + more. RR ($) 4141 First Court Rd. 962-5398 (VB)
Revolutionary Beer Fest - 1-6 p.m. Pay tribute to the history of beer with samples, food. ($) Khedive Shrine Center 482-4480 (C)
Church Street Jazz Series: Bob James Trio - 8 p.m. ($) Harrison Opera House 664-6464 (N)
Bird Watching on the Noland Trail - 7-10 a.m. Identify species and learn their natural history. RR ($) Mariners’ Museum 596-2222 (NN)
Party for the Planet - 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Animal presentations, educational activities + more. ($) Va. Zoo 441-2374 (N)
Israel Fest: Celebrating Israel’s 70th Independence Day - 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Family. Experience art, education, culture + activities. Simon Family JCC 321-2338 (VB)
Chowan University Choirs - 3 p.m. Enjoy choral music. ($) Suffolk Center 923-2900 (S)
Spring Family Night - 4-6 p.m. Festive art activities, gallery scavenger hunt + performances. ($) Va. MOCA 425-0000 (VB)
SWaM Certification Application Assistance - 9 a.m.-1 p.m. RR ODU Women’s Business Center, 4111 Monarch Way 683-7150 (N)
Virginia Beach Garden Tour: Life on the Lynnhaven - 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tour five homes and two gardens in Great Neck Point. RR ($) Broad Bay Country Club 646-0232 (VB)
Tattoo Hullaballoo - 4:30 p.m. thru Sat. Happy hour, performances + meet heroes and performers. Scope Plaza 228-2822 (N)
NATO Flag Raising Ceremony - 5-6 p.m. Cultural music, flags + uniforms to represent all 29 nations. Scope Plaza 282-2801 (N)
Va. Arts Festival: Va. International Tattoo - 7:30 p.m. thru Sat. 2:30 p.m. Sun. ($) Scope Arena 282-2822 (N)
Mental Health First Aid - 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Adults. Recognize symptoms of mental health problems and learn how to provide help. RR Western Tidewater Community Services Board, 5268 Godwin Blvd. 255-7136 (S)
Arbor Day Celebration - 12-3 p.m. Western Branch Park 382-1359 (C)
Pet Lovers’ Extravaganza - 12-4:30 p.m. thru Sun. Activities, games + more. Care-A-Lot, 1617 Diamond Springs Rd. 457-9431 (VB)
YWCA HR: Walk a Mile in Her Shoes - 4-7 p.m. Men’s march to stop rape and gender violence. RR ($) MacArthur Green 625-4248 (N)
A Night at the Movies Gala - 6:30-8:30 p.m. Celebrate the arts in our schools. RR ($) Hilton Garden Inn, 100 E. Constance Rd. 775-9682 (S)
Va. Symphony Orchestra: The Music of Star Wars - 7:30-9:30 p.m. Enjoy original music from the iconic motion picture series. ($) Ferguson Center 594-8752 (NN)
Tour de Cure - 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. All ages. Four cycling routes, walk, 5K run + post-ride celebration. RR ($) Suffolk Executive Airport 424-6662 (S)
Bird Walk - 8:30-11 a.m. Dismal Swamp Canal Trail 382-1359 (C)
Walk for Life - 9 a.m.-noon. Spon. by Crisis Pregnancy Center of Tidewater. Raise awareness and funds to save lives of pre-born children. RR ($) Va. Zoo 932-0107 (N)
VB GrowSmart.: Celebrating Children Fun Run - 9 a.m.-noon. Entertainment, resource booths, activities + more. RR Mt. Trashmore www.vbgrowsmart.com, 385-0144 (VB)
VCE Newport News Master Gardeners: Rain Barrel Workshop - 10 a.m. Build your own rain barrel. RR ($) The Mariners’ Museum 591-4838 (NN)
Arbor Day Ceremony - 10-11 a.m. Festivities to celebrate the city’s Tree City USA Award. Kempsville Rec. Center 385-1100 (VB)
Ohana Fest - 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sample signature juice blends + more. ($) Hunt Club Farm 427-9520 (VB)
NATO Annual Parade of Nations - 10-11:30 a.m. Military & high school bands + over 100 parade units representing the 29 nations. Downtown Norfolk 282-2801 (N)
Spring Festival & book Sale - 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Activities, treats, and a book sale. Little Creek Library 441-1751 (N)
NATO Fest’s International Village - 11:30-3 p.m. Experience sights, sounds, and tastes of the 29 nations. Town Point Park 282-2801 (N)
Va. International Tattoo American Pipe Band Championship - 12-5 p.m. Mass band performance + Awards. Scope Plaza 228-2822 (N)
TBMA Monthly Bluegrass Concert: Travers Chandler and Avery County - 7 p.m. See the best in bluegrass talent. Donations ($) Hickory Ruritan Club, 2752 S. Battlefield Blvd. 421-0297 (C)
Hampton Arts: Sandra Bernhard “Sandemonium” - 8 p.m. Join her magical mystery tour of sights, sounds, and exotic offerings. ($) American Theatre 722-2787 (H)
All Night RAD Party - 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Ages 20+. Games, activities, nightlight swimming + more. RR Bayside Rec. Center 385-1100 (VB)
Va. International Tattoo: Highland Heavy Athletics - 10:30 a.m. Caber toss, keg toss + more. Va. Arts Festival Green Space, Charlotte & Bank St. 228-2822 (N)
The Book Discussion - 11 a.m.-noon. Tidewater Eckankar Center, 1500 E. Little Creek Rd. 588-5683 (N)
Tattoo Hullaballoo - 11:30 a.m. Performances and opportunities to meet heroes and performers. Scope Plaza 228-2822 (N)
Va. Arts Festival: Republic of South Korea Traditional Army Band - 7 p.m. Enjoy exotic sounds and choreography. ($) Chrysler Hall 664-6464 (N)
RR = Reservations req’d; ($) Fee
(C) Chesapeake (H) Hampton (N) Norfolk
(NN) Newport News (P) Portsmouth
(S) Suffolk (VB) Va. Beach (W) W’burg
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Going through a divorce is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever have to do. Your dream of marital bliss is now a nightmare. Tough decisions have to be made about who gets what. Friends and family members expect an explanation of what went wrong. You may need to hire a lawyer, and there is tedious paperwork to fill out. Most importantly, you have to get through each day without imploding under the weight of your emotions.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to magically erase your hurt, stress, loneliness, and confusion. But there are strategies that can help you cope, adjust, and even grow during this difficult time.
Trust me, I know. I have been divorced three times, not because I wanted to, but because circumstances forced me to make painful choices. My divorces left me brokenhearted, but each time I was determined to manage my pain, maintain my confidence, and remain open to love.
Here are 8 tips for surviving divorce.
• Accept that the marriage is ending. Nobody gets married with the intention or expectation of getting divorced, so when it happens it’s unbelievable! In order to accept that your marriage is ending, you must first be honest about why the marriage is dissolving. Usually, this means making sure that you are not fixating on your ex’s positive qualities and downplaying his or her hurtful or unhealthy behaviors—or your own. If you continue fixating on a selective version of reality, you will never be able to accept that the marriage is over.
Allow yourself to grieve because your heart is broken. It’s inevitable that the loss of your marriage (as well as the dissolution of the hopes and dreams you had for your future) will cause you pain. You’ll need to take time to grieve and heal. So whenever you feel angry, sad, in despair, confused, betrayed, or a myriad of negative emotions, allow yourself to experience those feelings.
• Stop looking back. Eliminate “what if” and “if only” from your vocabulary. The truth is, you can keep looking back and wondering “what if” forever—but as long as you keep looking back, you will never move forward. You will be stuck in the past, mentally rehashing what can never be changed.
Of course we would all do things differently if we’d known then what we know now—but unless you have a time machine, that’s impossible. Accept that you did the best you could with the resources you had at the time. Try to forgive yourself and your ex, which will help you to feel more at peace and break the unhealthy mental loop of ‘what if’ and ‘if only.’ You may find it helpful to remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean you’re condoning your ex’s or your own bad behavior—it means that you’re choosing to let go of resentment, blame, and anger.
• Start moving forward and make the hard decisions. Ignoring a bad situation or a less-than-ideal reality won’t make it go away. If you’re going through a divorce (and even if you are already divorced), you may still be in contact with your ex, his or her family, and mutual friends, especially if you have children together. Maybe you still have some of your ex’s belongings or find yourself visiting places you went together. If these activities are causing you pain and preventing you from moving forward, you have some tough choices to make: Should I cut off contact? Do I need to return or donate items that remind me of my ex? etc. These decisions may be difficult, but remember, the short-term pain you are experiencing is worth it because you are doing what is necessary to move forward.
• Use a journal to process your emotions and map out where you want to go. I started writing in a journal after my first marriage ended and found it to be a great survival tool. I wanted to understand why I felt the way I did and I wanted to feel better. As I started making entries, I discovered that I felt relief when I wrote. It became a source of strength that allowed me to open up to myself and be honest with myself about my emotions. And as time passed, I could look back at my prior journal entries to remind myself that I was making progress, even when it didn’t feel that way.
View your journal as a map that leads you from the past to the future. To start, try writing about how you feel about the relationship. Putting pen to paper will help you to get in touch with what you need to move forward. You can write about what you learned from your marriage and divorce.
Creating a journal is also a great means to finding your new destiny because you can record your evolving dreams and hopes for the future. It doesn’t matter if you journal every day or occasionally—this habit will help you when you need to process your emotions and organize your thoughts.
• Build a routine that makes you feel good. Even if living as a hermit feels safer (and it might!), try to fill your days with activities you enjoy and that keep your mind occupied: walks around the neighborhood, worship services, trips to the dog park, drinks with friends, etc. This serves three purposes: Enjoyable activities lift your mood, keep you busy so you aren’t wallowing, and get you out of the house and into situations where you’ll interact with others. If you want to reclaim your life after divorce, you must learn to be confident and comfortable in the world on your own.
• Set a new goal, or get back into an old hobby. It’s possible that you “lost” some parts of yourself in your former marriage, allowing your ex’s interests, desires, and activities to come before your own. That’s why it’s helpful to start pursuing a personal goal now—something to keep you focused on your own priorities and interests and something that does not remind you of your marriage. Before immersing yourself in your relationship, what did you do for fun? Where did you find fulfillment? Return to those activities. Or start pursuing a new goal that’s been on the back burner.
• Show yourself some TLC (emphasis on the L!). You may have had a relationship that ended badly, but you don’t (and you shouldn’t!) have to live without love. For the sake of your present and your future, you need to learn to love yourself. First, work on seeing yourself as a whole and complete person, not as one-half of a relationship. You also need to treat yourself as kindly and with as much compassion as you would a friend or loved one (i.e., stop beating yourself up relentlessly!). And while all of us can and should strive for self-improvement, you need to recognize and value all of the wonderful aspects of yourself that have been there all along.
• Help someone else. It’s important to concentrate on your own needs and desires after going through a divorce—but don’t become too self-focused and isolated. Serving others is one of the best ways to combat feelings of loneliness while making connections with others and regaining personal purpose.
Avalon S. Brandt, Esq., is the author of Still I Love: Loving after Three Divorces. She grew up in Baltimore and graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1994. She is currently employed with the law offices of Saul E. Kerpelman, which represents children for injuries resulting from childhood lead exposure. Her book is available at www.stillilove.com or Amazon.
I received unexpected spiritual guidance the other day when I switched my car’s clock back to daylight savings time. After changing the setting, the dashboard screen asked me if I wanted to save the change. It was the vehicular version of asking, Are you sure? Instead of appreciating my car’s thoroughness in confirming my intentions, I found it irritating.
• Irritation is a symptom. I have discovered that when I get irritated, I am probably rushing in a way I’m going to regret. Irritation over little things usually means I’m expecting the rest of the world to read my mind and not delay me. If the one second it took to select save felt like a nuisance, I was probably in a very unpeaceful place inside. Immediately I realized the message from my car was not about setting the time at all. It was actually a chance to check my frame of mind. If that save button was getting to me, maybe I needed to slow down.
• Consider other people. My car’s blind spot indicator holds another powerful spiritual lesson: Don’t claim the whole road as your own. Seeing where other people are and honoring their position leads to respect and good communication. But veering into the other driver’s lane without looking is like insisting on being right: The injury you cause might be your own. Every time we’re tempted to take over, we could instead wonder what might be there that we can’t see.
• Pause before going forward. My car is much less impulsive than I am. It has successfully taught me to set my intentions before moving forward because it won’t start unless I first put my foot on the brake. This took me awhile to learn because I didn’t associate starting the engine with pressing the brake pedal. But now I see how mindful this step is. I’m off to a much better start if I take a moment to be here now before going someplace else.
• Everything doesn’t belong in memory. Like my car, my computer has a wise soul too. It reminds me that just because there are gigabytes of RAM available, it doesn’t mean everything should be held in memory. My computer reminds me of this truth every time I close out a document. It always asks me if I want to save, cancel, or don’t save. I think I want to save everything before I close it out, but do I really?
Grudges are a good example of how putting things in permanent memory can be counterproductive. Resentment and self-criticism are also things that don’t deserve the save button. We may be tempted to create a file over every wrong committed by others, or ourselves, but if we’ve learned our lesson, what’s the point? Do you really want to use up storage on those negative thoughts? Learning to turn our thoughts away from blaming and bitterness is a crucial step in self-mastery. Besides, resolving the issue directly makes more sense than holding a grudge. Next time you’re tempted toward resentment, maybe your choices should be save, transcend, or take constructive action.
• Don’t disconnect without quitting first. Computers scold us if we shut things down abruptly. A little window immediately drops down to remind us there are proper steps to take before quitting anything. Computers dislike unfinished business and want you to tidy up before exiting. They know that anything involving separating or shutting down should engage in an intentional process. Don’t just dump it, or you might regret it. Even computers realize that burning bridges is never a good idea. As much as you’re able, finish up your interactions on friendly terms, and you won’t have to worry about losing something important.
• The one button that needs inventing. While computers and smart phones have many fail-safes and warnings, there is still one to be invented. I’m amazed Google and Apple haven’t put this feature at the top of their development list. We need a pop-up before we send any email or text that says: This message could easily be misunderstood. Should you call him/her instead? Now that would be a really helpful bit of technology. But until they get around to inventing it, we can remember to ask ourselves.
Spiritual wisdom is invaluable wherever it comes from, so let’s remember the following lessons. Be aware that irritation might mean you are going too fast to keep your balance. Just because you have the memory capacity doesn’t mean everything needs to be saved; sometimes it’s good to let things go. Thoughtful delay is better than reactivity, as is being mindful of your intention before you start out. Look over your shoulder before moving into other people’s territory. Prepare everybody involved before shutting anything down, and try to leave all relationships on good terms. Even spiritual instruction from machines can be invaluable in showing us how to have a more peaceful and mindful life.
Menopause is the permanent cessation of menstruation. It can occur as early as age 40 or as late as early 60s and usually spans 1-2 years. It is normally diagnosed in females after 1 year of absent menstrual periods. Menopause occurring before age 40 is termed premature and may need medical evaluation for the cause. Menopause does not occur suddenly. Perimenopause usually begins a few years before the last menstrual cycle.
Physical changes that occur during menopause are menstrual cycle irregularities; hot flashes or flushes, which are sensations of heat spreading from the waist or chest toward the neck, face, and upper arms; headaches; dizziness; rapid or irregular heartbeat; vaginal itching; burning or discomfort during intercourse, which occurs a few years after menopause; bloating in the upper abdomen; bladder irritability; mood changes; sleeping difficulty; and depression or fatigue.
These symptoms are caused by a normal decline in ovarian function, resulting in decreased levels of the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Other causes could also be due to surgical removal of both ovaries and medical treatment of endometriosis or cancer. Menopause is a natural part of the aging process for women. Smoking and hysterectomy are risks for premature menopause. This process cannot be avoided, but its effects may be controlled or moderated. It is not an illness, and most women make an easy transition without crisis.
There are some complications that occur during menopause. Urinary incontinence can worsen after menopause. As the tissues of your vagina and urethra lose elasticity, you may experience frequent, sudden, strong urges to urinate, followed by an involuntary loss of urine (urge incontinence), or the loss of urine with coughing, laughing, or lifting (stress incontinence). You may have urinary tract infections more often. Strengthening pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises and using a topical vaginal estrogen may help relieve symptoms of incontinence.
Other symptoms such as vaginal dryness from decreased moisture production and loss of elasticity can cause discomfort and slight bleeding during sexual intercourse. Also decreased sensation may reduce your desire for sexual activity (libido). Water-based vaginal moisturizers and lubricants may help.
Many women gain weight during the menopausal transition and after menopause because their metabolism slows. You may need to eat less and exercise more, just to maintain your current weight. As the estrogen levels decline, the risk of cardiovascular disease increases. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women as well as in men. So it’s important to get regular exercise, eat a healthy diet, and maintain a normal weight. Ask your doctor for advice on how to protect your heart, such as how to reduce your cholesterol or blood pressure if it’s too high.
Osteoporosis is also a condition that increases with menopause. This condition causes bones to become brittle and weak, leading to an increased risk of fractures. During the first few years after menopause, you may lose bone density at a rapid rate. Postmenopausal women with osteoporosis are especially susceptible to fractures of their spine, hips, and wrists.
For treating menopausal symptoms, there are both medical and non-medical remedies. For the medical therapy, one can use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or estrogen replacement therapy (ERT). These options both have benefits and risks associated with them. These medications come in pill form, patch form, and vaginal ring form and are considered on a patient-by-patient basis. Herbal preparations that are over-the-counter may also help with milder symptoms of menopause as well as increasing your soy intake. There are also medications that help prevent and/or treat bone loss. Non-medical remedies include quitting smoking. Women who smoke start menopause about two years earlier than nonsmokers. Also smoking is linked to a decline in estrogen.
Reducing stress in your life as much as possible can help reduce menopausal symptoms. Acupuncture and relaxation techniques are all harmless ways to reduce the stress. Active exercising and weight-bearing activities are helpful to improve bone strength. Eating a well balanced diet and increasing your calcium intake will help with menopausal symptoms, as well as bone strength. Women who think that they may be in menopause and are suffering from any of these above-mentioned symptoms should see their doctor for treatment options. Women who are not suffering from any of these symptoms should also see their doctor to discuss ways of preventing complications and maintaining a healthy body.
Melissa Waddell, WHNP. is a nurse practitioner at Atlantic Ob/Gyn located in Va. Beach and Chesapeake. Please call 757-463-1234 or visit www.atlanticobgyn.com.
It’s no secret that Mexico tops my list of vacation destinations. While the beaches attract most Americans who head south, my favorite part of Mexico is the heartland. My go-to city? San Miguel de Allende about an hour from Leon. Last fall friends Robin and John from Richmond came to visit my husband, Peter, and me for a week in SMA, where we rented a place for a month. It was their first time in Mexico, and when it was over, Robin said it was the best vacation they ever had.
Peter and I had stayed in San Miguel twice before, including once in a cute cottage in a small village called Alcocer outside the city. We loved the rural vibe there and decided to book it again last fall.
Owned by a couple from Kentucky, the cozy home has a lovely yard with cacti and mesquite trees, perfect for dining al fresco and/or sipping an evening cocktail. There’s a rooftop terrace, too, offering amazing views of the surrounding countryside as well as inspiring stargazing at night. Renting the home by the month is very affordable, so even though it means I have to do some work there, I don’t mind. Leaving the same-old, same-old behind gives me a new perspective on life and reawakens my senses.
And Mexico is all about sensory stimulation. From the pink cathedral on San Miguel’s main square to the brightly painted houses that line the streets, you’ll want to take photos at every corner. Then there’s the crazy-good food: from spicy tacos in restaurants and street stalls around town to the juicy, exotic fruits from the market—think mangoes and papaya and tiny bananas that explode with flavor—it’s a party in your mouth three times a day.
Here’s a snapshot of just some of the fun we had exploring San Miguel with our friends.
TWO GIRLS WALK INTO A BAR
After visiting Casa de la Cuesta, SMA’s unique mask museum, on Day of the Dead (Nov. 1), the four of us headed to the Jardin, San Miguel’s main square. Like almost every day in this corner of the world, the weather was fine: about 80° with puffy clouds drifting across an azure blue sky. Robin and I strolled ahead of the guys and got the idea of stopping in a saloon we’d passed by earlier. More like a dive bar, this hole-in-the-wall joint has a Wild West vibe with swinging doors and a dark interior–perfect for a late afternoon libation.
Just as we were about to enter, we realized Peter and John must have gone straight while we turned a couple blocks back. We tried to call but couldn’t reach them, so we decided to have a drink and worry about catching up with them later. A nice-looking, bearded young man approached us soon after we walked in and asked, in an Aussie accent, what two nice women like us were doing in a place like this. At one end of the bar a cowboy in a white hat with weathered skin and a black mustache sat silently drinking and smoking. At the other end of the bar two men played cards and talked on their cell phones. A mute jukebox and a bullfight poster provided the décor.
Robin and I were the only women there, but it didn’t bother us a bit. We hopped onto barstools, ordered drinks, and chatted up the Aussie guy. Before long a gentleman from the U.K. came in dressed as Diego (skeleton face, tails, and a top hat) followed by his wife who was dressed as Katrina (skeleton face, wide hat, and long dress). They were stopping for a drink before the Katrina parade. Soon evening fell, and the bar filled with more Katrinas and Diegos. Eventually our husbands showed up, and we headed toward the square, where Day of the Dead altars flickered in candlelight. As a full moon shone brightly down, the celebrations began.
A MEZCAL MOMENT
Nearby the town of Atotonilco is famous as a pilgrimage site and attracts Catholics from across Mexico and beyond. The Sanctuary was built in the 18th-century and is known for its unique architecture and Baroque murals. Some even call it the Sistine Chapel of Mexico. We went to have a look and found ourselves among swarms of pilgrims—picture tiny nuns with habits and canes walking through town to the Sanctuary. On both sides of the road, stalls sold food and religious items—rosaries, crosses, and icons.
At the church Mass was underway, and there was no way to get in, so we stood on our tiptoes at the front door and peered inside, but could only see the tops of heads. Robin hung around a few minutes longer than we did at the church door and suddenly found herself facing outstretched hands and smiling faces saying something in Spanish. It dawned on her that this was the Catholic custom of offering a sign of peace to fellow churchgoers. “Peace be with you,” she said and gratefully shook a few hands.
As we walked back to the car, a few vendors displayed pottery for sale. I’m a sucker for pottery and approached a stall where I heard guitar music. Behind the pottery display on the back of a pickup truck under a tarp, a Mexican gentleman sang folk songs in a high-pitched voice while another strummed an out-of-tune guitar. John wandered over, and the lady selling pottery handed us a couple small stools and invited us to sit in the shade and listen to the music. It was pretty awful sounding, but John and I loved it nevertheless and clapped after each song.
Peter and Robin joined us, and next thing we knew one of the men produced a bottle of Jaral, the local non-smoked mezcal, and small ceramic mugs about two inches tall. Mind you, none of us speaks Spanish (well, Peter knows a tiny bit), and these friendly folks spoke no English. But the warm smiles and the warming effect of the mezcal made us feel right at home. The Mexicans are without a doubt some of the kindest, friendliest people in the world—and Jaral is my new favorite mezcal.
As we left, a woman at the next stall who spoke a little English said sharing mezcal with tourists was not common, but the pottery lady and her musical kin were thrilled that we took an interest in them and their music. Sometimes all you have to do is be yourself, and the most amazing things will happen.
GIDDY-UP AND GO
John had misgivings about the afternoon horseback ride I’d planned, which followed a fabulous tour of pre-Hispanic pyramids—led by archaeologist Albert Coffee—located about an hour outside of San Miguel. Peter and I had done both the pyramid tour and the ride two years before and told Robin and John it was an absolute must. Even though he hadn’t ridden a horse since he was a kid, John finally agreed to join us.
Before the ride we enjoyed a delicious lunch under a mesquite tree with Tomas, the owner of Rancho Xotolar, who would also be our trail guide. It was another picture perfect day: warm sun, light breeze, and dazzling blue sky. Soon we mounted our criollo horses and began ambling across some of most amazing scenery I’ve ever seen.
Nearby shrubs, cacti, and scraggly trees peppered the landscape, and in the distance canyons and colorful rock formations loomed. The ride took us down rocky trails beside deep precipices and tall canyons. Eventually we arrived at the bottom, where we splashed though a creek at a canter, getting soaked but having the time of our lives. It was a ride to remember—trotting, cantering, and lots of up-and-downhill walking. The best part? No one—not even John—fell off.
Nestled in a grove of trees, a sparkling sapphire pool beckoned. Just north of San Miguel, La Gruta is one of a handful of thermal springs, where tourists and locals alike go hang out for the day and float languidly in warm, tranquil pools. We planned this hot springs outing to follow our horseback ride, so the soothing water warmed our sore muscles.
Three of the pools were open. Our favorite—and the hottest one—was surrounded by palm trees. At one end an opening led to an underground tunnel, which you swim through and then emerge into a small, dark dome filled with steam. The heat was pretty intense in there, but I loved the cave-like ambiance and the sound of dripping water that seemed to echo all around. When I swam back out through the tunnel into the crystal clear, blue-sky day, I felt reborn and ready to make every moment count. For isn’t that what travel teaches us? It’s truly about stopping and relishing each and every moment.
ALL THAT JAZZ
The Sunday before Robin and John arrived, Peter and I found ourselves on a ranch owned by a bi-national couple—he’s Mexican and she’s American. Most Sundays during the year they open their home to paying guests for an afternoon of Cuban-infused jazz and home-cooked food. The setting? A rustic-chic open-air structure that seats 100 or so guests at comfortable tables surrounded by cacti and the herbaceous scents of the desert.
Beside the small amphitheater, which also has a dance floor, is an open-air kitchen, where local Mexican women prepare a bountiful feast. For about $35, you get all-you-can-eat tacos with a variety of fillings plus salad, fruit, and dessert. The food was tasty, but it’s the music that makes the afternoon special. Besides the owner, who plays a set of beautiful heartfelt Cuban love songs on his guitar, there’s always a guest band. The day we went a fabulous group from Mexico City delighted the audience. The talented violinist added a touch of class to the Cuban jazz numbers.
As people filled the dance floor, Peter and I started talking to a friendly couple: Tom, a Canadian, and Anita, a Californian. Tom owns a house in SMA, and like us, they were enjoying this jazzy, taco-filled afternoon for the first time. We also met Tom’s son and his wife, who’d just arrived from Indonesia, and before long we were making plans to meet for cocktails at Tom’s home and then go out to a favorite restaurant for dinner. It’s so easy to meet people in San Miguel, we have discovered, and now count Tom and Anita among the special friends we know there.
Restaurants abound in San Miguel. Peter and I were inspired to sample one of SMA’s newest and trendiest restaurants, Bovine, helmed by Chef Paul Bentley, one balmy evening. The dining area of the cozy brasserie features chic décor, but Peter and I love dining al fresco so decided to sit on the outdoor patio under the darkening sky. We also had front row seats to the open kitchen and loved watching the busy chefs creating tantalizing dishes.
The restaurant specializes in comfort food, and many dishes are meat-centric: dry-aged beef, steak tartare, lamb ribs, and suckling pig. Peter and I recently stopped eating meat, so were happy to see salads and seafood on the menu. Our first course was San Blas oysters on the half shell served with a tasty mignonette. Perfectly chilled, the oysters tasted like the sea, salty and sweet. We slurped them right from the shells, savoring the brine’s umami flavors. Next up? A beautiful salad, featuring luscious green, brown, orange, and red heirloom tomatoes and creamy buratta cheese and basil oil. The flavors were extraordinary.
I’m a big fan of grilled octopus—or pulpo, as they call it in Spanish, and Bovine’s small plate was exceptional. Presented in a spiral, the charred octopus was perfectly tender and had a nice, smoky flavor. For our main, we shared a lovely whole fish fillet—thick and flavorful—with a tangy lemony-mustard sauce, accompanied by roasted Brussels sprouts with—oops—a few bits of bacon mixed in. We loved our meal and weren’t bothered by the bacon. In a restaurant named Bovine, a bit of pork is bound to show up in unexpected places.
I was sad to say goodbye to Robin and John at the airport when their week with us ended. We had a fabulous time with them and got along great. Being with friends adds another dimension to traveling and makes even simple pleasures that much more memorable. Then again in Mexico almost every moment is a magical one.
For more stories about Mexico and other exciting travel destinations, visit www.tidewaterwomen.com/travel-articles.
So much of what we do seems temporary these days. Here today, gone tomorrow. Social media is a prime example of the transience of modern life. When we post on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, our message or photo might be noticed briefly by a few people, maybe more, but soon it disappears, never to surface again.
Sure, you can go back in time and reread Facebook posts and emails and you can look at photos you’ve posted, but honestly who has the time for that? Because every second new stimuli comes floating to the top of the heap, distracting us briefly, making us forget what we are working on, adding more noise to the bedlam in our brains.
There’s a lightning speed to everything these days, and it leaves my head spinning. Sometimes on TV a montage of images will flash across the screen in rapid succession, each picture appearing for barely a second or two before being replaced with another. It makes me want to close my eyes until it’s over (and sometimes I do).
I wonder how our brains handle this barrage of information.
Today’s kids are growing up with devices attached to their bodies from sun up to sun down and beyond. How is this affecting their ability to think, to process information, to remember?
Even those of us who can recall what life was like before electronic devices are being adversely impacted by these new ways of receiving information. Have you noticed how much more distracted you are these days, jumping from task to task as if you’re seeking a moving target? It’s almost as if life has turned into a video game, and we are all trying to get more points. But what for?
Does accruing information equate to having a happier life? I think not. In fact, I believe it’s the other way around. Happiness comes from being present in the moment. That means turning off the cacophony of words and images, whether it’s your phone, computer, or TV.
At deadline time I am especially tired of looking at a screen. Luckily, I have a window just to the left of my computer, and I can view a peaceful scene just by averting my eyes: blue sky, puffy clouds, birds, tranquility. Right now I even see a gentle breeze blowing through the trees and shrubs next to my house. It’s like they’re waving at me, saying come out and play.
Yes, I will go outside and play as soon as I’m done. Even though nature changes with the seasons, it’s refreshingly familiar. It also reminds me what matters in life: living things that breathe and grow. Not plastic boxes and machines that whir and click and ping. I’d rather go for a hike in the woods any day.
Take a moment to notice nature this month. She has many lessons to teach us.