January, 2007

Dangerous Liaisons:
You, Your Lover, and That Troublemaker Between You — Money When Love Leads from Red Roses to Red Ink: the Cautionary Tale of Susan Santiago


Susan Santiago sits in a worn blue chair in the small front room of her rural Vermont home. Books teeter on ceiling-high hand-built shelves, a small critter rustles in a cage in the corner, and several pre-schoolers at Susan’s feet push around a fleet of miniature cars while making imaginary traffic sounds. Her long black hair is pulled back in a ponytail. Her dark eyes narrow and her lips press together in irritation as she pulls a handful of envelopes out of a tote bag and shuffles through her bills. “There’s no direct correlation between how much money you have and happiness,” she states bluntly, “but there is a high correlation between your stress level and the level of debt you have.” Though Susan Santiago is not her real name, this Vermont woman’s story is all too true.


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The word “money” superimposed over two hearts


Spa Bound: A Vermont Spa Just for You


You do not have to travel great distances to Bali or Thailand or Hawaii or even Arizona, Utah or California to experience the luxury of resort spas or the expertise found at local day spas. As the fourth fastest growing segment of the hospitality industry, spas of all shapes and sizes have made Vermont home over the years, many of them just a short drive or even a walk away – while others are well-worth the excursion. Most spas are categorized as either resort/destination or day spas. The primary difference is that you generally (but not always) stay overnight at a resort spa to enjoy the total experience of the facility; the luxury of the room, the restaurant and surrounding area and all other amenities the resort offers including spa access and spa treatment. No spa is the same, from the physical design and layout to the expertise of the therapist to the treatments, each offers something unique. One thing is certain, however: they are both luxuries that greatly enhance your well being. Whether it’s for healing, aging remedies or for renewal purposes, spas are one of life’s lovely gifts to yourself.


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A woman with cucumbers over her eyes and a face mask

Publisher’s Message
One Last Party


I met Molly Benjamin (Benjy) in 1994 through a shared passion for newspapers and writing. At the time, I had just left Burlington after starting two newspapers. Kicking around Provincetown, I began hanging out at the Cape Cod Times office with Benjy, who wrote three weekly fishing columns and who mesmerized me with her stories about the sea. Benjy took me as the country girl I was and taught me about life on the sea, about the wind – “everything here is about the wind” she said – and about Provincetown’s history and its characters, its secret places and about dune rides and clam bakes on Race Point, sunsets on Herring Cove, the fishing culture, the Portuguese and the Wash-a-Shores, and the heartaches and joys of living in a small fishing village at land’s end. Our endless talks about the press were the genesis of my third newspaper startup, the Provincetown Banner.


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Publisher, Sue Gillis

Eye on the Hurricane

About halfway through our phone interview, Anne Galjour gets to the point. “Obviously, I think we should be running everything.” Women, that is. Everything, as in everything from the U.S. government on down. I had expected a polite conversation with a Southern woman, an actor-playwright from outside New Orleans brought up in, I imagined, a typical, male-dominated environment. Instead, the voice coming over the line from San Francisco had a neutral Midwestern news delivery accent – “As a child, I was committed to getting rid of that accent,” – and a passionately feminist sensibility – “I don’t know how feminism got to be a bad word. I mean, forget these people, forget them.” Households in the deep South might have had rigid gender divisions, but the ruling power in Galjour’s house was her grandmother. Now a grandmother herself, Galjour has taken that heritage to the stage.


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Anne Galjour

Viveka Fox:
Fencing Fiddler!


A half-dozen students, ten-year-olds to towering adults, gaze intently as Viveka Fox raises her high voice over the clash of weapons ringing off the gym walls at Middlebury’s Bridge School. “You learn this move by using your ears,” she shouts, connecting her foil – a thin, unsharpened competition sword with a safety ball on the tip – with her opponent’s, sliding metal on metal down the length of the blade. One student takes advantage of the distraction to whack another boy’s leg. “He’s poking me,” comes the cry. “It’s fencing,” Fox says, smiling warmly. “You’re supposed to poke people!” She pulls down her mask, bends her knees deeply, and raises her foil. The wire mesh obscures her hazel eyes, but it’s clear her smile has given way to intense focus. Fox, 41-year-old coach and skilled competitor of the Vermont Fencing Alliance, has entered her “fencing self.”


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Viveka Fox playing violin


Remembering Molly Ivins


It is with much sorrow that we at Vermont Woman learned the news of Molly Ivins’ death, on January 31, from breast cancer. Molly’s syndicated column has appeared in every issue of Vermont Woman since we began publishing in October of 2003. We subtitled her column “Molly Said What?!”, a playful reference to one of her book titles  – Molly Ivins Can’t Say That, Can She? A number of us on the Vermont Woman staff were among the lucky Vermonters who met Molly in August of 2003, when she spoke in Burlington on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union – an organization she tirelessly supported, gratis. Her insightful political commentary was fueled by her passionate and eloquent defense of the poor, weak, and disenfranchised. Molly’s longtime friend and fellow Texan Jim Hightower remembers her as “full of wit, smarts, and sass, grabbing readers by their hearts, minds, gonads, and funny bones.”


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