Hearts That Thrive in Winter

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When our choir director Nancy Nash introduced us before Saturday's performance in the Chilkat Center at the Wear Red Day party that focused on women's heart health, she said we were perfect for the occasion since singing is good for the heart and we are a women's chorus. So the choir sang, Lani Hotch gave a slide show and presentation on eating local foods, and Debra Schnabel talked of her adventure in China last winter, where she learned Tai Chi in a remote village, and then gave us a graceful demonstration. (They did not have classes in a studio despite sub-zero temperatures, rather they were bundled up out on the roof of a small hotel.) Also, we snacked on fruits, vegetables, smoked salmon and sweet treats made from almonds and dried cherries.  Because of the blizzard, and the timing (it was early in the day before the roads had all been plowed) there were only about three women there who were not in the choir or presenters. That didn't stop Nancy from directing us as if we were in Carnegie Hall. When we sang the Alaska flag song, she noted that it was chosen because it's heart healthy to love the place where you live, and we all do. We sang "Down to the River," since Nancy said that no matter what your faith, prayer is heart healthy. We did several tunes about good love ("Happy Talk", "I Feel Pretty", "Someone to Watch Over Me") since relationships are good for your heart-- And then one about a not so good love, since, we all know that leaving a bad relationship is also good for a woman's heart. That song was "Sigh No More Ladies" a madrigal, from Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing." It goes, "Sigh no more ladies, sigh no more, men were deceivers ever, One foot on sea and one on shore; to one thing constant never. Then sigh not so, but let them go, and be you blithe and bonny, Converting all your songs of woe into hey nonny, nonny." Which is what artist Debi Knight-Kennedy has done with "Glacial Misbehavior" her terrific one woman literary magazine on sale for 2$. (I bought mine at Mountain Spirits.) It includes a puppet play, art, quotes, the beginning of her memoir about leaving abusive husbands and finding love and happiness in Haines, and a heart healthy recipe for winter vegetable soup. She notes in the introduction that she produced it, in part to answer the question "What do you do up there all winter?" Well, we sing, we gather, we make art, we walk the dogs in the snow, we snowshoe and ski, we do Tai Chi and attend Morning Muscles, we read, we make soup, we feed the vacationing neighbor's cats, we keep the fire going, we take care of babies and old people, we go to church, and we go to basketball games. Speaking of which, the girls won their last home games this weekend, and the boys lost two down in Sitka to Mt. Edgecumbe. Regionals are in Juneau in two weeks. The Dick Hotch tournament is here this weekend,  hopefully the new snow will mean ski trails on the golf course, and on Tuesday night at 7pm in the Chilkat Center the Haines Arts Council presents a lovely classical pianist from China, Tien Hsieh. Maybe she and Debra will do a little Tai Chi together.

A heart healthy tip from a fisherman down the road:

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