The Twelve Days of Hormones (and a Giveaway)



Here’s an excerpt from Anne Bardsley’s How I Earned My Wrinkles: Musings on Marriage, Motherhood, and Menopause. Take it away, Anne!

I went to my doctor to get my hormone levels tested and found out that my progesterone was very low. I’m convinced that this is the hormone responsible for working out, keeping the house tidy, and creating delicious gourmet meals. I think it may even have some control over sexual desire.

I should’ve known something wasn’t right. I was feeling horizontal lately—as in, I laid down at every opportunity. No gym, no vacuuming, no exotic dinners … no thoughts of wild times under the sheets.

In addition to my progesterone, I was told that my testosterone was also a tad low. My doctor said I needed hormone replacement therapy, but he warned that I may grow hair, my voice may get deeper, and my libido may increase with my new hormone routine. Hairy with a manly voice and amorous tendencies … the combo was sure to be my husband’s worst nightmare!

After thirty-five years of marriage, we’re really pretty good together. We talk about anything and everything. There had never been any secrets. Until those little hormones came about. Did I really want to tell him what could happen to me once the hormones kicked in? Maybe he wouldn’t notice. There was no need to scare the poor man away.

So I quietly began the hormone replacement therapy.

On the first day of hormones, there was no change.

On the second day of hormones, I felt a bit amorous.

On the third day, I noticed more hair in my armpits.

On the fourth day, I looked at myself in the mirror, and I said, “Looking good, Baby!” in a husky voice. This cannot be happening.

On the fifth day of hormones, I felt the need to tug at my netherlands.

On the sixth day, Scott said, “Your voice is getting deeper than mine.”

On the seventh day of hormones, I bought a set of barbells.

On the eighth day, Scott asked, “Is that a mustache on your face?”

On the ninth day, I told Scott he was acting like a girl.

On the tenth day, he asked, “Were you staring at me in the shower this morning?”

On the eleventh day, Scott woke up with a sunburn. Apparently, I had a hot flash that night.

On the twelfth day, we were at a nice restaurant and I asked, “Want to arm wrestle?”

I knew my testosterone was in high gear when I asked, “Can you teach me to field strip an M-16 and put it back together blindfolded? I really want to go to the shooting range.”

His response was short and sweet. “I want that doctor’s number and I want it now!”

Here’s to hormones and husbands!

Giveaway: To win a copy of Anne’s witty and insightful collection of musings, simply leave a comment below saying you’d like to be the winner. Please post comments by October 1. U.S. and Canada only. Thanks!



Anne Bardsley is a humor writer, blogger, and author of How I Earned My Wrinkles: Musings on Marriage, Motherhood, and Menopause.

Over the years, her work has appeared in several publications. More would be available if she was not so busy pondering ways to firm her thighs. This uses a huge amount of her already limited brain cells. She barely survived raising five kids. They were all worth the labor pains in the long run and have given her wonderful grandchildren. Anne currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her husband of thirty-five years and two spoiled cockapoos

My Cancer Story: The Circle



I’ve been touched by your comments and emails thanking me for my honesty in my cancer posts. Many of you wrote that I’m brave to share my story. Nah. I’m not really that brave; I just like to tell stuff.

But one aspect of the experience does feel extra-personal.

Within hours of my diagnosis, I saw a circle closing in around me. A real circle. No joke. No figurative talk. I saw it. Many times. It looked like the circle above.

The circle closed out everything in my future but the cancer. No new house. No grandchildren-to-be. No travels to Prague or Costa Rica. No finishing the novel my agent has been patiently waiting for.

The circle squeezed out bad stuff too, stuff not related to cancer. No thoughts of old hurts or unresolved issues. No worries about projects left uncompleted or what ifs looming ahead.

There was no space. The circle was that tight.


After my surgery, I heard good news. Really good news! The cancer had not spread. Within minutes, I saw the circle open up. Even now, I can close my eyes, put myself back in my hospital bed, and watch it grow.




For the first two or three weeks, only good drifted back into the circle. Then, as a bit of post-op funk sank over me, some negatives drifted back in too.

The other day at  a Duke alumni event, I met a wonderful cancer survivor. (I’m finding that all cancer survivors are wonderful, with stories to tell and intriguing lessons learned.) I told her about my circle. She nodded her head. “Yes,” she said. “I saw it too.”

Like the beckoning white light when we die, maybe circles represent some universal experience with the Big C.

But you know what?  I love round things like polka dots and happy faces and the moon and pie. But I don’t want to see a circle around my life again. Not a tight one, for sure, but not a bigger one either.

No circle, no black lines, letting stuff in or keeping it out.

No limits.

Just life.

Happy FaceThe American Cancer Society’s website has some  excellent resources on dealing with the emotional side of cancer. Check it out here.



Naked by Betsy Franco (and a Giveaway!)


Naked cover


When I visited the Rodin Museum in Paris two falls ago, I was struck by the statue, Maturity, by sculptress Camille Claudel, who was in love with Rodin. Camille lost out to an older woman, Rodin’s long time lover, Rose Beuret.

Without knowing the full story, I cheered for the older Rose and wrote this post (after all, this is a menopause blog.We champion ladies of a certain age.)



However, I shouldn’t have necessarily cheered for Rose because I didn’t really know the story.

But writer Betsy Franco researched and wrote the story in her novel, Naked  (Tryus Books, 2013), 

When Naked came out, Betsy sent out a call for photos of Camille Claudel’s work. I sent her the shots I took that day at the Rodin, along with the link to my blog post. She was kind of enough to write us a few words of reflection on the sculpture and her take on the love triangle.

She writes:

The triangle between Camille Claudel, Rose Beuret, and Rodin, as portrayed in Camille’s sculpture Maturity, has a great deal of meaning for me–Camille is one of the protagonists in my debut adult novel, Naked.

The Mature Age

I was able to view part of the sculpture, The Implorer, which represents the young woman in the triangle, when the Metropolitan Museum in New York allowed me to study it in their storage area.



The look on the sculpture’s face and the fact that Camille is in my novel made me sympathetic to her, but Barbara Younger’s take on the triangle gave me a new perspective.

Although I believe that Rodin’s love for Camille was more passionate than for Rose and that their shared genius in the area of sculpture drew them closer, perhaps part of the reason Rodin ultimately chose Rose was the wisdom, security, and depth that can be found in a relationship with an older woman.

Beuret and Rodin

Me again: Look who we see reaching into the photo of Betsy below. (Photo credit Claire Kirch.)


author photo Claire Kirch

You can read more of the story behind Naked in this Publisher’s Weekly article about Betsy.  Naked is an adult book, but here’s a wonderful quote from the article on how Betsy got started writing:

“…she could not continue to paint with young children in the house, because oil paints “were like poison.” So she decided to write children’s books—first as a freelancer for educational publishers, and then books under her name for the trade. “I took all the energy I’d put into painting and used it to write. It was an experiment. And it worked” she says.

Back to Naked. Here are some snippets from two of the book’s stellar reviews:

“The Time Traveler’s Wife meets Midnight in Paris”

–Mercury News

“a seamless blend of fiction, biography, and contemporary culture” –Publisher’s Weekly


Giveaway: I’m giving away two paperback copies of Naked. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by October 1 saying you’d like to be a winner. U.S. and Canada only, thanks!

To learn more about Betsy and her work and to see some great family photos, check out her website at BetsyFranco.Com

The Ladies Room Door Art Series: Part Four


Women's Room Door

The latest in our Ladies Room Door Art Series!

I found the door above at Spanky’s. Cliff and I enjoyed lunch there after my first appointment at UNC hospital. The door has a smokey 1930-1940 look.

I discovered the door below at Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom in Chapel Hill. Love the wavy glass.

Chapel Hill Ladies Room Door


I spotted this on my return to UNC Hospital for a post-op check up. The Old Well is a beloved landmark on the university campus.

UNC Women

Daughter Laura and son-in-law Matt flew to  Turkey this summer. “Please find me some doors,” I begged. Laura reports that most looked like the one below.


But Matt got a shot of this one at La Pasion, a restaurant in Bodrum.


Matt’s mom Candace is a loyal blog reader. She photographed this little girl at Rockland’s Barbeque and Grilling Company in Arlington, Virginia.


Candace  found a co-ed door in a New York City bar.


And this ladies room door at the Cisco Brewery on Nantucket.

Nantucket Bar

Here’s the bar’s scary men’s room door!

Men's Room

I ran into this elegant paper sign at the Lazy Days Winnery in Virginia. The owner of the winery is a gynecologist who not only makes wine but raises monkeys. Hmmm. Wish I could snag him for a guest post for Friend for the Ride.

Paper Sign


Another paper sign!

Candace pronounced this the “booby prize” of her latest findings. This door is located at Providence Hospital, Washington, DC. Yikes! Not sure I want to sign up for surgery there any time soon.


Keep your cameras ready when you make a trek to the ladies room, and do send the photos my way. Remember, every trip to the potty is an opportunity to discover an intriguing work of art.


Here are the other posts in the series:


Part One

Musem Door

Part Two



Part Three


The Lady in the Park