Monthly Archives: January 2012

Not Your Cookie Cutter Menopause

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The older I get, the more I appreciate that we’re not all cut from the same cookie cutter.  People are fascinating.   If we were all the same, how boring might that be?

But…

When it comes to The Great Pause, I think one cookie cutter would have been a good thing.

Menopausal symptoms and troubles vary widely from woman to woman.  While you’re suffering from periods that linger for days, you’ve got a friend with hormonal depression and another who hasn’t slept past five AM for three months.

So there’s plenty to discuss, but sometimes we’re such different cookies, that’s it’s hard to get the support we need for our specific woe.

That brings me to this request:  I’m looking for guest posts, especially on aspects of menopause or midlife that I’ve yet to cover or that I haven’t experienced.  If you would like to write one, shoot me an email.

I didn’t have many hot flashes, but we have a cool (pun slightly intended) hot flash post soon off the presses from Meg Tipper.  Edna Brown has written a post on early menopause titled “The Early Bird,” and Dawn Reno is going to entertain us with “Men-o-pause Dating.”

We’ve all got Soul Mates in Menopause somewhere in the universe.  I’d love for this blog to help you find them.

Photos:  Do you have a favorite cookie cutter from your childhood?  My mom had one that was rolled across the dough, cutting fancy circles as it went.  I’m not sure what happened to it.  These are others from her collection.

More Cookie Cutter Info:  Be an expert before the day ends!  Read this article on antique cookie cutters and the history of the cookie cutter.  These are the sort of tidbits you can throw out to wow folks at your next job interview or cocktail party.  Don’t miss the video, either!  Aunt Chick is watching you from heaven and will heap blessings on your next batch of cookies if you pay her just a bit of homage.

A Menopause Tip Across the Centuries. Well Maybe. Read On…

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I love blogging and thinking about blog posts.  I’m sure I bring up Friend for the Ride much too much, although husband Cliff has been quite tolerant (especially since  Gail Crane told him in a comment that he had good hair.)

So  in December, when we went to the Rembrandt in America exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Art, I had the blog on my mind as I looked into the faces of each portrait.  When I stopped in front of Maria Bockenolle (above) something about her face compelled me to do more than think.  I tried to communicate with her.  For real.

Maria, please send some insights on what menopause was like in 1634.

Give me something I can tell my readers–advice, tips, remedies that have been lost across the ages.

Something that will encourage all of us twenty-first century types as we straggle into this new arena.

Maria looked right back at me.  I promise you she did.  Her mouth was turned in a willing expression.  Her eyes said, “Certainly, my dear.”   The hand on her abdomen meant she might be pondering her own feminine anatomy.

So I waited.

And I waited some more.

Maybe Maria figures she’s finished with The Change of Life, and she’s tired of the topic.

Maybe that white ruff around her neck gave her such HORRIBLE hot flashes, that the subject makes her fume.

Maybe Mr. Rembrandt interfered, thinking I had invaded Maria’s personal space.

Maria did not speak out loud in the quiet of the art gallery, and she didn’t speak to me telepathically.

Rats!

I might have been able to rock the art world AND the blog world, and I’ve only been blogging for three months!

Rats again!

But I guarantee that while I stood in front of Maria Bockenolle, I felt the pull of The Great Womanhood.

Women throughout the ages have experienced menopause.

A simple thought, I know.

But that simple thought encourages me.

What about you?

Photos:  I found the portraits on Great Masters Gallery.

Video Tour:  See glimpses of the exhibit and hear inside info on the collecting of Rembrandts in America.

Maria’s Husband:  FYI, below is, the  Reverend Johannes Elison. I didn’t ask him any questions as his expression is  less inviting than his wife’s.  I must say that Cliff does seem to have better, or at least more, hair.  For now at least, that is.

Reverend Johannes Elison - van Rijn Rembrandt - Painting Reproduction

Practically Perfect: Mary Poppins, Not Me

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It was  a big deal to this fifth grade girl when the movie Mary Poppins came out.  My dad drove us into Baltimore City to the Hippodrome Theater where we waited in line to get our seats.  What a night!  I was mesmerized and so was Dad, who especially liked the chimney sweeps leaping over the rooftops of London.

When she took out her magical measuring tape, I learned that Mary Poppins is practically perfect in every way.  Shouldn’t I try to be  perfect too?  (After all, who wouldn’t want to be just like Julie Andrews?)

I can make a list of imperfections longer than the string on Jane and Michael’s kite:  hair, brains, house, figure, makeup, manners, cooking, nails, teeth, career, relationships, parenting, garden, directional skills, linen closets, handwriting, and on and on and on.

Why do I set the bar so high that even chimney sweep Bert would have trouble jumping over it?

Blame it on Mary P.  Blame it on the media.  Blame it on parental expectations.  Blame it on comments from spouse and kids.  Blame it on hormones.  Blame it on the moon.  Happily,I’m slowly learning that I can be content without being practically perfect (not that I ever had much chance anyway).

There comes an acceptance, I think, with menopause and mid-life.  A  realization that life  really is short.  Why waste it picking at your own self, of all people.

Toward the end of the movie, Mr. Banks figures it out in A Man Has Dreams.”   We have plans that get dashed.  We don’t measure up.  We’re not the woman or man we thought we could be.

Mr. Banks’s voice moves to a new tenor as he sings, ” A spoonful of sugar, that is all it takes/It changes bread and water into tea and cakes.”

I think I’ll take a dose right now.  I’ll serve it up on the Mary Poppins spoon I ordered from the back of a cereal box in 1965.  Then it’s on to a tea party on the ceiling.  Later, I can scout out a chalk drawing to pop into (as long as nobody makes me dance.  Majorly Imperfect Me cannot dance).

Thanks, Mary.  You floated in on the wind and taught Mr. Banks and me some stuff.  And if someone gets to measure up to be practically perfect, I’m glad it’s you.

The Kite:  I promise you the kite flying finale will put you in a splendid mood.

Picture above of the super cool nanny is from Wikipedia.

Below is the practically perfect scene!  I found it here.

The Friend for the Ride Menopausal Poets

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In September, poet Jane Yolen sent me a menopause poem to share with Friend for the Ride.  You can read the poem, “I Didn’t Mean to Mourn,”  here.

At the end of the post, I asked you to write your own poem about menopause, especially the cessation of periods.  Four readers sent in poetic reflections on their experiences with The Great Pause.  Here are their poems!

Bittersweet Goodbye by Judy Brown

not quite finished

but seeing the end

love and hate

aren’t all friendships

as complicated

so a sweet goodbye

and not so fond memories

but my most precious gifts in life

bestowed from this affair

a dear friend on a journey

who will be with me now.

Pausing by Cindy Stevens

pausing to give thanks

I was given the joy

of birthing our beautiful children

pausing to give thanks

for my infinite emotions

occasionally high

on occasion low

typically moderate

and colourful now and again

pausing to give thanks

my life still holds excitement

and promise

now that I have paused

I give thanks

Meno-hope by Lisa Flinn

Yes menopause

Brings out my flaws

In memory, mood, and shape.

I’m often forgetful,

First sunny, then tearful

And I hate the measuring tape!

When The Change is done

Out I’ll come

Like a butterfly on the wing.
Fresh views, bright goals,

More grace, more soul,

Giving each day some zing!

Good Riddance by Mary B. Cunningham

Good riddance to you

I don’t mourn you at all

You were never my friend!

Photo:  I found this photo by doing a google search for “Poets.”   The link is here and will take you to a poetry contest sponsored by the English Association of the University of Leicester in England.  They’re now taking entries for the 2012 contest.  Entry, anyone?

WINNER!  The lucky winner of the Lucky Red Envelope is lucky Susan B!  The Dragon says,  Congratulations, Lucky One!”