Tag Archives: Menopause

Menopausal Cut-out Lady (and a Craft Book Giveaway)

Standard

I need a new hobby, something to provide a happy break from writing. I love to work with my hands, so I’ve been  pondering.

The pondering took a disarming plunge  last week when I spent long minutes threading a needle. I even had trouble with the handy dandy needle threader. I take this as final proof that my failing eyes, plus my lack of fine motor skills, rule out most hobbies that demand exact hand-eye coordination.

Then, like a flash, I remembered Henri Matisse! When his health began to fail, he took up paper cutting. Peinture avec du papier.  Painting with paper.

Matisse Woman Cut Outs

Capture

And so, I present to you, Menopausal Cut-out Lady.

Menopause Lady

To learn more about Menopausal Cut-out Lady, see the Artist’s Statement at the bottom of the post.

For a craft guide to inspire all of us, there’s Crafting Calm: Projects and Practices for Creativity and Contemplation by Maggie Oman Shannon (Viva Editions, 2013).

 

9.4.14-Maggie-Oman-Shannon_CraftingCalm600

The publisher writes:

Rev. Maggie Oman Shannon illustrates that you can literally ‘craft the crazy away” through beading and crocheting, candle-making, and collaging…Each chapter presents five different practices, offering forty activities to inspire, along with a series of questions for journaling and reflection.

Shannon presents plenty of intriguing crafts, but what I love the most are the quotations on creativity. Here are two favorites:

When the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.

 Leonardo Da Vinci

 I feel that art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos. A stillness which characterizes prayer, too, and the eye of the storm. I think that art has something to do with the arrest of attention in the midst of distraction.

 Saul Bellow

images

Giveaway: Thanks to Viva Editions for offering  a copy of Crafting Calm to one Friend for the Ride reader. For a chance to win, simply enter a comment by November 25. U.S. and Canada only please.

Read about Matisse’s cut-outs in this article.  And if you can get to NYC, the show at the MOMA looks spectacular.

Menopausal Cut-out Lady, Artist’s Statement: 

Barbara Younger  Construction Paper  and Glue on Sketch Paper   2014

Menopausal Cut-out Lady’s skin is green, which represents the new life, the fresh spouts, of menopause. She wears her hair in two lengths,posing this question: At what age should a woman switch to shorter hair? Menopausal Cut Out Lady feels sporty and confident with both lengths. Hooray for her!

Her breasts are blue, symbolizing the blues brought on by the droop of aging. Yet the blue represents water too, and the buoyancy and lack of inhibition she feel as she floats in a lovely blue lake or sea.

Her reproductive organs take the form of a heart. This symbolizes her adoration for her offspring, and the hope that her love life, despite changes, is far from over

Menopausal Cut-out Lady waves a fan, not only as a nod to her night sweats and hot flashes but as a welcoming signal to the changing winds of menopause, bringing relief from periods and a new zest for life.

ManyPaws! A Menopause Pop-up Book and a Giveaway

Standard

Many Paws with Popups

A post by artist  and teacher Susan De Garmo:

When I was about 47 years old, I put some eggs on the stove to boil. I went downstairs to my office to grade papers and before I knew it, I heard explosions coming from my kitchen! I ran up and saw exploded boiled eggs sitting in a pan with no water. Exploding because I left them in there and totally forgot to take them out.

That year when I had my yearly check-up, I told my doctor I thought I was going crazy! I couldn’t remember the simplest things. I was starting to leak when I laughed, I sweated in bed, had hot flashes in the day, my eyesight was getting worse and my middle was spreading!

She patted my hand and told me that I was going through the change. I couldn’t believe what she was saying! At 47 years old I started getting “old.” She handed me a paperback book that she said would help me understand what my body was doing.

That night I relaxed in the tub and picked up the book and began to read. The words were sweet and delicate. “You’re still a woman even though you can’t have babies anymore.”

I couldn’t take it! I tossed it in the trash.

My doctor wouldn’t give me anything to get rid of the symptoms. “It’s perfectly normal,” she said.

So, every day became a new adventure with the symptoms of menopause. Thank God my family still loves me!

Since I couldn’t find a book that shared the in-your-face experiences of menopause and getting older with a bit of humor, I decided one day while teaching my altered book class at a local design college, I would make an altered book on the subject and it would be about my experience.

Why did I come up with that idea? It was freezing cold outside, my head was beet red, sweat was dripping down my face, and my students looked at me like I had a third eye! I just shrugged and pressed on.

I found an old book that had a by-line…the years of change. I took that book and altered it to create  ManyPaws, the Years of Change.

Each week I did a spread in the book.  Depending on what challenges I was going through, that is what I wrote about. We had a show-n-tell in the class every week to show off the work we did in our books. I showed mine to the students and there were lots of “yuck,”“my mom’s doing that,” and sometimes laughter. I wasn’t trying to appeal to them, just critiquing the pages.

At the end of the semester, we had an Altered Book Show. The students and I would have our altered books on display for the faculty, staff , family and friends. Of course, my whole experience with menopause was there for the whole world to see.

It wasn’t long before we heard laughter. Not only from the moms and older women of the college, but from their husbands!
Oh no. I was totally embarrassed, but come to find out, they liked it. The women started telling me their stories and wanted a copy for themselves or to give to their girlfriends.

So my husband and I decided to publish it ourselves and see if the book could really work the way I made it and it did! Not such a bad outcome that started with exploding eggs….in more ways than one!!

To see Susan’s cool book trailer and to purchase ManyPaws and greeting cards taken from its pages,  check out the ManyPaws website.  You can also purchase ManyPaws though this Amazon link.

Here’s the Facebook page!

Giveaway: Susan is giving a copy of ManyPaws to one lucky reader. For a chance to win, simply enter a comment by November 1 saying you’d like to be the winner. U.S. and Canada only. Thanks, Susan!

Many Paws Cover

About herself, Susan writes: 

I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee.  Since I could remember, I had a crayon in my hand, coloring something. I was one of those kids who wanted to learn about anything creative. I sewed, painted, took apart things and put them back together just to see how they were made.  My curiosity always guided me to figure out how things worked.  It still does!

I graduated from Memphis College of Art in 1984 with a BFA  Advertising/ Graphics Design Degree…that was BC….before computers. I started college with two small children and a husband that traveled a lot, so you can imagine what my house looked like! Anyway, being a graphic designer I was able to work from home and be with the kids while my husband was away. I’ve designed gift cards, album covers, invitations, license plates, basically anything except wall paper and  wrapping paper.

For almost eighteen years, off and on, I taught graphic design at a design college. The students wanted me to teach them something that wasn’t on the computer, so I looked around to see what could be interesting.  I stumbled upon altered books (taking old books and making or re-purposing them into something else).

I’ve sewn and designed costumes and painted backdrops for a play, was an art director for a boys magazine, designed the house we live in, won first place from Liberty of London for a quilt I made using their fabrics. (That’s a crazy story!) I also paint!

I married an incredible guy, have two beautiful daughters, two son-in-laws and 5 grands. They are the delights of my life, especially now that they suffered through my weirdness with the “change!”

 

Susan Headshot

Jesse the Plumber: A TMI Post

Standard

Jesse

In honor of Labor Day, a post about our plumber. Thanks, Jesse, for all the plumbing emergencies you’ve expertly resolved for us.

Recently Jesse made a house call. Clogged up plumbing line.

The visit  brought back memories of another time Jesse paid a house call and then stood in the same spot in our yard.

Jump back with me twenty-plus years.

That clog was a bad one. Water, the yucky kind, poured into the powder room.

Jesse dug for about an hour. Then he summoned me to the backyard. He poked a brown boot at a huge wad. “Mrs. Younger, these things can’t go down your commode.  Not with the old pipes we’ve got in town.”

“Those things,” were, you guessed it, tampons. Mortification struck my thirty-something soul. “Got it,” was all I could say.

Jump back to now.

This time, the problem was the town’s fault. Yes! Something screwy in their part of the sewage line.

But no matter what, it couldn’t have been tampons. Not in this household. Not anymore.

Score One for menopause.

PS:  Get your plumber talking! Jesse can entertain for hours. His stories aren’t so much about the actual plumbing but the crazy ways people screw up their plumbing. Wowzer.

Marylou Falstreau: My Menopause Story (and a Giveaway!)

Standard

 

P-30 Possibilities

 A post by artist Marylou Falstreau:

Menopause was different than I expected.

I thought I’d be sitting in a comfortable easy chair looking back on the life I created; a loving home, financial security and children who had been raised to be uncomplicated little birds, always ready to fly home and adore their perfect mother.

I thought it would be a time of ease with a hot flash thrown in from time to time.

It didn’t happen that way.

Just as I began to experience menopausal symptoms my husband was unceremoniously fired from a job he’d planned to retire from. He found employment several times after, but the jobs were short lived and eventually we had no options.

Selling our family home, we moved to an apartment on the Central Coast of California with our two elderly cats. Gone were the dreams of sharing our country home with family, particularly grandkids.

I am an artist, and at the time I was selling my work at outdoor art shows and leading mixed media workshops, part time. After we moved, creating art became my full time vocation while my husband worked for a food service company in the neighboring town.

Life got crazy and I felt like I was going crazy too.

Painting non-stop and getting up at 3:00 in the morning to travel to art shows didn’t promote sound sleep. I began feeling like someone else inhabited my body and that person was in survival mode.

Was I sleepless from hormonal imbalance or because my life had changed in a way I was not physically or mentally prepared for?

I tried to find answers by spending hours in our natural food store, looking for helpful supplements.

The best anti-cure I found was a chocolate, peanut butter Twister from the Foster Freeze across the street. My symptoms became worse but for a brief, fleeting moment, I was happy.

The hot flashes began incognito. Yes, there was heat but mostly there were electrical currents pulsating through my body, holding me captive. It’s as if I’d been plugged in to an electrical socket that produced such intense anxiety that it was shocking, quite literally! So this is what it feels like to be loosing your mind and your body all at the same time!

Looking back from the vantage point of a 62-year-old post-menopausal woman, it is impossible to know when the “change” began in earnest. Nothing in my life was the same, everything had changed, but something beautiful was born as a result.

Here is the rest of the story…

Hi, my name is Marylou Falstreau, and I am creator of the Women and the Hourglass” series of inspirational art for women.

My cards and prints and other assorted items have made their way around the world, helping women connect with their own wisdom and their longing to be free of patterns that no longer serve them.

While living in the amped up world of out-door art shows I began connecting with the story within.

My painting style shifted away from whimsical… to whimsical with a theme.

Women became my focal point and then things started to fly. Chairs left the ground, so did people and trees and strange creatures that looked like hybrids of a dog and something else.

In my own way I was exploring spirituality, and that meant breaking rules of gravity and pushing the boundaries of common sense.

Around this time, I had a dream that changed things forever and was the motivation for my series.

In the dream, I was in conference with a group of women, listening intently. When I woke up, the words women and hourglass remained in my consciousness. It’s been my journey to integrate these two words and understand what their connection is.

What I’ve learned is that it’s time to wake up to our own potential and to understand life is an inside job.

We innately have the power to change what is inside.

We have the power to forgive and the power to be happy.

We most certainly have the power to count our blessings and laugh out loud, if we choose.

The Hourglass is a wonderful symbol for time passing, but it also can be turned over at any moment, stopping the flow of sand, and beginning anew.

We have the same power; it just takes a little more awareness and commitment.

Now is the time.

My life has changed in every way, yet again.

Something beautiful has grown out of those challenging years, a beauty that would have seemed impossible if considered before. I can see that growth and creation are always possible, even as we age. I can see that our purpose is revealed, sometimes at the latest hour.

For me, menopause was like a large bag of sand tied to my ankles as I navigated my way through treacherous terrain. I am proud to say I survived and am now thriving.

If I had any advice for women who are just beginning menopause, I would say try not to give in to the symptoms too much, but ask for help if necessary. Stay active, eat good healthy and natural foods and keep your eye on the gold.

Gold is always hidden somewhere in the story. Often it is revealed in perfect time; when the storm has cleared and there is a new, fresh perspective.

Everything in our lives has purpose and so does Menopause.

Card Deck

Giveaway:  Marylou has offered an Affirmation Card Deck and an  8 1/2″  by 11″  print,”One day she woke up and considered new possibilities,” to a lucky Friend for the Ride winner.  To enter, simply leave a comment by September 15 saying that you’d like to win. U.S. and Canada only. Thanks, Marylou!  You’re the best!

To learn even more about Marylou and her art, visit her website here.

 

Marylou