Tag Archives: Menopause

Menopausal Beach Toes

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Barbara on the Beach

Beach walker here.

Barefoot beach walker.

That is until three years ago when I noticed the sand wearing away the skin on the bottom of my toes.

Yikes!

Those poor toes returned from a beach walk looking like I’d run a marathon on oyster shells. What gives?

The thinning skin of menopause. (Although it took me a year or so to understand this was the culprit). When the estrogen diminishes, the skin suffers. You can read more about it here.

Adaption!

I now wear my clunky walking shoes when beach walking.

Fine on a fall day when you’re sporting shorts and a t-shirt.

But it’s not a great look with a flowy beach cover up.

And talk about a  nerd alert:  Someone shouts from their blanket, “Beach walk!” and you say, “Sure. Just as soon as I put on my socks and shoes.”

I should have appreciated my barefoot beach walks even more than I did in those glorious hours.

I never imagined the upcoming woes of menopausal beach toes.

But, thank heavens, my shoes, socks, toes, and I continue to enjoy wonderful walks very close to the surf.

Like so much else about aging, it’s all about figuring things out and adapting.

My goal: To leave footprints in the sand as long as I can.

What about you?  Any beach walk troubles?

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Giveaway Winners!  Congrats to Stephanie, Lisa, and Susan who won Yay! Pie! magnets; Shelley who won the canvas print giveaway; and DIane, who won the Kegeling t-shirt. (Diane, we want to know if you’re brave enough to wear it!)

Photo:  Cliff snapped this photo on East Beach of Bald Head Island, one of my favorite places on Earth.

Beer and Menopause: Help from the Hops!

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When I was a student at Duke in the seventies, the beer flowed.

But I barely touched it.  Just didn’t like the flavor.

After I married Cliff, I took sips of his beers over the years.  But only sips.  I was a wine and mixed drink kind of girl.

Then bam!  Swoosh!  Gulp!

About five years ago, I began ordering my own  beer.

Why the switch to beer in midlife?

I had no clue until Chris Bradshaw of Boombox Network, posted this article on Facebook:

Beer: The Natural Menopause Treatment 

Menopause!

Seems that hops have estrogen-like qualities. The article reports:

“Hops have long been suspected of having an impact on the hormonal system.

Before your advent of machine pickers, girls and girls picked the plant life at harvest, and would often spend 3 weeks accomplishing this. It was observed amongst the young girls picking hops that their menstrual periods would occur early.

Two young women picking hops

But it wasn’t until hops was studied scientifically that result was explained and endorsed.

It turns out that hops contains very good levels of phytoestrogens – among 30, 000 IU to 3 hundred, 000 IU per 100 grams.” 

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The article explains some of the science:

“Phytoestrogens are estrogen-like plant compounds that are also in alternative menopause therapies like soy. They work simply by binding to estrogen receptors, therefore provide a mild estrogenic impact on the body.

Phytoestrogens are quite a bit less strong as regular estrogen, however as estrogen levels decline throughout menopausal women, this boost of estrogen incorporates a balancing effect on the body.”

So the hops are hoppin’ good for our menopausal woes?

Who knows  for sure.  Let’s hope science continues to study beer and menopause.

Let’s hope science continues to study EVERYTHING about menopause.

Even if beer (in moderation, of course) is only a temporary balm for the woes of menopause, I say, “Bottoms up!”

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Another Article:  Here’s more info,with the results of several studies and some thinking on the positive connection between hops and bone loss.

Non-alcoholic beers:  They contain hops too!

Beer Above:  A 37th anniversary beer with Cliff in August. Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Beer Below:   A beer-rita with Laura in early September. Dallas, Texas.  Here’s how to make a beer-rita without a miniature beer bottle.  (I do wonder if the restaurant washes the bottle before dunking it into the drink.)

Nearing Menopause, I Run into Elvis at Shoprite

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A poem by poet Barbara Crooker:

near the peanut butter.  He calls me ma’am, like the sweet

southern mother’s boy he was.  This is the young Elvis,

slim-hipped, dressed in leather, black hair swirled

like a duck’s backside.  I’m in the middle of my life,

the start of the body’s cruel betrayals, the skin beginning

to break in lines and creases, the thickening midline.

I feel my temperature rising, as a hot flash washes over,

the thermostat broken down.  The first time I heard Elvis

on the radio, I was poised between girlhood and what comes next.

My parents were appalled, in the Eisenhower fifties, by rock

and roll and all it stood for, let me only buy one record,

“Love Me Tender,” and I did.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I have on a tight orlon sweater, circle skirt,

eight layers of rolled-up net petticoats, all bound

together by a woven straw cinch belt.  Now I’ve come

full circle, hate the music my daughter loves, Nine

Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, Crash Test Dummies.

Elvis looks embarrassed for me.  His soft full lips

are like moon pies, his eyelids half-mast, pulled

down bedroom shades.  He mumbles, “Treat me nice.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Now, poised between menopause and what comes next, the last

dance, I find myself in tears by the toilet paper rolls,

hearing “Unchained Melody” on the sound system.  “That’s all

right now, Mama,” Elvis says, “Anyway you do is fine.”  The bass

line thumps and grinds, the honky tonk piano moves like an ivory

river, full of swampy delta blues.  And Elvis’s voice wails above

it all, the purr and growl, the snarl and twang, above the chains

of flesh and time.

                                                      Karamu

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Barbara Crooker’s poems  have appeared in magazines such as The Green Mountains Review, Poet Lore, The Hollins Critic, The Christian Science Monitor, Nimrod and anthologies such as The Bedford Introduction to Literature.  Her awards include the Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships, fifteen residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, a residency at the Moulin à Nef, Auvillar, France; and a residency at The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig, Ireland.

Her books are Radiance, which won the 2005 Word Press First Book competition and was a finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize; Line Dance (Word Press 2008), which won the 2009 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence; More (C&R Press 2010), and Gold (Cascade Books, 2013). Her poetry has been read on the BBC, the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company), and by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac, and she’s read in the Poetry at Noon series at the Library of Congress.

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Barbara’s latest book is  Gold, a collection of poems about losing her mother.  Look for one of the poems and a giveaway on Friend for the Ride next month!

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To learn more about Barbara and her work, visit her website at http://www.barbaracrooker.com/

Menopausal You and Me: Mellow or Bold?

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Menopause makes us bold, like these garden flowers, who went summer nuts outside my kitchen window.

We speak up.

We voice our opinions.

We make brave choices.

But…

Menopause makes us mellow too.

We know when to remain silent.

We know how to pick our battles.

We often give up the stressful and the time-consuming.

The trick, the real trick, is figuring out when to choose bold and when to choose mellow.

I don’t always know which way to sway.

This summer, when the orange flowers took over, I debated.

Should I trim them back or let them go nuts?

I let them go nuts.

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Does that mean I’m bold? To appreciate such brightness. To let my garden run unruly.

Or am I mellow? To not worry that the flowers towered by leaps and bound over everything else in the garden.

No matter.

The flowers are happy, bright orange happy.

And we had a festive summer together.

What about you?

Is the menopausal you

More mellow?

More bold?

Or a happy combination?

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Danko Giveaway:  Congrats to lucky  Ginger Kay, who won the Dansko Giveaway!