Monthly Archives: October 2011

Pumpkin Menopause

Standard

BOO! and BOO!  and BOO!

You might think these pumpkins are men but they aren’t!  They are Pumpkin Ladies who have pulled their hair back.

And guess what?  Each one is in the middle of the Roller Coaster Ride!  You didn’t think pumpkins went through menopause?  Just ask these women:

Hi I’m Paulette, the pumpkin on the left. I am in a BAD mood even though it’s Halloween.  GRRRR. Yesterday, everything had a happy orange glow but not today!  Read my pumpkin lips, honey:  GET OUT OF MY FACE!  You go have yourself a Happy Halloween, but leave me alone.

Hi I’m Polly, the pumpkin in the middle.  Life is good!  Nothing can get me down.  I just want to grin, grin, grin.  Happy Halloween everyone!  I wish I could pop out of the screen and hug you all!  Since I can’t, I’m sending you a thousand Halloween winks!

Hi I’m Penelope, the pumpkin on the right.  I don’t know if I’m in a good mood or a bad one.  I was in a bad mood a minute ago, but now I’m in a great mood. Whoopee!  Oh wait, now I’m in a bad mood.  I could throw candy corn at the world!  Oh hold on, now I’m as happy as a witch sailing on a broomstick through the Halloween Sky.  Oh wait, did someone say witch?  Now I’m feeling itchy and witchy and bitchy.  Drats.

See!  I told you.  Pumpkins go through menopause too.

The next time menopause makes you up, or down, or up and down, remember our Pumpkin Sisters!  We are not alone.

     HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  

Photo:  When I met them, these lovely pumpkin ladies told me they would be pleased to be featured on Friend for the Ride.   They are spreading the word about my new menopause blog to the rest of the Female Pumpkin WorldWelcome, new Pumpkin Readers! 

The Carver: These pumpkins were on display this year at the North Carolina State Fair.  Check out some more examples of the work of master carver Tim Trudgeon.  

ACHOO!

Standard

Many years ago, ladies carried pretty handkerchiefs like these.

And just a few years ago, I heard a not-so-pretty revelation at a women only dinner party.  Six ladies all fessed up to the same problem:  When they sneezed, sometimes they leaked!

So I fessed up too.

The first time this sneezing and leaking happened to me, I was shocked.  Mortified.   Horrified.

Research!

Kegels.  That’s what the websites told me to do.

So I did kegels… for a while.  But doing kegels gets old, just like ironing handkerchiefs must have gotten old since not many women carry hankies anymore.

Then I had a false alarm with pelvic floor prolapse.  Yikes!  More research informed me that kegels are key to maintaining pelvic floor stability.

So I started doing kegels again.  Lots of them.  Kegels, kegels, kegels…

And now I sneeze with confidence.

Give kegels a try!

Achoo!

Any other kegel stories out there?  Do fess up.

More About Kegels:  Many medical websites provide info on kegels.  Here’s a how-to guide from the Mayo Clinic.  Of course, check with your doctor whenever you have a medical concern.

Photo:  The handkerchiefs above belonged to my mom and my mother-in-law.  Google “antique” or” vintage handkerchiefs” to see more hankies of yesteryear such as these on the site of Sharon’s Antiques.

P.S.  Sorry about the creases.  I should have gotten out the iron…

I Didn’t Mean to Mourn

Standard

Writer Jane Yolen graciously offered to share this poem with Friend for the Ride:

                                                  The Last Time

I didn’t mean to mourn,

I meant to laugh,

But my bloodline

Dribbled away so slowly,

So silently,

I hardly noticed it had gone.

The biological clock having long since

Stopped ticking,

There was no alarm.

Only silence

And a kind of wistful death.

©2002 by Jane Yolen

If you had told me ten years ago that I would feel any sadness over the end of periods, I never would have believed you. No way!

Like Jane, I planned to laugh. I also planned to drink champagne and sing to the Period Goddess in the Sky, “See ya, sweetie.  I’m done!”  I did drink champagne, and I said my goodbyes to the Period Goddess.  (She’s the one who, sometimes, gives you a break and helps you NOT get your period on the cruise to the Bahamas.)

But I understand the “kind of wistful death” that Jane describes.  I feel it too.

Am I mourning  the college girl, long gone, who dealt with periods as she juggled research papers, boyfriend, and dorm conversations that ended in happy hysterics?   Am I missing the possibility of one more sweet baby?  Am I grieving for a body that amazed me because it could count the days?  Am I worrying about the body now, which certainly seems less efficient, and the one to come?

For those of you who are finished, what are your thoughts about no more periods?  Any sadness, or just glee?  And for those of you not there yet, any idea how you will feel?

In Take Joy: A Writer’s Guide to Loving the Craft, Jane gets to the heart of why we put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard: “We write to know ourselves.”

And so a challenge for you:  Write your own period poem!  Please do.  Silly or serious or anywhere in between.  Or perhaps simply jot down some words that capture your thoughts about periods and/or not having periods anymore.

Be bold and brave!  You can even use red ink. 

Email your pieces to me, (BKYounger at gmail.com), and I’ll gather them together for a fun, literary post on Friend for the Ride.  

You’re welcome to substitute a pen name for your real name or just send your first name. 

Thanks from me AND the Period Goddess, who loves to read poems on her favorite topic.

The Poem:  “The Last Time” is posted here by permission of the author. The poem was first published in Women.  Period.  Edited by Julia Watts, Parneshia Jones, Jo Ruby, and Elizabeth Slade.  Spinster’s Ink, 2002.

The Poet:  An opening page in Take Joy describes Jane Yolen as “America’s Hans Christian Andersen (Newsweek) and a modern-day Aesop (New York Times).”  You can learn more about her as well as follow her  insightful journal on her website, http://janeyolen.com/

Photo:  I used Take Joy by Jane Yolen (Writer’s Digest Books, 2006) in critical essays I wrote while studying for my MFA in Writing at Vermont College.  Now I read it to recharge my writing soul.  The cover illustration was done by Linda Holt  Ayriss.

Women. Period is a collection of poems, essays, and short stories about menstruation. The forward states that the book “celebrates both the diversity and the universality of the female experience.  We are many; we are one.”   The cover was designed by LA Callaghan.  (And that’s some cover!)

A Toast to the Tooth Fairy and My Dentist

Standard

A hearty toast to our old friend the Tooth Fairy:

                       Here’s to the old tooth under the pillow,

                        Here’s to the space that it left behind,

                        Here’s to the new tooth soon to follow,

                        Here’s to the Tooth Fairy, generous and kind.

It seems only yesterday that I was leaving my teeth under pillows. Now they crumble away in my mouth.

Well not all of them, at least not yet, but those molars fat with fillings do tend to give way.  But in all, we’re told:  “Practice gratitude.”

And I am grateful.  I’m grateful for a dentist who can fix up my failing teeth.  Thank you, Dr. Cheek (his real name, I promise), and to your assistants.  I’m grateful for fast drills, Novocain, magic moldly stuff that turns into a fine fake tooth, and the glue that holds it in.

Recently, I toured the National Museum of Dentistry in Baltimore.  If you’re grumpy about going to the dentist, you need to check out the old instruments in this museum.  OUCH, OUCH, and OUCH.  You’ll never complain about a visit to your 21st Century dentist again.  Better yet, bring him or her a present!  I’m giving mine a Tooth Fairy necklace.

Happy Birthday on Wednesday, to my daughter Katherine, who left notes to the Tooth Fairy asking her to please leave the money but let Kath keep the tooth!  You encourage me every day with your boundless energy and enthusiasm.

Photo:  The glow-in-the-dark Tooth Fairy necklaces and flavored dental floss are souvenirs I purchased in the museum’s funky gift shop.  My poem “A Toast to the Tooth Fairy” (© Barbara Younger, 1998) was first printed in June Cotner’s Family Celebrations:  Prayers, Poems, and Toasts for Every Occasion.  Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1999.