Menopause, Mood, PMS

Paper Plate Menopause Lady: A Craft Project

Phew!  My friend Lisa Flinn and I just turned in a manuscript to Abingdon Press for a book of children’s programs: crafts,song, stories, games, explanations, snacks, prayers.  I’m beat, but not too beat to write up one more craft, a craft just for you!  PAPER PLATE MENOPAUSE LADY!

Those old time paper plates with the fluted edges aren’t very good for serving food, but they’re great for crafts.  Google paper plate crafts + images to see paper plates turned into everything but a workable kitchen sink.  So before I give myself a break from fluted paper plates, I have a craft for you.   She’s easy.  She’s fun.  AND she will help you express your moods kindly and gently, so family and friends will have fair warning..

Color your face when you are happy and the hormones are rolling you merrily along.

Color your face when the winds of  the Great Pause are turning that smile upside down.

No need to add age spots or wrinkles, but do color or glue/tape/staple on some hair.

Add a hanger so you can wear Paper Plate Menopause Lady around your neck.

 Simply flip her to the mood that suits you at the moment.  If you like, say this poem to all you meet, by way of explanation:

If Menopause Lady sports a frown,

That means I’m feeling oh so down,

When Menopause Lady’s mouth is up,

Life’s  as happy as a  buttercup!

I’d love to see your Paper Plate Menopause Lady when she’s finished!  Do send photos!

PS. If you’re on the younger side, consider making a Paper Plate Menopause Lady or a Paper Plate Pregnancy Lady.  You’ll have to write your own poem, though.

Around the Year in Children’s Church will be out in about six months. I’ll send an update when the book is available.  Although it’s written for Children’s Church (creative programing for young kids while adults are attending the worship service),the ideas also work well for Sunday school or preschools.

Aging, Hot Flashes, Menopause

Menopause the Musical

I just saw Menopause the Musical.  What fun!  The show is witty, insightful, clever, and well-staged.  Although the script is somewhat lacking in plot, the cast of characters is oh so darling and spunky.  The playbill lists them as a professional woman, a soap star, an earth mother, and an Iowa housewife.  The actresses who portrayed them did wonderful jobs.

And could they sing!  The songs move so fast, it’s hard to catch all the lyrics  but no matter as any sixties girl will love songs about the Great Change set to olden goldies like “Good Vibrations,” “Don’t Make Me Over,” “Puff the Magic Dragon,” and “Don’t Say Nothin Bad About My Baby” (changed to”Don’t Say Nothin Bad about My Body.”)

Menopause the Musical touches on so many aspects of menopause that the audience hooted and clapped through most of the show.  I was surprised there was no mention of periods and the end of  periods (and their sometimes reappearance after a few months).

What was as much fun as the show itself was realizing I have a husband brave enough to go.  When the usher seated us, she said to Cliff, “Do you feel intimidated?” (I counted about ten men in the audience.)  Happily, he answered, “No.”  I suppose if you sweat through menopause with a real live woman, it can only make you so nervous watching stage women acting, dancing, and belting it out.

So do see Menopause the Musical if it comes to your area.  Send in your thoughts, those of you who have seen it.  To add to the girly atmosphere, the show is set at Bloomies!

Aging, Life, Menopause

My Non-complaining Socks and Me

A few years ago, I decided for Lent, to give up complaining.

WOW!

Talk about an eye opener.  I bit my tongue many times over those forty-some days.  What happened though, was a small miracle.  I found myself, toward the end of Lent, barely trying to complain.  The thoughts didn’t even bop into my head, much…

Not complaining left space for  thanking, joking, analyzing, admiring, praising, listening, and singing.  (I don’t have a great voice but happily husband Cliff never complains unless I sing the same song ad infinitum.)

And not complaining inspired this poem, titled “Socks:”

Socks don’t lead

An easy life.

Missing partners,

Sweaty feet, and

Hours squinched

In tight quarters,

Yet I never hear

My socks complain.

Maybe I should be

More like socks.

Complaining less,

Absorbing more,

And ever ready to

Step into shoes

For the next adventure.

I hope you won’t complain about my pun, but  I have to say that menopause socked it all to me.  I’m  finally getting  that life throws us punches; that not everything is fair; that yes, there’s plenty of malfunction in the world; and that complaining IS optional.  Time is short and why spend it as an old grump.

What about you?  Do you find yourself complaining more or less the older you get?  And what lessons have you learned from your humble socks?

Hot Flashes, Menopause, Menopause Symptoms, Perimenopause, Periods

Guest Post: The Early Bird

A guest post from my good friend Edna Brown:

On the playground with kids during my fifth grade summer was not the ideal time to “become a lady” as grandma would say. I remember hurting in my mid-section for no reason at all. I did not recall falling or being hit in the stomach or eating anything that would have made me sick. I was confused and in agony.

I was still trying to play a game of tag football with my cousins and her friends at my aunt’s house. I was pushed down and tackled and I felt something that was unusual.

I got up and ran inside to have my aunt check me over.  She told me to go into the bathroom and she would be right in to see what was wrong. I went into the bathroom and almost fainted. I thought that the world had ended and my Tomboy Days were long gone. She was shocked as well but she tried to keep me calm as she explained to me what was going on with my body.  She fixed me up and gave me the “Talk”.

She called my mother – her sister, and we all cried. I thought it was too early to deal with such a thing, and my aunt could not explain why this was an issue for me at the age of eleven. She taught me all about the pads and hiding them from the boys. The purse came into my life. What a drag!

I went from competing with the guys to worrying about where I could sit my purse where they could not discover the new “issue” in my life. I started sulking and lying around the house because my life had changed so drastically. I started to have to physicals which included pap smears and other female related gynecological procedures.

My first few menstrual cycles were the classical four to five days with a light flow, so it was not a lot to manage compared to some of the other girls that I witnessed whose lives came to a screeching halt during their time of the month.

The older I got, the skipping or missed menstrual periods started. I would miss a month or two and have a cycle, miss a month or two. I questioned the doctors about this, and they said that it was normal for some teens. They suggested that I go on birth control pills to regulate my cycle.

This worked for years as far as making my cycle predictable; when I got to the different color pills it was like clockwork.  When I entered my twenties and got married at the age of twenty-two, the skipping started again and this was while I was taking the pills.

Back to the doctors with more questions, they suggested that I use a different dosage and prescribed  contraceptives with a stronger dose. Those pills were the devil in disguise! My cycle became more uncontrollable. I stopped taking them altogether .By the time I reached my thirties, I experienced menstrual periods only a few times a year. I asked my gynecologist if I was going through the change early, and she laughed at me.

I had started experiencing hot flashes after I drank or ate anything sweet. Sugar seems to make a personal sauna moment for me. Each time I asked a doctor about this, there were no answers and always an offer of more contraceptives. One doctor did finally say that the hot flashes and night sweats happens when the level of estrogen decreases and the body temperature rises, which meant menopause to me.

Now that I am in my forties, no children, and hot flashes galore, it is clear to me that I understood my body better than the doctors did. I rarely see a menstrual period, but I am always prepared for one just in case it happens.  Since I started this rollercoaster early, maybe I will get off of it early.  Then I can help others who have questions about the rollercoaster ride of their lives.

Edna Brown works her job as an Academic Success Center/ Academic Computing Support Technician at Piedmont Community College.  She is also enrolled at East Carolina University as an Industrial Technology student studying for her BA degree. She is married, and she loves to travel with her husband any time that they get a chance to get away. Edna also loves reading and exploring new adventures.
P.S from Barbara:  Edna and I work together at Piedmont Community College, and she’s a gem of gems, hormones and all!  Join the discussion!  Post your early bird or any kind of period or menopause woes by clicking “Comments” below.  Thanks!
Gratitude, Hot Flashes, Menopause, Skin

Turtle Thoughts with a Slight Link to Menopause

The other night, I had a dream I was wading through dozens of  enormous turtles.  And so the next day I tried to figure out the dream’s message for this menopausal blogger.

Should I up my efforts to declutter the house so we can fit into a smaller shell in a few years?

Do I need to increase my walking pace?  Wear stronger sunscreen to prevent leathery skin?  Buy some funky placemats in an earth-toned geometric print?  Eat more greens?   Be more patient?  Be less patient?

Should I tuck in my head, think deeper, and write harder?

Or does dreaming of turtles suggest I am behaving much too turtle-like?  Do I need to stop writing with such intensity and abandon my semi-turtle shell life?   More party and less keyboard pounding?

Is the dream urging Cliff and me to put our shells in gear and get going on the world travel we long for.  (The dream was vaguely set on the Galapagos Islands.)

Was the dream’s purpose to teach me, once and for all, that I need to get over the frustration of not being able to solve the world’s mysteries?  I’ve always wondered how it feels to be a turtle, and I will NEVER have the privilege of knowing.  Chill, Barbara.  But I still wonder:  Do lady turtles go through menopause?  Bless their turtle hearts if they do.  Menopause and a shell can’t be a great combination.

OR (and I promise this is the final “or”) does my dream mean, plain, happy, and simple, that I’m lucky, very lucky, to live in a world graced by amazing and intriguing creatures?

And now a hypothetical question for you, my dear human readers:  What would you MOST like to ask  one of the world’s creatures?  Leave a comment by clicking on “Comments ” below.

Photo:  I found this lovely turtle, who is really a tortoise, on Mongabay.com.  I’m pretending she has in-shell access to the Internet  and is a fan of Friend for the Ride.  I’d love to have some readers in the Galapagos!

Change Your Life!  Learn once and for all, the difference between a turtle and a tortoise by watching this SHORT video.

Aging, Skin

Skincare: One Girl’s Trash Is Another Girl’s Treasure

For many women (most?), aging skin is a heartbreaker.  We make upbeat remarks about our laugh lines and the happy moments they represent, but all in all, seeing your skin crinkle and spot up can cause some real frowning.

But what’s almost as bad, or worse, is FEELING your skin change.  Menopause does nasty things to the skin’s moisture.  Dry skin, especially when I come out of a hot shower, can turn me into a grump faster than you can say, “Sahara Desert.”

What’s tricky is figuring out what works to fix the dryness.

I have a confession:  I’m a Noxzema addict.  My great-uncle founded Noxema Canada, and so you see, it’s in the blood.  My girls are mortified.  They have read the label on the blue plastic  jar and know the product is marketed as a face wash.  But it works for me, and has for my family for several generations.

Which brings me to this blog post’s title.  A balm for some skin types can feel like wind burn to others.  I’ve had bad luck with more elegant brands, so  I keep blobbing on the Noxzema.  What my daughters and most skin care experts trash, I treasure.  I thank my menopausal stars I have a husband who doesn’t complain about its unusual smell  (L’eau of Cedar Chips, perhaps?)

What about you?  Has your skin gotten dryer as you’ve aged?  What’s your favorite skincare product and/or routine?  Let’s start a list.  That product you treasure may be the perfect solution for another reader too.

Photo:  The old cobalt blue glass jars above would certainly be trash to some, but my mom saved them.  Now they grace a shelf in daughter Kath’s home.  My guess is the taller octagonal jars on either end are Noxzema jars.  Any blue glass experts out there?

Aging, Hot Flashes, Menopause

Special Guest Post: Hot Flashes at Downton Abbey?


This is Lady Cora….with a twinkle in her eye.  Shall we all work on a menopause twinkle?

A special guest post from Judy Brown, hot off the presses while this PBS Masterpiece Theater Series is extra hot:

Every Sunday night at 9 PM sharp I escape to Downton Abbey.

I sit quietly in Lady Violet’s jeweled hat and chuckle at her bickering.

I crouch behind Lady Mary’s mirror on her dressing table wondering if I would like a hand maiden to fix my hair everyday.

I sneak into the car while Lady Sybil flirts with her chauffer, Branson, and hope that she can loosen up a tad.

Best of all, I get showered with flour as I dash from Mrs. Patmore’s wooden spoon.

Do the ladies of the house ever get hot flashes or are they too proper in their ways? Just imagine a hot flash, or feeling bloated, in a corset!

The Crawley family household is dominated by women. Surely they get moody, get cramps, or suddenly strip off their sequined lace shawl  because their internal heat is unbearable. I ponder whether they even had such a word back then…HOT FLASH! I know it would have been unthinkable to make such an exclamation at the dinner table.

Do I want to be Lady Judy? Does Martin want to be Earl of Hillsborough? I suspect Martin would love to have me call him Lord Brown.

I think I will stick with plain Judy. Even though I envy the socialites of Downton Abbey, I prefer my jeans, my short haircut, blogging about the Pause, and the casual life.

Anyone else obsessed with this British miniseries? If so, who is your favorite character? Mine is Lady Mary.  She is stoic but sensitive.  She has become hardened by life.  I am still hoping that she will succumb to Matthew!

Just FYI…..on February 19th there will be a Downton Abbey Marathon from 1-9 PM!!  And then the two hour finale!  Cheers!


Sisters Mary, Edith, and Sybil.  Do any of you have sisters?  I have three.  About as much drama as Downton Abbey! 🙂

Wouldn’t it be nice to have such a great confidante as Anna?  We could share and get counsel on everyday issues.

I would love to have afternoon tea with Lady Violet and glean from her menopausal wisdom.

Downton Abbey, the whole family, upstairs and downstairs.

This is a picture of Martin and me at the baths, in Bath, England several years ago.  We loved the countryside and even mastered the round-a-bouts after a few days.  The history, the food, the accent, the pomp, the circumstance, all made for a fun adventure. I look forward to my next trip to Great Britain.

Check out the PBS Downton Abbey website  here.