Monthly Archives: February 2012

Paper Plate Menopause Lady: A Craft Project

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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.

Menopause the Musical

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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!

My Non-complaining Socks and Me

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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?

Guest Post: The Early Bird

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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!