Celebrations, Children, Menopause

Guest Post: Ice Cream, as a Pie!


A guest post by my daughter Laura Younger:

It’s only June and the weather is h-o-t!  I wouldn’t call myself a huge ice cream person, but as soon as summer hits, I love it!  Especially because ice cream reminds me of going to the beach.  Growing up, our family beach trips involved ice cream sandwiches, after-dinner trips to Scoops Ice Cream parlor, and memories of my dad drinking the last of the melting cream out of the carton.

Over our Memorial Day beach trip, I was in charge of making the dessert for fish taco night. While I knew the fam would be happy enough with a gallon (or two), I wanted to put a bit more effort into the final product – And with three bloggers in the family, presentation is everything.

Enter ice cream pie.  Easy, cheap, and loved by all.  Especially, my pregnant sister.

Ice Cream Pie:

 Crush 24 Oreos (or Joe’s Joes) in a plastic bag with something hard or use a food processor – they don’t have to be very fine because the bigger chunks of cookie taste great!

Mix crushed cookies with 1/4 cup melted butter until well combined

Press mixture into a pie pan using the back of a spoon and let harden in freezer (30 minutes minimum) or fridge (1 hour)

Spread one carton of ice cream into piecrust. Note: it’s best to let the ice cream sit out for a while or make the pie when you get home from the grocery store and the ice cream has softened enough to spread

Put pie back in freezer for at least an hour

Serve with whipped cream, cherries, butterscotch, and chocolate syrup!

Photo: Laura, who blogs over at Taking Back My Twenties, is 26 and loves dessert almost as much as I do.

Menopause

Suntan: A Partial Grief Observed

Do you remember when you first heard that suntan was bad for your skin?

I was in my early twenties. I remember such sadness. Oh no!  No more tans?  No more baby oil?  No more covering record albums with aluminum foil to catch the rays in early spring?  No returning from the beach in August to praises of “You’re so tan!”

I tanned for a few more years. When I had my first patch of pre-skin cancer removed from my face, I got more vigilant with the sunscreen.

But I’m still sad. I miss those days of being pleased in the evening when the day’s latest tanning emerged on the skin. I miss putting out my forearm with a buddy to see who is tanner. I miss “Where you at the beach? You’re so tan.”

Or am I that sad? Remember how the sunburns felt?  Horrible.

Remember when the peeling started up on your nose?

Remember when a cloudy day at the beach was devastating news? My friend Mari Fran Miller said it to me thirty years ago: “You know, I’ve started to enjoy my vacations more now that I don’t worry about getting a tan. I can relax.”  She’s right!

I’m happy for the next generation. Those who are careful, as my girls  are, will probably look younger than I do as I approach sixty. At the moment, that sounds pretty cool to me.

What about you?  Do you miss the fun of getting a tan? Do you allow yourself a light one (as I do on legs and arms)? Any favorite sunscreens?

Sunbonnet Sue: And don’t you wish we could go back to the Sunbonnet Sue generation to see how those ladies looked at sixty?

My friend Marilyn Chinis gave me Sunbonnet Sue, above, a sachet that once belonged to her mom. Thanks, Marilyn!

 The lady below, Bertha Corbett Melcher, is known for her Sunbonnet Sue designs. She began by illustrating, The Sunbonnet Babies, published in 1900. The character was soon picked up for a primer series, and Sue began to appear on postcards, china, and quilts.

Children, Menopause, Periods

Guest Post: Sisters in All Seasons and a Giveaway!

A guest post by writer Lisa Kline:

I was talking with my husband about this blog post and trying to figure out how to connect menopause to my new middle-grade books and he said, “What about ‘HOT FLASH! READ MY NEW BOOKS!’”

I burst out laughing. I’d been hoping for something a bit more subtle but what the heck, that works.

I wrote the first draft of the opening novel for this series, Summer of the Wolves, several years ago, when we still had daughters in their pre-teens. My publisher at the time wasn’t interested in it. While our daughters completed high school and college, the file sat untouched on my hard drive. Until one day, after my last novel came out, my agent said, “So…what else do you have?” And I told her about the novel languishing on my hard drive.

In short, I pulled it out, polished it, and sent it to her. And not only did Zondervan buy it, they asked me to write three more novels with the same characters.

This series, Sisters in All Seasons, is about Stephanie and Diana, who become stepsisters when Diana’s mother marries Stephanie’s father. The girls possess very different forms of courage, and don’t respect or empathize with each other at first. The series is the story of their journey to learn to trust and love one another. Oh, and each book features a different vacation location in North Carolina and a different animal.

The first two books, Summer of the Wolves and Wild Horse Spring, were just released. The first takes place in the mountains of North Carolina, and the second takes place on the coast.

And yes, it is a rather interesting experience, at the end of menopause, to be writing from the point of view of characters who are just starting their periods. But, strangely, many of the emotional experiences are similar!

Book Signing and Drawing: I will be doing a reading and signing at Park Road Books in Charlotte, NC on Saturday, June 30 at 2:00. We’ll be putting names of those attending in a bowl for a giveaway there, too. If you live in the area, I’d love to meet you!

Giveaway!  Do you have a daughter, granddaughter, or another young lady in your life between the ages of 8 and 12 who would love an autographed copy of Summer of the Wolves?  Let us know by submitting a comment by July 4th at noon. Winner will be selected at random.

Lisa Williams Kline is the author of the Sisters in All Seasons series as well as three novels for young people and a short story collection for adults. Her first novel won the North Carolina Juvenile Literature Award.  Read more about her at  Lisawilliamskline.

The photo below was taken by Lisa’s daughter, Kelsey.

The cover art for the Sisters in All Seasons series was created by Thinkpen Design. Photography is by Mark Jackson.

Menopause

Old Mother Hubbard and Her Creaky Bones


Do you ever feel like Old Mother Hubbard, creaking around on tired people bones, especially in the morning?

I told my doctor that I felt creaky. She tested me for Vitamin D deficiency, and despite the fact that I get sunshine, I came out quite low in Vitamin D.

I was amazed at how the creakiness improved when I started taking the D.  It’s fun to take too, as the pills are so dainty. They’re the kind of pills the Princess and the Pea would appreciate.  (Since she was so sensitive that she hated sleeping on a pea despite a stack of mattresses, I figure she wouldn’t be real happy swallowing giant pills like the calcium capsules I also take.)

Back to Mother Hubbard, who like me, has much older bones than the Princess does. What else might help her creaky bones?  Yoga they say, is good for creakiness.  Swimming?  Walking her dog at a brisk pace?  Massage? (which she probably can’t afford since her cupboard is bare.)

Any other suggestions? Any bone creakers out there?

Photo:  My old book, dated 1916, is filled with poems called “Mother Hubbard Melodies.”  Talk about weird rhymes for kids! Here’ s one we could recite to the hormone goblin:

With bull rush for dagger

And lath for a spear,

We’ll frighten the goblin,

And kill it with fear.

Menopause

Reunion!

Reunion!  Guess who has one coming up?

My FORTIETH.  Wow.

That’s me on the top left looking rather glum. Wonder why I didn’t smile? The twins next to me were jocks. The boy underneath me died shortly after graduation in a car accident.  Andrea Klimt is a grandniece to Gustav Klimt, the artist.

I haven’t been to any reunions since my fifth. I’m psyched. My mind is turning with memories as I turn the pages of the Towson High Year Book.

But what’s freaking me out a bit is that when I think of the people I’ll see on July 12, it’s like I’m not forty years older.  Instead, we’re all still back in high school. I’m amazed at how sharp some of the memories are. The funny stuff.  The hurtful stuff. The exciting stuff. The touching stuff.

So who’s been to a reunion recently?

Did you feel like you were still in high school when you walked through the reunion door, or did you feel like a regular old adult?

And if we do feel ALL grown up,  is that how we want to feel?

Towson High School is in Towson, Maryland, a Baltimore suburb.  Famous grads include Jean Marie Donnell, who played Gidget’s mother in some of the Gidget movies; Sunny Griffin, model and actress;  Olympian Michael Phelps; and poet Mary Jo Salter, who graduated with me.

Children, Menopause

Guest Post: Madi and Me, Facing Those Changes Together

A guest post by my friend and fellow writer tutor, Lisa Wiley:

Ah, puberty!  Oh, wait. . . We are supposed to be talking about menopause aren’t we?  Well, at my house, they seem to be one and the same.  I was 35 when my daughter Madison was born.  The anesthesiologist thought it wise to announce “getting a late start, are we?”  I was livid!  Madison was frank breech and would need assistance making it through the birth canal in one piece.  And this was NONE of his business.

I think back on that day with vivid clarity.  Where was the baby that I gave birth to ten years ago?  Gone are the days of packing diaper bags.  I gratefully leave that chore behind.  Now, we face the changes of life together.  She grieves each day over issues such as hair and nails, crying in the bathroom as she learns how to deal with the mass of tangles that were a gift from her dad.  She angrily looks at me as the enemy.  My straight dark hair reminds her of the way hers “should” look.  I try to remind her that when I was her age, my mother nearly ripped my scalp off trying to detangle my hair too.  It doesn’t help.  She has reached the age of the prepubescent; it won’t be long now.

As for me, the gynecologist that confirmed her birth gently reminds me that the things that I am dealing with are normal, and healthy.  Really?  It is normal for me to go off like a rocket, once a month and need medical intervention?   It is normal for me to crave the one thing that would cause me to bite the head off of anyone that stands in my way?  Caffeine, you are NOT my friend and I will not give in.

When I held that precious little baby, I did not sign up for this?  Did I?  I always enjoyed the medicinal quality of my cycle each month.  It prevented illnesses and brought me back to a certain normalcy.  It was more dependable than many of the people that surrounded me. Where would it go?  Our visits are growing shorter and shorter.  Would I weep for it, or be grateful that it is finally gone?

The daughter that I held, so many years ago has changed as well.  The always smiling, bright, intelligent burst of sunlight is now a smoldering preteen.  Her presence reminds me that while I am facing the demise of my ability to procreate, she is just entering hers.  She will not be the same going through this, and neither will I.  I pray for strength.  We are both changing so much and we are forced to face it together.

Photo Above:  Madi before this year’s dance recital.

Photo Below:  Lisa before the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society dinner at a conference in Myrtle Beach. Phi Theta Kappa is the international honor society of two-year colleges. Lisa was Piedmont Community College’s chapter president for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Biographical snippets about Lisa:  Back in school pursuing a life-long calling of becoming a psychologist.  Recently accepted at UNC Chapel Hill.  Mother to one gorgeous daughter.  Widowed for the past eight years.  Sings on the praise team at her church, where daughter Madi plays keyboard.

Aging, Menopause, Menopause Symptoms, Perimenopause

The Estroven Good Sleep Challenge

The nightgown above was mine!  My mom saved it all these years.

And when I wore it, I bet anything I slept tight all night long. I used to pile the bed high with my dolls and animals, and go sailing off to dreamland.

And remember how we slept as teenagers!  Now that’s what I call SLEEPING.

Even in my early married years, I could sleep and so could Cliff.  Once, when we had a house guest, we slept until noon. She was up much earlier than we were, and I’m realizing now how rude that was  (Sorry, Evelyn).

But when perimenopause inched my way, I started to wake up in the middle of the night. I finally figured out I might as well just get up. I did projects like cleaning out toy boxes or writing Christmas cards.  But it sure was cold in this old house on some of those Christmas card nights. After about two hours, I could finally fall asleep again.

Middle of the night waking changed to something I find even more annoying:  early morning waking. The rooster in my brain goes off, and cock-a-doodle-do, I’m awake without a farmer’s prayer of going back to sleep again. My mind spins like the whirligig on my back porch. I throw off the covers and give up. And then I get up.

So many women have trouble sleeping, thanks to the hormonal issues of perimenopause and menopause. Mine has improved some since The Great Pause set in, but I do still have issues with early morning waking.

A few months ago, Estroven approached me, inviting me to participate as a blogger in their Good Sleep Challenge. I’ll be taking Estroven Nightime and blogging about my experience on the Estroven site. Estroven is inviting others to sign up for the challenge.  Check it out here (and find a great coupon)!!

To thank me for participating, Estroven is sending me to BlogHer 2012 in NYC in August.  I hope to meet up with other menopause/midlife bloggers there as well as gather up tips to improve my blog.  Let me know if you’re planning on attending!

Back to sleeping troubles. What about you?  Do you sleep like a little girl or have the winds of menopause blown the sandman far, far away?

Photo: The nightgown belonged to me, but the Mary Had a Little Lamb clothes hanger brightened my mom’s closet in the 1920’s.