Grandchildren, Menopause, No More Periods, Periods

Is God a Girl?

In my Lutheran childhood, I always thought of God as a man, with a grandfather-like appearance. White hair. Beard. (But a robe instead of the blue seersucker suit my grandpa wore.)

Then, as the woman’s movement took hold, we began to hear God referred to, sometimes, as a SHE.

About that time, my PMS and cramps set in.

Would a woman/God do this to another woman?

Not a prayer!

There is no way, I figured, that God could have even an ounce of womanliness. If God were a she, SHE would have designed us a different way. I like the baby part. I liked being pregnant and of course, am nuts over my grownup babies.  But really, couldn’t God have skipped all the cycle stuff?

I’ve been a Presbyterian for thirty-five years now. I asked our minister, Dr. Brizendine, a few months ago, if God was a she or  even part she. This is what he wrote:

Male and female are genders of the created order.  God is … “other” than the created order.  Thus, it would not be appropriate to attribute any gender to God…  As we attempt to describe our relationship with God, we may use figures of speech, saying that God is like a mother or a father, but this does not mean that God has a gender.

So God is an OTHER.

I like the concept of “other.”

God is not a man who stuck all this to women.

God is not a woman who ditzed on her own sex.

Good, that works to some extent.

I was contemplating this post in church on Sunday, when we sang the old hymn, “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy.”

A line goes: “For the love of God is broader, than the measures of the mind.”

I think that means my limited mind just can’t wrap itself around the whys of God’s plan for making babies.

But I will say, now that I am finished with periods, and now that I have a grandchild on the way, (who got his start in the uterine lining), the plan is seeming better to me. Babies and grandbabies are worth a lot of periods, all in all.

Thanks, God.

We women sure do love babies.

Maybe you have just a little bit of girl in  you after all?

Photo Above: Hillsborough Presbyterian Church, in the center of my little town, was founded in 1816.

Photo Below: My daughter Katherine, mother of my soon to be born grandson, was married to  Matthew Monson at the church in June of 2007. Dr. Brizendine officiated.

Photos were taken by Acorn Photography.

Dry Babe!  In thanks for your enthusiastic response to the Dry Babe giveaway, Wendy Collettt is offering Friend for the Ride readers a 15% discount on their sleepwear. When you check out, use the code Friend15.


Another Menstruation Movie! Meet Nurse Jansen!

Since ya’ll liked the last menstruation film, here’s another one.

Meet brave Nurse Jansen, who speaks confidently of sperm, hair in LOTs of places, and tampons.

Watch melancholy Molly, a a girl named Barbara!!, and the other girls in the sad-looking class as they voice their questions.

Hear the nurse’s stern warnings about skating, volleyball, basketball, or square dancing during menstruation.

See the real things: a sanitary belt, pads, and tampons. Move over Walt Disney (maker of the last film), here comes a stronger dose of reality.

Anybody remember this film?  Any thoughts on the date?  My guess is late 1950’s, but I didn’t know tampons were accepted for use by younger women then.


For Lovers of a Certain Age: A Replens Giveaway!

Scarlett O’hara probably didn’t need it.

And I bet neither did Jennifer Cavilleri

Even Juliet, with all her troubles, most likely didn’t need it.

Scarlett, Jenny, and Juliet had youth on their side.

But for menopausal women, vaginal dryness can really hinder the love story.

Replens Long Lasting Feminine Moisturizer is designed to solve this dilemma.


The folks at Replens have offered Friend for the Ride a giveaway. Two readers will each win a box of Replens, with eight disposable applicators.  To enter, post a comment here by noon EST on August 4 saying you’d like to win. If you’re feeling shy, use a pretend name. I’ll be able to notifiy you by your email, which as you know, does not appear on the blog.  Thanks, Replens!

Here is information about Replens, sent to me by the company:

Bring back the spontaneity in your life. Rediscover a younger you. Reconnect with your partner. Rekindle a relationship. And, most of all, wave goodbye to discomfort!

 There is no reason pain and discomfort from dryness should stand in the way of you having a satisfying intimate relationship. Yet nearly all women of a certain age will experience feminine changes, such as vaginal dryness, that make intimacy uncomfortable, even painful. Enter Replens® Long-Lasting Vaginal Moisturizer.

Over-the-counter Replens® is non-hormonal, and helps alleviate vaginal dryness symptoms equivalent to that of prescription hormones, helping to replenish vaginal moisture and providing long-lasting results[1].  When used regularly, Replens® helps to replenish vaginal moisture making for comfortable, enjoyable intimacy.

With comfortable, easy-to-use applicators, Replens is different from other lotions or lubricants because it contains a bioadhesive that allows it to attach to dry, compacted cells and deliver continuous moisture until those cells are naturally regenerated (about every 3 to 5 days). Use it approximately every three days for long-lasting hydration of dry vaginal tissues and feel the younger you returning.

Replens is also:

Ø  Clinically tested

Ø  Goes to work immediately and lasts for days

Ø  Gynecologist recommended

Ø  Estrogen and fragrance free

Ø  Readily available at stores nationwide, such as CVS, Walmart, Rite Aid, Duane Reade, Target, Walgreens and more

Rediscover. Reconnect. Rekindle. Replens®.

Join our group on Facebook for more information –, or go to to learn more.

Children, Grandchildren, Grandmother, Grandparents, Menopause

Grandma Talk: What Will They Name the Baby?

My first grandchild, a boy, is due in six weeks!

I’m dying to know his name. We’ve only been told that it’s non-traditional.

I love it that Kath and Matt want to wait until their son is born to announce his name, but I sure would like to know.

Since they own and run the Great Harvest Bread Company in Charlottesville, Virginia, the family has nicknamed the baby “”Baker.”‘

Actually I like Baker for his real name, too.

Kath says that’s not going to be it.


Daughter Laura has told me to shush up about the subject, but with only six weeks left, it just kind of popped out of me the other day.

“Will I like the name?” I asked Kath.

(Honest, Laura, I haven’t asked in like four plus weeks.)

“Yes,” Kath said,”but it might take you a day.”

A day? What’s a  day? Sounds good!

“Will your sister like it?”

“Yes,”Kath said. “Right away.”

Fair enough. Sisters often think alike.

“What about your dad?”

“It’s going to take him longer. He’s more traditional when it comes to names.”

I bet it only takes Cliff two days.

After all, a grandson, by any name, will be oh so sweet.

What about you grandmas (or grandpas) out there? Any fun name stories? Do share AND send any advice. Thanks!

Bingo Card:   I found the boys’ names on a site that generates Bingo cards. Seems like a good way to pick  a name when you’re stuck. Toss a bootie and see where it lands.

Here’s the delicious bread that inspired the baby’s first nickname. Photo courtesy Katherine Younger.

Contest Winner:  Congrats to Cheryl, who won the Dry Babe Nightgown. Thanks to Wendy for the guest post and for sponsoring the contest. Wendy has graciously offered to do another giveaway near the winter holidays. Thanks, Wendy!

Aging, Menopause

Guest Post: The Crone and Her Familiars

A guest post by writer Frances Wood:

I grew up with dogs. Inherited a cat when I was in my 30s. Gave my heart away – forever – to a border collie named Zephyr who died of her old age when I was barely 50. And now that I have white hair and something of an attitude, I’ve adopted a parrot.

And not just any parrot: a rejected parrot; a rescue parrot. A gorgeous guy (see photo) who has enough attitude for a thousand menopausal women – which is sort of the definition of a parrot. Just like a lass approaching puberty, I was attracted by his beauty. A lumpy and land-bound human, I was envious of his wings. Being a literary type (remember Treasure Island?) I let my imagination wander in the direction of old-lady pirates. I mean, why not? Haven’t we all known old ladies who would have made marvelous pirates?

What I didn’t know – or perhaps don’t remember from my early reading – is that parrots don’t need humans to make themselves complete. Parrots are perfectly piratical all on their own.

It’s humans who need the dressing up. We need familiars: dogs to hug and share our secrets with when we are little; cats to scorn us when we’re older and maybe a tad too sure-of-ourselves; that one special pet who steals a heart away and then gives it back with love and memories; and a parrot to remind us what we really are.

Because this is something I’ve discovered in my crone age: we are small. Tiny, but infinite. Fortunate in that we possess the kinds of shoulders that are capable of bearing beauty.

Phoenix is the wonderful group I got Taji from. Like so many pet rescue societies, they do marvelous work.

Photo Above is Taji on his perch. Behind him is Rosemary, the main character in Becoming Rosemary, Frances Wood’s first novel.

Photo Below is a picture of Frances, taken when she visited her dad in California. To learn more about Frances and her writing, check out

Menopause, No More Periods

Menopause. Decisions. Yes!

With menopause, comes plenty of reflection.

Well first comes shock:  What no more periods?  After all the years, all those tampon purchases, all that wondering how you were going to manage the twelve hour sailboat excursion.  After the shock, comes reflection.  And some of that reflection focuses on decisions.

What’s the best decision I ever made?

What’s the worst?

Which one took the longest?

Which decision made me dizzy with glee?

I’m naive enough, or goofy enough,every now and then, to think I might get to go back in time and change stuff, fix those decisions that weren’t so great.

No, Barbara.  Sorry old girl.  Can’t do it.

But menopause is really about moving ahead, isn’t it?  Deciding new stuff!

Some of those new decisions will be serious:  When do we downsize? How do we make our money last?

Some will be lighthearted: Butter pecan, the old standard, over Chunky Monkey?  Or a scoop of each?  Waffle cone, sugar cone, wafer cone, or cup?

The one thing I know is, difficult or fluffy fun, any time we get to make a decision, we’re the lucky one.  The opposite of choice is no choice. No good. Even in tough situations.

And once you’re through with periods, you get to choose  sailboat rides into the sunset, white jeans, any day of the month for a gyno appointment, and the funky cheap earrings instead of the box of tampons.


Photo:  The decision-maker above (not near menopause!) is daughter Laura at the Commonwealth Restaurant and Sky Bar in Charlottesville, Va.  FYI, she decided on the red fish with a spicy Creole sauce and had no regrets. Photo taken by her brother-in-law, Matt Monson.  And so you can plan ahead for your next visit to the ice cream store, do study the assortment of cones below.

This fine selection  can be found on the website of Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream and Yogurt.  


Guest Post: Herman the Hormone Speaks Out

A guest post by Herman the Hormone. In the spirit of fairness, I agreed to give  him some time on Friend for the Ride.

Hello. My name is Herman. I am a hormone.  Before we begin, you might note that even though my name, Herman, has the word MAN in it, it begins with the word HER.

I don’t really hate you ladies. But it’s my job to put you on edge.  See the long feelers on top of my head? That’s what I use to jiggle you around, make you jumpy, make you grumpy. But ladies, IT’S MY JOB.

Note the ridges on my back. See how they go up and down like a roller coaster? They have a special potion in them that I let loose. That’s what puts you gals in a good mood one minute, a bad one the next. Once again, all in the line of duty.

And look at my big beautiful eyes. I use them to keep a watch on your innards. If things are going too smoothly for you, I signal my cronies, who signal other cronies, and we throw a few more curves your way. Some of these include hot flashes, period weirdness, insomnia, food cravings, and dry skin.

Gals, I’m sorry I have to do all this, I admit, but it’s all outlined for me in The Manuel of Hormonal Procedures for Creating Havoc in the Lives of Women. (Oh and by the way some of us ARE WOMEN.  We all follow the same guidelines.)

But this is the main reason I asked to write a guest post: I’ve HAD it  with Barbara (and other ladies) making snide comments about me.

I’ve never spent a day watching pelicans dive into the ocean.

I’ve never read a page turner of  a novel.

I’ve never tasted a lemon meringue pie.

I just work at being the best hormone I can be.

Thank you for hearing me out.



Photo: Amazingly, Herman is a twin to this grasshopper, found on the cover of Big Book of Bugs by DK Publishing.