Menopause

A Halloween Menopause Riddle

How is menopause like Halloween?

Because sometimes you feel like a witch,

and you just don’t know which sort of witch you are.

Sometimes, you want to hide away in a pumpkin patch,

 And other times, you’re bursting with energy, ready to turn over a giant new leaf.

Some days, your friends and family think you’ve morphed into a monster,

or they’re sure the old you has gone missing, hidden behind a skeleton mask.

Sometimes, you’re as confused as  jack-o-lanterns with grumbly grins.

Menopause can make you think you’re coming unstitched.

But wait!

Here’s the super cool Halloween connection.

Menopause is like Halloween because you get to pick your own costume.

Your stuffing is changing.

So stuff yourself with new stuff.

New hobbies.

New treats.

New adventures.

Just like a brave and proud  purple scarecrow lady,

put on your new straw hat

and greet the world.

Photos were taken by me at the North Carolina State Fair. Thanks to the artists and craftspeople and gardeners and cooks who make visiting the fair a highlight of our  year.

Grandchildren, Grandparents

Grandma Update

Snuggling with a baby first thing in the morning.

Easy.

Learning to change a boy diaper.

Nothing to it.

Slipping little feet into socks you brought all the way from Paris.

C’est tres facile!

Giving someone else a turn.

Not so bad.

Rocking a baby to sleep on the porch.

Piece of cake.

Saying goodbye until next time.

Boy, oh darling little baby boy, is that hard.

Aging, Celebrations, Gratitude, Life, Menopause

One Day She… The Empowering Art of Marylou Falstreau (and a Giveaway!)

Okay, Menopause Girls, read these messages slowly and

with happy confidence! 

Meet the artist, Marylou Falstreau, here:

Check out Marylou’s website:

http://www.mfalstreau.com/Women_and_the_Hourglass.html

Giveaway: One day, I woke up and decided I was going to start blogging and support writers and artists with giveaways. For a chance to win two cards from Marylou’s Falstreau’s Women and the Hourglass Series (wrinkles and birthdays), simply post a comment by November 3 saying you’d like to win.

Aging, Celebrations, Children, Fashion, Menopause

White Lace and Promises: The Hunt Is Over!

Five cities.

Ten stores

And about sixty dresses.

But there was one Laura just kept thinking about.

She first tried it on in Atlanta, where she lived for the summer.  A store in Denver carries the dress, so she tried it on again while vacationing there.

Once settled back in Durham for the fall, she arranged for a loaner to be sent to a store about two hours away, one of only two stores in North Carolina to carry this particular designer.

Third time’s a charm, and if she liked it, this would be THE DRESS.

She stood in front of me, a cloud of white.

Beautiful!

I gave it my mother of the bride major thumbs up.

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“I guess this is it,” she said, spreading her hands over the skirt. “This is the dress.”

But…

My daughter is a shopper’s shopper.

She gazed around the room.

This store stocked dresses she hadn’t seen in any other wedding store.

“I’d like to try on just a few more,” she said to the saleswoman.

The woman returned with a fluff of dresses.

But then the 26 -year-old shopper’s shopper shook her head.  “I changed my mind.”

“So you don’t want to try these?” the woman asked.

“I don’t want to get confused. I love this dress.”

Laura turned to me.  “Do  you think I should try them on?”

If she tried on more dresses, the hunt wouldn’t be over, yet.

Sitting in the chair and watching your daughter model wedding dresses is about as fun as it gets.

You don’t have to stuff yourself into any crazy corsets. Instead you get to live the experience through a younger version, sort of, of yourself, with better skin and body and teeth and hair and who knows what else.

I took in a small breath.

My last child to be married.

My last chance to give a motherly opinion on matters of tulle and lace.

My last opportunity to comment on how the bosoms look with the neckline or the flow of the skirt or the length of the train.

The dress is gorgeous.

“No,” I said. “Get this one.”

And so the hunt, is, sigh, over.

Dress details to come after the June, 2013 wedding. The groom-to-be doesn’t spend much time on menopause blogs, but there’s no sense taking any chances.

Menopause, No More Periods

Menopause: Breaking Free

There’s something about menopause that’s freeing.

I’ve heard it from others. I feel it myself.

So let that freedom, help free you even more! Take it up a few notches!

What’s the barbed wire in your life?

What can you give up?

What can you break free from?

Feel the spring as you bounce off that wire and soar!

Picture:  Shout out to my friend Susan, who posted this neat graphic from Interested Engineering on her Facebook page.

 Susan and I and our friends Ann and Karen are gym friends. We spend meaningful minutes analyzing our lives (including what barbs hold us in) as we walk the treadmills.

And I bet some of you have the same credo we do: What’s discussed at the gym, stays at the gym.

A Story: A few summers ago, one of Susan’s daughter’s friends worked at the gym. She told Gwen in the fall, “Your mom and her friends sure talk about some interesting stuff.”  Hmm. Since then, we try to analyze our lives in quieter voices.

Aging, Fitness, Life, Menopause

Guest Post: That Damn Gravity

A guest post from artist Jennifer Miller:

I was walking the dogs and thinking about different ingredients to try in my won ton wrappers.

When I tripped I was looking at the sky, a light rain kissing my face, and pondering little bits of fresh cayenne pepper, minced garlic and chopped shrimp. The ground came up at me so hard that I still wonder whether some spirit gave me a mighty shove.

When I hit, I heard something snap. I began a chant of expletives that lasted till I was in x-ray and being advised that I had a long path ahead toward recovery.

I got to be 58 without breaking a bone. But I wonder if being 58 had something to do with falling. Did my younger toes have eyes? Have my senses dulled?

I know other women, my age or older, who have also broken bones recently. The first question is “have you had a bone density test?” Lucky for me and my friends, none of us have osteoporosis. As my orthopedic doctor said, “You have good bones but bad luck.”

Yet I feel lucky. Aging isn’t all bad.

Experience is helpful: I paint with less constriction and more creativity.

When I plant a bush, I make sure the hole is big enough and there is sufficient mulch, which makes the bush happy too.

I can plan a meal and prepare it with pleasure, without mishaps (unless I drop the main dish while serving).

I know how to slow down and enjoy Summer.

It is rare that I feel depressed.

But something else is going on in my brain: Fog. More than before. Not being an attorney or teacher, I’m fine being lost in thought. But how could I forget to watch for roots on a path which I had walked for 30 years?

I am becoming airier. In this journey toward the ether, my core is dispersing a little.

It’s fine, I’m okay with it, except: Gravity is not my friend.  If it weren’t for fear of falling, I would spend more time lost in thought.

Instead I trod carefully, and keep my eyes on the ground.

But whenever possible, I go swimming.

Jennifer Miller is a painter with a studio in downtown Hillsborough, NC.

Painting:  Golden Day. Oil on canvas, 20 x24. To see more of Jennifer’s work, go to her website, http://www.waveoverwave.com/

Photo:  The artist painting  on the shore of the lower Cape Fear River. Photo credit, Jennifer’s sister, who is also an artist, Leslie Deede Miller.

Menopause

Tangerine Tango! (And a Bright Orange Book Giveaway)

Color! Color!  Color! Color! Color! Color! Color!

The older I get, the more I’m drawn to vibrant colors.

And so is Lisa Winkler, because she titled her  new anthology Tangerine Tango: Women Writers Share Slices of Life.

I  am delighted that Lisa selected three of my poems and three of my essays for the book.  Thanks, Lisa!

Here’s what the press release says about Tangerine Tango’s contents:

  • There’s Donna Barry who writes about her mother, her father, football, the ocean, and one of her first jobs.
  • There’s Stacey Caron who is a food blogger and antique dealer. She shares her grandmother’s chopped liver recipe, a tart from Spain, and her love of food.
  • You’ll swoon in green with Judy Ackley Brown and smile as you read about Barbara Chapman’s Fifth grade memories, her fight with breast cancer, and her work with hospice.
  • You’ll lick your lips with Gabi Coatsworth’s description of ice cream, empathize with her trip to the dump, envision her shrimping with her father and her grand-daughter, and be moved by her poem dedicated to her sister.
  • Dawn Landau’s ode to her daughter teems with raw emotion and her vision of seeing her late mother is almost scary.
  • Chris Rosen’s mother will amaze you, you’ll share her pride in her rock musician son, and want to climb in the hot air balloon with her.
  • Like Leah Singer, you’ll be annoyed at the salesman, disturbed by her parents chiding her about her weight, and proud that she has made her interfaith marriage last.
  • Those with siblings will hear themselves in Madeline Taylor’s telephone essay.
  • With Patti Winker, you’ll wonder about life with 11 siblings, learn about running a candy store, and reminisces about life with clotheslines and before helmets.
  • From Lisa Winkler, you can reread some past posts – about fashion advice from our mothers, medical advice from her father, hopes for college graduates and tolerance for varying religious beliefs in her own family, and ice cream flavors.
  • Barbara Younger shares three lovely poems – about buttons, socks and fudge, and essays about her father’s music, her allegiance to her ancient stove, and a Valentine’s Day when she was 11.

Me again:

Start your holiday shopping!  A great present, the book’s tiny size makes it perfect to tuck into a gift basket or bag.

Don’t forget birthdays!  With its focus on living an exuberant life, Tangerine Tango makes a great girlfriend birthday present.

You!  And of course you’ll want a copy for yourself!

Purchase the book here. 

Proceeds from the sale of Tangerine Tango go to the Huntington’s Disease Society of America.

Giveaway: In celebration of the publication of this colorful collection of essays and poems, I’m giving away two copies.  Post a comment by October 24 saying you’d like to win. Two winners will be chosen at random.

Photo Above:  Marina Bang designed Tangerine Tango’s delicious cover!

Photo Below:  Giveaway books stand proud on our old stove, the topic of one of my essays in Tangerine Tango.