Wedding Update: Invitations! (and a Minted Giveaway)


When your daughter is planning her wedding, your thoughts often go back to your own big day.

Holy Matrimony!  Have weddings and wedding products changed since then!

Check out the festive invitations you can find at Minted.com

Thirty-some years ago, non-traditional invitations were just coming into fashion.

But my mom and I stuck to tradition and what we thought was proper:  engraved invitations on cream colored paper.

Years later, they seem oh so boring :

Wedding Invitation

We thought the butterfly stamps made the RSVP envelope look festive. This was as cutting edge as we got:


Nowadays you send out Save the Date cards too.  (A quite practical innovation, especially for a destination wedding.) Laura had a wonderful time designing the one in the top photo  from the selections at Minted.

Although the bride won’t let me show you her actual wedding invitations yet, I can promise you they bear no resemblance to my cream colored invites.

A few days ago, I met another mother of the bride.

It’s always fun to compare notes.

“All I  asked of her,” the mom said, drawing out her wedding words, “is that she use traditional invitations.”

Not me.

I’m rolling with the times.

The more festive the better!

Giveaway:  Minted sells all sorts of colorful and creative paper products from invitations to journals to note cards to party decor. They’re offering one Friend for the Ride reader a fifty dollar credit toward your next order. No other purchases required.

To enter the giveaway, simply post a comment by April 10 saying that you’d like to win. Winner will be chosen at random.

Invitations Below: If I could pick my wedding invitations all over again, here are some I’d consider  from Minted.











The Menopause Bunny—NOT!

Henrietta Bunny

Since Mrs. Claus has taken an interest in Friend for the Ride.


And since there are Menopause Pumpkins.


And since you can buy a Magic Guilt-free Holiday Wand.

Holiday Wand

I thought, perhaps, there might be  a Menopause Bunny to help women out, especially in the springtime.

So I asked the bunny above, who lives at my house. Her name is Henrietta.

“No, honey,” Henrietta said, shaking her long ears.  “There’s no such thing as a Menopause Bunny.”

Her nose twitched.

Then she added, “There’s  just the Easter Bunny.”

More twitches.

“He’s got menopause covered though,” she said. “Why do you think he brings so much chocolate?”


Thanks for the info, Henrietta. I hope the Bunny fills up your baskets, too.



Happy Birthday to Charlie, a Menopause Miracle!


A post by my friend Jan McKelvey. Her son Charlie turns 17 today.  Happy Birthday to Charlie!

Jim and I both grew up in Michigan, met at college (Eastern Michigan University) in 1973, married in 1977, and lived for many years in Howell, Michigan, where 3 sons were born:  Josh, Ben and Mike.

Sadness hit when we lost 3 babies, 2 to miscarriages and one son lost to stillbirth at 34 weeks gestation.

We decided to move to North Carolina to be closer to my parents when their health started to fail, and came here in 1992.
Despite keeping busy, I was starting to be bothered by hot flashes and hormonal surges at age 42. It was a little early onset for menopause, but my mother had started menopause early, too.

I got Gail Sheehy’s book,The Silent Passage, and read through every page and every chapter to learn more about menopause symptoms and what to do about them.

At that time in the mid 1990s, women were still readily taking hormone replacement medication.  So, I made an appointment at the doctor’s office to discuss menopause, and maybe get a prescription.

A few months later, on the way home from choir practice, I started to wonder, “Gail’s book didn’t say ANYTHING about feeling nauseous.  I’m having hot flashes and nausea.  What’s that about?”

Because of my history of needing to redirect to more positive thinking, I thought, “OK, I’ll just go to WalMart and get one of those pee-on-a-stick tests, to shut my mind up.  I can’t be pregnant.  I’ll take the test, and that will be that.”

Did I mention that my husband had a vasectomy 9 years prior?

And I was having hot flashes?

I stopped at the store on the way home from choir practice, went home, and feeling very foolish, took the test.

My husband had no idea why I was waving something in his face when I woke him up.

Later, he told me he wondered if there was a menopause urine test!

It was positive!

After this surprise, I went to the doctor’s office the very next morning.  That urine test was positive, too.

When I asked the doctor what were the chances that both the WalMart test, and the clinic urine test were wrong, he responded, “They’re not wrong.  Congratulations!  You’re pregnant!”

I burst into tears.

The doctor thought I was upset, and I had to quickly explain my history and why I was so happy.

He whisked me down to the Ultrasound machine, where he showed me the tiny little fetus with a steadily pumping heart to convince me.  Such joy!

I was followed in the High Risk group, which I refer to as the” Geriatric Pregnancy Group,” and delivered a healthy baby boy when I was 43.

Charlie has been an additional blessing to us, just as our other children have blessed our lives.

We are so thankful for all of them.

So that empty nest?  It has to wait!

Now, we have grandchildren, and more opportunities to play with precious children!

Charlie at the Fair

Charlie McKelvey as an infant in 1996

From Top:  Charlie just before he turned 17;  Charlie,  age nine, at the North Carolina State Fair; Charlie in his infant seat crunching the newspaper; Jan on a recent cruise to Alaska;  the whole McKelvey family with Charlie as a baby in 1996.

Jan on Alaskan Cruise

McKelvey family picture with Charlie as a baby in 1996

Jan McKelvey writes:  “I continue to work as an Occupational Therapist, now thankfully working with our veterans full time at the Durham VA, with weekend work at Duke Raleigh Hospital.  We are thankful for all of our friends and family and many blessings.” Jan lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina and still sings in the church choir!

Thanks to Jan’s husband Jim, photographer extraordinaire, for the photos.


My Love of Fabric Yesterday and Today


A post by artist and seamstress Marilyn Petersen:

My love of fabric began at a very early age.  My mother, my grandmother, and my great- grandmother all sewed and made their clothes and anything else needed in their homes such as drapery, tea towels, and hot pads.

I used the name “tea towels” to give you a bit of information about my family. My extended families always included the grandmother living with the next generation.

My mother married my father the day before World War Two ended. She was 29 and he was 42. They thought that they were incredibly old to start a family, but within several years they had two daughters. Five years later my grandfather passed away, and my grandmother moved in with us in 1955.

This began my thorough lessons in fabric and sewing. My mother and grandmother never thought about going to the store and buying any clothing for themselves or for my sister and me.

Going to the stores and looking for fabric was a regular occurrence. On many occasions, my mother’s older sister joined in the search. Fabric stores were in almost every neighborhood and fabric could be found at very affordable prices.

We were three females and two little girls moving from one section of the store to the next. As my mother ran her finger through the cloth, I came behind her to repeat this action. She crinkled it in her hands to see is it wrinkled, and I did the same.

When it came time to sew, we went into action making the latest styles.

With intensive training from my mother and my grandmother, I was making my own dresses by the age of twelve.

Now I am sixty- two, and I have never lost the love of fabric. Thanks to recent technology and the love of design, I have now found a way to not only use fabric, but to design it!

Small businesses have opened to make it possible to print designs that you submit to them. You can purchase the fabric in sizes as small as an eight square to as many yards as you need  for you project.

This Easter egg design above is based on a small swath in an antique quilt. I have come full circle from a quilt that belonged to the generation of my great- grandmother to the present.

The fabric below is inspired by Matisse:


And bunnies and other creatures in honor of spring:


I’m very happy that so many more people are again interested in fabric. This new interest allows creative people to join together with small business (often run by women) to make endless numbers of beautiful projects.

I design my fabric through Spoonflower.  To find my page, CLICK HERE. 

The Easter Egg design is part of a weekly contest between Spoonflower designers.

For the Matisse, we were to design a fabric that would be comfortable and part of the décor of a room in Matisse’s home.

The designs were to be limited to four colors. I created my design referencing a group of life drawing sketches that I call “My Dancers.”  The dancers are free and full of movement.

Here are the baby animals. I’ve received some nice comments on this design!

Marilyn Petersen was born in Dallas Texas and has lived in Laurinburg, NC since the year 2000. She majored in Fine Arts while attending Austin Community College and the University of Texas at Austin, and she’s had a long career as an artist, working in enameling, jewelry, fiber arts, and visual arts.

While living in Mexico the previous five years before moving to North Carolina, she also studied painting and drawing in San Miguel de Allende and in San Juan del Rio.  All these experiences in her life have given her a rich background in color and design. Here she is below, in an outfit she made in Junior High!

Clothing for Jr. High Assembly 001

Grandchildren, Grandmother, Menopause

The Bouncing Ball of Menopause


Child psychologists say a baby learns

When you drop a bouncing ball,

The ball bounces back up.

Babies, smarter sometimes than grownups,

Know that life has its ups and downs,

And after the down, almost always comes an up!

Some of those ups and downs, if you’re a woman of a certain age, are the moody woes of menopause.

Telling yourself that the ups will come back really is helpful.

If this doesn’t work, try chocolate, a brisk walk, and more chocolate.

Frog: The Frog, name unknown to this grandma, was a baby shower gift of guest blogger Judy Ackley Brown, who writes in this post about rainy days and life.

Chocolate:  Make that a tiny bit, each time. Menopause pounds are a real downer.

Poet (of sorts) :  Me. I’ve been having fun keeping up with current thinking in child development from Kath,  creator of Baby Eats Real Food.

The baby: My grandson Mazen, usually upbeat!

Aging, Menopause

Career Moves: Changing My Focus from Younger Adults to Older Adults

The Generation Above Me

A post by Karen Austin of The Generation Above Me:

I spent the first three decades of my adult life on various college campuses—as a student, an adjunct and a clinical faculty member.

I taught a variety of undergraduate English courses and managed various student support services.  I enjoyed mentoring young adults and giving them tips on how to succeed in college and how to move on to graduate school or employment.

But this mentoring relationship shattered at midlife.

At age 48 I followed my husband half-way across the country to a new campus.

The students there didn’t view me as a mentor.  I was used to working with students who pursuing humanities majors; this new campus had a lot of students pursuing majors in the allied health professions.

Consequently, they found my area of expertise in English irrelevant for achieving in their fields.

Also, my age was moving me very far away from the near peer role I played for so long.  They would seek me out if they needed a tissue, a fork or an adhesive strip, but they didn’t ask me for advice about their career or graduate school.

Being ignored or being defined as campus mommy wasn’t working for me.

After my first year at this bad-fit campus, I spent summer vacation visiting all six of my parent figures: my mom and step-dad in Utah, my dad and step-mom in Texas, and my in-laws in Oklahoma.

I noticed that as they were entering their 70s, they were managing minor age-related challenges.  They are all still living independently and most of them were still working.

However, I could see that aging was going to soon get a bit tricky.

Because I was surrounded for decades by people 18-25, I had very little understanding of the challenges and opportunities of aging.

I found myself so deficient in this important area that I quit my job and started a graduate program in Aging Studies offered by a university across town.

I have changed gears and restated the unifying theme of my life: I am defined by my interest in growth and development across the lifespan.

Now I am hyper focused on issues related to healthy aging and supporting older adults in late adulthood.

And age is now on my side.

The older I get, the more I will become a near peer to the older adults I now work with as we support each other to age successfully.


Karen writes: My blog ,The Generation Above Me, is aimed at midlife adults. It contains information on how to achieve active aging as well as how to support aging parents. Some of the posts are information rich with links to high quality sites about aging. Other posts are personal essays where I grumble or exult about midlife.

Aging Studies:  Colleges and Universities around the country offer programs in Aging Studies. Here’s a link to Karen’s  program at Wichita State.

Photo: Karen at work!


Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal: A Review and a Giveaway


Although I make an attempt to watch my nutrition, I’m a butter cream frosting, chocolate chip cookie, Bugles kind of girl.

When I was in the middle of Menopausal Food Madness, I had a hard time keeping my eating on the nutritious path, and my weight climbed up.

The cravings were like PMS times five, and for a year or so, they were almost constant. Yikes!

Foods that Harm, Foods that Heal: The best and Worst Choices to Treat Your Ailments Naturally, recently updated by Reader’s Digest Books, has a section on foods for menopause.

I don’t know if I would have followed their advice or not  (because those cravings ruled), but I’m sorry I didn’t have this volume to at nudge me in the right direction.



My daughter Kath, the nutritionist with the super cool food blog, Katheats, is my champion in eating well.

I asked her to study the book for me and write us a quick review.  (Since she’s recently made me a grandma,we can overlook her mention of baby nutrition over menopausal.)

Here’s her review:

Food That Harm, Foods That Heal is a great reference book for anyone who wants to dig deeper into the world of nutrition.

I love its focus on whole foods and the reasons why we should eat more or less of them.

The bonus sections on disease, baby nutrition, and the vitamins and mineral charts take complicated information and present it in an easy-to-understand format. After I put it down I wanted to go straight to the kitchen!”

Giveaway:  Reader’s Digest Books is offering Friend for the Ride one copy of the book as a giveaway (U.S. mailing addresses only due to postage  costs).  To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment by April 5 saying you’d like to win.  Winner will be chose at random.


Foods That Harm