Celebrations, Children

Wedding Update: Advice for the Back of the Church

Me and Dad

Years ago, my girls and I watched a TV show called  A Wedding Story. 

One day, when Kath had a friend over, I heard her announce:  “Listen to my mom during the show. She’s going to pick at everything. She thinks the only good wedding ever was her own.”

Not true!

Well at least not all the way true.

But isn’t it sort of okay for a bride to be partial to her own wedding?

Now it’s Laura’s turn.

I’m resisting giving lots of last minute advice.

And as mother of the bride, I won’t be there at the very last minute anyway.

Hopefully, I’ll be in my seat in the front pew.

However…

My last minute advice would be twofold:

Put your bouquet at your waist and keep it there.

Brides often carry their bouquets too high, covering the bodice of their lovely gown.

(I made this mistake, which proves, once and for all, that my wedding was NOT perfect.)

My other piece of advice is this:

The time at the back of the church is a dad’s moment too.

Remember the cool bike in fourth grade.

The Duke jacket I thought cost too much.

The checking out colleges trips.

The emergency earring repairs.

Right before you start down the aisle, say something sweet to your dad.

If I could sail back to August 20, 1977, that’s just what I would do.

Candace & Dad 2

Top Photo:  My dad helping me out of the car at my wedding in Towson, Maryland.

Bottom Photo: The mother of the groom-to-be with her father at the back of the church in Durham, New Hampshire some years ago.  Note that the bride is holding her bouquet correctly!

In some traditions, both parents walk their daughter down the aisle. To those daughters, I say, “Double your chance to say something sweet!”

Aging

The Care Organizer (and a Giveaway!)

The Care Organizer Two

Margaret Mintz tells the story behind this innovative care organizer:

My business partner and I created this notebook for keeping track of information, referrals, medical visits and tests, based on our own experiences of caring for our parents when unexpected emergencies occurred.

We are long-time friends and after these difficult and exhausting periods of dropping everything to help our parents and coordinate care with our siblings, we would take a deep breath and talk about how we had to go through piles of notes to find that doctor’s referral, or notes from medical appointments or anything else.

These conversations motivated us to design a notebook-style organizer that would have been great to have if it had existed.

We took a lot of time considering the most convenient formats.

Both of us wanted a notebook that was portable, to carry to appointments or the emergency room, and easy to write in for taking notes and recording information.

We created six clearly labeled tabbed sections to keep information organized and easy to find.

For the “Emergency Information” section we thought about what a physician would want to know about a patient when he or she arrived at the emergency room, so we included a format to enter information about Medical Conditions, Recent Hospitalizations & ER Visits, Current Medications, and Recent Surgical History and Medical Procedures.

We take special pride in our unique “Contacts A to Z” section, which is an alphabetical directory where contact information can be entered for all types of practitioners that might be needed, as well as facilities, support groups and programs and helpful websites.

And we hope that the list might serve as prompts for ideas of types of providers and services that might not have occurred to someone before.

For example, I had never heard of a Care Manager until a hospital social worker suggested one to me.

Although the impetus to create “The Care Organizer” came out of caring for our parents, as we developed it we realized that it would work well for ourselves as well, to keep track of ongoing medical care and to have available for family members in case something unexpected happened.

So we consider it helpful for managing the care of others – family members or friends – and yourself, and for keeping those who are sharing care of someone else up to date.

Here’s a look at one of the emergency information pages:

lookinside-zoomB-emergency02

And here’s a page in the notes and records section:

lookinside-zoomB-notes02

To learn more about the organizer and/or to purchase one, visit the website here.

Giveaway:  Margaret is giving away an organizer to one Friend for the Ride reader.  Thanks, Margaret!  To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment by June 15 saying that you’d like to win.  (U.S. only due to postage rates.)

About herself, Margaret writes:  I was a painter and graphic designer and after raising my children, who are now young adults, I am a small business owner. I live in New York City with my husband and cat, and my children from time to time. In the last few years, whenever I see old friends in my age group, I find that our conversation keeps circling back to the care of our parents.

Margaret Mintz

Gratitude, Menopause

I Named a Bread!

Semolina Sunshine

Every girl has dreams.

I had dreams, years ago, of making it big as a writer.

But alas, despite some success with my writing, I’m not exactly well known (well actually known at all) to the editors of the New Yorker.

But I named a bread!

For real and true.

My son-in-law, the brilliant baker, creates new styles of bread.

He recently sent out a call:

“We’re going to make a new whole grain bread next month with semolina flour, millet, and sesame seeds.  It will be topped with a thorough crust of sesame seeds.  I need a good name!”

The email went on:  “FYI, semolina is made from durum, which is a sub-variety of wheat that is typically used in pasta.  It has a nuttier flavor than normal wheat, a lot of protein, and is very sturdy.”

That all sounded complicated to me.

I really don’t get wheat and how it magically turns into bread, but I do know that Mrs. Sun assists grandly by shining down on those amber waves of grain.

Semolina Sunshine!

I submitted the name to the Editor of the Bread.

The next thing I knew, there it was, labeling the delicious loaves themselves:

Semolina Sunshine Label

They say every good blog post needs a takeaway.

And so here’s mine for today.

Nope, I didn’t make a lot of dough with my writing.

But I’m lucky enough to have a son-in-law who makes a lot of dough, delicious dough.

And I’m lucky enough, in mid-life, to have new avenues for creativity such as blogging and bread naming.

I bet you, too, have opportunities you never thought you’d have, in places you would least expect them.

Let the sun shine on us!

The Bakery:  The next time you’re in Charlottesville, Virginia, stop in to the bakery, Great Harvest Bread Company.  Try some samples from the Bread Board:

Bread Board

And meet the Baker, Matt Monson, and his wife:

IMG_0657-427x640_thumb

Aging, Celebrations, Menopause

A Wedding/Menopause TMI Post

Wedding Purse

My friend Carol Baldwin says I sometimes write about gutsy stuff  (which I’m hoping is a compliment, Carol). Since she has a daughter’s wedding coming up, I’m dedicating this post to her!

The purse above is the purse I carried on Katherine’s big day.

For Laura’s upcoming nuptials, I thought it would be fun to get a new one.

But alas, pennies are spilling from our pocketbooks like lucky rice tossed into the wedding wind.

Carrying the same purse again would save a few of those pennies.

And the silver sequins match the silver beads on my royal blue dress.

So I plucked the purse off my closet shelf.

Look what I found tucked  inside…

A tampon and two safety pins.

Inside Wedding Purse

Don’t need that tampon anymore.

Toss it to the wind!

So…

My encouraging words for those of you in the throes of iffy, spotty, who-knows-when periods or still having plain old here-it-is-again periods:

You’ll get your chance to smile when you see a tampon tucked inside an old purse.

And that, Dearly Beloved, will be a day to celebrate!

P.S. The safety pins are coming along with me. I’m in charge of bustling the dress. Olga, the wedding dress rescuer who created the bustle, demonstrated the process to me.  Be still my spinning head.

If worse comes to worse, I’ll abandon the hooks and eyes and just pin up the fluffs of tulle.  That’s my plan, but of course, I haven’t mentioned this to the bride…

Aging, Menopause, Menopause Symptoms

Light Bladder Leakage and Menopause


Handkerchiefs

A post from Marilyn Suttle, the Light Bladder Leakage blogger at Poise:

So, you’re having night sweats, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and on top of all that – you leak. Welcome to the transition toward menopause (sometimes called perimenopause.)

Perimenopause is that time in life when your periods diminish and eventually come to a stop. The transition affects every woman differently. Your passage may be smooth sailing, or you may experience any number of symptoms in varying degrees.

Menopause (the permanent end of menstruation and fertility) is typically reached once you experience 12 consecutive months without a menstrual period.

During this transition, a decline in estrogen levels may result in weakening of the pelvic floor muscles that support bladder control, contributing to LBL (light bladder leakage.)

Though not all menopausal women experience LBL, it is common. One in three women experiences it.

We reached out to urologist, Jason Gilleran, MD at Beaumont Women’s Urology Center in Royal Oak, Michigan for his insights on ways to manage LBL during menopause.

“The sooner women address their bladder leakage, the better their results,” Dr. Gilleran said. By changing the habits that contribute to light bladder leakage during menopause, you may sidestep, reverse, or even eliminate those little leaks.

Seek out support

LBL can improve dramatically in some women by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles with Kegel exercises. However, telling a woman to do Kegels without instruction is a lot like sending someone to the gym without telling her how to use the equipment.

Dr. Gilleran recommends pelvic floor therapy as a first course of action. “I refer a lot of young women, who are perimenopausal and noticing early signs, to a pelvic floor physical therapist,” he said, “They can accelerate your ability to do Kegel exercises correctly and get results. They’re not as expensive as some of the other treatments, and there are no harmful side effects.”

If you aren’t getting the kind of support you’d like from your regular physician or gynecologist, be proactive and ask to be referred to someone with special training, like a pelvic floor physical therapist or urogynecologist.

What else can you do to prevent, reverse or eliminate LBL in menopause?

Dr. Gilleran suggests the following:

Stop smoking. Smoking is a contributing factor for bladder leakage during menopause.

Minimize weight gain. Women tend to gain weight during menopause. A noted research study showed that women with an average weight of about 200 pounds who lost 10% of their body weight, had a 70% reduction in leakage.

Treat chronic coughs and allergies. A chronic cough causes ongoing pressure on the pelvic floor and, over time, can weaken it. Get pulmonary issues like persistent coughing and sneezing under control.

Go to the gym. There are many benefits to exercising. It can even improve your mood and outlook. Some patients have told Dr. Gilleran, “I don’t let LBL stop me from exercising. I wear a pad and get on with things.” Others say they don’t want to go to the gym because they’re self-conscious about leaking. “High impact exercise may not be the best thing for the pelvic floor,” Dr. Gilleran said. “Doing core strengthening exercise like Pilates or yoga is better from that stand point.”

Be gentle with yourself

While some factors contributing to LBL are within your control, others are not. “Childbirth or a family history that predisposes you to issues, like prolapse, can contribute to a weakened pelvic floor,” Dr. Gilleran said. “If you’re predisposed then you’re more likely to experience some level of leakage after menopause.”

Remember, you are not alone. One in three women experiences LBL, and there are ways both surgical and non-surgical to manage it.

“Once a woman has gone through menopause completely, LBL is a factor of what has happened to the pelvic floor tissue,” said Dr. Gilleran. “Some women come in with signs that they have changes in their vaginal tissues, while other women’s tissues are still in pre-menopausal shape. After menopause, women, in their mid-50’s or 60’s, who have intact muscles in their pelvic floor, tend to have better results with a pelvic floor physical therapy.”

When women experience bladder leakage and wait too long to see a pelvic floor physical therapist, it’s more likely that muscle loss may have taken place. The earlier you intervene, the better results you’ll have long term.

When to consider surgery

The reason some women are likely to opt for surgery is that they’ve tried conservative treatments, like pelvic floor therapy, and it failed. The surgery for LBL has changed over the years. “It used to be a fairly invasive surgery involving a bladder lift or bladder suspension, which would be done sometimes through a cut in the abdomen,” Dr. Gilleran said, “Now, most everything, is done through three small incisions in the vagina, sometimes only one. The most common type is called a sling surgery.”

The goal of the sling surgery is to place a type of backboard under the urethra. It acts as a mechanism to stabilize the tissues so that with exercise, coughing, and sneezing, the urethra itself doesn’t fall down. “It’s not designed to lift it up like we did in the past, but keep it from falling down,” Dr. Gilleran said, “To better understand it, picture yourself trying to sit down and you have no chair. What we’re doing is putting a chair there.”

Sometimes Dr. Gillleran has patients use a tampon. A tampon can actually act to stabilize, a bit like what a sling does except they use it externally. When women use a tampon and they don’t leak as much, it’s a good sign sling surgery will help them.”

Controversy over hormone replacement

Some women wonder if hormone replacement is the answer to eliminating LBL during menopause. “From a risk/benefit standpoint, it’s not something I use as an everyday practice for LBL alone,” said Dr. Gilleran, “I tend to avoid it because of the concerns with breast cancer, uterine cancer, blood clots, heart attack, and stroke – those things that have been associated with it. Hormone replacement is a very controversial issue.”

You are not alone

Dealing with menopause can be challenging, especially when it includes light bladder leakage.

If you find yourself feeling down, resist the urge to withdraw and isolate yourself.

You are not alone. One out of every three women experiences LBL – that’s about 40 million women! This is a time to reach out to your close friends and family. Many of them may be going through it too.

When you start the conversation about LBL, you will find support and camaraderie with the women in your life. It’s possible to manage LBL, and move on to living your life to the fullest.

Choose to be your most vibrant self, and enjoy your mid-life adventure.

marilyn

Marilyn Suttle is a women’s success coach and the Poise LBL blogger. You can learn more about Marilyn and the Poise products for feminine wellness at www.poise.com.

 

Poise Product Pic

Top Photo:  Since Light Bladder Leakage often makes its first appearance during a sneeze, I offer you my handkerchief collection POISED (pun slightly intended) on old handkerchief box.

Menopause

Menopause, Humor, and a Mary Roach Giveaway

My Planet

I’ve always been pretty good at looking at life with humor.

In fact, my fourth grade teacher, instead of praising my scholarship, wrote on my report card:  “Barbara has a fine sense of humor.”

But when it came to MENOPAUSE…

That sense of humor was zapped faster than a fourth grader in the sixties could say “Beatles haircut” or “Duncan yo-yo.”

Duncan

Nothing about menopause was funny to me.

I wasn’t a good sport.

I didn’t giggle with the punches.

I didn’t find humor in the wackiness of my wacky body.

But Mary Roach could.

Her latest book Gulp: Adventures in the Alimentary Canal, tracks food as it dives in one end and oozes and squirts out the other. (Read the New York Times review here.)

In her collection of essays, My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places, Mary demonstrates how to look at life with  keen, whimsical eyes.

She makes brushing teeth with husbands, shopping for bathing suits, a first massage, list-making, medical research on the Internet, and plenty more laugh out loud funny.

Although she doesn’t directly address menopause, I bet she found the humor in the experience that I sure didn’t.

Let’s hope she covers the Change of Life in her next volume.  (She’s 54, and I was pleased to discover that we have the same March birthday, although a few years apart.)

Mary Roach

Check out Mary’s website  here (and don’t miss the roach!)

My Planet Giveaway: Reader’s Digest books is offering Friend for the Ride one copy of My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places. Please leave a comment by  June 6 saying you’d like to be the winner.

And what about your funny bone?

Are you a menopausal wit?

Or are you finding The Great Pause  oh so dry (pun slightly intended) and dreary?

Solar Shades Giveaway:  Congrat to Cathy, the winner!

Aging, Celebrations, Children, Menopause

Wedding Update: Speed Childhood

Laura One

Laura Two

Laura Three

Laura Four

Laura Five

Laura Six

Laura Seven

Laura Eight

Laura Nine

Laura Ten

Laura Eleven

Laura Twelve

Laura Twelve

Laura Fourteen

Laura Fifteen

Laura Sixteen

Laura Seventeen

Laura Eighteen

Laura Nineteen

Laura and Dad

Laura Twenty-one

Laura Twenty-Five

Laura Twenty-four

Rehearsal dinner slide show in the works! Laura’s childhood photos were my job.

When you’re a mom, some of those days are long, but the years sure are short, as Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project reminds us in her quick but insightful video.

I only wish I’d understood it then.

Now I tell every young mother to relax and enjoy.

They’re probably not finding my advice that relaxing, but I can’t help it.

The years really are short.