Monthly Archives: September 2013

Celebrating Two Years (and a Canvas Print Giveaway)

Standard

T-shirt

Friend for the Ride just celebrated her two year anniversary!

(Yes, she’s a girl.)

Happy Anniversary, Friend for the Ride!

Capture

WordPress lets me know the search words people use to land on the blog.

In honor of the anniversary, I thought I’d share a few favorites:

cookies that help menopausal symptoms

I wish, I wish, I wish a brilliant baker would come up with these!

one leg hair stopped growing

Does this mean one specific hair?  Talk about knowing your body intimately…

my menstrual period started on the full super moon june 2013

This searcher landed on Patti’s Winker’s super cool post. For those of us finished with periods, we’ve lost our chance to have a super moon period. Super sad!  (sort of.)

do yams help with menopause

Dr. Oz suggest yams just might help, but I’m sticking with the person (above) who is looking for a menopausal cookie cure.

are dill pickles good for menopausal women

Let’s hope not or my husband, who loves pickles, will fill my plate with them morning, noon, and night. While very fond of Cliff, I’m not overly fond of pickles.  Bring on the cookies!

do all women get meaner as they get older

Hmmm. I’d love to know the sex of the person who entered that search.

what is wrong with my husband he gets meaner as he ages

We know the sex of the person who entered that one!

pellets in hip for menopause 2013

Ouch!  What a way to start the New Year.

menopause stomach photos

To make it  big as a blogger, you have to put yourself out there.  But I haven’t been brave enough, yet, to put my menopausal stomach out there for the Internet to see.

poems about menopause symptoms

Two and a half years ago, I wouldn’t have guessed I’be writing poems about menopause. And what fun (and an honor) to feature the poetry of Moira Egan and Jane Yolen, with poems by Barbara Crooker coming up soon.

snarkymcbitchy

Don’t ask me how this line landed someone on Friend for the Ride. The nerve!

Snarky and bitchy?  Not us. Thank you all for being such wonderful, kind readers!

My Friend for the Ride t-shirt, was a gift from Allied Shirts. I sent them my URL and a photo from one of my first posts, and voila!

t-shirt

Learn more about making  a custom t-shirt here on their website:  alliedshirts.com.

Giveaway: Their sister company, Easy Canvas Prints, is offering  Friend for the Ride a free 11 by 14 inch canvas print.

I adore mine, featured on this post about my beloved doll, Baby Sue.  For a chance to win your own, please enter a comment by October 20 saying you’d like to be the winner. These make great gifts for the person who has everything.

Lean more about canvas prints on their website: easycanvasprints.com.

Baby Sue and Barbara

Menopausal You and Me: Mellow or Bold?

Standard

20130921_113354
Menopause makes us bold, like these garden flowers, who went summer nuts outside my kitchen window.

We speak up.

We voice our opinions.

We make brave choices.

But…

Menopause makes us mellow too.

We know when to remain silent.

We know how to pick our battles.

We often give up the stressful and the time-consuming.

The trick, the real trick, is figuring out when to choose bold and when to choose mellow.

I don’t always know which way to sway.

This summer, when the orange flowers took over, I debated.

Should I trim them back or let them go nuts?

I let them go nuts.

Jefferson's Marigolds

Does that mean I’m bold? To appreciate such brightness. To let my garden run unruly.

Or am I mellow? To not worry that the flowers towered by leaps and bound over everything else in the garden.

No matter.

The flowers are happy, bright orange happy.

And we had a festive summer together.

What about you?

Is the menopausal you

More mellow?

More bold?

Or a happy combination?

Flower with Bee

Danko Giveaway:  Congrats to lucky  Ginger Kay, who won the Dansko Giveaway!

Growing Old Gracefully: Let Your Spirit Carry You…

Standard

 04 - Sept 6 2011 - Evelyn Baxter photo - best

A post by photographer and writer Barb Mayer:

It’s somehow fitting that the oldest woman I have had the privilege of befriending has taught me the secret of being eternally young.

At 95 Evelyn no longer feels the need to impress or  the need to modify her appearance to please others.

Advancing age has brought with it a new sense of freedom. “If it hasn’t killed me yet, I’m not going to worry about it,” is her justification for eating the rich chocolate cake sitting in front of her, though she recently learned she has borderline diabetes.

In her early 80s she lost her partner of fifty years to cancer. Though she went through a period of mourning, she didn’t drown in her sorrows.

She took a trip to Hawaii with her family and learned a new sport – surfing. Her son and granddaughter, buffeted and bruised by the waves, quickly gave up. Evelyn persevered and, much to her delight, managed to stand up on the board, feeling the freedom of the waves draw her into the shore.

Her memory is not what it used to be, and I know it’s a subject she doesn’t like to talk about. If she can’t find something in the kitchen, she invariably blames her son. “He’s always moving things on me,” she states accusingly, and I flash her an empathetic look that says… yes, men are like that, aren’t they?

When she tells me the same story she has told me for the last three days, I listen intently, as though it were the first time. I know that the telling gives her great pleasure and I enjoy listening to anecdotes of a life lived before television, before cars and before cell phones.

We no longer do aerobics together at the senior center. Her sense of balance is starting to fail and the long walks we used to take together have become dramatically shorter. But her enthusiasm for life remains unabated.

The other day we sat around her kitchen table and, brush in hand, she gave me pointers on the art of watercolor painting, a hobby she took up in her mid 60s.

Though her body is beginning to fail, her zest for life has remained intact. In the four short years I have known her, she has taught me a valuable lesson.

No matter how far along you are on the path of life, when you let your spirit carry you, it’s possible to grow old gracefully and happily.

Barb

Barb Mayer is an award-winning photographer and freelance writer who enjoys creating works to inspire and enlighten. Her latest project combines photography with music and inspirational quotes (click here to view The Poetry of the Earth and she is an occasional contributor to the anthologies of  June Cotner.

She loves spending quiet time writing and gardening in her small country house near Rome, Italy.  Her time in the States is spent traveling and visiting family and friends. You may contact Barb and learn more about her writing and photography at her web site: www.barbmayer.com.

In the top photo, Evelyn is sporting her favorite pair of Italian shoes. The photo was taken by Barb.

Hot Flash Sonnets (and a Giveaway!)

Standard

Hot Flash Sonnets

A guest post by poet Moira Egan:

First and foremost, I would like to thank Barbara Younger for the invitation to be a guest on her terrific and award-winning blog. Passager Books (Baltimore, MD) has just published my poetry collection, Hot Flash Sonnets, and so I guess it’s official: I’m a woman of a certain age, and I’m here to talk about it.

Just yesterday, I had an email exchange with one of my dear friends from College.She’s been enjoying the Hot Flash Sonnets I’ve been posting on Facebook, and she had a couple of questions for me. She too is experiencing many of the classic symptoms of The Change, and though she lives in a city that’s known as a world capital, she is dismayed that her doctors are pushing her toward HRT and presenting no other options. She’s probably not a good candidate for HRT, for many reasons, and she asked me what I’ve been doing to ease my symptoms and get on with something resembling a normal life.

So I told her about certain websites that have been helpful (such as this one!), and a couple of books on hormone-specific yoga practices, and about my own, ongoing (!) experiments with various herbs and concoctions.Further, I told her that I was very happy that we were having this conversation. It strikes me as sad and strange that, in the year 2013, there is still a certain stigma or embarrassment attached to talking about MENOPAUSE, something that every woman will experience if she is fortunate enough to live long enough to pass from being a reproductive being to a post-reproductive being. Where’s the shame in that?

What the Flesh Is Heir To

This is the first poem in my collection, Hot Flash Sonnets. I didn’t think Shakespeare would mind too much that I borrowed some phrases from his famous existential-crisis character, Hamlet, since we menopausal women are asking ourselves existential questions every day. I also hoped that Mr. Shakespeare wouldn’t mind my borrowing from him because, without his example, I probably never would have gone off onto my own poetic path as a dedicated sonneteer.

Something I didn’t tell my friend, though, is that one of the best therapies for me has been recording my experiences and turning them into sonnets. A few years ago, when I first started writing this sequence, I realized that, beyond its being the form in whose constraints I feel most at home (and in which I have the most fun), the sonnet is an ideal form for expressing change – like mood swings! And thermostat malfunctions!

You remember from your English classes that sonnets have 14 lines, a rhyme scheme, and a neat little thing somewhere towards the end called the volta, the turn, where the poem changes direction and surprises you with its ending. As Robert Frost famously said, “No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” Well, ask any menopausal woman about the surprises she’s encountered on the journey, and you might be surprised yourself.

So it really did help me to externalize the things that were happening to me, to hold them at arm’s length, so to speak, and make sense out of them by shaping them into sonnets. I wanted the poems to range in tone every bit as much as I range in my moods: from “LOL” funny to philosophical, from poignant to painful, from sarcastic to dead serious. Some of these things aren’t fun or funny to experience, but when given the choice between laughing and crying, though I don’t always succeed in this, I do try to laugh.

Sisters in Sweat

Just as these two “sisters in sweat” share the heat wave, I hope to share whatever insights I might have come to along this path of Strange Change. I also hope that in laughing or even at times crying together, we “sisters in the sweat,” ladies of a certain age, can take comfort in the shared nature of our experiences, and truly understand that we’re not alone.

Giveaway:  Friend for the Ride is giving away a copy of Hot Flash Sonnets. Simply enter a comment by October 10 saying you’d like to be the winner.

Passager Books is a press for writers over fifty!  Our menopausal hats goes off to this insightful and artistic press!

Moira Egan

Moira Egan is the author, most recently, of Hot Flash Sonnets (Passager Books, Baltimore, 2013). Her previous poetry collections are Cleave (WWPH, 2004); La Seta della Cravatta/The Silk of the Tie (Edizioni l’Obliquo, 2008); Bar Napkin Sonnets (The Ledge, 2009); and Spin (Entasis Press, 2010, for whom she also co-edited Hot Sonnets, 2010).

Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies in the U.S. and abroad. Her sonnets in particular have won many accolades, including the 2005 Baltimore City Paper Poetry Contest; The Ledge Chapbook Competition (Bar Napkin Sonnets, 2009); the Baltimore Review’s 2012 Literary Contest (HEAT being the all-too appropriate theme); and the 2012 Sonnet Competition of the Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition of the National League of American Pen Women.

She has been a Mid Atlantic Arts Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; Writer in Residence at St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, Malta; a Writing Fellow at the Civitella Ranieri Center; and a Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center.