Menopause

My Safari: A Lesson in Wisdom and Innocence

 

Elephants

 A post by Judy Ackley Brown:

With great anticipation, Martin and I embarked on our long journey to Tanzania. Martin would fulfill a dream, to climb Kilimanjaro.

The trek to the roof of Africa would take six days. I chose to remain in Moshi and find my own adventures. Our B& B hostess, Sandra, organized a three day safari for me and my new Polish friends, Ela and Wojciech.

Our guide for this trip, whose name is Innocent, is a 32 year old Tanzanian, one of six children whose mother left them at an early age, a new father of a six week old son, a smart young man, and an exuberant guide.

His eyes gleamed and his bright white smile radiated innocence. The words from his mouth were wise and wonderful.

The animal and bird sightings, the landscape, the Masai tribe, the drive, the whole adventure, left me breathless. It was one of the most amazing adventures of my life.

zebra-e1396367358829

My conversations with Innocent, however, left an imprint on my heart.

Our days were full, but hot and exhausting. The dust and sweat stuck to my skin along with the necessary bug repellent and sunscreen.

We were camping, and to my utter dismay, I realized I had no bath towel.

Innocent gave me his one and only towel.

I resisted.

He very calmly explained to me that if his long lost mother ever needed help, he hoped someone would assist her. And so, his generosity to me.

Innocent went on to explain that trees and plants never meet, but people do. This is a blessing, so we need to be kind to each other.

This articulate young man believes we are here to improve on each generation.

His father imparted to him all of his knowledge, as this was the key to a good life.

Now that Innocent was a father himself, he would give all of his knowledge to his son, and be a better parent. He said he suffers from “no mother love.”

While lying in my tent at night listening to all the African noises, I pondered.

Have I shared all of my knowledge with my children?

Have I honestly learned from the mistakes of my parents?

Did I provide abundant mother love?

I will never forget the lions, zebras, elephants, giraffes, warthogs, or the baby baboons.

And, I will never forget Innocent’s smile.

 

Judy and Innocent

Photo Above:  Innocent and I are standing by the hippo pond at Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area in Tanzania. It is the only place you can get out of your car in the park.  We stopped for a well needed break and lunch on our last day of the safari.

Judy Ackley Brown and her husband, Martin, love to travel. Judy is currently enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she is learning all things related to food, lifestyle, and health.  When she travels, she readily partakes in local foods and cooking customs. In Tanzania she enjoyed avocado for breakfast and papaya for dessert.

Menopause

Silver Screen?

So tell the truth.

Would you like to be a movie star?

I’ll go first.

Yes. I would.

I love reading how stars immerse themselves in the part. Before the filming even begins, they live in the shoes of their character through research and role-playing. How fun to dump the garbage or go to the dentist as someone else.

But I’ve read that sometimes during the actual shooting, stars have to immerse themselves in cold water. It might look like summertime on the film, but it wasn’t.

That I would hate.  Brrrr.

Maybe the water is this scene in From Here to Eternity was freezing cold. Maybe Deborah Kerr isn’t having as much fun with Burt Lancaster as we think.

 

But still, all in all, being a movie star seems like amazing work. (And it comes with a makeup artist and wardrobe!)

Part of the menopause experience is the giving up of old dreams while reaching for new ones.

Don’t think I will make it in Hollywood (especially since I never tried). Going to toss that dream into the Old Dreams File.

Now you tell!

Would you like to be  a star of the Silver Screen?

Watch the short film above by Phillip Scott Johnson as you mull.

Check out the list of actresses here.

And here are some Friend for the Ride stars.

Stars

 The latest giveaway winners, chosen with a random integer generator:

Congrats to Lisa, who won the Insoles Giveaway. Read the post here.

Congrats to Linda, who won Gold, Barbara Croocker’s book about losing her mom. Read the post here.

Congrats to Kate, who won the Bodyology’s scoop neck undershirt. Read the post here. 

Menopause

Ladies Room Door Art Series: Part Two!

paris - ladies room

When I announced my Ladies Room Door Art Series, reader Nancy Espersen bopped these photos out to me toute suite!  Above is a bathroom in Paris (not sure this is officially a “door,” but it counts).

paris - ladies

And Miss Fancy Pants  resides in Luxembourg Gardens. Photos were taken by Nancy’s niece Caitlin.

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Nancy took this photo (with the bathroom signs to the right) at Monet’s Garden in Giverrny.

kensington palace - orangery tea room - Sept 2007 - keypad bathroom

And here’s the scoop straight from Nancy on the door above:

“Here is one from Kensington Palace – The Orangery Tea Room. I had just finished a lovely tea and asked my server where the rest room was located.  It is outside the restaurant, around the corner in the garden.  Notice the keypad to the right of the door – you need to know the special code to enter (which the server or hostess will give you if you ask)  I guess I didn’t ask the right question (just where it was located, not for the code)  So I waited until someone came out and then snuck in : )”

From Patti Winker,  two photos she snapped at the airport in Hawaii a few years ago.

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A bit of equal time for the men.

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From Lisa Watts, the door of the ladies room at Dock Street Oyster Bar in Wilmington, North Carolina.

BA door

Below, the Blue Heaven in Key West, Doors One and Two. Photos by Yours Truly.

Key West

Blue Heaven

And below, the door at the famous Sloppy Joe’s in Key West. Photo courtesy Cliff Younger.

Sloppy Joe's

And last but not least, from Janet Thoromon:

Janet's Door

Thanks to our photographers for the wonderful ladies room door shots.

Let’s keep the series going. Send in your photos one and all!

Menopause

Switching to Spring (And a Gardening Book Giveaway)

For years, fall was my favorite season. Crisp air, pumpkins, all that sort of fall stuff.

But then something switched.

Spring!

Shout it from the rooftops!

G !

The season of seasons.

Maybe it’s my old cold house made warmer by spring temperatures.

Maybe it’s because I’m now a confirmed walker, and there’s no walking like spring walking.

Or maybe it’s because in high school, I went nuts over e.e.cummings.

in Just-

spring          when the world is mud-

luscious the little

lame balloonman

whistles          far          and wee

But spring is now my favorite season.

What’s yours?

In honor of spring, a gardening book!

A gorgeous one written by Great Britain’s master gardener Alys Fowler.

 

EdibleGarden_hires

 

Alys writes in her foreword:

Making The Edible Garden has been about finding a way to garden that is as gentle as possible upon the world. A garden that will please and feed me and still be a home for all others that visit it. By choosing to grow my vegetables alongside my flowers in a perfectly pleasing muddle that is polyculture, I have found a way that allows the best of all worlds.”

And from Viva Editions, the publisher:

Alys Fowler, author of Garden Anywhere, shares her expertise on floral food and edible landscaping, providing tips and tricks on everything from seeds to compost to preservation. You’ll learn how to:

  •       Mix trees, edibles and flowers in one space
  •       Sustainably forage for wild food
  •       Plant the prettiest vegetables for container gardening
  •       Grow and brew comfrey for “liquid love”
  •       Cook deliciously hearty harvest dishes
  •       Make gifts from the garden: canned jams, chutneys and fruit liqueurs

Giveaway!  Viva Editions, is offering a copy of The Edible Garden to one lucky Friend for the Ride reader. To enter, please leave a comment before May 15. U.S. only, thanks.

Meet Alys and see her garden here:

 

 

Menopause

Vibrant Voices!

Vibrant Voices Top Blogger

 

I’m delighted to be a  Replens Vibrant Voices Top Blogger.

Ten bloggers were selected.

Now…

The contest is on to pick the Number One Blogger.

 

Cast Your Vote

If you ask me…

We’re all Number One!

I’m in great company.

To vote for Friend for the Ride…

Header

 

Find the ballot box here on Facebook: http://woobox.com/dja8bg

As a thank you for voting, Replens is offering free samples of their long-lasting vaginal moisturizer:

 

Replens

 

Thanks Replens! Very nice people with a great product.

 

Menopause

Fencing with Breast Cancer (and a Book Giveaway)

En Garde

A post by writer Ronnie Hammer:

I shivered in my thin, standard hospital gown as I lay on the table in an oncology ward, awaiting my first radiation treatment for breast cancer.

Everything I saw as I looked around terrified me: the huge, cold, threatening machines and the gowned, gloved, masked hospital doctors and nurses.

I felt alone and outnumbered. If only I could see a familiar face, hear a friendly voice or squeeze a supportive hand I’d feel so much better.

But no humans are permitted in the radiation room.

A sudden thought popped into my mind; if I couldn’t have the company of a real person, why not take a lesson from nursery school children and do what they do?

 I could invent my own private friend and protector.

Who should it be modeled after? Who should it look like? What should it do?

Perhaps my enchantment with “Upstairs Downstairs” influenced my choice, but I decided my pretend friend would be a six inch tall British gentleman. “I’ll give him a funny name that will force me to smile whenever I think of him.”

And so Percy Puddlethorpe was created.

Then I designed an outfit for him: a little waistcoat, ascot and appropriate bowler hat. He carried an umbrella under his arm.

And then it happened; the radiation machine was turned on. It was a startling, loud, irritating sound.Those noises seemed to Percy’s call to action. He sprung up and stood on top of the radiation machine. I was astonished as I watched Percy open his umbrella and float down on it.

At the point before my face , he paused, tipped his hat, smiled at me, and continued on his way. His sweet smile was so warm and infectious that it caused me to reflexively smile back at him.

His destination was to the cancer cells, where he joined the radiation rays in their partnership to defeat their common enemy.

Percy closed his umbrella, transforming it into a long, sleek shape of a sword. With the “umbrella sword” in his hand he assumed the “En Garde” position.

He jumped into action, stabbing the cancer cells, as he parried left and parried right, lunging, thrusting, advancing and retreating until all the cancer cells were gone. Defeated. Decimated. Percy emerged victorious.

I might be the first cancer patient who smiled, almost laughed and practically cheered when the machine was turned off.

I was elated; I felt like hugging Percy in appreciation for his victory.

And he came with me to every treatment. I never even had to call to remind him!

If you can believe a woman smiling at a pretend person that she invented, then you understand the reality that this vision had for me.

 Months later, when all the treatments and follow up doctors’ appointments were over, my husband and I were eating breakfast one morning. He looked up from his newspaper and said, “You were talking in your sleep last night.”

Really? What did I say?”

You said, ‘I love you, Percy.’ ”

Giveaway: For a chance to win Ronnie’s book, En Garde: My Battle with Breast Cancer, please leave a comment by May 1 saying you’d like to win! 

Ronnie

Ronnie Hammer’s essays have appeared in the Metropolitan Diary section of the New York Times. She has written for the Jewish News, The North Jersey Orchid Society Journal and Executive Female Magazine. She leads the Madison branch of Women Who Write and is co-editor of Goldfinch, the annual literary magazine it publishes. It has published three of her stories.

Ronnie was director of Power Presentations, a public speaking company, for 22 years. She lives in Morristown, NJ with her husband; their three grown children sought greener pastures.

Menopause

Guppies? Menopause? Yes!

Guppy Female_1

Wikipedia has a lot to say about menopause. Check out the article here.

Of all the menopausal tidbits, the one that splashed me right in the face is this:

GUPPIES GO THROUGH MENOPAUSE!!

And I quote:

“Menopause also has been reported in a variety of other vertebrate species including elephants,[129] short-finned pilot whales[130] and other cetaceans,[131][132] the guppy,[133] the platyfish, the budgerigar, the laboratory rat and mouse, and the opossum.”

Bless their tiny guppy hearts.

I had to find out more.

Guppyblog.com to the rescue!

In this post, “Do Guppies Go Through Menopause?” the blogger writes that his/her guppies definitely live another year or so after they stop reproducing.  (This fact has only been verified for guppies living in fish tanks.)

Now take in THIS tidbit, oh Friend for the Ride readers:

Menopausal guppies are bigger than guppies who are still reproducing.

HOWEVER…

Guppies in menopause grow longer  NOT fatter.  Their bellies stay the same size.

I’ve thought it might be nice to be a flying fish. Perhaps a stunning rainbow fish.

But I’ve never once wanted to be a guppy.

Now I’m considering choosing guppy for a next life.

Imagine gaining height in menopause (instead of shrinking) while maintaining one’s midsection.

I don’t know though.

We had guppies when I was little. I won a single guppy for coming in second in the Bible Verse Memory Contest. (I got beat out by the pastor’s son.)

That night, my guppy had babies. “Kids, I’m a grandmother!” my mom called upstairs.

Those guppies produced many generations. From my human eyes, life in the guppy tank didn’t hold many thrills.

We finally gave our guppies away when our newest cat couldn’t keep his paws out of the fish tank.

I think I’ll pass on the guppy life.

Guppy Female_1

But as a member of the Universal Sisterhood, I salute you, Guppy Girls!

Enjoy that fish food!