Monthly Archives: October 2014

Menopause Tips Straight from a Witch’s Mouth



“Menopause,” the witch hissed, shaking her broom. “Nothing to it.”

“Really?” I asked. “You’ve got the magic potion? Do share!”

She pointed a snarly finger my way. “You foolish blogger! There’s no potion for menopause!” Her face softened a bit. “But here are some tips.”

1.  Looking old? Green masks age spots. Try it.

2. Feeling pudgy?  Black is slimming to all of us.

3.  Kids getting on your nerves?  Call them “My pretties” and watch them scatter.

4. Man getting on your nerves? Make some reference to a “a cold witch’s tit” and see him scatter too.

5. Feeling teary? Toughen up. Think witch-like thoughts.

6.  Bad hair day? Cover at least some of it with a stylish pointed hat.

7. Nothing for dinner? Throw the contents of your pantry into a cauldron and stir.

8. Mad chocolate cravings? When a kid in a costume knocks on your door and says, “Trick or treat,” grab his or her candy bag.

9. Night sweats? Use your broomstick to take a spin through the cool night air.

10. Mood swings! Relax. Who doesn’t want to be a witch?

Witch's Face

My Cancer Story: Presents!



My friends showered me with presents as I recovered from endometrial cancer surgery this summer. Thank you all again!

At the top of the post, homemade cookies with the world’s most delicious icing. They’re too beautiful to eat, but I gobbled them up faster than I’ll ever admit.

An angel to watch over me, the Tree Angel of Good Health


Earrings made of Italian glass by artist Chris Trienens

Judy's Earrings

Hand cream that smells like heaven

Hand Cream

Delicious fruit

Tony Vitrano Fruit

Soap in a box so lovely I’m displaying it in my powder room


A bee ornament in honor of my childhood nickname, Buzz. She hangs in my kitchen, where she keeps me company with her merry buzzing.


Tea. A balm for body and soul


The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones. What a perfect present for a menopause blogger! Alas, I’d already reviewed Sandra Loh’s book on Friend for the Ride. I’m glad to mail this copy to the first person who requests it. My email is on the right.


Cake! One of my true reasons for living (which my friend knew oh so well)

Lemon Cake

Roses in a lovely shade of pink


The world’s most elegant chocolates from Matthew’s Chocolates here in Hillsborough


A gift card with instructions to purchase reading material for the days I’d spend recovering

Gift Card

A clever tote bag in an Old World print

A blue nightgown, more fit for a princess than this menopausal lady


A novel that helped me pass hours enmeshed in the jungle of the Amazon (and made me very happy to be stuck on my own couch)

State of Wonder

Italian Windows by artist Bill Gramley. When Cliff gave me the picture, he said,”This is in hopes you’ll be fine, and we’ll take that trip to Italy.” I’m ready!


What touched me most about the gifts  is that they’re so different, so creative, and so personal. They gave me lots of ideas for ways to cheer up a sick friend.

Anyone else have a favorite gift you received when you were recovering from illness or injury?

What about a gift you like to give?

Downsizing: Journal’s End



A post by writer Frances Wood: 

My grandmother kept journals for decades, written in code – a shorthand she had learned back in 1917 or so, long obsolete. I always wondered what was in those journals, and even if I might someday be able to decipher them and finally learn all the family secrets.

Until she burned them.

I don’t know why. She was probably downsizing. In her seventies, perhaps.

I felt bereft. All those secrets, lost.

I felt that way until this summer, when I calculated I had perhaps a hundred pounds of highly flammable paper in my attic – my journal, dating back to high school. And not just my journal, but greeting cards and letters – some from that same grandmother.

And I realized: I don’t need all that paper up there. The contents are also stored in my head. So I began going through plastic bin after plastic bin, and I purged my attic of paper. But at the same time, I refreshed some of those memories in my mind.



I am finally old enough to share in Grandmother’s wisdom. Some secrets are best left behind. Allow ancient gossip to fade. Let the future be unburdened.

Frances Wood is the author of When Molly Was a Harvey Girl, Daughter of Madrugada, and Becoming Rosemary.

Frances and I have been tracking each other’s writing careers for several decades now. When I told her how brave I thought she was to discard the journals, Frances said, “I didn’t feel brave. I felt lighter. I already am my experience-I didn’t need all that extra weight to prove it.”

To learn more about Frances Wood and her writing, visit her website, Frances M.


Howling at the Moon


Moon Rise

Cliff and I attended a Howl at the Moon Party last week on Bald Head Island.

Red pepper crab soup; appetizers and cookies;  beer; a bagpiper; and sparking conversation with Margot and John, a couple we met at the party, made it a night worth howling about (happy howling, that is).

Then it hit me. I’d never ever seen a moonrise. How’s that for saving some new experiences for your menopausal years?

When I was a little girl, I was terrified of the moon. “No moon!  No moon!” I’d shout. My parents had to close the curtains in my bedroom so not a speck of moon peeked through.

Look at me now! Partying in the moonlight!

We have touchstones in life. The moon is for me, as I suspect it may be for you, one of them. It’s a quirky ball that lives above our heads, and even on a cloudy night or if  it only shows a sliver, it’s there. And when the moon laughs in bright orange or displays cheddar cheese patterns or puts on a show over the ocean, we’re delighted to be among  its admiring earthlings.

During every full moon, Patti Winker’s post, “The Moon and The Menses,” gets lots of views. Here’s the link. Women and the moon go way back!


The ancients believed the moon mirrors the life of a woman: maiden, mother, and crone, the moon in its new, full, and fading forms.


But when I stood on the beach and howled with the others, I didn’t feel like a crone at all.