Menopause

Ropes! Beautiful Ropes!

Rope

I spotted this rope in a bin at Home Depot. I had no idea such beautiful rope existed. I uploaded the photo into WordPress right away, and it sat for a year, waiting for inspiration beyond its mere beauty. I’ve been at the end of my rope waiting for an idea to come for a post.

Until last week.

Grandson Mazen reported to his mom that unlike preschool, at a summer camp they don’t have to hold onto a rope when they walk as a group down the hall.

Ah, I thought, lucky Mazen, feeling the independence of walking like the big boys do.

Then Kath added, “But I think he misses it. I think he likes holding onto the rope.”

Our world pushes independence. Women of a certain age are supposed to be brave, bold, empowered.

I felt some of that bravery as I awaited cancer surgery this time last year.

But maybe that’s because I had beautiful ropes to hold onto.

Let’s hear if for the ropes! Thank you one and all.

Menopause

Dating in My Fifties Part Three: A Happy Ending!

wedding party

A post by my friend Kathy D’Ambrosia

If you have been a loyal reader of Barbara’s wonderful Friend for the Ride blog for at least a year and a half, then you may have read two earlier posts I wrote for her regarding the perils and pitfalls of online dating.

My first post (Oct. 19, 2013) mentioned the criteria I used in choosing men to date once I became single again after a long marriage. I also described what I thought was the “fatal flaw” in each man I dated.

My second post (Oct. 21, 2013) recounted my interesting encounter with “Nick the Scammer.”

After my experience with Nick, I took a brief hiatus from match.com. However, my adventurous spirit soon resurfaced, and I decided to plunge into the online dating jungle once again.

Michael, who claimed to live thirty minutes from me, emailed me via match.com in late Feb. 2014. When I replied to his email a few weeks later, he had just arrived in Australia on business. I thought, “Oh, no, not this again!!” (Nick the Scammer was supposedly posing in front of the Opera House in Sydney, Australia in the picture that accompanies my second post). What a coincidence! So I grilled Michael with questions only a local could answer. He answered all of them correctly; he was legitimate.

Michael and I emailed back and forth on a daily basis (long emails, like those a pen pal would write), for the two weeks he was in Australia. After he returned to the States, we had our first date on April 7, 2014 at my favorite Thai restaurant.

michael & me 4-7-14 001

The date was awesome, and the rest is history…..

We were married on April 18, 2015. Michael’s 16 year old son was his best man, and my 23 and 25 year old sons walked me down the aisle.

walking down aisle

It was a simple, but wonderful church wedding, followed by a fabulous honeymoon in New Orleans. Now we live in his house in the country, and I am very happy and content.

Here’s my advice to any single woman: online dating is a great way to meet men; just be careful, be smart, and keep your wits about you at all times. Don’t get discouraged….I persevered, and now I’m happily married!

us by trees

Kathy D’Ambrosia lives in Burgaw, NC and has two grown sons, one in Raleigh, NC and one in Tampa, FL. She sells printing and works part time as an innkeeper on Bald Head Island, NC on weekdays, while her husband, Michael, travels on business. She also continues to use her master’s degree in gerontology by serving as a consultant to a non-profit Aging in Place organization.

Menopause

Mirror, Mirror on the Bald Head Island Wall

Mirror

Mirror, mirror at the The Marsh Harbour Inn on Bald Head Island.

This bathroom has WAY better light than the bathrooms in my old house. I see in gory detail how much I’ve aged. The wrinkles. The dark circles. The age spots. Sometimes, I am astounded.

And so in a place I love the most, I gaze at myself in my worst light, at least on the outside.

Is it best to note the effects of aging? Breathe it in? Get it?

Or is it better to ignore, to not care, to float through these later years without any concern over wrinkles?

I meet women who don’t seem to give a flip. I read of others who go to great lengths (and pain and money) to try to maintain their youth.

Check out this article o“Beauty for Life: 6 Steps to Accepting Agingfrom the Oprah website and this article from WebMD on “The Art of Aging Gracefully.” 

And here’s a fascinating piece in Psychology Today by Jere Daniel, who writes: “Fear of aging is the single most powerful agent creating exactly what we fear.” In other words, we’re making ourselves even older by worrying about aging. Yikes! We’re sunk!

Since I can’t figure out how to handle looking old, I use the Bald Head mirror to help me slap on sunscreen and a bit of makeup, and I head out to soak up the beauty of the island.

What about you? Do you have aging beauty figured out yet?

View from Inn

Marsh Harbour Inn

Menopause

The Potty Trip of Potty Trips: Part Two

Carol Baldwin’s trip to the West and back continues. Thank you, Carol!

Women

Above,Worden’s Deli, Missoula, Montana.

Below, a sign announcing the restrooms at the Crab Pot in Bellvue, Washington.

The Crab Pot

At the Collective on Tap in Woodinville, Washington.

Jake’s Grill in Portland, Oregon.

Bitter Creek Ale House in Boise, Idaho. The ladies room.

Hers

And for the gentlemen.

Pissoir

From the Cherry Berry Self-serve Yogurt Bar in Farmington, Utah.

The Beaver Street Brewery in Flagstaff, Arizona. A picture near the ladies room.

IMG_4116

A hat over the door.

IMG_4113

And the door!

Rudy’s Barbecue Restaurant in Lubbock, Texas. The girls.

Trudy's

And the guys.

Rudy's

The Potty Trip of Potty Trips comes to an end.  The ladies room door of the Cane Garden Restaurant at The Villages in Central Florida.

Cane Garden Restaurant

Carol writes, “Creighton’s goal was to get to Seattle. The picture below was taken at a relative’s home just outside Seattle and proved to be the turning point for our trip. Fortunately, there were still more ladies room pictures to find on the trip back home! If you’re interested, I blogged about other aspects of this trip here–proving I didn’t just take pictures of potties along the way.”

Carol and Creighton

Carol Baldwin’s most recent book is Teaching the Story: Fiction Writing in Grades 4-8 (Maupin House, 2008). She is writing her first young adult novel, a multi-racial book set in Charlotte, NC in 1950, and has taught writing to teens and adults. When she’s not writing, you can find her playing or reading books to her grandchildren, or working on her golf game. Read her book reviews and writing tips a at www.carolbaldwinblog.blogspot.com. 

 

Ladies Room Doors

The Potty Trip of Potty Trips! Part One

From writer and blogger Carol Baldwin:

“My husband Creighton’s bucket-list dream was to drive out West and see the Northwestern states. Now that he is semi-retired, we had the time to do that. On the 7,579 mile trip (over 3 weeks) I enjoyed riding a variety of bike trails, admiring new landscapes, eating at local restaurants, and finding unique bathroom doors for Barbara’s blog. In fact, discovering these doors became like a treasure hunt. Where would I find the next one to send back East? But I’m afraid it’s become an obsession now. I can’t go into a new bathroom without bringing my phone….Help!”

Thank you, Carol for your wonderful contributions to our Ladies Room Door Art Series. I jumped every time I received an email, hoping it was another photo from you. Here are Carol’s doors, signs, and a few interior shots, all adding  up to the Potty Trip of Potty Trips!

From the Canon Brew Pub in Columbus, Georgia.

Canon Brew Pub

Colton’s Steakhouse in Springfield, Missouri.

“Sort of plain, ” Carol wrote, “but classic too:” The ladies room at the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum.

And look at the fun wallpaper inside!

Inside

On the exterior at Villa Park alongside the Arkansas River in Wichita.

Villa Park

In Broken Bow, Nebraska: Trotter’s Whoa and Go.

WhoaAnd the actual door.

FullSizeRender (5)

Carol found this cool table in the ladies room at the visitors center at the approach to the Black Hills. A sign on top reads: “Blue Stained Ponderosa Pine. Recovered and Crafted from a Mountain PIne Beetle Infested Tree. Black Hills National Forest.”

Table

Montana Brewing Company in Billings, Montana.

Montana Brewing Company

Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone

Stay Tuned for Part Two!

Carol Baldwin’s most recent book is Teaching the Story: Fiction Writing in Grades 4-8 (Maupin House, 2008). She is writing her first young adult novel, a multi-racial book set in Charlotte, NC in 1950, and has taught writing to teens and adults. When she’s not writing, you can find her playing or reading books to her grandchildren, or working on her golf game. Read her book reviews and writing tips a at www.carolbaldwinblog.blogspot.com
Carol in the West

 Photo: Carol smiles in front of one of the geysers in Yellowstone National Park.

Menopause

Thirty Lessons for Loving: A Giveaway!

Shortly before my mom died, she revisited the early years of her marriage. Turns out my grandmother wanted my parents to move in with her. “I knew our marriage wouldn’t last if we did,” Mom told me.

Whoa! Mom had never before implied that her marriage of 64 years could have been threatened.

So many times, kids know very little about the inner workings of their parents’ marriage, the real truth. So many times, we think the generation above us is different. Our issues couldn’t have been their issues.

Not true! In 30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships, and Marriage (Hudson Street Press, 2015), you’ll learn plenty from older Americans. I wish I’d had this book to read when I was dating, as a bride, a newlywed, and every year from then on. Holy Matrimony, did I learn some stuff!

One revelation is that it’s okay to walk away, politely, from a fight and pick it up later when emotions are calmer.That has never suited my solve everything right now mentality. In fact, on some issues, the “experts” (as the author calls the men and women he interviewed) advise us to give it a year. A whole year.They say many issues resolve themselves.

Not only is 30 Lessons for Loving an insightful and encouraging read for all of us (be we married, evaluating a failed relationship, or searching for a new one), but it makes a fabulous shower, wedding, or anniversary gift.

30 Lessons for Loving jacket

The publisher writes: Karl Pillemer’s 30 Lessons for Living first became a hit and then became a classic. Readers loved the sage advice and great stories from extraordinary older Americans who shared what they wish they had known when they were starting out. Now, Pillemer returns with lessons on one of the most talked- about parts of that book — love, relationships, and marriage.

Based on the most detailed survey of long married people ever conducted, 30 Lessons forLoving shows the way to lifelong, fulfilling relationships. The author, an internationally renowned gerontologist at Cornell University, offers sage advice from the oldest and wisest Americans on everything from finding a partner, to deciding to commit, to growing old together.

Along the way, the book answers questions like these: How do you know if the person you love is the right one? What are the secrets for improving communication and reducing conflict? What gets you through the major stresses of marriage, such as child-rearing, work, money issues, and in laws? From interviews with 700 elders, 30 Lessons for Loving offers unique wisdom that will enrich anyone’s relationship life, from people searching for the right partner to those working to keep the spark alive after decades together.

Filled with great stories, wise observations, and useful advice, 30 Lessons for Loving is destined to become another classic.

Giveaway: For a chance to win a copy of 30 Lessons for Loving, simply enter a comment by July 10 saying you’d like to be the winner. U.S. and Canada only, thanks!

Pillemer author photo cr Dede Hatch

Karl Pillemer, PhD, author of 30 Lessons for Loving, is an internationally renowned gerontologist whose research examines how people develop and change throughout their lives. Dr. Pillemer is professor of human development at Cornell University and founder of the Cornell Institute forTranslational Research on Aging. He has authored five books, including 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans, and more than a hundred scientific publications, and has spoken widely throughout the world on issues of successful aging, family relationships, and elder care. He lives in upstate New York.

Learn more about Karl Pillemer and the book in this video:

To share your lesson for loving, visit the book’s site here.

Follow the author on Facebook and Twitter. Find links to great articles both places!

The bride and groom at the top of the post graced my mom and dad’s wedding cake in 1946. When my turn came, Mom took a bit of paint and changed the hair color, turning the bride and groom into Cliff and me. My girls, sadly, refused the plaster of Paris couple and opted for a more modern look atop their cakes.

Grandchildren, Grandmother, Grandparents, Menopause

Grandma Update: Peppa Pig!

The Pigs Eat Breakfast

My grandson Maze, who will be three in September, introduced me to Peppa Pig. I’m nuts over Peppa! She’s British, and she’s just the sort of friendly, inquisitive, upbeat pig you’d love to have move in next door. Learn more about Peppa on her official website and in this Wiki article.

Peppa

Peppa’s family includes a little brother named George, Mommy and Daddy Pig, and Granny and Grandpa Pig. Peppa’s got loads of friends and a splendid teacher, Madame Gazelle. (You can see Madame Gazelle below, arms stretched wide.) Wiki tells me Madame Gazelle once played in a rock group called “The Rocking Gazelles.” That I didn’t know!

But I do know plenty about Peppa and her world, mostly in the creative and fun ways it intersects with Mazen’s world.

At Firehouse

I love watching him play with the figures. I’m allowed to make them move and talk too, but woe to anyone who messes with the figurines once Maze decides they are set.

A few weeks ago, we visited Charlottesville for more playing with Peppa AND a trip to Toys R Us, our first together. Maze got to choose one toy. He picked the Peppa Pig Camper Van, which, BTW, was a chunk cheaper at Toys R Us than Amazon.

Camper

Toys R Us

We were as happy as Peppa on holiday until the next morning, when Maze, a cough and cold setting in, couldn’t get the Peppa figures to sit how he wanted them to in the camper van. I jumped up to assist.

“GO AWAY GRAMMY!”

That stung.

I was tempted to remind Mazen who paid for the the camper van, but decided to take higher ground. I did remind myself that I’m many times his senior, and therefore know that tempers sometimes flare and loved ones get hurt.

But it still stung, especially since Cliff and I needed to hit the road a few minutes later. I wondered what Peppa’s Granny would say if Peppa treated her that way. I suspect she’d take it calmly as the English seem to do.

I’m learning that I’m not always going to be Grammy the Rescuer or Grammy the Adored. That’s not my job. My job is to love that little boy with all I’ve got, even if he pushes me away with a firm voice.

But I hope Maze lets me play with his Peppa figurines on my next visit. I want to ask Madame Gazelle what it’s like to sing in a rock band.

Madame Gazelle