Aging, Memory, Menopause

What About You? The Girl is Mother of the Woman

Menopause often sends you back.

Way back.

To your girlhood.

Since The Great Pause has set in, I’m spending more time reflecting on my early years.

But now is good!

I love writing this blog.

More than any job or hobby, ever.

But about my youth.

In high school I wrote for the school paper.

I had my own column, which I loved writing too.

A few days ago, I dug out the old issues.


My words  in The Talisman  stopped me in my looking-at-old-stuff tracks.

My column reads a lot like my blog posts.

That’s either good, since I wrote pretty well in high school

Or bad

Since I’m forty years wiser and should be a  better writer now.

But I sound almost the same.

I guess the girl really is mother of the woman.

(To paraphrase William Wordsworth’s “The child is father of the man.”)

What about you?

Even though the years have swirled by, are you, in some ways, still the same girl you were long ago?

And does that make you sad, happy, or a bit of both?

The touches of red in this post trace back to one of my favorite elementary school riddles:

What’s black and white and red all over?

The newspaper!

I think I learned the riddle from this book, one of my favorite of all time, Bennett Cerf’s Book of Riddles.

 I wish I still had my old copy. Then I could check to see if I’m right.  I do know for very sure, it’s got this one:

What’s big, red, and eats rocks?

A big, red, rock eater!

Bennet Cert's Big Book of Riddles

Memory, Menopause, Menopause Symptoms

Still Alice: Early-onset Alzheimer’s (and a Book Giveaway!)

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A  post by my friend and book club devotee Susan Bellinger:

One of the most aggravating symptoms of menopause is memory loss, or at least it is for me.  But I know I’m not the only one who worries that I’m “losing it” or that Alzheimer’s Disease is creeping up.

My book club recently read Lisa Genova’s Still AliceAlice is 50 years old,  the mother of 3 grown children, a loving wife, and a well respected professor of cognitive psychology at Harvard.  Alice seemingly has it all.

However, her life is becoming increasingly disrupted by forgetfulness and occasional disorientation.

Alice becomes very worried by her symptoms but clings to the hope that they are caused by menopause because the alternatives are too disturbing to even think about.

Alice’s world is shattered when she visits her family doctor:

        “Can estrogen replacement help with the memory problems?”

        “…  I don’t think your memory problems are due to menopause.”

       The blood rushed from Alice’s head.  Precisely the words she’d dreaded and only recently dared to      consider.  With that one, professionally uttered opinion, her tidy and safe explanation shattered.  Something was wrong with her, and she wasn’t sure that she was ready to hear what it was. She fought the impulses growing louder insider her, begging her to either lie down or get the hell out of that examining room immediately.

Genova’s best-selling novel takes the reader through the diagnostic process, and we see how Alice and her family deal with her early-onset Alzheimer’s and its progress.

What makes this book unique is that it’s told by Alice herself, the first book that lets a reader enter the mind of a person who has the disease.

The author, who has a PhD in neuroscience from Harvard, spent over a year researching the disease and talking in depth to Alzheimer’s patients.

When I led the discussion of Still Alice during book club, I was shocked that the majority of our club had someone close to them who had the disease or some form of dementia.

But I shouldn’t have been surprised because, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 8 older American have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

I highly recommend Still Alice. It’s a first rate page-turner, a warm and loving story of a family coming to grips with the unexpected, and ends on a hopeful note.

And, as a bonus, it gives us valuable, up to date information on the disease and treatments.

Listen to the author, Lisa Genova, tell how the novel began:

Giveaway:  To win a copy of Lisa Genova’s Still Alice, leave a comment by April 2 saying you’d like to be the winner.

Susan Bellinger and  her husband Dwight live in Hillsborough, NC and both have mothers with memory problems.  Their two daughters have grown up and are now living in Vermont and Prague, Czech Republic.

Photo Below:  Susan’s mom read to her when she was a child and continued the tradition with Susan’s daughters.  Here she reads to her granddaughter, Gwen, now 22.

Jean and Gwen copy

Memory, Menopause

Memory Match! Another Cool Game from Cranium Crunches

Matching Game

Click on the picture above to play the Friend for the Ride Memory Match Game, brought to you by the brilliant Ruth Curran of Cranium Crunches.

You can play on three levels.

Ready, set, go!

To play more games to keep that mind happily crunching away, click here.


Thanks Ruth!

Memory, Menopause

The Lost Toys: Baby Sue and a Canvas Print Giveaway

Am I the only one who wonders about her lost toys?

The doll in the picture is Baby Sue. She was the first baby doll I remember.

I loved her so much I gave her baths, slept with her, took her on baby carriage rides, and washed and ironed, with my mom’s help, her clothes.

I still remember how flexible she was, with bendable rubber legs and arms; the intent expression in her eyes; and the the way her painted on brown hair never got mussed up.

So why did I abandon her?

I know I moved on to fancier dolls: Chatty Cathy, Tiny Tears, Kissy, Barbie, and a nutty doll named Shrinking Violette.

And my mom, like most moms, was anxious to clear out, to share our old toys with kids who needed them.

But in recent years, I’ve thought about Baby Sue more and more.

At best, she’s in someone’s collection somewhere. I don’t like to think of the worst.

At least I have this picture!

And when Easy Canvas Prints approached me about a free canvas for me and one as a giveaway, it was an easy choice whose picture was going on that canvas.

I miss you Baby Sue!

What about you?

What toys would you love to have back  again?

Giveaway:  The good folks at Easy Canvas Prints are offering  a reader a free10 by 8 canvas print. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment saying you’d like to win (by September 3 at noon E.S.T.)  Due to shipping costs, the winner must live in the continental U.S.

Need any cool signs. check out their other sites: Signs on the Cheap,  Banners on the Cheap,  and Magnets on the Cheap.

Here’s the portrait  that Easy Canvas made for me. I love it!  Of course yours doesn’t need to go on a shelf. They’re great for walls, too.  (It looks even better in real life. The photo I posted below doesn’t pick up the texture of the actual canvas.)