Menopause, Mood, Stress

Picnics: Gain Strength!

 Godey's Ladies

Menopausal moodiness can  sure make you sad. 

The events of life can too sometimes.

Sarah Josepha Hale, famed editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, knew something about sadness and about techniques for overcoming gloom and grief.

In Sarah’s day, a new mode of dining was coming into fashion in the United States:


Sarah wielded her powerful editorial pen to promote this trend. Her wise words are:

“We gain strength by touching the earth.”

Sarah Hale


Pack a picnic in honor of Sarah Josepha Hale and find your own strength, thankfully, renewed!


Here’s a picnic perfect dish that would meet Sarah’s approval:

Summer Tortellini Salad

one pound tortellini, cooked

1 red bell pepper chopped

1 medium zucchini, chopped

2 spring onions, chopped

1/4 cup chopped black olives

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

1/2 cup Italian dressing

1/2 cup shredded or cubed cheese, your choice

Mix all and refrigerate.

Read about the history of the picnic here.

Top Photo: The Fashion Pages of Godey’s Lady’s Book were so popular that ladies framed them to decorate their walls. This one is from my collection.

Second Photo: Sarah Josepha Hale, the first female editor of a major magazine and the poet who wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” lost her beloved husband David when they were still young. The mother of five, Sarah supported her children by writing and editing.  She wore widow’s black for the rest of her life but lived a life of gratitude and vigor.  For decades, she campaigned to have Thanksgiving declared a national holiday, and won!

Third Photo: The cover of Godey’s Lady’s Book, June 1867.

Fourth Photo: I found this fine basket on the website of Victoriana Magazine.

Healthy Living Apps:  Just out from Healthline:  the best Healthy Living Apps.  I wonder what Sarah would say. Thumbs up, I bet.

Menopause, Menopause Symptoms, Mood

Ever Green Menopausal You

Evergreen.  Since ancient times, a symbol of life in the midst of the cold of winter. Vibrancy.  Color. Renewal.

For those of you who sometimes feel frozen with the sadness, nervousness, and grumpiness that menopausal moodiness can bring, take heart in the symbol of the evergreen.

You’re still vibrant.  You’re just feeling some chilly hormones.

Your trademark colors are there.  They’re just covered up at the moment by a blanket of uninvited snow.

You’ll emerge from the snowy tunnel renewed.

You just have to weather the ice and wind (even though they may come in the form of some hot sweaty moments).

Albert Camus, whom I know best from my days of reading L’etranger  (The Stranger) in French class, wrote,  “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

Stand close to an evergreen if you’re troubled this winter.

Touch those vibrant branches.

Take in the color.

Smell the hope.

Menopausal moodiness doesn’t last forever.

Green days are a’coming.

Photo:  I took this picture on Bald Head Island. I love evergreens, but I’m not so good at distinguishing spruce from balsam from arbor vitae.  Anyone know what kind of evergreen this is?

Hot Flashes, Menopause, Menopause Symptoms, Mood

From the Muck of Menopause

Menopause is mucky. Periods so weird they would scare a lady swamp monster.  Breasts that feel like water balloons ready to pop.   Sleep?  In a bed all night long?  Impossible!

The emotional stuff is even more mucky.  Muck . Muck.  Muck.

When I walk on the marsh boardwalk at Bald Head Island, I get really close to the muck.  The muddy swampy squishy kind of  muck.  I like to lean down and study it.

Then I look up again and see the expanse of marsh in front of me.  What beautiful grasses rise from the muck!

I’m not as lovely as the  marsh, and  I’m certainly not that fresh and green, but from the muck of menopause grows me.

And from the muck of menopause grows you.  Wiser.  Tougher.   Braver.  Smarter.  And even though my kids (or yours) might not agree, we’re cooler too in our own way, despite any hot flashes.

When my daughter Laura was in first grade, she loved a book in which the barnyard critters proclaim, “O lovely mud!”

I won’t go so far as to say, “O lovely menopausal muck,” but I take heart when I think about the green swaying grasses of the marsh.

Menopause, Menopause Symptoms, Mood, Permenopause

Menopause and Self-doubt

Since first grade, I’ve loved to write.  I began with stories for my dolls, moved to a column in my high school paper, and then published books for kids and adults.

In 2006, I began studying for an MFA in Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.  I relished the work I did for this degree, from the critical essays to the picture books to the novel I completed as my final creative thesis.  I graduated on a cold January afternoon (Vermont knows cold!), warmed up and ready to take on the world with my newly honed skills.

Then WHAM!

I couldn’t write.  I didn’t write.  My mind spun with negative thoughts about my talent and my future as an author.  I hit a wall of self-doubt and discouragement.  For a year, I barely composed anything but emails and shopping lists.

Like the sky opening up after a morning of  gloom, my despondence lifted a year later.  Soon I was at the keyboard again, pounding away, working on a new novel.  That’s when I put it all together and figured out my year of self-doubt was brought on by the hormonal roller coaster of menopause.

I tell this story not for sympathy.  As I said, I’m now pounding the keys (not sure how great the words are, but I’m cranking them out).

I tell the story because  self-doubt is one of the symptoms of menopausal moodiness, and I wish I had known.  I don’t know how much that would have changed things, but knowledge, sometimes, can be a chunk of the menopausal battle.

So spread the word!

Photo:  Thanks go to Facebook  for the upbeat graphic.

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