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.

Aging, Celebrations, Menopause, Midlife, Stress

My Hundredth Post! Queen for a Day

In honor of my hundredth post, I am crowning each and every one of you Queen for a Day!  Thank you so much for reading Friend for the Ride.

Thank you for your comments.

Thank you for your guest posts.

Thank you for reading even if you are as silent  as a guard at Buckingham Palace.

Do you remember the old TV show, Queen for a  Day?  I used to watch it with my great-aunt, who was nuts over it.

I  keep thinking I’m going to pick some ordinary day and pronounce myself queen, not in a bossy way, but in an I have permission to just goof and not feel guilty way.

The older I am, the more I feel pulled between getting things accomplished and easygoing fun. They say this is a classic problem among women–that we are slow to pamper ourselves and when we do, we feel guilty. Perhaps men actually feel the same way.

Holidays are meant to encourage us to relax, but between the planning and executing of holiday festivities, relaxation often flies out the palace windows.

What about you?  Are you getting better at indulging your Inner Queen as you grow older?

Here’s a hundred royal wishes that we truly learn to spoil ourselves before we’re a hundred!

Photos at the top and bottom: It’s fun to look through this old booklet and see the pictures of a very young queen taken on Elizabeth’s Coronation Day, June 2, 1953.  Photos in the middle are from Queen for a Day.

Children, Life, Menopause, Music, Shopping, Stress

Feeling Rattled?

The Great Big Bad Hormones of PMS or Menopause sure can rattle a girl.  And of course sometimes life itself adds to the clatter.

I read once that when things are so crazy you feel like a Mexican Jumping Bean,to try some slow motion.  Pretend you’re a turtle or a sloth.  (Well actually, the pretending part is my idea.)

SLOWLY put the dress back on the hanger.  The mug  in the dishwasher.  The cell phone in the charger.  Think of the nun at the abbey gate in The Sound of Music:  “Slowly, Sister, slowly.”

S….. L….. O….. W….. L…..Y

Doing a chore or even part of one in slow motion is hard, almost painful.  It goes against the core of our efficient adult selves.   But in those slow moments, even if they only last a few seconds, you feel life differently.

You remember the excellent dinner you enjoyed while wearing the dress. Smile about the silly mug your boss gave you in December.  Relive the last phone call you received:  some super cool news from  your son.

Rattles don’t calm babies.  They set them laughing, wiggling, and kicking, but have you ever tried to rush a baby or a toddler?  Can’t really be done.  They must know something we know-it-all grownups don’t.

Feel the calm of slow motion the next time you’re stressed.  And in that instant, hear the rattle of your life silence itself, even if just for one slow, peaceful moment.

Photo:  Since I have a grandchild on the way, I have rattles on my mind–the good kind.  I don’t think I’ll let the baby play with this antique celuloid model.  That rattle will remain on a high shelf, but if Baby wants brand new rattles, Grandma will take them off the toy store shelf faster than you can say “Do-re-mi.”

Quotes from The Sound of Music In a slow moment, check out these quotes from the movie!  I was amazed how many lines I knew.

Celebrations, Stress

All the Holiday Nuts in the Family

The holidays can bring out good nuttiness.  Holiday revelers don’t seem to complain about that.

And the holidays can bring out some pretty annoying and troublesome nuttiness too.

(I’ll pause while you fill in names and examples.)

Sometimes, do you feel like you’re celebrating with a bowl of mixed nut relatives?   (Yes, mixed, because they’re not all nutty in the same way–if they were, they’d be easier to figure out.)

Oh but wait?  Maybe we’re the nutty ones?  Tell us it isn’t so!

Here are two suggestion for coping with holiday nuttiness, no matter who the culprits are:

One is to model your attitude on my friend Rudie the Reindeer above.  He comes out of the attic every year and graces us with his laid back  yet pleasant demeaner.  Rudie doesn’t react.  He doesn’t judge.  He doesn’t argue.  He doesn’t even roll his eyes.  And yet he still seems to have a jolly old time.

The other solution is to mix up a whole bowl of these delicious Holiday Nuts.

When someone starts acting a little off, announce, “You look like you need a Holiday Nut to go along with your nutty behavior.”

And if you feel your own nuttiness peaking, have a few  yourself!

Holiday Nuts

Toast a pound or so of pecans in the oven for twenty minutes at 350.  Watch them.  They can go nuts on you and burn quickly.

Meanwhile, beat two egg whites until stiff with one cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Let the toasted nuts cool for a few minutes, and then toss them in the egg white mixture.  Spread as a single layer onto a baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for about thirty minutes until they are golden brown.

What would the holidays be without holiday nuts?  People and confections!

Rudie the Reindeer: About twenty-five years ago, my sister-in-law Mary Ellen made Rudie for us out of a baby’s old sleeper, gray socks, brown corduroy, felt, and stuffing.  He adds dignity to our celebration every year.  Thanks, Rudie, for putting up with our nutty family.