Life, Menopause

The Pink Postcard! Rational Emotive Therapy

My mom’s friend, Dr. Rolf Muuss, a psychologist, keeps this postcard on his desk. Translated from German, his native language, the card says:

A bad mood is a mistake in thinking.

Rolf, who was a professor for many years at Goucher College in Baltimore and lectured worldwide, taught me, on a recent visit to my mom’s retirement center, about Rational Emotive Therapy.

Stated simply, this is the idea that we can replace negative and sometimes irrational thoughts with more positive, rational ones.

Rolf will tell you that the idea of changing our thinking goes back to the ancient philosophers. Years ago, he began collecting quotes across the ages. He can recite them for you, in his wonderful German accent, if you stop in to pay him a visit.

But until then, I’ll post some lines from his collection here:

With our thoughts we make the world.


The art of living wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.

William James

We cannot forbid thoughts to fly in and out of our heads like birds. However, it is entirely up to us whether we allow them to build their nests there.

Martin Luther

Do not worry about the past, because you will spend the rest of your life in the future.

German Proverb

Man is not what circumstances make of him, but what he makes of the circumstances that make him.

John Paul Sartre

Not what we experience, but how we perceive what we experience determines our fate.

Maria von Ebner Eschenbach

So the next time your mind starts spinning negative, upsetting thoughts,  especially when the Great Pause is sending you into hormonal havoc, see what you can do to flip those thoughts into positive ones.

For in the words of the professor’s bright pink postcard:

A bad mood is a mistake in thinking.


Guest Post: Herman the Hormone Speaks Out

A guest post by Herman the Hormone. In the spirit of fairness, I agreed to give  him some time on Friend for the Ride.

Hello. My name is Herman. I am a hormone.  Before we begin, you might note that even though my name, Herman, has the word MAN in it, it begins with the word HER.

I don’t really hate you ladies. But it’s my job to put you on edge.  See the long feelers on top of my head? That’s what I use to jiggle you around, make you jumpy, make you grumpy. But ladies, IT’S MY JOB.

Note the ridges on my back. See how they go up and down like a roller coaster? They have a special potion in them that I let loose. That’s what puts you gals in a good mood one minute, a bad one the next. Once again, all in the line of duty.

And look at my big beautiful eyes. I use them to keep a watch on your innards. If things are going too smoothly for you, I signal my cronies, who signal other cronies, and we throw a few more curves your way. Some of these include hot flashes, period weirdness, insomnia, food cravings, and dry skin.

Gals, I’m sorry I have to do all this, I admit, but it’s all outlined for me in The Manuel of Hormonal Procedures for Creating Havoc in the Lives of Women. (Oh and by the way some of us ARE WOMEN.  We all follow the same guidelines.)

But this is the main reason I asked to write a guest post: I’ve HAD it  with Barbara (and other ladies) making snide comments about me.

I’ve never spent a day watching pelicans dive into the ocean.

I’ve never read a page turner of  a novel.

I’ve never tasted a lemon meringue pie.

I just work at being the best hormone I can be.

Thank you for hearing me out.



Photo: Amazingly, Herman is a twin to this grasshopper, found on the cover of Big Book of Bugs by DK Publishing.

Menopause, Mood, Perimenopause, PMS

Attack of the Venom Hormones

I had a fab time taking photos at the North Carolina State Fair this year.   Every new sight was a blog post possibility!

But it was husband Cliff who first spotted Spider Girl.  “Take her!  You’ve got to take her!”

Hmm, could he possibly think that women rattled by hormones morph into Spider Girls?

Double hmm, could he possibly think his sweet and perfect wife has ever turned into Spider Girl?

Tell me it isn’t so!

Well, maybe once or twice.




I don’t understand the psychology or physiology of hormones.  Yet if the instant the words come out, you say to yourself, “Was that me talking?” you can be pretty sure hormonal spiders are at work.

But look carefully at Spider’s Girl’s face.  Her expression isn’t mean or bitchy or witchy.  In fact, she looks troubled.

Hormonal meanness is indeed troubling, for those who strike with its nasty venom and those who receive it.

Perhaps the best solution is for Spider Girl to wrap her eight furry arms around her victim and say she’s sorry.  If she’s lucky, the victim will respond by wrapping at least two arms back.

Photo:  I don’t know if this is a marquee for a ride or a  spook house.  Next year at the fair, we’ll try to make friends with Spider Girl and find out!