Posts made in May, 2011

Monday Musings: crank this one up for size

Posted by on May 30, 2011 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

Stumbled across this silly headline in my weekly perusing of interwebz:

Dr. Oz Explains Why We Get Cranky

A few gems in this article, menopausal-worthy, probably bubble bursting too but it’s not Wednesday.

My favourites?

Stay away from fatty foods. Get more sleep. Avoid too much caffeine.

Sound medical advice or bollocks?


p.s. “Progesterone is like valium for the brain.”





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I got all my sisters with me…redux

Posted by on May 27, 2011 in Inspiration, mind-body therapy | 0 comments


Two years ago, I posted a piece about the importance of friendships and social support to our lives. Researchers agree that during the menopausal transition, the ability to nurture and nourish ties, coupled with overall satisfaction with that work, significantly predicts well-being.

A subset of 334 women from the Seattle Midlife Women’s Health Study were evaluated over a period of 8 years to determine the association between factors such as frequency and severity of hot flashes, hormone levels, number of negative life events and resources pertaining to mastery over and satisfaction with social support and overall well-being.

Study findings showed that for the majority, the menopause transition itself was not a predictor of well-being. Rather, when considered within a broader life context, one primary factor stood out – personal resources as they pertain to social support.

Undoubtedly, menopause can wreak havoc on our lifestyles, the way that we feel about ourselves and at times, the ability or inability to cope. ‘Tending and befriending,’  nurturing our personal relationships,  communicating to one another when we need help, finding a shoulder to cry on or simply offering a hug not only reaffirms who we are but can also provide an essential foundation to see us through.

One of my favorite Aristotle quotes is this one:

What is a friend? A single soul in two bodies.

Last week I made an effort to cherish my soul. I met one of my best friends in Barcelona and we explored the city together, drank, ate, indulged in shopping, art and architecture, talked, cried, laughed and just were. It was nourishing, empowering, refreshing and mood boosting.

So, ask yourselves: when was the last time you cherished your soul?

Why not call or email a friend? Reach out to a family member you’ve not spoken to in awhile. Say hello to that neighbor you’ve been meaning to talk to but never find the time to. Mostly, take the time to well, take the time. You’ll be glad you did.

I sure am…

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Wednesday Bubble: Menopause in the City?

Posted by on May 25, 2011 in Inspiration | 1 comment


Mr. Big has just left Carrie, who’s gained 50 lbs, for another woman. Charlotte is quickly pursuing her post-menopause dreams. And Miranda has finally come out and destroyed her family.

Yes, it’s menopause in the city.

But, it’s not the only tragedy in the ‘City that Never Sleeps.’ In fact, there’s a new book in town: Menopause in Manhattan. And while I’ve not yet gotten my hot flash hands on the pages, and am all for self-realization regardless of age, I’m not sure what to make of the title. Or why menopause in Manhattan is any different than menopause in any other metropolitan or non-metropolitan city.

Billed as a novel that “will challenge women over a certain age to continue to pursue their dreams,’ Menopause in Manhattan promises to meld the worlds of New York publishing, interior design, fashion and food and I assume, flashes into a story of the trials and tribulations of a woman trying to put her life together after it falls apart.

So, if I am to understand this correctly, menopause (and turning 50) marks the time when our lives start to fall apart, when we stop pursuing our dreams and goals, when we stop living? In other words, the cessation of reproduction is, for all intents and purpose, a woman’s rapture. And if she fails to realize the dangers, she may fall into fires of hell rather than rise to the heavens of the occasion?

Hmmm. Seems like only a few weeks ago, I was shouting to the universe that I wasn’t dead yet. And having just marked that turning point in style, I have to say that I still pretty much feel the same. Nothing much has changed, except a number. My dreams, goals and drive remain the same. And despite a few life challenges, I don’t believe that either transition I’m undergoing is going to result in less me, only more me.

Bubble-worthy??? You betcha!

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Musings for a Monday: Menopause. Be Very Afraid.

Posted by on May 23, 2011 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Don’t let the change of life torture you with fear!

I stumbled across this vintage ad for Mrs. Lydia E. Pinkham’s vegetable compound for menopausal symptoms. Evidently, Mrs. Pinkham had a history of brewing home remedies to combat menstrual and menopausal woes. Among its many ingredients (pleurisy root, life root, emmenagogue, fenugreek, unicorn root), it also contained black cohosh, which does raise the question of whether it was truly snake oil or a modern miracle?

Regardless, a simple musing for a Monday.

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A celebratory year… Guest post by Laura Bowman

Posted by on May 20, 2011 in Inspiration | 2 comments

I’ve run across two ponds to get away from turning 50. But evidently, you can run but you can’t hide. At least according to my friend Laura, who’s agreed to guest post while I’m gone.

Enjoy and thanks Laura!

It’s been a big year for celebrations; mostly 50th birthday celebrations.  Yup, the big five-oh.  Fifty, freakin’ fifty.  I’m a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to celebrations, so it’s also been an uncomfortable year.  Discomfort has found me wondering why we have to make such a big deal about birthdays and other milestones.  Much to my surprise, my pondering has landed me on the favorable side of the whole celebration issue.  Here’s why. Forget year, it’s been a whole decade for disappointments – Disappointments in career, disappointing health news, disappointments in relationships.  If it really is true that negative emotions impact our health, shorten our life span, etc., then I need a big ole load of counteractive medicine.

I don’t think I’m in the minority here.  As we grow older, the stakes are higher.  We become parents, bosses, and caretakers.  Our knees fail.  Our memory goes.   We’re passed over for a promotion.  By someone younger. The calls come in.  Someone is very sick, and it’s not a cold.  Some days, there aren’t enough cupcakes in the world to make us feel better.

So on those occasions when we mark an important event, be it a birthday or just making it through a work week, it seems important to form some sort of ceremony that lifts our hearts and makes us smile, or better yet, laugh.

It shouldn’t be news to you that laughter appears to really be the best medicine.  If the Mayo Clinic is to be believed  laughter not only reduces stress, long term laughter may improve immune systems and ease pain!  (There, that’s my little health plug, since this is, after all, a health related blog.)

However, the health angle isn’t enough to get me psyched about a celebration.  For me, the attraction of the celebration is to focus on something positive and to create a memory that will get me through hard times.  I want reasons to laugh hard, from my belly, until tears are rolling down my eyes.  I want the intangible comfort that comes from being with people who really know you and still want to be with you.  I want, if only for a fleeting moment of time, to believe that it really is all about me and the people I love.  That’s gotta be good for me – right?

Of course, planning a celebration can be a stressor all in itself.  At least, that’s my favorite reason for avoiding the whole party.   So, I’m starting a list of very simple tried and true ideas that I’ve picked up from my friends–most of who have fearlessly faced down fifty:

  • There is always the dinner party – cater or reserve at a restaurant if you can.
  • Organize a kayaking, hiking, biking, or other activity adventure
  • Participate in a community event (one friend got a bunch of girlfriends together to walk the Cooper River Bridge in Charleston – over 6 miles one way)
  • Learn something you new – I’ve tried cross country skiing and one year plan to take a cooking class.
  • Go someplace you’ve always wanted to go (now who do we know that’s going to Spain?)
  • Play miniature golf!!  Or go to a batting cage!!!  Or both!!
  • One friend wants to dress up in thrift store evening gowns and go sing at a karaoke bar; we haven’t indulged her yet.  Maybe you will.
  • Remember slumber parties??
  • And, of course, there’s everyone’s favorite – the spa…

Feel free to add to the list.  What do you do to celebrate?  And Liz, Happy Fifty – Fifty, fantabulous fifty!!!  May your celebrations last all year long.

About the author…

Laura Bowman is a health policy analyst with the Department of Veterans Affairs and, like so many of us, trying to figure out how fifty came so fast and how best to approach the next third of her life.

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