Ain’t no Wednesday Bubble this week.
Granted, I thought about sharing news of a study about spa and your health. Or discussing how many calories Americans are actually drinking. Or, providing you with healthy Thanksgiving meal tips. Instead, I felt it was more important to share that I am truly thankful that you take the time out of your schedules to read Flashfree. Truly thankful. And truly happy.
I had a book when I was growing up entitled “That Happy Feeling of Thank You.” I still have it. And sometimes I secretly linger in its battered pages and just pause for a moment.
“Thank you” is for not being afraid of darkness or being alone.”
“And, “thank you” is for growing up, too — For being brave enough to tell the truth — even when it would be easier not to.”
“Thank you” is to know a friend who will stretch out on the warm grass and pretend along with you that the whole world is upside down.”
What are you thankful for?
Seriously, take a moment and think about it.
Me? Although this has been one of the most challenging years in my entire career, with little time to breathe, I am eternally grateful for the work and income, for my friends who have put up with my crankies and my long absences, and for the few who’ve consistently held me up. You know who you are.
Thanksgiving really isn’t about eating; it’s about sharing and celebrating the gifts in our lives that really matter.
I am truly blessed.
Thank you.Read More
My sister in law Wendy Scherer is a baker (that is, when she is not being an amazing mom, a wife and crunching social data all day long). For my birthday this year, she baked me a beautiful three berry pie. And she regularly posts images of her creations – a challah for Sabbath, a Tuscan Ricotto Bread, you name it.
But Wendy bakes when she is stressed. And of late, I’ve noticed that she has ramped up her baking. And I’m wondering if I should try it too.
She wrote this a few years back and it still resonates.
Why I bake...
I am not a cook. Ask anyone.
I don’t like to cook. And frankly, I’m just not that good at it. I don’t have the patience to cut things into similar sized pieces, nor do I care. I don’t like picking out just the right recipe, reading Cooks Illustrated, or having to time out components to a meal.
I’m quite fortunate that I have a husband who not only loves to cook, but makes terrific food. And considering that I do like to eat well, it’s a pretty cushy deal for me.
When Andrew is out for the night and I’m in charge, I admit I can cook a few things. Quiche, lasagna, chicken pot pie, spaghetti, scrambled eggs, hot dogs. That’s just the beginning of my vast repertoire, but think you get the picture.
Cooking stresses me out. The opposite is true of baking. I lose myself in it. Kneading bread is one of my greatest joys. I know what it should feel like and it’s exciting when it’s just so. Getting the crust to the exact right place before rolling it out. Now, there’s joy. Baking is precise in its proportions. I like that. It’s order. But it’s not science to make it wonderful; that is spirit, gut, instinct.
It just is.
I’ve always baked to relax. To de-stress. It’s like therapy to me, only much, much cheaper. I mean seriously, what costs less than yeast and flour? And I don’t need an appointment, either. The kitchen is open 24/7. And the best part is that I don’t have to eat the goods. There is nothing easier than getting rid of a rustic French loaf, an apple pie, and extra challah, or baguettes. Trust me, it’s true.
I’ve always been this way. See me here at age 11. That’s when I decided that the first thing I want when I grow up is a Kitchen Aid mixer.
And when I lived alone, single in my twenties, there’d be nights when I made a half dozen pies only to drive around the next day delivering them to grandparents and friends.
And now, in the kitchen in my new home, baking has never been better. I have counter space galore and every rolling pin and baking mat has its place. But best of all, I have 3 teenagers to consume whatever I make. And they don’t even realize they’re doing me a favor.
About Wendy Scherer…Read More
[Credit: Chau Doan/ Oxfam America]
When it comes to advocacy, I’ve got soft spot in my heart for women. That’s why I’ve spent at least three days a week since 2008 advocating for women’s health, for women to take care of themselves and for women to take care of one another. So, when a friend asked me if I would help support Oxfam America’s International Women’s Day campaign, I couldn’t say no.
This year, Oxfam America is hoping that you will help them honor women who have made a difference in your community. Or in your life…simply because women become stronger and more resilient when we support one another.
According to recent statistics:
- 66% of the world’s work is done by women and yet they earn only 10% of the world’s income
- The majority of the earth’s population that are living in poverty (more than 2.5 billion people in total) and surviving on less than $2 a day are women and girls
Time and again, I’ve written about how the foundation for the health and wellbeing starts and ends with social support. Indeed, research has shown that women’s innate ability to nurture and nourish ties, coupled with overall satisfaction with work significantly predicts wellbeing especially during midlife and over the menopausal transition. It may even affect how long we live. Nowhere is this more important than in the communities where we reside because as much as many of us complain about how busy we are, there is a deep, soul stroking satisfaction in taking a moment to pause, acknowledge and help one another.
Consequently, this week and next, I am challenging you to think about the woman (or women) in your life that has changed your world? Or hers’. And, encouraging you toTo support Oxfam America’s goal to end world hunger and empower women through their GROW campaign. Women are hungry and to combat that hunger. Oxfam’s GROW campaign urges all of us to make smarter investments in small-scale farmers, especially women, whose efforts can help find sustainable solutions to hunger. Women like my oldest and dearest friend, Susan Ujcic, co-founder and co-owner of Helsing Junction Farm in Olympia, Washington.
This isn’t about money; it’s about gestures, such as:
- Sending an International Women’s Day eCard to a woman you know, to say thank you for all that she does. Better yet, send it to several women who’ve made the world a better place.
- Giving the Oxfam America International Women’s Day 2012 award to a woman you think has made a difference to the world. She could be a teacher, your mom, a non-profit leader, a woman entrepreneur, the neighbor who always checks up on you when you’re ill… the possibilities are endless.
- Joining Oxfam’s Sisters on the Planet initiative.
One email, one award, one woman at a time. Imagine the difference a simple gesture can make.
If you are anything like me, you may not always think you can, even though you are capable, smart and talented. And as women, we often find ourselves questioning our abilities (even though we are capable, smart and talented). For example, when was the last time you asked for a salary increase? Or defended yourself against a bully? Or took the bull by the horns and made that change that you’ve been telling yourself that you are going to make for a zillion months? Well? When?
No worries, because I’m not going to go all kumbaya on you. It’s not my style. But I would like to share my own ‘yes, you can’ moment, in hopes that it might motivate at least one person to take the first step they’ve been procrastinating about taking.
Let’s talk about taking the bull by the horns, aka, there’s no time like the present. First, a bit of context.
The last quarter of 2011 was a trying time for me. Business issues became all consuming, I was traveling a lot, sleeping a little, drinking too much and had swayed from diet. All of which add up to zero. And by the end of this time, I ended up a few pounds heavier, exhausted and truly out of balance. Not a great way to start a new year. And hence, my body revolted, forcing me not only to slow down but to stop entirely; I contracted a viral infection of the inner ear that resulted in terrible vertigo. And if you have ever had vertigo, you know that it ain’t pretty. Or fun.
This year, I have made a few promises to myself, mostly, to shed those couple of pounds that are hanging on, improve my eating habits and try the hardest to stay balanced. The latter part of this does not necessarily jive with my A type personality but so far it’s working. But more importantly? Yesterday I challenged myself to run a 10k at the gym. And I completed it in a fairly good time. Although once an avid runner, I have not run any admirable distance in decades. And it felt really good, AND dragged me out of the January doldrums. Mostly though? I realized that I can; I can get back into a healthy groove, maintain some calm, rethink where I am in my life right now and if it’s where I want to be. And if not, I can define what’s next on the horizon and work towards making it happen. Because, I can kick it. I can run a 10K if I feel like it.
Guess what? So can you.
Promise me that the next time that little voice in your head starts to talk you out of taking a step, even it’s a baby step, that you’ll pause and tell yourself “yes, I can.” And then just try…cuz:
Before this did you really know what life was,
Comprehend to the track for its wide cos,
Gettin mentions on the tip of the vibe buzz,
Rock ‘n’ roll to the beat of the funk fuzz,
Wipe your feet really good on the rhythm rug,
If you feel the urge to freak do the jitter bug,
Come and spread your arms if you really need a hug…
[Lyrics: A Tribe Called Quest]
Kumbaya? Maybe a wee little bit. Wednesday? No bubble this week. Just a little inspiration and whole lot of admiration..
Kick it.Read More
When writer/author Sarah Bowen Shea first pinged me on Twitter about her post, I was a bit skeptical. I had never had a conversation with her nor had she ever been on my radar. And let’s face it; I get a lot of daily solicitations because of Flashfree and my interest in menopause. However, when I clicked on the link, I discovered that not only did I love her writing, but that I loved her post. Moreover, a lot of you have been asking for posts on early menopause.
I hope that you’ll show Sarah some love after reading this post and head over to her blog, Another Mother Runner and check it out; if you are interested in running, you may find some gems lurking in the lines!
Despite being the one behind our sometimes-outrageous TMI Tuesday status updates (hotel sex, anyone?) on our Facebook page and writing the chapter in The Book about peeing, pooping, passing gas, and periods, I’m hesitant to pen this post. It’s about…menopause. My top three excuses? 1. My mom never had “The Talk” with me, so I’ve never been fully comfortable talking about, ahem, menstruation (or lack thereof). 2. There isn’t enough good slang for menopause (let’s rectify that, ladies!). 3. I am not 100% comfortable with being 45 years old…and getting dogged with early onset menopause. (There, I typed it. A first step, right?)
But I’ve decided to broach the topic because several fans have told us they wish we’d talk about it. Here goes: I’ve suspected for several years that early onset menopause might be coming my way because I had secondary infertility due to elevated FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) levels. My doc said the two aren’t necessarily linked but they often are. Always a glass-half-full kinda gal, I didn’t dwell or worry—until last summer, when I started bleeding like crazy. If I’d gone swimming in shark-infested waters, I would have been fish-food: Heavy bleeding for a week, then 10 days off, then another heavier-and-longer period, then an 8-day reprieve, then another bleeding session…you get the bloody (literally) picture. Never one to rush in for medical advice, I merely grumbled, contemplated buying stock in Playtex, and fared forward until a good running friend urged me to see my OB/GYN. The doc did some bloodwork and said nothing was wrong except that, well, lookie there, my hormone levels showed I was already in menopause. (Gulp!) But she said menopause was a slippery thing: The real marker was absence of a period for one year.Read More