GUYSIDE: The king is dead, long live the king!

Posted by on Dec 31, 2014 in general, Guyside, Inspiration, men | 0 comments

CC-licenced image by Flickr user Mark RamsayThis is a bit of a valedictory for Guyside. After 54 happy posts here on FlashFree, we’re at the end of the road. Asking guys to contribute to a site about menopause was a bit of a courageous and audacious move, which fits this blog’s major-domo Liz Scherer quite well.

And as the writer of most of these posts, I am glad she asked me, and addicted enough to doing this that I’ll be continuing the Guyside tradition on another site, while the archives will always be available here, with my posts, as well as the other Guyside contributors Danny Brown and Rich Becker.

Want to know more?

Listen to this Skype conversation between Liz and I. Happy and Healthy New Year, and stay tuned for more!

Image: CC-licenced by Flickr user Mark Ramsay

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Guyside: Breaking good

Posted by on Aug 6, 2014 in general, Guyside, health, general, men | 0 comments

A sketch of Bryan Cranston's character I’m a pretty lucky person. While my life isn’t perfect, I have many advantages, and I’m thankful for them. It’s easy to forget about that when you get focused on some problem or other.

But sometimes good enough shouldn’t be, you know?

Think about Walter White, a/k/a “Heisenberg” of Breaking Bad. He was a guy who had a “good enough” life — wife, son, baby on the way, a steady job that is respected, if not well-paying… and then a diagnosis of terminal lung cancer shattered everything in his life and forced him down a radically different path.

I’d be perfectly happy if not one person ever got diagnosed with lung cancer. And, for that matter, if people stopped making and using crystal meth. But I think that we don’t have to “break bad” — why not “break good?”

I’ve been trying to change some of my routines recently. For example, since I work from home I do most of the dinner preparation for the household. It’s the sort of thing that can make a break from staring at the computer or talking on the phone. And, like most people, I have a repertoire of dishes that I know well enough to essentially make without a great deal of thought.

So to break that up, I’ve started to search out new recipes, new ideas. It’s fun to try (especially when they work out well), and it breaks me out of the cooking rut and both me and my partner out of the taste-rut. Example: it being summer, coleslaw is a natural side dish for things we cook on the BBQ. I was used to buying bagged coleslaw from the store, then dressing it with a commercial dressing. Somehow I realized that hey, coleslaw’s just a few shredded veggies. So I started making my own. Then I tried some dressing recipes. WAY better than before. (FYI: I’ve become quite fond of this dressing recipe, with a few variations. Try it.)

I’ve changed other things recently too. I love beer. But having that end-of-day beer or the beer with supper, or the finished-the-yard-work beer can become a little … routine. So for a few weeks now, I’ve haven’t been bringing beer into the house. Now, when I have beer — like I did yesterday during an end-of-day business meeting, or like I did when I was visiting family recently — it’s DELICIOUS. At some point, I’ll likely restock the fridge, whenever I get the desire to do so.

There are all sorts of little routines that we establish in our lives. Many of them are there for very good reasons. We get up and shave and shower because we like being clean. We brush our teeth because we want our breath fresh and we don’t like cavities. But changing habits can be good for you. It stimulates your brain. It can make you think about the reason behind the habit. And that’s never bad.

Look at the routines of your day — the way you interact with people in your life, what you eat, drink, how and when you exercise, your activities, your leisure, your work. Pick one to play with, to try to change.

A lot of meditation practices focus on mindfulness — on simply being aware of your circumstances. If you feel good, note  it. If your knee is sore, note that. If you want another cup of coffee, be aware of the desire. Assessing the little routines, experimenting by breaking one of them for good, and seeing if it improves your daily life — that’s part of mindfulness too. And failing is part of changing habits too. If you don’t like a change, or you can’t stop biting your nails, or whatever — just note that. Don’t beat yourself up over it.

Try it, just for fun.

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Wednesday Bubble: All the news that’s fit to…?

Posted by on Mar 30, 2011 in emotions, general | 4 comments

What a perfect mid-week bubble than to burst 1970’s misconceptions about women and menopause. Seriously, wasn’t this the era of feminism and bra burning, not histronics about emotionally unstability and how it might leadership?

Even more frightening? In some circles, these viewpoints remain.

A blast from this past…this one’s only fit for bursting and burning, not for printing.

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Wednesday Bubble: Top Menopause Sites? You Decide!

Posted by on Feb 16, 2011 in general | 2 comments

From time to time, I receive a notice that Flashfree has been ranked in the top health blogs for women or something along those lines. I have to be honest; I typically take these rankings with a grain of salt because the most important ranking comes from you – not someone else vetting the site. And although I always insure that I acknowledge the nod, the things that matter most are feedback, comments, site traffic, subscriptions and most of all, my commitment to you. If I run out things to say or write about or if Flashfree no longer inspires, well, then it’s time to close the doors and move onto something else.

Meanwhile, I am sharing this 30 top menopause blogs list. I’ve not vetted a lot of these sites so I can’t add much comment other than to say it may or may not be a good resource. And honestly, based on the categories, Flashfree probably could have easily fit into all of them – general, comedic, remedies and support –  because short of general physiology (which you can easily find on other sites throughout the web), I try to provide all that and more.

So, how about this time you burst the bubble. You decide. Check them out and let me know what you think!

After all, it truly is about you.

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Well, well, well…

Posted by on Mar 30, 2009 in emotions, general | 3 comments

wellbeing, that is. Is it elusive during the menopause?

Earlier studies have suggested that the way that a woman experiences menopause is dominated by several factors, including changes in the structure of their lives (e.g. social roles, personal relationships). When these changes do not occur as expected, for example, menopause starts early or late, they can cause greater distress than when they occur on time sot to speak. The same holds for menopausal symptoms; those that are perceived as normal are not necessarily unpleasant, while unusually heavy bleeding, emotional outbursts or frequent hot flashes can be disruptive.

I was intrigued when I ran across a study published in 2007  in the journal Contemporary Nursing which explored these very themes. Researchers recruited 18 women who were post-menopausal and self-described as having experienced ‘wellness’ during menopause. Interviews were conducted with all study participants, during which they were asked to describe in greater depth their experiences.

The study findings showed that the menopause experience was dominated by three themes:

The continuity of the experience

How women experience menopause is inevitably individualized and not easily generalizable. Indeed, data demonstrated that the nature of menopause and how women go through ultimately determine sits impact and how disruptive it is. More specifically, abrupt changes in menstrual patterns can be more jarring than incremental slowing and gradual cessation of menstruation.

How embedded menopause becomes in the rest of one’s life

In the course of the interviews, the researchers found that a woman’s ability to incorporate menopause into her life and routines versus allowing it to change the routines was key to maintaining an equilibrium. Hence, bothersome symptoms became only “only one experience among many and not the most outstanding.” Even hot flashes, which can truly disrupt a moment, became no more valuable to an overall experience than other daily events, mainly because these women did not allow them to disrupt familiar patterns and daily activities.

Containment of menopause

Participants who experienced a sense of wellbeing during menopause were able to compartmentalize their symptoms and for the most part, did not allow them to encroach upon the emotional or psychological domains. These women rarely if ever, experienced irritability, nervousness, anxiety or moodiness.

So, what does it mean?

Overall, the researchers found that a key to a sense of wellbeing during the menopause is focus, i.e. women are not focused on physical symptoms but instead, consider them part of the the overall experience of being a woman and are able to place them in the background. In other words, “the body [is] experienced in a “taken for granted way” so that menopause is not disruptive to an overall continuity of living.

The women who were studied were fortunate in that fluctuating hormones did not appear to alter or disrupt their moods or emotions. Hence, they were quite well-equipped to challenge the natural changes that were occurring and keep them away from the foreground. That aside, continuity and continuing to live one’s life without allowing physical changes to get in the way appeared to define the experience of menopause in more positive terms.

This brings to mind the word “natural” and challenges the notion of menopause as a disease. If we can find ways to stay on an even keel and take actions that minimize daily eruptions as nuisances rather than allowing them to disrupt, then we are indeed, on the right track. Wellbeing during menopause isn’t elusive; it simply requires careful planning and a different mindset.

What do you think?

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There’s no business…

Posted by on Mar 6, 2009 in general | 14 comments


The other day, a screenwriter friend of mine told me that her script had been rejected. The primary reason: Hollywood does not love middle-aged women; they’re a tough sell. In fact, the general belief among the studio mogols is that women moviegoers don’t make movies successful.

Okay, I’m not entirely surprised because our society doesn’t particularly like or admire or respect middle-aged women, instead, espousing the benefits of youth in just about every area of commerce. But let me clue the studios and marketers to something:

  • There are currently 38 million women in this country who are between the ages of 40 and 58
  • Women account for about 83% of all consumer buys
  • About 2.5M of these women have combined assets of $4.2B

Have I got your attention yet?

A recent article in the New York Times cites data that suggest that Americans are starting to return to the movie theatre in droves. If this is true, then the paradigm defining the typical moviegoer, i.e. teenage boys, is about to change. And will more than likely include middle-aged women.

Moreover, according to an article in Entrepreneur Online, women between the ages of 35 and 55 “make the majority of purchasing decisions in married households, and more than a quarter of U.S. households are single women making buying decisions without any men involved at all.  Middle-aged women are looking for any type of service that will simplify their lives, says, author of Marketing to Women: How to Understand, Reach and Increase Your Share of the World’s Largest Market.”

So, let’s the do the math:

Women, including middle-aged women, have the buying power in the United States + Americans, including women are returning to the movie theatres in droves = middle-aged women are a primary audience and deserve films (and services) that address their needs.

I don’t harbor any illusions that Hollywood or society for that matter, are going to change their ways. Middle-aged women are accustomed to being discarded for their younger counterparts. But what I do say is that it’s time to leverage the power of the pocketbook (even though it might be a wee bit lighter these days) and make sure that marketers, including Hollywood, are listening.

What do you think?

(Special thanks to my friend Yvonne DiVita, blogger extraordinaire over at, who pointed me to some of these statistics. If you’ve not visited the site, please show her and her fellow bloggers some love.)

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