Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Menopause and Hot Flashes

My fan...less than 2 dollars at Pier One Imports
It works wonders
Hey Girls,

Hate to tell you this, but it’s inevitable; your period is not going to last forever. Mine left, came back, left, came back, left for fourteen months, and came back again! This time I think it’s gone for good.

My third and last child arrived when I was forty-two years old. Ovulation continued to occur monthly until I was forty-five. During the next year, my signs of ovulation became milder and questionable. “I’m beginning menopause,” I thought. My mother told me her last period was at age forty-six (although she had a surprise two years later, but that’s another story), so surely my last one was just around the corner.

Ha! Not so.

That thing lasted off and on for the next six years. And, I’m still not one hundred percent certain that the last egg is gone - and I’m fifty-one!

My gyno is puzzled. My numbers say “menopause” and my sono looks good, but still, less than a year ago another egg came from out of the woodwork. Hmmmm…

Let’s talk about hot flashes.

“Ohhhh…I’m so hotttt.” Sounds like I'm talking to my husband, but I’m usually taking my hands out of hot dish water to pull my hair off my neck and up into a ponytail.

Seriously and thankfully, my hot flashes are mild and seldom. To some degree, they are controllable. I can always connect a hot flash, aka power surge, to something that I’m doing.

List of possibilities:

- sleeping in too much heat
- flat ironing or curling my hair in a hurry
- blow drying my daughters’ hair when I’m not in the mood
- drinking a hot beverage when overdressed
- being overdressed (sometimes anything more than a bra and panties)
- frustration with my child/children
- driving my car wearing a coat
- the first challenge during my horseback riding or tennis lesson (Sometimes I have to take off my sun glasses and wipe away steam so that I can see. Yes, my hot head caused the steam on the sun glasses.)
- hard candy

Do you see some common threads?

If I can avoid heat, sugar, physical challenges, and frustration, I’ll never have another hot flash.

So far, menopause is not bad. I deal with the glow and the grease that pops out of my facial pores during the flash with a tissue, and the sweat that may occur while sleeping, with a fan. Mentally, I'm actually much calmer and I feel somewhat free. After the irritability of PMS and perimenopause, I could only go up. Or, was it my three stair step toddlers/preschoolers taking me over the edge? Hmmmm…

From what I’m told by various friends, symptoms range from very mild to extreme. Most handle it with a sense of humor. More than once, I've been told that speeding down the highway with your head out of the window is a good remedy for a hot flash.

Regardless of how and when menopause happens to you, keep in mind that many other women share your particular symptoms and emotions. Let’s stop comparing, competing, and whispering. After all, we’re sisters. :)

Anything you want to say about menopause? Any info or suggestions - especially for those that have had surgery or extreme symptoms? Got anything to add to my “cause of a hot flash” list? :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Standing in Line for a Doughnut

I weighed the pros and cons, then tried to resist, but the doughnut won.

It is a hectic morning. I spill milk on Hayley which means a change of clothes and that I will have to take her to school. As I’m dropping her off, she suggests that I put gas in my car and stop by McDonald’s for breakfast. Initial thought - good idea. Next thought – “Do I really want pancakes or hash browns or a sausage biscuit? There are leftovers at home, or I can have cereal with refreshing cold milk. I’ll eat at home.”

As I pull into the gas station, the first thing I see is a Krispy Kreme sign. "Oooo… Ahhhh…. I haven’t had a soft, sweet, tasty doughnut in a while."
My gas tank is almost empty, so I have to stand here for at least three minutes as the tank fills. I watch the going-to-work traffic; anything to take my mind off the doughnut.

“The leftovers and the cereal, Anita!”

My eyes keep going back to the Krispy Kreme sign.

The tank is still filling. I watch men dressed in jeans, hooded sweat jackets and work boots, getting gas and a few smoking cigarettes. I think of how different we all are; most of us doing something to contribute to the freedom and success of this country. Some of the men appear Latino and I assume they speak Spanish, which lead my thoughts to the continuous debate over Spanish being a second language in this country... Still, I can’t keep myself from going into the convenience store.

“Where are the doughnuts? I can’t find them!” I have a chance to leave, but I’m steadfast – “I’m going to find those doughnuts!” Twenty seconds later, I spot them in the center of the store. “Hmmmm…the glazed, a crème filled, or chocolate covered?” I summon my sense of taste to determine what will be the most satisfying. The crème filled is eliminated first. I love chocolate, but the simplicity of the sugary glazed wins me over.

I have my doughnut and I'm standing in line behind a man who’s buying a jug of tea for the day, his lunch, and something else. An issue at the register is going on and I’m still waiting; still watching the men to see what they are buying, watching the woman working behind the counter, wondering who will buy a lottery ticket. Finally, a man opens another register, and calls me over. “Gettin’ your sugar fix?” he says. He probably figures I need one as I stand here with “morning hair,” and sun glasses to keep from scaring anyone.

I’m three minutes from home, but I eat the doughnut before I get there. “Ohhhhh, I wish I had another.”

Was my doughnut worth the ninety one cents, six minutes of time, and two hundred calories?

Yes, it was. As I stood in line, I got to think about life and people and where I fit in, but mainly, it was a delicious treat.

Do you treat yourself or resist the temptation? Or, do you have a habit/addiction that costs you $4.00 a day, (give or take)?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Will A Scarf Help My "Mom Uniform?"

Here I am on one of my better days. (The scarf is for this post and to have fun with my daughter - playing dressup.)

I decided to spare you from the boxy tee-shirt.

She rings my doorbell. I open my front door to see my friend dressed in dark tweed pants, a form-fitting black sweater, and black shoes. Light makeup and a neat hairstyle add to her naturally attractive face. There is one more thing to complete the look – the scarf!

It is simple, with colors of white, black, and gray, but it stood out. Her scarf (an item I never wear unless it’s around my neck for warmth) led me to reflect upon a time when I was often seen having that look – a look that can be professional or dressy-casual.

I compliment Erin and she thanks me, but I can almost read her mind saying, “Anita doesn’t get out much.”

Well, I do get out. On weekdays, I go to the grocery store, to Target, miscellaneous stores at strip malls, doctors’ offices, and to my kids’ schools to drop off forgotten items. There! I even make a rare appearance at the indoor mall.

And when I’m out while the kids are at school, I look similar to all the other moms. We recognize each other; we have… “the mom look.” The strollers and babies are a giveaway for some, but the rest of us still have the look – it’s just a more advanced mom look.

Our mom uniforms vary because, yes, we do have choices! In hot weather, wrinkled, just-above-the-knee or mid-thigh shorts, a tee shirt, and flip-flops are standard attire. But if we want to go all out, as I often do, we iron the shorts, put on a real shirt with a little cling, and ditch the flip flops for sandals…not too much heel though…we’re moms!

In cold weather, moms are wearing their beloved jeans, many of which are over five years old with waistbands that reach above the belly button; I think they’re called “mom jeans.” We pull from the large supply of tee-shirts and throw on a sweatshirt or hooded zip-up sweat jacket and we’re ready to go out.

If not in jeans, moms are wearing sweat pants, the stretchy yoga-like pants, or leggings. Another staple - the matching athletic pants and jacket. Years ago, I think it was a jogging suit and it was shiny. Now it might be called a warm-up suit and it doesn’t shine anymore.

For shoes, two choices – bulky shoes (people my age still call them tennis shoes) or the slide on shoes with no back (clogs, I guess).

I own all these items, but my favorite uniform is blue jeans (under the belly button), a real shirt, and the clogs. But, the warm up suit and tennis shoes get a weekly showing, too.

A quick note about the hair…headband, or eyeglasses used as a headband, baseball cap, or ponytail.

I know I haven’t covered all the mom uniforms, but what I’ve mentioned is average. On the “other side of town” where the “good” mall is, the moms are preppy, wearing labeled, designer clothes, with accenting scarves.

When I go to the grocery store during mid-day, I notice the “nicely put together” women at the store’s café standing in line for their lunches, and I remember when… But, I am now, and always have been, “a blue jeans kinda girl.”
How would you describe your “look?” Are you satisfied, or do you need a change?

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Cell Phone Decision

“I have a cell phone – FINALLY!”

Those are the words (or something similar) spoken by my thirteen year old daughter, Hayley, upon receiving her new enV Touch. Being the little darling that she is (most of the time), she also gave her Daddy and me a BIG HUG and a big THANK YOU.

The wait was long. Her first request for a cell phone started when she was ten and in fifth grade; and my first response was a chuckle and a question back to her – “Do you have a job?”

As all of you know, she wanted a phone because other kids had a phone. I saw no reason for her to have one. It would merely be a toy for her, something to play games on, and of course, she would find someone to text.

Hayley’s routine consisted of school, piano lessons, school activities, the neighborhood pool, or a friend’s house. Wherever she was, there was a phone available - she could call me and I could call her. If I wasn't home, she could reach me on my cell, and I was always just ten minutes away.

My verdict – no phone necessary.

I knew we’d eventually get a phone for her; I just didn’t know when. I didn’t allow myself to be pressured by my daughter or other parents that wondered why Hayley didn’t have a phone “yet?” My criterion was “necessity.”

Hayley made the JV field hockey team. (Field Hockey Family, 09/25/09 post) There are daily practices, away games, team bonding events, and community service events. Her schedule is not as precise as it once was. She needs a phone; and now she has one.

Did you give-in to the “beg” or did you get your child a cell phone when it was needed? Be honest…I’ve given-in to the “beg” in other areas. :)

Oh…Hayley is trying to keep me from saying “telephone.”
“It’s a CELL PHONE!” she says with a slight tone.
So I slip up once in a while.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mr. and Mrs. Etiquette

A portion of mail for my husband and me is addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Michael Jones.” I realize that it is “proper etiquette,” but I don’t like it. I took his last name when I married him - why do I have to take his first name, too? (It’s okay to laugh.)

Seriously – who out there can tell me why I’m Mrs. Michael Jones. My name is Anita.

When I was a girl, I thought I would marry and have children when I became a woman, and I did – a little late, but it happened. Until I was about twenty-three, there was no question about what my last name would be - it would change to my future husband’s last name. But during the rest of my twenties, I considered not changing my name if I got married. Then, around age thirty, I was back to being okay with having my future husband’s last name. By this time, I’m thinking of the children that I’m going to have and that I want us all to have the same name.

If you Google “Mr. and Mrs.” or “origin of Mrs.” or pull out your Emily Post’s Etiquette book, you will find several rules on how to address people based on their marital status or profession. I had forgotten that “Mrs.” came from the word “Mistress.”

Even though men don’t have a title that indicates being married, I’m okay with a title that says I am…because I am…and I’m content. And if someone addresses me or my mail as “Ms.” or “Miss,” that’s okay too – just put Anita after it; not Michael.

There are many women who proudly announce themselves as “Mrs. John Doe.” Others keep their “maiden” name after marrying (oh…I was once a maiden!) and do not take the husband’s last name. There are those that hyphenate the maiden name and the husband’s last name to form a new last name. There are those who have their maiden name as a middle name and have their husband’s last name. And there are those who keep the girly middle name (like me) or the passed down “family” middle name that they are born with, and change the last name to the husband’s last name.

Did I miss anyone?

I believe all the name choices are fine; it’s personal. I’m fine with my choice. But, I prefer that joint mail be addressed to “Anita and Michael Jones” (or “Michael and Anita Jones”); that data entry people would make the change in the computer when I make the request. (It’s always ignored.) And also, maybe the etiquette police will approve “Mr. and Mrs. Michael and Anita Jones” for the wedding invitations. Informally, “Anita and Michael Jones” will do.

Now that you know a little about my feelings on the subject, you may be making assumptions – attaching a label to me.

Well…not necessary.

My dislike of being called “Mrs. Michael Jones” is not solely based on feminism, male chauvinism, religion, liberalism, conservatism, or tradition. It simply means that I prefer being known (by adults) by the name that Lillie and Hilton gave me, which is - Anita.

Are you okay with being called Mrs. (insert your husband’s first and last name)?

Ps. Michael Jones is a pseudonym.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Swine Flu

Piglet and Friends are circulating the Internet
(photographer unknown)
Decisions. Decisions.

Do I get the H1N1 (Swine Flu) vaccine or not?

Every fall, I’m faced with the decision of “flu shot or no flu shot.” In the past, it’s been easy – many years, my answer was an immediate “no.” Other years, when I was pressured by the media, a friend or relative, I procrastinated long enough for the hoopla to die down, and the issue faded away on its own. I’ve never gotten one. My husband has never gotten one. Until this year, my children had never gotten the shot, but before school started, two of my daughters got the FluMist. I was convinced by the doctor to let them have it while they were getting physicals.

I do not like pain, so when faced with it I do not hesitate to take medicine, which fortunately is very seldom. So what is it about the flu shot, something that I put in the preventative medicine category? I get allergy shots which have been extremely beneficial with my sensitivity to grass, mold and pollen – do I have to get the flu and suffer the pain before I’m sold on the flu shot?

Most people eagerly or anxiously wait for its availability. My parents practically have a party when it’s flu shot time. There is excitement in the air. “I’m going to get my flu shot today!”

I asked my husband if he’s getting it. He answered, “I’ll wait and decide after all the priority people get theirs – children, pregnant women, health care professionals, and the elderly.”

“That’s us Dear,” I responded, “We’re the elderly. We’re over fifty.”

So…we’ll probably get in line with the masses and get our shots. Check back with me to see if I did it.

For up-to-date information on the H1N1 virus, click here to link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Are you getting the shot? What is your opinion on the virus and all the media attention it’s getting?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wasting or Not?

My family and I are in Illinois visiting our dear friends, Denise and Steve. We’re at a restaurant known for its Chicago-style pizza. Denise, a high level district retail manager, who is accustomed to fine dining and various cuisines while traveling around the country, recommends a couple of dishes and decides on her meal. The waiter comes to our table and Denise orders three things from the menu. I think it’s a salad, a main course, and something else to share with her husband. But…he orders, too. Her salad arrives and it is big enough to feed three people! All the other food is served and everything is huge! My first thought, “I’ll have delicious leftovers.”

Denise offers to share her beautiful salad and I accept, but I don’t take too much because I’m also devouring the deep dish pizza - and it is “her” salad.

It’s twenty minutes later and the waiter is back asking if he can take anything from the table; and what does Denise do? She waves the salad away! The beautiful, delicious salad, not even half eaten…gone. I can’t react fast enough to tell the waiter, “Bring that back!”

“Denise, you hardly ate any of that. I would have eaten more if I’d known that you weren’t going to eat it all.”

“Oh, I’m sorry Anita. I just ordered it because I just wanted a ‘little taste’ of it.”
Steve casually says, “Oh, Denise orders and eats like that all the time.”

I’m thinking, “That’s right – they don’t have three college educations to pay for.”

There’s a lot of waste in my household too. My daughter is rushing to get the bus for school and she still pours herself a second bowl of cereal and adds more milk, even though she has one minute before she has to leave. Two spoonfuls eaten and she’s gone.


Am I the only person that hates throwing away perfectly good food? My kids bring their lunch boxes home from school with sandwiches that they’ve taken two bites out of. Hot, greasy cheese sticks come back. Soggy fruit comes back.

“Oh Mommy, I wasn’t that hungry today.”

Do they think money grows on trees? (Oh, that was the sixties and seventies.)
And let's not even talk about the leftovers from the fridge.

But back to restaurants – When my husband, the girls and I eat out, I, Miss Frugal, will asks questions such as, “How many chicken tenders does that include? Will a slice of that cake serve two? What’s the size glass for the small serving of juice?”

After many episodes of seeing whole plates of french fries, half eaten sundaes, and syrup drenched pancakes taken away from our table because my girls (who eat like birds) can’t finish their meals or because we can’t take it in a doggy bag, I have learned that sharing an entrée between two kids is the thing to do. I don’t have to hear the voices of my parents saying, “There are kids starving in Africa and India.”

At a restaurant, are you paying for the dining and socializing experience, or the food, or both? Are you okay with food being thrown away as long as you’ve had a pleasant experience?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Poop Explosion!

Not me! The dog! Layla!

I start the day cleaning up behind my dog, and end the day on my hands and knees cleaning up behind my daughter Mallory.

It’s a Saturday – no kids to get ready for school. The fresh, wide open outdoors is waiting for me. “Run at least three miles,” I say to myself, “it’s early and still cool, a perfect time to run.”

But…as I step out of my bedroom, a familiar smell hits me. I want to deny it because I am just two minutes from my run. My girls are also upstairs and on the computer. When I ask if they can smell anything, the reply from all three is, “I don’t smell anything.” Then one of them says, “My nose has been stopped up for days.”


No one had dared to go downstairs because that would have meant having the responsibility of beginning the cleanup.

So, I start the march downstairs, beckoning the troops to follow. (Husband/Daddy feigns deep sleep and unawareness.) Even though Layla was in her crate when it happened, it's still a messy job. I’ll try not to be too graphic, but…her bed is thrown into the washer, the crate is taken outside and hosed down, part of the kitchen floor is cleaned, and Layla gets a bath.

I am determined to go for my run. It's almost an hour later and I've missed a guaranteed cool run, but I head out for my three miles. The temperature feels like it has risen ten degrees, but I still appreciate the workout/escape.

Now that I play tennis and ride horses (both are lessons), I have to run to maintain stamina to keep up with all the younger girls that I hang out with.
I digress.

Anyway, the day is mostly spent cleaning. Just as I am whining down to switch gears to dinner and leisure, Mallory throws up…on the family room rug. I gather the troops again to assign duties. Fast! Get the paper towels, a wet rag, a plastic bag, the Nature's Miracle!

As we’re cleaning, Mallory is now relieved and perky and chattering, but “I” know that it is too early to be a definite wrap. As she rests on the sofa, we put a couple of towels on the rug and the waste basket near by.

I eat my dinner, then take Layla out into the night air for her potty break. In the mean time, Mallory goes upstairs to go to bed. When I return, I’m thrust into a repeat episode – this time it’s the bedroom carpet. (Having to do this twice, my husband has lost his appetite.)

The little darling is showered, put into pajamas, and wrapped cozily in a sea of blankets on a sofa…in my(our) bedroom! Her daddy insures that a third rug and room will not get slimed by putting plastic under her and all over the floor surrounding the sofa, where she sleeps soundly through the most of the night (with the help of a little Tylenol). Whew!

What is the difference between a dog and a child? Okay…just kidding!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Why I Blog

Before I tell you why I blog, I’ll say, “Thank you Jessica, Coffee Lovin’ Mom, for presenting me the Lemonade Award!" After a Google or two, I learned that it is “a feel good award which shows great attitude or gratitude.”

Jessica is writing her first novel and is journaling some of the process along with other random thoughts. She has a great sense of humor! Stop by her site, My Thoughts Exactly, at:

Blogging allows me to write and publish whatever I feel or research. There are no grades, no timelines, no editors, and no specific genres. It is one of my outlets. It costs no money; only time and effort. It is a vehicle for practicing the art of writing. I teach myself, using “how to write” books and by reading books. There is no degree in English hanging on my wall, no outstanding vocabulary, and no perfect grammar – only desire.

An added bonus to blogging – other bloggers! We’re all of a similar breed. We relate to and support each other. I have discovered a new way of communicating and have “met” and “talked” to many interesting people.

I’m new at it, but each day I learn something else. The awards that are plastered all over blog sites that I used to wonder about, are beginning to have a new meaning. It is a way of complimenting and publicizing the blogs of non-celebrity, average people like me.

I’m supposed to pass this award on to others, so here goes:
- Atlanta’s Whitehouse – a caring public school health teacher
- Zook Book Nook – a mom/writer with a passion for books and passing it on to her children
- Old? Who? Me? - laugh and get wisdom from this 83 year old blogger
- RANdom Walkway – “outside of the box” news and creativity from around the world
- New Mum Over 40 – Australian lady journaling her path to conceiving a baby
- Central Virginia Organic Gardener – she has the ultimate green thumb!
- Chocolate Covered Daydreams – dream along with this caring and creative artist
- Musings of a Midlife Mom - free of debt, living simply, having fun, and trying to stay that way
- Encouragement for the Journey – writer mom who has the most creative metaphors for life

To Everyone reading this:
If you're a blogger, why do you blog?
Blogger or not - why do you read blogs? :)