Friday, October 31, 2014

Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About

The older I get, it seems, the better I can afford to do fun and exciting things.  However, finally having the financial means to do fun and exciting things, doesn’t mean I actually do them.  I’m tired.

I’m tired when I get up in the morning.  I’m tired through the day.  And, I am REALLY tired when I get home from work.  Vitamin deficiency you may say, and you would be correct.  My doctor is always prescribing vitamin D, and I take a vitamin B everyday…along with a “senior” vitamin.  It seems the older I get, the more I take.

But, the inner child in me really wants to have fun!  Now-a-days, this fun consists of taking pictures of my dogs and putting them on Facebook, playing Words with Friends, playing Candy Crush, and if I am really feeling energetic, I may actually rent a movie through my cable company.  Although, I did make it to an actual theater to see 2 movies this year…and this was a good year.

When I was younger, I wondered why so many “old men” drove fancy sports cars.  Now, I know!  This is how older guys have fun!  First, they can finally afford one, and it’s something that doesn’t exert much energy. They also look “sporty” and “youthful” driving around in “that” fast car they had always envisioned themselves driving.  And, they think women find them sexy.  You know I’m right! 

This doesn’t work for women.  An older woman behind the wheel of a sports car just doesn’t have the same appeal.  Again, you know I’m right! 

The one thing I see with aging women is that we become obsessed with the lives of others.  We have these “enquiring” minds that want to know.  Don’t open your mouth wide with shock.  If you are that special woman who has never shared a little “neighborly news,” God bless you! 

But, if I were to name the number one thing I believe aging women do for fun, it would be stick our noses where they don’t belong.  This is why we LOVE FACEBOOK!  Facebook gives us the opportunity to be nosey 24 hours a day/seven days a week, and it takes virtually no energy. 

You know what I am talking about.  I am sure you have the Facebook App on your phone so that you can check it at least 115 times a day.   You scour the posts of your friends for that one item that makes you gasp…then you are compelled to share it with all of your friends.  Then…you have to keep checking back to see how many “likes” and comments you get.  YOU are the center of attention for …at least an hour.

Menopausal women of Kentucky, we are pathetic!  We must break free of this obsession.  We can afford to do more and be more!   I say go buy a sport’s car!  This way, all of those women who choose not to buy a sport’s car and keep on spreading the news, will have something to talk about!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

You Rock Zombie Granny

Zombie view of Main Street

"You Rock Zombie Granny!"

I looked around for a second to see who the small animated woman was screaming at.
But, there it was, she was pointing right at me.
Even amid an array of 70 or so undead shuffling, moaning down Main Street, there was no mistaking it.
One of the reasons I had dyed my hair for the last decade was because I didn't want people to always think I was Granny to my daughter. So it flashed in my head for a minute to be mad or embarrassed. But in the last few months, I'd embraced what God gave me and had a wonderful white mane.
So, I pointed in my fan's direction with one listless zombie arm which only made her holler again.
"Zombie Granny!"
In way, it was fitting I was among the risen dead. For the last few years, I'd trudged through life barely breathing. I really thought it was because I was old and fat.
But it turns out it was caused by asthma exacerbated by an allergy to dust. Plus I work in a place where I could literally leave messages for my co-workers with a few swipes of a white glove. So I had constant breathing problems and several bouts of pneumonia.
But, after months of asking and a note from my doctor, I got them to organize a clean up, new medicine and once I could breathe, I started working out at what I called the "old person's gym" where people sometimes worked out hooked up to oxygen or could be seen using a walker to get to a stationary bike.
I fit right in. I had never worked out in a gym of any kind. But, slowly, more minutes added up on the treadmill. More weights were added to the machines. I actually wanted to work out. I felt kind of strong. So when Michael Jackson's Thriller rolled around in my hometown this year, I was all in
Most Moms had a kid in the performance. I did not.
My daughter had too many projects in the air to add another thing. And she had already outgrown her theater stage.
So, in a rare turn of events, I did it just for fun and just for me.
Somehow in the 80s, I never learned the Thriller dance. So after three practices, I was at about 60 percent. I noticed that the troupe leader took to dancing just in front of me so I could right my wrongs.  Maybe it was more like 50 percent.
I did, however, look awesomely bad.

My white hair was flying every which ways, the natural bags under my eyes augmented with gray and green. Blood circling my neck and down the front of my tattered gold dress made from a shredded curtain.
And so I danced three, four times through the whole routine until my breath started to leave me in part because I was fighting a nasty infection and the day before had a reaction to the antibiotic. (I had to go to the ER.)
But I wasn't going to let that stop me. I started dragging myself through the crowd. I photo bombed people taking pictures of the parade. I plucked a feather from a girl dressed like a chicken and put it in my mouth. (I'm not sure that was the most hygienic of choices but I was in the moment) I gave dead-eyed stares to little kids and then gave them a little smile and watch the dread drain away.
A second woman stopped me on my way to the car and asked if she could take my picture because I had scared her so completely.
So, I'll take it.
Rock on, Zombie Granny, Rock on.
What have you done lately, just for fun, just for you?
If you like this or have a thought about it or it made you laugh.....write a comment. We are, seriously, two moms putting themselves out to the world. So join in. It is all for fun. We would really appreciate it. 

This is my Mom and my daughter. Recently my Mom and I had a long conversation about death and dying and it was more helpful and less painful that you might think.

This was really a pretty difficult conversation to have although my Mom was totally into it. If you have thoughts or questions or comments, please share. We are hanging out here in the ether and would really love to know what you think.

Monday, October 27, 2014

"That Word"

That word.  Death.  It needs no adjectives.  It stands alone.

“That word” draws a variety of emotions out of humans…fear, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, depression, and many others.  As parents, most of us anyway, we want to protect our children from “that word” for as long as we can.

You know the drill.  Nemo goes belly-up in the fish tank, and we hurry to buy Nemo #2 before our young children see the bobbing orange shimmer at the top of the tank.
THEN, Rover dies.  And you ask yourself, “Ok, what do I do or say now?”  Got it!  I will say Rover went to visit his Grandma.  He missed her.  That’s it…that is what I will say.  She will believe it.  But, you can only protect them for so long.  Eventually, we all lose people and pets we love and the reality of “that word” sets in.

As I near my 50th birthday, I have come to realize this is the age where you really start losing people in your life:  high school classmates, aunts and uncles, neighbors and friends.   And, this is a typical age to lose parents.  My mother is still with me, but I lost my dad in December. 

Reality of “that word” is hitting me hard.  My soon-to-be 50 year-old body feels it.  My soon-to-be 50 year-old mind feels it too.  It’s actually kind of funny how you begin to talk to yourself.  You say things like…“Well, it’s possible that I could live to be a 100.”  Then I smile.  Then I say, “But, that is unlikely.  Most of my family passes in their late 60’s and early 70’s.  And, if I follow suit, that means I only have 20-30 years left.”  Depression sets in.

Age makes a difference in how we perceive “that word” in our own lives.  Remember what it was like as a teenager?  You could drive any way you wanted.  You feared nothing.  You ate what you wanted.  You had your whole life in front of you.  Dying was something that happened to old people. 

Then you enter your 30’s, and you start thinking about things like life insurance and retirement.   You say to yourself, “These are things that I will plan for, but it will be YEARS down the road before I will ever need them.”

Next, you enter your 40’s.   You may have a child who has begun to drive.  So, now you are thinking about “that word” a lot.  But, you fear “that word” more for your children than yourself. 

THEN, you enter your 50’s!  I am not there quite yet, but I know the focus is more on my own health.  The hot flashes remind me daily that I am no spring chicken!  And, my clothes are shrinking??  What’s that about?  I am also growing more hair than ever before, but in places where it shouldn’t be.  What’s that about? 

My own mortality has hit me in the face like a rotten shepherd’s pie.  I am overweight, have health concerns and rarely exercise.   I have decided it is time to get healthy at 50.  The first thing to happen will be the elimination of most bread and sugar.  Second thing will be to move!  I hope positive lifestyle changes will keep “that word” far, far away.  Women of menopause…please stay tuned!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

My heart was broken a little when My Girl broke up with The Boy.

I am  a 50 year old woman, suffering through a break up with a 15-year-old boy all because of my 15-year-old girl.
Serial monogamy is somehow hard-wired into the psyche of my daughter.
Even in pre-k.
She first loved Michael who, far too often, got into fights with other kids. Serious fights as far as pre-K goes. He once bloodied another boy's nose in an unfortunate Play-Doh incident. That post-toddler slugfest prompted me to ask her one day on the way home, perhaps, maybe, she should play with somebody else. 
"But Mom" she wailed strapped into her car seat, her arm hooked around a squishy, stuffed Mr. Bunny, her best, non-human friend. "I LOVE HIM."
And so began. Sam, Chris, Shawn, array of boys really. no particular physical kind or type. 
They were tall and short and dark haired and ginger. They were jocks and theater nerds and farm boys and skinny-jean wearing future hipsters. And they liked her and she like them and they "went out" although we would have semi-serious discussions about how do you really date when you are, say, 9.  She was always singularly focused although she would never admit that they were "going out" until the "break up" was official. Which was usually some kind of discussion or note on the playground or at recess. 
Like a fidgety poker player strokes his watch band when he has a hot hand, she has a tell. Not a subtle one. When she has a new love she mentions him. 
A lot.
Morning drive to school. Dinner. Late night snuggles. The name pops up again and again. 
If I ever dare to venture..."so do you "like, 'like' "....Boy Of the Moment...the answer was almost always no. 
But I could see it. And I watched and listened and saw how she moved on seamlessly through the parade of favorites without too many scars on her fragile heart. 
And then came The Boy.
He came on the radar in 6th grade, near the end, before summer. I started hearing the name. By the time 7th grade was in swing he started to somehow appear in crowds whenever I picked her up, slumped against a pillar, or a wall, baseball hat pulled low, always in kind of an arm-length proximity to her. Then, the moment I knew it was serious, at field day, he accidentally smashed the glass in her IPod playing keep away. There was mild, co-ed wrestling, involved I think.
She seemed to love both the fractured IPod and the remorseful boy even more after that.
If you can be a middle school player, The Boy, was. Dimples, a sly charm, quarterback on the football team, smart, a little damaged and vulnerable.
There was something about the way he wore his baggy knee-length cargo shorts and said "do you now?" that made the girls all fluttery. 
I noticed that whenever I saw him in school, chairs were always in short supply and he and a girl would have to share. 
There was a Taylor Swift song popular at the time about the football star dating the wrong girl while his band geek bestie was the right there in the wings. My girl played the clarinet and that song a lot.
And it went like that for awhile.
They were the best of friends, he was "dating" someone else. Then one day, near the end of the eighth grade, the Facebook status changed. It was official. There they were sharing a selfie in a chair next to the word "relationship."
And so it began.
Facetime brought him into my house. I had seen him a lot but not heard him talk much. The others had been boys. The Boy sounded like a man. And the low rumble of his voice became a kind of white noise in the hours before she went to bed in her room next to mine as they talked and did homework virtually together nearly every night. 
Chauffeured movie dates turned into shared dinners with parents which turned into afternoons at the mall or arcade, watching PG-13 movies in my den, days at the pool, fishing, holding, hands, school dances and game nights with his family. 
When he wasn't with her she talked about him. He shared secrets that she shared with me. She and I spent hours at football and baseball games because he was playing. I loved it for an excuse to be outside with her in the sun or the cold with no electronics. And, plus, you could watch the sunset and the cows from our high school fields. 
He became an everyday part of our little family unit that had always been we two.
I became nearly as fond of him as she was. I was protective. Invested. Concerned. I was only half-joking when I told him I'd knit him a liner for his football helmet because only the starters at our football mad high school got the "good helmets".
They were Facebook official for a summer. A school year. A summer again. A photographer captured them at a wedding near the end in a a pose that seemed worthy of a perfume ad.  
They were adorable and seemed to be good for each other. He helped her focus on homework. She helped him with vocab. They both had a lot of outside activities that excluded each other. When I was with them together, it seemed sweet and happy.

I didn't know until later that they were the face of the freshman class in the year book plus a big photo of them at the FROM, Freshman Prom. They looked very much the part and were also good student. Stuff of legend. 
But beauty isn't always happiness. 
And then she broke it off. 
It was months coming. I had seen it. We had talked about it. They had talked about it. She needed some time not to be the center of someone's world.  She needed to be her own person not part of a couple. He was too controlling. She knew it wouldn't work. He wasn't ready to let her go. 
And while she works through the inevitably long un-intanglement, my job is to help her, listen to her and stay out of it as much as possible.
But there is a part of me that wishes I could tell The Boy goodbye. Or let him know if he ever really needs something, I'll be here. I wish I could tell him that although I think he has recently done some bone-headed things, I know he has a good heart and is hurt and is reeling. 
But it doesn't seem right. My relationship with him is through her .....alone we have had an hour worth of conversation along in three years.. and she needs me to honor that boundary.
But over three-plus years, they out grew being little kids with puppy love into something as real and serious as you can have at 15.
I had an intimate seat as I watched him grow and struggle and flourish and change and, ultimately, be heart broken and a heart breaker as he moved on too quickly or pretended to. It is a rare seat to someone growing up that happens outside of a family. My capacity to love is exceeded by the people in my  life who need me to love them.
So the worst part, for  all of us, is there is no quick fix for an unsprung heart.  And I don't know all the details that made her want to leave. But I trust her. She did the right thing. He did things, said things, I don't know about. Not horrible thing but not nice things because he is a kid and a little damaged and trying to find his way.
There's really nothing I can do for them or not even for myself.
I realize "they" were part of my life that probably won't happen again. She'll soon have a license  and so, soon, will the Next One. I won't have to help facilitate the next romance so I won't be as necessary or involved.
And I shouldn't be.
We raise them to let them go. 
But, for now, I'm 50-year-old woman with a too tender heart who wishes The Boy knew I loved him too for the kid he was and the man he will hopefully become and for being worthy of being my extraordinary child's first love. And, I hope, my Girl knows that she did the right thing and no matter how much I love a boy that you love I can never love them more than you.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


I've heard about The Cloud. I've read about The Cloud. I saw the movie trailer for something called Sex Tape where Jason Segel screamed that "NOBODY UNDERSTANDS THE CLOUD".
I didn't know I was on The Cloud or in The Cloud or even Cloud adjacent. 
I certainly didn't know that I could break it. 
Athough I work as a writer, I have a weird quirk. I never, ever just write for my own amusement or to create the Great American Novel. I just don't do it. 
Plus, although I once worked on a series of stories for four years, I usually work on assignment on a short term basis and  don't amass tons of data and documents that I can't lose. 
Guess who went against the grain on both points in the last five months?
So what did I lose? Well.....about 25,000 words on a single topic, a short book or a very long short story and documents and studies I had amassed on a complex medical procedure.
Ok, the IT guy said I confused The Cloud but "I broke" makes a better hashtag.
Or maybe the IT broke it. Either way there was no ill intent. 
The before I lost so much I had to get a setting on my work IPad changed. The way it was explained to me was that if (or the implied "when") I got laid off they needed to have The Cloud involved so they could find and retrieve the IPAD.
Why? Because if they don't connect me with The Cloud in this way and I don't share my password when I'm fired my IPAD becoms "a very expensive paper weight."
But here is reallly the point of the story. It is menopause related. Just hang in there for a second.  
I didn't panic. I thought, well, I found the documents once, I can find them again. I told myself, I wrote the 25,000 words once, right? I can write them again. 
Wait, what?
I can assure you that is not like me in the least. I can fret about fretting. I can have a panic attack over choosing paper or plastic. 
But, today, I was pretty chill. 
And I think that is not because of my new appreciation for moments without hot flashes. Although that is pretty awesome. 
No, I think that now I have reached a point in my life where I am trying not to worry about things I can't change.  
My Mom is getting older, my daughter is getting ready to seriously consider college, my sister just had a heart/cancer scare. Other things matter a whole lot more than words lost. 
So, menopause, #100happy days.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Waves of Hot Flashes Like Storms on Bill Meck's Storm Tracker Doppler

Today has been a day when I have had wave after wave of hot flashes. I am fairly new to the hot flash universe.  I am just now starting to recognize when I feel like a marshmallow aflame from the inside well enough to say to myself  "oh, hot flash."
I don't know much about how they work. I should and maybe that is something we can learn together. Or maybe you can tell me. Either way, I've a lot to learn.
I do know that a helpful Goggle search told me the answer to a hot flash is to stand in front of an open freezer in order to offset the hot in the flash. That appears to be the best my Goggle medical degree can offer.
I am beginning to see that mine seem to be exaggerated by stressful situations. I had such a stressful situation when I was getting ready to do a big interview for my job and, for the first, time I could l feel my makeup sliding off my face. So what do you do? I smiled and shook hands and pretended like it was normal for my hairline to be weeping.
So, a few months in, I am getting better at saying....this is a hot flash. OK. I am not dying or experiencing a preview of eternal damnation.
So today, when for some reason they were hitting so hard and so frequently it reminded me of Bill Meck.
A few weeks ago here in Central Kentucky we had a terrible night of storms. My daughter and I spent hours in the only safe hallway in our house listening to Bill Meck predict down to the minute, the damaging winds and deadly hail that was raining down upon us as sirens wailed
For those who aren't aware, Bill Meck is a very enthusiastic local weather guy. I find his animation overwrought but when there is a storm, I am watching Mr. Meck.
I don't know if I find it comforting to know down to the second when my life may be in danger but it is informative. And, I suppose, such precise prediction gives me a chance to get right with my Maker although given my history I might need more than 15 minutes to correct the record.
Anyway, that's how the hot flashes have been today. Wave after Wave. Storm Tracker Doppler Worthy. Maybe someday I'll be Meck-ian and able to predict when they are coming and when they will leave.
For now, I'll just try to find the nearest freezer.
Unless someone has a better solution.

Once upon a time there was a young, anxiety-ridden girl named Kim York who was hired by as an executive assistant.  At the same time, another young inquisitive gal named Mary Meehan was hired as a reporter.  Kim and Mary were the same age, but they were very different people.  Kim hailed from Pikeville and was married with older children, two sons and two step-daughters ages 12-21.  Mary, soon enough to be divorced came from Louisville via Orlando with one baby.

They met officially at a newspaper’s annual summer picnic --- back when there was such a thing. (Think about it: Newspaper. Annual. Picnic. It's pretty close to now being a mythical being.)  The picnic took place just two weeks after they were hired, and this is where Kim first saw Mary’s baby daughter, Bailey Grace.  Mary had Bailey perched on the edge of a picnic table, kissing her chubby cheeks.  Bailey was wearing a baseball cap, so Kim wasn’t sure if Bailey was a girl or a boy until Mary called Bailey “her daughter.”  (Although they both agree now, she was much too pretty to be a boy.) Got to love that face!

So while Mary and Kim bonded over their love for this sweet little princess, they became amazing friends.  Little did Kim or Mary know just how important this friendship would become.

They've been through high school and college graduations. Weddings. Divorces. Dress Sizes. Multiple questionable hairstyles and enough tears and hugs and laughs to fill 15 years.

As they both slide into their 50th year, Kim and Mary's lives have changed so much. Both are looking at an empty nest, caring for and losing aging parents, juggling careers, relationships and families and, the big one, the joys and challenges of menopause.

Mary & Bailey (Shortly before Mary and Kim met.)
Why is it "pause" exactly, are the ovaries going to suddenly jump start in the 70s?  Please, let's hope not.

So here is their blog: “Menopausal Moms of Kentucky” AKA “MMKY (Mary Meehan/Kim York,) Kim and Mary will talk about lessons they have learned over the years about marriage, divorce, teens and most importantly…life as women dealing with menopause. 
So, women of Kentucky…turn up the central air, grab some chocolate, and let’s talk.  
And, please, join in the conversation. Please comment. Please make suggestions. Please tell us what you'd like to hear about. We can say it clearly....we are thrilled you found us. Come back often. Share with your friends. 

Kim and her youngest son, Jordan (Many moons ago.)