Tuesday, March 31, 2015

True Friendship is more than "Likes" on Facebook

March Madness has truly been just that…nail biting games that could possibly provoke heart attacks!  And, anyone who knows me knows I bleed blue. C-A-T-S Cats Cats Cats! 

But, in my own personal madness, I like to have fun on social media with my friends who may not bleed blue…though I find it hard to believe anyone could not support the University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball team!  And, after UK's last game, I know the good Lord above is a Wildcat fan! 
However, I have to remember to keep this fun with friends I truly know and friends who know me because if you know me, you recognize I would never say anything with the intent to be hurtful.  Recently, I made a big mistake in that regard…and it was a life lesson for me.

What I also have to remember is even though we can stay in touch with people we knew from a previous lifetime (at 50 years of age, it could be several lifetimes ago,) we may not know much about them in the present.  People change…we all do…hopefully! So, even though we accept "friends" on Facebook, we may only be accepting acquaintances, or "old" friends. 

A true friend is so much more than those we find on social media.  For instance, when my dad died 15 months ago, a dear, dear friend dropped everything…took a few days off work to travel with me to my hometown, and supported me throughout the funeral process.  I will never forget that.  But, this sacrifice came from years of supporting each other.  I have always tried to be there for her too.  This kind of support cannot come through Facebook.

And, friends who only want you to support them are not true friends; friendship is a two-way street.  I try to keep this in mind and reach out to my friends when I can.  And, I reach out to them in person…not just through Facebook.  I want them to know I am physically there if they need me.  Let's face it, at my age…and my friend's ages, we may be just a little forgetful.

Another valuable thing about friends is they begin to feel more like family; you want to share everything with them.  Your family becomes their family and vice versa. My wonderful next-door neighbors are like adopted parents.  I love to cook for them and we are all there for each other.  They attended my son's wedding and we will be attending their grand-daughter's wedding in July.  The key is supporting each other. 

Yes, we pray for each other on Facebook, and we "like" each other's posts on Facebook, and these things are amazing!  But, we have to take true support of those close to us further than that.  I would never simply say, "Happy Birthday" on Facebook and expect that to be ok with a true friend.  And, if it is my birthday, I want a real cake…no emoji's on my special day! 

Take a minute to think about your best friend/friends, what do you like most about them?  Do you recipricate those characteristics?  Are you as supportive to that friend as they are to you?  Yes, sometimes life happens and we forget to reach out.  We all have those weeks!  But, we have to reach out!  We never know when that friend may really need us, but feel too lost to ask for support. 

Bottom line...Facebook can be informative when it comes to keeping up with family and friends, but do not let that be the catalyst to any true friendship.  Facebook is nothing in comparison to real faces. 
Tell me about the relationship/s you have with your besties.  Is it more than social media?  Are you, like me at times, guilty of forgetting to make time for those close to us?  I am making it a priority in my life to make sure I see my friend's faces more than I see friends on Facebook.

May your hot flashes be mild and your wrinkles even milder.
Kim York





Sunday, March 15, 2015

Entering my menopausal years, dreams have a whole new meaning.

Dreams are something I have experienced all of my life.  I have rarely ever gotten through a night without a dream…or a nightmare!  

In the past, dreaming was something I hated experiencing.  My dreams kept me from sleeping well, especially if the dreams involved doing repetitive tasks at work or if I had nightmares. Our daughter Ashley actually bought me a dream diary one year for Christmas.  And, for a while I documented all of my dreams and nightmares.  Reading back over them is like reading the diary of someone psychotic. 

Looking at one particular week of dreams, on the first night I dreamed I was at a Vince Gill concert, and there were children running up and down the aisles.  This annoyed me.  Then a bunch of guys got in a big fistfight and I was trying to break it up.  I couldn’t break it up, so I tried calling the police.  But, I was told the police were asleep and that I would need to call back in the morning.  The next night I dreamed my husband stopped to pick up an outfit I had ordered and he was really upset with me because the cost of the outfit was over $900.00.  The third night I dreamed I was conducting an experiment to see how long it would take a vending machine to dispense drinks in different weather conditions…like I said, the dreams seemed really crazy at times.

The dreams I wrote about in the journal were over 10 years ago.  As I have entered my menopausal years, my dreams can still be bizarre, but the dreams have changed considerably.  Now, my dreams seem to have real meaning.

Most recently, my dreams seem to focus on my father who passed away in December of 2013.    The first dream I had about my father was the very night he died.  I dreamed I woke up in the bedroom where I was sleeping, and he was beside me…just smiling down at me.  He looked much younger, and it was a smile I had not seen in years.  He had been so sick for so many years that a smile…a true smile…was rare.  I woke up and cried for hours. 

Then it seemed I didn’t dream at all for a while.  Then one night, about two months after he died, I had another dream about my dad.  He was in Heaven with another friend from church who had passed away many years ago.  The two of them were working at a table giving out clothes to people who needed them.  Neither of them said a word to me, they simply smiled and kept handing out clothes.  Both looked extremely young and were very dedicated to their work.  I knew as I was dreaming that both of them were gone from this earth, and even while I was dreaming, I wondered what the dream meant? I even questioned if I were really dreaming?  It seemed so real.

Dreams about my dad happen pretty often now, and I look forward to them.  It is like God gives me the opportunity to visit with him.  Dad always looks happy and healthy.  He doesn’t have oxygen tanks attached to him and he always tells me how much he loves me and how proud he is of me.  Those were things he always said to me when he was alive.  He also calls me “Sissy” in my dreams, just as he did before he passed away.  Could these dreams be real?  Is it possible to visit with our loved ones who have passed away? 

Dreams or not, when I wake up, I am so happy.  I usually cry, but the tears are tears of joy.  I miss my dad every day, but I am so thankful to see him in my dreams.

Do you ever dream about loved ones who have passed away?  Do they seem real to you?  Do the dreams offer you peace, or do they trouble you?  Please share your experiences.

May your hot flashes be mild and your wrinkles even milder.
Kim York

Saturday, March 7, 2015

I accidentally signed up for EHarmony: Dating and the Menopausal Mom

I accidentally signed up for eHarmony.
It was late one night.
The ad said "see men for free".
I like men pretty well.
I like free even better so I started to click through links.
It said something like "just answer a few questions."
So I started to answer a few questions.
I didn't really give it much thought.
I remember years ago when I was helping a friend who was about my age now, 50, sign up for an online profile. We labored for hours over the words and the pictures.
This was not like that at all. For all I remember my every answer might have been "cats are nice" or "summer is a good time of year." Riveting stuff.
It was not thoughtful or especially original. I just kept waiting for the questions to end.
But, apparently, what I did was create a profile that other people could look at and that the mystical eHarmony algorithm will use to magically find me my soul mate.
I never did really see this promised array of available men.
So, even though I wasn't really trying and didn't post a picture, it sent me a batch of men who lived in my general area and the areas of interest we had in common.
All most of them were matches because I had checked "eating at restaurants" as something I enjoy doing.
Here's the thing. I don't especially love eating out at restaurants but I checked it because I do, sometimes, enjoy eating out.
But I wondered what it says about me and the dozen or so guys eHarmony said I should check out that the single most intesting thing we do, according to the magic machine, is that we eat food prepared by other people. It is true that happens in my life. I bought this today while on the way to work.

But I would hope that, maybe, there is something greater over which to bond.

Now, I am not pretending that I am leading some kind of crazy lifestyle. I'll admit the highlight this week was finding somebody to shovel the 17 inches of snow off my driveway.

But I'd like to think that if I were really looking for companionship it might be based more than a nice plate of carbs. But I don't know. What matters as you get older and you meet someone?
I meet a woman recently who is my age who was interested, in part, in her boyfriend because they both smoked. It made her like him more. They are now facing a challenge because her health has forced her to quit and he isn't quite ready to give up cigarettes.

Another friend recently told me she thinks much differently about relationships now that she has one in her 50s than she did in her 20s or 30s. She looks at what she expects much differently than she did before.

It did get me wondering whether I will ever have a companion in my life again. I have been single a long time and my engery has been focused in other directions.  And if I do, what shape will that reationship take and were will I find him?

I know I am a long way from something like BeautifulPeople.Com

This is a website where the hot among us vote to let their fellow beauties join an exclusive dating pool. It is like the worst, co-ed rush week ever and it apparently never ends. Apparently it just kicked 3,000 people off because they have let themselves go by gaining weight
Some of them have also "aged gracelessly". I probably fall into both categories.

I know I shouldn't judge, but the guy in charge of the site looks like this:

So I wonder if he was actually voted in by the same rush week from hell process. Anyway, I digress I just hope I'm not destined for this:

Here is something I do know.....I have spent most of the last 16 years focused on someone else and rightly so. But I need to start thinking of a lot of things differently. Maybe dating is one of them. I find it kind of terrifying but I've faced a lot bigger challenges. I have another friend who swears she put getting married on a vision board and she was hitched within the year.

Baby steps, I guess.....maybe I should try putting in some legitimate answers in my eHarmony profile? They send me about a message a day. Apparently this week men are on sale.

Shout out to Norway.....Menopausal Moms has readers in 17 countries and counting. Menopause is Universal.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The threat of falls is real for Menopausal Moms:Tips, facts and my story

It's slick out there so.....

I have new method of walking outside in the winter.

My head is bent toward the ground.

I take tiny steps.

It feels a lot like Tim Conway's Old Man character on the Carol Burnett show -- you know the sketch I am talking about it -- and how he use to sloooowly shuffle across a scene.

It is slow going and I am ok with that.

Here's why. I don't want to fall.

I fell in September after attempting to text while walking and sniffing natumeral gas for two hours at a breaking news scene. I won an award for the story and six weeks of physical therapy for the fall.

A friend of mine at work slipped without ice and had to lay in her driveway for an hour before someone stopped to help. She broke several things and was off work for six weeks and is still recovering.

I think I can speak for the both of us when I say recovery is painful and annoying and humbling.

Apparently we are not alone. This is from the CDC.

Balance and bone density decline significantly between the age of 40 and 60 and this age usually coincides with menopause. Some sobering statistics are that:
  • 1 in 5 women will fall each year before they reach 60
  • After 65 years 1 in 3 will fall each year
  • Women over 80, 1 in 2 will fall each year
  • 1 in 2 women 50 and over will suffer a broken bone (fracture) due to a fall in their remaining life-time

So really my Old Man shuffle is justified.

And I will go to any length to avoid another fall. I will make an elaborate detour around what looks like something slick. I carefully use the car door as a stabilizing measure. I thought briefly today of actually getting a cane for stability but knowing my luck the cane would go askew and that would bring me down.

A woman who works with senior citizens told me this summer how much she admires older people because they are constantly having to adapt to new realities as the world around them changes and their bodies don't work like they once did

After my fall, I understand that concept a lot better. (So, Mom, you are more idol more than ever.)

I have decided no precaution is too cautious. I sometimes rub my foot along the ground to judge the slickness of a surface before moving forward.

Last week faced between a three foot high pile of snow between me and a parking meter I mentally measured the height of the mound and the appropriateness of my shoes. I examined the depth and ice content of potential footholds like a rock climber and decided to ask the nice blue collar guy in the well worn coveralls who was the feeding a meter three feet away if he would mind putting my money in for me.

I might as well have added a "thank you sonny."

But he was kind enough to do it for me so I continued my careful, tiny-stepped march down the sidewalk to my appointment.  This is a very different kind of behavior for me. In my 20s I carried both a box springs and a mattress up two flights of stairs by myself instead of asking for help. But you know live an learn.

Here is a all kinds of information about menopause and bones and falls from the Cleveland Clinic
but I will give you he bullet points.

As we age bones get more brittle. Hormones...damn hormones....are to blame in part as are estrogen levels. It is important to do thing that that we should all do for our health as we become older women.
Exercise, eat right...you know the drill. It's also important to talk to you doctor about help to maintain bone density.

So I'm going to do that. I hope you will too. Until that time I will shuffle on.........

Shout out to our reader (readers) in Brazil...where I'm pretty sure they don't have to do the Old Man shuffle on the ice  but are still proof that Menopause is Universal!

Mary M.

17 countries and counting.

And now to confirm my semi-old lady status. Here is a  random picture of my cat. He is looking content because he is literally laying on top of my dog.