Friday, October 31, 2014

me and my period

Now that the days of me and my period are somewhat numbered, I wanted to take a moment and publicly state that I'll miss it when it's gone. It's been 36 years since that first one. The one when I didn't realize I'd gotten it but my mother knew by my stilted description of back pain and brown stains. She, who against my pleas, told my dad, who brought it up as a casual conversation starter at dinner, which still ranks as one of my most embarrassing moments ever. 

Oops. I digress.

In spite of the leaks, the doubling over cramps, the at times intense mood swings, the chocolate cravings when more than once I gnawed on baker's chocolate to quell the desire, the 30 plus years avoiding swimming because I thought I wasn't supposed to, my period and I have shared one of the most long-standing, reliable relationships of my life. 
It showed up in the city, in the suburbs, at college, on vacation. Whether I was single, dating, married, there it was. My hair permed, my fashion choices questionable, whether I was fighting a cold, healing from a broken bone, practicing yoga, or writing a book it rarely failed me. 

It went missing once when anorexia got the better of me and the two times I was pregnant, then nursing. That first time, when my period stopped for no obvious reason (obvious to me anyway) I realized how much comfort I took even in the discomfort. How familiar, how soothing the routine was. How reassuring that regular occurrence was, letting me know hey! your body is working the way it's supposed to. 

Perhaps I'm glorifying it a bit now that the end is in sight. Back in the day I was mortified every time I had to buy supplies. Petrified I'd get it unexpectedly and someone would find out. I hid it beneath embarrassment and discomfort. But as I got older (and wrote a book about menstruation), the shame fell away and I was left with deep appreciation that all was as it should be. 

When my period finally stops there will be a void. Maybe the change will be for the better but from here it sort of feels like I'll be letting go of a comforting old friend. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

it's all menopause's fault

Now that I'm going through menopause I'm finding it's a very convenient scapegoat. 

My period shows up every 23 days?

Damn that faultering estrogen. 

I wake up 4 or 5 times during the night and have trouble getting back to sleep every single time?

Shifting hormones. 

My middle is thicker than it's ever been?

Change of life stuff. 

Super frizzy hair? Droopier boobs? Mysterious pains in my shoulders? Chronic fatigue? Arid sinuses? Scaly dry patches at the edges of my eyebrows?

Crepe-y skin covering my inner elbows? Angry purple streaks lining the backs of my thighs? Age spots that I remember from Porcelana commercials?

Random thoughts of death and destruction? Tearing up at that Budweiser commercial when the owner doesn't come home at night while his dog patiently waits for him and you think something terrible happened but it was just that he was being responsible and not drinking and driving? 

This nagging feeling I'll never accomplish anything significant again? 

Forgetting where my keys are? Whether or not I've washed shampoo out of my hair? Did I turn the oven off? Walk the dogs? Make the kids dinner?

That stain on my rain coat I can't get out? The F train that never comes? The fact that I still can't do a handstand? 

And the pièce de résistance . . . PEE LEAKS?

I don't want to keep pointing fingers but menopause*. But I'm on to you. 

*yes I'm aware menopause can't be responsible for all these things but being that no one can say for sure what menopause does actually do except switch up your hormones and pull the menstruation plug I'm standing by my accusations. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

40 days of menopause

I've been pondering the topic of menopause for quite some time - ever since I finished my last book, which was about menstruation. Natural next step one would think.  To be honest I've never gotten past the barely thinking about it phase. For five years.

And in those five years I've been traveling the perimenopausal path trying remarkably hard to give as little thought to it as possible.

But, whether or not I think about it, read about it, write about it, grapple with it, look forward to it, fear it, it's inevitable. And so, I thought I'd dip my toe in the water and see how researching it feels. Which, at the end of the day, means acknowledging that it's happening. 

To me. 

Right now. 

Not that that's a bad thing. 

I'm not even sure what it is yet. 

But perhaps it's time to stop not thinking.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

London Calling

I never wanted a dog. Everyone else in my family did and I was always the nay sayer, sure it would be a disaster in too many ways to count. 

Turns out we are a total dog family and the two pups we're lucky to live with have brought more joy and love than I ever could have imagined. 

I never thought about being an adventure family. Options and variables and what ifs  along with family and familiarity kept our traveling comfortable and remarkably the same. We've been on countless cruises and seen a variety of beaches. We've been down to the Jersey Shore every summer for 14 years. The roads to Florida and Vermont are well traveled. 

This year though, with big birthdays to commemorate (2 50s, 16 and 13) we decided to shake things up and head to London. 

Nothing but unknowns. 

My stomach is in a knot. 

Part of me is thrilled. 

Another part is terrified. 

But I have a feeling this, like our pups, will be a game changer. 

Feels like the right time to discover we're far more than we think we are. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

turning 50

I'll be turning 50 this month and I'm finding that fact brings up 3 very distinct reactions in people. 

1. Oh my god I had NO IDEA! You look so much younger! (gratifying)

2. The other side of 50 is even better.  (reassuring)

3. Time to break out the Metamucil, colonoscopies, AARP card. (annoying)

Birthdays can have so much attached, especially one that has come to have such social significance. I remember thinking 50 was ancient when I was younger and yet here I am, staring it down and I don't feel any different. 

The number doesn't matter. Who I am and what I do does. 

2 weeks before I turned 30 I graduated from art school. 

Right as I turned 40 my publishing projects started to take off. 

Heading into 50 I'm taking on leadership of the PTA at the biggest school in the country, an opportunity to hone my communication, fundraising and community building skills. And who knows what that will bring with it. 

Birthdays are convenient ways to take stock of where I've been and where I'm heading. Nice to stop for a moment to look back and then forward. And after that to be here. 

I'm proud of what I've done. Nervous and excited to live what's next. And, as always, grateful for the here and now. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

photography and me

My kids have heard all my stories. At least they think they have and I often feel like I've got nothing new to add to what they know about me. 


Often, when I launch into something eyes roll and I know they've heard it before. But yesterday, as I was talking about my nondescript high school experience, leaving college after 2 years and then heading to art school in my mid twenties there was a nugget or two not yet shared. 

My road to design school was in no way linear. It wasn't until I'd left college, had been working my way through various positions in retail that I even learned what graphic design was. My last job before art school was a liaison between an art studio and their biggest client - close enough to see what was going on but still no with no idea how to be a designer. 

Then I went to art school and was basically torn apart. I was terrible at every foundation class my first year. My painting teacher would shake his head in dismay at my utter lack of talent. My sculpture professor stopped critiquing me early on and in one drawing class models learned to skip my easel. 

Then there was photography - the only class that I didn't cry before. As I put my final portfolio together my teacher thought I should seriously consider declaring that as my major instead of graphic design. I was tempted but back then it was timing and chemicals and darkrooms and lenses. All that took away from the art for me. 

Rediscovering photography has been one of the highlights of this new jewelry project: finding the right light, angle, props, setting. It feels right to be doing this again. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Today someone asked me what my favorite colors are. 

Hot pink and orange. 

Favorite nail polish?

Electric blue and purple. 

I may often be cloaked in the black uniform of a New Yorker but my souls resonates with color. Brightness. Tone. Shades. Saturation. 

I would love a job naming paint chips or nail polishes or yarn swatches, finding the words to describe the deepening turquoise at the horizon's edge on a sunny day in the Caribbean. Or the green that's more olive than spring but not even related to khaki. 

The rich coral bordering on red that reflects off skyscrapers at sunrise. 

The darkening purple blue of dusk. 

The not quite white of snow falling in shadows. 

Color feeds my soul. Sparks my imagination. Kick starts creativity in moments it might be challenged. 

Feeling it's time to dive into a new project. Happy sigh.