Menopause like Puberty?

A while back (15+ years ago) when I started menopause some older, and wiser, women equated it to puberty and at the time I thought that’s ridiculous. Now I realize it is a lot like puberty in reverse…you lose your period, your body goes all out of whack….and some friends doing the dating thing can be disappointed and heartbroken…like high school!

I’m one of the lucky ones that never had PMS growing up. I literally got my period on Christmas…reeeaaallly?…what a gift that was….and was regular as can be until I had a partial hysterectomy at 38. I had to actually put a dot on the calendar to remember that it was going to happen and be prepared, because I never had mood swings or cramps or basically anything. I know…you’re thinking “BITCH!” That’s okay…’cause the blessing I had through puberty did not carry through to menopause. Holy shit it was like being hit with a ton of bricks!

I was so moody in my early 40’s that at one point I said to the was-band, “I don’t even like myself”…who the hell is this person inhabiting my body! Yes, mine was pretty wacky, but that doesn’t mean all women have the same experience. I know some that hardly have any symptoms…to which I say “BITCH!” Oops, I mean, lucky them!!

When I was doing a little research on the topic I came across this article at It’s actually a very interesting article and I’d recommend reading it, but there’s one sentence at the beginning of the article that reads “Menopause is a gift, a lantern lighting the way to significant transformation in all areas of your life. I want you to know, unequivocally, that you can feel and look better than you ever imagined after menopause, even if your symptoms right now are terrible.” At first reading I thought…’what the hell is she talking about!’…but I’m now on the other side of menopause and, except for the weight gain part, it is a pretty great time of life. It was hell for me going through it…hot flashes, sleepless nights, moodiness, blah, blah, blah….but coming out on the other side has had some really nice benefits (to clarify, I’m not talking about the wackiness of the last 5 years).

You don’t have to worry about your period anymore…woohoo! You don’t have to worry about getting pregnant. I feel like you get a better sense of self and confidence in your decisions. I used to be someone who never said “no” and sometimes did things I didn’t really want to do just to be nice, or to fit in…I don’t feel the need to do that anymore. Personally, I’ve learned that it’s important to keep all those people around you that bring you joy, happiness, friendship and love…and it’s okay to let go of some people that kind of suck the life out of you. It can be liberating! So, yeah, in a way I feel like a kid again, before I went through puberty…weird?!

I used to say to younger people who asked for advice about parenting…each stage of child rearing is a different kind of easy and different kind of hard. In some ways it applies to menopause…each part starts out as a different kind of hard, but eventually it’s a different kind of easy. Coming out at the end of it can be really great if you can get through it and you look for the silver lining! I have some of the most amazing women on my rowing team…as well as other facets of my life…that are confident, strong, awesome women in their 60’s and 70’s…so BRING IT ON! I’m looking forward to that next chapter…and the possibilities it holds.

this is me…projecting the possibilities!…gotta put it out there!

….and if you’re going through it right now I promise that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel….hang in there!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…Post St. Patrick’s Day edition

2013…on my way to Connemara

May you never forget what is worth remembering
nor ever remember what is best forgotten…Irish Blessing

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Foodie Friday…The New Lido Village!!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day…Cheers!!

lovely courtyard to just sit and relax by the water

My friend, and teammate, Amy’s husband has been part of the renovation of Lido Marina Village on the Balboa Peninsula. That’s the first I heard that there was even a plan to rejuvenate this gem tucked in the corner below the PCH bridge. When I lived in my little cottage down near Lido I rarely went over to this area. It was tired, a bit stinky and really, just not much reason to go. You could see the potential of the little shopping village…quaint, right on the water, ambiance. How did it become so disheveled?

more places to relax…NOBU is opening up front left

Since I’d heard of the renovation from Amy I’ve basically been watching from the water, during our turn around in the channel at rowing practice, to see the progress of the project. About a month or so ago I noticed the sign for the restaurant NOBU, slated to open in April, and what looked like another restaurant adjacent to it might already be open. I checked online and the restaurant was already open and called Zinque (pronounced zin-kae the website is which was a bit confusing when trying to find it). I had to see what it was all about and how the “village” was shaping up. WOW…I predict the village will be a new go-to hang out…and the restaurant was yummy!

There were four of us and we sat out on the patio overlooking the water…with tons of crew practices rowing in the bay beyond. They have a happy hour nightly that ends at we started out with drinks and a couple of the flatbreads….alsacienne /pancetta, onion, gruyère and mushroom/ wild mushrooms, gruyère, herbs….from the happy hour menu, as well as some Castelvetrano Olives. Among the four of us there were hamburgers, fries, brussel sprouts, tuna tartare tartine and pate…and I’m pretty sure nobody was disappointed! I’d highly recommend. The wait staff was nice and the ambiance is lovely.

The village itself has been upgraded so nicely and it’s just the face lift this place needed. You should probably go now before the construction is done and it gets really crowded! I envision that it will be THE PLACE to go, see, and be seen! It screams upscale, chic, exclusive. I can see an episode of “THE HOUSEWIVES…” filmed here. It’s pretty cool…..the shops are very well curated, but, warning…quite expensive.

a little alley with a few shops and cute lights strung across it
this is on the side of one of the buildings…HOW COULD YOU NOT LOVE THAT!!??

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

A Weekend Wander…Street Art

I found I could say things with color and shapes that
I couldn’t say any other way–things I had no words for
.” Georgia O’Keeffe

…love the colors…check out the artist Zabou

I’ve always been a fan of sculptures and the tangible-ness (is that a word?) of a 3D piece of art that you can touch. Street Art…no so much! When I was in London I became a bit enamored with street art….again, I’m behind on this trend too. I only slightly followed street art, à la Banksybut some of it in London was so cool that I had to photograph it. It’s funny once you notice something how it becomes part of your consciousness and seems to pop up more often. I also took pics of some street art when I was in SF recently and I’m sure I’d walked by those same walls numerous times on past visits.

So, here you go…some random street art and sculpture from London…

this was probably one of my favorites…I love the checkerboard, the red, the whimsy…but I have no idea what it means!

Pyramid Oracle..check out his instagram.
Lora Zombie…check out her website

huge sculpture inside St. Pancras train station

….and here are a couple from SF…

random colorful stools on Claude Lane

Keep an eye out for street art near you. I’m looking forward to photographing more on my upcoming trip to Paris and NYC!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

“We Recommend for YOU!”

Does it annoy you when you get recommendations for clothing, books, web sites, your looking on Instagram, Facebook or just random websites? Sometimes it’s creepy and frustrating and I can’t believe that somebody knows all my everything…. and then sometimes I think it makes the world a smaller place and I appreciate and even click on some of the links.

I was reading the Sunday NY Times and they had a really interesting and thought provoking article titled “Having Built a Bubble, Sites Sell a Way Out” or online it’s titled “How to Escape your Political Bubble for a Clearer View”It says that “the filter bubble describes the tendency of social networks like Facebook and Twitter to lock users into personalized feedback loops, …” and it makes total sense. Everyone was so shocked that Trump won and how could it have happened. Well, if all your “feeds” and “likes” are about say “Hillary Clinton” or “I’m With Her”, you probably got bombarded by websites that backed her, articles about her, etc…. I encourage you to read the entire article because it goes on to say that those same websites, FB/Twitter, etc.. and other companies are trying to broaden how you see things, giving options for plug-ins to broaden your feeds.

So, yeah, it can sometimes be annoying for the world-wide-web to know everything about you, but the feed back can also give you a false sense that everything you’re thinking and doing in terms of politics is in line with the majority…which obviously wasn’t the case this past election. Okay, yes, Clinton did win the majority, but let’s face it, most who voted for her never thought there was any chance of Trump winning…electorate, majority or anything…and your feedback on social media didn’t help that perception.

On a lighter note, I have received lots of good recommendations via those feeds for books, some fun & funky clothes, must-see places to go in a city that I’ll be traveling to or just random events around Orange County. So all that spying can come in handy at times.

There’s so much happening so quickly on the internet that it’s hard to keep up with all the plug-ins, websites, apps, etc…. but I’m confidant that there are companies that will keep trying to “help” and persuade us in a certain direction….be alert, be vigilant, come to your own conclusions!


You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Hygge, Gezellig & ‘Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin’

I.AM.Sooooo behind the eight-ball on this one! Have you heard of the word “HYGGE” (pronounced Hoo-gah)? It was THE word of 2016…and I’m just getting around to it now..ugh! Similar to the post I did on coincidences the word “hygge” has entered my life frequently and randomly for the past seven months.

It all started last July when I did a non-simultaneous home exchange with a lovely family from Copenhagen. When I returned home my guests had left a lovely note and a candlestick, telling me that my home was so hygge. I looked up the word and found out that it means “cozy, contentment and well-being” and was so flattered that my home conveyed this feeling to their family. Of course when I went to Copenhagen for the World Rowing Masters Regatta in September the word hygge kept popping up here and there, but I wasn’t paying much attention….much to my dismay now.

It is not only a Danish word, but it’s practically a national ethos that the Danish have embedded in their culture.  Think fireplaces, big woolly sweaters, blankets, candles and an overall feeling of a big hug. Knowing my guests felt that warmth just by inhabiting my home for a week got me verklempt! It’s totally how I feel about my home…as I assume you do yours…but to have someone else tell me that just warmed my heart.

I need to back track now. I have a thing for phrases and have had many Wall-Words up in my home over the years…you know those little phrases that you order online, they come in a roll and you just stick them to the wall. Well the previous ones I’d had in my home had all been painted over with my detour move to the beach. Now that I was back home, I was itching to put up some wall words…so, after my exchange and trip to Copenhagen, “hygge” seemed perfect. I didn’t want to put up just one word randomly, when I had an epiphany! In thinking back I realized that my friend & neighbor, Bernie, had come into my house years ago and said, ” your home is so gezellig!” (pronounced heh-SELL-ick) …..and my friend, Gina, from Ireland with whom I did my first home exchange, said to me “You need to put up ‘Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin'” (I’m not going to even mess with that pronunciaton…click here)  Gezellig is Dutch (Bernie is from Amsterdam) and loosely translated as “cozy” or “heartwarming.” ‘Níl aon tinteán mar do thinteán féin’ is Irish and translates to “there’s no hearth like your own hearth” or “there’s no place like home.”

wall words in my kitchen

So, those were my words. I ordered them, put them up on my wall leading to the kitchen right before Thanksgiving and that was that….FABULOUS!

….and then I read an article in the NY Times this past Sunday and thought, “Wow, I am so on trend!” and asked Taylor and Kate if they had heard of this word. Not only had they heard it, they both knew all about it, Kate sent me another earlier article in the NY Times …and my ensuing research showed that, yes, I was on trend, but way behind in the trending!

the Paris bistro corner of my kitchen

Here’s what I found out….

a cozy little NYC corner of my bedroom

So why not take a lesson from the Danish and add a little hygge to your life this weekend. Throw a log on the fire, light some candles, invite some friends over (or not) and enjoy the beauty and warmth that emanates from your home and life!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

The Central Coast of California…MORE to do!

great garden store in Los Olivos on the way back home to Orange County

I did a home exchange on the recent long President’s weekend and it was awesome! It was another trip to the central coast of California with our home base in Los Osos…while a great family stayed in my home and visited Disneyland.

We’ve had a lot of rain here in California and the difference it has made to the hillsides, creeks and lakes as you drive up Highway 1/101 is amazing. In the past few years it’s been pretty brown and dismal, but now, I’m not kidding, it looks like Ireland…it’s SO green! We couldn’t get over it! That, coupled with the ocean on our left made for a beautiful drive.

There were six of us and we had a blast. We arrived late on Thursday evening, so we just brought in Chinese food. Friday was a rainy day, with high winds…we even lost power a couple of times…so we decided to just hunker down, read and relax, while we watched the weather change through the floor to ceiling window overlooking Morro Bay. I have to say it’s definitely the best view I’ve had doing a home exchange and the house was great, with every amenity you could want.

The next two days included trips to Harmony (“population: 18″… used to be “population: 2” when I first started visiting over 20 years ago), Cambria, the Seal Rookery near San Simeon, The Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Pismo and a jaunt through San Luis Obispo. As I have said here before…always more fun to tell the story in pictures… you go….

There’s a couple of great places to go in Harmony…a glass blowing store, a cool pottery store and now they even have a winery! They also have a you could get married there!

The amazing Salmon Bisque at Robin’s Restaurant in Cambria…I highly recommend this restaurant!
Fun to see Suzanne, a friend from high school that lives up in Cambria now
Fun home & garden store…. and then go to the back courtyard and there are a bunch of little eclectic shops



Robin’s Restaurant

the Piedras Blancas seal rookery….the beach will be covered with seals when I go up in April
we played a lot of mah jongg over the weekend


day three started off with at the Old West Cinnamon Roll in Pismo
The Monarch Butterfly Grove was beautiful and the temperature was perfect to see lots of Monarchs. It has to be above 58 degrees for them to fly around and it was 61 when we were there…YAY!
last stop before heading home was a little shopping jaunt and lunch in San Luis Obispo…but these girls were so hungry that we tucked into bubble gum alley…EEEWWWW!
we dined alfresco creekside at Novo’s restaurant and really enjoyed these Novo lettuce wraps…yummy!
you have to stop for a quick bathroom break at the Madonna Inn…ornate is an understatement…crazy decor!


You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday….what’s your mission?

(I felt like it was a two-fer kind of Monday!)

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style….Maya Angelou

….and from Hunter Thompson…Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting “Holy shit…what a ride!” (I may have already posted this earlier…but I love it!)

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!