Another Birthday…   1 comment

bd-alice

Another birthday is here and I’ve now passed you age-wise.😦  I had always taken such delight being able to say that I was the younger one.  Not any more😦

Each year, the non-birthday-girl would be planning and plotting online, as well as real-life, surprises.  We had hand-made wrapping paper and all sorts of exotic and non-exotic gifts.  Right now, I’m wearing a cozy robe from a zillion years ago.

Way back in 1998, when I was learning web design, I posted a whole mini-site for that birthday.  Unfortunately, html code no longer allows for the music to play, but I had carefully thought out tunes for each day.  The page titles aren’t showing, either.

  • The main page title was “Happy Millennium Birthday, Alice!” and played a simple Happy Birthday  
  • The theme to Perry Mason aka “Peri MasonPause” on the “Flora”  page
  • the “Born” page had the theme to Alice’s Restaurant with no special title
  • the “Robert Redford” page had The Way We Were.  The title was “To Alice, from Bob (with lust)”
  • the “musician and his music” page was Bach’s Toccata and Fugue and the title was “Happy Bachday, Alice!”
  • the “flowers” page was The Rose with no special title

See that site here: http://www.oconnormusic.org/aliceBD/birthday.htm

The last page of that site was particularly important.  I’d emailed all of Alice’s past guest speakers and other PS members and compiled this list of great wishes: http://www.oconnormusic.org/aliceBD/guests.htm

We’d be up at 12:01 am, posting wishes, decorating message boards and doing the final touches for websites.

turbanIn 2003, I’d apparently posted a picture of Flora Dora (again!) and Alice responded:

MaryO, what can I say other than that it was a wonderful and beautiful surprise to see my guest announcement area turned into a beautiful, sparkling birthday greeting — and Flora Dora, Power Surge’s mascot and RR — but especially your beautiful wishes.

I responded:

After all these years, it’s getting harder and harder to come up with new ideas for how to do an online surprise. There have been a variety of different things for different birthdays, but I have to keep you guessing   I hope that you don’t mind that I’m holding the announcement area hostage for a little longer.

I’m sure that many of the newer people don’t know who Flora Dora is, but she’s an essential part of Power Surge so she have to be included somehow – kinda like inviting your maiden aunt to Thanksgiving🙂 Of course, RR is welcome – anytime! I’m so glad that I could make an online surprise for you again this year – maybe I should start planning for NEXT year already.

I hope we share many more birthdays together as the close friends we’ve become over the years.

On a more serious side, you’re very welcome for the “beautiful wishes”.  Sometimes, words fail me and I don’t do things justice, but you and Power Surge have changed my life in so many ways that go beyond “simple” menopause issues. When I first came to Power Surge on AOL, I was a confirmed lurker, reading only, never posting.

The first chat I tried to hide out until you asked me a question, encouraging me to talk. This was all so scary for me, communicating with others – online or off. I can say with confidence, that I’m no longer a lurker on the boards and in the chats like I was, and that was all your doing. Thanks so much for that!

Now I just have to work on my real life lurkership! The knowlege I got here in Power Surge, even when I was lurking, helped me so much with my menopause, my symptoms, my everyday life. Like most everyone else, I learned about the way to help my meno symptoms and I’m so thankful of that, that I could be feeling better.

When my husband was very sick, close to death, my first December in PS, I wouldn’t post, but I would come home from the hospital and read everything that other people were posting. It seemed so great to me, and it was such a comfort to me to know that everyone was out there. I recognized people’s names and enjoyed “listening” to the banter and chatter, and that gave me something other than the hospital and my own worries to think about. No matter what the time of day was, I could always read and see that things were ok with the world, and know that we were going to survive this. What a wonderful community Power Surge is!

Things have come along way since then. My husband made it, thanks to a skilled surgeon and a LOT of prayer. And I gradually changed, too. I’m obviously not afraid to post anymore, or go to chats, and I really have you to thank for that. Over the years there have been many changes, the boards have moved, been started again from scratch, updated, all kinds of things, as have the chats, but one thing remains clear and unchanged – and that Power Surge isn’t just another “website”. It is a true community for women in midlife, something we can gain daily strength from. (sorry about the preposition!)

And it’s all because of you, Dearest Alice Stamm. Thank you so much, and I hope it was a wonderful birthday – you deserve the very best!

Hugs and thanks from the bottom of my heart! Mary

From the message boards in 2004:

online-friend

From 2005:

We have decided to let you accept the responsibilities of a 6 year old again.
If you want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make ripples with rocks, that’s great.
If you want to think M&Ms are better than money, because you can eat them, they are calorie-free (today only!).
If you want to lie under a big Oak tree next summer and run a lemonade stand with your friends (and fellow Surgettes) on a hot summers day, we’ll give you a voucher.
That summer-time voucher is also good for walking on the beach and thinking of the sand between your toes and the prettiest seashell you can find. Or you can spend the afternoon climbing trees and riding your bike.
We are returning you to a time when life was simple. When all you knew were colors, addition tables and simple nursery rhymes. But that didn’t bother you, because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care. When all you knew was to be happy because you didn’t know all the things that should make you worried and upset.
You’re going to go to school and have snack time, recess, gym and field trips.
You’ll be so happy, nothing will make you upset.
We’re going to let you think that the world is fair. That everyone in it is honest and good…that anything is possible.
For today, you’re going to be oblivious to the complexity of life and be overly excited by little things once again, returned to the days when reading was fun.
No worries about time, bills, websites that crash, guest chats where the guest can’t get in, excess email, time….No more worry about computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, aches, pains, doctor visits or illness.
We’re going to help you believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, health, dreams, the imagination, mankind and making angels in the snow.
You’re going to be 6 again, for today (and probably some of us will want to join you!). From all of us…

QUOTE (Dearest @ Nov 10 2005, 09:23 AM)

Thank you all for your warm and wonderful birthday wishes.

A very special thank you to my friend, MaryO, for the beautiful greeting, for including Power Surge’s mascot, Flora Dora at the top of the screen — and especially for allowing me to be six again even if only for a day :)

And I said:

You know, you can always apply for an extension of the day being 6. Click here to apply.

Glad you had a great birthday and much-needed vacation. If you want to extend either of those, please let me know and I’ll see if I can locate an extension for either of those.

Happy Post-Birthday!

In 2006, Alice said:

Thank you ALL for your wonderful birthday wishes and beautiful sentiments about how much Power Surge means to and has done for you. That makes all the years of work that’s gone into this “community” worthwhile (with, perhaps, the exception of dealing with HACKERSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!) :)

I don’t know some of you very well. Others I know well and have established lovely friendships with. You know who you are. Thank you, too, for your beautiful flowers, birthday cards, online greetings, etc.

And thank you, my dear friend, MaryO, for starting this topic and for being the sister I never had :) I’m so glad I impulsively decided to give myself a birthday present last month and called saying, “C’mon, let’s go to see Streisand!!” That was the highlight of my/our year. To be sitting so close to her, and SO close to and watching people mingle like: Bill and Hillary Clinton, Lauren Bacall, James Brolin, Katie Couric, Stephen Sondheim, Rosie O’Donnell, Sting, Hugh Jackman, Steven Spielberg, Regis and Joy Philbin, Sara Jessica Parker — and many, many others.

It was like the first time we met a few years ago and stopped into a restaurant only to find a few minutes later that Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara, Peter Bogdonovich, Carol Kane and others, whose names elude me at the moment, came in and sat at the table next to us. Knowing me, I had to go over and talk to them, especially Gena Rowlands, who’s still beautiful and elegant and was so gracious.

The past few years, starting with my emergency surgery and all the ensuing complications, my mom’s fall down the stairs and subsequent need for constant care, my dad passing away only four months later and my own ongoing and confusing health issues — too much stress.

The past few months have been better — we’ve both been through a LOT this year especially!

Special thanks to those of you who’ve generously given donations (some of you even more than once) to the site to help defray some of the expenses of running it.

I’m grateful to be alive and very proud of Power Surge and all the women (and men) it’s helped over the years plus all the wonderful women who participate in it :)

Alice

And I responded:

To be sitting so close to her…
You mean me…or Barbra? LOL

It was so amazing how that trip worked out. It was the most spontaneous thing I had ever done.

My son was home from grad school for “fall break” formerly known as Columbus Day weekend. He was flying back on Wednesday, through JFK.

After Alice got the tickets for Barbra on Monday (amazing in itself), I was able to get on Michael’s flight to JFK – only one trip to the airport! The flight number was the same as Alice’s street address. Do I hear Twilight Zone music?

What a great birthday gift you got for yourself – thank you so much for sharing it with me :)

Happy post-birthday!

From 2007

The top header on the boards:

logo4

Followed by

birthday2007

And Alice said…

Firstly, {{{{{MaryO}}}}, my old and dear friend, thank you for starting this topic and for the beautifully creative graphic and sentiments you made for my birthday. I don’t have to tell you what your friendship has meant to me all these years (you already know). Hugs!

Thank you all for your good wishes. Someone wrote to me, “I hope you had a peaceful birthday.” That’s exactly what it was . . . peaceful.

Thank you also for your kind words about Power Surge. It’s been a labor of love for 14 years . . . about to start its 15th year Feb. 3rd, 2008. I have a pretty good idea how many women’s lives have been impacted by this “community.” In all these years, including the start-up years on America Online, I’ve probably posted in the area of 100,000 messages on the numerous PS message boards. I can’t post as much as I used to any longer for many reasons, but I’m always working in the background to maintain this site that’s become a tremendous source of information and haven of support for all the visitors who come to it every day.

What started out as a blank page in an HTML editor has grown to exactly what I’d planned. I’m very proud of every facet of Power Surge including this message board.

Finally, thank you to all those who have made donations to Power Surge. I have thanked each and every one of you individually. Your donations have been helpful in defraying some of the ever-increasing costs involved with running Power Surge.

Again, thank you.

Best,
Dearest

Then, 2008

dearest-alice-2008

alice-2008

And that’s enough for this year.  I have to save some out🙂

~~~

So, it’s 17 years since I made that first silly website.  I’m still scrambling to get something to post by 12:01 am for your birthday.

I still can’t believe that you won’t be reading this later, calling me when UPS / amazon / FEDex arrives with gifts so we can open them “together”.

We’ve said it once, we’ve said it dozens of times.  Even when we’re apart we’re

foreverfriends

hbalice

alice-miss-you

Alice’s Yahrzeit Starts at Sundown Tonight   Leave a comment

Yahrzeit

 

In Judaism, there are several occasions each year when the dead are memorialized. The most significant of these is yahrzeit, the anniversary of the death, which is observed according to the Hebrew calendar. Most synagogues keep registries of the Hebrew dates of members’ deaths and send out notices reminding family members of the yahrzeit date.

As is the case in all Jewish holidays, yahrzeit observance begins at night. A 24-hour candle is lit and, as one woman I know says: “The spirit of the dead person fills the room again for 24 hours.” One attends synagogue for the evening, morning, and afternoon services and again recites the Kaddish [the memorial prayer].

One should not go to a celebration or party on the day of yahrzeit, and some people fast on that day.

Adapted from http://www.myjewishlearning.com/life/Life_Events/Death_and_Mourning/Burial_and_Mourning/Yahrzeit.shtml

English: A lit Yahrtzeit candle, a candle that...

English: A lit Yahrtzeit candle, a candle that is lit on the Hebrew anniversary of a loved one’s death. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The yahrzeit candle is lit during the week of Shiva (mourning). It is also lit at sundown on the eve of the yahrzeit (anniversary of the death) and at sundown preceding the start of Yom Kippur and at sundown preceding the last day of Succot, Passover and Shavuot.

These holidays all have yizkor (memorial) in synagogue as well.

Rest in peace, Dearest Alice.

Remembering   Leave a comment

die

 

I found this on Facebook and it’s perfect.

Posted September 1, 2016 by MaryO in In Memory

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Menopause sometimes requires a survival guide   Leave a comment

Menopause has gotten a bad rap. Women in their 40s and 50s who have any symptoms – from moodiness to insomnia and headaches – may believe that it’s a normal part of aging and there’s not much they can do about it.

Fluctuating hormones caused by the normal decline of ovarian function can trigger the typical symptoms associated with menopause. One approach is to give the body a drug that mimics ovarian function, such as estrogen or hormone replacement therapy. This was a common treatment, until multiple studies showed increased risk of urinary incontinence, stroke, dementia and breast cancer from using menopausal hormone therapy.

Fortunately, there is another approach to improving the body’s ability to adjust to hormone fluctuations that doesn’t increase the risk of breast cancer and dementia. This approach looks at the other organ systems that are involved in addition to the ovaries. For instance, hot flashes will be greatly exaggerated in a woman who has blood-sugar problems – even if those don’t show up on a standard blood test.

BIOIDENTICAL HORMONES

Some women use bioidentical hormones instead. While they appear to have fewer immediate side effects, there is no evidence that they have fewer long-term risks.

At a recent functional medicine conference I attended, there were several discussions on how to address hormone “saturation” – the experience many women have after being on bioidentical hormones for several years and then having a return of their previous symptoms. We’re learning that underlying imbalances in gut function, adrenal hormones and blood sugar can have a major effect on a woman’s experience of her perimenopausal years.

IT’S NOT JUST THE OVARIES

Technically, menopause occurs when a woman hasn’t had a period for 12 consecutive months. The symptoms that can occur for years before that are due to the ovaries becoming less predictable in their hormone production. This means that estrogen levels can spike and fall like a roller coaster.

Unfortunately, once a woman knows that her hormones are fluctuating, she is likely to explain away all her symptoms as perimenopausal. But ovaries are not the only glands affected by hormone changes. The pancreas, thyroid and adrenal glands play key roles in determining how easy or difficult the perimenopausal years will be.

The most common, end-stage effect of pancreas dysfunction is diabetes. But long before the body reaches a disease state, there are more subtle effects. For instance, a woman with low blood sugar or insulin resistance will experience more severe hot flashes than a woman with normal blood-sugar regulation.

Following are common symptoms associated with perimenopause and factors that can determine the severity of those symptoms.

• Heavy or frequent periods. These can be worsened by blood-sugar and thyroid imbalances that don’t show up on routine blood work. Checking free and total levels of T3 and T4 as well as thyroid antibodies can be helpful.

• Hot flashes or low libido. Underlying adrenal stress can result in cortisol levels that are too high or too low, or reduced DHEA (precursor to several hormones). Cortisol levels are best tested with multiple saliva samples over a 24-hour period.

• Insomnia. With or without hot flashes, insomnia is often due to chronic stress, which causes the adrenals to produce excess cortisol.

• Mood changes and brain fog. Moods can be affected by the stress hormone cortisol as well as imbalanced neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters such as serotonin are made primarily in the gut and can be evaluated with a urine test. Low levels of serotonin can also increase overall pain levels.

• Hair loss and weight gain. There may be underlying thyroid stress that doesn’t show up on routine blood work but requires a more detailed look at free and total levels of T3 and T4 and thyroid antibodies.

Once these underlying issues are identified, they can be addressed through food choices, lifestyle factors and specific supplements.

Marina Rose, D.C., is a functional medicine practitioner, certified clinical nutritionist and chiropractor with an office at 4546 El Camino Real in Los Altos. For more information,  visit DrMarinaRose.com.

From http://www.losaltosonline.com/special-sections2/sections/your-health/53300-

Best Friends Day…   Leave a comment

foreverfriends

 

On June 8, honor your closest and dearest friend on Best Friends Day.

Whether you just spoke with your best friend the day before or it has been years, take some time to make the most of Best Friends Day to let that person know how much you cherish the relationship.

Maybe there are several best friends in your life.  However many there are, get together and celebrate the day!

I miss you today, and every day, Alice.

 

alice-miss-you

Posted June 8, 2016 by MaryO in Holidays

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Acupuncture in menopause (AIM) study   Leave a comment

Menopause, 05/27/2016

The aim of the study was to evaluate the short and long–term effects of acupuncture on vasomotor symptoms (VMS) and quality of life–related measures. The authors found that a course of acupuncture treatments was associated with significant reduction in VMS, and several quality–of–life measures, compared with no acupuncture, and that clinical benefit persisted for at least 6 months beyond the end of treatment.

Methods

  • A total of 209 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women aged 45 to 60 years, experiencing four or more VMS per day, were recruited from the community and randomized to receive up to 20 acupuncture treatments within the first 6 months (acupuncture group) or the second 6 months (waitlist control group) of the 12–month study period.
  • The primary outcome was mean daily frequency of VMS.
  • Secondary outcomes were VMS interference with daily life, sleep quality, depressive symptoms, somatic and other symptoms, anxiety, and quality of life.

Results

  • The VMS frequency declined by 36.7% at 6 months in the acupuncture group and increased by 6.0% in the control group (P < 0.001 for between–group comparison).
  • At 12 months, the reduction from baseline in the acupuncture group was 29.4% (P < 0.001 for within–group comparison from baseline to 12 months), suggesting that the reduction was largely maintained after treatment.
  • Statistically significant clinical improvement was observed after three acupuncture treatments, and maximal clinical effects occurred after a median of eight treatments.
  • Persistent improvements were seen in many quality of life–related outcomes in the acupuncture group relative to the control group.
 Read more at http://www.mdlinx.com/nurse-practitioner/medical-news-article/2016/05/27/menopause/6682615/?news_id=578&newsdt=052716&utm_source=DailyNL&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_content=General-Article&utm_campaign=article-section&category=latest&page_id=1

Posted May 27, 2016 by MaryO in From Elsewhere

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February is American Heart Month   Leave a comment

February is American Heart Month. Learn about heart disease in women and what you can do to keep a healthy heart.

Get Informed: Facts on Women and Heart Disease

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States.
  • Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a “man’s disease,” around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease in the United States.
  • Some conditions and lifestyle choices increase a person’s chance for heart disease, including diabetes, overweight and obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol use.
  • High blood pressure, high LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. LDL is  considered the “bad” cholesterol because having high levels can lead to buildup in your arteries and result in heart disease and stroke. Lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol and not smoking will reduce your chances for heart disease.

Symptoms

While some women have no symptoms of heart disease, others may experience heavy sharp chest pain or discomfort, pain in the neck/jaw/throat, or pain in the upper abdomen or back. Sometimes heart disease may be silent and not diagnosed until a woman has signs or symptoms including:

  • Heart Attack: Chest pain or discomfort, upper back pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea/vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, and shortness of breath.
  • Arrhythmia: Fluttering feelings in the chest.
  • Heart Failure: Shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling of the feet/ankles/legs/abdomen.
  • Stroke: Sudden weakness, paralysis (inability to move) or numbness of the face/arms/legs, especially on one side of the body. Other symptoms may include confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech, difficulty seeing in one or both eyes, shortness of breath, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, loss of consciousness, or sudden and severe headache.
Stethoscope with plastic heartHealthy Hearts

Heart disease is largely preventable.
Listen to CDC’s Dr. Bowman discuss ways to prevent heart problems.
[00:04:06 minutes]

What You Can Do for Heart Health

You can lower your chance of heart disease and a heart attack by taking simple steps.

  • Eat a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. Choose foods low in saturated fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
  • Exercise regularly. Adults needs 2 hours and 30 minutes (or 150 minutes total) of exercise each week. You can spread your activity out during the week, and can break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day.
  • Be smokefree. If you are ready to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) or 1-855-DÉJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569 for Spanish speakers) for free resources, including free quit coaching, a free quit plan, free educational materials, and referrals to other resources where you live.
  • Limit alcohol use, which can lead to long-term health problems, including heart disease and cancer. If you do choose to drink, do so in moderation, which is no more than one drink a day for women. Do not drink at all if you are pregnant.
  • Know your family history. There may be factors that could increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • Manage any medical condition you might have. Learn the ABCS of heart health. Keep them in mind every day and especially when you talk to your health provider:
    • Appropriate aspirin therapy for those who need it
    • Blood pressure control
    • Cholesterol management
    • Smoking cessation

From http://www.cdc.gov/features/wearred/index.html