Tag Archives: Friends

Đjakovo, Croatia

My recent visit to Croatia included a stop Đjakovo/Đakovo. The scenery on the drive from Zagreb to Đjakovo was lush and green everywhere I looked. We drove through charming villages, each accented by the church steeple.

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I am so grateful to have family in Croatia that can chauffeur me wherever I need to go. It’s not that I think it would be hard to navigate around this beautiful country, it’s that having this service allows me to enjoy the views!

Butterfly? on Duvnjak Farm

 

Đjakovo was unusually warm the days I visited, or so my hosts told me. I think. My knowledge of the Croatian language is rudimentary at best. Visiting their farm and sampling all the wonderful food they grow was such a gift. I don’t know how many tourists get this opportunity. Fresh raspberries, cherries, cucumber, and so much more. Every meal was made from scratch. The traditional soup, the breads, torta, kolache,  I have to be careful not to eat my way through Croatia. I tasted cherry Rakija, a homemade liqueur, It was Sveti Anthonys dan, St Anthony’s Day, so we toasted with straight Rakija. WHOO! One small shot is plenty for me.

Cherries on Duvnjak Farm

 

Đjakovo takes great pride in their horses, located on the State Stud Farm – Ergela-Đjakovo, home to Lippizan horses. This made it a must for me.

Egala Dakovo Entrance

Queen Elizabeth has been gifted with 2, I’m told. We saw the dams and foals as they were near the entrance, given the heat, most of the Stallions had retreated to cooler spots.

Lippizan Mares and Foals at Ergala Dakovo

Aesthetically pleasing stables and views, these horses have the life.

 

View From Ergala Dakovo

Late in the afternoon, we visited the town square, the park and of course, the Katedrala bazilika Svetog Petra; Cathedral basilica St. Peter.

Cathedral basilica St Peter Dakovo

and its impressive altar.

Dakovo Catherdral Altar

The tile work and artistry in this Cathedral is magnificent.

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Be sure to leave time to stroll through Strossmayer Park, its tree-lined paths and lush greenery offer meditative quiet time. Its benches an opportunity to stop and breathe.

Below is the statue of honoring Bishop Strossmayer, who is responsible for pulling together the funding for the Cathedral. You can find him presiding over the square directly in front of the Cathedral. 

Dakovo Town Square Statue

I’d heard about the storks in and around Đjakovo, I was lucky enough to spot one on our last evening there. These birds are quite large, now I get how they can deliver all the babies! 😉

Before heading home for the night, we stopped for ice cream at one of the sidewalk cafes in the square. These sidewalk cafes number among my favorite things about Croatia. I could do a tour of each city’s sidewalk cafes! I bask in the relaxed atmosphere, fresh air and friendly service. Olive oil, fresh bread and a drink. Yum!

Đjakovo was warm and inviting. Everywhere I have gone in Croatia, the people have been friendly, the food delicious and the memories priceless.

Our next stop is Brač, Dalmation Islands, Croatia. I can hardly wait.

Here’s to a Happy Life,

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MB

 

 

 

 

Zagreb – Ancient Modern City

Zagreb, a city of ancient buildings whose windows proclaim more modern pursuits, such as HM, Pandora, Guess: ATMs located on the sides of buildings whose structure might be 400 years old. New buildings squeezed between old, although the definition of new here might mean the building is only 100 years old. A city of steep streets leading to hidden alleyways with more architectural treasures.

           

             

 

I loved the feel and energy of Zagreb. While it is a bustling city, there are parks and trees all over. It’s a city that invites you to stay a while, to explore its secrets and meet its people.

 

We strolled through the open market, full of homegrown fruits and vegetables, fresh caught fish, and homemade crafts, such as crochet tablecloths and scarves, tatted lace blouses, and so much more.

Bartering for tomatoes

YUM! homegrown & fresh

All of the outside stalls have the same umbrella pattern, it was explained to us that each city has its own pattern. These umbrellas proudly displayed Zagreb’s pattern.

Zagreb’s Pattern

The indoor market offered fresh fish, meats and more. The delicious scent of homemade bread drew us in, the homemade olive oil encouraged us to eat a bit more than we should.

Indoor Market

Leaving the market, we headed up the hill towards Zagreb’s Cathedral. Croats are primarily Roman Catholic and there are many beautiful churches and shrines to visit. The Cathedral is the tallest building in Croatia, majestically towering over trees and buildings

Tallest building in Croatia

The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is Gothic in style, breathtakingly beautiful.

 

Entryway

Entrance Statues

Window at the altar

There are many different styles of tile on the floor. The patterns represent different cities.  I don’t know if I took a picture of Zagreb’s pattern or not.

Outside in the cathedral’s square is a gold stature of the Blessed Virgin surrounded by Archangels at the base.

Entombed at the altar in a glass coffin is the body of Cardinal Stepinac. I felt it was disrespectful to take pictures inside the cathedral without prior permission, so I limited myself to the few you see here. You can learn more about this beautiful church here.

We also visited  the Church of St. Catherine, although it was not open for visitors.

There are numerous cafes and coffee shops, most offer outdoor seating with an open invitation to sit and visit for a bit. No rush here.

Art Cafe

This particular cafe feature art by local artists.

 

After a bit of refreshment we continued our journey through the city of Zagreb…

 

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Plitvices Lakes National Park

Rarely do things make me speechless, although I do tear up with joy frequently. Plitvices evoked both of these. It’s beauty is difficult to put into words, therefore, this blog will be written with pictures and only a few words.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Around every corner there is yet another awe-inspiring sight. Trails are clearly marked and you are not to leave the trail. One of the reasons for this ruling, other than the destruction of delicate flora and fauna, is the possibility of landmines from the Croatian War for Independence.

No this picture is not upside down!

The travertine walls of the park create the beautiful turquoise water. Every where you walk the energy is uplifting.

 

The park is filled with animals of all sorts, birds were singing, but most chose to avoid the public.

This guy made a brief appearance, much to the delight of his photographers.

I don’t know that my pictures do justice to Plitvices’ beauty.

The color contrasts of the park are spectacular!

A small rain storm brought the fish to the surface

and a lone duck out for a swim.

Through the leaves of the trees you can just catch a glimpse of the boat ride. I’ll bet the views from the boat are stunning.

Can you see now why I am at a loss for words?  Plitvices Lakes National Park is breathtaking.

Next: Touring Zagreb

 

 

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Croatia – Vrlo Lijepo!

Croatia – Day 1

Recently, I was blessed with the chance to visit Croatia. I am so glad I did!
Croatia is a beautiful country, a country of contrast and a country of friendly, helpful people.

       

Leaving Denver on a non-stop to Frankfurt, I was grateful it was a Lufthansa overnight flight, I could sleep.  The crew was great and the flight smooth. I was also lucky in my seat mate. He was a friendly but not overly talkative gentleman. We knew some of the same people in Denver which helped to pass the time. From Frankfurt, I flew Croatia Airlines to Zagreb. Another friendly crew and easy quick flight.

I met my daughter in Zagreb and off we went to our AirBnB. I can highly recommend our apartment here. Great location and walking distance to City Center. Our host was lovely and helpful.

After setting our luggage down, we set out to explore a bit before crashing from jet lag. Zagreb’s City Center is awesome, filled with open cafes, comfortable seating and every type of food you can imagine.  We opted for sparkling water, fresh caught fish and homemade bread with olive oil. Our meal was ukusno, delicious. We dined on Bogovićeva street, coming across Davor Preis’ sculpture of the Sun during our after dinner stroll. Preis’ has installed a scale model of the solar system throughout Zagreb.

 

 

The rest of our evening was spent walking through the City Center enjoying the sights and sounds. We returned to our apartment early to sleep off our jet lag, tomorrow we’re off to Plitvices Lakes National Park! I can’t wait!

 

Next: Plitvices Lake National Park

 

 

 

 

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Olde Town

We found the perfect fall day to visit one of our old haunts.

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Olde Town Arvada is about to experience a big changes due to the light rail station.  The increase in foot traffic will be great for the businesses. Parking has always been an issue in Olde Town, so the city has opened a new lot near the movie theaters and offers a shuttle to bring you downtown.

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We stopped first at a newer pub, Homegrown. They have a nice patio right on main street, it’s a bit noisy with traffic in the afternoon, so we were seated inside near a window.  The decor is somewhat industrial with a touch of antlers.  It was quite comfortable, the servers were friendly and efficient.

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If you want to try a truly delicious appetizer, have the brussel sprouts. They were amazing. We ate every bite, down to the last crumb. Then it was time for a stroll to see what had changed in Olde Town, turns out, quite a bit.

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There were a few of the long-time businesses, such as the Arvada Tavern. We’ve eaten here a few times, it’s always good. They did have a Rockabilly group upstairs once in a while, not sure if they still do.  As always the Rheinlander Bakery smelled delicious, they are celebrating their 53rd year. We hurried on by as our taste buds were yearning to go inside, but our waistlines said no!

We strolled on down to  Arvada Bead Connection, a local favorite where the proprietor is very friendly. Sadly, he is having a going out of business sale. With the changing demographic, the rents are being raised and parking removed which doesn’t appeal to his clientele. MB made sure to scoop up several seed bead tubes for future crafting. We wished him the best and moved on.

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Fuzzy’s Tacos across the street is said to be good, we haven’t tried it yet.

There are a growing number of new coffee shops, which we are sure will appeal to early morning commuters. If you want to make your commute really good, drop into the Rheinlander. Hey, you’ll be walking to the light rail, so it’s all good!

Our next stop was Third Eye Gifts, upon entering you feel the warmth of positive energy. The proprietor has several Himalayan Salt Lamps lit and producing negative ions. The negative ones are positive! The smell of incense was not overwhelming, just an added touch.

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We asked about the singing bowls and the owner took quite a bit of time to demonstrate them and teach us how they work.  We were definitely rookies when he had us try them. I think we’ll be back to purchase one soon. This may be a new favorite shop.

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For as chilly as it was, there were still kids in the water park! Located in the center of Old Town, they offer movies here in the summer. During the day, it’s a spot for kids to play while the adults relax on the nearby benches and visit. Near the holidays, a Christmas Tree and other decorations are added. You can also take an old-fashion carriage ride through downtown. We have to admit, this is an improvement on the parking lot that used to sit here.

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Schoolhouse Kitchen & Libations is aptly named as it is in the old Arvada School.  We’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about this place. We happy to see them re-purposing the old buildings rather than tear them down. It helps to maintain the ambiance.

A local favorite with children of all ages is Scrumptious Ice Cream and their cement pig mascot.

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He’s a Superhero today, just a few months ago, he was a hippie, but he’s always good for a kids photo-op. The shop itself offers some unusual and delicious home-made ice cream flavors, dark cherry and bourbon flavors are favorites. Everyday they have something different. On one side of the shop is the ice cream parlor, on the other is an old-fashioned candy store with bottled soda. On a hot evening, this place is packed. Right across the street from the light rail station, they’ll be busy all year-round.

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We ran out of time to further explore, and there are so many new shops and restaurants to visit.

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Penzeys Spices and Silver Vines Winery are first on the list for our next downtown stroll. Can you imagine how wonderful Penzeys Spices must smell?

If you are in our neck of the woods, be sure to stop by Olde Town Arvada.

 

Here’s to a Happy Life!

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🍁MaryBeth & Sherry 🍂

 

 

 

 

 

Colorado Wine Country

Road Trip – Part 3

Leaving Parachute we headed to Palisade, CO aka Colorado Wine Country.  We had booked our stay at the Wine Country Inn.

Wine Country Inn wci-front

Surrounded by wineries and not far off the highway, the inn is lovely, the staff friendly and helpful. While checking in, we solicited their advice about wineries they would recommend we visit. The woman at the desk asked us a few questions to get a feel for our taste in wine. Sherry answered as I rarely drink alcohol. 🍷Based on Sherry’s replies, she gave us a map and suggested a few wineries. As we had arrived in mid-afternoon and the temperature was 102° , she kept the list short. Most of the tasting rooms close at 5 p.m. Off we went.

Palisade Map

There are bikes to rent at the hotel and around town that allow you to bike from winery to winery. For us, it was simply too hot. There are also luxury wine tours, horse-drawn carriage tours, etc. to personalize your visit.

Palisade’s motto is Life tastes good here all year long, and is known for its peaches, simply delicious.  Be sure to try some.  If you have time to visit the art galleries and lavender farms, do.

Our first stop was Canyon Wind/Anemoi Cellars. Surrounded by the vineyards, the tasting room has a few tables out on the lawn under beautiful shade trees. We said hello to a group of women enjoying their wine and entered the tasting room. There is a small storefront with a warehouse in the back. The owner gave Sherry a couple of samples, and discussed wine-making with us. Sherry bought a Chardonnay and we continued on our way.

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Our next stop was High Country Orchards and Colterris Wines.

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In addition to wine, there are lots of fresh fruit for to enjoy.

After tasting, Sherry preferred their 2014 Cabernet Franc and  2015 CORAL White Cabernet Sauvignon.

Colterris Franc

As this was our second stop, it was hot and we were hungry, we decided to sit on their patio for a bit. We ordered a glass of the White Cabernet Sauvignon. What’s a glass without some brie, crackers and of course, chocolate! As a non-wine drinker, I can tell you that this white Cabernet Sauvignon is wonderfully delicious.

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After an enjoying our light lunch, we moved on. A short drive up the road, we stopped at Colorado Cellars, they offer fruit wines and mead, in addition to their reds and whites.

I apologize to Colorado Cellars for not taking pictures, I’ll blame it on the glass of wine I had at lunch.  I did purchase the blackberry wine and Golden Nektar Mead for tasting at my next family game night.

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Just around the corner, we pulled into Carlson Vineyards. They are Colorado’s original winery.

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Carlson Vineyards has a nice gift shop in addition to a tasting room. They offer a shaded outdoor area too. Here we sampled several fruit wines and browsed their gift shop.  Although we did not buy wine here, they were quite good.

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Our next stop was Hermosa Vineyards. Here we had the pleasure of the meeting the owner, he told us that he crafted the wines to his personal taste. He talked about his process and different grapes. He provided buckets for us to dump any leftover wine, which was probably a good idea as we’d been “tasting” for a couple of hours at this point. Sherry enjoyed all the wine she tasted here. I bought a Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and the Dessert Wine, which he had us taste with a piece of Dove chocolate. Heaven! Sherry purchased the Cabernet Franc.

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We had a lovely visit at the Hermosa Vineyards tasting room but it was now time to head back to our hotel for a swim and a meal.

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The view from the pool is breath-taking, the water cool and quite welcoming after a hot day.  We dined al fresco, seated among  blooming flower gardens and baskets. The meal was tasty, we recommend the macaroni and cheese. Yum!

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We’ll be back in Colorado Wine Country soon we hope. It’s perfect for a Mother/Daughter, Girlfriends or Couples trip.

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Here’s to a Happy Life!

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MaryBeth & Sherry

 

 

 

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Hiking the Falls

Road Trip – part 2

After leaving Mr. BareButt in Silt, we headed towards Rifle, CO and Rifle Falls. Rifle Falls State Park is a beautiful area to hike and never crowded due to the strict parking policies. Once the lot is full, no more entries. Hence the reason we left so early in the morning.

The appeal of Rifle Falls is not only its beauty and small crowds, it’s also the negative ions from the waterfalls. Negative ions are the positive ones for you.

Pictures of the Falls are really all you need to describe them.

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Sherry at the Falls for the first time.

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Hiking up to the top of the Falls

 

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We sat here in quiet meditation. So peaceful.

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Following different access trails

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These are all taken on the lower trail. The park was lush with greenery.

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The lower edge of the Falls is an easy stroll from the parking lot. To hike up, around and behind them you will need a shoe with a sturdy sole. Sherry was not thrilled with the caves on the upper trail, but the kids popping out of the darkness to scare her loved them!

There’s nothing like ice cream after a hot hike, so off to Rifle for a sweet treat.

Moo’s Place was just what we had hoped for. The sorbet was very refreshing. Sherry thought their  horchata ice cream was the best. Lo, and behold, right next to Moo’s was a Lift Up thrift shop, you know we had to go in. Sherry bought 2 small candle cups, I bought a piece of turquoise glassware.

Leaving Rifle, we headed to Parachute, Co. We wanted to check out the solar flowers at the Parachute rest area. I wouldn’t mind have these flowers in my yard.

 

We also found this story about the Wild West at the rest area.

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Across the street from the rest area is not only a beautiful view but a very impressive teepee.

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Part 3 – Colorado Wine Country

Here’s to a Happy Life! 🌳

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MaryBeth & Sherry

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Road Trip!

Part 1:

In our  effort to get moving and experience more, we ventured out on a 2 day road trip.We had decided to visit Palisade, Colorado also known as Colorado Wine Country.

Our itinerary was rather open with only 1 requirement, laughter.

In keeping with the rule, we used  Rand McNally Tripmaker 

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Tripmaker has a category under Things to Do called Quirky & Oddball. We chose 3 for our photo ops. Unfortunately, just because it’s quirky & oddball, doesn’t mean it’s easy to find or photograph.

MB shocked Sherry by suggesting an early morning start, 5:30 a.m. to be exact, making it easy to avoid early morning congestion, enjoy breakfast along the way and still get in a hike before the temperature reached 90+.

Our first quirky stop was Frisco. We were unable to find the little oddball but did enjoy a chilly early morning walk through a silent town and breakfast at the Log Cabin Cafe.

The food was great, quite filling, good size portions and the staff was very welcoming. Try them if you ever have an opportunity to be in Frisco.

On to our second quirk,  Bare-Butt Rock Climber in Silt. What a photo-op! If ever there was an opportunity for a humorous selfie, this was it! Alas, it was not to be, Mr. Bare-Butt is located in the town’s roundabout surrounded by a lovely garden and moving traffic. We suspect that this is because everyone who hears of Mr. Bare-Butt has a humorous photo in mind. We did drive around Silt, it’s in a beautiful area and has a lovely small town appeal.

Not to be discouraged by our lack of quirky photo ops, we moved on to our chosen hiking trail….

Part 2 – Hiking the Falls – stay tuned!

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Moving Forward

Recently, in our lives there have been many things to grieve, divorce, death, relationships, world problems and the current state of America.

We aren’t going to offer an opinion on the world’s problems or America; politics or otherwise. We’ll leave it to the media and the internet to misinform you.

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It seems as we age that sorrow comes into our lives more often. We shed more tears, reminisce more often, sit alone in silence. It may seem odd to find joy in grief, but it is usually there nonetheless.

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Both Sherry and I have lost both parents; we both took care of our aging parents at one point. If at first this seemed somewhat of a burden, in the end in it was a blessing. It allowed them to stay in their homes surrounded by the things and people they loved, letting them be at peace.

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For us, the gift was the ability to move forward in our relationships with them, seeing them not so much as a parent but as a friend. I’ve always felt that it helped me to repay the years that they devoted to me even though they did not expect any payment.

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In divorce, after grieving your loss, there is a sense of freedom, a re-bonding with yourself and friends that may have been neglected along the way.  Your bond with your children changes as they see you in a different light.

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There is pain in loss and we are all entitled to experience it. Feel, bemoan, embrace your grief and when you are ready actively seek out the joy that your loved one, your ex-spouse, or ex-friend left in you. Rejoice in your memories and get out there and make more!

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Here’s to a happy life! 🍾

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MaryBeth & Sherry

 

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How to Survive the Big M

Yep! We’re talking menopause.

While researching menopause causes, symptoms and the treatment/prevention of the aforementioned, we’ve come to certain inevitable conclusions:

There is no known prevention for menopause. We know, we know, for the most part we don’t mind the end result of menopause, but, by golly, isn’t there a way to avoid the discomfort? Nope, just like exercise, we got to go through it to get to the end result.

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After thorough Internet research, here’s what we’ve learned.

 

Anything and everything you eat may or may not cause hot flashes.
Anything and everything you eat may or may not cause insomnia.
Anything and everything you eat may or may not cause joint pain.
Anything and everything you eat may or may not cause night sweats.
Anything and everything you eat may or may not cause mood swings.
Anything and everything you eat may or may not cause weight gain.

Okay, now that every man has groaned and uttered “Ewwww” and left this blog, let’s talk turkey.

menopause

Sorry to say menopause appears to be a fact of life for most women. And if you think about it, for their partners. They enjoy it vicariously through us. You’re welcome. Did you all honestly think we were going to go through this without you?

(Insert evil laugh here)

Okay, we are done laughing and back to this blog.

no eating

As you can see by our bullet points above, the best thing you can do is avoid eating or drinking anything and everything. Difficult, we agree, but think of your waistline!

Based on the fact that we enjoy eating and drinking, we’ve decided to put together our own list of do’s and don’ts.

How to avoid or lessen the symptoms of menopause.

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Do go through menopause with a buddy or two. This is the safest way. Keep your buddy on speed dial for emergency texts and calls.
Don’t decide for your buddy what they can and can not eat. This prevents injury to yourself and others.
Do go out with your girlfriends and laugh. This eases any and all symptoms
Do go out with your girlfriends and their significant others. The sympathetic nods amongst the significants makes them feel like part of the team. (Did we just call menopause a team sport?)

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Do live near a nice cold swimming pool, lake or ocean. Do feel free to take a plunge at anytime. Do not feel free to do so naked. Alternate solution: Keep your bathtub full of cold water at all times – Do feel free to take this plunge naked.
Do take anyone who says “oh c’mon, it’s not that bad!”, to a local sauna, sit with them until they get up to leave, pull them back down and say “nope,not done yet” and “oh c’mon, it’s not that bad!”

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We sincerely hope this helps .

Read this book for more humor on Menopause .

menopause sucks

And this one for safe and natural ways to balance your hormones.

Dr

 

Here’s to a Happy Life!

MaryBeth & Sherry

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