Monday, March 26, 2007

Mixing menopause and business...

There are so many babyboomer women who are running their own businesses these days, so I thought it was high time for us to talk about the challenges we come up against and how we deal with them. They are certainly different than what men deal with (and many times they, the men, have a rougher time than we do), but I believe it's different than younger women starting businesses too.

I kind of "fell into" my business over 12 years ago. You can hear my story here. I didn't know diddly about running a business (and I'm not sure I know NOW by the way that my taxes look!) back then, it all "just happened". What I'm saying is, it wasn't a concious effort to start a business. I was blessed with this crazy idea for a cartoon character who suffers with every single symptom of menopause and I had at least a tiny bit of hope that maybe I could make something out of it.

10 years is a long learning curve, don't you think? People keep telling me I should be proud of what I've done, but I keep thinking I should be MUCH further along in the game. I look at other women who have started businesses at the same age and within the same niche, with the same target market and they're going gang busters! Look at the Red Hat Society or Menopause the Musical! They're HUGE and able to capitalize on their talents and on this time in their lives. I can't help but wonder what I've done wrong to not reach the same level of success.

We've all had our handicaps, like doing all that we do at a time when our bodies seem to be working against us! Just like millions of other women, we have to figure out what is best for us individually so we can cope with the stresses and complications of running a business. I feel part of the reason we are able to do it is knowing we can do anything....that's one of the benefits of being middle-aged, we gain a lot more confidence in our abilities, plus we know what we want.

One of the unexpected issues that came up after I had been in business with Minnie Pauz Enterprises for about 2 years was the competitive nature of many of these other women. At times when I thought we could help each other by partnering on projects, I saw a lot of pulling back and mistrust between business owners. It even got to the point where I quit offering to give free publicity and advertising because the other party wasn't living up to their side of the bargain. There's a lot of talk about what women can accomplish together, but in business the "sisterhood" doesn't really hold much water.

If you have a business related to women, menopause, babyboomers, let us know how you're doing it in the midst of the hot flashes, insomnia and depression. Are you going it alone or do you have a partner? Do you prefer how you're doing it? How's business? :)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Why March 18 is etched in my memory...

When everyone else is celebrating St. Patrick's day on March 17 every year, I find myself counting back how many years I would have been married to my first husband. I don't know WHY I do it, I've never regretted divorcing him, but there's always that "what if" factor. So every March 18, I figure out how many years it's been since 1967 and I say, sometimes just in my head and sometimes to one of the kids, "Today would be our 40th anniversary"!

I just looked it up and it's the "Ruby" anniversary....hmmm, that would have been nice. Ok, here's the kicker. We've been divorced since 1977, he's been remarried for 30 years (I think), has 2 more kids, and for the past 10 years I've been living 10 min. from them (the ex and his wife). I've spent Easter and Christmas at their house, even went to a local Women's Conference with his wife and of course, we all sit together at the grandkids' school plays, etc. I know, you've heard about these kind of divorces, right? I don't know how rare or common they are these days, but I suppose I prefer it this way rather than not ever communicating.

But I still can't help thinking that if I had stayed married to him, our kids wouldn't have had to experience the divorce and all that insued after that. Also, I wouldn't be sitting here in a mobile home, almost 60 years old with no health insurance, looking into the future all by myself. Wow, does THAT sound sad, huh? hahahahah....I'm just being honest because this comes up EVERY March 18!! The reality of it is that I couldn't have stayed married to him because I was not getting what I needed from him emotionally. He just wasn't able to express his feelings or constantly reassure me how much he loved me. He's also an alcoholic and even though he's what you would call a functioning alcoholic, I never would have made it through the years of him falling asleep drunk with beer every night like his current wife has done.

And now that I've been able to see what my life "would" have been, I'm even more certain that it never would have lasted. He's a good man and a good father/provider and all that, but I never was materialistic so even though I sometimes envy what they have now (the cabin up north, the big house on 5 acres, new cars, etc), I know I would not have been happy. That really is good to know at this age! So even though I might sound like I'm regretting the past, I know it would not have been a good trade off. I AM considering asking him if he wants to become a poligamist since I found out he's taking a job that will move them to Hawaii!

Maybe I should concentrate on regretting my second divorce instead! hahahah...I have until November 22 to start thinking about that one! :)

Let me know if you are sorry about the decisions you made "back then".

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Defending my sense of humor

In 10 years I think I have only had one or two negative emails or comments about what I'm trying to do with Minnie Pauz, so I was kind of blown away when I read connie f's post on my March 5 blog post. You can read my response there too, but I don't feel like I said all that I wanted to say, so I was going to say more right now....but....

When I read my title, I realized that I don't have to defend myself except in a court of law, and since no one has sued me for laughing at myself (yet) or for causing them to wet their pants while reading my cartoons, I will hold off on hiring a defense attorney and just keep doing what I've been doing for 10 years...providing Humor Replacement Therapy!!

It's amazing though, how quickly we want to explain our point of view when even one person out of millions (yes, I've had millions of visitors to the website in the last 10 years) complains. We just don't want anyone to not like us or be mad at us. Is that just being a woman or is that from being co-dependant? I'm sure there are many of you that are NOT co-dependant, but how did you get that way? PLEASE tell me how!! I'm reading "Co-dependant No More" by Melody Beattie, so at least I'm aware of the problem, but this issue has brought up a lot of the insecurities I deal with on a daily basis and I want to concentrate on how to overcome the flaws that are holding me back from being all I know I can be! Sounds like I'm wanting to join the Army, doesn't it?

I have had enough positive feedback over the years that should confirm that I'm doing a good thing. You can read lots of it here. That's why I can't understand why one negative post can make me question the value of what I'm doing. (that is connie f's post, btw) that I've talked myself out of defending my sense of humor, what will today's post be about? How about this crazy daylight savings time thing? :)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Does Laura Bush smoke?

In yesterday's Minnie Pauz newsletter, I mentioned that I was not impressed with how our First Lady is promoting women's heart health when she has not been able to kick the smoking habit herself. I got a couple of emails from subscribers who were shocked that she smokes, but one (from Christine) said:

"I do not know who told you about the First lady being a smoker It IS NOT true."

I sent her this response:

Christine, here is where I got my information.....
She says here that she used to smoke.....

In this report it says she still sneaks a cigarette with her friends:
Laura occasionally sneaks a cigarette with friends. In 1994 and 1995, she totally quit a lifelong smoking habit. When asked by the media, she would honestly say that it was "difficult" to quit. But after 1995, Laura went back to bumming cigarettes from friends, though never in front of George or her staff. At the White House, she might step outside on the Truman Balcony to take a few puffs. At the ranch, she might occasionally light up on the porch.
"She is a stress smoker," said her friend Anne Stewart. "She still bums a cigarette."
"If she is sitting around with some friends and they are smoking, she may smoke," longtime Bush friend Dr. Charles Younger, an orthopedic surgeon, said. "She wouldn't tell you she never does it, but it's not an image she would like to promote as a healthy habit from the First Lady who is supposed to be perfect."

And this exerpt from a book by Ronald Kessler: An Intimate Portrait of the First Lady: Laura Bush:
Even Laura Bush has her vices, such as a smoking habit she can't quite shake. Kessler says the first lady bums a cigarette once in a while: "She goes out on the balcony and smokes a little bit every now and then."

I certainly understand the problem with being addicted to cigarettes, as I mentioned in the newsletter that I'm celebrating 2 years of no smoking, since I smoked at least a pack a day for over 40 years. I was not a national role model and I was able to quit, so I think Laura Bush should completely give it up. THEN she can really put herself out there to tell women how to protect themselves from health problems.

"Mrs. Laura Bush visited Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) on Wednesday, Feb. 15 to raise awareness about heart disease - the number one cause of death of women in America. Mrs. Bush's visit also included meeting patients treated at Carolinas Heart Institute, speaking with doctors and a public presentation in which she outlined simple steps for reducing the risk of heart disease through healthy lifestyles, proper diet, proper exercise and no smoking."

I suppose most of the blame should go to the organizations who are inviting her to speak on women's health. They should choose someone who has beaten the habit and can truly be an inspiration to others (who really do want to quit). Even someone who has survived cancer could give better reasons to stop smoking than someone who just hides their continuing habit. I have no hard feelings for Mrs. Bush, but I don't feel she should be held up as an example in this case.

I try very hard not to preach about smoking since the worst thing in the world (according to smokers) is a reformed smoker. I talk about my success in quitting and about some of the things that helped me quit. It's truly a different world when you're free of this addiction and I encourage everyone (including Laura Bush) to really give it some thought. I have been adding information to this page for two years now. I hope you will find something helpful there!

So let's hear what YOU think!

Monday, March 05, 2007

A sense of humor is "frivolous"?

Here's a bit of interesting news....last month there was a short article in Forbes magazine that mentioned several of the funny businesses that have cropped up because of all the interest in menopause. Yes, of course Minnie Pauz was mentioned, as well as Menopause the Musical and HotFlash the board game, but the main thing that jumped out at me was a comment by Marie Lugano, the founder of the American Menopause Foundation. She said, "....... it's ridiculous and offensive to market such frivolous products, and that the money would be much better spent on menopause research." And...."It's ridiculous. It's offensive. What's next? Prostate Cancer the Musical? A board game about erectile dysfunction? Menopause is a serious health issue. We don't need a musical and a board game, we need more research." What is she hoping to discover, a CURE for a natural process that women go through? In my opinion, we need more research to cure cancer, something that is KILLING women. Of course, HER menopause may be much more severe because she has no sense of humor. Here's a little prayer for Marie and others who think my efforts are useless and "frivolous":

Give us a sense of humor, Lord,
Give us the grace to see a joke,
To get some humor out of life,
And pass it on to other folk.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree with Marie? Leave your comments.....