React Like a Zebra

Sharing a blog from Montana Women Writers

Montana Women Writers

Betty cowboy hat prairie.1

By Betty Kuffel

When you lie in bed worrying about things out of your control and unable to sleep, consider the concepts of stress reduction in the book Why Zebras Don’t get Ulcers by Robert M. Sapolsky. The acclaimed Stanford University professor of biology and neurology is a wizard at explaining how stress can make you sick and what you can do to understand and calm the physiological symptoms.

If you begin writing a list of topics that stress you, Dr. Sapolsky says to stop and think like a zebra. zebra headThey survive frequent acute physical distresses and react quickly to save their lives. We, too, have the ability to adapt suddenly in emergencies, but are challenged by sustained chronic concerns about food, lodging, and money, etc. In humans, the real problem occurs with social and psychological disruptions. That is where we are right now, enclosed for safety from an encroaching…

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Stay Healthy, Stay Home

Uncertain Times

Since the writing of our last blog, most everyone’s daily life patterns and concerns, including ours, have changed dramatically.

Honestly, we have been so preoccupied trying to keep up on the latest Covid-19 news, we haven’t felt like writing, but we want to encourage you to do everything you can to stop the spread of Covid-19.

We personally have abided by our governors’ Stay Home mandates and the CDC’s guidelines and have encouraged our family members and friends to do the same.

Staying home can seem restrictive, and yet, from everything we read and hear from reliable medical sources, social distancing is one of the easiest and most effective measures we can take to do our part to stop the spread of this pandemic virus. We have tried to use our Stay Home time creatively.

In fact, we have engaged in some amazing acts of cleaning – like sorting through 30 years of old papers and documents. And, after three weeks of confinement, our closets, floors and kitchen cabinets have never looked better. Cleaning is what we do best when we feel stressed. Engage in activities around your home you have put off due to a lack of time. Time is one thing you have right now, consider it a gift. Create, clean, wash the windows, read something other than the news.

We encourage you to focus on activities you like to do, but also practice acts of kindness wherever you can both within your family and toward others, including your pets who feel your anxiety. Take daily walks but remember to wear masks whenever you are away from home. Stay connected with family and friends through phone calls, texting, Instagram photos, Facebook and online face-time visits. Reach out to others, especially those confined at home alone with no spouse, significant other or children to help occupy their time. Write a letter to someone you know who is confined to a nursing home.

Using online services to order your groceries with curbside pick-up is an excellent way to practice social distancing. If you don’t have online grocery ordering options, be sure to wear a face mask to protect yourself and the safety of front-line grocery staff who are still working to stock shelves and serve customers.

No one is working harder right now that the medical community. We want to thank every doctor, nurse, and healthcare provider from the bottom of our hearts for their dedication in helping those who need their care and expertise. This is a painful situation facing not only the United States but the world.

The outcome depends on each of us to do our part.

Electronic hugs to you.

Betty and Bev

A photo taken before the days of social distancing.

 

HEART HEALTH

 Over the month of February, known as Heart Month, you may have heard a lot about the importance of having a healthy heart. We want to offer some quick tips and access to websites and a book designed to help you improve not only your heart health, but your overall health as well.

Heart disease remains the number one cause of death for both men and women. Go Red for Women is an American Heart Association’s (AHA) platform presented to improve health. AHA’s website is an excellent source of valuable information: https://www.goredforwomen.org/

Make 2020 your year to live a healthier life for your heart’s sake.

Develop A Personalized Plan

To improve your health and outlook on life, make a commitment to eat healthy and find an exercise that works for you, one you can do daily. Get plenty of sleep, limit your alcohol intake, choose happy active friends, and find activities you enjoy.

Move More

A 30-minute walk each day with six minutes of cardio-exercise will increase your endurance to enjoy all activities and prolong your life. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/18/well/move/in-6-minutes-you-can-be-done-with-your-workout.html

Eat Healthy and Less

The Mediterranean diet has proven to help people lose weight, keep it off, plus reduce their chance of having a heart attack, stroke, or developing type 2 diabetes. It is a healthful approach to eating for men and women for all ages.

A Mediterranean diet consists of fish and seafood, poultry, eggs, low-fat dairy like yogurt, Vegetable Tray-1vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and olive oil. For a sample meal plan and beginner’s guide to the Mediterranean diet, check out this website:  https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mediterranean-diet-meal-plan

 Mediterranean 5:2 Diet

In 2012, weight expert, Dr. Michael Mosley introduced the Mediterranean 5:2 diet – an eating plan where you reduce your calorie intake to 800 or fewer calories two days a week. It is best to split those days, say Monday and Thursday. Splitting the days helps you maintain an even metabolic rate while dieting. On the other “regular” five days, you eat a diet consisting of fish, poultry, dairy, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and olive oil – a healthy Mediterranean Diet.

Calculate Your Calorie Needs

Below is a website that will help you calculate how many calories you need per day to reach your desired weight.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-many-calories-per-day

Handbook on Heart Health

Your Heart Book Cover- Final 1For more in-depth information about heart health, Dr. Betty Kuffel, MD, Fellow of theAmerican College of Physicians, has published Your Heart, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease in Men, Women and Children. This handbook is available for purchase on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Betty-Kuffel/e/B07XFQPLFX

Challenge yourself

Start your customized program today. Adopt healthier eating and exercise habits that will pay dividends in 2020 and beyond. If you are on medications or have health risks, be sure to discuss diet and exercise with your health practitioner. Your heart and body will thank you.

Betty Kuffel, MD and Bev Erickson

Baby Blues

Emotions run high following any birth. Especially with a first baby, in addition to joy, a new mother may feel anxious and fearful due to a lack of experience in caring for her newborn. No mother expects to be sad following the birth of a child, but about fifty percent of new mothers experience Baby Blues.

Worry, unexplained bouts of crying, a slow physical recovery and lack of sleep impact postpartum emotional states. Usually the rollercoaster emotions resolve within two to three weeks, but some women are left with prolonged unexplained sadness. Pregnant women often joyfully await the birth and are caught off guard by serious emotional changes ranging from the blues to prolonged depression and even psychosis.

Postpartum Depression

Emotional swings extending beyond a few weeks mean Postpartum Depression and require medical attention. This prolonged depression following delivery is associated with physiological, social and psychological changes. Symptoms may begin immediately following the birth and increase if untreated. About 1 in 10 new mothers experience postpartum depression. Once experienced, the percentage rises with each baby thereafter.

Intense mood changes and inability to bond with the baby can swing to fears she might harm herself or the newborn. Additional symptoms include loss of appetite, lost interest in being around others, hopelessness and inadequacy compounded with panic attacks and inability to make decisions. Seeking professional help is essential if these symptoms last longer than a month.

Antidepressants and counseling are very effective.

Postpartum Psychosis

A third more serious but less common condition affecting 1 in 1000 women is Postpartum Psychosis. Symptoms beginning within a week can include rapid speech, insomnia, manic behaviors, obsessive thoughts, agitation, paranoia, and hallucinations.  This condition requires immediate medical intervention for dangerous life-threatening behaviors including attempts to inflict self-harm or harm to the baby.

Call for Help

A phone call and follow-up care from your medical provider is important when depression persists, or in the case of psychosis, immediate care is needed. Prolonged depression of any nature is serious. If untreated, it can affect the entire family. Because of added financial and parenting responsibilities associated with a new baby, fathers can experience depression following a birth, too. Untreated depression in either parent impacts other children in the family.

More information is available on the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic websites.

 

Betty and Bev

free photo source

A Silent Change in Motherhood

Motherhood is a variable experience. Some women find the nine-month incubation of a pregnancy enjoyable. But when hormones surge and nausea sets in, exhaustion makes Free Pixabay Stocksnap pg womanthe date of delivery seem faraway.

Dramatic physical changes occur. Blood volume doubles. The placenta nourishes the fetus and provides a natural protective barrier.

As the fetus grows, maternal weight increases and endurance wanes. Nausea from day-one often ends at three months but can continue until the birth. The mother wonders when her life will return to normal and if her clothes will ever fit again.

Miscarriages are common, bringing physical and emotional adjustment, but even following an uncomplicated delivery, life doesn’t suddenly normalize. A usually joyous time getting to know the newborn is interrupted by sleepless nights and sometimes complicated by feelings of inadequacy and depression.

A new mother must juggle schedules and if breast feeding, may pump breast milk for months so she can return to work. To communicate with her baby, she may learn and teach the infant sign-language or find herself babbling baby-talk. After an unpredictable adjustment period, a new norm is reached.

Getting back into shape, eating right, sleeping and taking care of mothering tasks prevail, but during the pregnancy, silent changes evolved in the maternal body that may impact her health for life. Fetal and maternal blood circulation are separate except for a nutritional interface. No maternal-fetal blood is exchanged but fetal deoxygenated blood passes through umbilical cord arteries to the placenta. There maternal nutrients and oxygen are exchanged through the mesh of an arterio-capillary-venous system, much like oxygen/carbon dioxide transfer occurs in adult lungs.

Despite clear separation of fetal and maternal circulation, an article published by researchers at the University of Arizona reported some fetal blood cells migrate through the placenta and are carried in the mothers’ blood. The fetal cells lodge in various maternal locations where they exist for years. Foreign cells in maternal tissue turn mothers into chimeras. The term alludes to Greek mythology and creatures built from different animal parts, in this case: fetal microchimerism. Fetal cells are detectable in 90% of healthy women after a pregnancy.

Researchers found fetal cells migrated to damaged tissue following a C-section delivery where they were actively involved in healing. In other cases, fetal cells were swept through the bloodstream into maternal areas including the lungs, where they appeared to be inactive bystanders. Some of the escaped fetal cells were pluripotent, like stem cells, able to change into different cells and impact body processes in both positive and possibly negative ways.

Health issues including autoimmune diseases might be triggered by the foreign fetal cells. In these common diseases, the body’s immune system attacks normal cells. Of note, women are more likely to develop autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, MS and lupus than men.

Male fetal cells are found in women who have not given birth to a male child. How could that happen? This may occur when a male embryo fails to develop properly and aborts or is absorbed by maternal processes but some of the fetal cells live on.

Another field of research has shown a reverse transfer of cells, where maternal cells migrate to the fetus. This may explain autoimmune diseases in offspring, including inflammatory bowel disease and biliary cirrhosis.

Although effects of fetal microchimerism have been studied over decades, their impact remains incompletely understood and vigorously debated within the biological research community.

Betty Kuffel, MD

Weight Control in the New Year

Simple Solutions for a Healthy 2020

The new year dawns.

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If you are happy with your health, keep up the good work. It takes effort to remain healthy.

If you always eat right, didn’t overeat over the holidays and aren’t overweight, you are either lucky or very disciplined.

If neither statement above applies to you and you want to drop a few pounds and bump up your energy level, this short blog is for you. We’d like to challenge you to try a simple solution to shed adipose (fat) and become healthier.

General guidelines for heart health and weight reduction are everywhere and yet we’ve all seen grocery carts filled with cookies, chips, crackers, sweetened & sugar-free beverages, boxes of quick-fix mac ‘n cheese items and other unhealthy processed foods. How often do you see carts filled with fresh fruits, salad greens, broccoli, carrots and colorful peppers? Probably not often enough.

Before you head to the grocery store, make a list of healthy foods to prepare at home and stay out of the center isles of the store. Buy fresh whenever possible and choose lean protein sources like chicken or fish.

Not only what you eat, but the way you eat can help you drop unwanted pounds and regain your health. To achieve a better body weight and a healthier heart, try this simple solution: 

Combine intermittent fasting

with a plant-based or Mediterranean diet

Limiting food intake is beneficial. Numerous scientific studies show dietary restriction can lead to a longer life. Intermittent fasting is an easy effective approach to weight control and diabetes prevention. If you already have Type 2 diabetes, intermittent fasting is an excellent way to reduce glucose levels and bring your hemoglobin A1c into normal range. Intermittent fasting is not new. Studies over the years of fasting have shown similar positive effects, so in 2020, why not give Intermittent Fasting a try.

There are numerous ways to intermittently fast. One easy way is to restrict the hours when you eat. For example, pick an eight-hour period during the day when to eat and don’t snack beyond that time period.

One study showed an eight-hour eating time frame proved more beneficial than a twelve-hour schedule. Neither group in the study lost weight, but the eight-hour group lowered their blood pressure, improved their insulin sensitivity and experienced a significant decrease in appetite. By simply extending your overnight fasting period, metabolism improves, and appetite is reduced. Choose a time period to match your activity schedule, like 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Don’t eat before or after your chosen eight hours.

To lose weight, restrict your calorie intake for two days of the week, drink more water and eat only a plant based or Mediterranean diet the remaining days. It is best to split the days (ex. Monday and Thursday) to avoid triggering a starvation response that slows calorie burn.

To reduce calories simply eat small meals for two days of each week. Over the other five days only eat vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes (beans, chickpeas lentils), potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood, poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt. Use only extra virgin olive oil when cooking and rarely, if ever, eat red meat.

This combination is a proven pathway to health and an easy way to drop pounds. In 2013, we published Your Heart a medical guide on heart health. In Part Two of Your Heart, healthy options of eating a plant-based or Mediterranean diet were discussed in detail, along with an intermittent fasting plan.

 Your Heart: Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease in Women, Men & Children by Betty Kuffel MD, is available on Amazon as an E-book or paperback.

Your Heart Book Cover- Final FINALAmazon author

In December 2019, Mark Mattson, PhD, Johns Hopkins professor of neuroscience, published a review article in the New England Journal of Medicine, concluding intermittent fasting is not only healthy, but prolongs life.

To become healthier and more disciplined, think about:

  • When to Eat: Limit all eating to an eight-hour period. No snacking beyond the eight hours.
  • What to Eat:

 Fresh fruits and vegetables and legumes:  apples, carrots, lettuce, kale, celery, cauliflower and broccoli, colorful peppers, asparagus – check out the produce isle, the options are numerous.  Also include beans, chickpeas, and lentils.

Fish and chicken (boil/bake/broil). Avoid all fried and processed foods for a healthier heart and weight.

Unprocessed grains: oatmeal, steel cut oats, brown rice, wild rice, barley, whole grain breads. Add a few almonds, walnuts and olives to your diet. Avoid sugar-rich granola, sugary cereals and white breads.

 Low calorie examples: Egg whites are a great protein choice at only 10 calories per one egg white.  A three egg-white omelet with mushrooms, veggies and a slice of wholegrain bread is a filling meal. Replace one meal with a low calorie protein drink. For a meal, eat a heaping plate of roast or steamed vegetables.

Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes three times a week. 

Sometimes, the easiest method works best.

  • Eat wisely during only an eight-hour period
  • Eat fresh foods you prepare at home
  • Drink more water and limit alcohol
  • Weigh yourself every day
  • Exercise, preferably  daily

Do the above for one month and send us your success stories.

Note: Calorie intake = fuel   Excess fuel = fat.  If you eat less than your baseline needs and exercise, you will lose weight. Be patient. Set a goal. One pound down is a 3500 calorie deficit. If you reduce your calorie intake by 500 to 1,000 calories a day from your typical diet, you’ll lose weight each week. To calculate baseline calories needed to maintain your ideal weight, use this estimate: https://www.active.com/fitness/calculators/calories

Betty and Bev

 

 

 

Festival of Lights on Black Friday

Brighten Your Mood with Lights

 

If this time of year tends to dampen your spirits and energy, it could be a result of shorter days and longer nights. A condition known medically at SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder, also called the “Winter Blues” – is a documented mood disorder where people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year, become depressive in winter months.

Although experts were initially skeptical, this condition is now recognized as a common disorder, prevalent across the U.S.  SAD was formally described and named in 1984 by Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, a researcher, professor, psychiatrist and author of the book “Winter Blues.”

The National Library of Medicine notes “some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and may also feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up.”

If you feel a dampened-down mood change coming on, considering adding more lights inside and outside your home. Energy efficient bulbs now offer instant-on bright white and daylight options that will reduce your electricity bill if used to replace older filament bulbs.

Our small town has a delightful tradition. On the Eve of “Black Friday” – a parade of lighted horses and over 20 floats make their way through main-street. Family and friends gather on the sidewalks wrapped in winter coats and warm blankets (if weather demands), to watch the parade and join in the sounds and songs of merriment that fill the air.

The last float, a shiny fire truck covered in twinkle lights, ushers in Santa. With a wave of his hand and his jolly “Ho-Ho-Ho” the truck siren brings in the season and the entire downtown and waterfront area come alive with sparkling lights.

It doesn’t have to end there. Stores are filled with packages of inexpensive lights designed to adorn your home and landscape. Lighting contests are held throughout our area bringing people of all ages out to tour the spectacular scenes.

Sparkling starlight elicits a feeling of joy whether it is in summer or winter. With the arrival of longer winter nights, even a few sparkling lights within our homes can add a feeling of joy.

“Deck the Halls” both inside and outside to increase your enjoyment and spread holiday cheer throughout the neighborhood.

Wishing you a cheery and bright Holiday Season.

Bev Erickson

In Northern MN

Thanks Mom

Our mother, Lila Edith Thias was born November 25, 1916. She married our dad on her Pic #2 - Gordon & Lila Taken in 1935birthday in a small rural church a snowy Thanksgiving Day on November 25, 1937.

We are thankful for having had a strong mother who loved us and taught us to love and care for others.

Mom passed away in 2006, with her family by her side.

It’s hard to believe how quickly time has passed since then and even harder to write about Mom using the past tense, because she was always so full of life and energy. She exuded an endless pursuit of learning and teaching throughout her 89 years. In fact, the month before she died, she was teaching cribbage to local high school students, a game she had enjoyed playing over a lifetime.

Of German and Irish descent, Mom was a daughter, a sister, a wife, widowed twice, a mother of four daughters, grandmother of twelve, great grandmother of 28, an aunt, an excellent cook, baker, seamstress and dog lover. She was creative, skilled, resilient, ambitious, a good friend to many, a devout Lutheran and above all else, loved her family dearly.

Lila -80th birthday - LL BlogThe photo of her is one we cherish. It was Mom’s 80th birthday. Attendees invited to Mom’s surprise party were asked to bring one flower. Nearly 100 family members and friends gathered from near and far. The bouquet in the photo includes some of the flowers she received that day. Being among so many who loved and honored her made for a magnificent celebration.

After our dad died, Mom held increasingly challenging jobs until retirement. She loved life, baseball, gardening and was an avid reader. On the Heartland trail near her home, she walked a couple miles a day well into her 80s. In inclement weather, she picked up a friend and drove to the high school to walk the halls prior to the start of classes. Yoga later replaced walking and helped her stay limber as osteoporosis crept in.

Mom broke her hip March 15, 2006, requiring surgery. Her recovery did not go well. She required oxygen related to a worsening lung condition and after several failed physical therapy sessions to help her walk, she asked to have all treatment and medications stopped.

Rather than move her to a care facility, we chose to move Mom to her cabin where we could all gather and care for her. With hospice support, we, and our husbands, provided her care.

Joy and profound sadness filled our hearts during those last two weeks as she said her goodbyes to friends, family members and family dogs. Her strength helped us through those last days.

As a child, Mom’s red curly hair and freckles were an indication of her Irish ancestry. Her strong will, work ethic, and attention to cleanliness and order were expressions of her German heritage. But, her love of family was the truest expression of who she was. As her daughters, we were unconditionally loved and were treated to the some of the finest cooking ever, especially on Thanksgiving Day with turkey, and her homemade lefse and apple pie.

Thanks for stopping by and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Bev, Betty, Barb and Brenda

 

Women’s Rights

Your Voice, Your Choice

 

The Lipstick Logic Motto

Symbolic of the individuality of each woman’s life, this lip print represents each woman’s unique story. By changing lip colors, a woman can change her appearance.

By making new choices she can change her life.

It’s a man’s world. Despite great accomplishments, women are repressed today just as they have been for centuries. We have a long way to go to abolish patriarchy and achieve equality. The time to start is now. Be persistent. Make change happen.

Women are products of their environments. Some are fortunate enough to have been born into a financially stable, nurturing, stimulating family. Others, must rise from poverty or abuse, from the depths of disadvantage and pain.

Applying what we learn from mentors and lessons from powerful women can enrich our own lives. Through their strength, determination and actions, some women have changed the world, but each woman can take action to change her own life.

We follow in the footsteps of suffragettes who fought hard for a woman’s right to vote, yet many women do not vote. Women have traveled to space, yet some women have never learned to drive a car. Some have become bank presidents, while others have never written a check.

Women have excelled in many fields without being acknowledged for their competence and brains. Nursing is one example of an underpaid, female-dominated field, where it took more men entering the profession for wages and status to improve. A stark reminder from the past is when women served in the military during WWII. Often, they did not receive military benefits, burial benefits or medals, so when women in the war died, their fellow females pooled money to send the body home.

More than 250,000 women served in the armed forces during WWII. They worked in many capacities. Some were captives. Some died. Thousands were pilots, yet these brave women were not given equal compensation. Finally, in 1979, these women were rightfully granted veteran benefits. I recently met a young female helicopter pilot who flew combat missions in Afghanistan. Women in the military today have earned respect in broad leadership, combat and technical roles.

A few years ago, I met a motorcycle enthusiast riding cross-country alone at the age of eighty. She enjoyed traveling alone. Self-dependence remained at her core, just as it was during WWII when, as a military pilot, she flew transcontinental aircraft deliveries with minimal navigation instruments, and when aviation weather-forecasting was nearly nonexistent.

Marge Piercy, an American author, feminist and social activist, once said, “A strong woman is a woman determined to do something others are determined not be done.”

Women are multitaskers. Managing businesses and households, bearing and caring for children, assisting aging parents, supporting mates in their work, and participating in community and school projects, all this is often accomplished while working a full-time job.

Women are strong. They are resilient, developing skills through necessity and employing them throughout life. Women must remain goal-oriented and avoid people who impede their progress.

Most working women have experienced the abuse of power. Many women develop skills in the business realm, but are not treated as equals. Sometimes management level women participate in deriding other women like entitled men who abuse and use their power against subordinates.

Although women are socially defined as unequal, we are developing voices and taking action to stand strong against repression. With change, conflict is inevitable. When conflict is suppressed or hidden, issues are not addressed. View conflict as an avenue of growth. Learn from adversity.

The ability to cope in a crisis is strengthened by experience. Life lessons from strong women show this to be true. Adversity teaches wisdom, wisdom that can be shared with others.

Leave your negative past behind. Become the person you want to be. Face life with strength and a positive attitude. There is hope, but the fight for equality goes on.

 

Report abuse

Run for Office

Vote for rights

Defend yourself

Find your passion

Become self-reliant

Refuse to be put down

Do not become a victim

Take charge of your future

Learn skills for independence

Develop a roadmap for your future

 

Betty Kuffel, MD

Lipsticklogic.com

Brighten the Dark Side

Looking outOctober’s crisp autumn air and brilliant forest colors quicken our thoughts and actions to prepare, as nature does, for the shortened hours of sunlight – the “dark side of the year.”20181022_063540 As a grandmother, I’ve experienced this transition many times. Preparation comes in many forms and has evolved as did ancient customs.

Puking PumpkinEyeball eggs

The ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (Gaelic pronunciation – sow in) was considered the most important of their quarterly fire festivals. Harvest was complete and time threatened the onset of winter, midway between the fall equinox and winter solstice. Halloween skull and snake - CopyThey believed it a time when barriers were breachable between the physical world and denizens of the underworld. Celtic Druid priests set circular bonfires (to represent the sun) while the Celts wore costumes to scare off ghosts.

By the eighth century when Pope Gregory III established a day to honor all saints on November 1st, Samhain customs of the Celts melded into the activities of All Saints Day. October 31st, All Hallows’ Eve evolved into Halloween. Jack-o-lantern carving, costumes, trick or treating, festive gatherings, apple bobbing and yarn tricks to foretell the future were a few of the common activities practiced.

My personal evolution with Halloween hovers on the bright side. The crisp air and autumn colors prompt me to prod my husband to bring me numerous containers jack-o-lanternmarked “Halloween” from storage. I decorate our home with the delightful contents. Each item evokes memories of years past, even to the scents and joys of childhood.

In my childhood, the major decision of the week before Halloween was what costume we would create. Father often was the creative costume designer. Mother would bake sugar cookies cut-outs of

jack-o-lanterns, jack - o- lantern.slugmoons, stars, and witch hats for the classrooms of each of my sisters and me. When the awaited day arrived, the afternoon of the school day commenced with students dressing in their costumes for the elementary school parade. We marched throughout the halls and classrooms admiring the creativity of our efforts. We returned to our rooms for a party of treats and laughter. We knew this was not even the end of day’s fun.

After supper, we donned our costumes again to follow the town fire truck (with siren sounding and lights flashing) as we marched down Main Street. We were led to the high school gymnasium for a costume contest and movie, after which each child received a popcorn ball, fruit and candies in a small paper bag.

As we “aged out” of these activities our local theater offered the adventure of a midnight A skeleton in your closetmovie. We’d walk to the theater around 11:00 pm to begin our night of terror with the entertainment of Boris Karloff and Bela Jenna eyesLugosi. Some of the more deviant souls of the crowd would leave early to lunge at us from behind hedges as we passed on our walk home. This would send us on a dead run, breathless until we were behind our locked door. Now living in another small town, with our own children grown and off to greater endeavors, I delight in seeing the ghouls, goblins, angels, butterflies, mini SWAT team members, witches, minions and others that come to our home to trick-or-treat. We have approximately three hundred and fifty each year.

Jenna butterfly20161031_182318.croppedJenna Halloween doorway

 

Halloween is the greatest! Young and old alike can be whatever we want for the day (and eat a lot of sweet treats as well)! If you are passing by this Halloween, you will find my sister-in-law and me greeting our ghoulish visitors in our new inflatable TREX costumes. I know, two grandmas dressed as dinosaurs.

A final tip from the two grandmas. If you toilet paper the neighborhood, be certain you do your own house as well, or they’ll know it was you!

Brenda Erickson

Happy Halloween from 3 Witchy Sisters

3 sisters

Bev, Betty & Brenda

Pumpkin PatchSpider displayIMG_0095

By changing lip colors, a woman can change her appearance. By making new choices, she can change her life.

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