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About the Author
Martha Bolton is a full-time comedy writer and the author of more than 50 books, including Didn't My Skin Used to Fit? She was a staff writer for Bob Hope for 15 years and has written for Phyllis Diller, Wayne Newton's USO show, Ann Jillian, Jeff Allen, and many other entertainers. Her writing has appeared in Reader's Digest, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and Brio magazine. She has received four Angel Awards and an Emmy nomination. She and her husband live in Tennessee. Visit www.marthabolton.com.
Read an Excerpt
Cooking With Hot Flashes
'Tis not knowing much, but what is useful,
that makes a wise man.
I'm hot. Not the gorgeous, voluptuous kind of hot. I'm just hot. My husband tells me I even sizzle. But that is not a compliment. It is simply a statement of fact. I am, at times, quite literally sizzling. So much so that I have been ordered to stay away from dry brush and dead Christmas trees until my body has finished going through this transitional period known as "the change."
The change. Middle age. Menopause. Skin that doesn't fit us anymore. That is just some of what this book is about. But before you men get the misconception that this is a missive intended solely for women, let me remind you that both sexes go through the change. Men just seem to have a lot more fun with it than women. A man wakes up one morning and instead of putting on his usual conservative suit and silk tie, he tosses them both aside, slips on his jeans and unbuttons his shirt to the middle of his chest, adds a couple of gold chains, and goes out and buys a new sports car. That's how the male side of the species faces the midlife transition. For them, it's called a "midlife crisis," and it's practically a celebration. They begin acting younger, not older. They join health clubs, change their hairstyle, their clothes, their demeanor, and their lingo. They get a renewed zest for life. They're not like us. They've never been moved to the smoking section of a restaurant because they were still smoldering from a hot flash. They don't attend weddings just so they can hang around the ice sculpture. They don't sweat puddles every night, so deep we have to wear a life jacket to keep from drowning. The change is easy on them.
But for us women? We can rocket from a normal 98.6-degree body temperature to volcano in ten seconds or less. There are veteran firemen who haven't seen that kind of spontaneous combustion. I'm convinced the only reason any of us get invited to outdoor parties is to serve as the heat lamp.
Perhaps one of these days medical science will develop a thermostat patch for menopausal women that will automatically readjust our body temperature whenever it nears or reaches the boiling point. Who knows, researchers might already be working on this concept even as this book is hitting the bookshelves. I sincerely hope so because when it comes to hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause, we women have suffered far too long in silence!
Oh, all right, who am I kidding? It's never been in silence. If we menopausal women are anything, it's vocal. We know the words "Is it hot in here or is it me?" in twelve languages. We live to let others in on our misery.
"Are you sure Arctic Winter is the lowest setting on your air-conditioner?"
"So, how flexible is cryogenics? Can't I be frozen just until after menopause?"
"That's the third sofa my body has set on fire this week."
We've complained, yes, but until now, we have done little else. We've left it up to the medical community to come up with whatever new and innovative ways they could find to help us handle the uncomfortable, and even dangerous, symptoms of menopause. We haven't done anything significant ourselves to protect us from the symptoms (although flame-retardant pajamas have helped), alleviate our misery, or even find a positive side to menopause. We've never organized a Million Menopausal Woman March on Washington. (What over-forty woman could deal with that kind of claustrophobia?) We haven't spoken out on the floor of Congress. (We figure they've already seen enough uncontrollable crying from the minority party.) As far as I can tell, we haven't done much of anything to make this change of life not only more endurable for us, but perhaps even financially beneficial. That is, until now. That is, until Cooking With Hot Flashes ... and Other Ways to Make Middle Age Profitable.
I don't mean to brag, but I believe this book, which is the first to introduce the concept of using hot flashes as an energy source, could quite possibly put me in the running for a Pulitzer or, considering the positive effect it could have on menopausal mood swings, perhaps even a Nobel Peace Prize.
As with many other life-changing discoveries, this hot-flash energy idea came to me quite by accident. One day while clutching a handful of groceries to my chest, I made my way through a crowded supermarket, stood in the checkout line, then continued to cradle the groceries in my arms as I walked home, all the while having one of the worst hot flashes of my life.
But as I was putting the food items away, I noticed something quite remarkable. I discovered that by keeping my groceries pressed against my upper body, my hot flash had apparently cooked a steak to medium and thawed out a bag of frozen peas!
That is what got me to thinking: I could save a fortune on my gas bill if I just started using my hot flashes to cook with!
People, this could be the answer to all our energy needs! Who knows? Maybe that's how fire was discovered in the first place. Maybe it wasn't a couple of cavemen rubbing two sticks together as our history books have taught us. Maybe it was a menopausal cave woman who got a hot flash, leaned against her thatched hut, and set it ablaze!
For years scientists have been missing the mark. They've been looking for the answer to the world's power needs in all the wrong places. Since there will never be a shortage of middle-aged women, this natural source of heat energy is virtually unlimited and thus far untapped. Forget building more nuclear power plants. Forget alcohol energy, wind energy, and natural gas energy. Hot-flash energy could be just the discovery to revolutionize the world. Why, just one baby boomer high school reunion could yield enough heat energy to light the entire city of Cincinnati! The possibilities are endless!
But remember, you read it here first. Not in Newsweek. Not in Time. Not in Science News. It was here. A major, world-changing discovery humbly announced within the pages of this book, without a lot of hoopla, without a lot of fanfare (although a couple of oscillating fans pointed in my direction sure would've helped).
Now that I have stepped forward and revealed my discovery to the public, I believe it is only a matter of time before we will be seeing this new source of energy running heavy machinery, automobiles, and even aircraft. The possibilities are limited only by our imagination, our ingenuity, and the intensity of our hot flashes.
Perhaps you are wondering, as I did, why someone has never tapped into this obvious source of energy before now. Excellent question. We women have complained about our hot flashes, comedians have joked about them, pharmaceutical companies have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to bring products to the marketplace that will help alleviate our discomfort, and husbands have gasped at astronomical air-conditioning bills from keeping our houses at a cool and comfortable negative 21 degrees. But even with this much attention, to my knowledge, no one has ever suggested harnessing this natural and abundant source of energy and making it profitable for the world. Maybe we've overlooked it because it seemed too simplistic. Maybe gasoline and electric companies didn't want us discovering such a revolutionary alternative energy source, and their lobbying groups kept us from researching the idea. Maybe we were all just too stinkin' hot to spend that much time in a lab coat. Who knows? It could be any number of reasons.
But since no one else has stepped up to the plate, the duty has fallen to me. So while I await word on my patent application, I figure I might as well go ahead and talk about some of the other ways all of us, men and women alike, can make it through these years known as middle age. Who knows what other solutions to the world's problems are yet to be discovered by studying this passage into the second half of our lives—the time when our muscles might ache a little more, our skin and hair are sure to loosen just a bit, and our knees and opinions won't be bending as easily as they used to. This book is about survival. It's about adventure. It's about discovery. And it should have been about twelve bucks, unless you got it out of the sale bin. In which case, I thank you. It's so embarrassing to walk into a bookstore and find your book hanging out in one of those. So you have my sincere gratitude for rescuing another one.
I hope you enjoy the read, this light-hearted look at our journey into middle age and beyond.
If not, feel free to use it to fan yourself.
I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis
and I don't deserve that either.