For Jo, happy places begin and end with Nutella

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Quite by accident, I discovered Dr. Christiane Northrup, a practicing oby/gyn for more than 20 years, a leading pioneer of women’s health issues and, more particularly, perimenopause and menopause. Her specials routinely shown on PBS are a must-see.

Her lectures cover every facet of women’s health, literally from the cradle to the grave. From sex, before, during, and after menopause and the many new treatments for women who have a hard time adjusting from one phase of their lives to the next. One of the most interesting of her suggestions was her theory on how to relieve stress, thereby reducing stress hormones, thereby easing and alleviating hot flashes, just by focusing on a happy thought. Some of her suggestions included envisioning puppy dogs, kittens, babies, baby birds — you get the drift.

Nice visions, but puppies, kittens, babies, and baby birds just didn’t do it for me. At first, the thoughts of puppies and kittens were soothing. But the more I thought the more I drifted, and the more I drifted, the more the thoughts turned to an unhappy place. Yes, puppies and kittens are cute and cuddly, but what about all the cleaning, the training, the feeding and the taking care they require? Baby birds, well, let’s not discuss baby birds, not since the poor thing dropped out of the tree, into my pool and drowned. That’s not a happy place at all.

No, no, so I switched to babies, my own specifically, and, yes, at first the thoughts were soothing, but again I drifted right into troubled waters — all those late-night feedings, diaper changes, lack of sleep, worry, and expense, traveling right into the teenage years, driving, expenses, missing curfew, empty nest (away at college), no-more empty nest (she returned) and by that point I was ready for rehab.

The peaceful happy place turned into Nightmare on Elm Street, and my peace turned into fret and frenzy, thereby sending my stress hormones through the roof, thereby creating never-ending hot flashes. Stop! So much for puppies, kittens, and babies.

However, not one to give up, especially on a good idea, I tried other alternatives and have come to my own little happy place that I’d like to share — a spoonfull of Nutella on a biscotti; a few Mallomars with a cold glass of milk, chocolate dipped pretzels, Reese’s peanut butter cups, a nice bottle of white wine, no cellphones, no work — no more nuthin’ — aah.

Not For Nuthin, but that’s what I call a happy place.

Follow me on Twitter @JDelBuono

Joanna DelBuono writes about national issues — and growing old — every Wednesday on E-mail her at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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