(k)erimenopause

One broad's reluctant journey to the dark side of womanhood.

Coming this fall… a new reality show just for you… August 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — kerimenopause @ 5:24 pm

Peri-menos vs. Puberty
See who can…
-out whine
-out sleep
-out eat
-out stress
… will it be the team of ‘women of a certain age’ who have nothing to lose except those last 10 pounds?
…or the posse of pubescent tweens who have everything to lose if their friends find out they are playing games with their moms?

We’ll go behind the scenes next week and get the inside scoop on casting… challenges… and how you can place your vote from home!

 

For Crying Out Loud! Am I normal or hormonal? August 25, 2010

Filed under: Normal Not Hormonal — kerimenopause @ 12:07 pm
Tags: , , ,

With somewhere around 35 potential symptoms for perimenopause, it’s hard to figure out if it should get the blame for what used to be normal stuff.

  • Am I cranky because of hormones, or am I just cranky because ________ (choose: I’m married. I’m a parent. my pants are tight. we are out of coffee. I want chocolate).
  • Is my scale up five pounds because of middle-age water weight gain, or because I ate a half a bag of salty chips last night?
  • Am I shunning my husband’s passes because my libido is affected, or because I need to fold the laundry?
  • Is this a hot flash, or am I over heated because I just watched Bradley Cooper on the A-Team movie?
  • Am I exhausted because peri-men hits you with crushing blows of fatigue, or because I had lunch with my peeps and drank a margarita?
  • Am I emotional because that’s what happens to women at this age, or because I have a damn good reason to be or no reason at all?

Hmmmm. Emotional. That might be the one I do have any answer for. Don’t get me wrong I often get tearful when I don’t have a good reason. I am just wired that way. Truth be told, I’m basically a boob. I cried during my HS graduation. I was tearful when they tore down our house to build us a spectacular new one. I shed a few when my son was accepted into the schoo0l of our dreams. I have grabbed a Kleenex for: A good Hallmark Card commercial… watching my son receive an honor in school… saying goodbye to house guests… or the ‘never-fails’ moments, when my husband tears up over something. Seriously, is there anything more touching than seeing a man show emotion? Now, I don’t want him to be a blithering idiot. No wailing, please! But red-rimmed eyes, holding back the waterworks, pretty hard to take.

Today I got a note from an old HS classmate:

“Thank you for being you! I so appreciate your honesty and humor and insight.”

And yesterday from another:

“So proud of how you handle yourself and also so proud of your accomplishments.”

What? Really? Wow! Cue the water works. Let the tears flow! There is a joy in shedding tears over the unexpected. I say: Bring on the hormones if that’s what it takes! Enthusiastically embrace your inner basket case.Cry openly when someone touches your heart! Cry until your eyes swell shut!

Now let’s see, where was I going with this… I’m told that forgetfulness is also a symptom.

Oh yeah…as Tom Hanks once said, ‘There’s no crying in baseball.’ Well, Tom, my life ain’t nothin’ like baseball! There’s lots of extra innings and I am the only designated hitter. So like real life – and reality TV – there is crying and not just in peri-menopause. It’s OK – really, it’s normal.

So please ladies.. go for it and Weep with reckless abandon!

Hey, if nothing else, your family will think you are nuts and give you some alone time… besides think of the water weight you’ll get rid of!

 

‘Waist’ not, want not August 22, 2010

Filed under: Gaining Ground — kerimenopause @ 4:19 pm

I don’t consider myself an owner of this particular 5’6″ residence known as my body. I’m more of a renter. I would never actually ‘own’ a residence in such crappy condition. The exterior has some sun damage. The -uh- eaves are sagging. And, the back door seems a little large for the overall structure. A ‘condemned’ sign hanging around my neck isn’t exactly around the corner but I’m definitely looking to vacate before there is a foreclosure.

Why move to a better location, when this has served me pretty well for 49 years? Because, my body has taken charge of its own remodeling. Currently that seems to be out and down. It has redrawn the boundary lines without consulting me. It is squishy in ways that creep me out. It has creases and lines leading to dimples and dents. What haunts me, horrifies me, and harasses me the most is what’s going on right there in the middle. First of all, for the record, never, ever, ever in my life – childhood, teen or adult – have I had a flat stomach. It is not, was not, and won’t be in my cards. I get that. But… what has happened to that area the past couple of years… is unexplainable and, I fear, unstoppable, like black mold.

Now, I try to avoid dairy, carbs and some grains. Anything blamed for tummy fat – immediately purged from my life. I walk/run… not manic about it but I do something most days. I suck it in. I don’t wear clothes that are too tight. I don’t wear ‘fat’ colors. And, God forbid, I do not tuck in my shirts! And yet, there settled in, just south of the boobs, it sits.

I am not the most discriminating spender- which maybe why my credit card is always $100 from maxed out. I can be talked into just about anything if there is a promise of less middle. I have used $75 progesterone cream, only to have menstrual cramps DAILY. I have taken pills for the ‘stress’ hormone that supposedly causes some of the girth, made me sleepy. I have purchased and half-heartedly used exercise gimmicks targeted at the gut. And yet, it sits.

Truth be told: I have lost 25 pounds since last October. Yeah me. Don’t you think it’s kind of funny how people react to someone shrinking in size? When I started losing enough weight so that any one noticed, I also started getting the inevitable comments: ‘How much are you going to lose?’ ‘Don’t get too thin.’ ~For the record, I am incapable of getting too thin!

Hey, wouldn’t it be great if you had the kind of friends that said: ‘So, how fat are you planning to get?’ when the muffin top spills over. Or, ‘Don’t get too chubby’ as you are scarfing down an entire order of sweet potato fries. Of course, that wouldn’t really work if you, like me, enjoy the heavenly experience of eating Wavy Lays with a vat of onion dip. Throw in a really bad made-for-tv movie on Lifetime with an Us magazine to read during the commercials… sheer ecstasy.

Back to the weight loss… kind of funny, I was actually feeling pretty good about how I was looking. That is, until a well-meaning client gave me a beautiful stand-alone full length mirror. Whoa Nelly! Frightening to think of what would have been staring back at me with the 25 pounds! The gift confirmed my worst fear – from the side, there are days when my gut actually balances out my butt. Scary visual… for me too.

Recently I met a stylist who has a really cool way of sizing up someone’s body. Instead of fruit (apple, pear) and geometric shapes (oval, rectangle), she compares your body to gem stones. She says ‘every body is a precious gem.’ Her system – www.holobi.com – classifies each body as a diamond, ruby, emerald or sapphire. I like precious stones. Could this work to change the way I think about me?

Maybe not work exactly, more like hold off the inevitable. There will be a night when the body temperature rises to equator highs and I resort to infomericals to pass the time. Mark my words! As sure as I’m eating a bag of pretzel M&Ms, around 3am there will be a breakthrough method on how to purge the pooch. And I will reach for my wallet…

Oh crap, I better make a credit card payment today.

 

Shock & Ahhh (or mammograms & facials) August 20, 2010

Filed under: Necessary evils — kerimenopause @ 8:46 am
Tags: , ,

I am one of those people who loves making lists and checking off items on my ‘to do’ list. OK, OK, I didn’t say I exactly DID all those things on the list. Often my list is just an exercise in practicing my penmanship. Oh but I do so love good office supplies. I’d rather go to Office Max than Victoria’s Secret. The feel of a great pen that fits your fingers perfectly, filled with ink that effortlessly glides across a crisp sheet of wide rule paper (I write big and bold, no college rule for me). Oh… I’m sorry.. what was I talking about…

Yes, yes, list making, more specifically the checking off of something. As part of this obsession, I also look forward to those great milestones in life as a woman. I seriously couldn’t wait for my period to start (now I can’t wait for it to end). After all the arrival of ‘Uncle Charlie’ (which is what we called menstruation when I was in middle school – I do not, to this day, know why) meant I had arrived. I wasn’t a child anymore. The real importance of my period: I finally had something in common with the popular girls. Tough crowd those 13 year olds in Conrad, Montana in 1974… I’d take any common ground.

I knew when I went off to college… I’d ‘get’ to have my first my first appointment with a gynecologist. Again, I’m from Montana. It was the early 80s and you didn’t send your teenager for a pelvic until they were out of high school back then! Well, at least, my mom didn’t and she raised 4 daughters so seems like she knew what was best. (Yes, my sisters, I am laughing at that line.) Anyway, whoohoo, I could get a prescription for birth control pills. Mom, it’s not that I needed them. Really. I promise. Check, one more ‘big moment’ done and, wow!, I was only 18!

When you are on the verge of serious womanhood – at 18 – there is a certain amount of yuck that you feel as some old geezer doc (probably at least 30) pokes around your breasts looking for lumps in an annual exam. By the way, I never really call the ‘girls’ breasts, but I thought I’d take the high road for a moment. Is my moment done? Good. Anyway, it was quite another to consider the idea of the dreaded mammogram. Good follower of rules that I am, I put it off until I turned 40 as is recommended. Honestly by this time, after breastfeeding a really fat baby two years before and having my perfect 32B go to a 40D, and back down to something in between, perky boobs were really not part of the picture. Squish my boobs? Honestly, not much of a stretch, so to speak.

I have had mammograms for almost 10 years. I am well aware what happens. Is it painful? No. Is it unpleasant? YES. But, ladies, c’mon, think about it. Now here is where I veer off the path of popular thought. It is 30 minutes all about me. It is a half hour of being the Royal Highness of Boobalot. The Queen of Tata. How often in your daily life do you get to have all the focus just on you? And just so you know, if I can make something all about me… well…

Today is my day for my annual check. It is also my opportunity to say, no scream: IT IS ALL ABOUT BALANCE! I like to extend my ‘all about me day’ with a special after squishing treat.

The facial. The hundred dollar experience. The hour of having your pores magnified to the size of small craters. Paying to have a flawless skinned woman ask you, do you exfoliate? I say, ‘yes, of course.’ I am not about to tell her that sometimes my pillow case is my makeup remover!

Schedule that mammogram – do it for all the people who love you. Then, schedule that facial or massage – do it for you. Do the one, knowing what awaits. Lie down on that warmed table. Wrap in that clean, white, cotton towel. Listen to that soft music. Relax in that quiet, dimly lit room. As you are flat on your back, having your skin cleansed, scrubbed and moisturized, your breasts have ‘stepped’ to the side for you to relish this moment. And, face it, if you are a woman of a certain age, without implants, flat on your back… the ‘girls’ are going to slide to the side for you… they’re generous that way.

—-

Want to shake up your friends and make sure they are taking care of themselves? Host a ‘Check Your Boobies’ party! No joke. Let me know when and where!

 

Blame it on Decaf August 19, 2010

Filed under: Things that bug me — kerimenopause @ 10:36 am

Today, just like every other day, I went down to my kitchen and was immediately annoyed by the espresso machine sitting on the counter. This is one of those small ones that has a very nice, secure home inside the cupboard – mainly because having cluttered counters also annoys me.

As I was putting it away (again) and not-so-gently closing the cupboard door, I was asking myself (again) why is it impossible for my husband to put away the espresso machine when he’s done. I mean, the spot for it is literally a foot above the counter. Then I had the most amazing epiphany! He doesn’t leave it out to purposely get under my skin. Maybe, in fact, he leaves it out so I can share in the coffee duties. You see, he gets up every morning, goes into the kitchen, pulls down that espresso machine, grinds fresh beans, makes me an Americano, and delivers it to me in bed along with the daily paper.

Oh, just stop right there, I know what you’re thinking. ‘How can she complain when she has such a nice husband? I wish MY husband would do that.’ And their lies the very essence of my dilemma. Really, how can I be angry or annoyed? Well, sit back, ’cause there is more to this story. You see my darling husband is akin to a National Treasure. (start violin music here) He has a tremendous fan base who will go to their death claiming he is the nicest man on the planet. (pause for opening of the heavens) He is ridiculously talented, but remains kind in a business that can be anything but warm and fuzzy (TV). He once made Mother’s Day dinner for three of my friends because their husbands were traveling. (and cue the angles singing). He volunteers at our son’s school. He walks my mom to the gate when she flies. I mean, come on, this is THEE Mr. Nice Guy.

So, again, why or how could I possibly ever be critical, angry, annoyed? Really? Because living together is HARD! Everyone of you know 24-7 is a long time to be charming, sweet, perfect. And besides, you’ve never seen his feet!

OK, back to the point. My real issue of the moment is why am I more annoyed than usual! I could just blame it on my natural bitchiness that rears its ugly head from time to time. Or I could ride the ‘peri-menopause’ wave and put the blame there. As an aside, does anyone know how long one can actually get away with using that as an excuse? I’d like to know.

Before I invested too much time on this issue of national security.. just as clearly as if written on the wall in front of me, it comes to me. I blame the decaf. You see, as perfectly delicious as my husband is, he only serves decaf. I think it is his way of keeping us healthy. And it is decaf with no milk or cream for me, because months ago I said I’m giving up dairy. And you thought he was perfect…

Alas, I couldn’t even enjoy my realization over a steaming cup of black decaf – this generous coffee-making thing is a one cup of deal with him, . But then again, about that time the dog peed on the carpet… and the door was literally one foot in front of her.

 

Are you ready? Yikes. Am I?

Filed under: And so it begins — kerimenopause @ 1:58 am

Here’s the deal. I don’t even know if I’m peri-menopausal but it sure the heck seems like it. My current arsenal of evidence:

  • I’m quickly creeping toward 50 – is that too young?
  • I wake up a dozen times a night feeling like a breathing heating pad.
  • Some days I’m in a borderline vegetative state – attention span of a gnat.

I’m going out on a limb here and saying ‘yeah, this could be the beginning of the end of my reproductive life.’ Not that I’m sad about that fact. I am in no way contemplating having a child. Seriously, I’d chew off my own leg before I’d let that happen.

I am one of a gazillion women who will go through peri-menopause this year. So why have I decided that I should write about this road trip I’d rather not take? Why the heck not?

I’m going to spill the details of my personal journey… if and when I feel like it. I’m going to break all the rules of proper blogging. I’m going to blog at unexpected times, when my mood swings are on a creative high, when I’m feeling like crap and not wanting to talk to real people, and when my husband looks at me funny and gets on my nerves.

I’m not going to even try to please all the people all the time or, frankly, any of the people any of the time. ‘Cause this ain’t about you, it’s about me. It’s an outlet for my brain so it does not overload trying to figure out what’s next.

I invite you to read… I even invite you to leave comments. But, please, dear God, do not try to save me from myself or fix me. Peri-menopause is a fact of life… I’m just going to make sure it doesn’t send me to the loony bin by purging via this blog.

 

 
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