Wednesday, 8 October 2008

"Haemorrhoids" And Jubilee Clips

I am currently suffering with pop sock fatigue and have decided that it’s not a good idea to wear them for too long, unless you want all circulation to cease from the knee down. They really should carry a government health warning as, after a couple of hours’ wear, you may as well have secured jubilee clips to your legs, as the effect is much the same.

I am pleased to report that the diet is still yielding gradual results, although the cayenne pepper has had to take a backseat as I couldn’t take soup to my recent temporary assignment at the hospital, so have been eating homemade wholemeal bread and hard boiled eggs instead. They do stink the office out somewhat and I have had some funny looks from people, however, I’ve just blamed it on the hospital ventilation system. I’ve also managed to stick to the zero alcohol beers in the evening, with just two small glasses of wine, which should help my weight/blood pressure/pocket.

The build up to the menopause does not appear to have induced any mood swings in me as yet, although I did have a menopausal moment the other day when I suddenly couldn’t access the computer system because another member of staff had very inconveniently changed the password, as she was fed up with other people using hers. All very well, you might say, but that is the password I was given. Besides, what am I supposed to do all day with no computer access? Drink copious amounts of tea? Play hangman (or woman?), admire the non-view over the hospital parking lot, sit and pick my nose? Really, such anal behaviour is beyond me. I mean, as if I’m going to go around the hospital telling everyone that this person’s password is “haemorrhoids.” And, as for the miserable receptionist in OPD2 (yes, you!), who also doesn’t suffer with menopausal mood swings because she remains stubbornly miserable all the time, i.e. she is suffering with IPS – Irritable Person Syndrome, I think I’ll send both her and the password withholder a nice slice of Death Cap pizza each. Perhaps that will bring a smile to their faces!

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Thursday, 2 October 2008

Eggs And "Curtain Bastards"

The temporary job at the local hospital Geriatric Mental Health Department is going well and I have thus far managed to avoid being sectioned. I’ve got a day off today, so it’s time to update the “Captain’s Log.”

Yesterday started in a rather fraught fashion as, at breakfast time, I was ambushed in the kitchen by a huge “curtain bastard.” My sister, who lives on a long boat(?) narrow boat(?) (I never know which it is, but one of them has something to do with the Vikings) always comes home from abroad to find masses of big spiders on her curtains, hence the name “curtain bastards”, from now on to be called C.B.s. Anyway, this particular C.B. was lurking against the skirting board, so I had to wait until he moved into the living room before I could cover him with a pint glass, which is very brave for me. On top of the glass, I balanced a heavy Pyrex dish to stop the cat from knocking the glass over. Then I left for work, praying that there was sufficient oxygen for the C.B. to survive until my husband came home from work that evening. I am pleased to say that it did, but I could well do without that sort of shock in my current fragile menopausal state.

I’m cautiously pleased to say that the diet is finally beginning to pay off and without an exercise bike in sight. I’ve ditched the Helix Slim drops, but am keeping up the cayenne pepper regime and am eating a high fibre diet. I’ve decided to include alcohol free lager into my regime in a bid to reduce the amount of wine I drink, thus helping to reduce the calories even more. I have also adopted Nigella’s husband, Satchi’s, egg philosophy and am eating two a day, in accordance with the latest findings that eating two eggs a day in conjunction with a low calorie diet helps you to lose more weight than the same diet without eggs. They apparently have no adverse effect on your cholesterol either, although they could slow down your bodily functions somewhat, so it’s important to keep up the fibre content. It was reported that Mr Satchi was eating 9 eggs a day, which seems a bit excessive, but lost 4 stone over a 9 month period. Some people say that fad diets are just a lot of hot air, which I’m sure Nigella could adequately confirm. I just hope, for her sake, that she has a bad sense of smell!

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Thursday, 25 September 2008

"Duvet Wars - The Motion Picture"

Good news! I’ve just had a call from the recruitment agency to say that they’ve fixed me up with a part-time temporary booking in the Geriatric Mental Health Department of our local hospital. It’s the ideal place for me with my occasional “SAGA moments.” Perhaps I should ask for a free assessment whilst I’m there. After all, it will be a case of the menopausal leading the Alzheimic. It could culminate in Zimmers and Prozac at dawn. I blame the aluminium saucepans myself (otherwise known as “aloominum” to all you Americans.)

I hate to admit this folks, but I’ve just bought myself a packet of Tesco’s pop socks. How sad is that? It’s probably on a par with elasticated waists – oh the shame! Whilst menopausal doesn’t have to mean frumpy, you do have to make a few concessions where comfort and practicality is concerned and I find that pop socks are ideal for wearing under trousers, as tights make them cling and ordinary socks make your boots too tight. Have you noticed the way they’ve changed the name “pop socks” to “knee highs” in order to get away from old age connotations? A pop sock is still a pop sock by any other name and jolly useful they are too (apart from when they are cutting your circulation off at the knees.)

Have you ever wondered why the Americans call Hot Flushes “Hot Flashes?” I mean, it sounds like some crazy new internet porn site. We in England call them Hot Flushes because that is exactly what happens – you flush, you do not flash (unless you are particularly sweaty and desperate, of course.) Luckily, I haven’t been a party to too many so far, apart from the occasional one at night where I have to fling the duvet off my side of the bed and onto my poor unsuspecting husband who returns the favour when he finally reaches the boiled lobster stage. There then ensues a duvet flinging contest as we both struggle to foist the blasted thing onto each other. Don’t miss “Duvet Wars – The Motion Picture”, starring Du Vet-der and Luke Quiltstalker! Coming soon to a town near you!

P.S. I’ve still had no invitation from Brucie to trip the light fantastic. Perhaps he’s heard about the pop socks.

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Monday, 22 September 2008

Botox And Death Cap Pizzas

Whilst trying to make my mind up about whether to give Botox another shot, I’ve been trying out a whole selection of freebie face rejuvenating creams which I’ve obtained in little sachets courtesy of various magazines. They’ve all got ingredients such as Collagen, Pro-Retinol and Elastine in them, no doubt with the menopausally challenged in mind, but I have a sneaky suspicion that they are just glorified moisturisers which will do nothing to fill the tragic ravine which has developed between my eyebrows as a result of 51 years of frowning. I could probably hire it out to professional tightrope walkers who want to attempt a new Guinness Book of Records entry. It’s all very well using creams as a preventative measure, but not for closing the stable door after the horse bolted years ago and is now just so much cat meat in a tin.

Last night was time for the great weekly weigh in and, according to my scales, I am now 10st 2lbs. Great! Not only have I not lost any weight, but I have actually put some on. However, someone told me that you should always weigh yourself on flat ground and not carpet, so I dutifully took my après bath, naked self, armed with said weighing scales, downstairs to the kitchen and weighed myself on the terracotta tiles and, guess what? I weighed 9st 12lbs. A difference of 4lbs! That’s the equivalent of two bags of sugar. And it wasn’t just a fluke, because I tried three times and got the same answer. Therefore, I am not quite such a fat pig as I thought – Hurrah! Not sure my husband was too impressed with seeing my flabby body parading around the kitchen. It almost put him off his roast beef. Thank God the blinds were shut.

Still, the walking my husband and I did through the woods yesterday should at least allow me to break even weightwise. As we are both avid mushroom hunters and have been for years, we were on the look out for something edible, such as Chanterelles or Ceps. We didn’t find any, but what we did find was a group of impressive looking Death Caps (Amanita Phalloides to be precise) and the name says it all. They’re really quite attractive actually and it’s a pity that they are lethal if ingested by humans, although I can think of a few people I’d like to serve them to. “A slice of Death Cap pizza anyone?” I could make a killing on Ebay – literally!

(Image kindly lent by the Australian National Botanic Gardens (Fungi Web Site))

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Thursday, 18 September 2008

Bridget Jones Knickers And Menopause Cake

Low and behold! I have another cross on my period chart. That’s precisely 38 days since the last one, so they are slowly escaping bit by bit. That is good news.
Perhaps it will be worth weighing myself again at the end of the week. I have to say that the Helix Slim might actually be working, as I wasn’t hungry at lunchtime and didn’t eat until 2.45 p.m. which is unheard of for me. However, I don’t actually feel as if I’ve lost any weight, but we shall see.

By the way, has anyone out there tried making the “menopause cake” and does it work? It is supposed to be high in phyto-oestrogens and Vitamin E so, if you fancy a go, here is the recipe (courtesy of Helena Sunnydale - The Complete Beauty Book):-


115g/4oz soya flour
115g/4oz wholewheat flour
115g/4oz porridge oats
5cm/2in chopped stem ginger
2.5ml/½tsp ground ginger
2.5ml/½tsp nutmeg
2.5ml/½tsp cinnamon
200g/7oz raisins
115g/4oz linseeds
50g/2oz sunflower seeds
50g/2oz sesame seeds
50g/2oz sliced almonds
15ml/1tbsp malt extract
600ml/1 pint soya milk


Sift the flour and add all dry ingredients. Mix well before slowly adding the milk and malt extract. Cover and leave to soak for an hour. Spoon mixture into a cake tin lined with waxed paper and bake for up to 75 minutes on 190C/370F/Gas 5. Allow to cool and eat one slice a day. Store in airtight container for up to a week.

After a week of menopause cake, we’ll all be singing like robins and tits. Speaking of which, I visited S&M today to buy some new underwear and the phrase “my cup runneth over” was particularly apt. In fact, both of my cups runneth over and methinks it is time to seek out a larger cup size. For years, I have been a 34B but, alas, no longer. And, as for those pathetic scraps of lace they call thongs, well I can’t believe that anyone looks good in what amounts to be no more than arse floss. You can’t tell me that anyone actually finds them comfortable. I mean, what’s the point? If you don’t want a VPL, then either wear gusseted tights under your trousers or go commando. Personally, I think I’ll stick to good old Tesco’s bog standard white Bridget Jones wrist trappers.

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Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Formication And Fleas

I can’t stop itching!
I believe that the correct medical term is formication (as opposed to fornication, which is something altogether different.) I awoke the other night, convinced that the cat’s fleas had infiltrated the bed and were making a feast of my tender and not so tender parts. I was sorely tempted to use the last sachet of the cat’s Frontline on myself. However, I was relieved to find out that it is a condition I share with my best friend, who is also slowly making her itchy fat way towards the menopause. Some time ago, my friend was convinced that her itching was caused by a food allergy and decided to consult a Chinese herbalist who promptly sold her some very expensive weird looking twigs and dried leaves out of which to make a special and particularly foul herbal brew. It would have done the witches in MacBeth proud. A year or so down the line and it would appear that the real cause of the itching was the onset of the peri-menopause. One little tip I have learned though, if you pardon the pun, is that forks make very good back scratchers.

Despite all the raging symptoms of PMT, the stubborn period has still not yet arrived and I fear that I may have another empty space for September on the period chart. I wouldn’t necessarily mind, but it’s the undignified shilly-shallying, as Blackadder would say, that is so irritating. Why don’t periods just stop? One day you have them and the next they’re gone, but I suppose it’s a bit like a grandfather clock that is winding down – it’s a gradual drying up of the hormones. Sounds disgusting! There is no sudden transformation from goddess to crone, just a slow and embarrassing seepage (and I wasn’t referring to the bladder, although it is a moot point.) Not that I was ever in the goddess category mind you, but I’m sure as hell heading rapidly for crone territory. I’m still undecided as to whether to chance a crack at Botox again but what I really need, if I’m perfectly honest, is a full face life or, at the very least, a brow lift, so if anyone has a spare £3,500 to donate, I’d be eternally grateful, especially if you also happen to be a plastic surgeon.

Needless to say, the exercise bike still sits there mocking me because it knows I am not man (or woman) enough to take up the challenge. I’m sure it is in cahoots with the weighing scales, which utterly refuse to budge from the 10 stone mark and I’m rapidly getting fed up with the green tea, cayenne pepper and Helix Slim trick which, to date, appears to have yielded sod all. It’s at times like this, when HRT seems like a very tempting prospect, but I shall continue to refrain for as long as humanly possible.

Get thee behind me, Satan!

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Monday, 15 September 2008

Ten For That? You Must Be Mad!

Has a whole week flown by already since I last contributed to this blog, or is it a case of menopausal amnesia?

The news so far, since my last missive, is that I managed to secure three days temporary employment last week, working for an insurance company, coding and posting invoices onto the SAGE accounting system. I had actually requested not to be offered accountancy work because I happen to loathe it. However, I was assured that it was really “data entry”, so agreed to accept and I suppose it was really, as it was not exactly taxing, although highly repetitive. Still, it would mean an additional £150 in the coffers and would keep my husband off my back for a short while. If I had been more savvy, I could have strung the work out and earned myself a bit more money, but my brain doesn't work that way. I went in to do the best job I could and, unfortunately, managed to clear the backlog too quickly and work myself out of a job. The agency said they were hopeful of securing me more work at the company in the near future, but I've had no phone call today and my husband is already on my case. At least it proves that I'm not considered over the hill for temping.

The good news is that yesterday’s second attempt at the “washout” car boot sale went very well. The weather was perfect, for a change and we managed to make another £54 profit for the cause. Car boot sales are wonderful places for “people watching”, as you get all sorts mooching, browsing and rummaging. It never ceases to amaze me how people want something for nothing these days. A prime example is a woman who was interested in buying the brand new, still in the box, hammock we were selling for £5. Not an unreasonable amount to ask for, or so we thought. However, she proceeded to tell us that she really only wanted the frame, as she already had the hammock part, so didn’t want to pay £5. After making it clear that we would not sell the frame without the hammock, we finally agreed on £4. I mean, who buys a hammock without a frame, or vice versa for that matter? I was sorely tempted to act out the haggling scene from the Life of Brian - "Ten for that? You must be mad!"
The dismal news on the green tea, cayenne pepper and Helix Slim diet is that I am still 10 stone and the period is still trying to make up its mind whether to bother to put in an appearance or not. One of our customers at the car boot sale said that she had lost a lot of weight by separating carbohydrates and proteins in her diet. She had also given up bread and didn’t drink much alcohol. It sounded an easy thing to do until I realised that I would have to sit and watch my husband tuck into roast beef and roast potatoes while I sat there with a plate of veg and no meat…… Nah! I can’t be doing with that one, besides the young lady in question was exactly that. Young. She was not a peri-menopausal woman of 51 and was therefore not fighting her hormones like us. Nice idea, but I couldn’t go without bread and wine and certainly couldn’t give up eating meat with potatoes. My fellow peri-menopausal car boot companion and I were trying to think of enjoyable forms of exercise (steady!) that we would actually stick to and I finally decided that I would have to apply for a position on Strictly Come Dancing. After all, if Jodie Kidd can lose lots of weight during training, then it's certainly worth a try.

It takes two to tango Brucie and, as us car booters would say………

“Come On Down - The Price Is Right!”

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Monday, 8 September 2008

Dieting And Trolley Rage

It’s Monday morning again and I’m feeling cheesed off. After my initial optimism regarding the green tea, cayenne pepper and Helix Slim “diet”, I got on the scales last night and, low and behold, I’m still 10 stone. I was sure I had lost a bit of weight. I felt slimmer, but obviously I was just deluding myself. My only faint bit of hope is that the period which threatens to arrive, does so and I can then blame my lack of weight loss on pre-menstrual fluid retention.

The job front is equally depressing, as the temporary contract I thought I was going to get did not materialise due, in part, to the fact that I was in a noisy restaurant Friday afternoon and thus missed the agency’s calls. This has not gone down too well with the husband who is getting more and more anxious about my lack of employment by the day. There’s nothing suitable on the permanent front either so, at this precise point in time, I’m buggered. It’s not as if we desperately need the money, as we could live quite comfortably on my husband’s salary alone. However, he is a stickler for fair play and feels that if he has to go out to work then so do I, despite the fact that I am now doing all the shopping, housework, washing, ironing, cooking, etc, etc., I’ve come to the conclusion that men just want it all ways.

Speaking of shopping, I’ve just got back from Tesco where I was overcome by trolley rage. Why, oh why, do people abandon trolleys in the middle of the aisle whilst aimlessly perusing the shelves for things they don’t need? Or suddenly stop in the middle of the aisle, totally oblivious to the fact that they are about to be run down by a heavily loaded trolley that won’t take “stop” for an answer? Or, stand blocking the aisle whilst they catch up on the latest episode of their next door neighbour’s life story and the fact that Mrs Smith at No.19 has a particularly nasty boil on her arse? Is it just me, or are these people on another planet? I mean, don’t they have anything more pressing to do than spend the whole day swanning around Tesco?

I’m not sure whether it’s the menopause, PMT or Irritable Person Syndrome that’s getting to me, but something has to give soon or I may just have to borrow St. John’s wart.

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Tuesday, 2 September 2008

M&S And Simon Cowell's Trousers

I awoke this morning to the sound of pouring rain. How depressing! Perhaps I should have a quick swig of the St John’s Wort, but I’ve just checked the use by date and it says “Best Before January 2002”, so perhaps not then.

Despite the depressing weather, there is a little glimmer of hope on the horizon, as I had a call from an employment agency yesterday, asking me to go in and register, as they may have some temp work for me. That was when the panic set in. What the hell was I going to wear when nothing fitted me apart from saggy tracky bottoms and sloppy Joe’s? Mercifully, I managed to find an old trouser suit lurking in the back of the wardrobe which was still quite respectable, but would I be able to squeeze my Size 14 bum into the Size 12 trousers? The answer was “just about.” In fact, once the full ensemble of trouser suit, crisp white shirt and smart boots was put together, I didn’t look half bad, even though I say it myself. To cut a long story short, the meeting went very well and I came away feeling quite buoyed up. So much so, that I took myself off into town and hit M&S (or S&M as some people refer to it) bigtime. I actually managed to find a decent non-frumpy pair of no frills, side zip, slim legged trousers which were flattering and they weren’t so low slung that half my arse was hanging out of the back. That look, together with wide-legged styles, does not suit short, overweight menopausal women. Come to think of it, I’m not sure it suits slim young trendy women either. Oh please somebody bring back the high-waisted “Simon Cowell” style trousers of the ‘70’s. At least you didn’t risk a dose of pneumonia or kidney problems wearing them.

Whilst in town, I thought I may as well pop into the health shop to see what they could offer me in the way of natural metabolism boosters. The first question the sales person quite rightly asked was whether I was already on any form of medication, to which I replied that I was on pills for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. After a bit of research, she informed me that the most suitable thing for me was something called “Helix Slim” by A. Vogel, so I duly bought a bottle of the tincture and returned home with my wares. Upon reading the literature, I found that Helix Slim is more of a natural appetite suppressant, so was a bit disappointed, however, I’ll give it a go, along with the green tea, cayenne pepper, almonds, soya and anything else of that ilk.

In fact, I was so buoyed up that I even did a little stint on the exercise bike, “little” being the operative word. More like 2 minutes wavering between the “Fat Lazy Bastard” zone and the “Welcome To The Human Race – You Are A Normal Healthy Person” zone. Still can’t get anywhere near the “Nauseatingly Fit Show Off” zone. Oh well, I can always Die Another Day.

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Monday, 1 September 2008

Colanders and Incontinence

The good news is that I’ve finally got off my fat backside and have, at long last, dyed my hair. I’ve also painted my toenails – Hurrah! The bad news is I’ve gone up a size in trousers and I’ve still got no job – Hurrooh! On the weight front, I’ve been trawling through the internet and have decided to adopt the cayenne pepper and green tea trick in order to try and jump start my menopausal metabolism. I’ve also bought a lot of metabolism boosting foods in the vain hope that I may shed a few pounds. However, I don’t think I can totally ignore the exercise bike forever, as food (or lack of it) alone is not going to work. I still intend to visit the health shop to seek their advice on herbal boosters, but just haven’t got around to it yet. St John’s Wort is supposed to be very good for boosting one’s mood. Personally, I didn’t know that St John had a wart. :-)

I started this blog update on Thursday and it is now Monday. How time flies when you’re having fun. Got on the scales last night and am wavering just under 10 stone. Could the endless cups of green tea, coffee and sprinklings of cayenne pepper be finally paying off, or is it just normal daily fluctuation? The jury is still out on that one, but I’ll keep you posted.

Sunday was an interesting day, as my best friend and I decided to have another crack at the car boot sale I had to abandon last weekend due to bad weather. Unfortunately, the gods were against us once more and, having set up a rather impressive looking stall, comprising three wallpaper tables pushed end to end and stacked with goodies, plus plenty underneath, the heavens opened and we got a thorough drenching. After unceremoniously chucking everything back into the cars, we proceeded to count up the hour’s takings. After deduction of entry fees (£9 per car), we had made the princely sum of £5! Better luck next time, eh.
However, we did have enormous fun while it lasted, including spotting a tall Indian man walking around with what looked like a silver colander on his head. One assumes he was trying to keep out the rain. My friend, witty and quick as ever, opened the car window and shouted out “’ere mate, do you want some spuds?” It was at that precise moment I could fully appreciate the usefulness of incontinence pants.

Join me again for my next update, including progress on the green tea and cayenne pepper diet.
Same time, same place, same channel!

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Sunday, 24 August 2008

Spring Onions And Nosy Neighbours

Have you ever felt the desire to beat someone to death with a bunch of spring onions? Well I have – in our local supermarket – yesterday. All I wanted was a bunch of spring onions for a Chinese we were going to cook that evening and had just arrived at the chuckout at the same time as a young lady who had a basket brim full of items. Naturally, I assumed that she would suggest I go first, seeing as I only had one item, but no. The cashier proceeded to ring the basket full of items up while I waited “patiently” in the queue and then, to add insult to injury, just when I thought she was finished and was about to sod off, she asked for three scratch cards from the cabinet at the other end of the shop. As I needed my spring onions for the recipe, I refrained from indulging in a spot of veggie bashing. Do you think I could be suffering from “Menopause Rage?”

I am now into my third week of being a temporary lady of leisure and have, thus far, managed to avoid a nosy neighbour who would otherwise give me the third degree as to why I have been lounging around at home in recent weeks. My husband’s philosophy is just to be rude on the premise that they will get the message and back off, however, I hate confrontation of any kind and will, therefore, go to great lengths in order to execute a plan of avoidance. I have now honed to a fine art the ability to run the equivalent of the four minute mile to the dustbin and back without being caught. However, it is only a matter of time before he creeps up behind me and catches me unawares (oooeeerr missus!)

We’ve just had one of our rabbits castrated. This is firstly so that he and our other male rabbit can then run together without fighting and, secondly, because he is an aggressively territorial little blighter who thinks nothing of attacking me when I enter his pen. I just hope it succeeds in making him more placid. However, it does seem rather ironic that his hormones will now be dying down at the same time as my own. Thank goodness no-one has invented HRT for rabbits!

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Thursday, 21 August 2008

Mr Spock And Elasticated Waists

They do say that the menopause causes your metabolism to slow down, hence all the unwanted fat that’s now lounging around my body. Of course, another consequence of slower metabolism is that food does not work its way through your body as quickly, hence the onset of irregular bowel habits. Not a particularly nice subject for discussion but, nevertheless, it is a fact of menopausal life and a most inconvenient one, if you get my drift. Having been a “regular” person for most of my adult life, i.e. a cup of tea, piece of toast and a quick purge, I now find that I need the loo at all sorts of strange times of day. I find it highly irritating that what was once a first thing in the morning ritual – over and done with by 8.00 a.m., can now delay itself until I suddenly feel the need when I’ve just arrived at the chuckout in Tesco. Or perhaps I’m being a bit too anal here.

I consider my diet to be reasonably high in fibre, which is supposed to help with weight loss (and regular bowel movements), but my metabolism has other ideas. I’ve surfed the internet to see what natural foods would speed up my metabolism, but do they really work? Of course, exercise is supposed to help, but that brings me back to the bicycle again. Or, I could get one of those keep fit DVD’s that are currently all the rage, but I don’t somehow see myself in a pink lycra leotard, bouncing around the living room like an overstuffed Day-Glo sausage. Besides, it would frighten the cat.

Some experts advise that you should just accept your new shape and weight, as it is a normal part of aging. That is all well and good when you don’t have a wardrobe full of decent clothes which no longer fit. Elasticated waists are a godsend, but they shriek of “old bag who is over the hill.” They’re the female equivalent of men’s Daks slacks. It is very depressing when you can no longer fit into your usual size trousers. Everything in you strongly resists the urge to give in and buy the next size up.

I suppose there’s always liposuction, but that is rather an expensive and extreme measure. Knowing my luck it would turn out to be as disappointing as the Botox injections I once had. I don’t know about “before” and “after” photos, but mine were more like “before” and “before” photos. Am I the only person in the world for whom Botox was a complete failure? All I managed to achieve was one frozen eyebrow and the ability to do a very good impersonation of Mr Spock.

Live Long And Prosper!

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Wednesday, 20 August 2008

HRT And Fatbusters

If there's something weird and it don't look good -
Who you gonna call? - Fatbusters!

It’s amazing how quickly one’s hair starts to go grey once the old “meno-naus” sets in. I’ve been meaning to get down to the chemist to buy another bottle of hair dye, as I’m fed up with tweezing grey hairs out. I just can’t keep up with them – the more I tweeze out, the more I end up with. I even find myself sitting at traffic lights, trying to pull out the offending strands, as they seem to show up even more with the sunroof open. How sad is that? Actually, I’m quite lucky in that I have thick hair, although I have noticed that I am losing it at an alarming rate, not just clogging up the plughole when I wash it, but I also find it all over my pillow in the morning. At this rate, I’ll have more hair on my chin than on my head!

Still, I’ve made a concerted effort to keep tabs on my menopausal progress by way of producing a “Period Chart.” Nothing grand, just a simple Excel spreadsheet with columns for months and rows for days. By putting a cross in the appropriate box, I can see exactly when my body is functioning and when it is not. Periods have now become rather erratic things. Some months they show up twice and some months they can’t be bothered to turn up at all. It’s such a pain when you’ve been used to regular bodily functions. Still, it saves on tampons which, of course, were classed as “luxury items” for the purpose of tax – Thanks Margaret Thatcher – A women (allegedly!)

I haven’t yet reached the point of desperation where I am considering trying HRT. It is something which, I am sure, helps a lot of women at this time in their life. However, with a history of breast cancer in the family, I would be very loathe to go down this route. Therefore, it is my intention to visit the local health store and ask their opinion on the best natural helpers in this respect. I’ve already changed from drinking cow’s milk to soya, purely because I prefer the taste. Soya, in every form, is supposed to assist with the vagaries of this life transition. There are so many “remedies” with funny sounding names that it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack without expert advice.

A friend of mine told me about “Fatbusters” which are supposed to aid with weight loss. Fleeting images of Ghostbusters flitted through my mind, i.e. three attractive men come along with weirdly smoking machines attached to hoover pipes and just suck the excess fat out of you. Perhaps it could then be recycled to help with the fuel crisis.
Now there’s an idea……………………

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Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Tinned Soup And Bladders

You know, I really should be pounding away on the exercise bike instead of sitting here writing this blog but, somehow, I can’t muster the enthusiasm at 3.00 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon. Hasta Mañana Baby! Still, at least I had a reasonable night’s sleep, apart from having to get up again at 3.30 a.m. for a wee. Why is it always 3.30 a.m.? Does my bladder actually have an inbuilt alarm clock? I’ve always prided myself on the impressive capacity of my bladder but, since embarking on my menopausal journey, I am finding that I have to get up in the night to relieve myself, which is most irritating in the extreme.

Menopausal insomnia is a pain in the wotsits. Many’s the night I’ve fallen asleep the minute my head has hit the pillow, only to awake abruptly for no apparent reason (or for a wee.) Once the sleep cycle has been disturbed, it’s the devil’s own job to get back off again. It reminds me of the scene in the Singing Detective where Michael Gambon, who plays a psoriasis sufferer, is having his body greased by a very attractive nurse. In order to prevent his normal bodily functions from functioning, he tries to think of random things with which to take his mind off what is happening and thus prevent said bodily functions from embarrassing him. I too have lain there trying to think random soporific thoughts in a futile attempt to rejoin the world of Morpheus, however, Margaret Thatcher is not one of them.

I felt very virtuous following my foray to Tesco yesterday, where I laden my trolley with a variety of Weight Watchers tinned soups. I was just in the middle of a self-righteous brag to my husband about how low calorie they were, when I discovered, to my horror, that Heinz soups actually had less calories than Weight Watchers. All my good intentions thus came to nought. And why do they put the calorific value in terms of ½ tin? Apart from little old ladies (of which, I am not!), who actually eats half a tin? Think I’ll make my own in future. Anyone got any good low cal recipes?

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Friday, 15 August 2008

Toasted Salmon Sandwiches And Dowager's Hump

Have you ever eaten a toasted tinned salmon sandwich? Well I just have. After all, we women of a certain age, i.e. peri-menopausal, are supposed to keep our calcium intake up lest we get a Dowager’s Hump and end up like one of those poor little old ladies who spend their whole retirement looking at their shoes. Unfortunately, I already have a head start, which I swear is due to carrying a very heavy satchel to and from school in my late teens and has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the 4 inch high heels I used to wear. Anyway, I am hoping that the fish bones will go someway to halting the decline. Incidentally, the toasted sandwich wasn’t bad at all, if a little on the dry side (no mayo as it’s fattening and will not help my cholesterol levels, which are a tad on the high side.)

The sun is shining after a week of wind and rain, so that, in itself, lifts ones spirits. I must now make a concerted effort to find employment, having just resigned from a job which was steady, but unfulfilling. The older I get, the more I realise that life is far too short to spend it in a job that bores the tits off you. I know I am living on borrowed time as far as my husband is concerned, so must try to find something suitable ASAP. After all, he can’t have me lounging around the house all day when he is working hard to earn a crust. The trouble is that at 50+, I’ve found the interviews are a bit thin on the ground when compared with the possibilities I had in my 30’s. Why don’t employers appreciate that an older candidate is often a safer bet, as children are either offhand or non-existent in the first place, so these candidates are a more reliable proposition than a younger person who either has a family or may want one in the future. In my 50’s, I still have up to date computer skills, fast audio typing and more confidence than I had in my 30’s and I’m not likely to disappear at the drop of a hat to sort out sick children.

The only fault I’ll admit to is a slight decline in memory. The times I go upstairs for something, only to find that I can’t remember what I was there for in the first place. I find the only way to redress this is to go back downstairs and start again and then it usually comes back to me. I have also been known to do weird things like putting the low fat spread carton in the microwave instead of the fridge. The written word also poses a problem from time to time, e.g. I’ll type “there” instead of “their” and I will forget how to spell words I’ve been able to spell correctly for years. Having spoken with “friends of a similar age”, I am assuming that this is just a hormonal thing rather than being the first indications of the onset of Alzheimers. A bit worrying nevertheless………...

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Thursday, 14 August 2008

Deep Heat And Cellulite

Woke up this morning, feeling fine, as the old Herman’s Hermits song goes. Crumbs, that really does show my age! Should really being tearing a lick on the old exercise bike that I got from a friend of mine. Actually, we did a bit of bartering and she swapped it for a couple of pieces of costume jewellery. Fair exchange is no robbery, as they say. Unfortunately, it’s been sitting in the back room for over a year now and I’ve used it the sum total of 6 times. The trouble is that, despite all my good intentions, it’s just so bloody boring! What’s more, I can’t actually build up enough steam to get the gauge to move from the “Fat Lazy Bastard” zone to the “Welcome To The Human Race – You Are A Normal Healthy Person” zone, let alone the “Nauseatingly Fit Show Off” zone. I’m sure the Tour De France guys don’t have this problem (the mere thought of cycling up Mont Ventoux gives me palpitations.) Must try harder, as my school reports used to say. After all, my doctor told me that the only way to shift the flab was to exercise, but who feels like that after a day at work? Pass the wine bottle please.

However, there are, allegedly, several methods one can adopt to try and improve the appearance of flab-related cellulite and here are just a few which I’ve tried (and failed):-

1) Skin brushing. This is supposed to improve lymphatic drainage, so I dutifully purchased a pure bristle brush from The Body Shop and set to, religiously brushing my chunky thighs and bum every night for about 2 weeks, after which time the overall improvement was bugger all. As I am a person who needs instant results, I soon gave up on that one.

2) Drinking loads of water. Again, I followed the Holy Grail of bottled water and drank like it was going out of fashion. The only difference I noticed was that I spent most of my time in the loo, with flab still stubbornly in situ.

3) Next came the Epsom Salts baths. Apparently, if you sit in enough Epsom Salts baths, your cellulite is supposed to miraculously melt away. Fat chance! I just ended up with very wrinkly skin.

4) As cellulite is supposed to be linked with bad circulation, which I confess to having, it occurred to me that if I administered something topical which improved circulation, then this, in turn, might help shift the cellulite. Hence my brainwave of rubbing “Deep Heat” into my thighs and bum every night. Well, it certainly warmed me up, but I’m not sure that the smell did a lot for me. Another well intentioned disaster.

Another gem of the menopause is unwanted facial (and body) hair. Oh the indignity of being caught red handed by my husband, using his razor to shave my beard. Okay, we’re only talking about a few stray hairs here but, nevertheless, they are very persistent. I’ve tried tweezing, which lasts longer than shaving, but they do still grow back and sometimes they break off so you are left with a stump which is too small to tweeze but which is still visible to the naked eye. Bleaching is another option, but then the hairs are still there. Electrolysis seems a bit heavy handed, not to mention expensive, for a few stray hairs, so I’m afraid I’ll just have to take out shares in BIC. At least I don’t have a moustache like some poor ladies. One lady I worked with used to sit and tweeze her beard in front of our male colleagues. Now that’s just one step beyond!

Keep watching……. Keep smiling…….. There’s plenty more where this came from!

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Wednesday, 13 August 2008

A Humorous View Of the Menopausal Years

Why the heck do middle-aged women make such a fuss about the menopause, I used to think, from my vantage point as a 35 year old with a still enviably slim figure. After all, it can’t be that bad, can it? Well, yes and no, is the honest answer I would give to my 35 year old self if I could travel back in time like Alex Drake in Ashes to Ashes. Mind you, Gene Hunt would certainly be worth going back in time for – Oooerr missus, there’s still some hormones left in the old dog yet! I feel another hot flush coming on at the mere thought!

Actually, I was jogging along quite nicely until I hit 48. I’ve always had a high metabolism, “highly strung” I was called as a child and I’m sure there were many times when my big sister would have liked to have put that into practice. I had become quite complacent about my trim figure, having never had to do an hour’s exercise in my life. So you can understand how surprised I was when the pounds gradually started to creep on. I was eating and drinking the same as I always had and had never done much exercise, apart from a bit of walking at the weekends, weather permitting. To be honest, I was mystified by it all until a sneaky thought crept into my head – could I be on the cusp of the menopause, technically called the peri-menopause. Within 2 years, I had gone from 8st 7lbs to my current weight of 10st - a total gain of 1½ stone! Whilst the weight gain is fairly evenly distributed, the most shocking part is that I now actually have a “spare tyre” whereas, 2 years ago, I still had a flat washboard stomach. The only feasible way of shifting this unwanted fat is to resort to the Dysentery Diet , but it seems a bit of a drastic measure and would cost a fortune in toilet paper. I once saw Dave Allen live at the Theatre Royal in Brighton and he did a gag about “unwanted fat.” He wanted to know where it all went and did people just shove it in cupboards and drawers upstairs. Sounds like a pretty good idea to me, if only I could work out how to do it.

More of this and embarrassing facial hair in my next post….. coming soon……..

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