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 MaƱana 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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