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 apr├Ęs 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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