Not waving – but probably drowning!!

So in my quest to do lots of things I have never done before I decided to have a shot in a flotation tank.

I was a bit anti trying it to be honest – to me they just seem a bit hippy dippy and basically a very expensive bath. But then I saw a groupon offer and the experience billed as ‘decreasing anxiety and depression and improving sleep’ – I was sold. As I work with @shrinksquad to keep my weight going down – I am discovering that being knackered all the time is probably making me fat – so this seemed a great plan

But menopausal feckin brainfog kicked in – and I got all the way there and realised I’d forgotton my bloody swimsuit which was carefully hanging from the front door where I left it so i could not possibly forget it!!

I popped in to apologise and reschedule. ‘It’s fine’ the therapist Chanel said – ‘you can go in naked’

NAKED!! NAKED!! Seriously?? I am quite tall and fair and wondered for a minute if she had mistaken me for a free and easy ‘happy being naked’ Swedish person rather than a repressed uptight ‘6 layers minimum even in the sun’ Scot. I spoke in my most Scottish voice to emphasise this point but she was bright and breezy and in five mins had me chucked in a room with a shower and the huge tank.

Before I went in I asked if anyone ever drowned in one of them as I tend to fall asleep anytime during the day given half a chance (not night time obviously – that would be too feckin convenient!!). She laughed and assured me no-one had ever drowned in one. Hmmm – my Doctor said that no-one ever gained weight simply due to the menopause and we all know what a crock of shit that is.

So I carefully climb in and get settled – ears stuffed with the earplugs (the only bit of advice the therapist offered – “just keep them in whatever you do”).

I look around for a shelf for my phone but there is nothing. Once I close the feckin lid I will be completely cut off. I am starting to panic slightly – but close the lid down. I am brave. I am strong. I say to myself as I lie gripping onto the exit lever and with one hand over the emergency button just in case. My arms hurt and I realise I am completely frozen stiff in terror. There is no way I am turning the feckin light out – is claustrophobia another bloody menopause symptom!. I lie like that for about 15 mins – my arms frozen and getting sorer and sorer. This is not how I imagined it. Finally I make myself release my grip a little and do a little frog motion with my legs to propel myself off the edge of the tank to try and loosen up.

FUCK FUCK FUCK. That was not a good idea – my fat thighs had been blocking the entrance to my ‘down below’ bits (see how repressed I am – can’t even use the anatomonically correct language). And now about ten litres of very salty saline solution is whooshing up inside me. I am ready to scream. Menopausal readers – if you suffer atrophy then you will probably be wincing right now. If you don’t – just imagine about 90 boiling hot razors being stuck up inside you and you will get the picture!! And then just wait for that fresh menopausal hell symptom to catch you up!!

I lie for a bit longer – how long have I been in this feckin thing? I decide to put the light out – just give it a go – it might be ok?. I turn to the light and my earplug falls out – just as I click the light out. This throws me into a panic and I resemble a panicking fish out of water as I splash around trying to find it . Then I go into a bigger panic – which button was the light and which was the emergency button?

I breathe – don’t panic don’t panic…. If I hit the emergency button 20 year old Chanel the therapist may never recover from having to haul my naked menopausal still very overweight body out. And it might end up on youtube. Oh God. I have to get it right. Can’t find feckin earplug and remember Chanel’s dire warnings. OK – light back on – and it is staying on!

I lie a bit longer in the tank. I am not enjoying it. But I am Scottish and therefore want my moneys worth. I am desperate for a wee but remember that there are no toilets in the bloody room and can hardly walk bollock naked down the corridor past the nail technicians just to go to the loo. I hold it in then start to wonder – how many people have just decided to wee in the tank. Am I lying in a pool of mainly wee?

Shower time is a nightmare – the claggy saline won’t come out my hair. I have to walk about for a week with it resembling the time I permed it with a home perm then added generous dollops of sun-in when I was 14! Not a good look then – definitely not now!.

But I live in hope that the promise of good sleep will come true. Nope – three night terrors in one night – all about being hemmed in a big feckin enclosed water coffin!!

I call my solicitor in the morning and adapt my will to ensure cremation and that my ashes be scattered within an hour! The fear of being enclosed will last a very long time I suspect….

Then three days later my ear starts to play up – the one with the missing earplug…..

Has anyone ever tried a flotation tank and enjoyed it?


Twitter @gallopingcatast

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Let’s Dance!

So this morning I went to Zumba!!

With the help of ‘Shrinkology’ – the book by Louise Atkinson and Dr Meg Arroll – and some 1-1 sessions with Dr Meg, I am finally starting to tackle the menopausal midriff.

I am about to get to that milestone of losing the first stone. So I decided it was time to up the exercise. I hate the gym but love Strictly Come Dancing – so felt a bit of grooving to some great tunes would be a good way forward.

So I rocked up alone hoping for some friendly faces. I was faced with some very young beautiful slim snowflake faces with lovely bright dancing outfits on that contrasted to my black t shirt and leggings combo. ‘Should I just bugger off now’ I think to myself. But then I remember my 2019 motto – if there is a choice between sitting it out and dancing – always choose dancing…literally and metaphorically!

Then we get to it. Anyone passing would be forgiven for thinking it was a soft porn film. In front of me slim hips don’t lie as they swivel and washboard abs twist from side to side. I am slightly mortified but then slowly I realise that my menopausal cloak of invisibility means no-one is watching me. So I begin to dance accordingly. I am Beyonce! I am Flavia! I am Baby in Dirty Dancing. I imagine being introduced on Strictly – ‘she was top of the leaderboard last week – can she make it another week – she is a top contender for the glitter ball’. Then getting my scores ‘it’s a ten from Len’. I fling myself around with gay abandon – ‘take that Snowflake Bitches’ I say (not out loud obvs – some of them look really hard and very strong) channelling my inner Cher.

But then Chantelle jumps from the stage where she has been gyrating and I realise I have made a rookie error. NO NO NO – she dances to the back of the class and instructs us all to turn round. I am now at the front of the class and can clearly see in the mirror that I do not, as I had imagined, resemble the love child of Shakira and J-Lo but more like the love child of Bernard Manning and Anne Widdecombe. And I don’t have the moves like Jagger – I have the moves like a scarecrow blowing randomly in the wind. This is not good.

Fortunately this torture is short lived as Chantelle dances back to take her rightful place on the stage. She is looking for volunteers to join her and she is not short of the young and the beautiful. I am so tempted to leap onto the stage and shout ‘hey girls – look here – yes I am your future. Enjoy your flat tummies; your hair free chins; your normal body temperature; your perky boobs – coz in a few years they will go quicker than a skid on the sweat splashes that are appearing on the dance floor’. But thanks to my HRT, I manage to refrain.

I get home and peel my leggings off. Oh god – I realise a rip in the back of them. Oh god oh god – I mean don’t get me wrong – I have a great arse (let’s just say – no butt implants needed here) but I wasn’t even wearing sexy pants. I had the old comfy ones which I suspect might be even older than Chantelle.

So will I return?

Hell yeah!! But this time with sexy pants and a trendier gym kit. The happy hormones are still floating around inside me ten hours later!.

Twitter: @gallopingcatast
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Guest Blog on HRT from Sweet Dog

Hello. I am Sweet Dog and my Human has told me I have to do a guest blog this week as she is lying in a hot bubbly bath defrosting. I have to admit this is totally my fault. We went a big walk and she said ‘DON’T go on the ice’ but it looked so much fun so I ignored her. Well the ice wasn’t quite as solid as it seemed – I nearly feckin drowned!!! So she had to pull me out and she got a frozen foot while doing so. I was then freezing cold and shivering so she had to put her t shirt and jumper on me so I would not get hypothermia (though maybe more likely she was wanting to avoid more vet bills – I think her exact words to the vet when I accidently ate a plastic bag full of dead rotting fish and had to be rushed to the vets were ‘how fecking much? Just to make her puke? Are you feckin kidding me – that’s 2 pairs of shoes and a feckin dress’ I mean I think she was kidding but I got some pretty black looks). Anyway upshot was she had to drive home in her bra while I was cosy in her clothes in the boot. She also said some bad words that I hadn’t heard since she started her HRT.

And this is the topic she has told me to write about – my Human has been on HRT for 4 months now and wants me to tell you all what I have observed. So unaccustomed to blogging as I am – I will try my best to explain the changes I have seen and the impact it has had on me.

1 My Menopausal Human used to get really really hot and I loved it and would jump on her belly and enjoy the warmth. This sadly has stopped and she is just the same temperature as other humans which makes me a bit sad. I am glad she still has a jelly belly though as it is like a water bed and really fun to sit on.

2 My Human is also sleeping all through the night. This also makes me sad as often she would come to my sleeping place in the kitchen when she couldn’t sleep and we would listen to the radio together and invariably this would lead to biscuits – hobnobs for her and Bonios for me. I miss this.

3 My Menopausal Human seems to be much less forgetful. This too makes me sad as often I used to get two dinners just by looking hungry. She also doesn’t appear in the kitchen several times a night to check the cooker is off/door is locked. Again this means a drastic reduction in my biscuit intake as often I would get a couple while she was down.

4 My Menopausal Human used to see a lot of people called ‘tosser’ and ‘knobhead’ and ‘wanker’ when we were out driving. I am not sure what has happened but they seem to have all disappeared – last time we drove for two hours and I don’t think there were any of them out there at all.

So these are the negatives. I am trying to be positive though – as I am 7 so in Doggy years I am 49 and soon will be approaching the ‘change’ myself. I think. I mean I am not totally sure if Doggies do go through this but I have twice ended up with one of those HRT patches on my tail when it falls off my Human and so far no ill effects.

But there are positives:

1 My Menopausal Human is full of energy and we go on massive walks now which is great – normally she would be knackered and I would have to put up with a short walk then she would stop at the top of a hill and just chuck the ball down the hill and sit back while I puffed up and down the hill retrieving it. Am glad those pathetic walks are being replaced with something more substantial.

2 My Menopausal Human laughs a lot more now and sometimes we dance round the kitchen together before breakfast – which I like a lot. Normally she would just resemble a burst grumpy couch til lunchtime.

I can hear my lovely Human getting out the bath now so I must go and see if she is OK and thank her for saving my life by jumping all over her and licking her frantically. I know she is just kidding when she say ‘yuck.. get off… get down’.

Oh – and she won’t want me to say this – but I will anyway. She has written a book on her exploits as a menopausal woman and was wondering who might be interested in reading it if it were to be published?

Love from
Sweet Dog

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Menopausal Snakes and Ladders

“Life is like a box of chocolates” said Forest Gump

“Menopausal Life is like a game of Snakes and Ladders” said me!

If I manage to get up a ladder – then its just a matter of time til I encounter the next snake and down I go!

Take Friday – I get up after a miraculous full 7 hours of sleep so full of elation I hit the top of my first ladder of the day.

Then it’s time to use the eyedrops. The latest condition to hit my aging body is Blepharitis – so eye drops and very expensive ‘hygiene wipes’ are now making friends with the HRT patches, thyroxine and magnesium tablets in the toiletries bag. (I swear there is someone somewhere dishing out odd conditions to menopausal women and cackling away to themselves ‘think that’s bad wait til you see what I have waiting for you next!’). Anyway – I scream as my eyes start to burn and race to the taps to rinse them out. WTF? After ten mins of splashing cold water on my eyes I put my specs on and look at the eye drops. Which aren’t eye drops but cuticle cream. In the exact same shape and feckin colour! Wheeeeee – down the snake I go.

Off to work next and glance in mirror to check my red eyes out – and almost crash the car as I realise that in the night I have gained a desperate dan chin. Out with the tweezers (there are sets everywhere – bags/bathrooms/glove compartment) and wheeeee down another snake.

Renew my car insurance – £156. Feel very smug as friends 18 year old is having to pay just over £1600 for hers. It is a minor victory but I am taking it as a ladder and head on up again.

Then I make an appointment to get my helix pierced. Been wanting it for a while but now at age where I am saying ‘fuckit’ a lot more often and not ‘waiting’ any more. So up another ladder.

Head off to a meeting and two men barge in front of me and into the lift. I step in and they hit Floor 12. I hit floor one. Just before I exit I let out a silent but deadly fart and hit every button from 1 to 12. My menopausal superpower of invisibility allows me to do such things. I smile and move up the ladder as I imagine them jolting up every floor one at a time while surrounded in non too fragrant air (I had tandoori last night).

But then it’s down a snake as I can’t remember what feckin room I am supposed to be going to. Slide down a snake as I wander aimlessly til I see someone I recognise.

Then down another snake when half way through the meeting for no apparent reason I start to well up remembering the lovely little turtles in the amazing David Attenboroughs ‘Blue Planet’ that kept going to the lights of the town instead of the light of the moon and got knocked down/trodden on/fell down drains. I start a little pity party in my head when I realise I am one of those turtles – never quite sure what direction to go in and often going the wrong way. Fortunately no-one notices as I am still invisible.

Head for home and stop for Zumba. Hide at back of class as usual. But perky 17 year old stand in instructor Chelsea decides to play an oh so hysterically funny game and runs to the back of the room and gets us all to turn round. So I am now at the front and wonder who the old fat woman is in the front. I realise it is me just as Chelsea with the ‘thigh gap’ starts dancing away and I with the ‘thigh slap’ start sliding back down the the next snake.

Pick up my HRT prescription next. The woman at the pharmacy tells me proudly that she managed the menopause completely naturally and would never touch the stuff. Resist temptation to tell her that HRT is the only thing stopping me leaping over the counter and poking her in the eye with my car key. See this as a win of sorts and go up the ladder.

But I suppose the thing to remember is – every time you end up at the bottom of a snake, your next move could just take you to the foot of the next ladder……


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Twitter: @gallopingcatast

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No to New Year Resolutions!

So the chat at lunchtime at work was around New Year Resolutions. After weeks of living as a Christmas Sloth where a box of after eights with a baileys feels like an acceptable breakfast, I find this conversation something of a challenge. So I just nod along to claims of going to the gym three times a week/eating vegan/attending zumba/climbing kilimanjaro etc.

tbh for me – if I can manage to write 2019 at the end of the date instead of 2018 then I am going to see that as a win. I have not achieved that yet. But I am proud that today I was able to do my work trousers up this morning after 3 weeks in pajamas (this has more to do with a terrible flu bug and a broken tooth than willpower over the Christmas goodies – and yes someone like Victoria Beckham might not see being able to do up a pair of size 18s and still being able to breathe as a ‘win’ – but I do). I am lowering the bar I suppose – but I am absolutely not doing some bloody ten point plan to ‘live my best life ever’. There is just no point in saying I won’t eat pizza or buy any more shoes as it just takes one of those promotional Dominos emails offering me 2 big pizzas for £15 or Schuh to announce a sale and it’ll all go pete tong.

I found my New Years resolutions list for 2018 during a clear out and hadn’t achieved anything on it – indeed if I just put a line through 2018 and put 2019 I could have my resolutions for 2019 – except instead of losing 3 stone I need to make that 4 as 2018 didn’t really go to plan weight wise.

So I had a whole year of underachieving.

I come back from my daydreaming to join the conversation just as Joan from Finance is talking about a Buddhist retreat and wants to know if I fancy it. “Nah don’t think so” I reply. The only thing me and old Buddha have in common is our BMI.

But now it seems that everyone is on a mission to have me develop a resolution or two.

‘Why don’t you just list all the things you did last year and put the word Give Up before them?’ said Spreadsheet James sobbing with laughter at his wit. It is my turn to get the afternoon teas and coffees this afternoon. He always has a diet coke and I resolve to give the can a bloody good shake before handing it over to them – we’ll see whose fecking laughing then!

So everyone then has to join in – ‘how about you wear one of your 15 pairs of trainers to the gym instead of just to look cool’ says the Graduate. I laugh along coz I don’t want to admit the trainers aren’t to make me look cool – I’d love to wear lovely heels but a dodgy hip and painful lower back has kicked that to the curb and mean Sketchers are the way forward for me.

Then we all have a good laugh about when I tried a kettle bell class and dropped kettle bell which made a dent in gym floor. Again to be perfectly honest – if the instructor did not want marks on his floor then they should not hand me anything that weighs more than a family sized galaxy.

Let’s face it – making resolutions is one thing – but actually following them through is quite another!!

Happy 2019 to all the Galloping Catastrophes out there still with their heads in Quality Street tubs bingewatching Netflix. I salute you!

twitter: @gallopingcatast

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Is it just me?

Becoming a Menopausal IT Consultant!

“What would you like for Christmas Mum?” I asked brightly this morning.

“I’m thinking maybe an ipad” she responded

I feel palpitations starting – a relatively new menopausal symptom often made worse by stressful situations.

“What about a spa day?” I whimper

“No I think definitely an ipad. Joyce has one and loves it – oh by the way we need to pop round there later as she wants you to put Gardening Pokemon on it for her”

I push down the menopausal irritability – “I know nothing of Pokomon” I say and try and fight the hot flush that is kicking in at the thought of a repeat of smartphonegate. I did not realise that getting my mum a smartphone for her 75th birthday and setting her up on Facebook and Whatsapp meant automatically nominating myself as her (and all her Silver Surfer friends)personal IT Consultant. Menopausal brain fog is not conducive to such a role.

The last six months have seen my mum attempting to embrace the digital era and has done little to quell my menopausal moodiness.

First there was the #metoo saga – just after I set her up on Facebook I noticed she was writing #metoo in loads of her posts. I called her up and it went a bit like this:

Me: Mum – why are you putting #metoo all over your Facebook?
Mum: Oh it’s what you do when you agree with someone – didn’t you know?
Me: No – that’s not what it’s for at all.
Mum: Oh yes it is – look I put it underneath Joyce’s picture of the sunset she liked
Me: No – no actually Mum no – have you heard of Harvey Weinstein?
Mum: Yes – he isn’t a very nice man is he?
Me: Oh God….

Then there was the Whatsapp incident. I set up a group for all the family and a few days later I am half way through a meeting at work and I look down to see a message from my mum to the whole family. “Uncle John Dead”. I had to leave and phone her and explain why this isn’t an appropriate way to inform people of a family members passing. A barrage of questions then followed on what was and wasn’t acceptable. ‘Yes mum it’s ok to tell everyone about the Dine in for a Tenner offer being back at M&S”. “No Whatsapp isn’t the right place to suggest Uncle Johns Funeral be moved as you and Auntie Pat have a spa day booked on the proposed date. Actually it’s not OK at all to suggest that in any form – yes I know it’s a Groupon deal but even then a Family Members funeral always trumps a Spa day. Just one of those unwritten rules Mum”

Then in the John Lewis cafe (of all places!) she announced that her neighbour had set her up with a threesome with her two friends in Australia. Which turned out to be simply a Skype conversation. The word Skype seems to be missing from her vocabulary – she refers to it now as a ‘Talking Postcard’ which is infinitely preferably.

Anyway – turns out Joyce wanted a Gardening Podcast rather than Gardening Pokemon – so it was relatively straightforward. I download Spotify for her and we listen to a bit of Etta James and I am impressed at her ability to master it. Until we get to the end of the playlist and she asks how to turn it over.

‘How to turn it over?’ I repeat confused

‘Yes – how do you turn it over to listen to the other side?’

I leave

I drink a lot of Jack Daniels

Which is a mistake – because that leads me to the on line Apple store.

Her shiny new ipad will be here in time for Christmas Day….

I am now considering doubling my HRT dose

And the last remaining shreds of my sanity will likely be gone by Boxing Day….

To follow my menopausal musings, scroll to the top of the post and click on my face then click on follow.

Twitter: @gallopingcatast

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Is it just me?

The Menopausal Woman’s Hangover

If Carlsberg made hangovers … then they would make menopausal woman’s hangovers!!

FFS – what has happened – I used to get a bit of a headache after a night on the sauce – but now there is a minimum 3 day recovery period!

But unless I stay pissed for the whole of December (which seems a lovely idea but may well result in January looking for a new job, new liver and new lover) then they are a necessary evil.

Not drinking isn’t an option – it is actually a medicinal need to get me through the party season where I am obliged to change out of my pajamas of an evening and if making a special effort to take my hair out of one of my many scrunchies.

The hangover I had Sunday was epic – starting with waking and hearing a deep sigh behind me… FUCK! I was home alone this weekend – surely I had not brought someone back… .. NO NO NO.. Someone nestles into my neck then I remember. Sweet Dog… Sweet Dog was in a huge huff when I came in having been left alone for 5 hours and I didn’t want to be in bed myself so broke the very last ‘dog rule’ (the other ‘dog rules’ of not allowed to be on sofa; not allowed to jump up on people; never to be fed from our plates being broken a long time ago) and brought her up with me. I laugh at the thought I’d seriously thought for a minute I’d pulled – a Domino’s pizza and the remote control and my bed companions of choice at the moment.

I am not bragging here but I reflect and suspect there are many people might not be talking to me now. I vaguely remember someone pointing at some mistletoe…And I think I told him that I’d have to be under anesthetic rather than mistletoe to kiss him. Menopausal honesty moments are rather more frequent when drunk.

I also have a horrible feeling I might have shown some people the HRT patch on my bum.

I remember the start of the night – fairly tame at Wagas. I check Facebook. Shit – forgot that I had thought it would be hysterically funny to pretend to pluck my chin with the chopsticks.. Fortunately Pauline has put a picture up on Facebook and tagged everyone lest they forget.

I decide to spend the day in bed determined that the only thing to get me up today will be my bladder. But Sweet Dog is not for it – insisting by patting me on the head less than gently with her paw and frantically running to the door and back. Feck sometimes I think kids would be easier – can’t shove Sweet Dog in front of Peppa Pig with a large bag of chocolate buttons.

So I head out in my pajama top and my jeans from last night (still got some standards!). Within 3 mins Sweet Dog is doing the most massive slimy poo I have ever seen. For the first time ever I seriously consider not picking it up. But I just can’t. So I scoop it up and retch so much I look like a woodpecker making my way to the DogShit Bin. Opening it to make my deposit brings a whiff so bad I start to shake. I don’t puke due to my bodys incredible capacity to never part with a single calorie. Ten minutes later she shits again – I swear to god I can see her smirking – teaching me a lesson for leaving her all alone. I vow to make her watch Paul O’Gradys Love of Dogs on catch up so she can see how blessed she is!

I may have overestimated my ability to party as off out again tomorrow. But this time I am NOT drinking. Nope… Sparkling water and maybe a J20 to shake ti up. But that is it. As I am NEVER drinking again. EVER!

Well maybe one Jack Daniels.

Or two – as it is Christmas…..And it’s Karaoke. And I do a fabulous ‘Fairytale of New York’ which I swear I sing so much better after a Jack or two…

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