Bum Symphony

So here I am writing this blog from the ‘little girls room’ as I play a bum symphony that would rival Beethovens! At least I am in my own house (and I am staying here til I can trust my farts again!). I had the same problem at work yesterday but the toilets there are not conducive to bottom explosions due to the 7 inch gap above and below the cubicle (probably summat to do with budgets – policies such as no more taxi’s when you can get a bus are springing up … so perhaps no more full size toilet cubicles is another way to save cash). This meant some serious bottom clenching when I heard people coming into toilets that were deserted when I entered. This kind of illness is a rarity for me – normally my body will not give up a calorie without some considerable fight.

And what has caused this? I resist the temptation to fall into a Google frenzy which will result in me convinced I have some awful disease – it is a simple tummy upset I am sure. Well at least I think it is – I can always google later – like maybe after I’ve lost a stone or so and can get into my jeans again for the visit to the Doctor. However, after careful deducement consisting of comparing food eaten with my partner and finding out we had eaten the same (apart from 8 jaffa cakes and two aero’s and a mint club biscuit – but they have never made me ill before so I don’t think it was them) and I am the only one who is ill – I conclude it is bloody magnesium supplements.

I decided a week or so again to try ‘natural’ help to get me through my menopause. It is a bloomin minefield. I Googled like crazy and you could actually end up remortgaging your house if you took advice on everything. Magnesium seemed a good first choice as it claimed to reduce irritability, mood swings, insomnia and anxiety. I mean – what’s not to like? So off I went to the Health Food Shop to stock up.

It was my first visit to a Health Food Shop and what an experience that was. The clientele are a bit different from Lidl that’s for sure. Lots of serious faced people with large rucksacks marching stridently up and down the lanes saying ‘Excuse ME!’ a lot while they compared different types of muesli that you had to scoop into a paper bag. No coco pops anywhere! I worked through seeds and nuts and tofu and oat milk and lots of similar type stuff that made me start thinking it would be a good way to lose weight – I cannot imagine sitting by the fridge eating tofu pieces out of the packet in the same way as I scoff rolled up ham with Chicken flavoured crisps in the middle. Or eating muesli at night when I come in rather than stopping off for a doner kebab. Then I discovered the sweetie section and decided that i must definitely become a vegan – at £4.20 for a bar of vegan chocolate I would be far more restrained than I am at B&M Stores (39p and apart from maybe some of it coming from animally things and being called ‘milk chocolate’ rather than some nobby title like ‘raw halo pink himalyan salt organic coco snack’ seems to be remarkably similar). I am convinced and decide to become vegan there and then. I buy a chickpea and spinach bake which appears to resemble a Greggs sausage roll apart from the price tag (£4.20 rather than 90p) and of course the sausage filling but how different can it really be. It will be expensive to be a vegan but it will be worth it when I am slim and healthy. I get some of the himalayan chocolate to try on the way home.

Anyway – I have digressed. Magnesium! Supplement aisle was next. You would think it would be easy. All I want is some magnesium supplements. But nope – there are ten million types – chelated magnesium; magnesium citrate; magnesium spray – then on top of that there is a variety of strengths. I am in despair but now that I am a vegan I decide that I am in the club and can legitimately ask a member of staff. I have my chickpea bake and my vegan chocolate and a pair of vegan socks I discovered that were as soft as anything all in my basket to prove my worthiness. All the staff are about 12 and very very pale. I ask one what I should get just for a normal supplement. I pretend it is for my mum so I don’t get asked any difficult questions. She hands me a bog standard magnesium supplement – success!! I leave the shop proudly displaying my eco friendly brown health food shop making sure the logo is displayed on the outside. I am almost fifty quid down but hey ho – I am now a healthy vegan who is never going to be irritable or moody again.

Except no one told me of the bottom related side effect. And realistically I can’t spend my life on the toilet (though it would help with my aim of losing 50lbs in the 12 weeks til my college reunion). Apparently too much can also lead to a calcium deficiency though I am confident that my chocolate intake would always keep me out of the danger zone. But then if I am a vegan… maybe I would need to do another supplement to counter act that. I have checked other potential side effects for other supplements I was considering. Black Cohosh – weight gain and rash – so no way – Menopause has made me fat and ugly enough as it is. Ginkgo – dizziness and restlessness – can’t be doing with that. Motherwort – sleepiness – well am already in bed for 9pm so that’s out.

So am giving up on the supplements for now. And tbh I have to give up on the veganism as well. Well tb very honest – I gave up after an hour as the chickpea and spinach pie was absolutely awful even when I dipped it in tomato ketchup (at £4.20 I was not going to throw it away!), And also though I’d like to be slim for my college reunion – reality tells me it will be like the school reunion when most people had also got fat – many even fatter than me.

So anyone looking for some magnesium supplements for a knock down price (and let’s face it – after reading this – how coudl you not?) – you can get them on my Gumtree account!

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Work Bitch Work

Well it is the 74th of January today …. or at least that’s what it feels like. This month has gone on FOREVER. But on the plus side it is also payday…. at long long long long long last! And that reminder of why I go to work is most timely.

Because today was a bit rubbish but not particularly different from every other day. I started the day by hitting snooze about 15 times due to exhaustion. Zephrus said ‘the only people awake at 3am are in love, lonely, drunk or all three’. He clearly had not consulted with menopausal women. I bloody wish it was alcohol keeping me awake then rather than the well known ‘menopausal worry hour’.

Then it was time to find something to wear – plans to lay everything out the night before never quite came to fruition. Discard the first blouse as it shows up sweat patches – never good when the hot flushes kick in.

Finally dress and set off to work. Decide to walk as need to
get fit – 30 mins up to the bus stop and 30 mins back – perfect, fits in with all those recommendations to ‘make exercise part of your life’. But… it is freezing and my bag is really heavy and I have just been paid – and a taxi with its light on goes past. So just for today I get a taxi to the bus stop. I have a panic at the bus stop that my forgetful mind may have caused me not to pick up my work security pass. I have done this too many times before – and have to sit in reception for 100 years while they can find someone willing to sign me in which most people don’t want to do as they are then responsible for me and lending me their pass every time I need to swipe out to get to the loo… which can be rather frequent. But I have it – hooray!! And I seem to be reasonably matched in my attire. I wore two odd shoes once – same colour but an inch of difference in the heel. I didn’t notice til lunchtime – I was relieved rather than embarrassed though after worrying all morning I may have osteoarthritis (which is apparently another likelihood as estrogen levels drop) as my hip ached from walking on uneven shoes.

Get to work and time to sign on – I gaze thoughtfully at the flashing line on my PC daring me to remember my password. It takes a minute or two but then it comes to me – hooray, no need to spend another hour on to IT explaining that once again I have locked myself.

So the day isn’t going too bad but then it is time for the ‘training event’ – won’t bore you with the details but we had to all start by giving an interesting fact about ourselves that might surprise people. Well I was most excited – I did a similar exercise about ten years ago and everyone was most impressed.

Finally it’s my turn. ‘I was on Top of the Pops dancing behind Craig McLachlan’ I announce proudly. Blank looks all round. Too late, I remember the average age is around 28. I continually forget I am twice the age of half the people I work with. ‘Who’s Craig Mclaughlin’?’ say the graduate. ‘What’s top of the pops?’ says the Apprentice. FFS – Its Craig MCLACHLAN I say then I sing a bit of the song ‘Hey Mona…OOOO Mona’ just in case it triggers a memory – but there is zero recognition. A sudden urge to get up and do the dance comes over me but I manage to resist and we move on to 24 year old Cliff who tells us about his climb up Kilimanjaro to raise £5000 for orphaned orangutans or something similar. When did young people get so bloody compassionate? Do none of them get wrecked on cheap booze while hanging out on street corners the way my generation did? The youth of today just don’t know how to have fun. Anyway – I resolve to find a more recent interesting fact in case I am in this position again.

At break time the Apprentice approaches. She has checked youtube and cannot find me dancing on top of the pops. I explain that it was sometime ago and utube wasn’t around then. ‘No utube’ she says in wonder then glares at me again ‘well do you have a picture?’. ‘No’ I sigh and I can tell she is sure I am lying now – no selfie? So I have to give a short history lesson on how you used to have to take a proper camera out with you not just fish your phone out because shock horror – there were not mobiles!. And due to the likely vast intake of cheap booze you often didn’t take it coz you would have broken it or lost it. And in actual fact we often went out and… did not take one single photo all night!! I am getting into my stride when her apple watch makes a noise which tells her she must go and run up and down the stairs. I watch her retreating back and remember when we just did exercise without needing a bleep to tell us when to do it.

Anyway the day dragged on but finally it was time to go home. I was most depressed as I wait at the bus stop – as I couldn’t think of a single interesting anecdote about myself in the last decade. Not one!! I rack my brains. What happened? I’ve tons from before but I need to be more relevant for the next one. My mood is falling – a man joins the queue eating his pie from Greggs. Well he eats half of it and throws the other half in the street. I don’t know whether it is the menopause rage or if I am justified (it is often hard to tell?) but I am raging. ‘Mate – you just dropped your pie on the road’ I say. ‘So?’ he says in an insolent way. ‘So it means you are a DIRTY FECKIN BASTARD’ I say ‘Pick it up and put it in the FECKIN BIN which is conveniently situated just a 12 step walk from where you area standing’. He looks at me slack mouthed. And I get a slight panic… Oh no…. What have i done? No one else at the bus stop is menopausal and it is Edinburgh so they are all just pretending they haven’t heard anything. I suspect if I am stabbed they will just step over me trying to avoid the blood and get on the bus. I see a taxi and quickly flag it down. Yes I should be saving money but this is really a health and safety thing.

Back home and I search Spotify – there it is. I try my dance steps out – I can remember them!!! I dance around the living room ecstatic. I mean the steps were fairly easy – I just happened to be in the crowd and pulled up to do a simple dance with a few others – but I’ve still got it going on!!

I have a couple of drinks and open my laptop and check out skydiving; canyoning; everest climbing and a number of other exciting but slightly scary activities. I have yet to choose – but I WILL have an exciting fact to share next time. But for now it is 9pm and time for bed.

Over the hump and the weekend is on the horizon – hooray!

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Poorly Sick!

So I am poorly. Very poorly. I was most reluctant to visit the Doctor because of my many visits last year with various ailments I had self diagnosed – eg altzheimer’s; underactive thyroid, diabetes – all of which I was tested for and found negative for. All my ailments ended up being symptoms of the menopause and so at that point I determined only to visit the Doctor if it was really serious so that I would not get a reputation for being a hypochondriac and potentially cause them to miss something in a sort of ‘girl who cried wolf’ kind of way.

But I can barely move. I am existing on a diet of lemsips and phish food ice cream (medicinal as it is the only thing that will ease my throat). My head hurts, my chest is congested, my eyes have disgusting exretions coming from then. My ear is on fire. My body is on fire and I am sweating (though that could be the flushes – it is kind of hard to tell).

So I call the receptionist. I tell her I am not sure whether or not to come in – I might be wasting the Doctors time. She listens to my fragile voice describing my awful symptoms and I hear her tapping away at her computer. I am hoping she is looking at my file and not ordering something off Amazon as she is very quiet.

‘I think you should come in’ she says ‘I can get you an emergency appointment at 2pm’.

I take it. Then i start to panic. It must be serious if they have fitted me in on the same day. Menopausal anxiety, sickness and Google are a troublesome combination. A few clicks and I realise I have symptoms of pleurisy. Or maybe pneumonia. I wonder if I should pack a small bag in case they send me straight to hospital. A few more clicks and I suspect I may have a lung abscess. Maybe chronic bronchitis. Or even chronic obstructive pulmonary disease!!

I am really panicking now and start to work out how long I can live for if I have to give up work to recover. I am kicking myself for not taking out income protection cover. That starts me worrying about whether I have mortgage protection cover – will they let me remortgage or do interest only payments? I logon to see the pitiful amount of savings I have and deduce I could last about 3 weeks and 2 days before I would be out on the street.

Then it’s time to go. In my younger days, in the very rare event I went to a Doctor, I only ever went if I wanted a sick note so I could skive off work (I have realised though that as I get closer to 50 then Doctors/Medical Practitioners take you much more seriously than when I was 22 and the bloody Doctors would shush me away with no sick note and some advice to ‘cheer up’). I worry and worry on the way there – Receptionists are trained to pick out malingerers so she must have realised I am very much at risk

I go in and answer the usual questions – smug as always with the no smoking… less smug with the units of alcohol per week. No sign of scales thank god as that would have wiped the smugness completely off my face.

I panic as I realise I have no bra on – feck – what if he wants to listen to my chest. As he checks temperature, oxygen flow etc I get more and more anxious – what will he think if I have to remove my top and my boobs are thrust into his face? He might put something in my notes that I am a total loony (if it isn’t there already)

He listens to my back with his stethocope thing. He gets me to cough and I do a delicate little cough. He asks again – then tells me to do a full on deep cough. God he is a Doctor – I am a menopausal women – does he not get why I am coughing so lightly?. But I obey and hope for the best – fortunately it is only a little bit of wee that comes out and I think I get away with it. I cough again and again for him – it starts to get quite traumatic – my bladder is really full from all the lemsips.. He stops there – doesn’t do my chest – maybe coz he can see from that there is no bra and doesn’t want to risk it.

‘Just a cold’ he says.

‘WTF’ I say.

‘Yes’ says ‘lots of it about’.

Does he not realise just how sick I am? I panic and worry again that maybe he was too embarrassed to listen to my braless chest and maybe that would have been the decider in sending me to the hospital for immediate treatment. Maybe he has seen all of the appointments for last year and a ‘hypochondriac’ note on my file.

‘Antibiotics?’ I croak. ‘Oh no’ he says. ‘Two paracetamol every four hours, fluids and rest – you’ll be fine’. Well I beg to feckin differ – it will serve him right if I have to be blue lighted into A&E at 3am with one of the many illnesses I think I may have.

So I return home to bed, picking up some more phish food ice cream with paracetamol on the way back. I try to buy three packs but am told that I can only buy 2 – apparently if you buy more than that you are probably planning to kill yourself and the supermarket refuses to potentially be a guilty party in such an arrangement. I resist the urge to say ‘FFS – if I really wanted to top myself do you think I wouldn’t just choose another method or just simply pop to another shop’ but it is hard as I am due a rant. No need though – as she tells me she’ll just put it through on another transaction and that will solve it.

Next day I suspect I might be getting slightly better. I truly think you can judge how sick you are by how interesting you find daytime telly. Yesterday I was desperate to find out if that lovely man on Jeremy Kyle was indeed that poor girls father and was hooked for the DNA results. Today I am couldn’t care less if the man the lady wants to marry may be her cousin. I mean I record it – coz I want to find out. But I don’t watch it.

May actually be getting better! But I am now obsessed with the various ‘diagnose your own illness’ websites there are – and I may need to make another visit to the Doctors soon.

I may change surgery first though…..

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Six Menopausal Women hit the Lakes

So this weekend was spent in the Lakes celebrating Tina the Turners birthday – the second in a slew of 50s happening over this year.

Tina the Turner isn’t actually 50 til October but she decreed long ago that any birthday she had that that finished with a 0 must last a full year. And who are we to differ?

This one was special as the last time we were all together (due to Geography and Life) was for her 21st. Even with menopausal brain fog it didn’t take long to work out that was 29 years ago. ‘How can this be?’ we mused, convinced that we surely cannot have been on this planet long enough to have lived almost 3 decades since we were 21. We certainly do not have the wisdom one would expect from such life experience and thanks to l’oreal we have no grey hairs either! Further analysis concluded that most of us are now in our sixth decade on this planet. FuckaDuck!

Travel arrangements were complex with no-one wanting to travel in my car due to my tendency to roll the windows down during a hot flush. Often this isn’t a huge problem, but I guess this reluctance is currently understandable as it is currently minus 8 with frequent blizzards. However the other options for the non drivers were Pee Stop Pam who has to pull into every service station to go and have a wee, and Easily Distracted Rachel whose driving since hitting the menopause has become erratic to say the least. So I got my lovely pal Amy and we compromised that I would roll the window down only twice, and she would keep a rug in the footwell to use at these times. A sensible solution for two sensible adults. I remember for the 21st we were only bothered about how much booze we could ram into the car – how times change!

And so Six Menopausal women went off to the Lakes. We were joined by Tina’s 35 year old cousin, Kerry who lives near our cottage. She is quite funky and set us all up a whatsapp group. We got to our location to discover she had posted a number of bars and pubs in Penrith and found a taxi firm that could take us there.

How we laughed!!! We were still laughing at half seven when she arrived to find us putting on our pajamas. We chat about the best slippers to wear to keep warm. I favour a stout all enclosed fur lined slipper but Tina is on other end of the spectrum – not quite ready to give up her mules. Slipper socks seemed the most popular. Kerry tries not to let her disappointment show at our mirth at the thought of actually getting dressed up and going out somewhere.

We all then poured the gin and started a game of Cards against Humanity. I had never heard of this and having now played several rounds – I can state with some authority that this is not a game to play if you or any of your friends are easily offended. Fortunately this did not apply to any of us. However we had to scrap all the cards that required two answers as Kerry was getting pissed off with most of us forgetting the start of the question before we got to the end. Her time will come!!!

Then we had a nice long chat about all the illnesses we have suffered from over the year. I learned more about the human anatomy that most GP’s that night. Then we moved onto the importance of having a will and how expensive a funeral can be. Finally we moved onto pensions which was depressing as we all thought we had an agreement with the Government that we would work our arses off from the age of 16 and give the Government lots of our income in order to get a wee bit back from the age of 60. However the government broke their side of the bargain by using our cash to pay for failed IT systems, bombs and Duck Ponds for MP’s. Hence we will all be working til we are around 145 years old. We were so depressed at that thought we had to have another gin before we sorted out all our rubbish for the recycling bins the next day.

Menopausal memory loss and no facebook in those days means we have only a hazy recollection of the 21st – but I think I can categorically state we did not discuss pensions or do any recycling….

Next day we decide to hit the spa. I have a slight problem in that I always assumed swimsuits fell into the same category as earrings, shoes and handbags i.e useable however fat you get. Well turns out that is not the case. It took some serious wrestling to get it over my hips and especially my belly – then it clung like a sausage skin about to split at any time. Fortunately there were lovely big baggy robes for us to enjoy. Didn’t stop me having four cakes, two scones and seven sandwiches with prosecco for high tea though (another change from the 21st – everyone scoffed everything – I have not changed but many of my pals now following diets to help their symptoms. Carb free… Vegan… Vegetarian. This means lots of extra for me who follows no such diet except for occasional 3 day fad ones.

We then had to head back to the lodge as a camomile tea and a disco nap is essential when attempting to party two nights in a row.

There seemed no point in taking our pajamas off after the disco nap so we all came together to sing karaoke and drink more gin. Disaster struck when we ran out of mixers!! However Pam had the great idea of using prosecco instead of tonic water. It was a great idea – rhubarb and ginger gin topped up with prosecco is very good. We then experimented with other ‘mixers’ such as pina colada vodka. Things got a little messy from there on in. Let’s just say a good night was had by all. And as we are all technologically inept there is not evidence on instagram, pininterest, snapchat, twitter or any of the other things that the yoof of today use. We did do a couple of photos for facebook which according to Kerry is just for old people but they were very much ‘before’ pictures as none of us could work the camera or video after a few.

Next morning it was off home – so we all had just half a cup of tea each so we wouldn’t have to do a toilet stop until we had been driving for at least an hour. We are nothing if not sensible. We then got all the bananas, grapes, vegetables that we had optimistically brought and watched go mushy over the weekend and took them to the recycling bins along with the 20 billion empty bottles and 60 billion empty cake crisps and dips and sweet wrappers

Happy Birthday 50 year olds everywhere! If it is true that things get better with age then we are all MAGNIFICENT!

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Warning

Pre menopause, my moods could be roughly categorised thus:

Happy for a reason – 50% of the time
Happy for no particular reason – 10% of the time
Grumpy for a reason – 20% of the time
Grumpy for no reason – 10% of the time
Tearful for a reason – 5% of the time
Tearful for no reason – 5% of the time

Things have changed somewhat:

Happy for a reason – 10% of the time
Happy for no particular reason – 5% of the time
Grumpy for a reason – 10% of the time
Grumpy for no reason – 50% of the time
Tearful for a reason – 1% of the time
Tearful for no reason – 24% of the time

And as I am still having periods, PMT also arrives every few week to join the menopausal party in my head.

This can lead to so many emotions in one day. One minute I am in tears watching an advert with a lonely man with no friends in it and reaching for my phone to donate my weeks salary to help him go to a wee club on a Tuesday afternoon. The next I can be as mad as hell about my partner putting the paper in the wrong recycling box.

The other day I the menopause and the PMT combination was at a height – I was happy in the morning. I was heading out in my lovely new car to do some shopping with some Christmas vouchers. All was well in the world and I sang along cheerily to the radio.

I then got to the multi storey car park which seems to have shrunk since I bought my bigger car. I started a bit of grumpiness – justified I think because the spaces are just too bastarding small.. Then I was completing a particularly complex parking manoeuvre and struggling somewhat. So I was getting even more grumpy. Again – I think quite justified.

Then I saw in the rear view mirror a ‘wide boy’ n the car behind –
gesticulating and, although I don’t do sign language, the movements of his mouth hinted at language that wasn’t particularly complimentary. So I get really really grumpy. And then I thought – fuck it – I am too old for some wee shit to try and intimidate me. I get out the car – with grumpiness now off the scale and approach his car. He rolls the window down and looks at me blankly but I detect a little fear which gives me great satisfaction.

“What. The. Fuck. Is. Your. Problem?” I roar.

He looks blankly at me again – and I start to get an inkling something isn’t quite as I assumed. Then a disembodied female voice fills the car ‘are you alright babe?’. Feck…. Feck….. Feck….

He was talking on his handsfree to his girlfriend. He wasn’t being a shit – just talking while he waited. ‘I’m sorry’ I say – ‘I thought you were shouting at me’. I start to feel very tearful.

‘I’ll call you back babe’ he says to his girlfriend. He then says – ‘are you ok? I’m sorry – I didn’t mean to upset you, I was just talking to my girlfriend’, He is gentle and kind and I suspect he works in mental health or something similar where he has gained a lot of practice in dealing calmly with unreasonable angry women. So then I was sobbing at his loveliness and thinking what a good job his parents have done.

After this debacle, I google paranoia as a symptom of the menopause. And yes – it is another sweet symptom. Apparently if I go for a walk it will help! I beg to feckin differ. I walk Sweet Dog for miles and it isn’t helping at all.

I have reflected a bit on the sudden rages and irritability that currently blight my life. Apparently it is all the fluctuating hormones that cause my rollercoaster of emotions. Dropping levels of estrogen are associated with low levels of serotonin (the ‘feel good’ hormone). Thought to be honest I can’t blame the menopause completely – since a very young age I have felt a desire to hit certain people over the head with a sharp object. But taking the positive from this – I now have nearly 50 years experience of not giving in to my impulses. The problem is that these impulses are now combined with the lack of fucks given at this time of life which makes me – well it makes me a piece of glass hidden in the sand ready to sting when you least expect it. And Helen Mirren hasn’t really helped by saying that if she could give her younger self some advice then she would tell her to tell others to fuck off more often. I like Helen Mirren and subconsciously I think I am taking on board her advice.

A couple of weeks ago I was on a bus – and some arse was drinking from his can of Tenants and singing some rude football chant and trying hard to engage his rather embarrassed girlfriend to join in.

Seeing my face, he slurred ‘giesasmiledoll’ (this is a language known in Glasgow as ‘Bampot’ – the English translation is: ‘Please can you cheer up and smile at me’)

So I did what most British people would do and stared at my phone as if some very important message had just come through and I must read it very very carefully.

He was not to be put off. ‘”Umahaffendinyamissus’ (again this is bampot language the translation is “Am I offending you?’)

Helen Mirren’s advice popped into my head and I tried to ignore it.

Suddenly I heard someone say ‘Aye you are offending me – so why don’t you take your tiny shrivelled dick and get off the fucking bus at the next stop and give us all some fucking peace’

It took a moment before I realised that it was actually me that had said that. The filter between my brain and my mouth seems to have developed a severe fault.

The bus took a collective gasp – then…. and only in Glasgow would this happen…. I got a wee round of applause.

I couldn’t help myself. ‘You’ I said, pointing at the girlfriend ‘can do better than THAT’ and pointed at the Arse (whose face was now slack in disbelief).

They got off at the next stop to a round of cheers from the bus.

I am not sure if it was good, bad or stupid… But it felt quite good.

I check google to see if Menopause is every used as a mitigating circumstance in a criminal court. It doesn’t appear so. So I have decided to start sorting these ever changing moods out.

My fanny magnet does seem to help … though clearly given evidence above it hasn’t completely stablised my emotions. I have had a look at the various supplements recommended but it is a bloody minefield. Some sites say there is not scientific evidence to back up their effectiveness. Others say they will make you as serene as Jane Seymour. There are also so many of them – magnesium, chromium, vitamin B12; vitamin B6; Black Cohosh and a million others. But will they help? They are so bloomin expensive. But maybe I will do some more research. I will pop into Holland and Barrett and have a wee look at what they have tomorrow. And then I am just going to pick one. Just one. For the moods.

I just checked google again – if you are suffering the same – you are in good company. 70% of menopausal woman describe irritability as the main emotional problem of the menopause.

Maybe as a tribute to the lovely poet Jenny Joseph who died last week we should all “make up for the sobriety of our youth” and give ourselves permission to do exactly as we please now and then (unless that involves being horrible lovely young man whose driving a red corsa and probably works in mental health – just be lovely to him if you see him).

PS – Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 is focussing on the menopause all this week – am just off to have a listen as lots of people have been recommending it to me

PPS – please make me feel better and post the worst things you have done when dealing with menopausal moods!

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Rest and Rant

(note – blog also on facebook where you can read peoples comments on it – http://www.facebook/menopausalwoman – the blog is called ‘isitjustme?’)

On Saturday I went to a Menopause Cafe (also known as a Rest and Rant – Restaurant…geddit?). They are currently running throughout the UK with the objective of ‘increasing awareness of the menopause cafe on those experiencing it, their friends, colleagues and family’.

I was a little apprehensive. My aunt has been pushing for me to go to a Menopause Commune where women rub oil into each others feet and exchange stories on their menopause journey. They then recite poetry and sing supportive songs while standing in a healing circle. They all bring presents for each other apparently that demonstrate their journey. She even offered to make me a fabric heart with a little tear that had been sewn back up to take along as my gift (she thought it might be the lack of a present that made me so reluctant!!! Had to beg to feckin differ and explain I would rather experience a 10 hour hot flush with urinary incontinence and heart palpitations than go to that kind of event).

My friend Tina the Turner (her name is actually just Tina but her moniker has come about due to her uncanny ability to convert straight women to lesbianism) said she wanted to come to. I was surprised tbh – didn’t really think it was her thing – but she explained that she was single again and thought it would be a good opportunity to ‘meet some lovely new women’.

I am not sure if the organiser would appreciate their event being used as a kind of face to face Tinder – but who are we to judge?

She is also looking at potential venues for her 50th and as the Menopause Cafe was being held at Dumfries House which is on her list of options she had two good reasons to go. Me – well they had me at ‘free biscuits and cake’.

We did discuss the possibility of it being utterly depressing with a few sad women eating those cakes that made of beetroot and avocado and so are not really cakes. We worried we would have nothing in common with them apart from more than a passing interest in Tena lady adverts. I also googled the background of the cafe – and found out that they are based on Death Cafe’s where people get together to talk about dying which didn’t really increase our enthusiasm. So we arranged a ‘get out’ plan of having to leave after an hour ‘to pick the kids up’. Then if it was crap we could disappear but if it was good we would pretend that a neighbour had offered to take them.

We needn’t have worried – it was brilliant. Not just the cakes (though they were good!!) but very well organised with a fabulous facilitator. She was unflappable even when the lift jammed and a ladder had to be dropped down and hot grumpy menopausal women had to be hauled out one at a time by a team of strong willing volunteers (not me obvs – one benefit of being a menopausal fatty is that no-one asks you to help with physical activities – Result!).

Tina was a bit raging as she hadn’t worn her hair extensions or make up or false nails as she felt she wouldn’t fit in if she was too glamorous. And it turned out that everyone was just like us – with their hair styled and nails done and everything!). We all had a good laugh though – discussing symptoms with the group – and what worked/didn’t work for us. We also found out that there is a 6 week course being run at the Centre. Tina became very interested when she heard Camilla Parker Bowles gynae comes up to do consultations during the 6 weeks. Camilla is her ultimate girl crush. We are not sure if this is just a rumour but the Centre was set up by Prince Charles – so who knows? In any case I doubt Camilla would be accompanying him – but I am not into bursting bubbles so didn’t say anything.

We were having such fun that we totally forgot about our ‘kids excuse’ so we looked a bit blank when the facilitator brought it up. On reflection it was a silly excuse as we don’t have kids and both suffer from menopausal brain fog. There were a few social workers there that looked a bit disapproving but I think we got away with it.

I would definitely recommend it – I got a lot from it and left feeling happy and uplifted. The cakes are really good too. And Tina is taking one of the ladies we met out for lunch on Tuesday so seems to have panned out alright for her too.

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Feeling Juicy

Four days ago I braved the scales – having put the post Christmas weigh in off as long as possible.

I had done the tit/tum test (where success is walking towards a wall and having your tits hit the wall before your tum does) and failed miserably.

I knew things had got really bad when I was watching a news item on obesity. You know the ones – always accompanied by video footage of shoulder to knee views of poor unsuspecting Fat Bastards going about their business, And I suddenly became filled with terror that that I was about to come into view – wandering down Sauchiehall Street eating a roll and sausage or a burger or something similar with the camera zooming in on my jelly belly and everyone watching saying ‘oh that looks like Jen.. wait a minute… that IS her’. That night I dreamed of post after post on my facebook saying ‘saw you on the news last night’ with a freeze frame of my jelly belly – then a ton of comments from Daily Mail readers slagging me off for single handedly bringing the NHS to its knees. I woke with palpitations and thanks to google can confirm this is most likely to be another menopausal symptom rather than a heart attack which I first thought.

So it was time to take action. I prepared for the scales in the usual way – no breakfast; trip to loo beforehand; gave a pint of blood the day before etc.

Deep breath – it would be small step for a skinny woman – but it is a giant leap for a fat menopausal woman.

Pause. Look down.

Oh

My

God!!!

Officially 50% fatter than I was 8 years ago. About 40% of that increase resting around my middle.

And it is 12 weeks til I attend a wedding. A wedding where a number of people won’t have seen me for eight years. I need to lose 70lbs by then. This is a challenge in itself – but will be made more challenging due to a large number of 50th Birthdays between now and then.

Now, Davina McCall spent her 50th with her friends – trekking about 600 miles with only a tiny slice of vegan cake half way to sustain them. I tentatively suggested similar activities to my almost 50 year old friends only to be met with great mirth and a reminder to pay my share of the five course tasting menus with cocktails/weekend away with full breakfast and three course dinner… and other such celebrations all equally unlikely to support ‘Project Lose 70’.

I will not be put off though. I will not give in to menopausal fatness. I will fight fight fight for the return of my body to its rightful shape.

But I am absolutely NOT going to another Fat Club – I tried to one a few months ago and I CANNOT listen to another skinny woman called Tracey who announces she cannot believe she has lost another 3lbs despite having 4 takeaways, a box of milk tray and a bottle of wine. Especially when I followed the ‘plan’ to the feckin letter and lost feck all!

So I decide to juice. Easy Peasy. Amanda Holden does it – she did an interview and it was accompanied my her photo in tight workout gear clutching her green drink and looking fab. And my menopause book says that increasing my intake of live, fresh fruits and vegetables will help my body ‘eat its way out of menopausal symptoms’. And the blurb says I can lose 5lbs in 7 days which the biggest motivator.

Got my juicer out the attic (I did it once about a year ago but it took bloody ages to clean it so I didn’t use it again – but I am more determined this time) and go to Tesco and buy an inordinate amount of fruit and veg.

And I actually did it – following it completely (apart from four freddo frogs, a marmalade sandwich and a packet of love hearts…. but I bet even Amanda Holden didn’t stick to it 100%).

Four day big weigh in this morning. And… I LOST 6LB! I dance around with Sweet Dog, much to her joy.

I am losing more than average… it suddenly strikes me that perhaps I don’t have a metabolism shot to pieces from the menopause but am actually just a greedy bastard….

Another 64lbs to go. Well 54lbs as I am going to get a fake tan before the wedding and everyone knows a tan knocks 10lbs off! Actually maybe 44lbs because careful dressing can knock another 10lbs off according to Trinnie and Susannah.

Project Lose 44 is now well under way… I’ll keep you posted.

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