Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 42, June 30

The life of a woman seems to be spelled out in acronyms.  As we struggle with PMS (pre-menstral symdrome), we  consider going AWOL (absent without leave).  At the same time, our children are ADD (attention deficit disorder) or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and we wonder if we might have PMDD (pre-menstral disphoric disorder). and are tempted to declare ourselves MIA (missing in action). 

Just as we have come to grips with PMS, we enter the PM (perimenopause) phase of life.  Perimenopause is no picnic as we have the pain and inconvenience of still having periods but are undergoing  hot flashes, night sweats, and mood swings as well.  After that,  we enter into full blown menopause.  I don't know if the big M has an acronym or if the single letter must suffice.

By the time I sort through all these acronyms, I feel ready to join the military which runs on acronyms.  Come to think of it, that's not a bad idea.  After all, I'm ready to be all that I can be.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 41, June 29

I have a small plaque that reads, "Well-behaved women rarely make history."

Truer words were never said.  Unfortunately, women of my generation were taught, indeed, it was drummed in to us, to be well-behaved, to mind our manners, to efface ourselves.  For better or worse, those teachings stuck.  I was well-behaved.  I minded my manners.  I effaced myself.  I did the latter so well that I nearly obliterated myself.

Where would I be now if I had stood up for myself more?  Would I be bolder and more confident?  Most assuredly. Would I be happier?  I know so.  So what, you may rightly ask, does this have to do with menopause?

Withi all its problems and struggles, menopause is a time of freedom.  We as women have finally come in to our own.  We can stand up for ourselves; we can speak our minds; we can snub our fingers at the world and say, "Bite me."

Please don't misunderstand:  I'm not suggesting that we become ill-tempered shrews.  I am, however, stating, unequivocally, that it is time menopausal women (and ALL women) make themselves heard.  If someone treats you shabbily, don't sit idly by and take it.  Calmly,  politely, tell the offender that you deserve better.  Everyone deserves respectful treatment.  Even menopausal women.  Especially menopausal women.

One of my historical heroines is Eliza Roxy Snow, second General Relief Society President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  At a time when women were under-rated and under appreciated, Sister Snow stood up for her beliefs and stood up for herself.  When a mob  member threatened her, she refused to back down.  He doffed his hat to her and said, "You are a better man than I."  She later confided to another sister, "I was not much flattered."

Menopausal women of the world, unite.  Treat yourself and each other as the phenomenal women you are.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Day 40, June 28

My granddaughter, Reynna, my daughter, Alanna, and I span the years of womanhood.  Reynna at 12, Alanna in her 30s, and me--let's just say that we cover it all. 

Reynna is just beginning the hormonal cycle; Alanna has it all figured out.  Then there's me, who has no hormones.  It's one of life's inequities.  We spend much of our life getting used to having hormones.  Once we've conquered that, we get to pat ourselves on the back for getting it right (at last).  Finally, we have no hormones and we wonder why we feel like crap.

I am adjusting, slowly, to my new stage in life.  Just as I did at 13, I'm trying to get it right.  The only problem is, this time the learning curve is steeper and I'm that much slower.

Hormones are like men:  you can't live with 'em and you can't live without 'em.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 39, June 27

Among my bodily parts that have drooped are my eyelids.  They hang at half-mast.  In fact, I'm fortunate that I can still see.  I'm considering an eyelid lift.  Maybe insurance will cover it if I can prove a medical need.

Anyway, back to my eyelids.  As I contemplate having them surgically lifted, I realize that that will offset the hook on my nose.  Well, I could always have that fixed as well.  After all, in for a penny, in for a pound.  But if I have my nose fixed, it will make my earlobes (which continue to grow) all the more prominent.

It's sort of like, you paint a room, then notice the carpet looks shabby.  You get new carpet and realize how threadbare the sofa and chair are.  A new sofa and chair emphasize the twenty-year-old drapes.  And so it goes.

Upon further consideration, I think I'll just stick with my droopy eyelids.  After all, they fit the rest of my face.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 38, June 26

No blog on menopause would be complete without a discussion of sex.  When a husband and wife have been married as long as Larry and I have been, sex takes on a shorthand form.

Our conversations go something like this:

Larry: "Aaaargh?"  (Do you want to have sex?)

Me:  "Aaar."  (Okay.)

Larry:  "Uugh uugh."  (Well, take your clothes off.)

Me:  "Aaar."  (Okay.)

With a minimum of grunting, he's communicated his needs and I've given my acquiesence.  It's a system that has taken 39 years to refine.  A few more years and we'll have it down to a raise of the eyebrows and a twitching of the nose.   Ain't communication a wonderful thing?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Day 37, June 25

Do you remember MADAM BOVARY from literature classes?  I'm thinking a better title for a book would be "Madam's Ovaries."  Ovaries are capricious organs.  They give too many hormones at some times; they take away hormones at others.  Either way, many of us are left with a surplus or a deficit, depending upon our age.

Those hairs that migrated from our legs to our chins?   The ovaries stopped producing estrogen.  Instead, our bodies decided, "Why not try some testosterone?"  Yes, why not indeed?  That's all we need, some male hormone running around unsupervised in our bodies.

What about the thickening around our waists?  Lack of estrogen again.   So we try some supplements.  Estroven, anybody?  Or maybe we go herbal.

I don't know about you, but I'm wary of supplements.  Natural doesn't always mean safe.  Neither does herbal.  So what's a woman to do?

I suggest prayer, chocolate, and more prayer.  When all else fails, a good curse comes in handy.  Your choice.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Day 36, June 24

My daughter, Alanna, helped me set up this blog.  Her 12-year-old daughter was there while we were doing it and asked what I was going to write about.

"Menopause," I said brightly.

"That doesn't sound like much fun," was her response.

"It's not," I assured her.

No, menopause isn't much fun.  And it's certainly not for the faint of heart or wimps.  Of course, neither of those apply to women who have endured what we laughingly called 'natural" childbirth, put up with unruly teenagers, and deal on a daily basis with recalcitrant husbands. 

We are warriors.  We are survivors.  We are WOMEN.

And, so, I continue to write, hoping you'll find insights if not laughter in my small observations.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day 35, June 23

One day, without warning, your estrogen level will drop.  Look out, world.  Crazy woman is on the loose.  Innocent strangers will incur your wrath because they had the temerity to take YOUR parking place.  Not-so-innocent husbands will find themselves receiving the nasty side of your tongue because they failed to put down the toilet seat.

And so it goes.

Estrogen is one of those Catch-22 things.  You can't live with it; you can't live without it.

My personal estrogen level is at an all-time low.  This lack shows in my energy (I don't have any); it shows in my face (where did all those lines come from?); it shows in my temper (when did a gentle-mannered Mormon mother becoming a raging shrew?).

Yes, estrogen levels are one of nature's dirty tricks.  We are either consumed with it or we are shopping the "feminine supply aisle" in the grocery store for something to fix us.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Day 34, June 22

Menopausal women are usually (though not always) paired with men of a similar age. This is because we have grown old together and realize that no one else would have us.

My husband and I have been married for 39 years. This is a miracle as I remain 29 years old. When my 12-year-old granddaughter asked about this, I said, "It's the new math." She shook her head and gave me one of those pitying looks that seem to come more and more often my way.

Back to the men in our lives. My sweetheart is a dear man. But he has some annoying habits. One is his total inability to know when I need a compliment. When he leaned over in church one day and said, out of the blue, "You're old," I knew we needed an attitude adjustment. By attitude adjustment, I mean that he needed to change his own.

I'm old. Okay. I accept that. Does that mean he has to whisper it in church? There was a time when he'd whisper, "You're beautiful." No more. Now, it's "You're old."

Couldn't he have said, "You're as beautiful now as you were the day I married you?" Of course that would be a bald-faced lie, but who the hell cares? Lies have their place.

Especially in a marriage of 39 years.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Day 48, July 6

Day 48, July 6

Day 33, June 21

Part of being menopausal is not being able to think of everything you'd like to say on a subject at the right time.  So here we are back to the subject of hair.  In particular, hair where it doesn't belong.

As women get older, they are supposed to have less hair on their legs.  This is a good thing.  It means shaving less often.   (Why did I ever think as a young girl that shaving my legs would be so exciting?)  I digress. 

I've decided that yes, I do have less hair on my legs.  That's because it moved to my face.  Aside from the two-foot long hair that grows from my left cheek, I also have tiny hairs that sprout from the right corner of my mouth.  (This was probably nature's way of evening out my face.)  These hairs cluster together like a clump of crabgrass and prove just as difficult to remove.

I don't know about you, but I'd rather have the hair on my legs than on my face.  What's the point of having less hair on legs (that I try to cover up anyway) and now having to deal with clumps on my face?

No doubt about it:  the life of a menopausal woman is hard.  Good thing I still have my sense of humor.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day 32, June 20

One of the things menopausal women do is find things.  We find things, precious artifacts, for children who left home 2 decades ago.  We find things for ourselves (our failing memories mean we increasingly forget where we put things).  But, mostly, we find things for our husbands.

My husband is a fine man, a stalwart man, a faithful man.  But he can't find ANYthing.  Several nights ago, he called from the kitchen to me in the bedroom.

Husband:  "Where did you put the knives?" 

Me:  "They're on the counter."

Husband:  "No, they're not."

Me:  "Look."

Husband:  "They're not there."  A note of indignation has now entered his voice.

Me:  "They're on the counter.  Look to the left."  (They had been moved four inches to the left when a lady was helping me clean.)

Husband:  "Oh."  His voice assumes a defensive tone.  "Well, they weren't where they usually are."

This was an easily solved problem.  Others are not so easily put to rest.

Sorry. I've got to go.   I hear my beloved from the bedroom.  "Where did you HIDE my glasses?"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Day 31 June 19

Menopausal women face decisions they never before had to face.  One in question:  should I or shouldn't I wear makeup? 

One school of thought says, "Of course you should wear makeup.  There is more (usually) of you to cover (yes, the face gains weigiht along with the booty and thighs), therefore you should wear more.  A second school of thought maintains that more makeup will only accentuate things better left unaccntuated, such as those lines that are verging on grooves and pores that are beginning to resemble craters of the moon.

I have never worn much makeup, especially foundation.  I feel like an inept clown when I attempt to apply it.  Foundation manufacturers, though, promise us a dewy, satiny finish if we use a light application.   If only that were so.

In preparation to attend a posh wedding reception, in a desperate attempt to appear a bit more polished, I applied foundation.  In a foolish bid to elicit a compliment from my husband, I asked, "What do you think?"

That stalwart specimen of manhood, with whom I have weathered pregnancies, five children, five teenagers, flooded basements, and a myriad of other trials, said innocently, "You look greasy."

Why do I bother?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 30, June 18

Our home has four bedrooms.  With our children grown and gone, my clothes have expanded to occupy the closets of all four bedrooms.  (Yes, I allow my husband to have a portion of one closet.)

Lest you think that I am obsessed with clothes, let me put your mind at rest.  I don't have that many wearable clothes.  Those clothes represent four different sizes:  the size I currently am, the size I was two years ago, the size I was four years ago, and the size I want to be.

It's a sad state of affairs, I know.  However, I don't think I'm alone in my closet expansion.  Women of my age tend to hold onto clothes, praying, hoping that someday, somehow, we will return to our dream size.

I am trying to make peace with the size I currently am, just as I am trying to make peace with my body.  I remind myself that, with my new hip, my body functions and functions quite well, thank you.  I can walk.  I can lift a basket of laundry.  I can hold a grandchild in my arms.

This peace is hard-won.  But, then, so is everything about a menopausal woman.  We battle hot flashes, memory loss, and creaking joints.  But we won't be kept down.  At least not for long!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Day 29, June 17

Well, we've discussed stomachs and thighs, breasts and eyes.  But we haven't talked about necks.   What is there about age and necks?  Even if a woman has her face "done," she is stuck with the neck nature bestowed upon her.  Of course, there is liposuction to take away lumps of fat in the neck, but it's expensive and painful.  And what about the wrinkles that collect there faster than the IRS collects what it considers its due?

Necks are especially vulnerable to wrinkles as the skin there is thinner and more delicate than on other parts of the body.  Sometimes I feel like I'm wearing multiple strands of necklacess, as I count the wrinkles that circle my "swan-like neck."

In truth, my neck was never swan-like.  It verges on the stumpy side.  I suppose this is to go along with my lumpy body.  (I always did like a good rhyme.)

So, I invest in scarves and try to keep my chin up.  (That's a story for another posting, my double chin!)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Day 28, June 16

Hag. What a frightful word.  It is especially frightful when it is applied to myself.

Do you know the origin of the word/?  The word hagia comes from the Greek word for body. At one time, it was a title of respect for a wise, older woman, an elder of the tribe.  Through time and misuse, it's now become a term of derision.

Isn't that the way with many things?  What was considered something to be respected and revered becomes something to be ridiculed, or worse, pitied.

I feel that way sometimes.  After a lifetime of learning and work and taking care of others, I feel put out to pasture, someone not worth listening to, not worth knowing. 

At times like that, I remember that I am only that if I allow anyone, including myself, to treat me that way.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Day 27, June 15

Now that we've traded our birth control pills for KY jelly, our stilettos for comfort shoes, and our eyeliner for eyeglasses, we may wonder what's next.

I do.  I frequently wonder, "What's next for me?"  After a lifetime of being a full time mother, what am I now?  I don't know.  I'm siupposed to find wonderful activities that fulfill and enrich me.  Trouble is, sometimes my joints ache and my poor old body protests, "I'm tired," and the mere idea of those wonderful activities leave me wanting a nap.

Yes, I nap.  In the middle of the afternoon.  There.  I've said it.  In our culture, not to mention our church, wasting time is akin to saying that you hate small children and kick puppies.  I'd worry about it more if I could stay awake long enough.

Another confession:  I don't sleep at night.  Even with my fancy new bed, I toss and turn, only hours later to settle down to a light doze from which the lightest sound awakens me.  My night goes something like this:  toss and turn, sleep for a half hour, toss and turn,  get up and go to the bathroom, return to bed and sleep for a half hour.  (If you ever wonder why many of my blogs are posted in the wee hours of the night, it's because I'm not sleeping.  Again.)

And so it goes.

I'd write more on the subject, but it's time for my nap.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 26, June 14

Somewhere between my 50 and 60th birthdays, I began to dry up, like a grape left too long out in the sun.  My skin, once radiant (or so I told myself) was cracked with lines, that of my hands thin, almost parchment like, and then's there's "down there."  Okay.  I'll just say it:  vaginal dryness.  I'd refer to it as VD, but that conjures up all sorts of other images.

Though I still feel inside like the young girl I'd once been, my body, traitorous vessel that it is, is as stiff and dusty as a piece of shale, holding only the impression of the juicy, warm woman I had been.

To use a popular vernacular, it sucks.  Big time.

Still, I try.  I slavish cream on my face and hands.  I am a slave to sun lotion.  But the cracks and age spots refuse to go away.  A chemical peel, I wonder.  What about laser treatments?  Should I try Juvederm?

As for  "down there," I am learning to live with it.  It makes those yearly pelvic exams a bigger pain than usual.  I sigh and remind myself that suffering is a woman's lot!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Day 25, June 13

At the begining of this blog, I quoted a greeting card with the sentiment that many of a woman's problems begin with "men," (mental illness, menstruation, menopause). 

It occurred to me that menopause also begins with the letters "me."

Women of my generation, especially Mormon women, were taught to put themselves last.  Our husbands, our children, community and church members, we were told, should come first.  If there were any money, energy, or time left over, we might, just might, do something for ourselves.  It was hard to argue with.   Selfishness never was happiness.  And the fact is, I enjoy doing things for my children and grandchildren. I like to share with others.  It's a good feeling.  No question about it.

You know what, though?  Sometimes, just every once in a while, I want to put me first.

I recently put me first in a big way.  I saved up my money and bought myself a Tempurpedic bed.  It was an extravagance.  This marvel adjuts up and down, even has a built-in massager.   I turn it on and feel pampered.

I love it. 

I LOVE it.

I may be hot, lumpy and dumpy, verging on crazy, but, I have a really fabulous bed. Life is good.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Day 24, June 12

As if it weren't bad enough that my hips have spread, my waist has all but disappeared, and my boobs sag, my ears have decided to droop.  No one ever told me that the ears of menopausal women can droop.  Perhaps it's not so much drooping as it is that my ear lobes have grown bigger. 

Do you remember the childhood song, "Do your ears hang low?  Do they wobble to and fro?  Can you tie them in a knot, can you tie them in a bow?  Can you throw them over your shoulder like a continental soldier?  Do your ears hang low?"

That's me.

Because my ears definitely hang low.

I wouldn't feel so bad about this if my nose hadn't decided to develop a hook at the tip.  Haven't I been punished enough?  Did I HAVE to grow a hooked nose as well?

Upon consideration, I've decided to be philosophical about the whole business.  After all, my hooked nose detracts from my drooping ears.   That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Day 23, June 11

Let's talk about one of the scariest things a menopausal woman can do.  No, it isn't having a mammogram.  Nor is it being weighed in the doctor's office.  (Though that's close.)

Did you guess shopping for a swimsuit?  If so, you're right.

 If there were one thing designed to humiliate and dishearten a woman, it's standing in a dressing room, with the world's most unflattering mirrors and lighting, and pulling on a swimsuit.   I've seen grown women break down and cry uncontrollably.  Dressing room attendants carry tissues and medicinal chocolate on their persons for just such occasions.

We can shell out small fortunes for swiming suits that have built-in tummy controls and delux spandex designed to hold us in in all the right places, but what about our thighs?  Unless we wear a swim skirt of some sort, those jiggly, joggling thighs are out there for all to see and snicker over.

And what is the deal about dressing room mirrors and lights that turn an otherwise passable, if not attractive, woman into something between the creature from the Black Lagoon and a zombie?  Surely store owners could find mirrors that didn't distort and lighting that didn't cast every skin tone with a greenish tinge.

Apparently not.

Still, we women, gluttons for punishment that we are, keeping coming back.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Day 22, June 10

A couple of days ago, I wrote about my hip replacement surgery.  It involved several sets of X-rays.  The first time I looked at an X-ray I noticed two large globe-like things hanginig down.  I almost asked the doctor, "What the hell are those?"  Then it came to me:  They were my ass.

Yes, I said ass.  Two such big things do not deserve the kinder appelation of bottom, rear, or posterior.  I was looking at my ass, two lazy globs of fat, just hanging around for no good reason except to give me a cushiony thing to sit on.

Thank heavens, I stopped myself in time from revealing my stupidity to the doctor and sparing him the embarrassment of answering.    Though I knew my rear was on the large size, I didn't realize quite how humungous it was.  It was a humiliating and enlightening expereince.

So, there it is.  My brand new hip has a huge ass to go along with it.  I knew I should have asked for a complete overhaul.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Day 21, June 9

Well, we've talked about legs, but we didn't address thighs. Thighs are one of those touchy subjects.  If you touch mine, they jiggle.  Seriously, though, thighs are the bain of a woman's existence.  It doesn't matter how skinny or fat one is, thighs wiggle and wobble, jiggle and joggle. 

Even my niece, who is as tiny as an elf, complains about her thighs and cellulite.  I've often wondered if cellulite received its name because fat is trapped in cells.  Something to think about.

I have vacillated between thinking of my thighs as cottage cheese or as unbaked bread dough.  And sometimes they are both at the same time.  Who would have thought?  It is probably no coincidence that both of these have to do with food and my love affair with food has greatly contributed to the state of my thighs.

The Broadway play "Menopause the Musical" features the song, "My Thighs."  Sung to the tune of "My Guy," the song laments women's feelings about their thighs.  When I wasn't laughing through it, I was close to crying, because those sentiments so closely resemble my own.

And isn't that the thing about menopause?  We laugh and cry, often over the same thing.  Once again, thank heavens for Prozac!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Day 20, June 8

Yesterday I wrote about THE TALK and mentioned hair growing where it has never before grown. 

I know several sweet ladies who are losing their hair.  Increasingly large bald spaces show on their heads.  On the other hand, I know ladies who have hair growing where it shouldn't grow.  Myself included.

If you've read my other blog, you may remember my talking about a hair that sporadically appears on my left cheek.  It hibernates for weeks, months, maybe even a year, then appears fully grown, two feet long, flapping with each turn of my head.   Attempts to pluck it or cut it out prove elusive.  This may have something to do with my failing eyesight.  When I go to eradicate it, it disappears.

As I think about it, maybe this recalcitrant hair is always there and I simply can't see it.  Horrrors.  Could I really be going around with a two foot long hair hanging off my face?

Yes, The Big M has done many things to me.  If only a two foot hair were the worst of it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Day 19, June 7

A few months ago, I had hip replacement surgery.  This is not the direct result of menopause, but since such surgeries frequnetly go with age, as does menopause, I thought it was all right to include it in this blog.  (Besides, it's my blog and I'll write what I want to.  Sort of sounds like "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to," doesn't it?)

Back to the surgery.  When I met with the doctor, he looked at my X-rays and clicked his tongue.  Our conversation went something like this:

Doctor:  "Your hip is bad.":

Me:  "I know."

Doctor:  "Your hip is bad."

Me:  "I know."

Doctor:  "Your hip is REALLY bad."

Me:  "I know. "  Somehow I felt like I should apologize.  "I'm sorry."

This man, who looked scarcely older than my 9 year old grandson, smiled benevolently and said, "Don't worry, my dear.  We'll fix you right up."

And he did.  My hip is working.  As it should.  After all, it's brand new.  If only the rest of me worked as well and were brand new, too.  It set me to wondering, what would happen if I could have replacement parts for all the parts of my body.  What if I got new boobs, new booty, and a new face?  Wouldn't I look fabulous? 

It's something to think about.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Day 18, June 6

Do your emotions swing back and forth with the capriciousness of a Colorado spring?  Do they hit the high notes, then crash into utter despair?  Do you walk a fine line between being thought of as mildly eccentric and crazy?  Do you find solace in a tub of Ben and Jerry's?

If any of these struck a chord within you, take a bow.  You are normal.  Or at least what passes for normal.  One of my favorite sayings is, "Normal is just a setting on the dryer."

I believe all women are normal.  It's the people who surround us who are abnormal and cause the problems we experience.  We deserve sainthood, or at least cannonization, for putting up with husbands and children, other drivers, bosses, and a host of other annoying people.

I, for one, never doubt my sanity.  But I do doubt the sanity of my husband, who has been known to leave the toilet seat up, bring home guests for dinner when he KNOWS I don't cook, and says things like "You're old" to me in the middle of Sacrament Meeting (the Mormon Sunday service). I doubt the sanity of my children who think that mom is an ATM machine.  (The last time a child asked me for money, I pretended to pull open my blouse and said, "Let me check my bosom for any stray cash.)  I doubt the sanity of the garage sale vendor who expects me to pay retail price for an obviously used piece of clothing.

Yes, I doubt the sanity of many, many people.

Good thing I have my Prozac.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Day 17, June 5

Do you remember THE TALK?  It's the one that women of my generation were given along about the 5th or 6th grades.  Girls were sent to one room, boys to another.  As I think back, those were innocent times and we were innocent, much more so than children of the same age are now.

Anyway, girls were told that their bodies were changing.  We would develop breasts.  (I remember being totally shocked that the word was said aloud.)  We would start periods.  (What was a period besides a punctuation mark?)  We were also told that hair would be growing in strange and unusual places.  Where would hair grow, I wondered, except on my head.

Well, hair did grow in strange and unsual places.  Suddenly, I was shaving.  The excitement of it was quickly obscured by the tedium of it.

Forty or so years later, my body was changing again and hair was growing in strange and unsual places again.  The problem was, nobody had sat me down and given me THE TALK.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Day 16, June 4

A week or so ago, we talked about breasts.  It occurred to me that I had shorted them in attention. Breasts play an important part in a woman's life.  As teenagers, we want them to be bigger.  (Oh, how I wanted a bigger bustline in those years.)  As young mothers, we want them to have plenty of milk with which to feed our babies.

In menopause, breasts grow incasingly sensitive.  If a woman takes hormones, her bresats become even more tender.  Add a husband who likes to come up behind you and squeeze "the girls" and you have a  recipe for disaster.  Or at least a black eye on the husband's part.

No, I haven't ever blackened my husband's eye (though heaven knows he's given me plenty of reason to), I did once inadvertantly give him a good elbow to the face when he startled me with with a surprise squeeze.  The resulting pain resulted in my elbows flying back.

My girls and I have made peace with each other.  They have finally reached a respectable size, never mind that they sag.  Now, if only I can convince my husband that they need to be treated with respect!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Day 15, June 3

Do your upper arms jiggle?  Do they flapp in the wind? Mine do.  They have been known to accidnetally slap my husband in the face when I gesture with them to make a point.  (No, I didn't slap him on purpose.)

One of my grandsons touched my arm with a blend of awe and horror.  "Grandma, why does your muscle hang down?  My daddy's muscle is on top of his arm."

What to say?  "My muscle grows in the other direction," I finally answered. 

"Oh."  He looked unconvinced.

I didn't blame him.

In the Mormon Church, we call these kind of arms "Relief Society arms."  In the world, they are freuquently known as batwing arms.  Ah, well.  Relief Society arms or batwing arms, they can still hug a grandchild. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Day 14, June 2

(This is a different kind of post.  If you are bothered by strong language or the subject of elder abuse, I suggest you skip it.)

Around the time that women are dealing with menopause, they frequently find themselves helping aging parents as well.  This can be a joyful time.  It can also be filled with stress and pain. 

My sweet father was a generous and good man.  However, in his later years, he developed a kind of dementia that made him vulnerable to unscrupulous people who fleeced him of many of his assets. 

One day, I'd had enough of a particular woman who was taking advantage of my vulnerable father.  (She had taken thousands upon thousands of dollars from him.)  I told her, "Victoria, you're a whore."  Lest you think this is too strong, you may remember that the word "whore" is used in the scriptures.  It described Victoria exactly.

This woman was not accustomed to anyone calling her on her behavior.  She drew herself up and said in a haughty voice, "You can't say that to me."

"I damn well can.  And I just did.  You're a whore.  And everyone knows it."  Everyone but my father, that is.

Victoria went whining to my sister Carla, saying, "Jane's making me sick."  If only.

Carla replied, "I can't control Jane.  I suggest you get out of her way because she's on the warpath."

So what does this incident have to do with menopause aside froom timing?  Ten years earlier, I wouldn't have stood up to this woman.  I would have been a good little Mormon wife and mother and grandmother and kept my thoughts to myself.  With menopause and hormones that had run amock, I had the courage and spunk to tell this woman just who and what she was.  You may or may not agree with my method. 

Sadly, Carla and I had to take my father to court for a competency hearing in order to protect him.  He was confused and hurt at what he saw as our betrayal.  My sister and I cried over the decision and I still wonder if we could have done something--anything--differently. 

Menopause gives us much to laugh about.  It also gives us some things to cry about. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Day 13, June 1

You may have wondered why I named this blog "The Menopause Monocle."

The answer lies in several parts.  First, the writer in me loves the alliteration of menopause and monocle.  Who can resist a good alliteration?  Not me.

Second, accompanying age as it does, menopause frequently brings with it failing eyesight.  Just recently, I've had to start wearing reading glasses.  I resented this heartily.  For years, I've prided myself on my good eyesight.  Even when my breasts were sagging, my thighs were jiggling, and my two stomachs were happily co-existing, I could tell myself, "Well, you still have your eyesight."

Monocle, an eyepiece, seemd particularly appropriate as we are taking a close look at what happens to us when the Big M creeps upon us.  Really, menopause did not creep upon me.  It attacked me with vicious and pernicious intensity. 

So, here I am, with my failing eyesight and lumpy body.  Never mind.  I still have my hearing.