Tag Archives: menopause

Too Pooped to Pop

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image courtesy of http://www.lovethispic.com

Warning – Rant ahead.

I have a confession. Yes, another one. At this rate, I really should convert, but I’d be a bad Catholic. Which wouldn’t be much different than being a bad Jew, really. Same guilt, different food.

ANYWAY. I’ve used the phrase “Too pooped to pop” for years, but it wasn’t until recently (aka “today”) that I learned that the phrase comes from a song. Two songs, actually.  Cliffie Stone released one in 1955 – it’s a cute song about a tired popcorn kernel, roasting at the bottom of the pan. Chuck Berry’s song was released in 1960, and it resonates with me.

Casey is an old man who wants to be a teen
He goes to all the dances and they call him cha-cha King
He cha-cha’s when the band is playin’ rock and roll
He tries to keep in time but the beat leaves him cold
Because he’s too pooped to pop, too old a soul
Hips gettin’ weaker when he tries to do this stroll
And every time his feet get to go in one way
Here comes a new dance and it’s goin’ to stray

Not that I’m an old man, and I don’t really want to be a teen (SO MUCH DRAMA) – but I’m definitely too pooped to pop. I’m tired from the top of my head to the tops of my toenails.

It’s not just me. According to Prevention.com:

If you frequently wonder: “Why am I always tired?” you’re not alone. Two out of every five Americans report feeling wiped out most of the week, and research from the Centers for Disease Control shows that 1 in 3 adults fails to get enough sleep. Between work or school, family and friends, and all the other commitments you’re juggling, it’s easy to blame constant fatigue on a busy lifestyle.

Menopause can be the culprit. According to Consumer Health Digest:

Menopausal fatigue is caused by lower levels of estrogen in the body. These lower levels lead to problems like failing to fall asleep or stay asleep at night, higher stress levels and anxiety. These symptoms tend to aggravate fatigue, making it difficult for a woman to function normally.

But it’s more than just menopause. I’m tired of the headlines, I’m tired of all the hatred being spewed on social media and the “doom and gloom” headlines and stories. Mostly I’m tired of gun violence.

There was a shooting at Saugus high school in Santa Clarita this morning.

Last week was the one year anniversary of the shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks (13 dead, including the gunman).

I have multiple friends who were in Las Vegas for the Route 91 festival in 2017 (58 dead).

June 12 of this year marked the 3rd anniversary of the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando (49 dead).

And December 14th will mark 7 years since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting (26 dead, including 20 between 6 and 7 years old).

So many dead, so many school children spending time practicing lockdown drills, and yet, somehow, our political leaders can’t seem to pass gun legislation, even something as simple as a universal background check

H.R. 8 was blocked by Republican Senator Cyndi Hyde-Smith of Mississippi this morning, even as teens were running for their lives.

She claimed that the bill would infringe on our second amendment rights, and that she worried about the impact on her “law-abiding constituents.” The bill didn’t aim to take guns away from “law-abiding citizens” it merely wanted to require background checks on all firearm sales in the country (currently, only licensed gun dealers must perform them). It even had exemptions like “gifts to family members and transfers for hunting, target shooting, and self-defense.”

I’m tired of politicians putting their lobbyists ahead of their constituents and then claiming that they’re “fighting for your freedoms.” I’m tired of people who seem to think that waiting 10 days for a gun is too long – that their right to own a gun is more important than our childrens’ right to be free from fear. I’m tired of the NRA.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in the second amendment.  I believe that people have a right to defend their homes. I don’t hunt, but I have “killed” many a target with a range of guns, including the much maligned “assault rifle.” I also believe it’s time we made some changes.

It’s time that we kick our NRA sponsored politicians to the curb. It’s time that we stand up and demand that our political leaders pass common sense legislation. It’s time that we make our children’s safety more important than the inconvenience of waiting a week or two.

And for those of you who still aren’t convinced of the NRA’s political influence? I suggest you read this article from NBC that ran just after the Pulse club massacre. They list five additional ways the NRA cheats the system to buy political clout:

1) The National Rifle Association could also give to party committees and the national party. A maxed-out donation to the national party quickly increases campaign spending to more than $100,000. Any organization – or person – can also give $33,400 to a party committee, like the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee or their Democratic counterparts. Finally, state and local parties can each receive a $10,000, quickly allowing campaign finance totals to sour to nearly half-a-million dollars.

2) While the organization has to follow campaign limits, its members can make their own political donations, also following campaign finance limits noted above. But with millions of members, political clout builds quickly.

3) The NRA has a politically active membership. With more than five million members, the NRA constantly communicates with its members about gun issues and advising them how to vote. The organization is also constantly increasing its voter rolls by registering people to vote.

4) The NRA also activates its membership when elected officials are facing gun-related legislation, resulting in phone calls and emails and letters to Congress. In addition, lawmakers’ votes are noted and advertised to their issue-oriented membership.

5) The NRA has its own super PAC and 501c4 political organization which can run its own political campaign. The two groups combined spent more than $27 million in the 2014 midterm elections on Senate and Congressional candidates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. A lot of that money was spent on political advertising on television, radio and digital, and on direct mail.

Join me. Write and call your representatives. Write and call and email and march. Write and call and email and march and stand up. Stand up for common sense legislation.  Stand up for your right to protect your love ones. Stand up for those who can’t.

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OLB*

th5HHDH7O9Today’s quickie post brought to you by my attempt to fulfill a promise to TRY to write every day. The Evil Inner Critic tried to convince me that I should wait until I have more time. I told him to STFU. I tend to swear a lot.

I was very excited by this morning’s prompt. My overly caffeinated brain was running at 125% and I was in full Writer’s Mode. Ready to write and planning on being Exceptionally Clever. I’m sure you know what they say about “the best laid plans“….

I was going to start today’s post by saying “I have Bad Tendencies (not the band)”. I was disappointed to find out that I was thinking of Suicidal Tendencies. I don’t have any of those, but if YOU do, please call/text/talk to someone.

Then I thought “Ah, I’m confused. I’ve mooshed Bad Republic and Suicidal Tendencies together to form a new band.” Evidently Bad Republic isn’t a band either. It appears that I have developed Old Lady Brain. I could blame the lack of sleep that comes with parenting a teen or the hormone changes that come with The Change (they don’t call it Mental Pause for nothing). It doesn’t matter really. I don’t like this new trend.

Well hell, the EIC just reminded me that today’s word is “tend”. Hey, at least I was close ;-D

 

 

Atten-SHUN!!

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courtesy of paradisekittymodeling.BlogSpot.com

For some reason, I thought today’s prompt was “attention” (evidently I wasn’t paying attention, or perhaps today’s post just didn’t hold my interest).  I’m too broke to pay attention. I’m not sure how it happened. I used to be able to pay attention (I have a foggy memory of being a good student). Did I spend it when I was younger? Did I waste too much time paying attention to useless and trival details/watching reality tv and listening to idle gossip?

 

I could blame Starbucks – I can barely stop vibrating enough to focus on my driving, let alone my daily tasks! According to caffeineinformer.com, Starbucks has some of the highest caffeine amounts of any coffee chain (who here is brave enough to try Deathwish coffee?)

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image courtesy of thrilllist.com

I could blame video games, if I played them. Yes, I know, video games DON’T CAUSE ADD and can actually be used to treat it, but I believe that the constant barrage of images/action makes everything else dull in comparison.

I could blame Michael Bay – the quick edits he picked up directing music videos have had a huge impact on modern movie making. A negative one, IMHO.

Or I could blame menopause  and its raging hormones. I didn’t have ADD as a child, but (as my brother will testify) I’ve developed it as a

It really doesn’t matter who I blame or why I can’t pay attention – the only thing that matters that I’m not alone. We are a nation whose attention span has been reduced to 140 characters and 30 second sound bites. We have lost the ability to focus for extended periods of time as well as the patience to wait for a pot of coffee to brew (and thus, the popularity of single serve coffeemakers such as Keurig).

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I came across a great post by The Redhead Riter. She came up with a great list of reasons why we don’t pay attention:

  • Too comfortable in our surroundings and take it for granted.
  • Overconfident in our abilities.
  • Thinking too much about the big picture.
  • Fear that we will not get it all done.
  • Filling our lives with too many activities.
  • Not living in the moment.
  • Having too much clutter around us.
  • Believing that true multitasking is a reality. (Can you eat a sandwich, whistle and chew gum at the same time? No, you can’t.)
  • Not having a place for everything to reside when not in use.
  • Not putting back things into their proper place after use.
  • Boredom.
  • There’s not a lot of emotion tied in with the experience.
  • Being too tired.
  • We are not at optimal health.
  • Believing that looking and seeing are the same thing.

Again, it doesn’t matter WHY we don’t pay attention. I think we need to stop making excuses for our inattention, slow down, and focus on life as it happens. Not only because, as Mehdi Ordikhani Seyedler tells us, fantastic things happen in our brain when we do, but because we can develop the “Sherlock Holmes” intuition by paying minute attention to detail….and who doesn’t want to be Sherlock Holmes?

Besides, as Ferris Bueller said, Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

OMG! I almost forgot – which are you, Team Benedict or Team Robert-Downey Jr?

Yet another F-word

howtofocusimg[1]Once again, The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt has me stumped. I have no idea who he/she is, or how he/she comes up with the word of the day, but I’m pretty sure it involves a couple shots of tequila, a dictionary and a blindfold (sounds like a party to me).

So I’m going to cheat. It’s ok, I’ve done it before. Cheated on my diet, cheated while playing Monopoly with the girl (c’mon, if you don’t cheat, the game is ENDLESS).

I’ve talked about the F-word once or twice. Hell, I’ve blogged about the F-word so many times that today’s original title (The OTHER Other F-word) was already taken.

Today’s F-word (as defined by Oxford Dictionaries) is focus

[ˈfōkəs]

VERB

focused (past tense) · focused (past participle)

    1. (of a person or their eyes) adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly:

“try to focus on a stationary object”

      • cause (one’s eyes) to focus:

“trying to focus his bleary eyes on Corbett”

      • adjust the focus of (a telescope, camera, or other instrument):

“they were focusing a telescope on a star”

synonyms: bring into focus · aim · point · turn

      • (of rays or waves) meet at a single point.
      • (of a lens) make (rays or waves) meet at a single point.
      • (of light, radio waves, or other energy) become concentrated into a sharp beam of light or energy.
      • (of a lens) concentrate (light, radio waves, or energy) into a sharp beam.

I find the word ironic, because I can’t seem to focus lately. I could blame my new prescription. I’ve always been extremely nearsighted (can’t see to find my glasses unless I’m wearing my contacts), but now that I’m “a certain age” my vision needs an additional adjustment if I want to read a menu or the display on my cell phone.

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I could also blame menopause – evidently hormones are the culprit for my adult onset of ADHD.

But I don’t feel like blaming anyone or anything today. Instead, I’m going to use this blog to talk about the importance of changing focus.

This year has been a hard one. Too much loss. Too much death, illness, sadness and hate. I found myself being dragged into the pit of despair by the black dog of depression. This morning’s prompt reminded me of the importance of focus. As Sandy Henson Corso says in her 2013 Huffingtonpost piece “Whatever you focus on, expands is such a simple, easy and truthful idea.”

I know for a fact that this is true. I know it both from personal experience, and from a Google search for “What you focus on changes your life.” I found dozens and dozens of links to articles on the internet, and everything you read on the internet is true.

So I am choosing to change my focus – to focus on the miracles and gifts that surround us – to find something to be grateful for every day. Who knows, I might even start a gratitude journal. Probably not, but I AM going to pick up a copy of Rapt, by Winifred Gallagher. I  loved the excerpt I read on Utne.com this morning.

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I also love this video on battling the black dog of depression:

 

 

Hormones and Whore Moans

_20170131_080930I’m in hell (not literally, although that might explain my absence). They don’t have Wi-Fi in hell. They also don’t have ice water or chocolate. I don’t want to be here, but I’ve wound up here, despite my good intentions. It’s not that I’m evil, it’s just that lately I’ve had an overwhelming urge to reach out and touch someone – with a baseball bat.

It’s possible that my agitation is a reflection of all the hatred and anger that’s out there right now –but I don’t think that’s it. I think my violent urges can be blamed on the fact that I am a “woman of a certain age” and that I’m going through the dreaded M word. The word that-must-not-be-named (with apologies to J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter). No, not marriage, although the thought of marriage can cause dread among a select (mostly masculine) portion of the populace. And not Maternity, although that can cause dread, anxiety and flat out fear (and rightfully so – children are assholes! I would know, I used to be one).

I’m talking about Menopause. My friends and I prefer the phrase “mental pause” (for good reason. Ever since it started my brain has been permanently paused). TBH, I’ve been very lucky. I’ve only had a few “personal summers” (during the summer, which seems incredibly cruel) and zero night sweats. I gained 10 pounds, but that could be due to my newfound love of Modelo Negra.

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One of my biggest issues has been hair loss*. Then there’s the newfound sleeplessness associated with shifting hormonal levels (granted, mid-life insomnia is not unique to menopausal women, but I’m including it here because it’s my blog and I can do whatever I want, so there ;-P). According to an article on WebMD, a study published in the journal Menopause in 2001 observed that “insomnia is a frequently reported complaint in menopausal women.” The reason: You may be sleeping – or wanting to sleep — but your estrogen levels are still up dancing all night long. And that continual action can interrupt healthy sleep. I’d really like to know why, when I’m too tired to stay up to watch CSI, my estrogen levels have the energy to stay up dancing all night long. Ah well, I’m using the extra free time to power through my reading list.

I consider myself fortunate in that I have friends who have battled the M word. Women with whom I’ve been able compare notes and commiserate over a glass of wine (or three). I want to take this opportunity to let them know that I’m unfriending them. They failed to properly prepare me for Menopause Mood Swings. In their defense, NOTHING can prepare you for MMP. Severe PMS? Nope, not even close. Pregnancy hormones? Close, but no cigar. As my sister-in-law Jasmine put it “These hormones are no joke – I can want to kill someone and then sob uncontrollably at my own crazy in under five seconds.” I have her beat. I can go from upbeat to homicidal in 2.3 seconds, and I’m buying Kleenex by the buttload (damn those people in advertising anyway).

There are definitely things you can do to offset “power surges”. With two hormonal females under one roof, my husband learned fairly quickly that the best thing to do when someone you love starts riding the hormonal rollercoaster is throw chocolate and hide the pointy objects.  I’ve found that a glass of wine takes the edge off (added bonus – red wine has health benefits!), and that the aforementioned chocolate releases endorphins. I’ve heard rumors that endorphins are released during exercise, but that seems like a drastic measure. Experts recommend offsetting hormone surges with visualization and breathing exercises. I’ve found that this one works well for me:

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When all is said and done, I am forced to admit that menopause can be fun (trust me – menopause puts the f-u in “fun”). If nothing else, I’ve learned brand new games I can play by myself, including “Where did I put my___?” and “Why the hell did I come in here?” It’s because hormones create something known as “brain fog”. Evidently hormones, like zombies, eat your brain. Unlike zombies, hormones do not eat other peoples’ brains and cannot be killed by an arrow to the eye or a knife through the head (well, they CAN be, but it seems like a permanent solution to a temporary situation).

I’ve been told that, as I move further “post” my “post-menopausal” stage, things will get easier. In the meantime, I’m keeping Nathanial Parizek’s quote in mind:

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*Well, that’s not exactly true. I’m losing hair from my head, but I’m growing it in fun new places. My sideburns are particularly lovely.

So, tell me – how do YOU handle your hormonal shifts? Chocolate and wine? Meditation and yoga?

P.S. for those of you who have waited patiently to know the difference between hormones and whore moans – Both can be fake, but one responds well to chocolate, and one will cost you a little extra.

Mentalpause

th6F8TN99ZMy New Year’s resolution to write 2-3x/week hasn’t lasted. Unlike most resolutions, it’s not because I don’t have the free time or willpower. It’s because I keep forgetting. I forget to find time, I forget to start, I forget to finish, and when I do write a complete piece,  I forget to post it.

That’s a lot of forgetting!

My friends and family will tell you that I’ve been very forgetful lately. I have to admit that it’s been going on for a while, but I forget when it started ;-).

All I know for certain is that I lost my keys so often last year (I kept forgetting to put my keys on the hook by the door) that my husband got tired of playing WWTD* and bought me a keyfinder. It works like the remote for the car alarm, beep-beep-beeping from the dark hole in my Mombag, the bathroom counter and even the freezer. FYI, the “chirp chirp” of your car alarm is very useful when you’ve forgotten where you’ve parked.

My Sometimers has been getting worse. I’ve missed appointments, double booked myself and my daughter, misplaced my pants (not while I was wearing them) and have forgotten my friend’s name (flashback to my mom, who called me by every name she knew, including the dog’s). The high (or low) point came last Friday I forgot to take my change when I left the store. Well, that’s not exactly true – I remembered to pick up my 50 cents from the change dispenser, but left without my $18. I’ve become so scattered that my daughter actually channeled my mother –  “You’d forget your head if it weren’t attached to your shoulders.” Which makes me wonder – is that the real reason Dr. Frankenstein bolted his monster’s head to its body?

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The past few years have been eventful, and I assumed that stress had melted my brain. When things got better and my memory didn’t, I assumed that I had lost my mind, or that worms had eaten my brain.

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I was hoping that my doctor could help me find it. She smiled sadly and sighed. “I have some good news, and some bad news…..” Don’t you hate it when they do that?

Although I am relieved to report that I am not, in fact, losing my mind. I am sad to say that I am suffering from “brain fog”. My doctor told me that it’s not uncommon for women to develop memory issues during menopause. Not that I’m willing to admit that I’m old enough to be menopausal, but it’s nice to know that I’m not alone. I’m sure that someone warned me about brain fog, but I forgot.

I did some research today, and learned that the key to overcoming brain fog is eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep – which is ironic, seeing that disturbed sleep is another symptom of menopause. Seeing that I’ve been ignoring that piece of advice all of my life, I don’t see things changing just because I’m not 21 any more. Then again, there are only so many times that my family will agree to look for my keys, my glasses and my pants.

Dreaded E word, here I come. Or maybe I just need some Vitamin M**

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*What Would Tracey Do?

**Someone please tell me that “Vitamin M” is a secret code for margarita