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When I first started blogging I always felt out of step with the mommy bloggers.  I didn’t fall into that category because my mommy days had faded.  The teen years weren’t as bad as what had been predicted, there were no dramatic events to blog about and if I were to attempt blogging under the mommyblogger umbrella I would be writing about my contempt for grocery shopping, laundry and the broken dishwasher.  Not very promising mommyblogging material.

I think blogging is shifting.  People are tired of the sparkly, flowery, narcissistic blogging practices.  Of course now the blogs all seem to lean towards recipes or the travel blogs that describe how the author chucked mainstream employment, sold all their belongings and are now backpacking across south east Asia.  If there is bitterness detected it’s only my seething jealousy because of my untapped wanderlust.

I’m not sure how well received a blog about a middle aged woman’s discontent with her menopot, frustration with an aged dog who picks the moment you are enjoying a glass of wine to sit down beside you and emit the most noxious, foul smelling gas.  The sharing of mundane things like my internal struggle to let my hair go grey, knowing I would be sporting an awesome skunk stripe down the middle of my head for at least 6 months.  Blogging about my ongoing quest to find a hairdresser, my excellent skill at knowing just how long I can drive the car with the fuel light lit before I have to get gas or find myself stranded.  My obsession with calorie counts.  My very large wine glass, or how I posted a picture of a wood chipper on the chalkboard in my kitchen as a reminder that I am saving for a wood chipper to dispose of the bodies.  No, these scenarios are definitely not good blog fodder.

Good thing I’m blogging in the wind.

 

I’ve been contemplating the pros and cons of my blog, revisiting the hows and whys I blog.  The narcissism in blogging.  My neighbour mentioned that he came across my blog.  I had that moment of ‘oh shit’, did I write anything about these neighbours?  That moment kind of like when I say fuck on my blog and remember my Mum and Dad have been known to occasionally read it.

I’m thankful that I didn’t have small children when I started blogging.  I would have been a nutter.  When the internet was new Ben was under a year and I frequented parenting websites and their forums.   It got really old watching Mommy’s attack each other.  Hot button topics like breastfeeding, giving your kids hot dogs *gasp*, potty training, discipline, and don’t get me started on the working vs stay at home Mom debate.  *insert big F’ing eyeroll*  I made an innocuous comment on a parenting forum once, I don’t even remember what it was about, but it resulted in a very long email in the form of a lecture, complete with a scolding from a Mommy.  It’s sad how in an attempt to feel better about our own choices we are tearing each other down.

I think everyone hopes they can make money with their blog but the reality is most people don’t.  I put google ads on my blog and I’ve made $20, in approximately 5 years.  I lack the motivation to actually work at blogging, and I lack the ability to speak about myself in the third person.

Melinda was born in Ontario Canada, a mere 20 minutes from the magnificent Niagara Falls.  She found herself working in the retail industry which contributed nothing to her life except an indifference to most major holidays and the unfortunate union with a first husband.  Despite this, the union resulted in 3 beautiful children, who are all hopefully leaving the nest.  Soon.  Melinda presently finds herself in the middle of a midlife crisis, navigating the waters of menopause, and a second marriage to the love of her life.  Presently committed to the study of American Sign Language and appreciating the deaf culture, she enjoys Yoga classes, is exploring Buddhism and appreciates the phenomenon of the boxed wine.  Future plans include travel, and fulfilling the lifelong dream of driving a zamboni and owning a pair of Jimmy Choo’s.  

 

It’s suddenly very clear to me why I will never make money blogging.

 

 

 

 

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
Maya Angelou

 

I’m one of those women who have spent their entire lives on some kind of diet.  Weight watchers, calorie counting, Atkins, HCG diet, Special K diet, cabbage soup diet, to name a few.  I don’t remember a time when I didn’t diet.  I don’t remember a time when I didn’t feel guilt or remorse when I ate something.

I’ve been trying to understand where this all began, how everything was tied to how much I weigh.   There are so many moments that shaped and moulded my indifference to my body it’s no wonder that in my 40’s I’m still struggling.

When I was 8 years old my friend would compare our stomachs. I can still see her standing beside me, sliding her hand across her tummy, her fingers reaching my side demonstrating that my stomach did indeed stick out farther than hers.  Thus proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was indeed bigger, fatter.

At the age of 11 my gym teacher gave us an assignment over the Christmas holidays, we were to write down everything we ate.  I remember obsessing about documenting every nibble, listing cheese and crackers and potato chips, and not eating some things because I didn’t want to have to write it down.  I dreaded bringing my list to school.  I was ashamed of what I had written, what I had eaten.

I think back to these small moments in my life and it’s no wonder I’ve carried guilt and shame about not only what I was eating, but about my body.  So, it’s not one moment that impacted how I feel about myself, my body, but dozens of moments.

I think its time to stop this nonsense.  What a waste of time.  I’m not going to declare a New Year’s resolution but I am going to allow myself to stop feeling guilty. To stop carrying around the self loathing based on the piece of cheese I ate, or the glass of wine I drank.  Enough is enough, and I think that 40ish years is long enough to carry that much discontent.

 

 

“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.”
Maya Angelou, Phenomenal Woman: Four Poems Celebrating Women

 

**insert sappy reference to reflections of life and reflective pools as a metaphor for life** (and don’t forget to update facebook page with sappy reference to said reference and express thankfulness for life)

 

 

My midlife crisis and the knowledge that I will be turning 50 in the not too distant future has brought me to a place of reflection, a backwards glance at my younger self.   Exploring the reasons I am who I am, and why I do the things that I do.  I was searching through pictures the other day, what I was looking for I can’t remember now, another byproduct of menopause I think.  Anyway, I realized that there really aren’t any pictures of me.  It’s my own fault of course because I hate to have my picture taken.  But why don’t I like having my picture taken?  Insecurity? Fear of an absolutely horrible picture will make me look ugly, fat, stupid?

 

And further with this reflective subject, why do I have no inclination to celebrate my birthday?  I don’t have any anxiety over my age, I never have.  Possibly because I don’t feel like I’m worth the fuss?  I’m embarrassed of the fuss?  One of my regrets in this area is that I didn’t teach the kids to celebrate my milestones.  I maintained that I didn’t want to celebrate.  Which at the time was true.  It’s the typical thing you do with kids, you sacrifice buying yourself clothes to ensure the kids have shoes, you eat the broken cookie and leave the whole ones in the cookie jar for the family.    It’s not that you are trying to create brats, you just seem to slip into that mode that you put everyone else ahead of you.  You do it so often and without thought that it transfers to silly things like eating the damaged cookie.  In doing this though you look up one day and you have unintentionally become the fixer, the go to girl, complaisant.  You make no demands.  You forget what you like.  You’re so busy making everyone else’s favourite dinner you forget what yours is.  You put yourself second.  It’s my opinion that this is how midlife crisis start to blossom.  Suddenly, you aren’t responsible for the things you’ve spent the last 20 years being responsible for.  I’m at that point.

And I’m formulating a plan.

*insert giddy reflective laugh*

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I have officially received the title POST Menopausal.  I say official because I had blood work that actually confirmed this milestone. Not menopausal, not peri-menopausal, POST Menopausal.

So, what do you do to celebrate this significant life event?

You have a Mammogram AND a Pap test.

I’m not a big fan of stirrups, and looking at the top of a 30 year old man’s head, (who has not bought me dinner first) between my legs doesn’t top my list of favourite things to do.  I’m sure the highlight of his day wasn’t sitting and staring at a 48 year old woman’s lady parts either.

Having previous experience with pap tests and giving birth, I’m not unfamiliar with the whole process of allowing strangers near my nether region.  The nurse who came in to assist went straight to making conversation about the weather.  That was the only moment in this whole process that was weird.

It’s been a long time since I had a pap done by a member of the male species, I’ve come to the conclusion that women are probably a little more comfortable with the equipment and consequently more confident in their approach.  I hate listening to the clicking of the speculum, just when I thought he was done making expansions he clicked it one more time.  I don’t think he appreciated my telling him it didn’t need to be wide enough to drive a Volkswagen through.

As a newly appointed card carrying member of the post menopausal set,  I was thinking about the changes occurring over a 30 year span, from being a young woman with life before me, babies, marriage, to where I am now.  I’m not ready to label myself a Crone quite yet but you can’t help but wonder if you wasted time, if it’s ‘too late’ to do the things that you never did.  I guess these thoughts are the essence of a midlife crisis.

 

 

 

 

I quit weight watchers.

Again.

 

I started in February with my Mother, thinking that going with someone would be more fun, motivating.  My Mum has done awesome by the way, lost more than 20lb. Every week she lost weight and exclaimed her surprise because she had had chicken wings with my Dad, or fish and chips. Just the thought of eating chicken wings has me breaking into a cold sweat.

4 months later, I am still gaining and losing the same 4 lb. I am so frustrated I’m once again in that place of not knowing what else to do.

I started using My Fitness Pal to see what my actual caloric intake was. I bounce between 1100 and 1500 calories, and this is always within weight watchers points range. My daughter thinks I’m not eating enough calories in a day. She may be right, I just signed up for a 5k (fun run, nothing too serious) and have been trying to start training but running in this heat is very difficult. I opt for a brisk walk instead, with a couple of bursts.

The catalyst to my deciding once again to call it quits with weight watchers was another ‘tale from the scale’. In previous experiences I was asked if I had my period, and told I was probably eating too much fruit. Two weeks ago after having a great couple of weeks, I had activity points out the yin yang.  I golfed, bike was tuned up, lots of gardening/lawn cutting,  dipped my toe in the water and started running and walked every single day. I was psyched to be going to weight watchers, I felt I was on the right track. I had weighed myself the day before at home and knew I had lost. I stepped on the scale, gain, 1.4lb. Status quo, lose and gain the same few lb.s every week. It didn’t matter at that point though, I felt like I had moved past the anxiety of the scale and was taking positive steps that I could maintain in a healthy lifestyle.

Unfortunately I was once again dashed by the weigh in experience. As I hopped back off the scale the lady weighing me said, ‘You have to get motivated’.

 

‘What?! I am motivated!!’  

She went on to tell me that I wasn’t motivated, and its at this point I realize that everyone behind me can hear her.  She is facing the line of women waiting to endure their own potential degradation.  I put my hand out for my weight tracker and she said, ‘I know, I know, just give me my stuff so I can leave’

 

I turned around and walked towards the door and I would have to say that was probably number one on the top 10 of most humiliating moments of my life. It even beat out the time I farted in front of my boss.

I strongly urge weight watchers to take a closer look at how they train the staff at the scale. No two people are alike in their weight loss journey, and shaming someone is not motivating and definitely counter productive.

I sent an email to the company but have not received a reply, at this point I’m not expecting one. Very disappointing, because as a ‘lifer’ I believed in the program.  I don’t know why I’m having so much trouble.  Menopause? Thyroid? I do know however that in order to reach my goals of maintaining a healthy lifestyle I am not going to achieve them through WW.

 

 

Ok, I concede that I may be a little cranky lately.  There are some things that annoy me, but everyone has things that irritate them.

Humming, humming annoys me.  The only reason for anyone to hum is to annoy the people around them, it’s a monotonous noise that you have to struggle to find the intended tune.

People who fart in public and leave a cloud that you inevitably walk through.  Beth said that this is called crop dusting, I can see why.

People who take ‘selfies’  Seriously,  stop it.  Taking a picture of yourself sleeping is really stupid and just plain pathetic.  You can also stop taking pictures of your feet.  You have ugly toes.

Liars.  You know, the people who if their lips are moving you can bet they are lying.

Using the words lose and loose wrong.  You didn’t loose your keys; I promise.

When someone starts a sentence with, Don’t take this the wrong way.  Or the other conversation starter.  No Offence… but.    Too late, don’t even want to hear what you have to say.

Hockey players who chew on their tooth guards, leaving them hang out of their mouths.  It’s gross.

Vanity plates.

People who pick their noses while driving.  I can see you.  You aren’t driving an invisible car.

Apparently I have issues, that may or may not be related to menopause.

 

I think the honeymoon is over.  When I was expressing my frustrations and concerns with Lover about menopause he got this glazed look in his eyes.   When we were first married he would hang on my words, we would talk about everything, he was encouraging, complimentary.  The other day I said that I felt like menopause was kicking my ass, and that I felt a little cranky, kind of moody.  I looked at him waiting for him to protest, that I was not moody or cranky, I was my usual cheerful self.   The bastard looked at the ceiling, the floor, then tried to change the subject!!

Ok, Ok, I admit I have been a little reactionary.  The dog smacks her lips in her sleep and it pisses me off, but good lord, she sounds like a heroine addict.  I also may have threatened to barbecue her.

Fast forward a few days and my sister sent this in an email.  My Dad and Lover laughed and laughed…

 

Keep laughing boys.  Keep laughing.

 

 

I haven’t had much to blog about lately.  The subject of my weight seems to be the common thread to my attempted blog posts, and who wants to listen to a menopausal woman whine about her weight.  No matter how hard I try to talk about health as opposed to weight it doesn’t work out.

Over the past year I have been attempting weight watchers, tried My Fitness Pal and counting calories, and developed the ability to have an anxiety attack over the mere sight of a pound of butter.  The realization, or epiphany if you will, came the other day when I realized I was using the Weight Watchers program, while simultaneously counting calories through My Fitness Pal.  After reviewing my progress over the last year, I have managed to gain 10lb.  I further realized how nutso I’ve gotten with this whole scerario when we went to a Christmas dinner/dance the other night.  I passed on the starter of soup and watched my slim friends at the table enjoy not one, but two bowls each.  I then took the smallest piece of lasagna, passed on the potatoes, hyperventilated over the fact that the salad was tossed with oil and vinegar.  Then, I nearly passed out when someone offered me the bread basket.

Obviously, what I’m doing isn’t working.

 

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TRUVY  (Steel Magnolias)

Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin’ across your face.

 

October 18th was World Menopause Day!!  Who knew such a day existed?!!  I thought Talk like a Pirate Day(Sept. 19) was the greatest day ever, but Menopause day!  That’s just the best!

I was at a wedding a couple of weeks ago and after a couple of glasses of wine, and the cursory inquiry’s about what our children are doing the conversation quickly switched to our experiences dealing with the big ‘M’.   So, yes, the conversation went from pleasantries, admiration of cute shoes and what colour I’m painting the kitchen to the sweating, sobbing, weight gaining, moustache growing, angry, not sleeping symptoms that seem to plague all of us but no one wants to really talk about.   The menfolk left a large swath around the womenfolk.  There was definitely fear in their eyes.

When I discovered it was World Menopause Day, I did a little chair dance and started desperately clicking links to see if just maybe there was a magic potion,  enlightened commentary,  even an e card to celebrate the day!!!!

Nothing.

In my fervent clicking I stumbled upon a drug that was supposed to help with the top 5 menopausal complaints, weight gain, hot flashes, irritability, lack of sex drive, and sleeplessness.  If you read the ingredients in the miracle cure it consists of Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin E, Calcium, and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).  Seriously.  Why the hell would I want to take a daily dose of MSG?

I have to face the fact that I am ‘middle aged’.  Not that there is anything wrong with that. The truth is that bitching about menopause is just a symptom.  I’m on the precipice of change.  My kids are getting close to leaving home and forging their own lives.  I am learning that for every complaint I have about the aging process there is an equal and positive reaction.

Spreading middle?  Some form of lycra to smooth everything out.   Accept that I am never, ever, going to look like a supermodel.  Like ever.

Night sweats?  Sleep naked.  My husband has not complained at all!  I really do appreciate his support in this transitional phase.  What a wonderful man.

Mood swings?  I haven’t noticed any mood swings so I don’t think that really applies.

Sleeping issues.  Lover turned me on to Scotch.  A glass of Scotch before bed and all is right with the world.

Memory or lack thereof?  This has actually worked to my benefit.  I stopped listening to my kids years ago.  Now when they tell me something and I have that confused look on my face they assume it’s because I’m old and don’t remember anything.

Wrinkles?  Meh, experience.  I now use a moisturizer called Hope in a Jar.  That’s probably the best I can do.

Meno moustache?  It’s Movember.  All is right with the world.