Grumpy Old Menopause: A Giveaway!

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A post by writer Carol E. Wyer:

A trip to buy boots became the catalyst for Grumpy Old Menopause. It was one January and while waiting for the young assistant to find the right sized boot, I suddenly had one of those moments…you know the one where a wave of heat starts at your feet, mounts your body and makes you want to peel off your very skin to get cool. I grabbed at my coat, yanked it and my scarf off, and my cardigan and attempted to fan myself with a receipt from a supermarket. The manageress looked over and nodded wisely.

“I know what you’re going through,” she said in hushed tones, checking to see if anyone else could hear. She proceeded to tell me about a similar incident that had occurred for her. Out to dinner with friends, she had felt a hot flash and yanked off her jumper only to be greeted by astonished stares form her fellow dinner companions. She had inadvertently removed her blouse as well and was now sitting in only a bra.

That lead me on to tell her about how I had woken up one morning to discover the hairs in my left eyebrow had gone…well, actually they’d migrated…to my upper lip. We chuckled, more stories followed and we guffawed like two teenagers, even more so when we were greeted with astonished stares from the assistant who finally emerged from the stock room with my boots.

“You wait,” said the manageress. “One day, you’ll have all this to come!”

Well, once I’d left the store feeling a lot better about myself, I had a nugget of an idea…what if I could write a book that made people laugh about a subject that is still mostly taboo and help women going through the menopause?

Grumpy Old Menopause takes its information from health experts, doctors and friends and personal experience. I trawled the internet for months looking for advice and articles (and stumbled upon Barbara’s wonderful menopausal plate article) about symptoms. I spoke to surgeons, gynaecologists, acupuncturists, alternative health specialists and many more, amassing material that would help. The whole book though, is supposed to be as close as you can get to sitting down with a friend and laughing at the tricks Nature is about to play on you. Laughter is your biggest weapon in your arsenal and if you are prepared for the menopause and can maintain a sense of humour, you will sail through it. I have…well, apart from the panic attacks, the insomnia, frozen shoulder and the hot flashes! In seriousness, there is a lot you can do about all of that as long as you have information and that’s what I hope to provide.

One thing I have learned as I have got older is that laughter is a real cure-all. If you can have a good giggle you get a healthy workout, you raise feel-good hormones and you feel heaps better.

The menopause is however, a serious subject and please don’t think I am glib about the problems and challenges that face many women at this time of their lives. I spoke to some ladies who went through early onset of menopause and had horrific symptoms so I am mindful of the passage some have to travel. I hope merely to inform, assist and support. I hope a few hours with book will at least bring a smile to your face and make you realise you are not alone.

I have the book and my philosophy about laughter to thank for my latest career move…taking my own advice, I took up one of the many hobbies and suggestions I make in the book—stand-up comedy! (I couldn’t do pole dancing as I had frozen shoulder!) Yes, I now tour the UK with a comedy set entitled Smile While You Still Have Teeth. Whoever would have thought going through the menopause could be so much fun?

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Giveaway: Grumpy Old Menopause has sold thousands of copies and been featured on over fifty radio shows, in magazines and on BBC Breakfast television. Carol is holding her award for winning the People’s Book Prize just a few months ago. For a chance to win a copy, please enter a comment by September 1.

Watch Carol accept The People’s Book Prize award for Non-fiction on Youtube. Listen to some of Carol’s stand up entry for The BBC New Comedy Talent Award here.

Carol E. Wyer wants to live in a world where gummy bears do not rot your teeth and everyone laughs at least fifty times a day. As a humorous writer and blogger, she’s been featured in and written for Womans’ Own, Yours, Choice, and Woman’s Weekly magazines, the Huffington Post and been interviewed on numerous BBC radio shows, NBC and Sky television and BBC Breakfast television. When she’s not hiding in her garret writing books and articles, you can find her quaking in the wings, waiting to perfom her stand up show, Smile While You Still Have Teeth or being a Loud Mouth on BBC Radio Derby.

Her books all encourage us “older folk” to enjoy life, carpe diem and laugh. Her most recently-released book — Grumpies On Board — hit the shelves in June and has attracted a lot of attention from the travel industry and means she and Mr Grumpy will have to take more holidays soon. Discover more at  carolewyer.co.uk/ grumpyoldmenopause.com , or facing50withhumour.com

The Ladies Room Door Art Series: Striking California Gold

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Last month, I flew to San Diego to spend time with Karen, daughter Kath’s mother-in-law. I met up with Kath, son-in-law Matt, and grandson Mazen. On our first night, we dined at Cannonball Sushi, a rooftop restaurant overlooking the Pacific. I struck ladies room gold!

Some of the restaurant’s signs look like the edge of a swimming pool. Note the “RESTROOMS” mosaic above.

Below, a sign abutting the small hall that leads to the restrooms.
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And this polka dot swimsuit is right next to the ladies room door.
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Here’s the actual sign on the door. The men’s door has a triangle. Hmmm. Are these a reference to anatomy? Check out this Wiki article on public toilets, including signage.
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Best of all, the stall doors of the ladies room feature old Jantzen bathing suit ads.

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What a ladies room find! The handsome young waiter seemed pleased with my enthusiasm.

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Another handsome young man: Grandson Mazen!20150629_180758

Fair is fair in the battle of the coasts. Look what Carol Federlin Baldwin found at Fish Bites in Wilmington, North Carolina. Carol is famous for The Potty Trip of Potty Trips.

Who wouldn’t want to be a mermaid?

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Inside the ladies room, Carol met this bathing beauty.

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Thanks, Carol! Everyone, please keep those cameras poised as you splash though summer. Art abounds! Thanks!

Some TMI with a Happy Ending

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A few week ago, my friend Miriam Hendeles wrote me about her episode of spotting. I asked her to tell us her happy ending. I wanted to post a contrasting ending to my story of endometrial cancer. Take it away, Miriam, and thanks!

So some background. I’m a worrier. I constantly worry about this and that. Health. Relationships. Finances. World politics. You name it. Because of my worry, I sometimes hover over my adult kids. Most times I don’t, so that’s good.

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That’s me hovering. See? (only sometimes!)

Anyway, regarding the regular worries: Whether it’s a concern about a relapse of my past foot problems, or anxiety about one of my sons not being reachable across the country for about an hour more than expected, or something random going on with one of my grandchildren, or something I think I said wrong to someone, I worry.

And when I worry, I vent to my husband (and my friend(s) and my mother and my sisters)  about my concerns.

My husband (and sometimes the others) listens to my rationale for the worry, and tells me all his reasons why I have no need to worry.   But I don’t believe him. He tries to convince me — when it’s a health related worry – that I should let the “poor doctor do his job and worry.” But I still don’t listen. He even uses humor and teases me about it but aside from getting me to chuckle, it doesn’t work.

He reminds me to have faith and be positive. He’s right.

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Yes, it can get pretty intense, I admit. I need to chill. I guess I have a lot of room for growth in the faith department. I need to work on that. Which is what this post is about.

Last week, I had cause to worry about something regarding my health.

For the past several years, since entering middle age,  my body has been transitioning.  This time of transitioning, known as Menopause, is supposed to be a Biggie. For me, it hasn’t been much of a big deal. I have had none of the horror experiences that others (including my mother when she was my age) had such as hot flashes and night sweats.

Yes, I’ve been kind of moody and anxious. But aren’t I always? (see above intro to this post). Yes, I’ve kind of sort of been having sleep issues. But that could be attributed to my drinking tons of water during the day so of course I get up myriad times during the night. And I always (mostly) fall asleep. Right?

So based on my doctor’s assessment all these years (again, I lost count), I’m slowly and gradually transitioning into menopause. Whatever that means, because as I just explained, I have none of the real symptoms.

None of  bad and horrible menopausal symptoms that all of the blogs that I read talk about.

So back to what happened last week.

I found blood. A drop. A bit. A really itty bitty amount. But still it was blood. And I was scared. I knew the rule that if you find blood “post” menopause, it’s “cause for concern.” Doesn’t mean it’s bad. Doesn’t mean it’s cancer G-d forbid. But it has to be checked.

So I did the responsible thing and went to see my doctor. And yes, I worried before the appointment and even while seeing him.

He didn’t seem concerned, but took a blood test to determine where I was in menopause. And told me his hypothesis of why I was bleeding and that he wasn’t concerned.

But me being, well,  me, I still worried.  After taking the blood test, I went to my car and called my husband and basically told him that I don’t believe my doctor. That he’s just placating me.

Looking back and typing this, I’m realizing how neurotic the behavior was, but since I have decided to tell you this entire (TMI) story, I will.

So I went home, and waited for the doc to call me the next day, which he did. I was driving into my office at work, (funny the things we remember) when my cell phone rang. It was my doctor, telling me that I’ve got “lots of estrogen floating around” in my uterus, which in layman’s language means I’m in Peri-menopause. Surprise. Surprise. He then told me that he was even less concerned because once one has estrogen, then bleeding is more common.

Ahh. Got it. He told me to come back the following week, after the July 4th weekend and he’d do an ultrasound. He put me through to the secretary, Janet (yeah, we’re on first name basis these days) who gave me an appointment for the following Tuesday.

All I could think of was how in the world would I survive the five day wait till the appointment?!?

I googled everything to do with my situation and then called my husband, declaring all kinds of morbid thoughts aloud to him.

I was nervous. I googled some more and more and more.

Did you know that these days according to Google, we all are dying? Well that’s the case with me. True story.

Anyway, I don’t know how I survived that day, Thursday. But I did. And Friday. Saturday. Sunday. Monday. Lots of prayer. Lots of ruminating of what if. Oh no. Nerves. On and on. More prayer.

I emailed and message my friend Barbara Younger, who has had a lot of experience with post-menopause stuff. She was very encouraging and kind.

Finally, Tuesday. I went to the doctor. He came in. Examined me. Did an ultrasound.

Thank G-d. “Miriam, you’re fine. No fibroids. No growths. All is well.” Deep breath!”

I thanked G-d for my health. But wondering: how I can avoid all that worry in the future? Most of the time (according to Barbara Younger, 7 out of 8 cases of post-menopausal bleeding are not the Big C….but still. We worry (speaking for myself here, huh?)

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So Note to Self for future:

  1. a) put a limit or cap on how much to go onto Google. Maybe one time per day for 10 minutes (it’s too much to ask us nervous folks to avoid it altogether, I would think).
  2. b) call one friend to vent but make sure it’s a realistic  friend who won’t make you more nervous.
  3. c) keep busy for the time you are waiting for Heaven’s Sake!!
  4. d) have faith in G-d that He will take good care of you no matter what.
  5. e) don’t read commentaries and analyses into what the doctor says. Take him at face value. If he says you’re probably okay, then you will.
  6. f) always, always appreciate and take care of your health.
  7. g) Have faith…and oh! it may even help to try some music therapy!

Oh – one more thing I want to say: I hope all the above wasn’t too much TMI. Was it? (Just checking…)

Miriam

Miriam Hendeles, MT-BC is a mom of adult sons, grandmother of an adorable bunch of little boys and a music therapist who works in hospice care. During her spare time, Miriam blogs at Bubby Joys and Oys about the joys and oys (Yiddish for challenges) of being a Bubby and mother-in-law. Miriam also has a website for her posts about being a mother-in-law and some cool advice for struggling mothers-in-law. Miriam lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Hayim who is a terrific grandfather! (“Poppy!”)

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Downsizing:The Silber’s Tin

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The downsizing continues! This post features items that I’ve given to specific people.

After my mom died in March, I mailed a dear family friend one of Mom’s paintings. I put this old Baltimore bakery tin in the box too since Kay lives in my hometown. I bet she can find someone there who loves the old Silber’s Bakery as much as I did.

I’m no longer teaching picture book classes, so my characters are going to an elementary school in Tidewater Virginia. My friend Ann will pass them on to teaching colleagues at her school. Can you name each character? (Strega Nona, Yertle the Turtle, a Wild Thing, Ramona, and Max grace the top row.  Sylvester and Lilly sit on the bottom row.)

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I’ve put some of my items, such as the characters above and the Santa below, on Facebook. The Santa is heavy, so I specified local. In fifteen minutes, my friend Allison said she’d love to add him to her Santa collection.

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I wondered if pushing my stuff on Facebook was tacky, but Facebook friends reported they had great fun checking out the items I was offering up.

My girls haven’t wanted a lot of my things. I’ve gotten used to the idea, but this came with some pain at first. Kath finally said to me, “Someone else will enjoy them.” My aha moment. But she loves crocks! Here are two of mine, now in her fireplace.

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And Matt, my son-in-law the gardener, has strawberries growing out of my great-grandmother’s strawberry pot.

My friend Cheryl took an old stone garden cat and these yellow ware bowls.  I had two garden cats (the same ones) and although I love the bowls, I haven’t used them in years.

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My brother brought this xylophone back from Africa. Our choir director said he’d be glad to take it and either use it at church or pass it on to a percussionist friend.

Xylophone from Africa

This was a tough one. My mom and dad’s kitchen china. It brings back those days long ago, but I want my own kitchen dishes. A friend who is into vintage things was looking for a new set. It’s hers!

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Pam Briggs, who works at Leland Little Auction Company here in Hillsborough (another downsizing story), has helped me mightily with the deeper emotional issues regarding keeping family treasures. “You only need a few items to be reminded of a loved one,” Pam says. “You don’t need a room packed with their old things.”

On to one of the toughest yet! My dad brought this figure back from Japan after the War. Mom adored him. I don’t. I love the image of my father returning to his beautiful fiancee, with treasures in hand, but this guy kind of creeps me out. I put him on Facebook and a friend from childhood, who knew my parents well, said she’d be pleased to have him.
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Giving your treasures to specific people is lots more time consuming than simply donating them, but it’s been another happy piece in my downsizing puzzle. I know where they are. I know they are honored and appreciated. Believe me, I’ve done lots and lots of donating, but for treasures that pull at the heart, this has been my golden ticket.

I’m hoping Cliff will agree to let his mom’s pancake griddle go. I’m itching to put it on Facebook. Who wouldn’t want a griddle named Happy Day Griddle-Grill!

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Here are links to my other downsizing posts:

Downsizing: The Recycling Shed

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Downsizing: Take a Photo?

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Downsizing: Up to the Attic!

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Downsizing: Spare the Pig?

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Downsizing: Glass Upon Glass

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Downsizing: Keeping the Quirk

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Downsizing: The White Elephant

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Downsizing: The Bicycle Nightgown

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