You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2013.

Dear readers,

You probably fall into one of two categories: male or female.

If you are female you will:

a) think these things can never happen to you
b) relate and have your own random comments
or c) remember what I’m talking about

If you are male, you will:

a) turn away from this page immediately for fear of Too Much Information
b) forge ahead and learn something about the women who may be in your life, now or in the future

It occurred to me the other day that I’ve been experiencing hot flashes – one of the stars of perimenopause and beyond – for over four years now. And sadly, I know that the end is not in sight.

Do you know what a hot flash is like? It’s like being flamed with a sparkly blowtorch all over your body. It comes from the inside out, and it comes on suddenly and unexpectedly. It’s very Chuck Norris-like. There’s nothing you can do to fight it off, to defend yourself. If it’s there, it’s already won. It lasts as long as it’s going to last. And then it’s gone.

And then there’s the bleeding  – or not.  It’s either a tsunami or a leaky faucet. And like the hot flash, you never know when it’s going to strike. But unlike the hot flash, there are repercussions from this unpredictability.  When you’re used to a regular cycle of 28 days or so, you know when you need to be prepared, And so, you travel prepared. With perimenopause, it’s always a surprise. Bleeding episodes can be six months apart. Or 39 days apart. They can last for three days or for three weeks.  But the biggest disability is that damn flow. You can stand up from your desk, and suddenly discover that you need a new pair of jeans. My bottom file drawer at work always contains an extra pair. Lesson learned.

That whole unpredictability thing is the hallmark of perimenopause. You just never know when to expect what. And it’s as if your body is completely confused. It doesn’t know what to do. So it just…. does everything. It has mood swings. It gets bloated. It cries uncontrollably about nothing for days at a time. It has nightmares. It has PMS – but without the M. It’s like getting your period, but not getting your period at the same time. It’s a giant fake-out. Poor body.

But there are some good things about perimenopause that, in the spirit of gratitude, I feel compelled to share.

There are some things that ease the symptoms. Black cohosh (an herb). Estroblend, an over-the-counter herbal pill. Evening primrose oil. Soy products (or so I’m told – I haven’t tried them yet, because I’m not really a fan). And of course, ice cold San Pellegrino, hand-held japanese fans, and frozen bodice coolers that you can pick up at any Renaissance Festival.

It definitely keeps me warmer in the winter. This is strange for me, because I’ve always been a cold-bodied person. Now, I can comfortably keep the house at 60 degrees no matter what the outside temperature. (Unfortunately, my niece and MKL cannot live like that.)  And sometimes I drive with the truck windows down in the depths of January.

I’m saving money on winter clothing. I mean, really, what’s the point of wearing sweaters to work if I just want to strip down to my skivvies every other minute? As it is, I’m in sleeveless tops and have the little desk fan going for half the day, with an icy beverage close at hand.

It helps me accept change and unpredictability. Let’s face it, it’s not called “the change” for nothing. This experience has helped to reinforce for me that life within this body is anything but predictable, and that just because things are one way one day does not mean they will be the same the next day. You just never know. So you might just as well enjoy the ride.

It is a hallmark of the wisdom gained from life. In some cultures, women who have experienced menopause are allowed into traditionally male bastions from which they were previously banned, as a sign of respect. If one has lived long enough to move into a new cycle of life, then wisdom must be one’s companion on the journey.

I like to think of it that. Between hot flashes.

So, if you’ve read this far, congratulations. If you have yet to experience this transition, and have questions, ask away. If you are in the throes and have positive feedback, comments, perceptions, or suggestions, please share. And if you’re past it and have stories to tell, I’d love to hear them.

The moon was setting this morning when I went to work, a cue ball sinking into pastel clouds of baby pink and blue, rising and dipping in the curve of the mountains.

The moon was rising when I came home from work, a huge yellow ball, slipping in and out of clouds and trees and darkness.  We played, the moon and I.  It filled the windshields of the cars in front of me, and led me down a different road as I tried to catch up to it. I wanted to drive all the way into it, wrap myself up in it, sway and dance in its curves and light.

But I couldn’t quite reach it.

It made me smile to try.

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This little guy is a stark contrast to the aged wood of a bristlecone pine.

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Outside of Nederland, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Each of us makes his own weather, determines the color of the skies in the emotional universe which he inhabits.”  —  Bishop Fulton Sheen

Daily gratitudes:
Dragonflies
Days that hint of spring (even if they turn to snow)
Books
That I made banana bread without burning it
Deadlines

I do believe this a badger. Not a honey badger, but a badger nonetheless. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I know badgers are mean critters, but this one is pretty cute.

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Denver, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Sometimes we make love with our eyes. Sometimes we make love with our hands. Sometimes we
make love with our bodies. Always we make love with our hearts.”  —  Author unknown

Daily gratitudes:
MKL
Nice walks on sunny days
The dream-bombing yellow dog (named Dog)
Iridescence
Touch

Remember this? Spring? Blooms? Never fear. Soon come.

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Boulder, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Time is the coin of your life. You spend it. Do not allow others to spend it for you.”  —  Carl Sandburg

Daily gratitudes:
The teasing return of birds
A soft sunrise
The light on the skyscrapers this morning
Iced green tea
Sparkly things

 

I love the smell of line-dried laundry. It brings back so many memories. My parents never had a dryer the entire time I lived at home. But I guess I love the convenience of dryers more. In some places, that convenience is a luxury, and so we still have scenes like this.

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Wailuka, Hawaii.

Quote of the day: “Dare to be brave today, and trust that when you extend your wings, you will fly.”  —  Mary DeMuth

Daily gratitudes:
MKL
Black
A beach in sight
Island-A-Day calendar
Love and reassurance

Sometimes the light likes to play games…

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Topsail Beach, North Carolina.

Quote of the Day: “When you encounter someone you were destined to meet the conversation will take flight as if it were on wings of angels, complete strangers confiding in each other as if you were lifelong friends.”  —  Kevin Hall

Daily gratitudes:
Wonderful books
My nieces
Walking
Jumani apples
False moons

 

Today’s guest poet: Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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[Portrait of Elizabeth Barrett Browning by William Charles Ross]

Sonnet XXII: When Our Two Souls Stand Up

When our two souls stand up erect and strong,
Face to face, silent, drawing nigh and nigher,
Until the lengthening wings break into fire
At either curvèd point,–what bitter wrong
Can the earth do to us, that we should not long
Be here contented? Think. In mounting higher,
The angels would press on us and aspire
To drop some golden orb of perfect song
Into our deep, dear silence. Let us stay
Rather on earth, Belovèd,–where the unfit
Contrarious moods of men recoil away
And isolate pure spirits, and permit
A place to stand and love in for a day,
With darkness and the death-hour rounding it.

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Incongruity in a small town.

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Kremmling, Colorado.

Quote of the day: “Long accustomed to a life of self-indulgent solitude, he began to yearn for the beauty of giving himself to others.”  —  Yasunari Kawabata

Daily gratitudes:
Sunny January days
Yummy lasagna
Discovering super-low gas prices
Geese
Loving someone enough that it’s hard to sleep without him

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