Menopausal Moment (we all survived)

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I am trying a few different things to deal with my menopausal symptoms. Or is it technically perimenopause? Like I care what it is called. Tired and crabby would be a good name for it. Anyway I am still here. I think I will see if what I am doing helps or not before talking about it. Seems to me every woman just has to keep trying different combinations of things until she finds out what works for her. Or she moves on into “the next season of life”.  Is that winter?

Here is a succinct summary of life right now:
Husband comes home from work. No dinner going on. (Dinner has replaced laundry as the task most likely to make my head explode.) I explain I had to take small child to pre-bowl after school and we had just got home. (Okay, 30 minutes ago.) Husband says “So I need to go pick up dinner?” Yup.

Then I say I think I am going to buy the discounted NBA league pass so I can watch more Miami Heat games. He says okay, ten minutes later I am all settled on the couch with Dwayne Wade and Goran Dragic. And so is the husband. Two hours later he says “so what do you want for dinner?”

This is what he needs to understand: I don’t care about dinner. I want to abdicate all dinner responsibility. I have eaten enough dark chocolate covered almonds throughout the day that I have no interest in dinner.  HE can do whatever HE wants about dinner.  No matter what he brings home there is a 98% chance that it will be wrong so he should just get what he wants.  But now it is too late.  Small child comes in asking about dinner, thrilled he got to play with his friends for so long.  The husband still wants me to make a dinner decision.  In the interest of keeping my head from exploding I stick with Dwayne and Goran.  Husband and son cobble together odds and ends.  No one starved to death.  No one was harmed in my menopausal moment. And the Heat beat the Pacers in OT!  Woohoo!

Don’t worry, tonight I already have dinner prepped and ready to cook:  lemon mustard chicken, mashed sweet potatoes and fresh asparagus.  Hopefully there will be enough left for dinner tomorrow.  The Heat are taking on the Warriors!

 

 

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Oh the Irony

In my last post I mentioned not checking pockets well before putting the clothes in the washer. Want to hear how that turned out?   It all started with a phone call…

Saturday evening we get a phone call from my son’s league bowling director. Could E substitute in the city tournament on Sunday for a sick bowler? E surprised me by saying yes. He had bowled in the team event that day but had opted out of the singles/doubles events on Sunday.

As I was getting ready for bed I realized E would need to wear his bowling shirt again. I picked it up off the floor (because where else would it be?) and saw a big stain on the front.  Milk?  Yogurt?  Didn’t matter, it needed to be washed.  I gather up a load of his clothes and toss them in the washer.  An hour later I go down to put them in the dryer, only when I go to start the dryer there is this horrible grinding noise and the smell of burnt rubber.  I look inside the dryer and don’t see anything weird so I try again with the same result.  So there I am at 9:30 at night hanging laundry outside on the line.

Sunday afternoon my husband takes the back off the dryer so we can see if it is just a belt,  in which case we will call a repairman, or if it is the motor which would mean a new dryer.  As my husband is peering around my son yells, “hey there’s a pencil”!  And sure enough there is a pencil stuck in the fan.

So the mystery is, how did a pencil get in there?  My hypothesis is it somehow stayed in the pocket through the washer, came out in the dryer and managed to slip  through a vent hole.  Once the dryer stopped on the previous load the pencil ended up in the fan and when I went to start the dryer the pencil jammed the fan blades.  Crazy!

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How did a pencil line up just right to get through a small hole in a tumbling load of clothes?  It’s a poser alright.

So now the dryer is all hunky dory again which means I have no excuse not to do laundry.  Darn the luck.

Me and Menopause

(Guys, you probably don’t want to read this. It is all about girly stuff.)

I have been feeling rather miserable the last few days. I know why, it is because I haven’t been sleeping well. And I know why I haven’t been sleeping well: MENOPAUSE.  After trolling the internet I learned there really isn’t anything I can do about it. So I am just trying to roll along, take things one day or 5 minutes at a time, whatever it takes.

It is worrisome though when you don’t even want to lie on the couch and eat brownies and watch television all day. What is lower than that? (I guess not getting out of bed at all.) Supposedly I am to try and take care of myself first. Okay. So here is what I am doing:

1. I dug out my pedometer, bought a new battery for it and started wearing it. Exercise may help with the sleep issues but who wants to exercise when they are exhausted? Not me. But walking is okay so I am focusing on those 10k steps. I walk the dog, walk my son home from school and now walk on the treadmill while using the computer. I was doing all these anyway but hopefully if I know I walked 10k steps that will help my brain lure my body into sleep.

2.  Attitude is everything.  I sort of hate that rah-rah kind of stuff but if it helps I guess I can be okay with it.  I knew these days were coming.  When I first had my thyroid problems I thought it was menopause.  Approaching the big 5-0, having a period last 17 days and being awakened multiple times during the night by hot flashes (aka night sweats), followed by waking up because I am cold since I kicked all the covers off leads me to believe this is the real thing this time.   How long can it last?  One to five years?  Oh.  At least there is a deadline.  And really is there anything that I am doing right now that can’t be put off one to five years?

3.  I can be glad I am not a rocket scientist.  With the fatigue and brain fog I can only imagine making some miscalculation that throws off weeks or months of work.  I only have to worry about things like not checking pockets before throwing the clothes in the washer or not having the least bit of interest in making a healthy dinner and calling the husband to bring home takeout.  (Actually the family is pretty happy when that happens.)

4.  Since I am home alone all day I can cry whenever I want without having anyone look at me in horror.  Like while watching  “Downton Abbey”,  during old movies that are actually comedies, reading half the posts on FB,  or  while listening to a Nicholas Sparks novel. Hormones can react to any emotion.

5.  The realization that even though it very much feels like it, my head won’t actually explode if I have to do one more load of laundry.  I am not a cartoon character.  Of course if I was a cartoon character I wouldn’t be going through the hell of menopause,  but then again my head might really explode.

6.  I think every woman actually survives menopause, some spouses might not but that is not my problem.  And every woman gets her own unique set of symptoms and severity.  I can be unique.  I can survive.  So here is to another year of being driven crazy by hormones.  Sigh. So yeah, maybe I am crying just a little right now.

Habits and “T Time”

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Random flower photo from my collection taken in the White Mountains (summer 2013)

Everything I read said it was best to incorporate one new habit at a time.  Your brain and willpower can only do so much at once.  I think it is a good concept and one I was planning to adhere to this year.  But here’s the thing, without any conscious effort some other habits on my list are being adopted during T Time.  It is so cool!

I have found that sitting in my quiet office  working on a needlepoint project is actually a form of meditation.  My breathing is slow and regular, my mind is blank, focus is on how many stitches of this color I need to do for this row.  It is very calming.  Unlike when I actually try and do meditation there is no wondering about how many minutes I have left or guiltily jerking my mind back from wandering and trying to concentrate on my breathing or some mantra.  The meditation just happens.  My brain enjoys the quiet rest.

The other positive thing is I have resumed walking on my treadmill while using my computer.  No pedometer keeping track of my steps, no goal of so much time.  Just a simple stroll while writing or reading blogs.

Officially for February I am concentrating on healthy eating.   I am tracking my sugar intake and once again avoiding wheat.  I have found the joint pain in my hands and shoulder has returned. The plan is to abstain from wheat for a week or two and if my hands feel better, then I will know for sure the culprit is wheat. I am pretty sure I have made this plan before and I am pretty sure wheat is the bad guy.  I guess I was hoping organic wheat would make a difference.  I don’t even want to think about giving up baked goods and bread forever.  For now I will just focus on the next two weeks.

But I am not going to complain about meditation and 10k steps a day sneaking their way into my routine.  It’s all good!

 

A Whole 30 Superbowl

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I am very happy that my team has once again made it to the Superbowl and we have a merry menu planned.
While not officially doing the Whole30 anymore we are still eating a lot of Whole30 compliant meals. Much of our menu for the Superbowl is Whole30 compliant the exceptions being the dessert items added at the end.

Crockpot Buffalo chicken
coleslaw
deviled eggs
salsa and guacamole with plantain chips
pineapple chunks

The best part of this meal is it all can be done well before kickoff.

For the chicken I put boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the crockpot with some chicken broth and cook on low all day. About an hour before we want to eat I take the chicken out and shred it (with two forks, like for pulled pork) and put it back in the crockpot.  Depending on how much broth is in the pot I may take some of it out and then I mix in Frank’s hot sauce (NOT wing sauce! The wing sauce is much spicier and not Whole30.)  I just eyeball  the amount.  Then everything warms up in the crockpot and you can eat it when you want.  I put my coleslaw right on the chicken and eat them together.  I also leave some of the chicken plain for my son.
And since we aren’t on the Whole30 I decided to add a few dessert items.

 

Cutout chocolate chip cookies

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The Denver defense is called “the orange crush” hence the orange soda. My son and I decorated the cookies, I think we need to take a class or buy better icing.

 

Go Broncos!!!!!

2016 Clean Up Plan, Accidently on Schedule

In addition to making a list of habits to adopt this year I also made a list of twelve areas to clean.  Because I have done so much purging the last two years I wasn’t sure this was really necessary.  That was a crazy thought, there is always more to do.  I tried to keep it easy on myself though, frankly I am rather tired of getting rid of so much of my stuff.  It is rather stressful.  So here is the list:

  1.  Bathroom cabinets (I have straightened them up but not really gone through and tossed things.)
  2. Shred paperwork (I still have half a box to do)
  3. Clear out the file cabinet
  4. Shred again (see #3 🙂 )
  5. Add recipes and create index for recipe books
  6.  Print and put in album 2015 photos
  7. Purge digital photos
  8. Move photos to online storage
  9. Buy and assemble storage shed    Get ceiling storage racks for garage
  10. Sort out pool, garden and car items in garage
  11. Sort holiday totes in garage
  12. Sort other garage items

I broke down bigger tasks into smaller ones in the hope that would help get them actually accomplished with the goal being of completing one task a month.

Last week I realized it was the end of the month and I hadn’t even looked at the list much less picked a project for the month.  Oh crap.  But it turns out I was ahead of myself.  I actually had clear out the garage (again) on the list and had scheduled it for the last weekend in January.  The weather cooperated, there was no football to distract and as it turned out it took way less time than I thought it would.  Seems I didn’t need to break it down into three areas (months) but it is nice to have some wiggle room for the rest of the year.

I spent one hour on Friday clearing out all the shipping boxes from Christmas (taking advantage of it being recycle pick up day) and filling the trunk of my car with the items set aside for Goodwill.  I also sorted through one whole tote filled with random coaxial cables, lengths of telephone wire, extension cords etc.

On Saturday afternoon we spent three hours purging, stacking and rearranging.  After Christmas I did a good sort of the decorations and downsized by two bins so that task was already done. At the end of the day our large trash bin was full, we had more Goodwill items in the back of my husband’s truck and we could easily park our bikes in such a way as to still reach the items on the shelves.

Yes, we still have a lot of stuff but it fits okay.  No, it doesn’t look like the after photos in magazines.  It looks more like the before photo but to me it looks like a real family’s garage.  I have a little more room for my car which makes me happy and we can get to things without moving ten other things. (We don’t park our truck in the garage because it is too long.)

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Now you can see the garage floor!

We have an appointment next weekend to see if hanging shelves (from the ceiling) are possible.  If so we can clear up more floor space by moving the Christmas totes and other less accessed items up above.  Those hanging shelves could be the attic/basement storage I so dearly miss!

Habit Number One

When I made my list of habits to acquire for 2016 I thought I would start with meditation. Not too time consuming, no special equipment needed and I hoped becoming a “Zen master” would help tackle all those other habits.

Instead we decided to do the Whole30. My husband had a lot of co-workers doing it so I said okay. It made sense for me as I had been feeling really bad of late, like my thyroid meds aren’t working very well. I was disappointed to realize that just two weeks (or was it three?) of bad eating had such an extreme impact on my body.

So habit number one is healthy eating.  Whole30 turned out to be more of a Whole15, at least for me.  I am still eating mostly Whole30 meals but I am not strictly following the rules.  Having done the Whole30 before I have already learned many things about what I can and cannot eat.

For February the habit focus will continue to be healthy eating with an extra focus on sugar.  I finally realized I had no idea how much sugar was too much and after some research I am going with a limit of 25 grams a day.  That is ‘added sugar’ so things like the natural sugar in an apple do not count.

I have also had the crazy idea that I can actually eat anything I want as long as I make it myself from scratch.  So if I want a donut or a bagel I can have one as long as I make it myself, from scratch.  I have started buying organic flour and I made bread using just the organic flour, water, salt and yeast.  I only ate a small slice but I didn’t seem to suffer any ill effects so I will continue baking and sampling different items over the coming months and see how they make me feel. I know I need to keep my intake of any baked goods small but I think I will do okay with having a tiny portion of a treat once in awhile.  I would not be okay with never having any baked goods at all.

I am rather excited about eliminating all the chemicals from the food we eat, or at least a reasonable amount.  I am hopeful about staying at a decent weight, desperate to keep my thyroid in check and optimistic that a fairly clean diet will lead to a healthy old age.  Here’s to 30 more days of wholesome nutritious eating leading to a lifetime of good eating habits.

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Our harvest of oranges before the predicted hard freeze.