Monday, 30 December 2013

Looking Forward to the New Year

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Time marches on!  Christmas is soooo last week!  2014 is in sight!

I hope that your Christmas was Merry and Bright.  Hubby and I didn’t get the one we had planned, but it was very good nonetheless.  There are some things in life you can’t control, the weather being one of them, and I am (finally!) at a point where I can be okay with that.  Absolutely, we were disappointed, but that didn’t stop the fun.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

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Lobster Trap Christmas Tree, Eastern Passage, NS
Given the nature of the season I, like many of you, am feeling slightly stressed and a bit panicky!  There are all those things that need to be done as well as all the things we want to do, to celebrate.
With that in mind, I have decided to take a Christmas break a little earlier than originally intended.  I will still be working away however, on the blog makeover.  For those who read 'Menopause Moi' by e-mail subscription, I've already changed up a few things, so go check out the actual web-site and let me know what you think.
I hope to have most of the changes complete by the time I get back to regular posting on January 6th.  As well as the new look, there should be some new functionality and some new features that I hope you'll all like.
Until then, I hope that you have a peaceful and joyous celebration, however and wherever that may be!  Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year!
Photo (C) Donna Hanton

Monday, 25 November 2013

‘Riding the Scam’ – My Fun, New Pastime.

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I answered the phone one afternoon last week to a man’s voice on the other end saying:
“Hello ma’am” followed by unintelligible mumbling that ended with “you today?”
“Who is this?” I ask spidey senses tingling. 

The voice repeats itself:
“Hello ma’am” unintelligible mumbling “you today?”  I’m pretty sure I’m being scammed.  For some reason though, I keep going instead of slamming the phone down.
“I’m sorry, I can’t hear you.  Who is this?” I ask again.
 Hubby, pouring tea, is looking very puzzled.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

A Sleep Plan for Me

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A quick update on the first step in my Menopause Moi Makeover plan…
I am taking my own advice from the Tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep post and trying to come up with some simple changes to improve my trips to the Land of Nod.

Right now I am sleeping better anyway, as the hot flashes have subsided, but I want to start some good habits now, to be ready should they return.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Menopause Moi Makeover (The Blog)

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As you will shortly start to see, I am not the only one around here getting a makeover.  The blog is going to be getting one too.  I have been writing this now for about eight months, with greater or lesser degrees of success, and think it needs a bit of freshening up.
When I started, I gave myself a year to see how it would go.  Time has flown by as it tends to do, at this point in life.  I have learned a lot throughout this process, but not as much as I could have so far.  I don’t want to get to the end of this experiment without giving it my all, and extracting the most benefit out of it that I could.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Menopause Moi Makeover (Me)

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I'm happy to report that my hot flashes have, once again, abated and I am sleeping like a baby the whole night!  This has, obviously, made me feel so much better.

That having been said, this change has absolutely nothing to do with anything that I have or have not done differently in life.  It is merely by fluke and hormonal fluctuation that I am in this state of grace!

I still have not had a chance to discuss the lack-of-sleep issue with a doctor.  A peculiarity of the practice that I go to is that they hold Women's Health clinics every couple of weeks or so, and it is there, rather than my GP that I am to go for help. 

Their next clinic is completely booked up, so it will be sometime in December at the earliest before I will get in.  Does anyone else's doctor do the same thing?  I find it a bit frustrating, but that is probably because I have no patience!!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Tips for Getting a Good Night's Sleep

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I did what I said I was going to do in the last post.  I went in search of ways to try and get a good night's sleep despite all the menopause mayhem currently going on in my body.

It wasn't a very complicated search; I should stress that up front.  Most of my information came from doing a Google search of 'menopause sleep'.  I only ever go to the 'recognized medical' sites - The Mayo Clinic, Web MD and so on.  I did also check out a couple of articles from The National Sleep Foundation (U.S.) and The Huffington Post.

However, if you need help like me, here are the results I found.  Basically, most of these sources say the same thing:

Monday, 21 October 2013

Menopause Bites!

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This is by way of an apology, Dear Readers!  It has been three weeks since I last posted.  And I was so intent on getting back to a regular routine of blogging; this was NOT what I had in mind!

I have not been sleeping very well, as I mentioned a post or two ago.  It's the usual menopause suspects; the hot flashes wake me up, then the busy brain keeps me there.  Repeat throughout the night.  Repeat every night throughout the week.  You know how it goes!  Menopause bites!

It would appear however that you can't go on like that indefinitely without repercussions!  Sure enough, my day came a couple of weeks ago! 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

The (Lack of) Attention Span

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The (Lack of) Attention Span
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
So, here is how my life goes right now. 

To-do list items started yesterday - approximately ten (including this blog post!).  To-do list items finished yesterday - absolutely zero!  To-do list items started the day before - approximately six.  To-do list items finished from then - absolutely zero!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Selective Hearing and Other Ramblings

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I'm really not sure how this post is going to go; it may end up being a bit unfocused, so I'll apologize in advance.  Forgive me if I completely devolve into vague ramblings.  I have been trying to cull something to write about, out of a pile of articles on menopause or midlife.  I have read article after article and nothing is sparking too much of a response at the moment!!

I will share one item that did catch my eye.  Apparently researchers at Queen's University in Ontario have discovered that middle-aged couples are able to tune each other out!  Really?  I don't think this is a news flash to anyone who's been married for a while! 

Monday, 9 September 2013

Back to School Memories

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Yes, it's that time of year again.  The kids in a large chunk of the Northern Hemisphere went back to school this past week.  It's time to get back into a routine, time to put the summer clothes away for the most part.  Traffic chaos is ensuing, largely because, not only is school back in, but crews are still working on road construction that should've been finished a month ago!  Not a happy combo, right there!

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

The Importance of Family

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Earlier this year I missed out on an opportunity to get together with a whole bunch of family members - aunts, uncles and cousins who I haven't seen for years.  The invitation came just after Christmas and I was worried about money, so I passed it up.  However, I regretted my decision almost immediately, when I stopped to think how rare these chances are, given that we're all so far-flung and busy these days.

So when I heard that one of my cousins from the UK was coming to Canada to visit this summer, I vowed I wouldn't make the same mistake again!  Moreover, she was bringing her sister, a cousin who I spent a large chunk of my childhood with, but who I hadn't seen for almost twenty years!! 

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

I've Lost My Mojo!!!

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Yes, it would appear that I have indeed lost my mojo!  That is to say my motivation, my enthusiasm, if you will.  For everything...! YIKES!  Life seems to have ground to a standstill.  This is not good!

I don't know exactly why this has happened.  It could be because I Don't Bounce Back The Way I Used To having recently been on a trip to British Columbia.  I'm not unhappy, no depression, nothing like that.  I always enjoy writing of course, but seem to be unfocused at the moment.  It's not just the blog either; I was so excited to finish the first draft of my novel finally, but that currently sits neglected too.

It could be that it has evaporated in the heat!  Halifax has been hot and humid for the last month and a half; and while the warm, sunny days are great, I find the humidity draining and get really tired.  So perhaps I have snoozed my mojo away!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

In Praise of Older Women

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My apologies - this post was supposed to be published last Tuesday.  It was delayed due to technical difficulties (the irreparable P.I.C.N.I.C.* error!) that I was not able to look at until yesterday!

(* - Problem In Chair, Not In Computer)

I was going to 'borrow' the article "In Praise of Older Women", often attributed to Andy Rooney, because I like the sentiment behind it.  When I started to research it however, I discovered that, not only was it NOT written by Rooney, but he also did NOT particularly agree with it.

What I did discover was that the original article was written by Frank Kaiser, in 2000, for his website  It is different from the popular Rooney-attributed version that does the Facebook rounds, and I have to say I like Frank's version better, so I am 'borrowing' that instead:

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Top Ten Best Things About Menopause

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The last post covered the worst things about menopause, many of which were tangible, specific issues.  In putting together a list of the best things about this time in our lives, I found myself coming up against ideas that were a lot less concrete.  Nonetheless, there are a great number of positives to be had, so here is my best attempt at corralling them into a list:

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Top Ten Worst Things About Menopause

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Ah, the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer have finally arrived (I, for one, was starting to doubt they ever would!).  There's so much to do - trips, camping, festivals, beaches, pools, BBQs and beer.  It's all good stuff - who wants to sit at the computer, reading a blog?

I have to confess, despite loving this blog-writing thing, that my motivation for writing is dipping as the temperature soars.  So with an emphasis firmly on the 'lazy', the next few posts will take a leaf out of David Letterman's book and feature some 'Top Ten' lists (as well as a 'borrow' from a legendary journalist)

As you can see by the title, today's post will serve as a reality check while we're out enjoying all the fun in the sun!  Without further ado -

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Do You Have a Bucket List?

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I have one.  An actual typed-out list (because I love lists - totally how I 'organize' my life!).  It began as a very specific '101 things to do before I die' when I started building it in my twenties.

As I've gotten older though, I realized that you can't really place an arbitrary number on your dreams, goals and desires.  Some people may have 1,001 things on their list, and achieve a lot of them; others may have only half a dozen.  It's not the quantity that counts, it's the quality.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

I Want to be Alone...

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...unlike the great Greta Garbo, who wanted to be let alone.  I just want some quality time by myself and with myself.  It is something I find that I am craving, as a woman of a certain age, and after having been married for a number of years. 

I do spend a lot of my days at home alone, while Hubby is at work, but that seems to be something different from what I desire.  Those weekdays are filled with chores, volunteer work and writing.  That is my 'job' if you will.  And it definitely doesn't fit the bill!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Living with Less Part III (The End!)

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As you will know if you read Living with Less Parts One and Two, Hubby and me (but mainly me) have been on a quest to reduce our personal items.  Because this was quite a success, we then went through our whole house, room by room.  We have sorted and tidied; pulled out long-neglected items from the deep dark recesses of cupboards and draws.  The result was yet another pile of under-appreciated treasures (also known as crap, but that seems a bit harsh!)

The kitchen probably yielded the most unused stuff.  The haul from there included a mountain of old Tupperware that made all the food stored in it taste like plastic - YUCK!  There was the no-longer-complete set of wineglasses that I bought when I got my first apartment (many years ago!).  Not to mention the parmesan cheese shaker that didn't work because the cheese ended up forming a giant blob - unappetizing and then impossible to get out!  Just a few examples...

Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying

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I'm feeling a little bit sorry for myself today.  The weather is gloomy; I didn't sleep very well and yesterday was my annual MS Clinic check-up.  Nothing has changed there, and there is nothing to worry about, which is good news.  However, it's always a reminder that the MS is part of my journey, even if most days I can forget that.

All of which leads me, semi-sideways, into what I wanted to post about today.  Last week, on Facebook, someone shared an article from called Top Five Regrets of the Dying.  This article is about eighteen months old now, but I hadn't ever encountered it before.  It is based on a blog post by a palliative care nurse named Bronnie Ware.  After working, caring for people in their last weeks of life, she started to notice some common themes, which prompted the blog and even a subsequent book.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Men to Blame for Menopause!

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Yes ladies, you read that right.  No, don't go poke the nearest and dearest man in your life in the ribs!  It's not one specific guy to blame, but apparently almost all men, in general, back through the millennia.  At least according to a theory put forward by researchers from McMaster University, here in Canada.

In a nutshell, the study (link here - good luck!) claims that men's preference for younger mates meant that older women were not reproducing.  Over time, this led to genetic mutations that were passed down through the generations, eventually becoming a permanent change in the human female genome, which is now menopause as we experience it.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Don't Bounce Back The Way I Used To!

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I think today's post will be a bit shorter than normal (yeah! I hear you cry!).  I'm only just back on my feet after a nasty little tummy bug.  I am grateful for Wendy's post, for many reasons.  Not least of which, in relation to today's topic, was for the fact that I had already scheduled hers in and  didn't have to write one myself!!  Lucky timing indeed for me!

I don't often fall prey to this type of illness.  I can't even remember when the last time was.  I had to research on the Internet for how best to treat it and help myself recover.  All good advice, which is why I am now up and about again.

While I was feeling crappy and had nothing else to do, I did get to thinking.  That is, in between begging for relief and feeling like I was never going to be able to eat again (a fate worse than death in my world!).  Around Day Four it struck me - I don't bounce back the way I used to!  I'm sure that when I was younger I would've been up and raring to go after four days.  This time around I was still not able to eat and spent half the day in bed!

I should caveat some of this by saying that we had just come back from a trip.  It was only five days away, but eating and sleeping schedules still get jumbled.  Add to that Happy Hour in the hotel lobby every evening and the fact that Iceland's most popular restaurant is a hot-dog stand (!) and I think it's safe to say that my immune system was shot!  And, I'm learning, jet-lag is another one of those things - I just don't bounce back the way I used to!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Age and Clothes

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This is a guest post by Wendy, a menopausemoi supporter and subscriber, in response to my post Style (fashion?) at a Certain Age.  It is somewhat longer than my usual posts, but I have left it intact, as I think she makes some very good points, as well as highlight how attitudes towards clothes, fashion and how we dress have changed over the last couple of generations.  Also, in the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that she is my Mum!  Here's Wendy:

I have always believed that, what to wear (i.e. dress sense) in any situation, was a matter of an innate sense of what feels and looks right - maybe nurtured by one’s family.  But of course, not everyone has it – then the question is, if a person doesn’t have any idea how to dress appropriately, is it because they don’t have an innate feeling or because no one nurtured what they were born with?  I think the latter applies. 

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Style (fashion?) at a Certain Age

I have always loved clothes and fashion.  At one time I seriously wanted to become a fashion designer.  However I have never been a 'clothes horse' because a) I am too short and b) I've always been on the chubby side - a negative double-whammy when it comes to fashion clothes for sure!

Since taking up running I have lost some weight and, I have to admit, this has made it easier to try on a greater variety of styles.  However, I now find myself asking a different question - 'is it appropriate for my age?'  I'm not talking about suitability, whether something is too short or shows too much cleavage, etc.  That is always more about individual bodies and comfort levels.  'Appropriate' seems to be more about whether I should choose something.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Pinterest-addict Moi!

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Is anyone else out there hooked on Pinterest.  I have to say, I'm addicted!  I had read about it ages ago, but didn't really even check it out.  Then about a year ago, after reading yet another article in the paper (also being somewhat bored that day!), I signed up for an account.  I was presented with about 30 people to follow, based on what I had plugged in as my interests and likes.  These are people who, for the most part, have fabulous taste in ... well almost everything!

At first I didn't go on there too often.  This was because when I did I lost, like, half a day!  At first it's a bit overwhelming and everything looks pin-worthy, so I pinned cautiously, just a few things here and there.  I set up my boards like most people do, one for clothes, one for crafty or DIY things, one for the realistic home decorating stuff, as well as one for the stuff that's only in my dreams; oh ...and one for quotes, I love quotes!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Living with Less: Part 2

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As I mentioned a few weeks ago, in the original Living with Less post, my Hubby and I had made our lists of all our personal possessions.  Now all we had to do was follow those lists and clear out the items that we had thought about and no longer wished to keep.  Easy, right?  In theory, yes.  In practice, well ... it seemed to depend!

Firstly though, some things I noticed about my own personal list.  The total amount of items in our home that are considered mine alone was a gob-smacking 492!  100 personal items could well be an impossible dream for me!  Bear in mind too, that some things like socks and underwear were not counted individually, but as a group - accounting for only one item on the list! 

Monday, 20 May 2013

Mission: Accomplished!

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I DID IT!!!!

I finished my first 5K road race yesterday, on a cold but sunny Halifax morning in a faster time than I have ever run before.  Colour me happy!  My time was a slow 49:21.9, but I felt great through the whole run.  I started with a smile on my face, despite being nervous.  And I finished with a smile on my face, despite being pooped!  At the end a sense of relief eclipses all and it's hard not to smile.

At the start line

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

My memory's just a memory now!

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Today's post is a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of trying to arrange anything when you are a lady of a certain age.  This is because while we're awash in hormone soup, certain things cease to function - like our memories!

A month or so ago, I had arranged to meet my friend, Pam for coffee.  It's something we do regularly, at least once a month if we can.  Because she is gainfully employed - unlike me - we normally talk on the phone first and make our arrangements around her work schedule.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Living with Less

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So, as I sat there, shredding all my old journals, I looked around our home office.  Have to say, the room looked as though a small incendiary device had gone off in it.  As part of my on-going evolution, I was becoming overwhelmed by all the 'stuff' anyway, and this room was particularly troublesome.  It was time for a major clear-out! (BTW - can you imagine being my poor Hubby through all of this?  Some days it must feel like he's living with a total stranger, who's also a total nutter!)

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Rewriting Life (Part One)

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As I mentioned in the post about Kickstarting Fearlessness, in the run-up to my 50th birthday, I found myself looking back over my whole life.  As it turns out, this was a bit of a scary proposition, especially after I found this quote several months ago.  It really hit home because I had proof, written evidence that ten years had, in fact, gone by and nothing had changed.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

There's an Endless Earworm Tape Loop Playing in My Head!

I've heard lots of ladies over the years talk about hot flashes, the topic of the blog post last time around.  However, along with my hot flashes, I also experience something that I've never heard anyone mention, specifically.  So maybe it's just me, but I'm going to ask anyway...

Does anyone else get what I call 'busy brain' when they are having their hot flashes?  For me, like with the hot flashes themselves, this isn't something I notice too much during the day.  My brain is pretty busy as a rule; I'm always thinking about something - a new story plot, an easier way to do something, a way to avoid doing something altogether - you get the drift!

Again though, it is at night that this phenomenon makes its presence really felt.  Every time I wake up with a hot flash, my brain immediately engages and heads off on a charge through every random thought I've ever had.  Thinking about something useful or productive (even at two or three in the morning) would be ... well, useful or productive!  No, I'm not getting anything like that; just weird, bizarro stuff like 'why are people asking Google why cats purr?'*

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Red Hot (Flash) Mamas

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Menopause and hot flashes; the two practically go hand in hand, synonymous with each other.  So no blog about this stage of our lives would be complete without mention of them.  So far, I have to say, I have been pretty lucky with the hot-flash issue.  The way it's been is that they come for three months or so then go away for six to nine months.  Cool, right?

This last time around I went for about a year, and I thought I might get off scot-free and be done with them.  Wait!  Not so fast!  THEY'RE BA-ACK!!  So while they are very much top of mind, I thought I would do something useful with the misery and write a post about them. 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Run Donna, Run!

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When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won.  There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fail.  Think of it - always.
                                                 - Ghandi

For Boston

Item number two on my short list of goals was to run a 5K race.  I used to run sporadically, about twenty years ago, until I started telling myself that I couldn't and quit.  I knew I would have lots of support as my Dad, Brother and Hubby were/are all runners.  Neither was I starting from a level of complete out-of-shapedness, having had a gym membership for several years.  I guess I wasn't really working hard enough however, because I was thirty pounds overweight when I started training at the beginning of January this year!

Support me in the Scotiabank Group Charity Challenge today!

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Support me in the Scotiabank Group Charity Challenge today!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Kick-starting Fearlessness

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I have to say this about myself; I do tend to be a bit of a navel-gazer.  You know, questioning the meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything.  It happens most around all the milestones - birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas/New Year.  I spend a lot of time looking back over what's happened and, even though I don't make official New Year's resolutions anymore, I cast an eye to the future and what I might hope to achieve.

So, as you can imagine, with a nice, fat birthday milestone to contemplate, this tendency shifted into high gear!  As the day got closer, I found myself looking back over my whole life - YIKES!!  It was a process that yielded some interesting results, some of which I will expand on in upcoming posts (hey, it's all grist for the blogging mill now!).

As I looked forward though, I kept hitting up against goals that I still cherished but, for one reason or another, had not reached.  For some of the goals some of the reasons were legit - logistics, finances, whatever.  But for too many of them, all that stood in the way was fear.  I was a big scaredy-cat!  A chicken-s**t!  The goals themselves aren't scary; it was how I was thinking about them.

I decided I needed a short list of smaller goals that could be reached relatively quickly and inexpensively.  I hoped that by doing this, I would shake things up and give myself a confidence boost as I tackled the Big Dreams.  Here are the things I came up with:

          1.  Get a tattoo
          2.  Run a 5K race
          3.  Pursue an idea to raise money for the MS Society, using my photos
          4.  Climb an indoor climbing wall
          5.  Glamour/boudoir photos (tasteful, of course!)

It's a pretty odd assortment, I guess.  Not exactly dare-devil stuff, no throwing myself off bridges or out of moving transportation!  And I'd like to tell you that I rushed out and started crossing things off right away.  But I didn't.

I basically forgot about the list once the navel-gazing urge had passed, and six months went by.  I found it again by accident and have to say I was actually embarrassed with myself.  So much so that I picked up the phone right then and there and made an appointment to cross item one off the list.  I didn't give myself time to think about it (or put it off) anymore.  I just did it!

Photographic proof!!!

So now I'm 50 and inked!  These days that's hardly shocking I know, and it does make me a bit of a walkin' talkin' mid-life crisis cliche.  But I don't care, now that it's done.  Tattooed Moi feels just a little bit bad-ass!  Score one, for item one, as a shot in the arm!

Anybody else out there done anything crazy or daring to mark a milestone?  What about fulfilling a dream or doing something important, life-changing?  If you've got a story please share it, to inspire the rest of us.



Friday, 12 April 2013

Begorrah, begosh and be-50!!!!

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Two years ago, when I was approaching my 49th birthday, I found myself planning a quiet celebration alone.  My husband was away for seven weeks, my family all live on the West Coast, while we’re on the East, having been posted here since 2010 (such is Military life!).  One of my best friends was to come and visit, but not until the week after my birthday.  It was all pretty low-key, which was actually fine at the time.

The next one was not to pass so quietly however; a sentiment that I probably passed on to Hubby on the phone, although I don’t remember doing so.  When he returned home though, at the end of June, one of the first things he wanted to talk about was how we were to celebrate my 50th.  He’d had some time to think about it, and had a brilliant idea.  Why not go to Ireland to celebrate?  WHAT?!?

No, wait!  Actually that was a brilliant idea.  I’m half Irish and despite the fact that I grew up ‘next door’ in England, I had never been to Ireland.  I loved the idea, and after having a look at the budget, given that we had almost a year to add to our savings, decided that it was a go.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Hi There!


Welcome to the first post of my new blog – Menopause Moi.  If you’ve found yourself straight here (rather than through the About page), my name is Donna, I am 50 years old and I am nowhere near as pretentious as this blog name would imply (or at least I hope not)!  Menopause Moi should really be Menopause Me, which is the ‘new’ me that I am becoming as I go through this latest phase of life.

And at 50 I’m definitely making different choices and having different reactions than I did in the past.  I’m surprising myself with how positive and excited I feel, given that my usual M.O. slides on a scale from tempered enthusiasm to fear-induced immobility!  This blog is one of those new choices.  The idea grew from a suggestion that wouldn’t go away, so here I am, saying ‘what the heck …’