terribleturnip: (percy)
So, yes, the physical bullshit of becoming more than middle aged is a huge pain in the keister. But I sort of expected it...albeit in a neater, tidier, shorter duration kind of way. And because I'm me, it fits in with the whole modern day Job without the God kind of theme that is my life.
What I did not expect was this whole "ceasing to exist as a woman" thing. Seriously. I mean, I'm the last person to suggest that you should judge your self worth by how men (or whomever you're attracted to) pay attention to you. And right, all expletive the patriarchy and goddamn men who size up any available women as a potential conquest. Rawr! Except that I do believe that it's completely normal to appreciate anyone's attractiveness and who cares if you've reduced a total stranger to nothing more than an object for your fantasies? Assuming that you're capable of tossing that objectification aside once you actually talk to, or work with, or otherwise interact with that person, I personally think that's harmless and normal.
So, yeah, I take pleasure in knowing that someone else finds me sexually attractive. I know, not everyone does. But I do. And if the only interaction we have is sitting at the same bar, or walking by each other in the street, then whatever, objectify away. I do the same to men, so I can't very well get my girlbits in a wad over them doing the same in return. Until we start talking...well, then. Admittedly, I don't have a lot of fear of continued objectification at that point, mostly because I'm pretty good at conversationally grabbing someone by the septum and laying their head down on the bar if on the off chance they still think I'm nothing but a walking vagina just waiting for a man's attention.
Read more... )
Used to be, I'd go into a bar and men in my age range would give me the up and down. There'd be some appreciative glances, some smiles. Some days I couldn't care less; I've got other stuff on my mind. But when it's respectful, I enjoyed the compliment.
Just a couple of years ago, we'd hit the bar next door after work and I could be assured of getting some glances. Hey, all of my workfriends are younger than I am, so I'm totally used to them getting more attention. But I'd get my little share...and plenty of guys who were interested in my friends, but would at least include me in the conversation, whether it was the hey, be nice to the friend or the back-up plan in case I can't get the young, hot one strategy. Traveling alone, when I was on business travel, I couldn't sit at the bar and get through a drink without someone hitting on me.
But lately? It's as if I don't even exist. Same bar, same friends, same businessmen-on-travel crowd. The only guy that's checked me out in the last year in a bar was in his early seventies. And now, when guys are hitting on my friends, they'll actually shoulder in between me and my friends, cutting me right out of the conversation. If I try to participate, they'll look at me like "oh, did you say something?" and then turn right back to my friends.
Sort of makes me want to turn Full Imperial Dragon on them, grab them by the septum and make them hear me. Remind them that the closest way to a woman's...ahem, heart...is to be nice to her friends. But then I'd just fit the stereotype of that mouthy older woman at the bar.
Although now I'm beginning to see why that stereotype exists. Mother of Pearl! Sometimes I feel as if I could have a heart attack and I'm not sure anyone would notice. It makes me sort of want to be completely outrageous. Which I often am, admittedly but I want to be doing that because it's fun and feels good, or maybe it just leaked out, not because I had an attack of self-esteem and am looking to salve that with some shallow meaningless attention.
Scientists continue to maintain that there is absolutely no evidence to support the idea that humans have kept their ability to smell pheremones...but I dunno, I'm pretty sure that at least subconsciously, men can smell menopause. I have no other explanation. I don't look that different than I did two years ago. Just with less estrogen stank, apparently.
Note to friends who actually know me -- this isn't a plaintive "why does no one find me attractive" cry for assurance. I can still own a room, especially if it's filled with people who find confident, smart women attractive. Trust me, you guys do a fabulous job of making me feel desirable. And right now I'm debating the merits of dating a 30 year old who's flirting with me, so I'm not exactly bereft. It's just that conceptually it pisses me off.
Data backs me up -- you want to know what's disheartening, as a woman? Reading the data collected on by a data site, Dataclysm by Christian Rudder (fascinating book) that clearly plots out both men and women's (hetero, at least) attraction to the opposite sex as they age. For women, on average when we're younger, we prefer men our age and older...and then at some point in middle age, we gradually swith over to prefer men our age and younger.
On the other hand, men, on average, when they're younger, prefer women who are 29. And when they're older, yep, 29. As a matter of fact, at all ages, that's what men prefer. 29 year olds. So, those of you women who are approaching 29, live it up! Because it's all downhill from there.
Not really, of course. There's way more to life, and certainly relationships, than shallow first glance attraction. But still, for a single woman in her fifties, trying to date men...well, it's understandable why so many women say "Expletive it, I'm done!" And either just stop trying to date or turn to female companionship.

Or cats.
terribleturnip: (percy)
So, there are a lot of things I didn’t expect when I passed the half century mark. One of them was a sudden and clear realization why so many over-fifty women can be perceived as difficult, challenging, whatever. For me, it tends to boil down to “all out of expletives to give”.  Plus, while there are some great things about being this age? There also a lot of things that make me want to walk around, grabbing twenty-year olds by the throat and shake them, screeching “Enjoy it while you have it, you expletive!”

Part I:
For starters, this menopause thing is utter bullexpletive. I mean, yay, okay, enough with the whole menstruation thing, the supplies, the accidents, the piggery jiggery of trying to schedule romantic weekends around your useless uterus who, in her dotage, is firing off complete random bowshots, screw that lunar schedule thing, there’d be nothing, nothing, nothing, then I’ve got something special planned and then she’s all “whoo-hoo”, looky what I found, another egg that’d rolled underneath the sofa. It’s got a little cat hair on it, but booyah, let’s fire that puppy off and see if it’s still good!

Dear Uterus, knock that expletive off. They are NOT good. You know what a blueberry looks like? One that rolled under the fridge in July and now it’s January and you’re cleaning out the kitchen and pull out the fridge to clean off the coils and there’s that sad little shriveled up blue bead that used to be a blueberry, but is now a hard, crinkled calcified ex-blueberry? That’s what our eggs look like now. And what the hell? I should have run out of them long before now! Where are they coming from?

It’s not comforting to me to know that my uterus keeps house as well as I do. Seriously, I’ve been, or nearly been through menopause twice already – once blessed freedom for a year and then “oh, hey, I totally found this box of eggs in the attic – now that you no longer carry feminine hygiene products around with you, I’m going to make your bio-resin conference in Chicago more interesting by playing Carrie-at-the-Prom in the middle of the plenary session.  Let’s be all fertile again for a year or so! Oh, and now that you’re too old to take birth control pills….fancy a game of Russian roulette?”

Then another blissful stretch of peace and quiet for nine months, hey, maybe this time it’s menopause for real, except “oh, look what I found in the junk drawer, underneath the eyeglass repair kit – another couple of eggs!”  Seriously, I’m surprised I couldn’t hear the sound of my dessicated eggs rolling down my fallopian tubes like some kind of internal rainstick, only less melodic.
I’m two months shy of a year without any eggshots (like a rim shot, but less amusing), and although I’ve been there before, and might be tempting fate to even THINK this, I think this time I might actually be done.

Mostly because this time, the hot flashes are MEAN. Oh, yeah, that’s right -  balancing the joy of not having to worry about getting pregnant or menstruating, is the whole bursting into flames thing several times a day. And night. The last two times we (my doctor and I) thought this was seriously the end, the hot flashes were a creeping sensation of warmth and flush. I’d get hot, maybe break out in a light forehead sweat, crank up the AC or fan, and a minute or two later, I’d be back to normal. Not this time. This is my junkie of a hypothalamus – that’s right, that’s what’s going on. Your hypothalamus which regulates your temperature is an expletive estrogen junkie. So, when it goes through withdrawal, so do you.  And oh, lordy, this is no 48 hour detox! Six to twelve times a day, I break out in a sweat. Oh, not just a sweat….it’s like I’m carrying my own personal sauna around and someone’s cranked to the red danger line. I will get so hot that sweat runs down the side of my face…down my arms and drips off my elbows. Even if it’s 50 effing degrees.

(When I bought a car recently, the salesman kept emphasizing the heated seats, the heated seats…even as I was signing the paperwork in the business office. Me being me, I finally said “dude, enough of the heated seats! Look at me – I’m 51 years old. You know what I want? I want a button the dash that I can just slap when I’m having a hot flash and it will automatically roll down all the windows, put the AC on full blast and CHILL the seats.” The woman doing the paperwork, similarly aged, said “Say it, sister! Now you’re talking!” )

This is really expletive annoying during the day – go to put your make-up on and….son of a biscuit, let me go stick my face in the freezer first. Oh, pardon me, Important Client, while I burst into flames and drip sweat all over your conference table in the middle of a presentation. At night, all cozy, snugged up against the Consort, sound asleep and then GAH, roll away, throw off all the covers and turn the fan on, lay there on the now damp sheets until I fall asleep again…only to wake up 20 minutes later, expletive FREEZING. Try that two or three times a night! I’ve been sleep deprived for two years now.

My doctor says “try to find out what triggers it and avoid the triggers”. Great. You know what triggers it? Being hot or being irritated/annoyed. Awesome. That’s like my default state.
For the record, I’m having one right now, since writing about it has reminded me of how irritating it is… you see the conundrum. Pardon me while I head downstairs to the fridge and crawl inside. 
terribleturnip: (percy)
Is there anything as heartening and hopeful as a brand spanking new engagement book/planner? You take it out of the package, or assemble it, and there it is: full of opportunities – things to do, things to plan, another year in which you think THIS year I’m going to get my expletive together and plan and prioritize and not get overwhelmed. This is the year I’m going to schedule more stuff for ME.

Why, you can even start plugging in events that you know are already set and it’s all neat and orderly and non-conflict-y. Although you can detect a slight whiff of something…despair?....wafting in like the ghost smell of a dead mouse somewhere in the walls. The faint carrion tang of “you know that you haven’t even plugged in all the obligations yet and already almost half the weekends are full with something, right?”

But there’s weeks before the new year starts yet, and a month of smelling Christmas tree in the house and right now you cling to the satisfaction that you have already decided to move one annual event to an every other year thing and this coming year is a skip year, so hey, ONE more weekend that’s MINE. In complete denial that you’ve already volunteered to set up a “girl’s weekend” for your mother, aunts and female cousins, and the fun/free time to work/obligation rate will probably be the same. But at least it will be different!

Okay, I’m going to change tracks before I tarnish all the hope on my brand new engagement book. And yes, it’s paper. I’m going to get one of those bumper stickers that says “You can take my pen and paper when you can pry it out of my cold, dead fingers.” Hey, I’m not a complete luddite. I’m all Google calendaring, and setting up electronic reminders. But let’s be realistic. That’s one tiny damn screen there. And my near vision is not likely to get any better. At any point in time, I’m juggling work, personal and volunteer priorities. Keeping calendars, contacts, to-do lists, reminders, notes, and learnings for the future. It’s hard to juggle all of that on a large monitor, much less a 4x2 screen. With non-conductive ham fingers.

And honestly, I’m more likely to remember something if I write it down, as opposed to type it. I don’t know whether that’s a product of my having grown up writing and that’s the way the pathways are laid down in my brain – so kids growing up with a keyboard as their primary device, are they better able to remember things typed than written? Or it could just be me: I memorize things by writing them down. It’s the only way I’ve ever been able to remember scripts is to write the dialogue, over and over again. I tried typing and it just doesn’t work. Except the fifth time, I can type it way faster. But only my fingers seem to be memorizing, not my brain. Even a shopping list – as long as I’ve written the list down, I’m likely to remember all, or at least most of it. Although maybe I should start writing ON the list: don’t forget to bring the damn list to the store, moron. Because, of course, the thing I tend to forget on the list is ALWAYS the primary reason I had to go to the store in the first place.
terribleturnip: (percy)
So, reading with interest the new plan Amazon’s got to eventually deliver packages with drones. Please oh, please, let this plan not ever come to fruition while I still walk the earth. I’d have to wear a helmet every time I left the house. Avoidance subroutines, schmubroutines, have you MET me? Or read this blog? I do a daily dance of death with my cats in the kitchen, hallways and living room as both of our avoidance subroutines clash and conflict. My brain and spotty synapses can circumvent any logical and effective avoidance programming on this earth. Let me show you the scars on my ankles from the Roomba. I’d come out of the house and there’d be the drone headed for my door, all peaceably like. And we’d be fine. Except then while I was looking at the drone, I’d accidentally step into MommaCat’s water bowl, lose my balance and lurch to the side, which the drone would niftily dodge. Except nothing in its programming could possibly anticipate that I’d over-compensate for falling, and come lurching back in the other direction, which the drone would just barely adjust for…but then be doomed when I bounced off the railing (do everything with maximum force is my motto) and came back again and then, well, it’s hair full of rotors, isn’t it?

I’m just bummed that it’s in the news now. Because if this were right before Halloween, I’d have drones caught in the giant spiderweb, being eaten by carnivorous plants, being grabbed by the giant Chicken man, a heap of them smouldering, courtesy of dry ice, in the birdbath, carefully watched by bird skeletons, impaled on tombstones, caught in ghost tendrils….and I, of course, would be dressed as a this decade’s Tippi Hedren. (Look it up children, Tippi Birds Hitchcock)

I am no more competent when it comes to passwords. For starters, my fingertips have some property that not only makes them pretty non-reactive to touch screens – seriously, my future will include surgery to insert conductive chips in my fingertips so that I can continue to function in a touchscreen world – but also eats away at the letters on a keyboard. M, N, V, and B are particularly vulnerable. And you can probably tell right away, that any temporary password I’m going to get includes….MNVB in some combination. As a touch typist, albeit one that yes, can type without looking at the keyboard, but engages the backspace key and retypes probably half the letters struck, I suppose that would be the idiot-savant version of touch typist – I can mistype and retype words very quickly. Typing them correctly in the first place? Not likely. So, to address this password problem, where you really can’t engage your touch typist brain. (Well, I can’t. I type words, not letters and have no idea what my fingers are doing really.) But when I look down to hunt and peck, hmm, all of these blank keys….but hey, I engaged the big brain and viola! I printed out an image of a keyboard and keep that tucked underneath the real one. Ha! So, there.

(Please note, viola, as opposed to voila, is purposeful. Because it’s funny. Typed. Not spoken. Trust me on this one.)

So, you want to know why I deserve a medal right? )
terribleturnip: (percy)
Okay, I've been hanging onto this one as I figured I'd better get the results (negative) back before I put it up, since I couldn't bear the thought of sympathy or others worrying about me....and I suppose you can enjoy the funny with a clear conscience then.

Not the entry to read if you're shy about ladybits...although it's the kind of talking about ladybits that's entirely clinical and should leave you still able to look me in the eye at a cocktail party without flinching. Assuming you can do that now.

Cut to cater to your sensitivity )
terribleturnip: (percy)
I am a big giant sap. This cartoon made me cry, in the middle of my lunch. Big Time. At one time I was rather proud of my ability to burst into tears on cue – extremely handy for theater and role-playing for counseling classes. I did it by having a short list of memories that would trigger me – “Bambi, your mother can’t be with you now” was always a stand-by. I can now add “I’ll remember your bee, orchid. I’ll remember you” to the list:

http://xkcd.com/1259/

Of course, now I’ve got to spend the rest of the afternoon de-sensitizing myself to it, since I’ve already got a short list of the expletives amongst you that will come up to me this weekend and use that phrase.

Yes, I have a new smart phone. One that is clearly smarter than I am, since I barely can figure out how to use it. I figure it’ll take me about 18 months to get a handle on it. Sigh. I had a little trouble getting it set up, and the woman on the other end of the line who was trying to help me then insisted that I do a test call to make sure it was up and running…which was sweet, but it meant that I had to scroll through pages of set-up stuff and was barely use-literate enough to get from one screen to another, not sure if I was supposed to be touching something, swiping something, typing, whatever. I was not at my best – sorely irritated that something that is so easy for everyone else was something that I was struggling with. Self-shaming makes me really, really crabby. Plus, I was keenly aware that she was waiting for me to get through it all so I could make the test call and she could move on to the next customer. I really get stressed out when I feel like I’m holding people up. And me knowing how call centers work and how performance is measured, made it worse. It was awful.

Not made better when she consoled me “oh, don’t worry about it. Once you have a chance to sit down and just play around with it for a couple of hours, you’ll totally master this.” She was being very sweet, so I clamped down the full Imperial Dragon that wanted to unleash itself with a “Do I strike you as someone whose got HOURS to play around with ANYTHING? I’ll NEVER learn this, if that’s what I have to do! Why don’t you have an expletive user manual?” roar.

A week later and I’ve made minimal progress, but okay, I can handle some of the basic stuff, so the panic level is down. Although I still can’t figure out why it randomly “DROID”s me. I think it gets angry from time to time.

I ordered additional screen covers when I got it. I’ve just now placed ANOTHER order for screen covers, since I’ve had the phone a whopping total of seven days and the current screen cover looks like the plexiglass wall of an agitated Komodo dragon’s enclosure. Claw marks, scrapes, poisonous saliva and drippy nose smears.

(For the record, we now know that a komodo dragon’s saliva is not actually poisonous, just loaded with a dragon-ton of bacteria that causes rapid sepsis in the dragon’s prey targets. But I was already grossing myself out so I went with the more poetic, but less accurate.)

My most favorite of Liars hit the nail on the head – in order to write regularly, you have to write. And it’s hard, once you’ve gotten out of the habit, to get going again. I’ve been beating myself up about it and then realized part of my problem was not just that I had stopped making myself write daily, but that I’d fallen out of the habit of jotting down notes. For some reason, I was letting myself believe that I would REMEMBER that witticism, that interesting spark, that turn of phrase. Despite years of hard evidence that I do NOT remember, pretty much always.

At a certain point in the evening, after having spilled your glass of wine into the laundry basket of clean clothes…and then again onto your keyboard…you realize enough’s enough! Time to set limits! Enough damn laundry and writing, time to focus on drinking the wine.
terribleturnip: (willow)
WAH! Why don’t I feel better? Since about Christmas, I’ve tried to be vigilant about getting enough sleep, eating my daily share of veggies, hitting the Emergen-C. And okay, surrounded by sick people of all kinds and I never got anything. Except for about a week now I’ve had this feeling of incipient illness – headache-y, sinus pressure. Maybe some very low-grade fever and chills, except that when the Hot Flash Fairy is your new best friend, it’s hard to say what the hell is going on, temperature-wise. It’s the exhaustion that’s really making me nuts – no matter how much sleep I get, I want MORE. I want to go to bed at 8pm, take naps in the afternoon, push the alarm clock off just one more hour….

If I thought I was just going to suffer from this for two weeks and then it would gradually fade away, I’d be celebrating that I got off easy. But in true glass-half-empty fashion, I’m petrified that this is just a PRECURSOR, and eventually it will build into something far more impactful and then I will be Mary, Queen of Snots for a FURTHER two weeks, with ANOTHER two weeks of being not fully functioning.

And the lesson learned is: )
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