Monday, April 12, 2010

Astrology of Menopause

OK, one last post, because this is too interesting.

Check out the website above, my sister sent me, as she is a budding astrologer herself.

Apparently our life cycles move with the planets too. Very cool information.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Good morning or afternoon
I've decided to continue blogging any menopause notes on the questinggirl/Musemother blog, so that I can consolidate my blogging time.

This blog will remain present for those who want to research by the labels on the side, under heading topics. There is a ton of good information there, and lots of links to other sites about menopause.

Above all, know that I am still writing, still curious, still looking for new information and posting on under Musemother.

Have a happy peri-menopause, and check my blog for news of The Tao of Turning Fifty, what every woman in her forties needs to know about the menopausal journey, coming to a bookstore near you sometime in the near future.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rest is Radical

How is it we get to mid-life so tired?

I was talking with my husband last night over supper, trying to remember if I was this tired and stressed about everything when I was in my 20's and 30's.  No, absolutely not, unless memory fails me (which it does regularly, but that's another topic).

Before kids is more to the point - we started late, due to miscarriages, and I had my first child at 36, second at 38 years old. Barely time for them to hit puberty before I hit peri-menopause and more lack of sleep. My daughter had just started sleeping full nights in her own bed, when I began demanding it was time for her to tuck me in at 9:00 p.m.  I was very tired.

Now, postmenopause, I can say that my energy levels are better. I can even stay up till 11:00 p.m. without yawning too much.  However, rest days and naps are a saving grace, and I think they are wonderful medicine, and very cheap.

For example, last Sunday, I had a huge list of things to do, furniture to put outside if it was nice, bicycles to pump up, a year's worth of bills to file, and a messy home office that needed organizing.  But we had had a very rich dinner the night before at Au Pied du Cochon Suffice it to say that after the gravlax and buckwheat pancakes, pork and beef tourtiere, roast chicken, lobster stuffed cabbage, omelette, fried pork rinds (oreilles de crisse), and beef tongue, oh yes and the pea soup with foie gras starter, we could barely roll into our beds let alone roll out of them Sunday morning.

So we not only slept in, we had an afternoon nap after a hot bath.  It was a first for my husband, to ignore the list of spring cleaning items and just take it easy with a good book in the bathtub, then sleep in the afternoon. But how heavenly. And I thought, make this a real Sabbath, and take care of yourself for once.  Do not get up and read emails, or turn on the computer.  Unplug!

As you come into midlife, give yourself the gift of rest, at least once a week, and if you can make time every day! Rest is a radical option, cheaper than medication, and often all you need.

ps title taken from a chapter in The Piill, are yous ure it's for you, Jane Bennett and Alexandra Pope

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Weight Gain in Menopause

"women and men may be closer in size than the males and females of some other great apes not because men have been freed of the selective pressure toward enlarged body size but because women have been under some pressure to become fairly large themselves. Assuming that women have been selected for enhanced longevity - a long life after menopause - it helps to have a respectable body mass to persist through the decades. Large animals generally live longer than small animals. Many factors besides lifespan influence the evolution of a female's body size, including habitat, method of locomtion, diet and the demands of pregnancy and lactation....but it is possible that in the triangulating, negotiatingt process of adaptive change, women's physiology has seen a modest thrust toward maximizing body size while still remaining with the developmental constraints of reproductive demands. 

Afer all,women are the second largest female primates on the planet, bested only female gorillas who weigh an average of 185 pounds, compared to our nonobese norm of 125-130 pounds. Women are bigger than female orangutans, who weigh less than 100 pounds an dconsiderably bigger than female chimpanzees or bonobos. By comparison, men, with their standard weight of 160 pounds are much smaller than male gorillas, and smaller too than male organutans who average 200 poundes.

....what I am doing is offering grist for the argument that women need muscle mass more than men do, and that ... we must take the hint and make the most of our long-lived vessel. We need muscle....we have an extraordinary capacity for strength, the more impressive given our comparatively low levels of testosterone....Women are workhhorses in most of the developing world (carrying loads on ther heads or backs for miles and miles).  If the world's women went on strike, the world of work would effectively stop...."

The gist of her argument is that.. in the West, longevity has increased while the need for physical strength has declined. We are living longer....and we need muscle more than ever to protect our health. If we exchange muscle for fat as we age, we having nothing to shield our bones and weather illness.

fascinating book, by Natalie Angier, Woman, An Intimate Geography,

Monday, February 15, 2010

Menopause and Sex

"We are all born sexual beings, from the moment we are born till the day we die. Whether or not we are in a sexual relationship with another person, we can feel good in our bodies, appreciate sensual pleasures, and learn what excites us sexually. Our sexuality has the potential to be a powerful and positive force in our lives, filling us with energy and deepening our most intimate connections."

- Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era

There are million and one ways to find pleasure as a menopausal or peri-menopausal woman. Even if you think there is nothing left of your libido, don't give up on yourself. Sex is one of the few pleasures that doesn't make you fat or raise your cholesterol, so you'd think more women would indulge.

Part of low libido could be from fatigue, from overwork, from not wanting to give into one more demand on our fragile ecosystem. I think women are used to 'putting out' as they call it, instead of being able to receive.

One day on Oprah 2 years ago, I heard Dr. Christiane Nortrhup talk about how we can revisualize our whole bodies as an erogenous zone, not just the genitalia. It takes some imagination, some dream time, but you can use whatever props or visual aids you need to help you feel excited again about sex. Sometimes, what a woman needs is some self-loving, and for some of us, an extra aid to achieve that goal.

If you are also interested in the environment, here is a website with some eco-friendly sex . which I found on the redtent sisters

Monday, February 1, 2010

Let's hear it for menopause

This excerpt is from the Power of Aging an article about 80 year old activist Betty Krawczyk.

"Grandmothers have long played an important role in sustaining life and nurturing their families and the community at large, Betty says.
"The human female is the only animal to live so long after the reproductive organs shut down," she says, adding that according to anthropologists, the role of providing food for the clan often fell to older women when the traditional male 'hunter' could not find enough.
"Menopause allowed older women to give back to the community by allowing them to focus not on reproducing, but nurturing," Betty says. In fact, when looking at human evolution, menopause was the gift "nature gave to the human species that enabled our species to multiply and spread out over the globe."
It is this "ancient connection between old and young" and the tradition of elder leadership that Betty says more older people need to embrace. "Elders and grandmothers in particular are way too meek and mild," she says, adding that to harness the power born of experience, more older people need to insist on an important leadership role.
Betty Krawczyk is the author of Clallyoquot: The Sound of my Heart and Lock Me Up or Let Me Go.

Excerpt from an interview with Betty:
Elders and grandmothers in particular are way too meek and mild. We are a huge population and we should go straight for the sources of power, not to become co-managers of a monstrous unmanageable environmental and economic mess, but to strike out for new territory in refusing to accept the corporate culture as an ideal way to live.
Practically speaking, running for office, getting behind progressive moves that promises to make children a priority, that promises to actually bring forth measures to preserve the environment before every last tree is cut, every last fish caught, every bit of farm land developed, etc., grandmothers know what needs to be done if our life support systems are to be preserved and we should be busy about doing them.

Read the whole article at:

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Menopause the Musical

If you are anywhere in your forties and wondering what menopause is about, go see Menopause the Musical.
It is hilarious.  Using songs from the 60's and 70's, the 4 women characters act, sing and dance their way through several floors of Bloomingdale's while consoling themselves and each other about hot flashes, memory loss, empowerment, mothers who still see them as children even though they have grown children of their own, and a host of other funny scenarios.

I laughed out loud a lot! and so did the theatre full of women - some young, some middle-aged, some accompanied by men (ok about 12 men in the whole theatre, I counted).

It feels good to laugh at the uproar The change causes in women's lives. Enjoy!


Friday, January 15, 2010

Great articles on menopause

One of the great advantages to the web and to this blog is the speed with which we can discover or uncover new information.

I've been thinking about rewriting the front section of the Tao of Turning 50, a manual for peri-menopause, but busy in the car doing errands all morning.  Just got home and my sister had left me an email with a website link from a wholistic pharmacist in Calgary, friend of hers, and someone who writes about menopause with great intelligence and scientific knowledge.

Here's the link: to RoseMarie Pierce's article on menopause:

and there are some wonderful articles about PMS and the hormonal imbalances that contribute to it.
Most of us think we need estrogen, and she points out that estrogen dominance and low progesterone also are culprits of PMS and menopausal symptoms.

thanks for sharing, Sue
always on the look-out for wise women input,


Monday, January 11, 2010

Honour the Feminine Quest

What is it to enter menopause? is it merely the cessation of your period? is it a mid-life reorientation project? is it about losing your memory and having hot flashes? losing your fertility?

Or is this a journey you are embarking on, a deeper phase to your woman's journey, a developing and continuing and an unknowing. It feels to me like a labyrinthe in the woods, a circular path that branches out and leads in so many different directions it's easy to get lost.

What is the path of a woman's life?  especially a woman who decides to have children, who gives over her body to create another body.  How does she regain her centre (if she has lost it)? and how does she keep those boundaries clear - me, us, them? How does she find herself again? Menopause is part of that journey.

Menopause is not an overnight thing. It creeps up on you slowly. You don't notice it happening until one day you realize your period hasn't come this month, and your pregnancy test comes back negative.  Then it comes back the next six mnnths so you forget about it.  Or your PMS increases to two weeks out of the month, and if you really stop and look at it, you see your emotional landscape is a little out of control.  Or maybe you aren't sleeping at night and even Chamomile tea or hot milk doesn't help the little gerbil on its cage running all night long in your brain to calm down.

There are many many symptoms, and lots of websites to describe them to you. What this blog tries to point to is not the symptoms, but the journey.  It's as if you were on the highway to Ottawa from Montreal, and took a side road without realizing it.  You look up and wonder where you are, the landscape doesn't look familiar, the trees are in the wrong place, and the road signs post names of towns you don't remember or recognize. You need to figure out where you are.

Honour your not knowing by standing still.  The first thing to do when you feel lost, is to stop. Stop running in circles, stop pretending you know where you are.  Stop and ask for help.

Someone who has been there before may help you. Someone who has been lost and found the way again.

A woman's way has been largely uncharted till recently.  The women who came before us were told they didn't matter, or they were second best.  The male hero story describes the quest of the masculine, but where are the stories of the feminine quest?

There are many wise women who are writing now about women's cycles, women's journey, woman's life trajectory, especially about menopause.  Browse this website for some of their articles, for reviews of their books, for mention of the sacred journey.

It is time to honour your own knowing.  Begin with admitting you don't know, and stay with the question. Questing. 


blogflux list of blogs about menopause

Directory of Women Blogs