Friday, December 23, 2011

The Twelve Days Of Menopausal Christmas

     "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me..."
     One portable purse-size fan

     Two deep tissue massage sessions (preferably with Johnny Depp or George Clooney)

     Three vodka martinis (can I invite Depp and Clooney?)

     Four pairs of elastic waist band pants (for all the bloating after the martinis)

     Five jars of age spot cream (never should have spent my college years swilling cheap beer and sunbathing on the beach!)

     Six diet pills (how else am I going to get rid of the 5 pounds of holiday weight gain? I'm still carrying around the "freshman 15" and I graduated 30 years ago!)

     Seven bottles of champagne (all holiday weight gain can be traced back to this)

     Eight female Viagra pills (not necessary if Depp or Clooney was involved)

     Nine energy drinks (so I can do more stupid stuff at a faster pace)

     Ten antidepressant pills (again, not necessary if Depp or Clooney are involved)

     Eleven ice packs (to line the bed at night so I don't wake up in multiple hot flashes)

     Twelve bars of chocolate (it had better be Godiva!)

     On the thirteenth day of Christmas...yeah, I need another day because you forgot to send Guy Fieri my way. Who else am I going to share my Godivas with???

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tis The Season

     "It's the most wonderful time of the year!"  Yeah, maybe if I kidnapped the Keebler Elves to do all my shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating and then had them give me a foot massage along with a box of those fudgy cookies they're notorious for.
     For us, the "season" officially starts after the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers are finished, including all that gelled cranberry stuff that ends up in the dog's bowl or someone's unlucky lunch box. It's at this point that my husband has the urge to gas up the mommy mobile and head for the Ozarks to hibernate for a month, just to avoid putting up the Christmas lights.
     Twenty-three rubber storage bins loaded with what my husband fondly refers to as "Christmas crap" are nestled under the rafters in our attic.  Baby Jesus is still sleeping up there, alongside Frosty The Snowman, Santa and a wire reindeer with a bum leg.  Something got into the attic last year and ate the Three Wise Men, but the way my husband sees it, that's one less box of crap to haul down from the attic.  I don't know why he complains so much---all he has to do is decorate our lawn with thousands of LED lights so that it's bright enough to be seen by NASA from the sky.  I'm the one who is always stuck doing the indoor decorations, which includes a motion-activated Santa and a drunk-looking reindeer that shakes his hips and sings,"Shake Your Booty!"  Then there's all the twinkling Christmas characters I bought several years ago during my fiber optics craze.  I also have to assemble an entire village with little lighted houses, shops and Christmas carolers.
     Once the tree is up and the house is decorated inside and out, the extensive shopping list is next to be tackled.  This is my LEAST favorite part of Christmas.  I'd prefer to recline on the couch with a glass of spiked egg nog rather than wait in the long lines at department stores at 3:00 a.m. when all the zombies from The Walking Dead come out to feast.  Maybe if the store managers offered people little cups of spiked egg nog while they waited in line, no one would ever complain again.
     Next comes the party circuit that lasts several weekends in December.  I always start off the holiday festivities in something sexy and black with strappy little heels.  By the end of the month, I'm popping fiber pills by the dozens to counteract the alcohol and high calorie appetizers I've been grazing on at all the parties and swapping heels for bathroom slippers because my toes are permanently damaged from being jammed into stilettos every weekend.
     As the 25th of December draws near, I'm forced to max out my credit card on Scotch tape, bows and wrapping paper.  By Christmas eve I've gone into my frenzied, gift wrapping mode without the aid of the Keebler Elves.
     When Christmas day finally arrives, I'm always dismayed by the amount of pine needles that have already fallen off my tree.  I can never vacuum fast enough to catch them all because they multiply overnight like rabbits.  I'll even find a stray pine needle or two while I'm decorating the house for our Fourth Of July celebration.
     After living on a diet of rum cakes and gingerbread men, I'm ready to start my New Year's resolution to lose weight.  This usually lasts two to three days, then it's back to my old menopausal ways of being cranky, hungry, hot flashy, tired and impatient.
     Why oh why can't they sell spiked egg nog all year 'round?!?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Old Bag

       The other day while I was driving, my purse fell off the passenger seat when I hit the brakes and  landed upside-down on the floor.  No time to tidy it up at a red light, I blindly stuffed everything back inside it, appalled when my fingers brushed against something sticky.  I haven't bothered to organize it in a while, and frankly, I'm a little frightened about what I might find inside.  Yes, I am one of those women who drags the same old bag around year after year until the seams split or an uncapped pen leaks into the fabric.  I'm the odd one at the party with a white tote bag draped over my shoulder in the middle of December.  You might as well tape a sign on my back that reads, "BAD WITH PURSES!"
     I hate buying new purses, and have little interest in swapping them out for other bags in various sizes and colors.  Perhaps if I was the corporate type, I'd have enough purses and shoes to match all my color-coordinated outfits.  But the truth is I work in the home, so there is no need to purchase a bag to match my bathrobe or another to match a pair of ratty shorts and a t-shirt with a ketchup stain on it ( "Excuse me Sir, does this purse come in the color of red splotches and sweat stains?).  I own a simple, utility brown bag that matches nothing and therefore matches everything.... and is large enough to stuff half of my house into it.  There might even be a kid or two inside.  I've never understood women who are capable of managing several purses at one time, and am a bit envious of their ability to match their bags to their shade of toenail polish.
     My purse is one of those special organizer bags that has millions of separate compartments like the squares in a shadow box.  I'm convinced these bags were designed for women with Attention Deficit Disorder.  I can pack all kinds of stupid stuff in my purse, like a half-eaten lollipop, an uncapped lipstick and a crumpled napkin from last month's garden club luncheon.
     I'm slow to change, but I'll admit that when I'm forced to buy a new purse, I feel hopeful, like I've been given a second chance to organize my life and start all over if the purse defines who I am.  New purse, new me.  The old bag is tossed into my closet, the graveyard for all my mismatched, outdated purses.  This includes my baggy giraffe tote, a leopard print handbag, a gold, sequined purse that has seen better days and a tiny, black leather pouch that dates back to my college days when all I needed was a driver's license and a tube of lipstick to score a free drink at the bar.
     I kept my cheetah print purse the longest, despite the holes in the lining where unknown amounts of makeup and coins have disappeared.  Animal print bags used to be sexy.  If I carried one around now, I'd look like a menopausal, middle age woman lugging around a dead zebra.  Why I ever wanted a bag that resembled a large, exotic animal, I'll never know.  Thank God I wasn't keen on elephants.
     With the New Year only months away, I feel it is time to purge the clutter, start fresh and venture into the dark abyss of my organizer handbag that is not so organized.  Some people feel that a woman's purse is a reflection of her housekeeping skills.  The opposite is true for me; I keep a clean house but the contents of my purse look like the aftermath of a tornado.  I don't care because there will be no unexpected visitors knocking at my door to crawl around inside my purse to judge my cleaning skills.
     If my purse could talk, it would tell you that I am usually distracted while I am carrying it around on my shoulder and that I am negligent about throwing anything away.  My purse doubles as my personal trash can.  I just keep forgetting to clean it out.  My husband once ventured inside my purse in search of an insurance card.  Moments later he looked like a shell-shocked soldier returning from the battlefields.
     Once I start fishing around inside the black hole that is my purse, the first thing that I encounter is a set of keys, most of which belong to my house.  Unfortunately, there are also keys to houses of neighbors who have long since moved away and keys to a car I sold five years ago.  There is also a single aspirin, three nickels, a tampon that has torn free from it's wrapper (tells you how long it has been since I've had a period!), a mini toothbrush that looks like it was used to scrub the grout in my bathroom tiles, one fuzzy, stray mint, expired credit cards, an old granola bar, cracked reading glasses, pens that have run out of ink, a deflated tube of sunscreen, dental floss, antacids and a receipt from Walt Disney World dated 2007.  Oh, and that sticky stuff at the bottom of my purse?  A melted chocolate bar from Halloween.  I have plenty of the boring stuff in there, too---cosmetic bag, cell phone, hairbrush, wallet---the purse can hold anything, which is why I like it.  I can stuff an extra pair of shoes in it, a change of clothes, a water bottle and enough food to last a week in the wilderness.  I don't understand women who pay thousands of dollars on designer bags the size of a postage stamp.  I'll keep my ugly, suitcase-size purse until it finally expires from neatness neglect.  And then I'll buy another one just like it, which I promise will remain clean and organized...for at least the first month.


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