Art is therapy…
February, phew, what a month! What was I thinking? It all started when I thought I’d treat myself on Valentine’s Day – not with roses, chocolates, or a candlelit dinner, but with waffles. Why waffles? Because everyone wants love on Valentine’s Day, and for me, love is warm waffles, with all the holes filled in with trans-fatty margarine, and the whole thing drowning in sugary syrup. Mmmmm, pure ecstasy. Better than sex.
Since it had been something like 10-15 years since I last ate waffles, I figured I had denied myself far too long; all those years ago, I had forced myself to stop eating this heavenly treat because they were sooooo fattening. And since I had other treats to turn to at the time, it wasn’t too hard to give up.
But, after eons of avoiding waffles – and Valentine’s Day – this year I decided I was going to thoroughly indulge myself. After all, who was I saving my waistline for? Oh, so delicious! Happy, happy serotonin levels! Mmmmm, more, more, more! That was the problem. I ended up indulging every day after that – inhaling about 4-5 waffles a day (I managed to eke out a little will-power) – for the next two weeks.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, I also started adding other artery-clogging items to my diet like sausage, mayo and more butter; it was as if waffles became the gateway drug to worse things. I also made a huge pot of pasta salad (something else I hadn’t had in a long time) – extra heavy on the mayo.
It wasn’t long after I had finished eating up all that pasta salad, that problems began. I awoke at 4:30 in the morning having trouble breathing, and it wasn’t asthma. A couple of hours later my left arm was tingling, and it continued to tingle, on and off, the rest of the day. Um, wait, aren’t these symptoms of something bad – like a heart attack or stroke?
The next day, the tingling finally stopped, but my heart started to do these little shudders, or stutters, for a few seconds at a time. And this happened every few hours. Uh-oh. I guess I became a little worried. Maybe I had pushed my dietary luck just a bit too far.
Then, wouldn’t you know it, I began feeling this somewhat persistent pressure in my chest. Now, maybe I was a little anxious (picture Fred Sanford clutching his chest and hollering, “I’m comin’ to join ya, Elizabeth”). OK, definitely time to cut out the waffles, etc., cold turkey.
Well, it’s been several days now and I’m still alive, so I guess I was just being a hypochondriac, silly me – although I still periodically feel some pressure in my chest.
I guess it has, at least, motivated me to cut out all that junk and to eat a little bit better, though. At least for now. It’s really hard to stick to. I am really struggling with cravings for more waffles – and other fattening foods. Anyway…
*sigh* No more waffles, no more happy serotonin. To make make matters worse, my jeans are so tight, I can’t even button them anymore.
And all this extra weight has totally exacerbated my hot flashes, and that’s the last thing I need. I guess I’m never too old to do something stupid. So, that was my Valentine’s celebration. My last one. Lesson learned(?).
But, unfortunately, it is all in my head. And I don’t think it’s going to go away any time soon.
I have a constant ringing in my ears. I first noticed it several years ago, however, it wasn’t all that penetrating then – practically a whisper. But the sound level steadily increased, and then, became markedly pronounced last year for some reason; it’s noticeable even with the TV on. And, OMG, is it ever loud when everything else is quiet, like when I’m in bed – and covering my ears doesn’t block it out.
At times, it interferes with my sleep – only to compete with the neighbor’s dog that barks half the night – all making me quite tired in the mornings. Which leaves me feeling just a wee bit cranky sometimes. Just another sign of aging, I guess.
It must have been all those decades of noise, starting with disco in the 70′s. Unlike other teenagers, I wasn’t fond of ear-splitting ‘music.’ Those extreme decibels really bothered me, but I certainly wasn’t going to stay home just to avoid it – that would have been a real bummer, after all, girls just wanna have fun – which happened to be anywhere the boys were.
.Let’s see… then there were hair dryers, vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chain saws, and a variety of power tools over the years. Yup, I did it to myself, and now I’m paying for it. If only I had done a lot less vacuuming…
So, now I’ve got this inescapable, constant, annoying, ringing in my ears. (*sigh*) Actually it’s more of a high-pitched electronic whine or hum, rather than a ‘ringing’ – like from those TV test patterns.
Oftentimes, the ringing in my ears reminds me of a certain song: ‘Wichita Lineman‘ by Glen Campbell, who then starts crooning in my head:
I hear you singin’ in the wire
I can hear you through the whine
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the l-i-i-i-i-i-ine
I don’t know why, but it’s a soothing diversion; just my brain trying to make the best of a bad situation, I guess. It’s certainly better than, when at other times, the ringing triggers memories of the intro to the old ‘Outer Limits’ TV show: ‘There is nothing wrong with your television set,’ etc. Geez, that TV test pattern sound was annoying!
But back to more pleasant distractions: ‘ I hear you singin’ in the wire…’
And even though the season has passed, another comforting song occasionally pops into my head for relief: the Christmas song ‘Do You Hear What I Hear?’ :
Aaaah, so much better to have loud ringing countered by pleasant music. So it’s not all bad – yet. Fingers crossed. Now if I could only find some small relief from that dog’s constant barking…
With another birthday approaching, I can’t help but take a critical assessment of myself in the mirror. Like anyone else, I want to see if I really look any older. Hmmmmm… not really? Well, you see the problem.
So as my eyesight (and my mind) diminishes, I find that I have to be very careful. For instance, when I look in the mirror, I don’t see any wrinkles. Now, I’m about to turn 56 years old, and there is no way that I don’t have wrinkles, but because my eyesight is a wee bit fuzzy, I can’t see some of my flaws. Yeah, read between the lines on that one.
Anyway, the cautionary tale here is that because I see no wrinkles, I can easily delude myself into thinking that I am still quite young-looking – I could convince myself to wear clothes that are totally inappropriate and laughable for a woman my age! On top of that, I just might trowel on too much makeup. And that would not be a pretty sight.
Of course, my vision isn’t so bad that I don’t notice some highly visible age spots on my face. And when I try to camouflage them with foundation makeup – or concealer – it never does a very good job. But worse than that, it seems that darn foundation accentuates every single fine line (AKA wrinkles) across my face – especially when I smile!
Well, maybe I need a little help when applying my makeup; I certainly don’t want to look like some decrepit clown. So I searched high and low, and finally found my old ‘hot pink’ magnifying makeup mirror that I used to use waaaaaay back in the Seventies (which I thought I’d never need again once my zits cleared up!). That was a bad mistake.
So it seems I have two choices: never smile again, or go without the mediocre foundation. Unfortunately, I have been programmed from a very young age to smile when meeting people, so I guess the foundation has to go. But now every blemish – age spots, uneven skin tone, etc – stands out! OK, learn not to smile. Aaargh! What is a middle-aged menopausal girl to do?!?
Here’s a thought – accept it. I am getting old. Right. But you know how it is – you don’t feel old, so you don’t want to look old. *sigh* Having birthdays to remind you you’re getting old sucks.
Wait …fattening myself up will fill in those wrinkles, won’t it? Bring on the cake and ice cream!!
Tell me, why would doctors recommend walking as a form of exercise for those of us who are middle-aged, when everyone knows that it causes memory loss? Seriously, how many of you have walked into a room and forgotten why?
The most inconvenient time for this is when I’m in the shower. “Buy more shampoo, buy more shampoo, buy more shampoo,” I chant, carrying the nearly empty bottle in one hand, as I sprint to the kitchen, dripping wet, to add it to the grocery list. Forget trying to remember to do it after my shower – it just ain’t gonna happen.
So alas, because of my short-circuited memory, this is now my new routine to remember things – stop in the middle of whatever I’m doing and make the mad dash – be it shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, floss, or whatever.
OK, I do draw the line when it comes to toilet paper…