What the Cluck is going on?

I have a golden chicken, who has the same name as all her identical golden sisters – “Goldie”, because honestly I can’t tell them apart and so the name just fits them all and I’m not sure they would; a) ever respond to it or b) they probably don’t give a poop what their name is!

Anyway, Goldie has taken it upon herself to be the broody one of the flock. She has sat in the same nesting box for around 3 weeks now, just sitting and waiting for something to happen. If anything does occur it will be a miracle for sure! Maybe the Golden Egg!! But other than stealing her sister’s eggs that they diligently lay for me every morning, she makes no contribution of her own. Now, the eggs that she does steal, she incubates at the optimal temperature, carefully mothering them and squawking madly at me every day as I open the nesting box lid. She is being a very good and protective mother hen! BUT!!!! One thing that Goldie has all wrong in this scenario is, even a golden miracle will not happen for her, as the eggs will never become more than just poached with a nice side of bacon, or scrambled with some hot sauce!  The reason they will never be anymore than just breakfast is that Goldie’s stolen eggs are not fertilized, because WE DON’T HAVE A ROOSTER!! I guess she didn’t get the memo when Mel Gibson was sent to live on a new farm and terrorize some other poor unsuspecting chicken lover.

So, why am I blogging about this on my Finding Me At Fifty page? Because I totally get her! Goldie, I have realized, has some major hormone issues going on and she is on a never-ending wheel of trying to do what she thinks she should, but it just isn’t happening for her! Goldie and I are one!  We are both thinking, “What the cluck is going on with my body?”

I was (and still am) excited about turning Fifty… I have been waiting until there was something meaningful to blog about rather than just my routine day or some new ventures I have taken up (actually there is one… but I’m not ready to share that just yet !). So Goldie is probably fluffing her feathers in excitement as I thank her for the inspiration and spotlight she cast on the issue of hormones and the female body!

A couple of weeks ago, I went for my annual Well-Woman check up as I do every year. To my friends, if you don’t, please make it a habit – prevention is better than the cure! And to young female friends, if you still have your Kegel muscles tightly tucked up and your boobs where they should be hanging, then be prepared, the day will come that you will understand this blog!

Anyway, I have been going faithfully every year since I was in my 20’s and honestly, it’s not any worse than a bad afternoon of sex – just lay back, stare at the ceiling and it’s all over in a couple of minutes! Even with my mammogram I haven’t found that to be a big issue, but I do lend my sympathy to my tender breasted friends. I am a big supporter for breast cancer awareness and prevention, and if my insurance pays for an annual squeeze, then I am game. The breast-care center I go to gives you a warm robe on arrival and you sit in a cozy waiting area with herbal teas and citrus infused water as you wait. So I kind of pretend that I am going to the spa – except I am getting a deep-tissue booby squish instead of the hot-stone massage.

But lets gets back to that Well-Woman visit I had – the mammogram spa is not for another few weeks…

Arriving, I sat in the waiting room and glanced around at my fellow female companions waiting to be called. I must admit I still feel a little twinge of jealousy at the younger women who are proudly rubbing their protruding baby bellies and the pretty blonde with her handsome male companion – no sign of a bump yet, but maybe just newly pregnant and starting their journey out as parents. Then there is the young female, around my girls age, hopefully taking good care of herself and making sure she is not gonna be a baby momma anytime soon. Then the ladies in their more mature ages, hopefully just routine annuals like me? I love to people watch and try to figure out everyone’s story – just to pass time. I wonder if those young females look at me and wonder what the ancient 50-year old lady is here for – what business do I have at the OB/Gyn when obviously my baby making days are past? Well, that shop is closed and all I can do is maintain the vacant space – so girls, that’s what I’m here for!

My doctor entered the room and all of a sudden my appointment went from be my annual visit, to a “Welcome to 50” party.! The questionnaire I had filled in was studied and then the question and answer session began. I had a few questions I needed some answers to and she had a few suggestions in mind for me. This is when we got real and it was probably the most cringe worthy part – more than the actual Pap Smear.

Get my mammo spa day scheduled [appointment – check] and also it’s time for a Bone Density test. Yep, now my age alerts me that I am a potential suspect for Osteoporosis. So far my bones seem pretty sturdy, except for a broken toe here and there – but I put that down to drunk day on a cruise and walking into a sun lounger! Ok – let’s get the bones screened [appointment – check].

Then she throws this one in – time to schedule the Colonoscopy! Oh shit! Yes – literally!Well the thought of this made me raise my eyebrows and clench up just a tad… Hmmm. Ok another orifice to be poked. Can’t be so bad as long as I am totally out of it, except I hear the preparation is the worst part, and then the gas after…. Ok, I’ll add that to my list of must do’s in the near future, but I am a procrastinating just a bit on that one…

Next on the agenda, let’s talk peeing. Yep… full disclosure, this has become somewhat of an interesting challenge recently! My girls literally roll their eyes at me when we get to the mall, and I survey Macy’s for the nearest restroom –  “Really, you just went!” Yes, I have probably frequented most public restrooms in all local Target stores, HEB grocery stores and the Mall, but at least I know the clean ones and the ones to avoid (if my bladder permits).  So show me some hands ladies – who can relate?

When we gotta go, we gotta go. And I WILL NOT want to buy into the “now they are pretty” adult underwear saga. Oh no…. not even if they make them into a cute thong, which would probably defeat the purpose anyway!

So, if for some reason like maybe pushing two bowling ball size babies out that end, you find that things have become a little loose and the bladder is on it’s own agenda, apparently there is now an interesting solution. It’s a chair that you just sit on, fully clothed and “non-invasive”!  Uh-huh! And you do nothing but read a book for 30 minutes. Supposedly, just half an hour of sitting on this chair is the equivalent of doing 1000 Kegel exercises – whew – I’m sweating at the thought! Just six sessions and there is supposed to be some life changing results. Well damn – sign me up – It’s just another spa day for my Pelvic Floor.

OK – so far we have cover the Boobs, Bones, Lady Bits, Bum, Bladder and now onto the Blood work!  Let’s check the hormones, thyroid and general blood work and see what is going on with all that.

This is the bit I am hoping will bring me some answers – the magic “Ahhhhh…. that’s what happening” answers! I have been struggling with my weight for years now… like a freaking yoyo – up and down and it seems the more I try, the harder it is. You know me, I am not inactive – I teach yoga and Pilates 5 days a week and I walk 3.5 miles at least 3 to 4 times a week, more sometimes. So, let’s see if the thyroid is acting up or those damn female hormones preparing my body for the looming menopause – like it’s storing up fat for hibernation season.

Well, It turns out that I have extremely low testosterone! What!!! I didn’t realize that it had such an impact on women, more a guy thing!  Ok, DUH moment (yes I hear you all say it), but what does that mean? Well, apparently being too low effects woman in many ways, and here is an interesting list of side effects….

I shall not comment on which particular ones I have (TMI), but it’s a pretty informative list!!

  • Dry skin
  • Thinning skin, or skin has lost its fullness
  • Fatigue
  • Poor tolerance for exercise
  • Loss of muscle tone in arms and legs
  • Poor memory or concentration
  • Loss of libido (no comment!!)
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Loss of motivation or competitive edge
  • Gaining fat around abdomen or “love handles” (that hibernation time)
  • Difficulty building or maintaining muscle
  • Loss of bone density or osteoporosis (uh oh – the broken toe!!)

OK, so now we are on to something and that’s a lot of stuff that can be affected!

BUT there it is – the hibernation fat! I knew it had to be there somewhere… is that the answer I seek oh wise one?  And another Aha moment – the memory loss/ lack of concentration (yes, you can ask my girls about that because I already forgot what I was saying!)

So I have opted for the pellet hormone treatment – tiny pellets inserted under the skin at the hip – and I am hoping that in a few weeks, I am seeing some magical results and my hormones get themselves back to a healthy functioning place…. But hopefully I won’t be growing a beard or chest hair!

So, as I wait anxiously to see some changes, I am very thankful for a healthy outcome of my Yearly check-up.  I survived another year!  Let’s all hope that poor Goldie, the hormonal chicken, soon realizes that her miracle is not going to happen, gets out that damn nest and starts to cluck around again with sisters!

A New Season of Life

As I reach the age of 50, I find that not only I am now an empty-nester, but I seem to have lost myself, my identity! After 6 years of turmoil affecting our family, followed by an emotional break down (mine), I was left wondering, “WHO AM I?” So this blog is about me, Natalie, rediscovering myself and finding me at FIFTY. It’s about finding my tribe – those people who hold me up and support me at this place where I am in life, right now. It’s about meeting those women who just plain get me and laugh with me (and maybe even at me)! It’s about finding courage to pursue new passions, taking job opportunities, taking up hobbies I’ve never tried, and traveling to new places (even alone)! And as selfish as it might sound, it’s about making time to start taking care of me!

When the clock strikes midnight tonight, and March 15th begins, it will be a New Year for me! I shall be turning 50 years old! The BIG 5-0!

Last week, I received my application in the mail to join AARP, inviting me to start claiming my Senior discounts on movie tickets and eye-wear. Thanks AARP, but I don’t feel like a Senior at 50 and I really am not ready to be called one yet! I don’t think I even act like a senior – whatever that might look like? Do you ever just look at someone and think how put together they are, graceful and composed, saying intelligent things? The people that make you think to yourself, “Wow, they have really got their shit together?” I do often and wonder when I might start feeling grown-up myself. No, I don’t think I am old – not yet! So, I’ll hold up on that membership!

On this day before my 50th birthday, I feel like it’s News Years Eve, when we say goodbye to the past year and look ahead with excitement to January 1st. It’s that magic day when we pull out our freshly written list of New Year’s resolutions that we are determined, finally, to take on. An opportunity to make a fresh start on things we failed over the past 12 months and vow to make it the best year yet. I wait with anticipation, my new journal at the ready, clean fresh pages waiting to document these amazing things I will do, while jotting down inspirational life quotes that will be my guide in this new era. Oh yes, I am ready for the clock to chime midnight!

This New Year brings me into a whole new decade – long gone are my 30’s and now I bid farewell to my 40’s. Slowly, my ability to bear children is waning away with Menopause looming in the not so distance future. Those two little girls I was blessed to have are maturing into beautiful and independent women and as much as they probably will always need something from me – it’s just different! My role of being their mom will take on a new meaning. My purpose in life is changing. I am entering the Fall Season of my life!

Fall is my favorite time of year – the heat of the summer is beginning to fade – well as much as it does in south Texas. The leaves are starting to turn and bring beautiful new shades of color from the camouflaging greens of the grass, plants and trees. The smell of bonfires burning as leaves are swept and burned. Gradual changes in the wardrobe, allowing those jeans, leggings and boots to come out of hiding – and we can throw away the razor for a few months! The crock-pot getting dusted off, ready to make warm delicious bubbling casseroles. The onset of the holiday season – one arriving soon after another, with stores overlapping their shelves between Halloween and Christmas decorations. It’s a time of change and reflection of the summer past. Not time to totally slow down and hibernate, but to embrace the transitions that come.

The Spring Season of life is when we are born and into our 20’s and maybe early 30’s. We spend those early years of life growing, learning and making our way successfully, or unsuccessfully into adulthood. Those precious years we spent educating ourselves, honing life skills, finding our way in our careers, and preparing us for the next stage of life, to raise a family. For some, raising a family may be their life’s purpose, having spent many years dreaming of that and how their perfect wedding, family and home will look to them. So to me, Spring-time is about the preparation for our lives – getting us ready to sow our seeds in the Summer.

During my Summer Season of life, I was blessed with two beautiful daughters. My summer was spent nurturing that little garden that had been carefully prepared; lovingly and tirelessly, feeding, watering and tending to the every need of my precious saplings. It was my job to provide many opportunities to fertilize their minds so they could grow strong, while protecting them from any element that came and threatened to damage them.

Last August, drew my Summer season to a close, as we drove our youngest daughter the 8 hours to move her into college. After a weekend of carefully decorating her dorm room, making that small space as homely as we could, we said our tearful goodbyes and started that long journey home with one less person in the car. I was listening to the radio and “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac came on.  One particular line stood out to me; “Can I handle the seasons of my life?” That is when it dawned on me that I was officially an empty nester and this was the onset of that new season in my life – it was time for Fall!

My life is changing as quick as the leaves, and what had always been structured around my kids, is now taking a very different direction.  Gazing out the car window that day, at the miles of flat Texas landscape around us, I thought, “So now what the fuck do I do?”

It has taken me 6 months to digest this thought and, so on the Eve of my birthday, I think that I am ready to handle the next season of my life!

Are you?