Sunday, October 28, 2012

You Might Be in the Country III

Hey, y'all! It's time for another installment of "You Might Be in the Country!" Every trip to SoGa gives me a little inspiration.

If you tend to ride shotgun to an actual shotgun...You might be in the country.

If you ask a man to name the four seasons, and the response is: "Deer (Archery), Deer (Firearms), Turkey, and Bear!"...You might be in the country.

If your local grocery store is not concerned about being politically correct...You might be in the country.

If you get the "stink eye" when mentioning "Honey Boo Boo"...You might be in the country.

If directions to the main highway involve two stop signs that are 15 miles apart and a blinking light...You might be in the country.

If the peanut patch across the road from you has more than peanut shells in it (thanks to target practice from your front porch)...You might be in the country.

If the inmates at the county jail (which is no bigger than a McDonalds) wear black and white striped jumpsuits, but are allowed to smoke out front (chained up, of course)...You might be in the country.

If the street you live on looks like this...You might be in the country!
If the cup holder in your truck is always occupied by a "spit cup"...You might be in the country.

If you refer to your relatives as your "kin"...You might be in the country.

If you can visit your "kin," who live several miles away, without putting a tire to the road (just go through the woods)...You might be in the country.

If you can prominently display Christian literature in your restaurant without drawing attention from the ACLU...You might be in the country.

If the local school bus driver comes to your front door to inform you that she ran over a rattlesnake crossing the dirt road to your house with her school bus...You might be in the country.
Deer...It's what's for dinner!

If that same school bus driver stops in front of your house to ask if your dog had her puppies yet...You might be in the country.

If deer meat is as likely to be in your chili or spaghetti sauce as ground beef...You might be in the country. 

If calling deer meat "venison" is considered uppity...You might be in the country.

If you know that the bright green liquid in the containers at the edge of a cotton field are NOT hand sanitizer...You might be in the country.

If you know that a Mudd Bogg is an event and a precise location is not necessary to attend because you know where it is...You might be in the country.
If your local gas station went out of business when gas cost $1- per gallon, but the building and sign are still standing...You might be in the country.

If the fall weather is warm and sunny enough and the daytime to wear jeans and a t-shirt, but cold enough at night to sleep under two blankets and still need to snuggle and the only sound you hear outside on a peaceful morning is honking geese flying by...
You most certainly are in the country. :)

With love and aloha ~ Nancy

Thursday, October 18, 2012

40-Something Women are HOT!

"At night I wake up with the sheets soakin' wet and a freight train runnin' through the middle of my head..."                                                                                                    
~Bruce Springsteen
Sacred Fire of Pele by Olga Shevchenko
Could Bruce have possibly been menopausal when he wrote "I'm on Fire" or did he have a middle-aged female songwriter? Seriously, the road to menopause is slick with sweat. It's treacherous and it's NO FUN! And why is it called "menoPAUSE" anyway? It's not like your "meno" is ever going to restart. Once it's over, it's over. They should call it "menostop". 

Now, I'm "only" 42 (well, almost), which is relatively young to have to deal with menopause. But, I have actually been dealing with night sweats for years already...and they are only getting worse with each passing month. (I suppose that technically, I am in "perimenopause," or the transition into menopause.) I have come to expect that at least 7-10 nights per month, like Bruce, I will "wake up with the sheets soakin' wet." (The freight train all depends on how much stress I'm under at the given time.) The strangest thing about it is that it happens like clockwork. Forty-five minutes after I close my eyes, I wake up with a puddle on my chest and start "fluffing" the covers. Sweat literally drips from my chest - and usually ONLY from my chest. The rest of my body seems to remain at normal temperature. I would love to have one of those thermal imaging cameras to detect the temperature difference between my chest and the rest of my body.  It doesn't matter what time of year it is, or what I wear to bed (or don't), like clockwork, the night sweats come. I've often wondered if I could possibly be the victim of spontaneous human combustion if my night sweats wouldn't put out the fire.

So far, I haven't experienced any hot flashes during the day. I know they are coming, and I'm not looking forward to it. I think it's funny how open women are about this, though. When I was in San Diego on business, I was waiting in line at the FedEx office, standing under the A/C vent and freezing. The 40/50-something woman in front of me said, "Honey, you have goosebumps, trade places with me. I'd love to be under the vent! I'm flashing!" LOL! I also remember my former neighbor (whom I adored) eagerly looking forward to her annual trip to Colorado so that she could "just lay in the snow naked," to relieve her hot flashes. 

I have tried herbal supplements, which either didn't work or had side effects that were just as bad as the night sweats themselves. (Warning: If you decide to give black cohosh a try, pick up a box of Monistat while you are at the store.) I hesitate to go the estrogen route, as I know that taking estrogen can make a woman more susceptible to breast cancer. So, for a few days a month, like millions of other 40-50-something women, I deal.

During this time of the month when I'm "in heat," all sorts of songs come to mind. So, taking a cue from Ashton Kutcher's character in "No Strings Attached" where he made a "Period Mix" CD for Natalie Portman's character, here are some songs that would be featured on my "Menopause Hot Mix" (click on the title to listen, if you wish):

Artwork by Wardell Brown

I'm on Fire - Bruce Springsteen
Hot Blooded - Foreigner 
Burning Up - Madonna
Girl on Fire - INXS
Too Hot - Kool and the Gang
Beds are Burning - Midnight Oil
Some Like it Hot - Power Station
Sweat - Inner Circle
Hot N Cold - Katy Perry
Hot in Here - Nelly

Let's face it, getting older is rough. The feeling (and appearance) that your body is slowly melting, the wrinkles, the gray hair, the mood swings, the metabolic slow-down, having to work out twice as hard with only half the energy you had 10 years earlier to get the same results...the list goes on and on. Whether you've made it out the other side of this steamy phase of life or you still have it to look forward to, it's all part of the journey. So to all of my "hot" 40-something girlfriends, just remember what Martina McBride says: "Every laugh line on your face made you who you are today" and to ALL of my girlfriends and girl relatives, "you're beautiful the way you are!" 
This one's for the girls! :)
              click above to listen

With Love and Aloha ~ Nancy

Note: The artwork included on this blog post was found by searching Google Images. In both cases, I have given the talented artists credit for their amazing work. If you are the artist and wish to have your image removed from this blog post, please contact me and I'll be happy to remove it.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Celebrating One Year of Living Aloha!

I can't believe it's been a whole year since I started "Living Aloha!" I've always loved to write and have really enjoyed having this outlet to discuss issues that are near and dear to my heart (Girl Panic ~ My Personal Struggle With Anxiety), to share my experiences (Meeting Duran Duran ~ My 13th Birthday Present), to vent a little (Dear Mike Rowe), and to just share random observations (You Might Be in the Country) and memories (I Love the 80s Too! Do you Remember...?). In all, I have written 46 blog posts, publishing 44 of those. The two unpublished posts may get published some day, or they may not. There have been times that I've felt very inspired and published one post right after another, and there have been dry spells as well (I'm kind of stuck in one right now). In any case, blogging has been a lot of fun and very good therapy as well.

I love looking at my site statistics on Google Analytics. It's fascinating to see how people from all over the world have read my blog posts, and especially interesting to see which posts have drawn the most traffic internationally. According to Google Analytics, to date Living Aloha has received nearly 1,100 visits (over 1,800 pageviews!) from people in 37 countries. Google Blogger stats indicate the number is even higher (over 2,500 pageviews).

People from as far away as Australia and the Philippines have read my blog! :) 

It was most interesting to see the results of most popular Living Aloha blog posts over the past year. The top three (according to Google Analytics) are:

1. Weight for Me Part I - Growing up Chubby is Not a Pretty Plus 
Published in February 2012
This is one of the most personal blog posts I've written (and yes, I've written a lot of personal blog posts) and probably the one that is closest to my heart. I am thrilled by the fact that this was my most read blog post of the year. (#3 according to Google Blogger stats.)

2. From Kissing Potion to Koala Clips: The 70s were Super Cool! 
Published in October 2011
Although the 80s is far more appealing to me (obviously!), more people seemed to enjoy reminiscing about the 70s. My mind has been busy dredging up some more memories from this era that may be my next blog post. (#1 according to Google Blogger.)

3. La Storia di Mia Nonna 
Published in September 2012
This was my most recent blog post and my opportunity to share the amazing story of my Italian grandmother who survived an earthquake and came to America alone to marry a man she had met only one time before. I assume that most of the hits on this post were from my family members, which means the world to me. (Ranked much lower according to Google Blogger, which ranked Casting Call-Out ~ Two and a Half Men as #2.)

I am thankful for each and every person who has taken the time to read my blog and especially those who have been so supportive and have told me how much they enjoy reading it. That means more to me than you will ever know. It makes me happy to know that my posts can bring comfort to people who are struggling with anxiety or other issues, helping them know that they are not alone. Most importantly, I love knowing that I can make people smile and maybe laugh a little too! Thank you for "Living Aloha" with me for the past year. <3

With Love and Aloha ~ Nancy