Chasing Hot Flashes

I had just finished leaf-blowing my driveway, but I spotted the maple leaves above me. Here they are, cackling wickedly to each other, with plans to dump themselves as soon as I put all my equipment away.

I can almost bring the hot flashes on intentionally now. Like an hour ago, shivering in the living room while I waited for the wood stove to heat up the house, I went over to sit on the hearth and read Chapter 22 of a new book I just received in the mail. Chapter 22 was written by Marlene, a blogger friend.

Anyway, I was done with the chapter and flipping through the other pages, when the hot flash hit. Suddenly, not one bit of my body was cold anymore. I put the book down, and happily went off to the other side of the house where my chilly office is. With a sudden sweat sheen across my forehead, I was nice and warm and ready to work.

The way Racecar moderates her heat is to cuddle up against something warm. Her preference is to cuddle on something that is busy trying to get work done on a laptop and needs hands free.

I realized I’ve been subconsciously chasing hot flashes. It’s winter, right? I’m just trying to get warm. And my whole life I’ve been cursed with ice for blood and it seems like I am always, always freezing. Even in summer. It takes about 85 degrees outside for me to finally feel like I’m not in danger of being cold. Anything hotter than that is a blessing for me.

I remember that when I was pregnant, I was warm. I guess hormone imbalances will do that for a person: warm you up. For that one blessed Spring and Summer, I worked indoors in an air-conditioned office and did not have to wear a coat and fingerless gloves to do my meteorology work. Yes, I really wore a jacket and gloves most of the years I worked indoors because of stupid AC!

But since 1997 when I was pregnant, I haven’t been able to get truly, actually warm – like all the way into my bone marrow warm – without being in very warm weather. That is, until about six weeks ago when I began noticing this new phenomenon. I realized three weeks ago that for sure something was going on when I spent 5 days in Rhode Island for a friend’s wedding. And periodically, I was way too warm. In November. In Rhode Island. It made no sense. I joked that it seemed like hot flashes if I weren’t too old for menopause.

“Oh, you’re right in the prime age,” says Pedro, helpfully. “The most common age for women to begin menopause is 45-55.” Oh shut up. He works with medical records, in case anyone wonders why Pedro had this particular statistic ready for me in an instant.

Lights on my brother Eli’s house.

Over Thanksgiving I visited with my brothers. One sister-in-law is a Registered Nurse, the other is a Naturopathic Doctor. They both agreed that it is probably menopause. Yay for me!

Below is a slideshow of some of my Thanksgiving memories. Please look through. It was probably the happiest Thanksgiving I’ve ever had. Usually that holiday is the worst for me.

The hot flushes are amazing to me. I frequently go from chilly, to literally sweating from my scalp to my calves in seconds. What makes that happen? Then I tear off my jacket or hoodie, or fling aside the comforter from the bed, and lie there roasting. And smiling. Ahh, blessed heat. Sadly, it only lasts 5 minutes and I have to pull on my layers again. I spend this time amused and thinking about the extraordinary human body.

Sometimes I feel bad others who have this experience. My kid Kellen is way too warm about as often as I am too cold. What about when they get menopause? It will be awful. For them. Not for me. Me? I’m loving it. In five-minute intervals, 6 to 8 times a day and also during the night, I am completely warm.

Last night, when Pedro and I were awake on one of those rare occasions that keeps us up very late, we saw that there was ice crusted on the cars at 11 pm. Brrr! The roads were icy and I saw at least one car slide into the median. The heater was slow to warm up and I could see my breath puff out inside the Jeep. Other cars, like the Jeep, were all going slowly to make sure not to slide on the ice. I got home and did all the warm things I could think of. I changed into soft, fuzzy clothes and climbed into bed with all the clothes and the comforter too. Boom, just like that my whole body was sweltering. It was lovely.

Anyway, I thought that was a funny idea for a blog post: chasing hot flashes. And also, my grandmother told me that menopause was a taboo for her generation and that me and my girlfriends should never be afraid to talk about it. I never have been, but just in case someone out there thinks it’s a taboo topic, here I am to put it in print on the Internet. Take that, social mores!! And also, I have these photos from my life lately that I wanted to share, to give you a glimpse of early winter in my world. This silly story was the avenue for posting photos. I especially like the photo at the top of my house surrounded by Autumn colours. It’s so pretty here.

I hope you are well. If you are not well, think about something silly. A friend of mine told me the following story was blog-worthy. If being happy about menopause isn’t silly enough, try this Smashing Pumpkins story:

Mathilda the Hun and Chick Nhat Hahn come running toward me, giving the scary pumpkin pieces a wide berth.

Two days ago I decided it was time to get rid of my decorative pumpkins at the front of the house. I put them out in September, and they stay through Thanksgiving every year. They are often mooshy at that point, and I take them to the chickens for a treat. This year all three of the pumpkins were in great shape. Nice and hard and echoey, when you rapped your knuckles on them.

Inside the chicken pen is one large cedar tree. The Hussies love to climb the tree since the base of it slants out. I think it’s hilarious that I have tree-climbing chickens. At any rate, the tree is what I use for just this occasion. I hefted one giant pumpkin up like a shot put and heaved it at the tree. It cracked a little but did not break open. I threw it three more times to get the pieces more manageable for the ladies.

Second pumpkin was the same. I had to throw it multiple times to break it open. Third pumpkin was small. Smaller than a volleyball. I threw it once and it bounced off the tree and rolled all the way to the bottom of the hill inside the pen. As it rolled, I noticed a sticker on the base that I had not seen before. I picked it up and read the sticker, which explained that this little pumpkin was perfect for a pumpkin pie.

Pie huh? I thought pumpkin pies from scratch were a painstaking process and resulted in a mediocre pie. Even with the recent whack against a tree trunk, the squash was uncracked. I bid sayonara to the birds, who were all huddled in the corner of the pen, terrified of the big orange things lurking around the base of the tree. I carried the small pumpkin into the house and washed it off. I’ve got an iPad in the kitchen- its exclusive use is for recipes. I looked up pumpkin pie from scratch and it seemed pretty simple.

End of the story is: I have now an amazing delicious pie and I will never be scared of doing that from scratch again. Below is a series of photos of the pie episode.

I’m a fan of the band Smashing Pumpkins. I’ll bet they did not get their name from chicken food.

Ok, one more reason I know that chickens are dumb as rocks (even though I love them SO MUCH). They often will only do something when someone else does it first. So…they remain terrified of the alien orange things in their pen. They have not touched the seeds, or the flesh yet. Dummies. All except for one piece of pumpkin, which they apparently have discovered is safe and edible. None of them yet has made the connection that this one tasty piece of pumpkin is related to the others. But I have faith in my Hussies. They will figure it out eventually.

One piece of pumpkin has proven to be tasty to the hens.

9 thoughts on “Chasing Hot Flashes

    1. I’ve never heard anyone say they like it!! Leave it to me to be the odd one out. I don’t mind. :o) Thank you for the Thanksgiving wishes. I hope I can look forward to more like that as well.

  1. This is a chuckle worthy post, Crystal. 😉 I started menopause the month my last MIL died. I was grief stricken though I knew she was so happy to be released. I slept all over the house as I traveled trying to find cool. I didn’t opt for meds as usual so I toughed it out. Wasn’t easy but easier than my mother. Thanks so much for the ping back. I’m going to try to find a way to put the book in my sidebar with a link to Amazon. I read the forward on the book and so far, I like it best of all. I could write forever here but I have Christmas tubs all over my floors and can’t move till something gets done. Love and hugs.

    1. You are trapped by Christmas! Hey, I woke to two inches of snow this morning. Have you had snow there in the mountains yet? I was a little surprised to see this, but I think it will be melted by the end of the day. I miscalculated the rain yesterday and went for my 5 1/2 mile loop walk. I expected the bits of light rain to stop, but it did not stop till I was almost done with my walk. I was pretty soaked by the time I got back to the house, ha ha. Every time I started to get a little cold, I jogged instead of walked, and that warmed me up. I put my shoes in front of the wood stove. I just checked them this morning and I think they are dry again. I am sorry to bring up your feelings of grief as you remembered menopause. Interesting how our mind links things. Meds? You can take medication for this? That seems bizarre to me, but thank you for the information. I mean, a medication to help you not be warm for five minutes? What about the other times? OH! I’ll bet it regulates the hormones. I’m such a spaz. Anyway, like you, I avoid doctors and medications unless it’s absolutely necessary. And even then…

      1. You guessed it. Hormones! My mother had a bit of personality change with hers. She said dad was ready to divorce her so I thought she could use a bit of help. She had no clue what was going on, as usual. I raised her the best I could though. 😉 We have had one snow and it was beautiful. So far, more wind and today a little rain. Think about a treadmill for those nasty days. Safer. 🙂

  2. I want to laugh, but this hot flash business is no joke! It took me by surprise how intense they were. I am beyond it now so like all things that show up in the rearview I can smile and be grateful to be on the other side. These days I’m colder than usual but still I marvel at everything bodies endure and overcome. We’re walking miracles, aren’t we? I laughed out loud seeing all the mens jackets. Did they even notice? Haha …. and PUMPKINS!

    1. Yes! The men noticed right away! Someone took a photo of them all together in them, but it’s not on my camera so I didn’t have it handy. All four of the boys had them too, ha ha. Yes, we are walking miracles. Since the hot flashes are so new to me, that’s still where my head is on the matter: Wow.

  3. This post made me laugh out loud, Crystal. I must admit that I am grateful for hot flashes during winter, but not so much in the summer months. I am also getting really good at throwing off bedcovers and pulling them over me again, without always waking up. 🤣 It is wonderful that you can see the positive in something that can so easily be seen as just horrible.

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