Blue, Baby, Blue; Forty-Nine Weeks In

Last week I had one of those days wherein you wake up and everything seems absolutely unbearable. I felt absolutely despondent; everything seemed terrible, from the dishes in the drying rack to the never-ending laundry to the every day drudgery that never ends until I die. I went through my regular happy-cheerful-healthy morning routine and I still felt blue; I realized the last time that I was this far in the depths of despair, my period arrived some hours later.

Well! I decided that this despondent mood was a SIGN from my body, and that I would walk the walk and embrace that magical time with some self-care. I took a solo walk and made myself a chocolate protein smoothie with a big bowl of sliced strawberries, I spent two hours just curled in a chair reading, I played the piano.

And then…nothing.

This is the thing about perimenopause, at least this is the thing for me: the Garmin period tracker on my phone is ready to uninstall itself from frustration. My cycle has never been super-regular, other than the many years I was on the Pill, but since hitting my forties it has gone from That Friend Who Is Sometimes On Time But Not Usually to That Wild Friend Who Does A Bunch Of Tequila Shots And Who Might End Up In Vegas Later Tonight, Who Really Knows What’s Up. Three weeks? Three months? We’ll see!

This kind of wild irregularity makes some things tricky, like booking a bikini wax or a Pap test, or blaming one’s cycle for one’s moods.

It’s silly though, why should I blame hormones for having a despondent day? I mean, really. It’s February, cold and snowy, I’m not running right now and I miss it terribly, I spend many hours every week just doing drudge-like household chores that literally never end, the laundry will never end, there will always be food to acquire and prepare and clean up after, people using the shower and bathroom mean that those things will need cleaning, and yes, yes, yes, I am not the only person in the house who does these things, I am not living with entitled Neanderthals BUT I do the lion’s share, there is no travel to look forward to nor dinner and drinks with friends, I cannot even host the girls for a coffee date and even if it was warm enough to be in my backyard, the lawn furniture is frozen and covered with snow, and also, due to the snow and cold, we have been unable to clean up after the dog since before Christmas.

It’s OKAY to feel sad, is what I’m saying.

The whole thing reminded me of a story told to me years ago by my friend Eryn (HI ERYN). Eryn’s friend mentioned that her Aunt Flo was coming for a visit, and Eryn responded with “Fuck that bitch,” but it turned out that her friend had an ACTUAL aunt named Flo who was actually coming for a visit. I laugh every time, EVERY TIME, I think of that story, which is every time I think I’m going to start my period and then nothing happens. FUCK THAT BITCH.

Ah well, the sun has come back out, both literally and figuratively. Eventually my period did start, with no fanfare, mood swings, or other warning. I no longer feel like a Donkey On The Edge, even though I have no more dark chocolate strawberry Lindt truffles. My new raised garden beds are slated to arrive soon, I’ve ordered a ton of plants from my very favourite plant fundraiser (HI ALANA), and the vaccinations are starting around here. It will be months before I can actually garden and many more months after that before I get a vaccine, but those things are going to happen and they are a glimmer of hope, a sunbeam in a blue sky.

Outfit of the Week

The polar vortex has ended! The polar vortex has ended! It’s still winter, it’s still cold, but it’s not The Air Hurts My Face cold! This week’s OOTW features not only a cozy sweater and a lighter long-sleeve tee, but also JEANS and and actual BRA, not just yoga pants and a tank. A bra, you guys! Jeans! It happens a couple of times a week around here, but still notable.

This sweater is like being wrapped up in a giant hug. Remember hugs? No? Well, this sweater is like that.

It’s certainly long enough to wear with yoga leggings, or anything at all. When I bought it the reviews said to “size down” but DO NOT SIZE DOWN. It’s so cozy this way.

Pandemic Reading

It is well documented how I love Nora Ephron, so I really expected to like this book more than I did. It was…okay. I liked reading about the making of the greatest movie of all time – When Harry Met Sally – but otherwise, meh.

This is the companion book to Life After Life, although it does stand up very well by itself. It’s really excellent, about a RAF bomber in WW2 who vows to lead a life of kindness if he makes it out. It’s about his time in the war but also his life before and after that time. There are some absolutely vile and loathsome characters in the book, but the great thing about Kate Atkinson is that she can make you think about how they became so vile and loathsome, and treats the characters with compassion. I liked Life After Life a bit better, but both are really good.

After Suzanne (HI SUZANNE) mentioned reading Judy Blume to her daughter, I had an enormous craving to revisit my old favourites. I put many of them on hold at the library and these two were the first to come in. They really stand up, and it’s interesting to think they were written in the early 70s, when there was a movement from NYC to the suburbs. As a kid I really thought of Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret as being a book about getting your period, which it is, in a way, but it’s more about religion and finding belonging. Her father is Jewish and her mother is Christian, and so they don’t practice either religion, which is a curiosity in the suburbs of New Jersey in 1970. There is a whole storyline about how her mother’s parents disowned her after the marriage, which reminded me of how far we have come in this world. My religious, strongly Lutheran grandma, for example, was absolutely shocked to discover that my husband was brought up Catholic. Catholic! She had some reservations. Back in HER day in rural Saskatchewan, that was considered a mixed marriage.

I remember reading Then Again Maybe I Won’t when I was a kid, and it was the first time I had even HEARD of wet dreams. Or of guys getting boners in math class. Talk about disturbing! I had no idea! But, as in Margaret, the underlying theme is so much more than puberty and changing bodies. How do people change when there is money involved? Tony’s family strikes it rich and EVERYTHING changes, and Tony suffers massive stomach pains due to anxiety, and ends up in hospital.

God, Judy Blume was a master at writing books that really covered the bases. I will update you on the next few that come in from the library!

Meanwhile, I hope you have a wonderful week – this last week of February, my goodness – and may you have sunshine and blue skies. xo


  1. I really really want a hug from you while you’re wearing that sweater (or anything else). My Catholic mother married my Protestant father and it was a big deal. We have come some way, it’s unfortunate that some people still do disown their children for marrying people they don’t deem suitable – I’ll never get that. Why? You’re punishing yourself more than anything. The afternoon sun here is lovely, but the sloppy snow and slush is less so. And I’m so proud of you for taking it easy while you were feeling crappy! Whether or not it was Aunt Flo (fuck that bitch hahahahahah).

  2. I went seven and a half months without a period and thought surely I was done when I got one about a month ago. I was not pleased.

  3. Today I nearly cried because although I had five different kinds of pasta in the cupboard, none of them were the kind I wanted. Then I dropped some orange peel on the carpet and was furious. My period tracker is very stressed because it thinks my period is 106 days overdue (it has failed to link two pretty crucial pieces of information into its calculations, I am decidedly not in perimenopause) but anyway I am having that sort of day too. That sort of week.

    I’ve only read one Judy Blume book I think, maybe two, but you’ve inspired me to look for more!

  4. Oooh I had forgotten the religious portion of Margaret! I really need to put that on my list. I read Then Again this summer… and a bunch of the adult books I had never read (Wifey, Summer Sisters, some others I am not remembering — they kind of blur together) and Deenie, which I had never read. And then I reread Sally J. Freedman, which was a FAVORITE book as a kid, and Just As Long As We’re Together and Here’s to You Rachel Robinson and you are SO RIGHT, she really does cover the bases. And I love how straightforward it all is. I do not love the fat phobia that threads its way through all the books, but, eh, it was a different time and it gives me great things to discuss with my daughter. (She and I are not reading the above, but have gone through Blubber, Iggie’s House (both RIFE with discussion topics), Fourth Grade Nothing, and Sheila the Great. Lots of good stuff to talk about.)

  5. I loved loved loved Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, and I think I must have kind of skimmed the religion angst in favor of the periods and friendship and Developing and so forth.

    I didn’t like the books about boys as much. I knew about wet dreams and erections and so forth, and found the entire topic Gross at that age, so I think I read each Boy Point-of-View book once and then never again.

  6. Perimenopause is a right pain! Shockingly, for me, it was very short lived. I think the last period I had was before we moved here…so almost five years now, I think.

    I love that sweater! I have one that is similar but is much thinner and not so cozy.

    I don’t remember any of the religious aspects from Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret…it might be time to revisit a couple of my childhood favorites.

    My mother was Catholic and my dad was a… I dunno – a lapsed Baptist? I don’t remember there being a scandal when he converted (maybe because I wasn’t born yet?) but I DO remember one my aunts (possible Baptist) cautioning my mother about my upcoming wedding…not because he was also Catholic but because, “Those Italians are great…but they will cheat on their wives.” :shakes head: Honestly…it’s a wonder I am semi-normal at all coming from these people.

  7. Generally when I’m feeling overly emotional or just blah, I tend to blame it on my period. Saying that and realizing I’ve only had one period in (checks my app) in 277 days, I can only blame the emotional part on my personality. This is me now. LOL.

    I’ve not read a Judy Blume book since 7th grade! I learned so much from her books because no one was telling me in real life, I had to get my information somewhere.

    I LOVE that painting on your mantle; please share some information on that. It’s lovely!

    • LOLOLOLOLOL you understand me completely!

      I also did not have the type of mother who would willingly share information about anything sexual, so yay for Judy Blume!

      The painting is of Long Beach, Vancouver Island and…I will have to go look because the artist’s name is escaping me right now. Thank you, I love it too.

  8. Hey Suz, I love that painting on the mantle too. Great minds.

    My mom had an aunt Flo. Oh my gosh, never made the connection. So funny. My periods were insane because of celiac disease going undetected for so long, so I take a pill that keeps me down to only 4 periods a year. Pure bliss. Yet, there are days, hormonal or not, when everything just seems so repetitive and annoying.

    “Remember hugs?” made me chuckle. That is a cute outfit,

    I only read the early Judy Blume books, my mother probably wouldn’t allow the others in the house, because of the ‘educational’ information.

    Glad your polar votex is over. We fly to Arizona on Friday. I will wear two masks on the plane. Don’t return till late Monday night. I am really excited, but busy getting my ducks in a row and threatening my offspring to behave!

  9. Perimenopause played absolute havoc with my periods. I finally ended up getting a Mirena (sp?) IUD about 5 years ago because it got to the point where I was getting my period every three weeks for a week and I became severely anemic (as well as angry as hell because WFT, body?) It was a game changer to be freed from getting my period every other moment. I just wish I’d known about it sooner.

    I haven’t read any Judy Blume since I was probably about 13 and I remembered only the overarching things you mentioned: getting one’s period, wet dreams etc. Have totally forgotten (perhaps never really absorbed?) the other points. Now I think I will go back and reread those books!

    • MAGGIE HI HI MAGGIE HI!!! I HAVE MISSED YOU!!! Good lord, every three weeks. I cannot even. Yes, you must go back and read because they are so interesting as an adult, all the themes!

  10. OH I am so far behind in your blog:
    “ My religious, strongly Lutheran grandma, for example, was absolutely shocked to discover that my husband was brought up Catholic. Catholic! ”

    My catholic Nana was okay with my Lutheran boyfriend but a little alarmed at the street he lived on. My other catholic grandmother was less okay and her sister refused to attend our wedding.

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