News & Views Oct 17, 2004

wake-up call

A 50-something author takes a sassy look at menopause.

Nancy Blair, 52, likens hot flashes to "four Chihuahuas camped out in my stomach who seem to get really ticked off at very unpredictable times."  Read more...

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from Nancy's new book:


Thank You, Your Opinion Means Nothing to Me

"Life is simple. Sex, birth, death and weather. Toss lightly with a dash of chance, a heaping scoop of choice and season to taste. Cook it all up and watch it change overnight."
---The Menopause Queen

"You don't have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."
---Mary Oliver


"Menopause Happens"

How in the world did I arrive at menopause and not know what to expect? At first I thought I was dying of some insidious and catastrophic disease, of course only to realize much later on that dying--becoming aware of my own mortality--is precisely what my bodymind and spirt, my mid-life board of directors, was calling me to the table for. Not that I was dying of anything specific. I remember finally going to my doctor and plunking my perturbed and cranky butt on the crinkly translucent tissue paper covering the exam table, observing keenly that my increasingly dry skin could eventually and surely be sold for this very purpose, and exclaiming to my doctor with all the knowledge I had gained up to that point, "I'm either pregnant (my period was eight hours late) or I have a very bad sinus infection."

You see, the big think with menopause is that it doesn't have an exact and definite beginning like its kid sister, menarche, or its fertile middle ground, motherhood. There are no big and hearty exclamations with the Change of Life. No wondrous weeping moments of joy and exhilaration accompanied by proud nods and big hugs to family, friends, and anyone else who cares to listen; basically outright strangers and passersby. No. No cutesy, cryptic emails to classmates you haven't seen or heard from in years. No spontaneous leaping up onto your cubicle desk chair triumphantly exclaiming to your work mates, "Hey everyone, I have good news. I'm sweating like a horse. I'm now in menopause."

Nope. Not a chance. At least not in my country we don't.....

So buckle up and hold on to your hats. The Menopause Queen is about to set the ride called mid-life in motion with a true story, my story about love, healing the past, forgiveness, changes, Big Changes, and waking up to what is real and true and wonderful: one breath at a time. And wisecracks galore....

January 6

The truth is I have a secret second life. It begins sometime after midnight and can last all the way to 4:30 am, sometimes even 5am. More often than not it begins around 3am. Maybe 2:47 to be precise. My secret second life isn't sordid or ugly or glamorous. It isn¹t expensive. It doesn¹t involve the Internet, thank goodness. And it doesn¹t require new clothes. Usually I¹m naked. But that's only because my secret life begins with a fiery sweat causing me to tear off my clothes like I used to when a different kind of wild and wicked urge kept me naked, thrashing, breathing heavy and wet all over until the wee hours of the morning. My secret life these days is usually sexless, solitary and very very quiet. But that doesn't mean I¹m not thinking about sex. I am, in some ways, that is....

Smooth and Spicy Carrot Ginger Soup
(For Getting the Juices Flowing)

Prepare this soup with a loose flowing robe or cotton dress. Do not wear underwear or bra. Let yourself feel free and sexy. Invite a very close friend for lunch.

Water saute the following in a soup pot until onions are transparent:
(I never heat oil because it makes it rancid and indigestible. At least that's what I've read. Use 1/2 inch of water instead and stir while cooking.)

1 cup of chopped onions
3 stalks of chopped celery
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 TBSP. curry powder
1 tsp. Garam Marsala (or cinnamon)
1 tsp ground cumin
2 lbs. of organic carrots, peeled and chopped
dash of salt
4 c. water
Bring to boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Let cool. Puree until smooth
1 TBSP grated fresh ginger

Serve hot with a dollop of yogurt and toasted cashews. Or, serve cold (but not right out of the refrigerator) topped with chopped pineapple or cucumber slices.

March 1

Okay. So, I¹m menopausal and it feels like I'm pregnant. I've had a very bad case of heartburn for weeks and suddenly I've forgotten how to breathe. This morning, after my acupuncture treatment I realize that in fact I am "pregnant." I'm giving birth to myself in a new way. First thing, I begged E to put the needle in the top of my head that makes me feel exceptionally high and happy. She smiled and then after inspecting my tongue and taking my many pulses, opts instead to needle into one of my liver meridians. E says the liver is the "governor" of life, giving me the elbow she winks and adds, lifting her eyebrows, "Liver, as in living."

She uses the word "governor" a lot when referring to my internal organs and their corresponding energy meridians and all I can think of is Governor Jeb Bush and how living in Florida is an everyday embarrassing production in the Theater of the Political Absurd. So when she begins talking about these governors and their role in my body I wince. While my liver meridian is opening and flushing and pulsing, long silvery needles running up and down my legs, I keep having this vision running over and over again through my mind where I look down between my legs and see a little pink (I know, pink, where's that at?) infant attached to me by a throbbing red root all pulsing with blue veins and this little girl baby that is covered in cheesy clots is mouthing something very important but I can't hear her because I¹m too busy screaming in utter terror. It occurs to me that in spite of the simple fact that I don't have a period anymore, I'm having a baby. When I mention this vision to E she says in a matter of fact way, "Oh, that makes perfect sense."

She then immediately leaves the room without further explanation, whistling a happy tune that sounds like "Oh when the saints, come marching in." At this point I'm starting to sweat, profusely. It's obvious that my liver meridian and Governor Jeb Bush are having an all out face to face aura cleansing and all I can think about is the desperate look on the baby's face hanging upside down between my thighs, now holding out her arms like she wants me to pick her up. When E comes back into the room, which seems like a week later, she says, "Looks like you'll have to get really quiet so you can hear what that baby has to say." And all I can think about is I'm at that point in the birth process where women in labor start swearing at their husbands and screaming, "Just get this thing out of me."

July 3

(Loathe the thought of another national holiday coming up. Even if the concept is one I can digest. Just not in the mood for patriotism swarming with consumerist hype and hoopla and all those Explosive Sales Events Going on In A Store Near You. Stars and stripes and dollar signs all jumbled up together.)

You gave away your Pussy Power , she whispers. It's the Voice of my Menopausal Mind, Queen Mena. You gave your Pussy Power to anyone who looked at you and smiled . And you called it freedom. Huh , she says with a slap on her hip. Real freedom isn't a one night stand. It¹s a heartfelt commitment to love. But that's ok. We don¹t have to go into that right now. Back then, when you were twenty you didn¹t have any teachers to help you understand that you are a divine child. You simply didn¹t know any better. You bought into the sex, drugs and doing IT with every tom, and hairy dick because you thought it was the key to the doors of Cosmic Mystery

I try to intrude, interrupting by clearing my throat, "That's Tom, Dick and Harry."

You know what I mean. And who can remember all their names anyway? The whole movement was probably another government plot to keep dangerous people, that is people who think, distracted, numb and dumb .

Well, actually, I kept track. I kept a list of everyone I had sex with.

That's the problem. You're remembering all the wrong things. Right now, we have to get your Pussy Power back so you can sleep at night. You see, every guy you ever had sex with left a piece of himself in you, in more ways than one, she howls. You've got so many strands stuck inside you that you're all balled up in there . This pun makes her hold her belly and roar.

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