Sunday, June 2, 2013


Warning:  This post contains a discussion about Menopause, which according to a television commercial currently running here in Canada, no one talks about.  So of course, I'm going to talk about it.  If you have delicate sensibilities, are under 30, or male, you may want to just scroll through to the photos, which are not about Menopause.

So I had blood work done after my annual poke-and-probe, and when the results came back last week, my doctor informed me that I was in Menopause, and my ovaries had basically shut down.  Given that last year's blood work showed that I was "peri-menopausal", this came a bit of a surprise.  Most women can tell that The Change is near when their menstrual schedule starts to go wonky,  but I couldn't use that as a reference as I had surgery a number of years ago that resulted in no more periods.  I had to wonder where I'd been when my reproductive organs went from "pre-shutdown" to "closed for business", and felt that somehow there should have been more fanfare aside from a doctor's proclamation of "'s all, folks"!

When I mentioned this unexpected turn of events to a couple of friends, I was told in no uncertain terms that I had "dodged a bullet", by sailing through with few symptoms, so basically I should just shut up and consider myself lucky.   I remember a friend telling me years ago when she was in her late 40's that she had taken her dog for a walk, stopped at the bank and tied the dog up outside.  She came out, went home, and then wondered where the dog was,  and apparently this was not an isolated incident.  Another friend went through the "covers off, covers on" thing for a while, and when I recently learned that some women can have hot flashes that start in Menopause and continue for the rest of their lives, I very much appreciated my relative mild symptoms of the occasional night sweats, weight gain and some episodes of "what did I come in here for?".  Still, the news left me feeling a bit melancholy, even though I was not mourning the end of my fertility, which I had put an end to at 30, when I knew that children were not in my life plan.  An older friend pointed out that menopause "is one step closer to the end", which is true, and kind of depressing.  So what's a woman to do to acknowledge another milestone on the road of life?  My friend Heather had a suggestion...

A Girl's Day Out!

The weather was all over the place -  sun, clouds, rain, wind, high humidity - so comfortable layers, sensible footwear, and colourful jewellery were the order of the day.  My skirt is two slips layered together.  

sweater cape, Converse and bracelets - From Mars (retail)
patterned half slip - My Cat Loves Vintage (Etsy)
pink half slip and necklace - Lovesick Vintage
First stop - the Campus Hi-Fi, which has been a favourite of university students and other fans of homestyle breakfasts since 1957.  The breakfast wrap is gigantic, and incredibly delicious

Next stop -  Lolita, where local artist and designer Jessika McRae (on the left) was launching her line of chain headdresses called Nightingale.  The woman on the right works at Lolita, and was modelling one of the headpieces.

Another of McRae's headdresses in gold metal
Heather, channelling her inner warrior princess in one of McRae's designs.  I tried one as well, but my hair style isn't really suited for headpieces like this, which look great on longer hair.

Our next stop was the Western Fair Farmers' Market, where I picked up some more more maple bacon cookies, and we browsed through a new booth on the second floor called Faye's Finds, a consignment store with an interesting selection of new and secondhand items.

 I loved this woman's funky jumpsuit, which she got from a friend's vintage store in Toronto, Bridge and Bardot

There was a sidewalk sale in my neighbourhood, and not far from the Farmers' Market some musicians were playing in an alley.

I caught this woman, wearing one of her grandmother's hats, just before she started her set

A university student who teaches art classes at Ark Aid Mission offered neighbourhood residents an opportunity to document their questions about how to best improve our community

A trip to Talize followed where I found some things I needed for my Travelling Yellow Skirt photo shoot, and then a stop at the Merla Mae for ice cream.  We managed to cram in an impressive amount of fun by that point, but still had time for one more stop....

Jacqui Gallant, a body piercer and doll artist, is also the owner of Dollirium, Canada's leading Art Doll Gallery.  The Gallery has a new show entitled The Home Grown Doll Show, featuring doll artists from London, Toronto, St. Thomas and Stratford.  I had missed the last two shows so I really wanted to see this one. After viewing the show, Heather and I chatted to Jacqui outside her studio and admired her revolver belt buckle.

 Jacqui's sleeves are comprised of work from tattoo artists from all over the world. 

There are some fabulous dolls and sculpture in the latest show, some of which I'll show you in my next post.


  1. O, doll, I'm in peri-menopause, and I do feel a bit like it's a sad milestone, that the end is nigh!!!
    I guess it's natural to have a grieving over losing that part of our femininity? A Girls Day Out is the perfect solution to the doldrums, for SURE!
    G and I love that first pic, incidentally!!!
    Great pix of some stunning people!!! Patchy weather is bearable, as long as it's not freezing yer tits off!
    You frigging rock!

  2. As a young women I viewed menopause as the end of the road. When it happened, it was no big deal.I'm still me, I just don't have to buy tampons anymore. It's not like you die or something awful happens.

  3. Fabulous way to spend the day in celebration of another of life's changes. i'm here to say that it isn't the end and I'm sure you have many adventures waiting for you in the future. I do understand the feelings of loss, which I remember experiencing years ago. But it continues to be fun and interesting on this side of the 'pause!'

  4. Congratulations! And what a wonderful way to celebrate - the gods seemed to be on your side through the day as well with tasty treats, a fantastic community, and good friends. I think it should be called menoGO.

  5. I suppose change always gives pause for thought, it's a sign of moving on to another stage of life. So a bit of melancholy is understandable, but a wonderful Girls Day Out seems the perfect pick-me-up!
    Love the double petticoat action, you look fabulous. Those headdresses are beautiful, and I always enjoy seeing all the cool people you meet. The lady in the jumpsuit looks lovely. xxxx

  6. "I suppose change always gives pause for thought, it's a sign of moving on to another stage of life."

  7. I love Melanie's comment, can't think of anything better to say! xxx

  8. Poignant. You nailed it. One of the menopause books I read talked about it previously having been called "The Change" and that is really what it is, and from my experience, it has been. A wonderful change. Good-bye to things, and hello to others. The best hello has been to myself. Time to rediscover who I am, what I like, where I want to go, what I want to do, and who I want to do it with. These freedoms, somehow, had slipped out of my life. Keep healthy and you'll never be happier. Thanks for taking us along on your Girls' Day Out--fun!

  9. glad you're celebrating a girls day out, and also glad you're feeling nice, no night sweats and crazy emotional changes! (my mom was like an hormonal roller coaster, and very concerned about her weight re-distribution!)
    wish you a happy new age, growing up in attitude and style!!
    besos & fabulousness

  10. It is what it is re: menopause. In the big scheme of life there are far more horrid things than "power surges", forgetfullness and this weird blob on my waist.

    Embrace the fun!!

  11. Don't despair. You are now officially a Crone! It's not the end but the beginning of a wonderful new era in your life. Have fun and stay well. I'd tell you to enjoy your life, but it looks like you already do that in spades!!

  12. I'm glad you ended this post with crazy ass beautiful tattoos because I was getting bummed out. I despise anything that reminds me of death, getting old and dying but then again it is how we see things. I too ended my child bearing years early and the plus side was no more periods but it was still a weird sort of loss that I think needed to be mourned before I could move on. I bet this is the same. I'm glad you have a good friend who came and played with you! I love the two slips together too and now I'm off to check out this gals dolls!

  13. You seem to live in such a vibrant community! Like you, I've had my parts out so long that I really never had official notice of the end of menopause. I still wrestle with the sheets a bit, usually when I've had a bit too much to drink. I'm glad you celebrated the change.

  14. Body piercer and doll artist - people are wonderfully full of contradictions, aren't they? My sister-in-law loves old British books about girls' boarding schools, and heavy metal music.

    This getting old thing is weird, isn't it? When I first started having irregular periods, I was a little sad about it all ending. But when it did end I was relieved. Until the killer hot flashes started. After a year they quit for a few months and I had hormones again - emotional, tender, irritable. Now I'm back to hot flashes, but not as intense as before. I wonder what's next.

  15. Oh I love every single moment of this fantastic post, Shelley!

    Mentalpause - bring it on! It's just another reason I'm coming back in my next life a a dude!

    You are GORGEOUS in that fab outfit - I love the drapey layery loveliness and of course, the fab chucks - you are a rockstar!

    I love your fab neighbourhood - artists and musicians and farmer's markets and red hats and community love. And wow - that is some GORGEOUS ink.

    More pics of your neighbourhood (and of YOU) please? I love it!

    Love! Sarah xxx

  16. That's interesting. I've never had my ob gyn do blood work to determine if I was in menopause. He just always asks me when my last period was. If over a yr., then I'm officially a member of the group. Awesome tattoos.

  17. Oh Shelley, what an excellent way to mark the transition, way to go! Fantastic outfit, and thanks for letting us tag along.

  18. Men-on-pause because a man would have named this feminine condition. It is definitely not the nearing of the end but more like the next stage of your life adventure!! And what a fabulous way to celebrate the next stage with a girls day out!! I love your blog by the way.