August 2, 2000
Tomato Jones

Countdown to Daughter #1: One day!
[It's "MONKEY WRENCH" ice cream, right?]

Warning: I'm going to be talking about men-stroo-ay-shun here again.

Not a lot, mind you. Nothing overtly gross. But the Testosterone Units in the audience (and those of you with weak stomachs and/or food in your mouths, and the hemaphobics and the menophobics, and Daughter #2) may want to go read something slightly less disturbing ... like the How To Predict the Weather Using a Pig Spleen website.

The rest of you damn well better stick around and listen to me gripe. Or else I'll cry. Or I'll overdose on tomatoes.

Either way, it won't be pretty.

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Gripe #1:  I don't understand how a human being can lose as much blood as *I* have lost in the past twelve hours, and NOT require an immediate full-body transfusion.

(Or a garlic-clove necklace.)

Today I am "visiting the ladies' room" an average of once every twenty minutes. The Facilities-Maintenance-Engineer Person probably thinks I'm in LOVE with her.

I feel like a snowglobe with a slow leak ... except that along with losing all of those vital fluids, it feels like I'm losing valuable *energy/personality/tolerance molecules.*

And IQ points, I suspect.

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Gripe #2:  Ibuprofen does nothing for cramps unless I take at least FOUR of them. And then the agonizing, gut-wrenching stomach ache is worse than the cramps ever were.

Pamprin and Midol and other OTC meds make me goofy. And notinagoodway.

It's too early to tell if the chastetree root is doing any good: I've only been taking it for two weeks. The label says you have to take it through at least two consecutive cycles before you see any improvement.

Some of the other stuff I've seen recommended? Cinnamon, ginger, cloves, thyme, garlic, flaxseed? ... bloodstone/heliotrope, worn around the neck in a cheesecloth bag? ... jump-roping? (not until AFTER the breast reduction, thankyouverymuch) ... mitchella? ... evening primrose, meadowsweet, feverfew, hop? ... avoiding fried foods or anything containing hydrogenated oils? ... cramp bark, false unicorn root, motherwort, red raspberry? ... laying off the caffeine? ... tincture of fresh oats? ... massage or bath with an oil made with chamomile, lavender, marjoram, ginger and/or clary sage? ... wild yam, chamomile, valerian, skullcap, ginger, oats, motherwort, California poppy?

I'm systematically working my way through them all.

Here, for instance, is a recipe for Menstrual Cramp Tea. (I plan to brew up a big pot tonight, and tell The Other 50% that it's Lipton Unsweetened/No Lemon.)

Menstrual Cramp Tea
1 teaspoon cramp bark
½ teaspoon each motherwort leaves, chamomile flowers, wild yam root, fresh oats, hops strobiles and skullcap leaves
¼ teaspoon ginger rhizome
1 quart water

Combine the herbs and water in an uncovered saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, cover pan and let mixture steep for 20 minutes. Strain out herbs. Drink at least 1 cup to start, then drink freely, as needed.

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Gripe #3: When I was a teenager, I was told that acne -- like cliques, and split ends, and tolerance for lip-synching -- stops by the time a woman hits her thirties or forties.

Most of this misinformation was provided to me courtesy of Seventeen Magazine and TV sitcoms. (Think about it. You never saw Carol Brady or Shirley Partridge walking around with a zit the size of a WATER BALLOON perched just above her right eyebrow, did you?)  So it is more than mildly disappointing to find myself standing in the middle of the Skin Care Products aisle at Walgreen's, at age 42, comparing Clearasil to Clean 'n Clear to Clear 'n Clean ... wondering if those little clear round sticky things work (they don't) ... reminding myself If you pick at it, it's going to get infected ... if you pick at it, it's going to get infected ...

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Gripe #4:   All I can think about today ... are tomatoes.

And tomato products.

And foods with tomatoes in them/on them/around them/within a four-foot radius of them.

Anything, basically, containing even so much as one-tenth of a tomato-flavored *molecule.*

Heinz Ketchup. Manwich. That extra-spicy V-8 Juice stuff. Salsa. BLT's. My ex-husband's chili. Chef Boy-ar-Dee Ravioli-O's. Pizza rolls. KFC Honey BBQ Chicken Strips. Bed Picnic Bruschetta (which my oh-so-cultured pal Bottlenekk informs me is correctly pronounced "broo-SKET-tuh").

And of course there's that old standby from the long-ago days of pregnancy: a frosty cold mug of Ragu Spaghetti Sauce with cracker crumbs sprinkled on top.

I don't understand this weird primal connection between my *womanly hormones* and tomato products. I only know that once a month, I lust for that deep red smooth tomatoey flavor in my mouth,  the way a quivering junkie lusts for whatever it is that quivering junkies lust for. (Let's ask Robert Downey, Jr.)

Incidentally, this is bound to annoy the living crap out of The Other 50% of the Population, should a miracle occur and he ever actually reads this journal entry. Just last night we were standing in a grocery store, trying to decide what to have for dinner. He suggested spaghetti. I wrinkled up my nose and said, "Spaghetti in the summer?? Iccccck."

But then again, my monthly *tomato jones* hadn't kicked in yet.

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Gripe #5:  Memo to Whoever is in Charge of Feminine Hygiene Product Development:

"Wings" are stoopid.


They don't stick to the stuff they're supposed to stick to ... which is not good. And they are extremely painful when they stick to the stuff they're not supposed to stick to ... which is even more not-good. Ifyoucatchmydrift. 

(If you DON'T catch my drift,  try this: cut off a small piece of electrical tape, maybe 1/16th of an inch in length or so. Insert it into your nose, directly over a couple of *key* nostril hairs. Press it down nice and tight, so the nostril hairs stick to it firmly. Then: yank it out again.)

Stop making "wings" right now. I mean it.

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Gripe #6:  I may be in a slightly less toxic mood than I was yesterday, now that the dams have burst ... 

...  but I've got all the energy of a fourteen year old boy at 10:17 a.m. in the middle of August when the lawn needs mowing.

The only even remotely productive thing I've accomplished is sorting the big box o'crap from Franz' desk into neat, meaningless piles all day long. That's the beauty of having a criminally-disorganized boss: you can always sit at your desk, pretending to "sort files" (while you're really busy thinking about TOMATOES), while everybody leaves you alone.

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Gripe #7: My period finally starts TODAY? One day before Daughter #1 is due to arrive for her fabulous visit? What kind of sick, fudked-up timing is THAT, Mother Nature ... you evil, twisted bitch?!?

Not only does it ensure that I'm going to be feeling all cranky and limp and depleted when we pick her up from the airport tomorrow night,  but it pretty much slams shut the *window of intimacy* for the Other 50% and me, for the next nine days or so.

Thanks a lot.

(Oh I'm just KIDDING. I'll be feeling fine by tomorrow. It's today that I'm feeling all cranky and limp and depleted. Just whip me up a nice tomato and cramp-bark milkshake ... and I'll be right as rain.)

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All I know is that I'm sick and tired of having periods.

I've been enduring this ridiculousness for twenty-nine years now ... ever since the afternoon I came home from Penny Thomas' ice skating revue and told Grandma I had a "stomach ache" from all the candy I'd eaten that day. That was in 1971. It's been all downhill from there. Enough already.

Bring it on, Menopause Fairy.

two years ago

throw a rock