workaday logo appreciation, perimenopausal perversity

December 30th, 2008 | Uncategorized

kiwi logo
I just bought these rawhide bootlaces, and they make such a beautiful little object wrapped up in their Kiwi bi-directional label band, I’m loathe to undo it. See the tiny little kiwi? Such an elegant, unpretentious logo, and so deeply familiar. I guess it’s emblazoned in my brain from childhood, when I had to polish my hideous red corrective shoes with Kiwi shoe polish–some kind of clear version, since they didn’t make any that was the exact hideous red color of my shoes. Who designed this logo? Has it been the same since 1906, when the company was founded? It occurs to me that logos are kind of like visual jingles, but unlike advertising jingles from childhood which take up valuable RAM and play themselves annoyingly when you least expect it, logos just sit in your brain quietly, waiting to be reactivated by a shoestring shopping mission.

Can you think of other comforting, unchanged-for-decades, so-familiar-they’re-invisible logos?

Thank you for all the kind comments on the Sydney and Mo drawing I made in the last post. I’ve been having a funny realization about my comic strip, which I probably wouldn’t share with you if it weren’t now well over two months since my last period. (For that matter, I wouldn’t tell you that it’s been more than two months since my last period if it weren’t more than two months since my last period. But all my customary instincts are going awry lately.) Anyhow, I really am reading that book that Mo gave Sydney, The Wisdom of Menopause. Holly politely suggested it to me some months ago, when I seemed to be inexplicably hot all the time. She has some older friends who liked it a lot. And I was like, yeah, right, I’m gonna rush right out and get The Wisdom of Menopause. And then I’m gonna buy one of these, and rent some grandchildren. I really didn’t think I was having hot flashes, I just thought I was, you know, hot.

But then I calmed down and got the book anyway, just to have on hand. And recently I started reading it. And it kinda rocks. The author, Christiane Northrup, starts out by saying that as she approached menopause she found herself getting really irritable with her husband and kids over things that didn’t use to bother her. Like her eighteen year old asking her “when’s dinner?” All of a sudden, she just couldn’t take it any more. I’m vastly oversimplifying her thesis here. But the gist of it is that one of the things all those female hormones do is keep you focused on other peoples’ needs. So you can raise children and stuff. So as they wear off, you start getting all crotchety.

So I started thinking about how curiously easy it was to stop doing my comic strip last spring, and how I haven’t really missed it. Hmmm. My comic strip, which for the past 25 years I’ve been producing at four week intervals, like a little ovum. Northrup says, “Biologically, at [perimenopause] you are programmed to withdraw from the outside world for a period of time and revisit your past. You need to be free of the distractions that come when you are focusing your mothering efforts solely on others. Perimenopause is a time when you are meant to mother yourself.”

Which isn’t at all to say my comic strip has only been some kind of community service–I’ve absolutely derived a huge amount of personal satisfaction from it. But there’s a way it doesn’t feel as necessary as it once did, both inside myself, and outside, in the world. Whatever it was I was creating, it’s old enough to get its own dinner now.

And now here I am, setting the comic strip aside kind of abruptly and impatiently so I can work on a memoir about my past relationships, notably including the one with my mother.

It’s all hormones!

For fucks sake!

Or is it “fuck’s sake?”


106 Responses to “workaday logo appreciation, perimenopausal perversity”

  1. HKDebs says:

    Don’t ya just love hormones?? Good luck with the flashes and the book of wisdom (which I am sorely tempted to check out right now – my gf (hi HKSuz!) would say that i have been perimenopausal since we met, but i beg to differ ..). Cheers!

  2. rebecca wire says:

    spelled with the apostrophe. pronounced fast enough not to bother. we use that phrase a lot, where I work.

    Happy New Year.

  3. --MC says:

    I was just reading how kiwis, the national bird of New Zealand, are endangered again — I hope I do not live to see them reduced to something that had once existed but was now just a quaint logo, like Colonel Sanders.

  4. Aunt Soozie says:

    Alison…. what a treatise to menopause you have right here.
    I am so jealous that you haven’t had your period for the past two months. Lucky bitch. I’m getting all that other stuff… which I wouldn’t say here but you said it first… and I’m still getting my period TOO! How fucked is that!?!?
    You have given me hope. Now I’m going to go order that book. Thank Holly for me.
    the ever nurturing,
    Aunt (you’re all on my fucking nerves so… ewww… stop trying to hug me you little sweaty rugrats) Soozie
    ps… real nice shirt… very sexy

  5. Dale says:

    Hormones make us do the strangest things. They make me act like a frickin ten year old. Goddess only know what they’ll make me do when I’m fifty.
    Logos….hmmm…what about the baking soda logos? Arm and Hammer? According to Wikipedia it dates back to the 1860s.

  6. Mad Scientist says:

    A very good friend and mentor gave me the same tome back in April ’08. So, that makes me 8 months and counting. I’m holding my breath (literally turning blue)…waiting for that magic 12 month number so as to be officially considered Menopausal. I had a few false starts, (now THAT sounds really gross (and yes my own TMI impulse control has seemed to abandon me)) pre April ’08…but so far, this one seems to be a keeper. I have been for-warned though, that the hot flashes won’t/don’t necessarily cease and desist. Drat. As for the metaphysical implications (re the analytical): Isn’t it great when we can see the ‘dots connect’ so clearly. I cannot EVER remember a time when I have been less attentive to others needs and more attentive to my own. It has actually turned some long term friendships upside down. Personally, I find the change (pun intended) invigorating – frustrating and sometimes exhausting…but in total: invigorating and liberating.
    Re jingles: I’m currently drawing a blank but was reminded of something similar when reading over a list of “stories from ’08” that involved some hit song by some well know rapper (?) that in the end turned out to be an intentional re-master of the Wrigley’s chewing gum song, meant to reinsert itself into the grey matter of the masses so as to send out fresh new hordes in droves to purchase same. Sorry for the fuzzy details… another side effect of my current condition I’m told…and as I’ve got important things to do for me, well, you can just go look it up yourself!

  7. Deborah Lipp says:

    It’s “fuxake.”

    I’m here to help.

    It’s been over 4 months for me, and the mood swings have calmed down, and I feel focused and full of interesting projects.

    Whereas a year ago I was a danger to myself and others.

  8. Aunt Soozie says:

    here’s the link… Chris Brown’s song “Forever”.
    It wasn’t such a mystery though.. I mean, the words
    “double your pleasure, double your fun” in the lyric….
    my kid and I had already discussed how it was an embedded commercial.
    Just like convenient product placement in movies.

    Ms. Lipp…. danger to myself and others and now full of interesting projects and focused… thanks for sharing that and giving all o’us some more hope.

  9. Kate L says:

    On day I was standing in a high school class with other teachers and students, when suddenly I WAS ON FIRE! I looked around, and no one else seemed affected. An older woman later told me that I had experienced the awe and mystery of the hot flash. Later, I was driving with a friend when I could tell that she was becoming flush every few minutes. Yep, she was getting hot flashes.

    “Menopause, menstruation… have you ever noticed how so many of our problems start with men?”
    – Variously attributed quote

  10. Tanya says:

    Yes, it IS all hormones, to a disturbing extent. In February I came off 3.5 years of pregnancy-breastfeeding/pregnancy-breastfeeding, and in the fall all my career enjoyment and anxiety returned full-force from its mysterious suspended animation. I think hormones have huge effects on our behaviour, but I resent it.

  11. TeratoMarty says:

    The Kiwi! I grew up in my family’s shoe store, and I know the Kiwi well. I think we had a little porcelain Kiwi statuette that sat on top of the display. The shoe polish you had was “neutral,” used on a variety of strange 70’s-hued shoes. With the memory of shoe polish smell comes the memory of Brasso smell, another logo that’s stood the test of time. It was my job to polish shoes and shine their hardware, you see.

  12. Ginjoint says:

    A friend gave me Northrup’s Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom several years ago, and to my surprise, I loved it. My last period was over a year ago. It took just one dose of chemo to conk me out, and I haven’t seen it since; being on Tamoxifen pretty much ensures that I won’t ever again. I just turned 42.

    But. I…wasn’t ready. I went from being a very cyclical creature to this person without…my rhythm. Does that make any sense? It’s not an overwhelming change, but it is a nagging one. I’m pissed at cancer for changing my body without my body’s consent, without regard to my body’s own sweet timetable. I wasn’t ready age-wise or psychologically. Many women have said to me, “Well, hey! Aren’t you glad you don’t have to deal with cramps or buying tampons or the mess?” They say this smiling and laughing, and I want to kick them. (I know they mean well. But maybe this is where my irritability with others is rearing its head.)

    The hot flashes – oy! It’s not like how you feel hot on a hot day – it comes from deep within and radiates outward! It’s an oppressive and smothering sensation. I’m on two different meds to help with them – Alison, I don’t know how you feel about drugs, but through experimenting, I found a combo of Effexor and Cymbalta helps cut my flashes down a lot. (No one knows why these drugs help, but they do, and I’m desperate enough to go for the ride.)

    O.K., I’ve spoken enough. (Uh, I think it’s time to look for a support group, huh?!) Regarding the other angle of this post, I’m going to be looking around for some good, solid, simple logos to list. I know I’ve noticed them in the past. Good design – a calming, simple pleasure in life!

  13. Ginjoint says:

    P.S. – Maybe all we need are some rhinestones, to make us shine. Shine on, you crazy menopausals!

  14. noominal says:

    Hideous red correctional shoes?!

    Are you talking about “Stride Rite” shoes? I had to wear those for yeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaars… like my entire childhood. They had a “graduated arch” for those of us born with flat feet. Painfully, only available in lace-up red or saddle. Endless photographs from my childhood show me in my heinous “oxblood” corrective shoes… it always appeared like I never had new ones, just a repeat of the same pair.

    Like an orphan child from a correctional facility, issued standard school gear. Ech. Oh well, I’m pleased to have share similar torture.

  15. coolmama says:

    funny, i just bought a tin of kiwi brown shoe polish last week for my new berkies. that childhood task of polishing my shoes has never ceased.

    i nominate the chick from bon ami cleansing powder — “Since 1886 — ‘Hasn’t scratched yet.'”

  16. LA Steve says:

    “Oxblood”!!! Ay de mi, noominal, I haven’t heard that color spoken of in decades. I’ll bet that was the “hideous red.” Used to have a pair that color myself, and even though they were ugly I consoled myself with having BLOOD-colored shoes. In grade school, anyway.
    So AB’s started the Menopause Countdown, eh? Here’s how it goes. “One! Two! Three! DAMN! One! Two! DAMN! One! Two! Three! Four! Hallelujah, FIVE! DAMN! One! Two! [D. S. al fine]” Ya get to be my age, you’ll have heard that song so many times you can practically sing along, though I wouldn’t advise it.

  17. Duncan says:

    I think it’s probably “for fuck’s sake,” though I doubt it’s in the American Heritage Dictionary or Fowler’s English Usage. But it’s also “I’m loath to,” not “I’m loathe to.” Since we’re being anal retentive (or anal-retentive?) and all. (It might be fun, though, when someone asks you to do something you don’t want, to say, “I’d loathe to!”)

    Damn. I could’ve sworn I had a copy handy of Cynthia Heimel’s Hobag Manifesto, her response to her own menopause. Contains bits like “Do not let anyone give you a copy of ‘When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple’, which is just meant to make you want to commit suicide. Rather, be an old broad who carries around a big club.”

  18. Jen in California says:

    I’m not looking forward to the hot flashes, but Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick, when will I be free of this damnable useless ovulation? It’s not like I’m ever going to use it for anything. When my time comes my family and friends will just have to put up with any evil mood swings, bitchiness and thrown crockery. I’m gonna welcome that ‘pause with open arms. (pause for breath…since we are all sharing here).

    The connection between artistic creation and procreation is (…wait for it….) fertile area for thought. (sorry!). Sometimes the metaphor holds, sometimes not. But I do like your expression of the tie between the comic strip that we all crave and the mothering experience. By that metaphor we (your gentle readers and fans) are like the kids being sent off to college; loved and not forgotten, but definitely needed out of the house for a bit so that mom can stop making our damn lunches. To tease that metaphor out a bit more, the Christmas strip was like our first trip home for Thanksgiving. Should we all come home again after college, the whole dynamic of the relationship might change. Mom might still make us dinner, but because she wants to, not because we will starve without it.

    (I don’t know about you AB, but having never been a mom myself, I’d feel all weird about such an extended mothering metaphor applied to me. Not to make you feel weird, but, in a storytelling sense, it just felt right).

    If that metaphor does hold for you, AB, then now is the perfect time to embrace that change. To hold true to the stereotype you should divorce Dad (not the redoubtable Holly of course, I mean “Dad” the oppressive patriarchal presence in your life, Federal Taxes, perhaps, or the local utility provider), “frost your tips” as they used to say in the seventies, join aerobics, take up skydiving, and generally make trouble.

    The kids will understand. We are busy trying to figure out how to do the laundry and getting shocking piercings. I plan to come home for Summer Break with some kind of unsettling pronouncement about becoming a Buddhist missionary. For all its upheaval, change is positive. Don’t forget it is Saturnalia right now! It will be, in the immortal words of Sparrow “very growthful”.

  19. an australian in london says:

    I actually came on here to say, now I can, being back from my holiday, how much I LOVE my new Essential Dykes. It’s luscious – love the hard cover and the smooth, white dust jacket.

    I feel, though, given the topic that I must say something about menopause. I’m too young for all that but I do remember (how could I forget) my mother’s danger to herself (and not so much others except indirectly) phase. It was interesting to read here about how you want to focus on yourself at that time. Maybe having babies in her late 30s didn’t help much with that. (There goes that little procrastination.) Good luck, all of you. I hope it’s bearable.

  20. ina says:

    Consuming soy (tofu, soymilk smoothie for breakfast) helps with the flashes. Welcome to the postmenopausal hut.

  21. AndreaC says:


    Doesn’t it suck when the fact that we’re actually animals breaks through all the stories we tell ourselves?

  22. Randy says:

    “Can you think of other comforting, unchanged-for-decades, so-familiar-they’re-invisible logos?”

    The Golden Arches?

  23. sk in london says:

    four fox ache…. “fox” is Old English, and comes from the Proto-Germanic word fukh –…it corresponds to the Proto-Indo-European word puk- meaning “tail” The bushy tail is also the source of the word for fox in Welsh: llwynog, from llwyn, “bush”….

    do what you like with that in your pipe….

    (and all thanks to Wikipedia, so i have no idea if this is true!)

  24. JoVE says:

    “Which isn’t at all to say my comic strip has only been some kind of community service–I’ve absolutely derived a huge amount of personal satisfaction from it.” Mothering people is like that, too. And I’m already crochety so heaven help the people in my household when the menopause hits.

    This new memoir writing phase seems to be a pretty good change from the strip.

  25. rinky says:

    Yeah my girlfriend read that book recently. I read a bit too. It’s good. She is 46 and has menopausal level hormones according to her blood test. I am 40 but we have a 2 year old so she was having trouble taking time out to be selfish. Plus I got this hyper thyroid condition that made me anxious, cross and wanting to have sex. Oh my god, can you imagine how we were getting along. Well, 2008 was a big year but 2009 is looking good so far. GF is starting a librarian course, just like Mo (I’ve got a bit of a thing about librarians – so that is good)

  26. rinky says:

    Oh, and GF wrote a book this year. – That’s a menopausal thing too isn’t it?

  27. K.B. says:

    The most popular German brand of show polish has a cute frog logo, which has also been around for ages.

    And, to Alison, I’m beginning to deal with the fact that the biweekly comic strip is dead. But you will occasionally write one of your DTWOF novellas, right? I know you want to!

  28. Alex K says:

    @coolmama — Oh yes. And the realisation, when I was eight, that “scratched” in the motto is a pun.

    My mother wore red shoes ALL THE TIME. Every day. Her signature motif, her own re-assurance that she still had whatever made her her own deliciously particular self.

    After the seventh child, what with ligamentous laxity physiologically induced, to let the pelvis limber up and the head slip through (as it was explained to me), her shoes were clunky – the sort of thing that a nun would wear – but RED – the sort of thing that a nun would wear to go dancing. And we had a can of clear Kiwi polish, for her red shoes.

    Forty years since I’ve smelt that polish, down cellar on Sunday mornings with the cloth and brush, before heading out to church. Thank you, AB, for opening the can again.

  29. misnomerjones says:

    Bass Brewery’s red triangle logo was Britain’s first registered trademark. Coca Cola also comes to mind as a logo taken for granted.

    Menopause is fun. It is an interesting journey navigating what we’re told we should and shouldn’t do and all the reports about how treatment can or can’t be harmful.

  30. M-H says:

    As a kiwi (ie a New Zealander), I can confirm that kiwis in the wild have been endangered for many decades, due to the introduction to NZ of mammals that hunt in the 19thC (cats, dogs, stoats, rats) . Being flightless ground-dwellers, kiwis are particularly vulnerable to attack. However, the nadir of ignorance that I encountered on a lesbian email list might have been the American woman who boycotted the shoe polish, insisting it was made from ground-up (endangered) birds. No, really. And she insisted on it against all the rational arguments put to her.

  31. clarke in says:

    Has anyone lost their “nouns” as part of the perimenopausal fun? Sandra Shamas, in her show Wit’s End, noted that her noun cupboard had been emptied and replaced with adjectives – so, while she couldn’t name the thing, she could describe it in exquisite detail. She knew she was in trouble when she asked a date to “please pass the white shakey stuff”.

    Very funny to me at the time. Not so funny now. If you’ll excuse me, I have to go walk the four-legged furry thing that growls.

  32. JenK says:

    Oh, my … no hot flashes yet, in fact the 12-18 months I’ve seemed to feel the cold more. I’m wearing leggings as “long underwear” under my pants to work in my controlled-climate OFFICE.

    Oh, and my periods? Are getting more irregular. After years of every 28 to 32 days, now it’s every 30 or 40 or 50something days. Less frequent and less predictable.

    Oh, and I’m 42. My mother finished when she was in her early 40s, but I’m not sure when exactly. (Didn’t think to ask when I could and now I can’t.)

    And yeah, I’m thinking it might be time to do some reading on perimenopause.

  33. JenK says:

    Gad. I’ve felt the cold more in the LAST 12-18 months. 😉

  34. Suz says:

    Clarke- I regularly lose my nouns when I’m stressed– can find the words to write or type, can’t find them in speech. Started at around age 30, so wasn’t perimenopausal for me. Make sure you open that thing with a knob that you pull to open it (actual example) before taking the dog outside.

  35. verbal athleticism says:

    @ noominal and AB:

    No wonder I have a shoe fetish. As a kid, I had to wear those damn red leather correctional shoes too; I remember crying when I had to get new ones, cause they hurt.

    *Going off to suck my thumb in a corner. You triggered PTSD RE those ugly red shoes. Thanks a lot.*

  36. C. says:

    This is a decent reference:

    Some of these have changed or are of absorbed companies.

  37. praminthehall says:

    I vote for the apostrophe.

  38. cybercita says:

    did you know that menopause lasts for exactly one day? perimenopause continues for one year after your last period and post menopause is everything else.

    two summers ago, it was just as if someone said, hey, look! she’s turning 50! and pushed the menopause button. my periods started sputtering out, i started having dozens of hot flashes every day, and i found myself reaching more and more for my reading glasses, which i had purchased a few years earlier but had never used.

    the best thing to control the flashes, i find, is lots and lots of exercise. if i work up a good sweat every day, that seems to keep them under control.

    i was very sad to see that part of my life coming to an end, but i don’t miss my periods one little bit and it’s an incredible relief not to be governed by my hormones any longer. i don’t have the emotional swings or resultant irrational behavior that accompanied them, and i am grateful for that.

    my biggest complaint is that i love food, i love to cook and eat, and even with daily exercise i am increasingly forced to cut more and more out of my diet in order to control my weight. it’s unfortunately true that we need less and less calories to get by.

    nice to age along together!

  39. Dr. Empirical says:

    This discussion really puts my ever-accellerating hair loss in perspective!

    While traveling this summer, I ran out of niacin, and bought the wrong formulation. I swallowed two grams of raw, non-timed-release niacin and, ten minutes later, experienced my own, once in a lifetime hot flash. It was much more intense than what’s being described here, but at least I know what not to do to avoid another one.

    Kurt Vonnegut had interesting things to say about how our chemicals control our behavior.

  40. rinky says:

    “please pass the white shakey stuff”

    I’m going to laugh and laugh about that one for weeks

  41. The Other Andi says:

    Periods: Now MORE frequent; approx. every 3 weeks. Kind of annoying.

    Logo: The Morton Salt girl. I used to contemplate the idea of the girl holding the box of salt that had a picture of a girl holding a box of salt that had a picture of a girl… ad infinitum. Seems to me there’s another well-known logo like this but I can’t remember it at the moment.

  42. Dan says:

    The brands that stand out to me are Lava soap, Craftsman tools, and the WD40 can

  43. The Cat Pimp says:

    I went through it very young. You do regain your equipoise. Trust me. It takes a few years, but it happens. And I did a lot of research on synthetic hormones and I really don’t think they will kill you. I’ve been taking them for 20 years and I am still ticking, FYI.

    I like the Kiwi. I have fond memories of my dad shining his gigantic go-to-work shoes. I loved watching him briskly swab, brush and polish those shoes. They went from scuffy to shiny in 10 minutes.

  44. Ian says:

    @Dr. E: somehow I think any stories of male pattern baldness and prostate exams would fall on very unsympathetic ears here, don’t you? 😉 Although every single male I’m directly related to has it, I’m lucky to have kept as much as I have into my 30s!

    I’ve also heard that eating a fair amount of soy-based foods can help ameliorate the effects of “the change” or “the curse” as it is generally referred to by a lot of women I know. Of course, in my family, anything gynaecological would never have been mentioned at all!

    An equivalent logo that’s as comforting to me as the Kiwi (we have it here too!) is Fred the Homepride flour man:

    I think he originated in the 50s or 60s, but along with Captain Birdseye he has to be one of the main ‘brands’ I can remember.

  45. Pam I says:

    It’s all over for me, now I’m hitting my 60th year. And I didnt really notice it, it doesnt have to be torture. I eat a lot of soy, and I took Evening Primrose pills on the it-can’t-do-any-harm principle.
    However for years I’ve had what seems to be an allergic reaction to alcohol. One sip and I go beetroot red. I don’t care but I do feel the need to warn my companions that I’m not about to explode.
    Now off to hunt down the champagne – for the NYE boat trip up the canal on a friend’s barge. We’ll be popping corks across the water.

  46. Antoinette says:

    I am definitely with Jen in California on this one. Depressingly, at 49 my cycle’s more regular than it’s ever been. I’d welcome the chance to free up the space in the bathroom cabinet with cheers (and air-conditioned PJs). Endometriosis means ovulation makes appendicitis resemble a Caribbean cruise. Whee.

    Since my mid-30s I’ve been the proud recipient of a catalog entitled As We Change, purveyors of said PJs in addition to every useless (and pricey) gewgaw you can imagine for wrinkles, droops, sags, and weight gain. Oh, and some pretty nifty-looking vibrators (also prohibitively priced.) But God bless capitalism, right?. I think these folks could probably sell Confederate flags in Harlem.

  47. Calico says:

    Yes, I know how it feels, AB. I’m 46 going on 14 and am hot all the time – I go out in my T-shirt when it’s in the 20’s or even teens – it feels so fresh and aaahhhh!
    I won’t miss my period. Maybe a little, but I never craved having kids (except for my animal babies and the pets I babysit), so it won’t be hard to say Sayonara.
    I’ve been a little more picky and irritable/”short” lately and both my Mom and my partner have noticed this. Swell, eh? Thank heavens for Primrose oil, green tea, and long walks.

  48. Calico says:

    Logo that I can think of right now – RCA, His Master’s Voice. Is the dog named Nipper?

  49. Pam I says:

    @ Other Andi – on the cascading-inwards repeating logo – isnt it something to do with cheese? Primula?

  50. Juliet says:

    All this talk of hormones is rather hitting home for me today. For the sake of fuck they are RAGING (in a premenstrual rather than perimenopausal fashion). I just want to bite everyone and not in a good way. The upswing will be 3 weeks from how in the oh-so-fun-hothothot phase.

    I always resisted the idea of being governed by hormones but I’m slowly learning to just go with it.

    On another note, my favourite logo is really a favourite packaging which will probably only be familiar to the Brits out there: Tunnocks Teacakes.

    Unchanged for decades:

    Isn’t it pretty?


  51. julissa says:

    that kind of makes me excited for menopause, I’ve never thought of it that way. happy menopause!

    ps: is that your neck? it looks weiiird….

    pps: no offense

  52. --MC says:

    Calico — yep, the RCA dog is Nipper.

  53. Hayley says:

    The Bon Ami chick. King Syrup lion. The weird silhouette guy with the big nose on Rumford Baking Powder (but this is the one you should use because Calumet and others contain aluminum.) And the Revell logo from model car kits.

  54. Jaibe says:

    Speaking of hormones, have you read Naomi Wolf’s _Misconceptions_? She talks about how in her 8th month, when she was full of estrogen, puppys and kittys really did look cute. And worse, academic discourse felt like some kind of icky combat, as unattractive as a fist fight. I know it was part of the 80s post-feminist revolution to realize not every woman wanted some type-A out-of-home career, but it’s really weird to think that what you thought was you having a bit more gumption of some form was really just you having a bit more testosterone.

  55. Eva says:

    For a year plus I have interrupted sleep during my premenstrual week. Two or three nights, most cycles. Very annoying and no matter how much extra sleep I get I never feel normal the rest of the day. My nurse practitioner recommended Vitex and Black Cohosh, which apparently are supposed to help, but don’t as far as I can tell. Because of this I’m looking forward to peri and mena and post, if you follow me, menstrually speaking. I’ll be 43 soon. I think right about 43 was when my mom started stopping. Maybe 2009 is the year of the beginning of endings, eh?

    Love all the logo nostalgia. A shout out to Pennsylvanians’ – Tasty Cake (I can almost picture it, but not quite) – anyone?)

  56. falloch says:

    Way hey Juliet, shout out for Tunnock’s Teacakes – if Scottish astronauts ever go to the moon, they’ll need crates of Tunnock’s teacakes! For Amurricans, TTs are very similar to … MALLOMARS!!! Now, I am going to really date myself: While in NY clearing out my mum’s linen closet last month, I found (way in the back) a plastic hot-pink coloured bottle of ‘Young and Free’ shampoo (for oily hair) with psychedelic looking yellow smiley flowers on it too. I threw it away – now I wish I’d saved it and put it on EBay. Sorry, I was possessed by the Cleaning Berserker goddess at the time. C’mon all you 50plus year olds – tell me what year(s) Young and Free shampoo was popular. I’m guessing early 1970s.

    Happy New Year everyone. May goddess protect and help us, each and every one.

  57. Amyx says:

    One of the familiar childhood logos I was reminded of recently (while reading Fun Home, actually) was the jumping figure that’s the logo for the Modern Library division of Random House. Like the kiwi, he/she is subtle and timeless.

    What an amazing realization to make about the way in which you birthed and nurtured the comic strip for all those years. The universe has a way of making us cope with the maternal part of ourselves sooner or later. Perhaps rather than renting grandchildren, you’ll find ways to nurture the creative work of others–or whatever it is that is our grand-maternal path.

  58. Jane R says:

    Holy cow, so THAT’s why I’ve been forgetting my nouns all year!

  59. Anonymous says:

    I’m fairly convinced at this point that absolutely everything in our bodies is influenced by our hormones. As my partner and I sailed through menopause fairly unscathed, I can attribute the smooth ride to the bio-identical hormone pellets our doctor would insert in our respective hips every 4-6 months. The therapy regulated our wildly fluctuating hormones and I never once had hot flashes, though I admit to occasionally not finding the right word for something. Hormone Pellets – highly recommended!! I also got to keep all of the gifts of menopause that Alison mentioned, like not caring quite so much about what other people think and finding new ways to support our own journey.

  60. Dr. Empirical says:

    As a lifelong comic book geek, I look at the DC Comics logo and how it’s changed over the years. The ’50s logo is so square, and it wasn’t improved in the ’60s by adding “go-go checks”. The ’70’s was basically the ’50’s in a bold font, and the ’80s logo is now amusingly retro. The current logo, despite having been around for years now, I view as a young upstart with no pedigree. No doubt this will last until it, too is replaced, when I’ll be overwhelmed with nostalgia for that “Atomic-Age” look.

    Ian: My family doesn’t do the pattern-baldness thing. the working follicles just get farther and farther apart. I was in my late twenties when I first discovered I had to put sunscreen on the top of my head. In my early forties, scalp is now visible from every angle.

  61. ksbel6 says:

    I’m definitely perimeno, but didn’t figure that out because my periods are getting further apart. They are still right on time, they just keep getting shorter and shorter. I’m down to one day at this point (I’m 37). I’m in the celebration camp : )

  62. ksbel6 says:

    Oh, and happy 2009!

    @Ian and Dr. E…I feel bad for you guys!

  63. amber says:

    Thanks for the usual honest insight AB. I have been in the ravages for awhile.

  64. dzieger says:

    My poor dear Anne is now on a two-week cycle. So unless anyone here is ovulating on daily basis like a corporate dairy farm chicken, I think she wins…

    Man, I can’t wait until this hormone $^!# is over.

    A friend of ours, about a decade older than us, threw a big party to celebrate when she finally achieved the Big M. I thought it odd at the time.

    Now I understand.

  65. rinky says:

    dzieger I like the phrase, “finally acheived the Big M” sounds like reaching the pinnacle of a tall mountain

  66. Ginjoint says:

    Dr. E – check out Nioxin shampoo.

  67. Pam I says:

    But hang about – other species don’t have a menopause right? I seem to remember that humans with their endlessly-dependent (or at least for say 10 years) offspring, have evolved this system where the last child born will/should have a mother till it leaves the nest – without more sprogs arriving to be left motherless? Why else do the eggs stop popping out? So we would need those nurturing hormones for a decade or so after the eggs stop. Maybe it’s a collateral effect that the Sky Pixie couldn’t find a way around.

  68. Heidi says:

    Hmm, I tend to lose nouns sometimes, and I’m presumably 10-15 years away from perimenopause. But it happens when I’m especially busy or tired, so I associate it with stress hormones. It got bad a few years ago when I was having a lot of anxiety, so I’m grateful now that it only happens on occasion.

  69. Mad Scientist says:

    …the logo thing: Crayola Crayons. I can never see it without also smelling it/them. That familiar cardboard waxy smell. So many of my sensory memories are intertwined.

  70. Anne says:

    I lose nouns, I’m a danger to self and others (as one poster so wisely put it), I get extremely hot (though perhaps short of the fabled hot flash), I bleed and cramp every few weeks, and more, but my OB flatly told me that I couldn’t be in perimenopause due to the results of some test.

    I simply don’t believe her. Should I?

  71. Ian says:

    @Pam I: Methuselah et al to the contrary, I remember reading something that suggested human beans weren’t meant to last much beyond 50. So the menopause would presumably have been quite a rare thing in 10,000 BC. If you think of some places where the average life expectancy is still under 40 and knowing that in the middle ages to live beyond 40 was quite rare … Is menopause a modern phenomenon? Do women actually have their allocated lot and simply run out?

    And I’ve just realised I’m a man pontificating about menopause on a blog full of radical lesbian feminists. I’ll shut up now.

  72. Pam I says:

    @ Ian, we need some evolutionary historian biologists in here. Life expectancy is always skewed downwards by babies dying young – eg in 19c half of UK babies died before reaching 5 years. So survive to adulthood and your chances of reaching 70 are good. But then women would have had 20 babies, half of them living – and presumably many of the woemn would die, or be left infertile, in childbirth. So back to my thought – why menopause at all, ie having 20 to 30 years (with current health patterns) of zero fertility, when we still have zillions of eggs left? Do other species do this?

  73. Feminista says:

    Feliz Ano Nuevo! What are your hopes and dreams for the new year,both personal and political?

  74. Alex K says:

    @Pam I: Two questions, then, regarding menopause: HOW it happens and WHY it happens.

    A quick scan through abstracts of articles brought up at

    with a double search for “animal model” x “menopause” suggests that abnormalities of signalling between brain / pituitary dyad and ovaries crop up with ageing in several species, both primate and murine.

    Humans may have found wisdom in menopause, with greater return on investment in progeny once women are barren (and competition from on-going reproduction has been eliminated), but that strikes me as like finding lemonade in lemons.

    Low pH in citrus-fruit pulp: Deterrence of insect predation on seeds or provision of summery refreshment through beverages? There’s an evolutionist / creationist interpretational dichotomy for us all to ponder.

  75. editor jan says:

    Hi, everyone… I’m a very shy former lurker who thoroughly enjoys this blog. I was drawn out of silence by the need to share the secret that got me through menopause with relatively minor symptoms, relatively level emotions, and thick, shiny hair. I take a tablespoon of Barlean’s Organic Cold Pressed Flax Oil 3-4 times per week. I store it in the freezer so it stays fresh. It’s expensive, but not compared to various remedies and drugs. And it really worked for me. Although I do find that I lose nouns – particularly those words at the end of sentences that the verb acts on…

  76. Suz says:

    Huh. Chimps in the wild do not regularly experience menopause. “[I]n chimpanzees reproductive declines occur in tandem with overall mortality.”

  77. Ginjoint says:

    Suz, that’s a very interesting article but something confuses me. It states that a chimpanzee’s life expectancy is only 15 years, but then a couple of paragraphs later says that chimps begin reproducing at about age 13-15. So they only start to reproduce when they’re old? That can’t be right. Am I misreading something?

  78. Suz says:

    Good question, Gin. Maybe chimps have high childhood (well, you know) mortality rates?

  79. Andrew B says:

    GJ, Pam I already outlined the answer to your question. Life expectancy at birth is an average. If you have two chimps, one of which dies at six months and the other of which lives to 39 years and six months, their average life span was twenty years. (That is, the average of those two individuals.) The average was twenty years, but one individual lived to be almost 40. In reality the distribution of ages is more complicated, including 7% that live to be 40 or older. There must also be quite a few that die very young in order to bring the average life expectancy at birth down to 15.

    As Pam pointed out, you have to keep this in mind when people start talking about life expectancies for humans in the past. Premodern life expectancies were skewed downward by high infant mortality. People who made it to age 5 had life expectancies not all that much less than ours. (Obviously, you have to allow for a lot of variation from place to place and time to time, but the point is generally correct.)

  80. Ginjoint says:

    Got it. I wonder what life expectancies, for humans in the past or for chimps present, are when the deaths occurring before the age of, say, 15 are weeded out. That is, once one makes it to adulthood, how long do they last?

    Kind of off topic, I also wonder if alcohol or caffeine make hot flashes worse. Doctors always say that alcohol makes stuff worse, but I wonder what the truth is. I usually have a glass of wine a day, sometimes two, and I’m curious as to the effect, if any. I know, I know, I could give up drinking and find out, but what the hell fun would that be? Also, thanks to Editor Jan for the tip regarding the flax oil.

  81. Maggie Jochild says:

    Comments are turned off for the latest post, 2009, so I’ll post my response here:

    Dr. Winnicott’s body language on watching the birds reminds me of my own reaction to the impending relief of having Bush out of office: So close, and yet so far away.

  82. Monkee says:

    Don’t you just love cats’ “Ersatzhandlungen”? They can’t get the bird so they take a swing at the book on the desk.
    Congratulations on the Granta story! I’m going to check it out at the library as soon as it gets in. Seems like a good read anyway.

  83. ksbel6 says:

    Ok, so I never had a biology class, but…I thought humans only had like 300 eggs or something, and when the eggs run out, menopause begins. Also, women had a very low life expectancy (lower than men) until birth control started being used more widely. I think the age for women didn’t pass the age for men until like in the ’70s or something. More women died due to complications from childbirth during WWI, than men died fighting the war. Women still die in approximately 1 out of every 100,000 births, so it’s not surprising to me that at some point the body would just say…”you’re done, no more offspring for you”.

    Also, is it just me, or is there a new cute little kitten sitting in that window?

  84. Antoinette says:

    Thanks for the reminder to pick up some more seed for the birds at the pet store today. My two crabby-old-man cats enjoy those stick-on-the-window bird feeders. I have one up at work too.

  85. Buzz says:

    I (sometimes seriously) think menopause is nature’s way of insisting, once and for all, that we stop dieting.

  86. The Cat Pimp says:

    Gorillas go through menopause. Capsule summary – they studied gorillas in 17 zoos and found the average age of menopause at 44. They can live to 50.

    Chimps in the wild can live to their 40s. In captivity, much longer. Cheetah, the infant chimpanzee used in the old Johnny Weismuller “Tarzan” movies has a web page. They don’t mention if he’s still alive, but he did meet Jane Goodall in 2006, at the age of 74.

  87. BrooklynPhil says:

    My dad taught me to polish my shoes with Kiwi brand too. It was years before I realized there was a tiny kiwi on the label.

    Here’s my very spurious declination…

    For Fucks Sake = for the sake of having several (general) fucks
    For Fuck’s Sake = for the sake of one particular fuck
    For Fucks’ Sake = for the sake of several particular fucks

  88. The Cat Pimp says:

    Brooklyn Phil, you are definitely a Brooklynite. That’s our native language. Our alphabet? “Fuckin’ A, Fuckin’ B, Fuckin’ C……”

  89. dna says:

    “…And then I’m gonna buy one of these, and rent some grandchildren.”

    That shirt cracked me up! I know several women with shirts very similar to that one…

  90. Anonymous says:

    I’m at 6 months since my last period. The best thing I have found for perimenopausal symptoms is Revival Soy (shakes or bars.) They have way more soy isoflavones than tofu or soy milk and they really taste good! At 10 grams of protein they are also a great breakfast. I’ve used the stuff for about a year now and it WORKS! I would encourage everyone to check it out and give it a try.

  91. --MC says:

    AmyX — speaking of book company logos, the new DTWO4 collection shows Mo riding the Houghton Mifflin dolphin, on the spine of the book jacket as well as inside.

  92. Ellen O. says:

    Logowise, I have a fondness for Elsie the Cow. Though she’s not subtle.

  93. Ellen O. says:

    Also, Elmer’s Glue. Much more subtle than Elsie and also, apparently, her “husband.”

  94. Anony lurker says:

    Actually, a number of species have a menopausal period, frequently playing a major role in the social structure of the group: elephants are my favorites. The oldest (usually post-menopausal) female is the matriarch of a family group and guides, nutures and teaches the entire rest of the (mostly female) group.

  95. […] zu Weihnachten eine Probepause von ihrem DTWOF-Vakuum gegönnt hat und uns ansonsten über ihre Wechseljahre informiert. Ihr seht, es geht noch […]

  96. judybusy says:

    Maggie, thanks for the chuckle about waiting for Bush to get out of office—great comparison and echoes my own sentiments! Here’s the quote so ya’ll don’t have to scroll back:

    “Dr. Winnicott’s body language on watching the birds reminds me of my own reaction to the impending relief of having Bush out of office: So close, and yet so far away”

    Just 15 more days!

  97. Mer says:

    I definitely concur on the Bon Ami logo. They’ve changed the Morton Salt girl, Mr. Clean, and the Sunkist Raisin lady, so no go there. The Shell Oil and Playboy logos are pretty nice although the actual companies are arguably diabolical…

  98. noominal says:

    Let’s see a picture of you, Alison, in those hideous correctional shoes.
    I know you have one somewhere…
    Here’s one of mine:

  99. Maggie Jochild says:

    Oh, noominal, how utterly adorable you are. What a strong face. Great photo.

  100. Tabea says:

    Damit kann ich was anfangen.
    Jetzt bin ich beruhigt !
    Herzliche Grüße.

  101. vicwa says:

    I agree, noominal looks totally cool!

    I can recommend Susun Weed’s “Menopause and the Wise Woman Way.” Found it at Women and Children First in Chicago about 1994 and it got me through several years of perimenopause through to post. Excellent herbal primer. Only I found that simple “tea” sized amounts of herb sufficed instead of the 2 oz of herb per quart that she recommends. Check out the nutritional section in the back of the book.

  102. Noominal says:

    I just watched the program “How It’s Made,” about Kiwi shoe polish. They showed the black tin of paste… naturally, the tin itself is most unique and takes more time and effort to manufacture than the actual polish.

    This is true in the case of most popular, timeless products.
    It’s the containers that are most fascinating, and why would one mess with any iconic logo placed upon them.

  103. Eva says:

    Urm – does anyone know anything about bleeding during ovulation? Apparently it’s not that unusual but has never, until now that is, happened to me. I have an appt. with a OB-GYN, for an annual check-up, but not until mid February. As I said above I’m just about 43…is this a peri and/or menopausal symptom? For years and years my cycle has been 25-29 days long, regular as a slightly lopsided clock. Urg. If anyone is still following this thread and has an clue please chime in. Thanks.

  104. Anita says:

    It is “for fuck sake”. I’ve been reading you for… probably 25 years and it’s been 2 months since my last period. Ya gotta be taking some chaste tree and black cohosh.

  105. Elementary School Chum says:

    Red shoes from Mamolen’s in Newberry, just west of Williamsport…hated the shoes, hated the store, probably hated poor old Mr Mamolen too.

    Menopause: love missing the periods, hate not knowing when they might show up. Hanes loves me…

  106. Ella says:

    hi there to whoever owns this website, Can you give me more info on this? i sometimes look at other peoples websites that are made for people like me.