Saturday, April 30, 2005

they plump when you cook 'em!


getplump
Originally uploaded by margrocks.
i love this ad. makes me giggle and steam. giggle b/c i love the word plump. don't you? say it with me:

plump
.

it evokes something juicy, nutritious, wholesome, and real. like gramma's sunday roast chicken - an ample breast and plenty of meat on her bones. there's room in the word plump for you to be you. like you could nestle down into gramma plump's sofa and nap after dinner. skinny, however, has nooooo vacancy. you sleep on the stoop, and if you're lucky, they'll toss you a little celery.

call me plump, however, and i'm liable to break down in tears.


but i don't want to be plump, i want to be skinny!!!

ugh. i'm annoying.

the ad makes me steam, b/c it illustrates so clearly that these "standards" that have been set up for us, that we have adhered to for years like some sort of bizarre religion are a bunch of hooey! malarkey! balderdash! bunk. and, if ya notice, they change. how can we ever keep up? we can't, my darlings. that's the point. we just keep buying and buying and buying, then, just when we think we've gotten "there," the "there" changes. is this what's meant by the old bait and switch? just ways for mr. olgivy and meyer and his brethren to make a buck. same sell (you are not enough), different product (slender, plump, toned - whatever you are or have not).

so, in recognition of this (i've known i should for years, but now that i'm complaining about it publicly, i suppose i should actually do it. it's so much easier to talk about it from up here in Morally Superior Land though. this "by example" stuff is for the birds), i'm cancelling all of my magazine subscriptions. well, not all of them. just the glossily bound physical manifestations of self-hatred that arrive monthly on my doorstep. you know, the girly mags that shout in a sickeningly sweet bright pink font -

A NEW YEAR, A NEW YOU!

GET THE BOY OF YOUR DREAMS IN 1 WEEK!

HOW TO GET THE PERFECT SKIN!

GET A BIKINI-READY BODY IN 5 DAYS!

(i wonder...do all of the women who work at these Bonnie Fuller-ized magazines always talk in multiple exclamation points!!!!??? must be the fen-phen.)

even Yoga Journal is getting da boot. i'm fed up w/ the whole new-age marketing racket. who, after all, needs yoga toes for $50? or a limited edition bronze sculpture of a woman doing downward facing dog? nuh-uh.
the chicks on the cover? often blond haired, blue-eyed, size 4, zen-like perfection. it's the same shit that's in Vogue, just a different product wrapped up in sacred windchimes, vegan carob truffles, and pink organic hemp ribbon died with wild raspberry juice.

i'm not saying my issue (and many women's issue) with these magazines is Betty Ford-worthy, but it's a form of addiction. according to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, an addiction is defined as: The condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or or involved in something. bingo. the feeling i get when i see InStyle on my front stoop feels too good to be good, especially when it ultimately makes me feel so bad.

confession: i'm not going cold turkey. i'm just not renewing their subscriptions. soon, the only mail that will grace my stoop will be bills from verizon, flyers from macy's, and the quarterly newsletter from camp merrie-woode, a camp i went to once, when i was 13. i still get them. filled with announcements like these:

mary-catherine boudreaux (nee dupont) and her husband, trip, welcome a bouncing new baby boy, william terrace boudreaux IV. big sister mary-dupont, who is 3-years old, is tickled pink to have a new baby brother!

like any 12 step program says, ya gotta replace the substance (drugs, booze, sex, cigarettes) with something else. otherwise, when you encounter the giant hole of emptiness that's left behind after you kick your addiction to the curb, you're gonna be scared, lonely, and much more likely to open the door and invite it back in. this time, it'll probably bring friends (and they have serious b.o.)

so, i gotta fill my mail slot with mags that will nourish my noggin, my body, my belly. granted, they'll still have ads. short of not reading any magazines ever, i'm not sure i can get away from them completely. (i work at a media company - it's not happening.) but at least they won't make me passionately hate my person. the only passion i'll feel will be for the candy apple red AGA oven range featured in the latest issue of Saveur. i hear it makes great roast chicken...plump.

____

so here's my planned mag replacements, so far...

BUST Magazine - the only magazine that encourages us to be beautiful, smart, and tough. please, if you guys know of any others, let me know!

The New Yorker - i just feel smarter carrying it. this and a blue + white cup of Greek diner coffee are the quintessential new yorker accessories.

Readymade Magazine - very groovy, do-it-yourself design mag. my only beef is that all of the models look like i'm-so-hip-it-hurts williamsburg, brooklynites.

Domino - a new budget design magazine.

Cooks Illustrated - a gift from J + S - very scientific cooking magazine. stay tuned: i'm baking the oatmeal, dried cherry, bittersweet chocolate chip cookies tomorrow. stop by around 4 w/ a jug of organic skim milk, and you might have a new friend.

Elle Decor British Edition - this is a dream. i can't afford it now (it's like $170 dollars or something ridiculous), but it's so much cooler than the US Elle Decor. US EC is weenie; UK EC is wowza.

and maybe, in memory of my mother (who, by the way, never bought girly magazines):

Southern Living - who, after all, doesn't need another recipe for pineapple-mayonnaise frozen salad?

Friday, April 29, 2005

not made-up make-up

putting makeup on after work in the bathroom. conversation between Weenie Assistant (WA) and Super-Successful Woman (SSW).

SSW sighs as she messily scrawls eyeliner onto her eyelid.

SSW: jesus, i'm 32 years old and i can't apply make up. pitiful.

she's right. she can't apply make up. the line she attempts to draw is about a 1/2 an inch from her lash line and reminiscent of a kindergartener who raided her mother's cosmetics drawer.

WA is silent for a few seconds. she's in awe. she is guilty of being jealous of this woman. this woman is important. she does important things. meets important people. gets important things done that inform important people about important events. she wears important well-tailored suits and important pointed leather shoes that click when she walks, announcing the arrrival of her importance. she wears "higher purpose" like a perfume - dabbed judiciously behind her ears, inconspicously, so as not to offend.

WA does not feel important at her job. she knows that this is not her future, that her dreams and goals lie (or lay? oh, screw it.) beyond this fortress of cubicles. in some circles, she might even be considered a SSW, but here, she is definitely a weenie assistant.

WA wonders...

if she is more shocked because she just found out that SSW is only 2 years older than WA and so super-successful she wants to vomit? or because SSW, in her well-tailored suit and pointy leather pumps, is helpless when it comes to make-up application? something that weenie assistant excels at.

SSW: i didn't learn how to put on make up until i was 30, and i suck at it.

WA, not unself-consciously, curls her eyelashes. crimp, crimp.

WA was caught stealing make up from her mother at age 3 and was ecstatic when she snagged a signed copy of kevyn aucoin's book, "making faces." at age 3, SSW was probably in French class reading Camus.

WA: well, i'm not so sure that's a bad thing.

you're fucking brilliant, woman! who cares about makeup?!?! i wish i were a brilliant, super-successful (albeit pale) woman, and not some weenie assistant who is super-adept at eyelash curling.

SSW: ha. yeah. i guess i didn't waste my youth on it. but jesus, i can't believe i'm 32 years old and i still have acne. what the hell is this? (she dots her zits with concealer.)

WA: yeah, i didn't have acne until i was 22. then my face exploded. all that oil, at least we won't have wrinkles.

SSW: that's what my dermatologist tells me.

the conversation turns to botox...

WA: it's weird. i can't imagine injecting myself with botulism...

SSW: i know, freezing my face...come back to us in 10 years though, and we might change our minds.

WA: yeah. probably. ya know, C. (another brilliant, though much older, super-successful woman who works at our very important, very serious company) had it done. botox. she was in here talking about it with a bunch of other women the other day. i asked her if she thought it was worth it because it runs about $800 a session, and she looked at me with not-too-much-of a facial expression and screamed, "IS IT WORTH IT THAT EVERY TIME I LOOK IN THE MIRROR I DON'T HATE MYSELF?!"

SSW: (from inside the bathroom stall.) Whoa.

WA: i know. well, I guess it works.

SSW: Therapy works too.

ha. dammit. she's not only smart. she's witty too.

WA: well, have a good nite.

SSW: (exiting the loo) you too.

and the weenie assistant departed the bathroom in her click-less dansko clogs, leaving the super-successful woman behind to wrestle with her concealer.

gee, she thought, i hope she remembers to blend.

---

indulge your own inner weenie assistant -

i met an old friend of mine's new boyfriend, C, last nite. he just happens to be a make-up artist at a music television station. i cornered him and made him tell me his favorite products. best thing is, most of 'em are cheap! here you go :

he said the only things you need to spend serious cash on are foundation and powder.

foundation: MAC Face + Body (you can only get it at MAC stores, not dept. stores), Chanel Teinte Fluide

powder: Giorgio Armani, MAC Invisible Powder

eyeshadow - MAC, Chanel

mascara - he says everyone should always wear black (i have a hard time wearing black w/ no other eye makeupcuz i think it looks to harsh, but he insists i should. i'll have to try it. i'll end up looking like bambi) he uses Max Factor Stretch + Strengthen on the lashes (wiggle the brush at the base of the lashes, and then brush it all the way thru the tips), then use Cover Girl Fantastic Lash on the tips. swears i'll "look like i'm wearing fake lashes." wait, do i WANT to look like i'm wearing fake lashes? what the hey, outta my way, Beyonce!

blush - C said the only 2 blushes you'll ever need are Nars Orgasm and Nars Deep Throat (who needs blush? just saying them makes me color!) Recommends Scott Barnes blush too (avail at Sephora)

Lipstick - MAC

Lipgloss - MAC, Stila, or L'oreal

Face - Clinique 7 Day Scrub, Roc Facial Cleanser, Oil of Olay Face Lotion (w/ SPF)

Thursday, April 28, 2005

pretty is as pretty does.

j, the pregnant one, got a bikini wax. ouch. she herself admitted that she can no longer actually seehernetherregions- they're hidden somewhere beneath the hump that houses herfetal son - andher husband is in south florida looking for houses, so it'snot as if anyoneelse is going tosee them, but shegot one anyway. funny to me. i get a little giggle thinking maybe, unbeknownstto her, they sculpted her p-hair into some sort of clevershape - a heart,a lightning bolt, a Celtic sign symbolizing fertility. whata shock for herob-gyn.

isn't it weird what we put ourselves through in the name of the big B - E - A - U - T - Y? is that beauty? a well-maintained bikini line?

oh, i'm not judging. i'm just asking.

hell,i do it. i shave my legs even when i know no one is going to see them (very badlyi might add. i've never shaved my legs without carving a chunk outof my shin,leaving my shower resembling a scene from Psycho. honestly, mylegs usuallylook better pre-shaving, hair and all. how many Band-Aids negatethebeautyof a smooth shave?). i've worked out to the point of exhaustion andinjury.starved myself until my stomach cramped so badly i couldn't sleep,my hairfell out, and my nails turned blue. taken a razor blade to my callousedfeet.i got my eyebrows waxed once, and when they ripped off the wax, they ripped my skin off with it (the hair was still there.) so, for 3 weeks ilooked asif i had 2 sets of eyebrows - one brown, one scabby red. totally attractive.i have never gotten a bikini wax, and i don't think i ever will.my netherregions and hot wax - never the twain shall meet.

where does this belief come from - that it's okay for beauty to be painful? oh,the usual suspects, i suppose. the media. the opposite sex. our fathers.our mothers. it trickles down and up and all around until it seeps into our being and becomes a part of who we are - as if it's natural and normal todo these things thatare so, well, unnatural.my mom usedto french braid my hair. she'd pull, and and pull, and pull sooootight...inhaste, she'd accidentally brush my eyeball or my ear or my cheek...when i'd squirm and protest she'd say, in jest, "pretty hurts."

pretty hurts.

does it have to? i'm not advocating stopping all beauty treatments or rituals.i love pretty feet and groomed eyebrows just as much as the next person.i love glitter and nail polish, and lipgloss, and bronzer. i can blow shameful amounts of money at sephora - i'm like a kindergartener set loose in an art supply closet. i love getting my hair cut and colored; i leave the salon feeling like i just stepped out of a Pert Plus commercial. i'm in favorof takingcare of the body. it's a temple after all, and i don't think God would behappy if you failed to polish it and touch up the chipped paint every oncein a while. and i don't know about you, but if i'm having a bad day, a dash of lip gloss always kicks it up another notch. i'm just tired of this "hurt" business. can't pretty just feel, oh, i don't know...pretty?

my stepmother always used to say when i would lament my zits, my braces, or my fine, straight hair, "pretty is as pretty does."

"what the hell does that mean?"

i know now she meant something bigger, something grander, more noble. being a good person and all that is more important than looking pretty. if you act pretty then you are pretty, and all that rigamarole. yadayadayada. at 16, i just wanted to be told i was pretty. that, i've learned is not something you can get from someone else. well, you can, but it doesn't mean anything if YOU don't believe it. you gotta know it yourself. it's a decision you make to be beautiful. therefore, you are. self-prophecy and all that.

so, i'm beautiful, dammit. i'm pretty.

and this pretty don't do hot wax.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

exercising my demons

woke up to a rainy wednesday = perfect excuse to stay in bed. but didn't. i knew i had some demons that needed exercising, or rather exorcising. so, i went to the gym and joined the over 65 crowd as they warmed up on the treadmills for their "silver sneakers" class to follow at 9:30am. i love them. there's one lady that hasn't changed her hairstyle since the 1940s. seriously. raven black hair with a little red bow perched on top the poof in back. she works out without mussing her hair in the slightest - my heroine and, at the same time, my antithesis. the folks at the gym are lucky if i manage to brush my hair and wipe the drool from my cheek before dragging myself there.

i always feel like a little bit of an asshole working out on a treadmill or stairmaster or stationary bike, don't you? i mean, any object that replicates movement for the body without actually getting you anywhere is a little dumb. aliens, i must imagine, look down upon us and remark, "well, there's life down there, but so much for intelligent."

i don't care though. somethin's better than nuthin. i'm too realistic to know that i won't go running the the rain. i'd stay home and feed my demons with coffee, irrationally scream at my sloooooooooooow computer, and wonder WHY I AM SO STRESSED OUT!!!????

so, to the gym, i went.

whew.

god, what a little sweating does to get me OUT OF MY HEAD and INTO MY BODY. grounds me. forces me to inhabit my arms, my legs, my toes, my back, the parts i love (my shoulders), and the parts i hate (my belly.) the purpose of my sturdy thigh is not to be thin, but to move. this body carries me on my journey like a sturdy samsonite suitcase. it's a bit banged up, but it's still in good shape and it gets me where i dream/need/want to go. going to the gym, running, yoga, dancing around my apartment is, in my corny little mind, like doin' the laundry after a long trip - unmentionables 'n' all.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

these hips are built for breedin'


baby
Originally uploaded by margrocks.
this new yorker cartoon pretty much sums up how i feel about babies. or how i have felt for a very long time. just now, at the ripe age of 30, am i warming up to the idea of having one of my own. contigent, of course, upon finding someone who is totally committed to doing it 50/50 with me. oh get your mind outta the gutter. i don't just mean the procreation part, i mean the raisin' part. actuallly, 40/60 might work a little better. 40 - me, 60 - him. hey, i know my limits as a donna reed.

my friend j is here for her annual nyc visit, and she's preggers. oh ya know, she's got that glow - miraculously beautiful, round, and well, a veritable fertile myrtle. she's always been miraculously beautiful. boys have always been smitten with her intoxicating combo of personality, intelligence, absolutely perfect alabaster skin, and legendary ample bosom. now her bosom is...well...bursting. j wants to breast feed. trust me when i say that her son will never want for food...ever.

(funny story: shopping for bras at victoria's secret, she couldn't find a bra large enough to accomodate her milk-filled mammaries. they suggested she try their â??sister store, Lane Bryant.â?? ha. she did, and just as i would, shoved her lane bryant bag down into her other shopping bags, away from view, so that no one would know she'd shopped at a plus-size (!!!!) store. us women are nutso, aren't we? even when we're pregnant, CARRYING AROUND ANOTHER HUMAN, we don't want to be TOO BIG.)

j and i talked about how weird it is to watch her body change to accomodate this little person. her boobs are bigger. she's got a belly the size of basketball. her ni**les are darkening [(i just can't write that word.) did you know that happens? apparently, b/c infants don't have great eyesight, they darken so they're easier for the little babe to find. god, our bodies rock.] she craves things, and she takes better care of herself. allows herself more pleasures. she naps. she snacks. goes thru 2 gallons of milk a week on her own. mcdonald's sundaes that her dutiful husband fetches for her. she's stopped drinking alcohol as well as caffeine, and she stopped smoking long ago. she's seeing her body not just as a lump of clay to be molded and carved to fit some f-ing impossible standard, but as a home to be nurtured and well-cared for. hm. you can put shutters on the windows and slap on a fresh coat of paint, but if the inside's a mess, ya ain't gonna have any visitors.

we went shopping today, and i have to say, one of the the best parts about being preggers is the special treatment ya get. people give you their seats on the subway. they open doors. they carry your bags. stores that would never let you use their restroom, do. just inconspicuously place your hand on your conspicuous belly, drop your gaze a la princess diana, and coo, "can i please use your restroom?" voila. instant bladder relief.

i think we should all start treating our bodies as if we were pregnant. get more rest. take our vitamins. buy comfy clothes. drink more water, less caffeine. love our bellies. ask for help. buy good bras. (i can do without the darkening ni**les.) i think we'd all be a lot better off. even if you don't want a real screamin' bouncy baby, you can still treat your body as the amazingly efficient, miraculous machine that it is - built to CREATE...babies, art, or otherwise.

i've been terrified of pregnancy in the past - not the actual birth (ouch!) or the episiotomy (ouch!!), or the possible C-section (ouch!!!) - but b/c it would be such hard work to get back to where i was beforehand. oh, ya know...emaciated. nowadays, i don't inhabit such a "perfect" body, so it doesn't scare me so much. i mostly can't wait to be pregnant so i don't have to hold my stomach in for a whole NINE MONTHS! i have a "pooch." always have. i've been holding my stomach in since i was 3, and people have been asking, rudely i might add, "are you pregnant?" since i was 16. i'm tired of it! that's it. from now on, my answer will be "why yes. i am pregnant...with possibility. put your hand on my belly and it will kick. your. ass."

right now, my possibility wants lunch.

Monday, April 25, 2005

save the date


save the date
Originally uploaded by margrocks.



here's the save the date for the benefit for my show: i'll post specific deets at a later date, but save the evening hours!

rainy days and fat cheeks always get me down...

saturday was a fat day.

pity, as it started off as such a lovely, lazy, merry olde england day. a rainy day. i know i'm probably in the minority here, but i do love rainy days. they are permission slips to do precisely what i love doing, but so rarely allow myself to do: lounge in bed, sip coffee laced with half and half, and read pseudo-intellectual novels about love, starry skies, and rainstorms. heavenly.

in theory.

relaxation is hard for me. i'm sure we all battle this in some way or another in our production-driven, “you can sleep when you're dead” culture. i find i have to fight back the inner-Martha that screams in my ear, “Get up! Go to the gym! Bake homemade organic whole-grain bread with raisins and flax seed! Bleach your facial hair so that people do not mistake you for a man! Write that novel! Mop your nasty-ass floors and while you're at it, stencil them with Celtic goddess symbols! And, my dear, it is never to early to start embroidering monogrammed tea cozies for Christmas presents! i, after all, was in prison, and accomplished more than you.”

aargh.

not saturday. i was successfully ignoring martha. really. i sat in bed for an hour so, happily absorbed in my alice hoffman novel, second nature. (about a woman who falls in love with a man who has been raised by wolves. yes, i know you're all thinking - “wait, i think i've dated him.” no, girls, this one turns out to be a sensitive new-age man raised by wolves. he can garden, his name's stephen, and of course he doesn't mind if she ever shaves her legs. does he, i pray, have a brother?)

then, i don't know what happened. i didn't look at vogue. i didn't attempt to squeeze into my skinny jeans (i threw those exercises in self-hatred out years ago). i just rolled out of bed, looked in the mirror and didn't see me - lovely, complicated, sleepy me. i just saw cheeks. fat cheeks. chipmunk cheeks. i swear i could actually feel the fat cells expanding. i imagined they might resemble those little glossy balls of tapioca that roll around the bottom of those newfangled, trendy new asian teas, but mine not so tasty nor so welcome.

and so, just like that, it became a fat day.

i moped. i pitied. i buried myself in too-big jeans that made me feel “small.” i hid behind my glasses, hoping that they would somehow camoflauge what i thought were cheeks on the verge of explosion. i burrowed into the crook of my friend b.'s couch alternately snoozing and moping, snoozing and moping, snoozing and moping as b. and k., in eager anticipation of k.'s wedding, watched the cinematic confection Father of the Bride (the steve martin one). i usually love that movie. it's one of those guilty pleasures that make me giddy w/ idealism. not saturday. all i could think about was how thin diane keaton looked, and she was at least 15-20 years older than me. i was washed up, fat, and unattractive at the tender age of 30. and look, is that a gray hair i see?

they should have shot me.

but they didn't. god love 'em. they are my friends. my urban family. like the macy's thanksgiving day parade balloon-handlers, they keep me grounded when i start floating away into a self-induced cloud of self-indulgent self-hatred. i credit them with teaching me how to love and, more importantly (?), be loved unconditionally. that's the thing about my friends, even when i'm an asshole, they love me into being less of an asshole.

and slowly, the day got better.

i went for a walk in the misty rain and helped k. pick out invites for her rehearsal dinner - a reminder that there are things more important than the size of my ass i.e. marriage.

thank you.

i brushed my hair, rouged the offending cheeks, and slicked on some Mac Lipglass - cosmetics are a wonderful, cheap alternative to anti-depressants.

thank you.

i sipped a cranberry-vodka cocktail - hey, don't judge me. it calmed my nerves, dammit.

thank you.

i cried in the street. one should cry more in public. it's so humbling. i really wish more people carried hankies though. it would have been so nice to have been offered one by some dashing gentleman.

thank you.

i hugged my aunt jo. my mom's mannerisms hide in her hands and smile, so while i wasn't quite comforted by my mommy, it was close.

thank you.

i hollered and whispered and moaned my blues into a microphone backed by a band that i am sooo lucky to be singing with.

thank you.

i was presented with a “gold” chain wrapped in tattered tissue paper by eugene, an elderly, partially deaf black man sitting in the audience who claimed to have 12 fingers and psychic abilities. he did guess that my uncle m. was my father, and my cousin c., my sister. close enough. i'll happily accept his premonition that i'll be the “next big thing.” thank you, eugene. i'd be happy to just be any “thing.”

thank you.

oh, that feels better.

here's what i'm learning. slowly:

what stops these fat days in their tracks? or maybe you don't have fat days. maybe they're ugly days. or stupid days. or not-enough days. or aint-got-no-boyfriend days. whatever. they all stem from a place of lack. the answer is gratitude. sorry to get all Oprah on you, but 'tis true. if i sit down and just start writing all of the things i'm grateful for, the feeling of lack that's comes free with the feeling of fat just kind of dissolves. poof! sometimes it's the lamest ass things that gets me started - the coral nailpolish on my toenails that reminds me of apricot fruit roll-ups. my hooded sweatshirt. my ipod. my pink kitchenaid mixer. coffee. my chivalrous neighborhood garbagemen. the giant redwood tree in the backyard.

you catch my drift.

my theory is, you've got a big ol' pile of stuff to be thankful for. first, you gotta recognize and sift through the little stuff that sits on top, and eventually, you'll get to the big stuff. health. friends. family. purpose. HBO.

so, the next time i feel a fat day creeping on, i'm gonna treat my cheeks as an artist's canvas and slather them in glitter, pink rouge, and rhinestone body tattoos. i'm gonna do yoga. i'm gonna cry. i'm gonna breathe. i'll probably even be a bit of an asshole. then i'm gonna pull my pilgrim hat outta storage and play thankful.

-----

once a month, a whole slew of folks from my place of employment (i cannot say where i work as it is a very serious, important place where a lot of very serious, important people work and these very serious, important people cannot be associated with a silly little non-serious, unimportant blog like mine.) go to lunch over at the deli in the Edison Hotel on 46th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue for a Jewish culinary feast. actually, it's more like a Jewish culinary eating marathon (pace yourself, and stay away from the bagels. they leave no room for the blintzes). every jewish delicacy you can imagine is brought out family-style - gelfite fish, whitefish salad, salmon, cream cheese, bagels, pastrami, corned beef, matzo brei (sp?), potato latkes, chopped liver, blintzes...it's been quite an education for me. a white chick from georgia, i haven't had most of them. their matzo brei alone is so good i'm considering conversion. go there. eat 'til you burst.

Friday, April 22, 2005

cheesecake

in haiti there is a saying - “if you get a piece of cake and eat the whole thing, you will feel empty. if you get a piece of cake and share half of it, you will feel both full and fulfilled.”

right on.

i shared a piece of yummy chocolate cheesecake with my buddy/my pal/my co-conspirator j. last nite at the westway diner on 9th avenue between 43 and 44 streets. i love that place. rude greek waiters and all. it's like coming home. must be the rudeness. ( :

the cheesecake was absolutely delicious, and sharing it actually did make it taste better (and last longer, mind you.) you're forced to exhibit some level of restraint and decorum when you're sharing dessert. you cannot, like one might, if one found oneself alone in one's astoria apartment, depressed and more than a little self-pitying, dive face first into the creamy, tangy wedge of chocolate-mousse-topped new york. j loves me unconditionally, i know this, but i'm not sure her love extends to the possibility of me as madwoman gasping for air beneath a mask of cheesecake (although it does make a great moisturizer). so, like a proper young lady, (which i'm not, i was acting) i savored it, fighting the madwoman the whole time. and between the dainty nibbles we giggled. oh, screw that. we don't giggle. we guffaw. ain't nothing dainty about our laughs. so i guess we filled up on cheesecake, and ful-filled up on laughter. we're such lucky gals.

of course, another madwoman rears her ugly head this morning. one i know all to fucking well. this madwoman lives in my head, part of the committee, and she points at my belly disapprovingly with her well-manicured fingers. “tsk. tsk. tsk. you shouldn't have eaten that cheesecake, and you haven't exercised in 3 days!” poor little belly. it's a lovely little belly, but a belly that she often chastises for not being flat-enough, cut enough, firm enough. so, how do i deal with this madwoman? (she shares an uncanny resemblance to geraldine stutz - see blog #1) she wants me to starve myself - drink only coffee and spinach juice and maybe nibble on a leaf of kale - be miserable, read vogue, bemoan my ample self and lacking wardrobe, and pray for the stomach flu.

no. no. no. know what i'm gonna do?

i'm gonna put a muzzle on miss “dog whistle” herself. i'm gonna eat some whole wheat toast (fiber! complex carbs!) slathered with natural peanut butter (healthy phats! protein!). i'm gonna shower, blow dry my Farrah Fawcett hair, slap on some lip gloss, and when my impudent little belly peeks out from underneath my t-shirt as it is wont to do (me, girl with long torso, in land where only low-rise jeans are available), i'm gonna wave, blow it a kiss, and invite it over for a slice of cheesecake....with sprinkles.

___

yesterday was “poem in your pocket day.” you were supposed to carry a poem around in your pocket all day and share it. so, it's not in my pocket, and it's a day late, but i'm sharing it:

The Suitor

We lie back to back. Curtains
lift and fall,
like the chest of someone sleeping.
Wind moves the leaves of the box elder;
they show their light undersides,
turning all at once
like a school of fish.
Suddenly I understand that I am happy.
For months this feeling
has been coming closer, stopping
for short visits, like a timid suitor.

Jane Kenyon

Thursday, April 21, 2005

fat isn't fat

ah. coffee. my lifeblood. gets the brain, the body...ahem, the colon...going. i like coffee so much, i sometimes go to bed looking forward to the morning b/c i know a cup of coffee awaits me on the other side of the moon. my mother was a coffee addict as well. like me, she always had one or the other in her hand 1. a cup of black coffee or 2. a glass of ice water. the only difference is i take my coffee with milk and some sort of carcinogenic sweetener (start my day off right, dammit!) and my mother's water glass always jiggled like a maraca w/ a bunch of little ice cubes. i don't have the luxury of an icemaker, and i'm just too damned lazy to make them in my eensy-weensy fridge freezer.

best place for coffee in nyc: empire coffee and tea on 9th avenue between 41 and 42 streets. it ain't no chain (tho' i think they do have another store in jersey or brooklyn or somewhere), they have a ton of amazing coffees and loose teas, the staff is hip, friendly, and mostly international, and unlike yuppie-bucks, they will put the milk and sugar in your coffee, like a proper new york coffee place should. my hand gets so tired stirring that little stirrer. (try their coconut cream-flavored coffee if you can. doesn't taste at all like suntan lotion.)

didja see the article in the nytimes yesterday about the results of a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association? being a little overweight isn't so awful. actually, it might be good for you to carry a little extra weight, provided you exercise and eat right.

“what?” you say? “this little love-tire around my middle might not be the work of satan? my voluminous thighs might not hasten my death?”

nope. well, not accdg to a bunch of fancy docs, anyway. a few years ago the Center for Disesase Control launched a campaign saying, essentially, “WE'RE A BUNCH OF FAT PIGS! IF WE DON'T STOP NOW WE'LL ALL DIE IN SHAME, SOONER THAN WE SHOULD, AND OUR FAMILIES WILL HAVE TO SPEND MORE ON EXTRA LARGE COFFINS.” (remember the story of the guy that was so fat he had to be buried in a grand piano? i wonder if he was a fan of john tesh or more of a bobby short kind of guy?) obesity was, they said, the #2 cause of deaths in the u.s. (not to mention the leading cause of datelessness) anywho - this new study has bumped obesity to #7 and, the most remarkable thing is, using the government guidelines for weight (BMI or body mass index), they found that those people who were considered moderately overweight actually lived longer than those who fell within the government’s optimal weight range. now, they also found that death rates increased for those who fell below their weight range, as well as those that were considered obese, but those that were considered a little overweight, seemed to die, well...less...early. so, be a good little girl, and eat your dessert.

oh, pish. i'm not good at summarizing...i could go on and on and on, and still not clearly communicate the gist of the article, brevity is not my strongsuit, but the major point is, what the government and thereby we consider “normal,” needs reconsideration. (check out the article and a great graphic. search “obesity” www.nytimes.com)

egads. i was surprised by my reaction. rather than sense of relief or comeuppance, (“i knew it! my ample ass looks too cute in jeans to be lethal!”) i immediately reacted with a feeling of “oh no, they must be wrong. they're study must be flawed. being thinner is definitely healthier.” how could my little-bit-round body be “juuuuuust right?” scary. shouldn't be...but is. know why? b/c that might mean i'm enough, and then what would i spend my time worrying about? obsessing about? hell, being about? fear of fat is a hobby for me, for many of us. can you imagine if we all stopped being so fucking scared of of a little adipose tissue? my bookshelf would be practically empty. amazon might go out of business. i might have to love myself. i might have to accept myself. i might have to get a life.

oh shit.

do they sell those at amazon?



(i feel obliged to say this: now, of course, of course, you still want to eat right and exercise: eat tons of green veggies, watch your bad fat intake, take the stairs, not the elevator. this is not carte blanche to start eating like morgan spurlock in super-size me and be-bop down the street humming the theme from fame...i'm gonna live forever! but the truth is, and i'm speaking for myself here, i do all of that. i eat very healthfully, i exercise quite a bit, and my weight does not fall within the current standards of what the govt considers “normal.” it took too much work to be “normal.” and why be “normal” when you can order dessert?)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

enough

i'm not sure if i'll ever be enough. i have moments of “enough,” but they are so fleeting. they're like that song in the sound of music...“how do you keep a wave upon the sand?” the gentle wave of “enough” rolls in, and before i even have a chance to play around in the fucking water, it rolls back out to sea again. then, as i'm busy staring at the sunset, or picking my too-small swimsuit out of my self-described-too-rotund rear, i'm blindsided by another wave...a bigger, meaner wave...of “not enough.” funny thing is, i keep getting up and going back into the water anyway. hm. perserverance or stupidity?

that's it. i'm signing up for surfing lessons.

read in a nytimes obit yesterday about a woman, geraldine stutz, who was the president of henri bendel for years. pretty remarkable considering it was the mid-fifties when she was hired. anywhoo, she was quoted in New York magazine in 1987 describing her taste in “dog whistle” fashion: “clothes with a pitch so high and special that only the thinnest and most sophisticated women would hear their call.” bee-atch. here's a woman making strides professionally, breaking barriers, but doing so by making legions of women feel
not-thin-enough or rich-enough because they can't buy or fit into the clothes she deemed “it.” she wouldn't even stock clothes over a size 10. if you've ever tried on vintage clothing, you know that a size 10 in the mid-50s is far smaller than a size 10 in 2005. i don't think geraldine would ever invite me to tea. my ass probably wouldn't even fit into her size 2 chairs. it'd be fun to go though. i'd smuggle all of geraldine’s petit fours out under my elizabeth taylor-esque caftan (nothing else would fit me), and accidentally spill my tea on her “dog whistle” chanel suit. arf.

even today, there are many designers who won't design for women over size 10, or even 8. i suppose it makes them feel special. (jesus, it's all so very high school. at least i could compete in high school. i had good hair and could peg roll my jeans successfully.) they're like the fashion popes. they dictate what we are to believe is attractive - from the length of a hemline to the size and shape of our bodies. i've heard these
designers (often male, but not always - us women folk can often be our worst enemies) defend themselves by saying that “my clothing just looks better on a thin body.” well, yes. sure. duh. most clothes look good on a hanger. isn't it much easier to create clothing that is flattering on a one-dimensional flat figure than a body with an actual landscape? wouldn't a designer worht his/her salt want to challenge him/herself by making clothes that look beautiful on real women? isn't that where the real talent lies? i could drape halle berry in burlap and she'd be beautiful. that doesn't make me a designer.

don't get me wrong. i love fashion, but i hate fashion people. they're a bitter and angry bunch. why? because they're hungry! i'd like to buy the fashion industry lunch. not a coke. not a line of coke. lunch. with brownies for dessert. and ice cream. after their initial response of shock and awe, i have a feeling their moods would improve exponentially. then maybe they'd design clothes for us real folks. cuz then they'd be real folks. and we could all sit around eating brownies and ice cream in armani prive and versace. first order of business - elastic waistbands.