Monday, February 27, 2006

i love joe (but nobody else wants us to be together).

this weekend, i attended classes at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. i learned a number of things about myself.

among them:

1. according to the Myers-Briggs Test, i am an ENFJ.

Warm, empathetic, responsive, and responsible. Highly attuned to the emotions, needs, and motivations of others. Find potential in everyone, want to help others fulfill their potential. May act as catalysts for individual and group growth. Loyal, responsive to praise and criticism. Sociable, facilitate others in a group, and provide inspiring leadership.

oh stop. i'm blushing.

2. the surface area of my gastrointestinal tract is 300-400 square meters, or the size of a tennis court.


3. i drink coffee, therefore i am satan.

okay, they didn't exactly say it in those words, but there is definitely a strong opposition to java at IIN. now, i'm not suggesting that the woman who stood up and said she's a coffee addict, but has "cut back" from 42 ounces a day to 36 ounces doesn't have a problem, (i can't help but think of the poor woman's teeth) but c'mon! i don't think my one cup of hazelnut coffee a day is a huge threat to my overall health, and i drink boatloads of water all day long to counteract the diuretic effects. my numerous trips to the loo throughout the day are a testament this. not only does this provide me with a very active work social life (best conversations are held in restrooms. oh, okay. gossip. but whatever.), it's a replacement for cardio on those days i don't get to the gym.

there actually are good things about coffee: antioxidants like chlorogenic acid and tocopherols, evidence that it lowers your risk Parkinson's disease, colon cancer, and diabetes. i'm not gonna go into the details, you can read about that here. i'm not sure i agree with the idea of feeding it to young children so they can perform better in school, (my parents gave me a small glass of wine at dinner to calm me down, and i don't even think that worked. i can't imagine if they'd given me coffee) but in moderation, can't i have a cup of coffee without feeling LIKE LESS OF A PERSON???!!!

oh, okay. yes. i'm mostly doing this to myself, but coffee is frequently referred to as a drug in class. so, of course, when you refer to something as a drug, i can't help but feel at least a little bit like a drug user. but i have no track marks! no deviated septum! yes, my teeth are a little yellow, but nothing that a little Rembrandt won't fix. so, you hear all of this repeatedly, and can't help but think that you're little cup of joe is a problem. like "did you hear, margaux has a coffee problem?"

yes, i have a problem. my problem is the number 4 thing i learned (again) about myself this weekend: i care too damn much what people think. those people whose high-antioxidant green teabag tags taunt me, dangling conspicuously from the edge of their cup like a 6-year old pageant queen.

i'm better than yoooooooooou.

but whatever. by defending it i guess i'm admitting that there is something innately bad about the stuff, and that's what bugs me. bad. good. bad. good. like people, there are few foods in this life that can be so easily classified with a couple of exceptions; i think we can agree on Hitler and chitlins, don't you? that's what gets us into trouble with food i think. categorizing it as bad or good, devil or angel, friend or foe, it just ain't so.

for now, i'm not quitting. maybe there's a little bit of rebellion there. maybe a little bit of resistance to change. i'm making so many other big changes in my life, health and otherwise, perhaps this is my last hold out, but i can't discount the contentedness that comes with my trip to the cafe where they know just how i like it:

hazelnut with just a touch of half and half and one Splenda.

and, it keeps my bowels happy, and at 300-400 square meters, that is no small thing.

Friday, February 24, 2006

you say tomato, i say gas.

my kind of world piece

i was diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) a few years back. whether IBS is a psychosomatic disease or an actual medical condition is widely debated. like most illnesses, i'd guess that it's probably a combination of both. four years later, i feel well enough to consider its causes. then, i just wanted to stop feeling like my colon was about to explode. it felt like my gut was housing a four-year old who was blowing bubbles using lighter fluid, lighting a match and laughing maniacally at the intestinal fireworks. the only positive thing to say about having IBS? you certainly find out who your true friends are. you know what they say, friends who fart together...

for a time, i was taking a heavy-hitting horse pill that quelled the belly spasms. after doing an elimination diet, i figured out there was really only one thing i couldn't eat: cooked tomato sauce. yes, cooked. it's weird. i can have fresh tomatoes, but there is some acid (maybe the lycopene?) that is released when tomatoes are cooked that wreaks havoc on my belly. completely inexplicable, as i spent my entire childhood eating my mom's chili, spaghetti with meatballs, and lasagna with italian sausage. and let's not forget the pizza from the Milan American Legion! it was a point of pride, coming from a family of athletes whose dining behaviors mimicked those witnessed at an Oakland Raiders training table, that little girl me could devour a plateful nachos with jalapenos, followed by extra-cheesy enchiladas doused in taco sauce and a 7-11 Slurpee. notsomuch anymore.

perhaps its age. perhaps it's the years i spent depriving myself; alternately starving my poor little gut, ignoring it's hunger cries or muffling them with celery, and then when i just couldn't take it anymore, ramming it full of crap and demanding it to digest dammit. what's the problem? it's only a 1/2 gallon of ice cream. wimp.

hm. i guess i should be thankful i can digest anything at all...ever...again.

i've discovered, thank God, that if i eat a little nibble of bread before partaking, i can pretty much handle tomato sauce now. this makes me incredibly happy as one of my fave dishes on the planet is the gnocchi in marinara nestled under a blanket of fresh mozzerella from Don Giovanni. on an empty stomach, however?

do not stand behind me.
the heat or the smell; one or the other will render you braindead, and the combination could kill you.


in honor of welcoming tomato sauce back into my life:

The Domino's Pizza "Toppings Tell All" study revealed that:

Those who prefer non-traditional toppings such as pineapple and onion tend to be aggressive, achievement-oriented, natural leaders. They do not easily suffer fools.

Pepperoni Please
People who prefer traditional, single meat toppings described themselves as being irritable, argumentative, procrastinators, who frequently conveniently "forget" obligations at work and at home.

Meat Fanatics
Those who preferred traditional, multiple meat toppings are dramatic, seductive extroverts who thrive as the center of attention. They crave novelty in all aspects of their life, are fashionable and impeccably groomed.

Only 1 Veggie Please
Pizza eaters who prefer traditional, vegetable, one-topping pizzas are empathetic, understanding, well adjusted and easy going, making them the ideal parents.

Veggie Pilers
Those who prefer multiple vegetable toppings are trustworthy, loyal and dependable. They value friendship as the ultimate manifestation of life's ideals. They function best in a group environment. They are humble, introverted, and avoid the spotlight.

i like it all, so what does that make me?

a very well-rounded, well-adjusted (though oft-constipated) lass.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

couldn't have said it better myself

I used to think that anyone doing something weird was weird. I suddenly realised that anyone weird
wasn't weird at all,
and that it was the people saying they were weird that were weird. - Paul McCartney

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

"...I've learned you can be beautiful without being perfect."

Ex-Rising Star Makes a Healthy Return to the Ice, from The New York Times, February 18, 2006

TURIN, Italy, Feb. 17 — As her figure skates grew rusty inside the trunk of her Volkswagen, Jamie Silverstein stood in front of a room of sorority women at Cornell University, took a deep breath and told them why she had quit the sport of ice dancing.

"Hi, my name is Jamie," she remembers saying in a shaking voice that day in 2002. "I was on track to go to the Olympics, but my body gave out because I have an eating disorder."

Silverstein was a college freshman then, light years from her life as a skater.

At one time, she and her partner, Justin Pekarek, were touted as the United States' best ice dancers in decades. They were Fred and Ginger on skates, seamlessly gliding across the ice as they waltzed, cha-cha-ed and rumba-ed their way to success, winning the gold medal at the 1999 world junior championships.

A year and a half later, Silverstein crumbled, unable to cope with her eating disorder, anorexia. She blamed her sport, in which women wear skintight outfits that show every flaw and the pressure to live up to expectations can be suffocating.

For four years, Silverstein's skates were left untouched.

So it was a near miracle, Silverstein said, when she and her new partner, Ryan O'Meara, skated onto the ice at the Palavela on Friday for the compulsory portion of the ice dance competition. With her raven-colored hair pulled back from her face and her pink dress flowing as she moved, Silverstein smiled as she danced the waltz. But this time, after years of emotional distress, her smile was genuine.

"This has been overwhelming," Silverstein, 22, said afterward, tearing up. "I think a lot of people didn't believe that I could do this, so this is a huge victory for me."

She and O'Meara, also 22, were in 18th place, with the original dance still to come Sunday and the free skate Monday. They are the No. 3 pair on the United States team and are not considered contenders for a medal, but they say that just being in the competition is enough of a reward.

Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto, the world silver medalists last year, were sixth, 1.42 points behind the first-place couple, Barbara Fusar Poli and Maurizio Margaglio of Italy. The other United States dancers, Melissa Gregory and Denis Petuhkov, were 15th.

When Silverstein and Pekarek left the sport, Belbin and Agosto took their place as the United States' best hope for its first Olympic ice dance medal in 30 years.

"We really looked up to Jamie and Justin, because they paved the way for us as the up-and-coming U.S. team," Agosto said. "It's an unbelievable accomplishment for Jamie to come back."

Silverstein, from Pittsburgh, had paired with Pekarek when she was 11. Several years later, the weight began to peel off her 5-foot-3 frame. Her face became more angular. Her shoulder blades looked bony. Her weight loss was hard to hide in her costumes.

She pretended to be fine, but on the inside, Silverstein said, she was drowning. She said she felt the need to be the best, to make people happy, including her mother, Robin, who had gone through a divorce and had focused her energies on her daughter's career.

It was not unfolding as the romantic life Silverstein had imagined from watching made-for-TV movies. She said she felt invisible.

"I thought someone would say, 'She's more important than any of this skating stuff,' and would rescue me," Silverstein said. "I just wanted someone to pluck me away and, for a long time, that was so sad."

She handled that pain by restricting her food intake. Pekarek and their coach, Igor Shpilband, would try to feed her. Pekarek took her to a sports psychologist, but even that did not help.

"Everyone in the skating world knew she had a problem, but they didn't know the severity of it, or the ties to the depression or mental anguish," said Pekarek, now a skating coach and college student in Massachusetts. "She was lost because everyone had planned her future for her and she had no control over it."

One day in 2001, Silverstein just could not do it anymore. Sobbing, she told Shpilband and Pekarek that she no longer had the strength to train and that she was not just a skater, she was a person, too. She needed time away from the sport.

"Igor, bless his heart, said, 'No, you are a skater. You are beautiful,' meaning it to be empowering, like I had a gift," she said. "Then Justin stood up for me and said, 'Don't worry, you can take as much time as you want.' I'll always love him for being the first person to stick up for me."

She and Pekarek, while on top of their ice-dancing world, parted ways.

At Cornell, Silverstein still battled anorexia and bulimia. After seeing a counselor and a nutritionist, she said, she soon realized that skating did not cause her problem. She learned ways to take care of herself.

Then, in late 2004, she dragged those rusty skates out of her trunk. She called Shpilband and asked to come back. Then she asked Pekarek to join her, but he declined because he was skating with someone else. She and O'Meara teamed up in April.

"She's an amazing person and I'm so glad I could help her make it here," said O'Meara, who is from Houston.

But for Silverstein, who studies art therapy at Cornell, it still is difficult, particularly when she sees other ice dancers.

"It just takes having the courage to be as I am in this environment and not get caught up in comparisons," she said Friday, as a paper-thin skater walked by wearing an outfit that looked like two strategically placed dinner napkins.

Then Silverstein sighed.

"It was really hard for me for a long time, and it still is," she said. "On a day-to-day basis, I don't feel beautiful, but skating has always made me feel beautiful.

"It's just that now I've learned you can be beautiful without being perfect."

Monday, February 20, 2006

happiness comes in 32 flavors

c'mon. she came from France. of course it's ice cream.

thomas jefferson was a man of many accomplishments. he was a true polymath: political philosopher, architect, musician, book collector, scientist, horticulturist, diplomat, and inventor. then there was that other gig. President of the United States.

he left us a number of memorable quotations. a few that i particularly admire:

The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. (i said i admire it, people, as it's clear i do not follow this advice in either speaking or writing.)

I cannot live without books.

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

it is in the spirit of "pursuit of happiness" that he must have discovered the joys of ice cream. after all, it is TJ whom we can thank for making ice cream a staple in America's culinary lexicon.

a moment of silence, please.

ice cream was served frequently at dinners hosted by him, and "while George Washington's papers contain a prior reference to an ice cream maker, the first American recipe for the dish is in Jefferson's hand." and in the other, no doubt, a spoon.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

happy belated valentine's day

Love is not gourmet
cream truffles

or pacified sucks.

But walking on broken rocks

where nobody goes-

love is.

Jane Mayhall

this is my favorite love poem. this year, anyway.

i find this is true of love in all it's forms, not just the red rose, bodice-ripping Harlequin romance love. love between friends. love between a parent and a child. love between a husband and wife. love between a girl and her ice cream. love between Me and...the Me in the Mirror. love ain't easy. i guess most things that are worth it aren't.



check out this website and photo exhibit:

RF: In 60 years, you've never had a fight?
Rose: What we gonna fight about?
Paul: No. What we gonna fight about?
RF: Well, that's a first.
Paul: What are we gonna fight about? What is there to fight about?

Monday, February 13, 2006

pumpkin pancakes in a marshmallow world

i woke up to this on sunday morning.

this, to me, is bliss. Brenda Lee's Marshmallow World bliss.

some people hate snow. i
looooove it. it muffles everything. wraps a dirty old truant in a sparkling white velvet cloak. 'course, i've discerned that there's one thing that separates me from the snow haters. they shovel it. i don't.


my dear neighbor s. was up and a shovelin' before i was even
considering the possibility of stepping out of my pink plaid pajamas bottoms. she also runs marathons weekly and folds her laundry properly. someday i hope to grow up to be like her. a girl can dream.

ah well.

so sunday morning...

i wanted pancakes.

never eat pancakes. the CARBS! the REFINED FLOUR! the SUGARY MAPLE SYRUP! the BUTTER! the...the...the...pure insanity of pancakes!!!!!!!!!!!!!

oh, shut up. they're pancakes. not landmines.

if a 26-inch, record-breaking blizzard isn't excuse enough to cancel plans, stay in and
eat pancakes in bed, what is? (the only other excusable scenario i can think of at the moment involves a very attractive male serving me pancakes in bed, but is what you make it. 2 outta 3 ain't so bad.)

so, pumpkin pancakes it would be, and pumpkin pancakes it was.

Pumpkin Pancakes
courtesy of Janie "Mom" Laskey

2 cups of whole wheat flour
if you're a wimp and can't handle the fiber, you can use regular unbleached flour or 1/2 and 1/2 . if you use all whole wheat, you might have to add a little more liquid so it's more batter-y and less plaster-y.

4 organic eggs
splurge for the organic. if you're premenstrual like me, you can do without the extra hormones.

4 teaspoons of baking powder
play with this. i found my pancakes rose so much they were almost the size of biscuits. if you like that, go with the 4 TB. if you're more of an A cup girl, adjust accordingly.

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1/2 cup of organic milk - soy, rice, old school dairy
again, splurge for the organic. in my humble opinion, the animal products is where this whole organic thing really matters. read this, paying special attention to number 4.

1/2 cup of oil
i used almond oil, but you could use pretty much any good oil.

1 cup canned pumpkin puree
not pumpkin pie filling. just plain ol' Libby canned pumpkin.

now for the hard part. these are really difficult directions, but just take a deep breath, summon your patience, and...

Mix together until completely combined.


Then slap a 1/4 cup or so on a hot, nonstick skillet. Once you start seeing bubbles on the surface, FLIP! Then check for doneness. You know how ya like 'em. Serve with real maple syrup and butter. Or, be like me, and slather on some almond butter and a dollop of Old Chatham Sheepherding Company's Sheep's Milk Pure Maple Yogurt.

slip back in between the sheets, nibble away and listen to the silence of the falling snow.


Friday, February 10, 2006

a kinda compliment

i've never been hit on by an Asian man. last night, i was:

ya know, you have pretty good coloring for a white girl. most of you look like fucking albinos.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

eat cookies=save the planet!

my favorite kind of environmental activism is chocolate chip.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

brain food

received this email from my friend, landlass and fellow Little Miss Craftypants.

from: k
to: margrocks

date: mon, feb. 6, 2006 7:01 PM

subject: only one nerdy enough to appreciate this

so sad, yet so true.

now, if only someone would make Rubik's cube jello molds.

Monday, February 06, 2006

but set her to work on a toilet, and there'll be no end to her libidinous bliss.

Betty Friedan, Who Ignited Cause in 'Feminine Mystique,' Dies at 85

i feel a certain kinship with betty friedan. for one thing, she was a late bloomer. (god, i hate that term, but that's what they call me, and that's what she was):

Growing up brainy, Jewish, outspoken and, by the standards of the time, unlovely, Bettye was ostracized. She was barred from the fashionable sororities at her Peoria high school and rarely asked on dates. It was an experience, she would later say, that made her identify with people on the margins of society.

At Smith, she blossomed. For the first time, she could be as smart as she wanted, as impassioned as she wanted and as loud as she wanted, and for four happy years she was all those things.

she was often difficult:

Though widely respected as a modern-day heroine, Ms. Friedan was by no means universally beloved, even — or perhaps especially — by members of the women's movement. She was famously abrasive. She could be thin-skinned and imperious, subject to screaming fits of temperament.

and, like me, according to this article, she hated all forms of floor washing; she once screamed at an audience that no woman "gets an orgasm from shining the kitchen floor!"

obviously, she was not good friends with martha stewart.

thanks, betty. for NOW, Naral Pro-Choice America, and the National Women's Political Caucus. i may not agree with everything you had to say, but thanks for making us aware that we have options.

why does that take so much practice?

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. Buddha

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

the silent killer (and i don't mean your brother's farts)

a very important article you need to read if you are a woman, love a woman, or plan on becoming a woman...

Women Are Said to Face Hidden Heart Disease Risk

there is quite a lot of a duh factor in this article. it's been reported for years, but i think most of America is still not aware that heart disease is the "No. 1 cause of death in all women older than 25," not breast cancer. more money is raised for breast cancer research thanks to the boob factor and ubercute pink breast cancer awareness paraphanelia, but it is not as deadly.

read the article. know the symptoms. get the tests if you're at risk.

The researchers report that compared to a nonsmoker, a woman who smokes has a risk of dying from heart disease equal to the risk she would have if she weighed 90 pounds more than the nonsmoker.


so in a sense, kate moss and i weigh about the same.