Thursday, August 31, 2006

from an upcoming interview with Gloria Steinem:

You've often been described as "the good-looking feminist," as if the others were ogres. Does that bother you?

I wasn't considered so good-looking before I became a feminist.

Monday, August 28, 2006

baby mine, belly mine.

from a dear, dear, dear friend in an email telling me that she and her boyfriend are having a baby...i cannot divulge her identity or share her entire bittersweet life story, but let me tell you folks, if ever you have doubted...if ever you have been rendered hopeless and blubbering certain that there will be nothing more for you than despair and heartache...she is proof positive that that is a pile of bullshit, because this sweet girl waded through and found love, babies and weekend road trips through the lake country on the other side:
I'm not showing yet, but that's surely because I am "fat" anyway, I have not managed to lose more weight, but 35 pounds in the past 2 years helped, and, after the baby, he and I both want to be a little more conscious about eating and doing some kind of sport. I am starting to like my body, even though my boobs are growing even more (which is tricky if you have a E cup and can't find bras that size now... oh my..!) and my shape is changing, but I am welcoming the changes and can't wait for my belly to grow. It is starting to change and I feel for it everyday, wanting it to just pop out from one day to another to show and be proud of my little Buddha pooch. It's amazing that an experience like that can change your opinion about yourself. I am happy to just get bigger and actually, I have not gained any weight, let's see how I get on...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

cookies make everybody taste better.


fathers, mothers, siblings, friends, co-workers, something-sorta-more-than-friends-but-not-quite-sure-

...are complicated.

baking, thank god, is not.

flour + butter + sugar + eggs + vanilla + a pinch of salt = cookie.


and so, on this rainy, depressing Sunday, i decided to whip up a batch of my mom's Brown-Edge Cookies to make a little superficial sense of the day. such a simple name for such an elegant nibble. nestled between the gluttonous Monster Cookie and the ubiquitous Toll-House Chocolate Chip, this recipe is, without a doubt, The Little Black Dress of my mother's brown Tupperware recipe box, as they're just as delicious dunked in a glass of milk as they are served with a scoop of la-di-dah lavender lemon sorbet.

i just whipped the batter up in my pink Kitchen Aid mixer (thanks brother Beau), plopped it onto cookie sheets by teaspoonfuls, slipped them into the oven, and in a matter of minutes i was rewarded with golden wafer-halos...little melt-in-your-mouth-sweetnesses...sugar-coated butter accomplishments that remind me of Milan and mommy and apron strings and when i believed in once upon a time i'm gonna grow up and


everything's gonna make sense!

hm. notsamuch.

it is a small comfort to know, however, that in a world full of uncertainty and messy though meaningful relationships, cookies at least, are a given.

Brown Edge Cookies
from the kitchen of Janie Laskey
passed to her from my Aunt Charlene Volk

1 pound butter
1 pound sugar (2 1/4 cups)
1 egg
3 cups flour
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

cream butter and sugar. add egg, floour, salt and vanilla. drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. bake at 375 degrees for approximately 12 minutes.

the edges should be a light brown...duh....but do not overcook, or these here cookies will do nothin' but crumble.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Monday, August 21, 2006

emotional eating...but in a good way.

my brother sent me these pics of of my nephew grant at his first birthday party yesterday. i think i can learn something from him; rather than merely eat food, he discovers it...

...and all of this lustful eating hasn't affected his swimsuit modeling career a single, solitary bit.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

i want a red dress and comfortable shoes.

going through old publicity pics for size ate today that were taken by my friend g - a very talented artist, photographer, handbag and textile designer. i came across this one. it was one of my favorites at first glance as i think the pic is a pretty true representation of who i am as a person; ya know, that whole woman-child, angel-whore thing we all have goin' on. it didn't really convey anything about the show itself though, so it was relegated to the reject pile. boo hoo hoo. but today, i post it w/ this poem i found recently...just because i wannooo...and perhaps because i'm feeling a little vain. today, i just need to be seen. knowwhatimean?

as bill blass said, ladies: "when in doubt, wear red."

What Do Women Want?

by Kim Addonizio

I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what's underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old
donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I'm the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it, I'll pull that garment
from its hanger like I'm choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I'll wear it like bones, like skin,
it'll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

i am woman hear me cry.

i spent quite a bit of time crying the other night.

please don't worry, i'm fine. really. no one i know is dead or dying. sometimes you just have to go there. i've been dealt a couple of swift blows to the gut these past few weeks, but that is lovely, luscious Life, right? sometimes you just have to weep on the subway, in the shower, on the treadmill and on your couch on the phone with your friend who says the well-intentioned though poorly-timed statement in between your racking sobs:

why don't you think about some things that you like about yourself?

i think to myself. i felt like someone had just dragged their nails across the chalkboard of my soul. i was so annoyed.

um. no. i don't want to right now. i want, i need to cry.


but that is this particular friend; she likes to fix things. we love her and hate her for it. i didn't need fixing that night though. i needed to besides, i don't think i could have thought of a single solitary thing at that very moment that i liked about myself:

um, the hair on my thighs is a pale blond so i don't really have to shave there?

not gonna work.

everything inside me felt absolutely, irrevocably broken and alone. of course that wasn't/isnt' the reality, but i had to move through that morass b/c morasses have a way of resurfacing if you don't move through them the first 400 times you pass by. they will suck you in. guaranteed.

another friend paid me an amazing compliment the following day while we sat at the bar that shed a whole new light on my evening of tears:

you're the one of us that is most willing to say how out of control you feel - or how sad, angry, happy, depressed, but i think this is also what makes you the strongest.

i would have taken that as an insult a couple of years ago, the emphasis in my mind would have fallen on the first part of the sentence:

the one of us that is most willing to say how out of control you feel - or how sad, angry, happy, depressed...

i.e. you are an emotional mess.

but now, i hear this:

you the strongest.

so there you are, something i like about myself:

i am the Strongest Emotional Mess.

hurry, somebody make me a sash.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

my home improvement

ego boost on aisle 5.

feeling bad about your body? feeling old? feeling unattractive? feeling as if you might never again feel the brush of someone's lips against feeling as if you might as well donate the heels to Salvation Army and stock up on muu-muus because your Prowling Days (what you had of them anyway) are over?

posh! get thee to Home Depot, woman...

...and in the early morning hours on a weekday.

i went this morning to pick out paint for my bathroom (a lovely shade of pink called "Bombshell"), and wow.

wow, i say.

i think i'm gonna have to schedule a weekly visit.

a woman is a rare bird in that place at that time, and you will be treated like the Bird of Paradise that you are. you need not be Heidi Klum's doppelganger nor possess the charm of Jackie O. as long as you have mildly-discernable breasts and a steady supply of estrogen wafting about you, they will stare as if you are Venus just emerged from the clamshell-style sink in Bathrooms, aisle 4. they will say "hello" and smile in the most gentlemanly way. they will hold the door open for you. they will let you go first at the automated checkout. they will reach for the grout that's on that shelf waaaaaaay up there.

granted, none of these men are necessarily date material, and yes, it is sort of cheap because you're taking advantage of the typical male's inability to remain sentient in any bodily region above the waist when boobs are present in an otherwise all-male environment.

but...that's their problem now, isn't it? we can't always be pillars of integrity. go. it will remind you what an awesome body of work you are. as is. absolutely no improvements necessary.

Monday, August 14, 2006

too much messy is a good thing.

a friend of mine gave me this book recently - Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life. i love the serendipity of how books arrive in my life at juuuuust the right time. this friend and i frequently discuss how very messily we are doing things in our life. i liken the way i live my life to a kindergartener fingerpainting - lots of paint in lots of colors that i'm just smooshing around to see what i get. so far, so good. messy works. i've even grown to love the paint underneath my fingernails. evidence, folks, that i've gotten dirty.

anywhoo...i'm just at the beginning of the book, but this excerpt struck me. i've spent so much of my life trying to diminish myself, both physically and spiritually. i've always strived to nail myself down, label myself, tie myself up into a pretty little package stamped FRAGILE so nobody will fucking disturb the bow i spent hours perfectly tying, dammit. i'm safe here. wrapped, bound and shiny. and everyone can see what i am! A VERY PRETTY PACKAGE.


Irwin Kula, a rabbi and the author of the book, posits that the search for self is futile b/c there is just too much of each one of us to discover. our Self is endless:
The images we have of ourselves are really attempts to streamline complexity, to make a neat story out of our many facets. Freud taught that we never will know fully the contents of our minds, of our selves. He called the idea "surplus life." There is "too-muchness" to our consciousness. In other words, our own psyche eludes our grasp. No wonder the Hebrew word for life is plural: Hayim means lives.

When I hear that someone is leading a double life, I think, "Just two?"

The Yearning for self is essential to our development but it is of course a quest that can never be fully satisfied. We can never fully grasp the infinite - God's or our own. There's very little difference between the secular belief that we can know who we are and the religious fundamentalists' belief that we can know who God is. Both lead to arrogance and what Christopher Lasch called a culture of narcissism. Could it be that all the striving, the pushing, the climbing, the acquiring, is rooted in this yearning to know that which can never be known? Rather than trying to define who we are, what if we sought an ever-deepening understanding of how much we are?...
imagine, if you will, a bottomless bag of fudge-covered Oreos that have the nutritional benefits of steamed kale and poached salmon...that's you. that's me. and life is a bottomless glass of milk.

dip, baby, dip.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

a little sunshine + a dark theater = therapy

i want her boots.
Olive: Grandpa, am I pretty?
Grandpa: You are the most beautiful girl in the world.
Olive: You're just saying that.
Grandpa: No! I'm madly in love with you and it's not because of your brains or your personality.
run, skip, jete...whatever you have to do to get to the theater to see Little Miss Sunshine, a film about a little girl named Olive whose endearingly dysfunctional family drives 800 miles across country so she can compete in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. (i always wanted to be in pageants as a little girl, but my mother would never allow me to be, thank god. i think for me, it was all about the outfits and the tiaras. mom must have known that i could buy those things for myself when i grew up without having to suffer the humiliation of duct-taping my breasts together and teetering about it clear plastic heels b/c they "lengthen the leg." i'm guessing the gross sexualization of her 8-year old probably didn't appeal much to her either. smart lady, my mum.)

Olive is no Jon Benet. she wears chunky glasses, she has a gap-toothed smile, and her costumes lack the requisite pastel poof, but you will love her, her porn-loving Grandpa and the rest of her seriously f-ed up family. i laughed so hard, so loudly; i blushed. you will love this movie. if not, you have no heart, no sense of humor and your house probably smells like tuna salad.

for another, far more insightful take on the film:

p.s. i don't know if you've heard or not, but yes...M & Ms now come in dark chocolate. discovered them in the vending machines this afternoon at work. oh, happy day.

my favorite new t

found this t-shirt today at love so many of their subversive Ts, but this one in particular as it occurs to me that most fears are childhood fears. we forget, as adults, that we have the cashflow to pay for therapy, a hammer...or dynamite if need be.

Monday, August 07, 2006

drats! turns out i need people.

i'm really friggin' tired of doing this alone.

i wrote this poem/run-on sentence a few months ago, but it seems particularly appropriate considering the last couple of days of my silly life.

for the friends who dole out a unique casserole of sympathy, dark chocolate malted milk balls, lengthy voice messages, bad popcorn and beer...even when i fail to indicate that i am friggin' starving. somehow they know it. apparently, my j-lo-esque posterior doesn't fool them; my spirit looks like karen carpenter, and they have come around to





knowing i
is a comfort now.

i bristled with
and something
pitiable weakness
You came near
with your
drop concern
(as if i could
be distracted
by the shiny

allowed for
my own
touch +
tug tug tug
on my

this is MY pain, thank you very much.

i see

we are not meant to do it alone.

know not
care not about
the tangle
of my

the stalk
so the world
can see

because of

i can taste the sun.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

the way to a girl's heart is through her belly

the Buddha, the impudent little belly, the pooch, the pouch, the love lump, the glorious gut.

now, in the past, i've obsessed over this little bump of flesh that disturbs the slope of my silhouette. i've done countless situps, taken tortuous Pilates classes, sworn off soda, refined sugar and flour products, and squeezed myself into those absolutely humilating Nancy Ganz Bodyshapers that do nothing but make you look and feel like a sausage...only far less appetizing. (for those of you who have yet to experience the joy...imagine, if you will, wearing a giant rubberband wrapped around your midsection.)

the other day i was chatting with my friend K who is similarly endowed, and the subject of our bellies came up (god knows how). we lamented a bit, then she stopped, her crystal blue eyes glittering with epiphany, she took a decidedly full sip of her martini and pronounced:

"ya know what though? my husband loves it, so i don't care."

i love that.

now, i'm a liberated woman. i am absolutely in favor of a woman coming into total acceptance and love of her body without looking for approval from the opposite sex. that's just as much an exercise in futility as trying to obtain the cultural ideal. why? same reason:


just as all of our bodies are miraculously and stupendously different, all men have different tastes and ideals when it comes to the female form. though men like to think they're so steadfast and true, don't let 'em fool you; they're just as fickle as we are. that ex-boyfriend of yours who said he's only into petite blondes with size B cup breasts...yes, well, don't be surprised when he shows up at your wedding with a towering Latina whose boobs are twice the size of his noggin. (of course, you're marrying a 6'5" black man who teaches kindergarten. you, whose ideal has always been a "corporate version of Robert Redford.")

so, yeah...we can't go looking for some guy to validate our innate beauty and worship the peaks and valleys of our landscape. that's our journey, and frankly, i want it to be. i want to stick that flag in the ground when i get to the summit. i'll admit though, there is something to be said for the little boost in self-confidence it can give you...The Boy who sees the lovable light in the heretofore unlovable bits...The Boy who sees your lifelong cursed freckles and christens them constellations. from your vantage point, you see nothing but cracks and fissures, but The Boy sees the genesis of a stream, and he's just taking you up into a helicopter to show you the miraculous view, a perspective you just can't get down here (you're so fucking busy planting flowers to cover up the faults, you won't even look up anyway).

so, in honor of The Boys that have helped us "appreciate the view," here's an absolutely ridiculous poem i wrote about a year ago after one such encounter. it's borderline bawdy (for me anyway), so pardon me if i blush, but it makes me giggle too much not to share. besides, he gave me a lovely little gift, and he deserves a little ode. thank you, boy, wherever you are.

The Belly

Someone kissed The Belly the other day
And it made my heart go hummmmmm
Made my gut go whirly dervish
Made my head go ummmm…?

“What are you doing?!” I wanted to shout.
“It’s fat, it’s round, it’s vile, it’s stout.
It’s bulbous, it’s bulging,
It’s not worth indulging,
Not ‘til it’s perfect and flat.”

“No, no,” he said. “Perfect,” he said.
“Perfect is what you are.
Your belly is a tender new autumnal moon
Crowned by two bright luminous stars.”


“Oh my god!” I thought.
“How can this be?!” I thought.
"I gotta get out of here now.
Clearly he’s lying, for there is no denying,
That I am nothing if not a fat cow."


“But no,” he said. “No, no,” he said.
Or didn’t so much say, as he did.
With his heart, and his hands, and his peckish sweet lips
All my “done up” got undid.


Now, what do I do with The Belly I knew
To be bulbous, and bulging, and vile?
The one that I’ve hated, abhorred, and berated,
Driven to nausea and bile?

‘Cause It no longer is
In the hands that are his
A bane, a bulge, or a lump
But a delicious dip, a landscape of plump
That makes someone’s ahem want to hump.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

well, this would've sucked.

it's so hot here today that in an effort to conserve energy, my co-workers and i are tip-tip-tapping away on our keyboards in a half-lit office. i actually kind of like it.

know what it feels like?

pre-school nap time. you know...they'd dim the lights, you'd lay down on your little nap pads and all of the assistants would use their adult whisper voices. sort of feels like someone's just unfurled a clean cotton bedsheet over the entire office, and we're all playing in a makeshift fort. everyone's a little calmer. everyone's voice is a little softer.

now, if they would only pass out chocolate milk and graham crackers.