Thursday, December 29, 2005

it's twinkies!

c., a friend of mine from high school, just gave birth to twins - a boy and a girl. what makes this particularly amazing is that she has struggled with serious eating disorders since the age of 13. she hasn't had an easy time of getting pregnant, but then i guess it's not that surprising when you don't feed your body properly for years, your body isn't going to trust that you're going to feed your body enough to support a child. but she did it! once with her son who's about 3, and now with a pair of sweet little twinkies - in pink and blue, such complementary colors. not surprising actually, c. was never one to do something half-ass - valedictorian, student council president, homecoming court and now...Mommy of three.

these are the onesies i made for them. cute, huh?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

janie's birthday

my mom was born today.

she'd be 61. she was 30-years old when she delivered me, and i will be 31 in january. (her third child. i am sooo far behind. i just gave away a cat - too much responsibility.) it always made it easy to figure out her age - "just add 30." determining dad's age was always little more difficult for me - 32 years older. could involve carrying over a one, and everyone knows how frustrating double-digit addition can be for a first grader. in some ways, these little calculations would become fitting analogies for the dynamics of our relationships:

mom and me = easy
dad and me = ehhhhh...a little more complicated

i don't normally get nostalgic and weepy on The Big Days - the day she died, November 19 - and her birthday - December 28. they usually just pass right on by. i usually don't even notice until the next day:

oh goodness, yesterday was Mom's birthday. i guess i should have done something to mark it.

this year seems to be a little different. i feel the need to recognize it. bend the corner of the page. highlight this excerpt. maybe i'm getting more sentimental as i get older. i am getting closer in age and mentality to the woman she was and further from the girl i was. i am shocked to find myself having moved from a Ms. magazine-reading college girl who's terrified of slipping into a trapped life that's exactly like hers - wife, mother and homemaker - to being a Martha Stewart-reading woman who's terrified that she will slip into a life that's absolutely nothing like hers - wife, mother and homemaker. surely there is some sort of delicate balance. (can't just be a coincidence that Ms. and Martha Stewart are the same initials!) i just haven't figured out how the hell to make that even out just yet.

so today, for the first time since her death 18 years ago (holy shit - that long? and why do i find myself tearing up when i write that?), i find myself marking it albeit accidentally by doing very Janie-like things:

i started the day by doing a load of laundry. i will listen to Mozart's violin concertos. i will go to the bank. i will go to the post office to mail belated Christmas presents. i'll look in the mirror and bemoan the landscape of my belly. i will write thank you notes. i will heat up leftovers for dinner, and i will fall asleep before finishing the first chapter.

not so different after all, i guess.


and then just when you think you're alone, your brother goes and sends you a picture like this. he put yellow roses on her grave this morning - her favorite. thanks, L.

Monday, December 26, 2005

holiday (over) eating

on the phone this evening with r. she's at her hometown airport, waiting to board the plane to come back to the city:

"...i've been eating six meals a day. not the six small meals they say you should be eating. no. six full-size meals. i swear i'm like 40 pounds heavier. seriously."

"40 pounds heavier? yeah. i'm sure. 40 pounds heavier, r., in 5 days. totally plausible."

"oh, okay. then five. five pounds heavier."

"there ya go, that might be a bit more realistic."

"i've eaten so much since i've been here; i swear that's all we've done. today i decided i was going to eat light. at lunch, i ordered the ribeye."

ahh...the comfort of kindred spirits.

happy holidays, y'all.

Friday, December 23, 2005

put your napkin in your lap...ahem. time like the holidays to polish up your napkin folding technique.

i'm sorry, but the candle? can you imagine approaching a dinner table dotted with 8 of these linen phalli?

then there's the rosebud and the atrium lilly...positively o'keefian.

my gutter.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

this transit strike is making me feel fat.

i had to go buy some new clothes today. i don't have anything else. my entire wardrobe (minus the one change of clothes and a pair of pajamas that i had the foresight to shove into my backpack before i left the house yesterday morning) resides in astoria, new york. for me, this means a earlobe-numbing 4.6 mile walk in the dark on a bridge suspended over the East River.

not gonna happen. so, i've been crashing at friends and will continue to do so until this @#$%!&* strike ends...

this explains why i was forced to go to the Gap at lunch today and try on a few pairs of pants and shirts lest the ones i am currently wearing start developing opposable thumbs and accosting my co-workers.

here's the thing: i don't recommend trying on anything in front of a full-length mirror when

1. you're menstrual


2. you ate sushi the night before. as you know, sushi is normally accompanied by a sodium-laden condiment called soy sauce that i adore, but causes me to bloat and swell like a...a...a...flesh-colored Michelin man.

ah well...i tried my damnedest to look at myself objectively and not judgmentally:

do the pants fit, margrocks?

yes, but look at that muffin top squish...ohmigod, i think i need a bigger size. i am so fff...

zip it! not what i asked. do the pants fit, margrocks?


excellent. buy them, and let's get the hell out of here.

so i did.

but still...not a pretty sight in that Gap dressing room.

i guess i could toss myself into the East River and float home.

Monday, December 19, 2005

brownies for breakfast...and dinner.

where the hell is the menstruation badge?

1. brownies taste better when you're sober.

2. brownies taste better when you're premenstrual.

3. brownies taste better when you don't eat a quarter of the pan.

how do i know? because...

1. i tried them both ways.*

2. i am.

3. i did.

but here's the coup - i didn't despise myself as much as i thought i would the next day.


chock a lot of it up to just an increasing self-acceptance, but i've also decided to allow myself a little 'extra' nish nosh when it's (whispered) that time of the month. i read in Some Very Reputable Publication that you should allow yourself a bit more in the mangia department when you're riding the crimson wave. i guess it does make sense that your body would need additional nourishment. your body, ladies, is doing some pretty amazing things; your uterus is essentially doing a Jane Fonda workout for 3-7 days. in order for it to perform as it needs to, it needs a bit more fuel (and a slammin' pair of leg warmers).

now, i realize that a quarter of a pan of Scharfenberger brownies is probably not what these Very Reputable People had in mind, but i know that a few years ago, i might have devoured the whole pan, so this time, by allowing myself some, i only ate what i truly wanted which admittedly, was a pretty hefty chunk and probably more than my necessary caloric and fat intake for the day, but's all about baby steps.

so...think about it ladies. i suggest allowing yourself a few little indulgences when Mama Moon visits next time. truly allowyourself though. no, "oh my gosh, this is so bad, i shouldn't be doing this." FOOD DOES NOT HAVE MORAL VALUE. hitler was evil. chocolate is not. buy yourself the best damn piece of chocolate (or whatever your poison) you can find. light a candle. slip into your comfy velour pants that make you feel skinny. slap on a heating pad. pop a midol or two (or ten). cry if you want to. rip open your indulgence, and feed your Aunt Flo. she's got one hell of an inheritance, and she's lookin' to leave it to you.

*for concerned friends and family that might be reading this blog, i should note that i was not drinking and binging on brownies alone. i was in the company of my dearest friends for our annual Urban Family Christmas. the rules are as follows 1. drink too much 2. eat too much 3. buy too many presents for each other. it was a very successful evening. i got many goodies, but my fave might very well be the blush pink silk pillow case from r. meowwwwwww. and the brownies were homemade by moi.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

because i am a big ol' christmas dork

and this always makes me cry...but in a good way.

but then, i used to like to watch myself cry in the mirror as a kid. mom said she used to walk into my bedroom after a tantrum and catch me weeping, huffing, puffing, and red-faced while staring at myself in the mirror.

drama queen? yes. since birth.

Dear Editor,

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say that there is no Santa Claus. Papa says "If you see it in the Sun, it is so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?


Your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds.

All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to our life its highest beauty and joy.

Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus? You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your Papa to hire men to watch all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove?

Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.

Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders that are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, or even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernatural beauty and glory beyond.

Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else as real and abiding.

No Santa Claus? Thank God he lives and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, maybe 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the hearts of children.

Written by Francis P. Church in 1897

How this editorial came to be...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

sausage balls + an ode to paula deen

absence makes the heart grow fonder.

b + s just moved in together, and in the frenzy of their lovey dovey bliss, decided to throw a combination housewarming and christmas party on saturday night. my attendance was requested, required, and absolutely wholeheartedly given, despite the fact that i'd spent 8 hours at IIN class and would be spending another 8 hours the next day in the same situ. sitting, sans caffeine, in a cavernous auditorium listening to and trying to assimilate the benefits of various diets as proclaimed by their impassioned advocates is exhausting. (the vegan was all to thin for my tastes. i so wanted to invite him over for some meatloaf with gravy.) i was, i thought, to be too pooped to participate.


amazing what a little green eyeshadow and a festive plaid mini with jingle bells on the hem can do for a girl. instant holiday cheer! just add green glitter! (everyone on the subway thinks you're an absolute loon, but i've discovered how to deal with the attention: put on your ipod fullblast and move through the car with absolute confidence. you can't hear the jingles, thereby making it so much easier to ignore them and your co-straphangers' envious stares.)

i was revived. thank heavens i made the trip - b. made paula deen's sausage balls just for me!

why? he knows how much i love that jolly woman.

when i was sick and hacking on my couch, i did almost nothing but watch Food TV. it was then that cupid struck. i even found myself seriously considering buying her set of 8 dvds for $99.99, but thought better of it after the nyquil wore off. other things were more, for one.

paula, paula, paula...oh, heavens. she is 100% pure southern lady. she does her hair. lipstick is not an option, but a necessity. every recipe requires a cup of mayo, and a cup of butter, and a cup (at least) of sugar. this makes some people nauseous, but i adore her unabashed extravagance and indulgence. her toffee cackle-giggle makes me want to spend the rest of my life in her Savannah kitchen, mouth agape, like a pink, featherless baby bird, squawking for her down home looooove. i'd just sit at her counter, and let her feed me and fatten me and call me "darlin." how could i do anything but just melt into her floor like pecan (pronounced PEE-kan, please) praline?

i'm tempted to write her a letter asking her to adopt me - if only for the holidays. i couldn't do it forever, but i could fake the Southern Belle thing for that long. i'd even roll my hair. 'course, after about 3 weeks, 3 pounds of mayo, butter, and sugar, that vegan diet might seem like pretty good idea.

Monday, December 12, 2005

do you have a minute for green peas?

last night, after i finished class at the Instititute for Integrative Nutrition (all day saturday and sunday. i'll write more about that later.), i met b. for dinner at our favorite italian restaurant. Don Giovanni's on 44th between 8 + 9th avenues. inexpensive, delicious pasta dishes (the gnocchi is worth the trip - little potato dumplings bobbing around in pesto or marinara, depending upon your preference or digestion), and waiters with that European-i-just-can't-be-bothered air.

the specials listed a number of tempting entrees, but this one really caught my eye:


tee hee.

i didn't order it. rosy-cheeked, post-collegiate idealists give me acid reflux.

Friday, December 09, 2005

iced G

Gucci ice trays

2 for $70. hm. not so ridiculous...if they refilled themselves.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

oh my darlin, oh my know the rest.

did martha mention THIS on her show?

Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.

- Clementine Paddleford's mother (click her name to find out more about her. fascinating article about her at nytimes, but ya gotta pay, dammit.)

and dontcha just looove the name Clementine? reminds me of all things old-fashioned, and scrupulous, and honorable. she always brings a gift for the hostess. sprinkles White Shoulders into her unmentionables drawer. sleeps in pink sponge rollers and a chiffon nightie. owns a 12-serving set of Wedgwood egg cups and wonders why anyone wouldn't and how anyone couldn't, i mean, there is brunch after all. what do you do if you have guests?

and of course, i can't help but think of those little oranges...the bitter pith and the sweet flesh - quite the marriage.

'tis the season to go out and buy one of those charming little wooden baskets loaded down with their glorious little titian orbs. yes yes might have to peel them, but the fruit makes your tongue scream summer, and the best part? the scent that's left behind on your fingertips.


they should bottle that stuff.

and our friend martha recommends using the boxes they come in to make a lovely clycamen gift box for Christmas presents. absolutely practical if you can find a use for 400 clems you'll have leftover. (mama stew suggested "making a delicious clementine sorbet." yes, martha, for who? your entire cell block?)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

katrina's kids toy drop off day

maybe a better way to spend your money this year. i mean, does your dad really need another tie? view the evite.

Happy Holidays Y'all!

Transport Group is sponsoring a huge toy drive called Katrina's Kids. We are raising 3,000 toys for 1,000 kids in Lizana, Mississippi who have lost everything. TG volunteers will leave Dec. 18th, drive down to Mississippi, on the 20th perform a new play written by Chris Harcum at a Holiday party for the kids and then distribute the toys.

Stop by Manhattan Theater Source Dec. 11th, 11am to 11pm and drop off a toy! The Source is located on MacDougal Street between West 8th and Waverly (Washington Sq. Park North), on the West side of the street. There will be caroling, snacks, good cheer and lots of space for the 1,000s of toys we'll raise!

Manhattan Theatre Source and Barrow Street Theatre Company are public drop off sites so you can drop off toys there from now until Dec. 17th.

home to Off-Broadway's long-running hit ORSON'S SHADOW.

Street Address: 27 Barrow Street (off 7th Ave. South)

Trains: 1 to Christopher St./Sheridan Sq.; A/C/E/B/D/F/V to West 4th

We need your help to make Katrina's Kids a success.

Here's what we need:

1. People/organizations to throw toy drives
2. $4,000 for a 26' truck ($3,121), gas ($550), housing, food and for volunteers (if not donated)
3. Two to Four more volunteers to drive the toys down to Mississippi.
4. $1,000 for toys not raised (i.e. emergency money)
5. Transportation back home for volunteers i.e. donated sky miles, donated car rental or $1,000 for car rental, housing on way home and food for volunteers
6. 20 people to help sort the toys (in NYC) on Dec. 17th and load the truck
7.One actress to perform the play and distribute the toys.

Checks may be made out to Transport Group (please write Katrina's Kids in the memo line) and sent to:

Katrina's Kids
c/o Monica Russell
233 East 21st St. #13
New York, NY 10010

What we already have:

1. 6 organizations throwing toy drives (we need more!! as of right now, we only have 400 toys)
2. $550 in cash THAT'S GAS!!
3. two volunteers to transport toys and execute play/party
4. a local school house in Lizana to hold holiday/toy party
5. local volunteers in Lizana to help cook and throw party

Other ideas!

1. If you are throwing a holiday party invite guests to bring a toy!

2. Ask your local School, Church or Synagogue if they would hold a toy drive.

3. If you know of a toy drive going on, ask them if Katrina's Kids could have the toys.

Thank you again. Please feel free to pass along my information to anyone who is interested in helping out!!

Happiest of Holidays to you all!!

Monica Russell
Transport Group
Outreach Program Director

Friday, December 02, 2005

concession smells a bit like jolen cream bleach

yeah, yeah, yeah. it's cute when you're a kid.

it's 9 am and i'm sitting here sipping a hazelnut coffee trying to keep my giant fuzzy white mustache from slipping into my java.

no, not taking hormones, i'm bleaching my 'stache a.k.a femustache, and my eyes are watering from the fumes.

why the early morning torture? i'm going to visit my aunt and grandmother down in baltimore tonight.

now, i know they love me unconditionally, but loving me unconditionally does not, apparently, extend to the slight shadow on my upper lip and my calloused, un-pedicured feet. The Feet are always mentioned on my visit, if they manage to catch a glimpse. if they're pedicured and polished and pretty, it's as if i've won the Nobel Peace Prize:

wow! your feet look really nice. did you do that yourself? look at her feet, grandma. don't they look pretty? she got a pedicure.

i try to fight the urge to pant and drool, wag my ass and bark.

if they are not pedicured and polished and pretty, they try to arrange for me to get a pedicure while i'm there, in what they think is a sly, stealthy way:

oh, you know, margrocks, your cousin c. just happens to be going to get a pedicure. do you want to go? i mean, you don't have to, but you could. we're not really doing anything around here, it might be fun. here, here's some money.

they forget. i'm the actress.

i could fight it. i could not bleach the 'stache out of defiance. it's really not that bad anyway. if i just kept out of the direct sunlight, they'd never even notice, but what the hey. i present so many challenges to them in accepting who i am - a liberal, new yorkified, single and unmarried 30 year old woman who doesn't clean - i figure i can concede the 'stache bleaching. no go on the pedicure this time though. no time. so i guess i'm keepin' the socks on all weekend.

have a great weekend, gotta go shave.


an article in favor of a female five o'clock shadow.

a radio show in favor of the female five o'clock shadow.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

how ya like them apples?

have you all seen this blog?

now, if you're not a foodie, you might not dig it, but it's run by (who i think must be, as i've never actually met her) a lovely lass named Molly out by Seattle-way. i go to her blog every day in hopes that she's posted something new...a recipe always scrumptious and a little story to go along with it, all writerly and charming and absolutely devoid of the seething, bitter sarcasm prevalent in so many blogs these days.


i will never be like Molly. i get the impression that she is one of Those People: her kitchen always immaculately clean, her measurements always precise, her thank you notes always written in a timely fashion. she would never even consider devouring the entire pan of brownies that she just baked, much less actually doing it. i, on the other hand, in my less aware days, have been known to make an entire pan of brownies at one in the morning merely for that purpose - eating them all...alone. when i say she's like this, i mean this all in a good way - not in a hoity-toity-i'm-better-than-you-neurotic-mean-way like Reese Witherspoon in Election. typical moi fashion, i've wandered off on a tangent. again, something Molly never would never do. her writing is always on point and grammatically correct.

she posted a recipe for an Upside-Down Ginger Pear Cake a week or so before Thanksgiving.

eureka! i thought, there's my Thanksgiving dessert!

now, i love pears, but it wouldn't quite feel like Thanksgiving without an apple dessert (and who can ever find pears that are actually ripe anyway?) i asked Molly if she thought i could substitute apples for the pears. agreeable young lass that she is, she said (i paraphrase) sure, just be sure to cut the apples into thinner slices so that they soften sufficiently.

not a problem, moll.

so, i gave it a whirl, and like a proud mama, i am now showing off the pictures to you.

a little busby berkeley line up of apples...

she's a little thinner and shorter than intended. she was supposed to be baked in a springform pan, but since i had to toss the one i had because i'd let my last cheesecake sit in my fridge at work until it developed an autonomous mold that then seemed to swallow the actual pan, i had to bake it in a regular round cake pan. so, i only needed half the batter, and ended up making two layers. one avec pommes (for Thanksgiving), one sans pommes (in my freezer awaiting a dinner party or binge - kidding). i almost like it better this way as the ratio of apples to cake is greater, and everyone knows that cake, no matter how moist and nostalgic, gingerbread-y and delicious, is merely a conduit for the topping.

either way, she's my baby, i love her unconditionally, and so did everyone else. some of us 3 or 4 times. ahem.

merci, molly.