Sunday, December 31, 2006

baking for the 40-year old boy.

life is not a series of events to lose weight for. the wedding, the reunion, the other wedding, the other reunion...please god no, let that not be my life.

life is, in my mind anyway, a series of events to bake for.

and so, yesterday was such an event. it was my friend/director/boss's 40th birthday, and if any occasion deserves a cake made from scratch it's a 40th birthday party for a guy like s. he wanted chocolate-chocolate and so, chocolate-chocolate he got.

the cake recipe comes from a friend's mama in North Carolina and is probably the best chocolate cake i've ever made or eaten. uber-moist, but not gooey, and easy peasy. the frosting is an adaptation of a Nigella Lawson recipe that i found in her book Feast: Food to Celebrate Life (appropriate, no?). it has a bit of sour cream in it which gives it a slight tang, and i used a bit of bittersweet chocolate instead of all semi-sweet for a bit more, ahem, sophistication.

Hershey Syrup Cake
from the kitchen of Mrs. Doty

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
6 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup of flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 large bottle Hershey's Syrup

I used my pink KitchenAid mixer with the whisk attachment, but you could easily make this cake by hand. Good for the biceps. Cream butter and sugar together. Gradually add eggs one by one, mixing to combine. Add vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add flour mixture to wet mixture, mixing to combine. Uncork the Hershey's syrup and pour it in there (getting a little on your fingertips so you can sample it. Must check the quality!). Beat on medium for a couple of minutes until all lumpy lumps are gone and the batter is smooth and shiny. Pour into 3 round 8-inch cake pans, greased and lined with parchment paper (or not. a generous spray of Pam will work fine too). Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. This is a really moist cake, so it really shouldn't come out perfectly clean. Let cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Then unmold the cakes and let cool completely. Then, frost!

Old Fashioned Chocolate Frosting
adapted from Nigella Lawson's Feast: Food to Celebrate Life

3/4 stick unsalted butter
4 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
2 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the butter and chocolate in a good-sized bowl in the microwave or suspended over a pan of simmering water. Go slowly. You don't want any burning or seizing. Allow it to cool a bit. Add the corn syrup to the chocolate mixture, then add the sour cream and vanilla. Mix to combine. Whisk in the sifted confectioner's sugar (ya gotta sift or you'll end up with lumpy frosting. Lumpy mashed potatoes - good. Lumpy frosting - bad). Nigella does all of this using a food processor, but I'm too lazy to pull that beast out for something this simple so, whisk i will. Frost away! Lick whisk.

...and for the perfect post-Christmas baking outfit. see below.

my neighbor bought me these socks and flip-flops for Christmas, and i couldn't wait 'til next year to debut them. we food porn-starlets must have our signature outfits; Nigella's got her cleavage-bearing tops, i've got my thigh-highs.

Friday, December 29, 2006

home for the holidays, rule #7

things always get better.

they found (and delivered) my luggage, and only one bottle of conditioner exploded.


and...i must apologize to all of you who have posted a comment in the past, ohhhhh 6 months. Blogger has been urging me to update to the "New Blogger," and i've been ignoring their requests. last night, i updated and WHAM! suddenly, i had 40 comments to approve or reject from the past 6 months. good lord. i'm blushing. oh, really, stop.

anyway...thanks for your comments, i'll do my best to respond to all of them, and please continue to do so. it's so validating!

and that's probably something i should discuss with my therapist.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

home for the holidays, universal rule

you have no free will.

the sooner you accept it and just "float" a la Holly Hunter in the brilliantly funny, appropriately-named movie Home for the Holidays, the better (or at least more sane) your experience will be. and maybe, just maybe, if you let It all go...all those ideas of what Christmas is supposed to be like with your family, you'll find a different It that fits just fine. It may not be what you expected. you might get tinsel, when you expected garland, but hey...they both sparkle.

and if that philosophy doesn't work, there's always the fully-loaded Christmas punch.


home for the holidays, rule #6b

it can get worse.

they lost my luggage too.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

home for the holidays, rule #6

Northwest sucks ass.

i'm stuck in the Detroit airport. i landed at 1pm. due to cancellations, my connecting flight to NYC will not depart until 9:30pm.

8.5 hour delay, and i got a $5 food voucher.

i want to cry, but i already did that once today, and i'm done. tears in an airport are so unoriginal.

so! i got a massage at the airport spa-la-la, and i'm about to sidle up to the airport bar for a cocktail and fries. a girl's gotta make rice krispy treats out of stale rice krispies.

home for the holidays, rule #5

watch Titanic with your dad. it gives him a chance to show off his new enormous HDTV...

this is better than a movie theater, isn't it, margaux?

you'll discover that your tendency to audibly "hmmm," "hmph," and "oh god" your way through a movie was inherited from your father...found on the same chromosome as devilish eyebrows and a love of the cheesy romance flick.

also, the perfect reminder that mr. big professional football player is actually mr. big professional sentimental sap, and wow, that makes loving him a little bit easier when he's got his helmet on.

Monday, December 25, 2006

home for the holidays, rule #4

antlers look better on 6-year olds. still...everyone in the family should have to wear them. can you imagine taking anything anyone says seriously? all possible criticisms are rendered moot because they're wearing fuzzy brown antlers.

home for the holidays, rule #3

"You surprised to see us, Clark?"

"Oh, Eddie... If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now. "

watch Chevy Chase's Christmas Vacation with your parents and grandparents. they will wheeze with paroxysms laughter. you will giggle at their glee and tear-stained faces, but you will also wish you'd paid more attention when you learned CPR, and are there any nitroglycerin tablets in the medicine cabinet?

home for the holidays, rule #2

to your father you are still the 14-year old girl who likes to spend two hours wrapping all of his presents for other people (including a 40-pound home stereo system). accept it. Christmas is not the time to try to convince your parents that you're a grown-up. that requires way too much time, a husband, and a baby.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

home for the holidays, rule #1

answer all potentially incendiary comments with a zen-like benevolent silence.

for example, in response to the rosie o'donnell/donald trump skirmish (they are both idiots, but i'm frustrated by trump's constant criticism of her looks - C'MON!), someone says:

"rosie o'donnell is such a homely woman, isn't she?"

stare stare stare at the television with great intent. you are not rudely ignoring her, you are just so interested in whatever that dapper Anderson Cooper has to say, you just didn't hear her!

try try try not to stifle your screams by shoving another cookie down your throat. you will only feel worse, and it will only lead to inevitable weight gain, which will only lead to more annoying questions like:

"so, what sort of thing do you do for exercise?"

to which, i suggest the response:

"lots and lots of really great sex with jewish black men who don't support the war."*

*substitute most parent-offensive ethnic group as needed.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

saying is believing.

i watched this commercial the other night on YouTube (alright, i'm a little addicted), and it made me cry. weep, actually, but then...






i weep...but! i also laugh really really loudly so it all balances out in the end.

i just rec'd these pictures of my 7-year old niece, Madison Jane, BEAMING with her big ol' bloody, gap tooth smile...

she is simply joy joy joy incarnate.

to think that she could ever find herself less than perfect (and i mean perfectly imperfect like those bumpy though succulent apples you get from the orchard not the shiny ones from the Super Wal-Mart that taste like terrycloth soaked in apple juice), makes me downright depressed.


fathers, uncles, grandfathers, brothers, boyfriends, husbands...tell the little girls (and the big ones too) in your life how beautiful they are. no, it shouldn't matter, but oh, goddammit, it does.

Monday, December 18, 2006

that's fo' sho.

my friend m. snapped this pic of me a couple of weeks ago when we were at the artist studios in long island city.

tee hee hee.

thanks, mac 'n' cheese.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

my brother has created a monster...

and an angel...

Ethan Daniel, my brother Beau's youngest spitfire offspring rumored to nibble dog food - face planted directly into bowl - for snacks. we share the same birthday, we're both the youngest of 3 children families, we were both born in years ending in 5 (1975, 2005), and we both, i dare say, have our own sort of "food issues."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

positive thinking

"i think i'm going to get a bikini wax."

"what? why would you put yourself through that?"


Friday, December 15, 2006

ich habe genug

i adore Maira Kalman. she's an artist and author probably most known among us Big Pommeranians for her New Yorker cover "New Yorkistan" that ran in December 2001. it was, according to my cousin C, one of the first things she saw that actually made her smile after 9/11. if you're feeling generous, buy yourself a subscription to The New York Times so you'll have access to TimesSelect. she does a monthly column there called The Principles of Uncertainty complete with ubercharming illustrations and profound musings.

I go home and wash dishes. Washing dishes is an antidote to confusion. I know that for a fact.
Maira Kalman

Thursday, December 14, 2006

not a looker, but boy was she smart.

Do what you feel in your heart to be right.
You'll be criticized anyway.

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

better effects than star wars.

i had dinner last night with a film editor. he's got his paws on a number of different projects, but one of his big accounts is working on the television advertising campaign for a major cosmetcis company.

here's what i learned:

1. the Lemon-Basil Martinis at Marion's on The Bowery are delicioso. like a spring picnic in a glass!

2. Kate Moss has cellulite.




3. i knew that every commercial still photo was touched up in some way - skin smoothed, eyes brightened, wrinkles buffed - but i had NO IDEA that they could do that with film and television, a seemingly "mobile" medium. as recently as the 80s, they didn't have the technology to "correct" a physical flaw for an entire commercial or film, but now they do. he assured me that even baby-faced, 16-year old models are touched up to perfection. and...those commercials for make-up that feature "mature" women with charming little eye crinkles? those aren't even their real wrinkles. they're half-ass wrinkles. they've softened those too, just not as much.

so, the next time you're in a movie theater, asking yourself, "how is it that she has skin that clear up this close?" remember...she doesn't. she has an excellent make-up artist and Director of Photography, and she's sleeping with the "Special Effects" guy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

U.F.C. 2006

this year, we'd originally planned on meeting at K-Mart to get our "family portrait" done at Olan Mills, but that plan got dashed in favor of dressing up and posing like fools in the comfort of our "dad's" home (and they don't peddle martinis at K-Mart).

in 2002, myself and three of my nearest and dearest college chums got together to celebrate our own Christmas before heading home to our families. we ate Chicken Spaghetti, drank cheap wine, opened presents, then stayed up all night "cuttin' the fool." we've done the same every year since then, and i think i can speak for all of us when i say that it's the highlight of the Christmas season. we call it Urban Family Christmas or UFC.

some things change: the location, the quality of gifts, the menu.

some things don't: who's there, how much we eat and drink (too much), how we act (like complete idiots), how many photos are taken for eventual blackmail (plenty).

it's always a bit of a bummer going home on Sunday afternoon, even if you are laden down with loads and loads of thoughtful gifts that will make you a better-dressed and more well-read person. to laugh, to dance, to sing so hard for hours, and then to enter an empty apartment that smells like prehistoric macaroni and cheese is not an easy thing. look at the pictures from the evening, and you marvel at the fact that in this whacked-out world that can often leave you feeling like the strange little kid that no one picks for kickball, there are at least three people weirder than you who love you very much.

Chicken Spaghetti rocks...Velveeta, Ro-Tel and can you go wrong?

b and i got a little silly in the kitchen singing "silent night." the video sucks, and i actually think the video and sound is out of whack, but if you close your eyes it sounds (almost) pretty.

happy holidays, folks.

Monday, December 11, 2006

deep-fried philosophy

my friend m is 26. she's confused about what she wants to do with her life. she was talking to her very Southern mama on the phone the other night about her troubles to which her mama wisely replied:

well, m. you've got one foot in yesterday, another in t'morra, and yer pissin' all over today. i don't know how yer gonna git anythin' done.

amen, mama, amen.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

for softer, smoother boob hair.

this picture makes it look almost pleasant.

on saturday morning, i went to get my annual mammogram and a breast sonogram. the mammogram hurt more than it ever has, but instead of viewing that as a bad thing, i'm choosing to view it as a good thing. the woman that performed the mammogram was INCREDIBLY thorough. she hoisted my breast up there and smooshed, smashed, smished my boob between those two cold metal plates until it resembled a breast no longer - more like a pancake, with a single solitary raspberry smack in the center. she then brought me back into the room to isolate an area higher up on the breast. this time, a smaller plate and even more pressure. excellent way to spend your saturday morning, folks.

[they put these little floral print stickers (with a small metal dot enclosed) on your nipples that help the doctor locate the nipple in the x-ray. "nipple markers," they're called, they're like itsy bitsy pasties, and they hurt like the dickens when you pull them off. i wonder if i'm the only weirdo who saved hers for her scrapbook. likely.]

then, onto the breast sonogram. lisette, a sweet sweet sweet petite Latin woman performed the procedure. if you've never had one done - in short, they squirt a gel-like substance onto your breast and then rub it down with a flat metal plate on the end of a small wand ( i promise it sounds much more fun than it is) that takes pictures of any suspicious spots in your breast tissue. sweet Lisette warmed the gel before. i thanked her and told her that when i'd had it done before, the gel was ice cold.

that eez so meaann! so lazy. it takes two seconds to warm eet. sooo mean.

lisette then told me, as she rubbed down my lubricated boobs, that she was going to buy a winter coat today at Burlington Coat Factory, and see, she even has a 20% coupon. surely there must be a coat there that she would like, and do i know what train she should take to get there? surely you'll find something cozy, i said, and take the 1 or the 9 to 23rd street.

lisette proclaimed both of my breasts "lovely," and then excused herself to show the pictures to the doctor. as i waited, still lubricated and sticky, i wondered what that gel actually was...the ingredients, etc. (my way, i imagine, of avoiding thinking about less pleasant topics. death, for example.) when lisette returned, i asked her.

oh, eet's just called Ultrasound Gel from some sort of medical supply company, but you know, on humeed days during the summer, i come een and put eet een my hair. reeally good for getting reed of frizz, and it's alcohol free.

Friday, December 08, 2006

ripeness is all.

She wasn't among those whose response to tragedy or loss was limited to offering the conventional expressions of sympathy before moving on with their own lives. In 1988, an old friend phoned us to say that his grown daughter, a young woman we'd known since she was a child, had been raped by an intruder. This was a dozen years after Alice had been operated on for lung cancer, and among the things that she wrote to our friend's daughter was that having lung cancer and being raped were comparable only in that both were what she called "realizations of our worst nightmares." She said that there was some relief at surviving what you might have thought was not survivable. "No one would ever choose to have cancer or to be raped," she wrote. "But you don't get to choose, and it is possible at least to understand what Ernest Becker meant when he said something like 'To live fully is to live with an awareness of the rumble of terror that underlies everything.' or to begin to understand the line in 'King Lear'--'Ripeness is all.' You might have chosen to become ripe less dramatically or dangerously, but you can still savor ripeness."
from About Alice, a new book by writer Calvin Trillin about his remarkable wife ("Educator, Author and Muse" was the The New York Times obit headline) who died in 2001. i first read it when it ran as an article in New Yorker several months ago. i was so touched, i tore it out and saved it. i found the book the other day on the "free table" at work and promptly snatched it up.

so lovely, and strangely not depressing considering the subject matter. easily read on a lazy winter's morning at the bagel shop, sunlight streaming in, coffee cup steaming...someone on your christmas list would love it. i'd pinky swear on it.

Betting Your Life, a New Yorker article by Alice Stewart Trillin on "doctors, illness, and family. It was published eight months before her death from heart failure."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

an important comment
loved the post and the promo video. must say, the
comment regarding your fam's admiration of lost weight
hit home HARD. it's so confusing, especially when
you're young, to have your mom look at you with
pleasure at your thinner body only to have her, a few
months later, wake you up in the middle of the night
crying and begging you to eat because now you are "too

i am still swayed by their opinions, more so than any
other person in the world. i can't say many people
here notice (or give a good damn) i lost weight, but
at thanksgiving, my mom, in the most complimentary
way, said, "you don't make a good shadow, honey!"
and i felt praised. gosh, margaux, it's SICKSICKSICK.

always good to hear your voice.
love, me.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

size ate promo...FINALLY.

i literally started working on this promo video a year ago. good lord. things always take longer than you'd imagined, don't they? ah it is. it's a little fuzzy b/c i had to compress it so it could fit on YouTube and MySpace, but presence is more important than perfection.

enjoy, and please spread it around like pixie dust. oh! and please take a sec to leave glowing comments on YouTube so passersby will stop and view.

self-care my bum

when one thinks of activities and items that fall under the umbrella of "self-care," one generally thinks of warm and fuzzy things. things that make you feel good now. slippers. silky slips of underwear dotted with ribbon roses. Bath & Body Works Vanilla Sugar body cream. baking cookies on a rainy afternoon. a real grown-up vacation to someplace exotic where clean towels multiply like Gremlins and pina coladas grow on trees.

bored the other night at work, i did a quick search on using the following keywords.

self-love: 36,284 books

self-care: 21,158 books

self-comfort: 3,383 books

self-nurture: 1,924 books

i know many of these books serve a purpose. i'm sure i've read many of them. i'm sure a number of them rest on my bookshelves just waiting for me to crack them open so they can SAVE MY LIFE.


here's the thing though - i don't think a single one of them tells you that an act in the name of self-care can often feel like someone has scraped the innards of your soul out with one of those little grapefruit spoons with a serrated edge. sitting there raw and exposed and bleeding, you try try try to wrap your noggin around the fact that the Someone who did this to you is YOU, and you did it as an act of self-loooooooooove.


yes, it's called taking care of yourself and sometimes, it sucks ass.

we go to the ob-gyn. we go to the gym. we go to the dentist knowing that we are putting our tender mouths into the hands of a strange Egyptian man who knows all the Muzak tunes by heart and wears Drakkar Noir, the same cologne your high school boyfriend wore (oh God, please don't try to make out with me, Dr. G). we go anyway, because we know the torture we endure today is nothing compared to the torture we will be forced to endure as a toothless geriatric gumming scrambled eggs while the rest of the world masticates Kobe steak with their cared for canines.

yeah, so you do things that you know know know in the short run are going to hurt like the dickens. you shell out $550 for a plane ticket home for the holidays even though you'd rather, oh i dunno, pay rent. you get tested for the breast cancer gene even though it scares you shitless, and it might be easier to not know that you're that much more likely to die (or not) breastless and alone. you decide to draw some emotional boundaries that greatly change the landscape of your day to day life, and you sorta loved that landscape, bumpy and uncertain though it was.

but you sacrifice in the short run because you know you deserve more in the long run.


self-care is eating eggs now, so we can have steak later. i just wish they tasted better going down.

Monday, December 04, 2006

artsy fartsy sunday in queens

queens is definitely the underrated borough.

on Sunday afternoon, a few friends and i (is that grammatically correct?) went to Crane Street Studios in Long Island City for their Open Studios. maybe 100 visual artists rent rooms in in an old industrial warehouse that is completely covered in graffiti (all legal). we saw a ton of great art and whacked out artists' studios (eureka! my messy apartment isn't cluttered, it's creative!), and the building itself is an industrial-sized piece of Jolly Rancher eye candy - Willy Wonka and Wizard of Oz all rolled into one.

my friend a and i decided we want to rent a space, buy rollerskates and then rollerskate up and down the hallways...after dipping our skates in paint. i think i'll follow behind her with glitter. theme song? lovely day by bill withers.

if you have out of town guests, i highly recommend taking the 7 train out to the 45 Road/ Court Square stop to check it out. not sure how often they have open studios, but the graffiti alone is worth the trip. while you're there, you can check out P.S 1 just a couple blocks away. your guests will leave NY thinking that you are the coolest person ever.

and you are, to me.

view from inside the warehouse

a few of my faves...

anki king, a lanky Norwegian artist, did a series of self-portraits "from alternate realties" i.e. if she were Large, Little, Crippled, Black, Tall, etc.

If (Large)

fernando rangel's paintings are fascinating. he takes macro digital photographs of watercolors before they dry, and then paints the image in oil paints.

Temporal Scape, oil on linen, 68 x 34

and sonomi kobayashi-clemente, a japanese artist whose subtle artwork makes my heart beat a bit slower (in a good way), and reminds me of my friend r's artwork...delicate and seemingly simple, but not...just look at it from somewhere else in the room.
Synchronicity 2, oil and pastel and pencil on paper

and then there was the guy w/ an actual swing in his studio. of course i swang...swung...swanged. whatever.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

my boyfriend terrence howard...oh, okay, so he's not my boyfriend, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't be. two quotes from an InStyle magazine feature on this toffee-colored papa point to why i should be wearing his class ring on my index finger with a corn pad to keep it from falling off:
"I don't like skinny girls. A woman is supposed to have curves. I'm definitely attracted to the waves in the ocean."

...he thinks menswear is especially restrictive when it comes to colors. Chartreuse? Marigold? Bring it on, says Howard. "Color sedates and calms people," he asserts. "I can't see a man in pink starting a fight."
see? soulmates.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The curve is more powerful than the sword.
Mae West

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

one spoonful at a time...

an excellent article in The New York Times Sunday magazine about a mother's yearlong battle with the anorexia that took hold of her 14-year old daughter, Kitty. she used an oftentimes controversial family-based treatment called the Maudsley approach:
This treatment was created by a team of therapists led by Christopher Dare and Ivan Eisler at the Maudsley Hospital in London, in the mid-1980s, as an alternative to hospitalization. In a hospital setting, nurses sit with anorexic patients at meals, encouraging and calming them; they create a culture in which patients have to eat. The Maudsley approach urges families to essentially take on the nurses' role. Parents become primary caretakers, working with a Maudsley therapist. Their job: Finding ways to insist that their children eat.
the Maudsley approach has less to do with unraveling the why anorexia affects a particular individual, and more on the how to get the individual to eat.
Maudsley practitioners say that focusing on the cause is secondary, ultimately, because once the physiological process of starvation kicks in, the disease takes on a life of its own, unfolding with predictable symptoms, intensity and long-term consequences. Anorexics become almost uniformly depressed, withdrawn, enraged, anxious, irritable or suicidal, and their thinking about food and eating is distorted, in part because the brain runs on glucose, and when it has been deprived over a long period of time, when it's starved, it goes haywire. It's important to get the patient's weight up, fast, because the less time spent in starvation, the better the outcome. Adult anorexics who have been chronically ill for years have much poorer prognoses than teenagers.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

happy thanksgiving, y'all.

what am i thankful for? too many things to list, but off the top of my noggin:

friends that make me laugh and let me cry.

family that sometimes makes me cry, but i choose to love (and laugh at) anyway.

down comforters.

dark chocolate M & Ms.

the corona of curls that surrounds my nephew's head.

the smell of toasted pecans and caramel on my fingertips.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

THIN is in.

i love my friends. they know my heart (and neuroses) so well.

three of them have sent me info about the new HBO documentary THIN by photographer Lauren Greenfield. it premiered last night on HBO. unfortunately, i gave away my television about a year ago, so i didn't get to watch it, but i've already added the DVD to my wish list (ahem). if you do have a television and HBO, check your listings, as i'm sure they'll be airing it a number of times in the near future. (probably not, however, the film to sit down and watch after Thanksgiving dinner with the fam or...maybe it is...with an entire pumpkin pie in one hand and a can of Redi Wip in the other).

if everything i've read about it is true, it promises to be an incredibly powerful piece that not only explores the struggles of individuals with eating disorders, but also sheds a harsh light on the dysfunctional, often enabling environments of the clinics that claim to cure them. it's a complicated disease, and i'm not sure putting a bunch of eating disordered girls/women together is the best way to hasten healing. isn't it sort of like sending the "bad kids" to the military academy when everyone sends their "bad kids" to the military academy? they often come back worse having adopted a whole new set of "skills" from the other inmates.


the best part is, the film is just part of a larger project -
THIN is the centerpiece of a multi-faceted campaign designed to explore issues surrounding body image and eating disorders, including a companion book, traveling exhibition of Greenfield's work and a website. An educational resource guide for the documentary THIN has also been developed to accompany the film for use by individuals, educators and community groups nationwide. It will reach approximately two million high school students and 15,000 college professors directly with a downloadable guide available online. For more on the THIN campaign - the book, exhibit, educational guide and DVD - visit or
guilty, ridiculous confession:

i have to say, i did experience the tinklings of jealousy when i first read this. i mean, this is MY PASSION! this is MY MISSION. I'M supposed to save every single solitary young woman from lifetime of eating disorders and a screwy body image! now, HBO's gonna save everyone, and i have to find a new Life's Meaning. fuuuuuuck. this is so not fair. i mean, i already had my epitaph written and everything.

good lord. get over myself. unfortunately, there's plenty of work to be done. one film won't do it, and neither will one weeny little one-woman show.

check it out.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

watch this film.

this has been sent to me by at least 2 people. i'm guessing many of you have seen it, but for those of you that haven't...eye-opening and educational. i was even shocked by the neck-lengthening. you'll see what i mean. no wonder we (women and men) have so many issues. we're presented with a standard that does not even exist in nature.

soon, in addition to our own personal trainers and therapists and life coaches, we'll all have our own personal Photoshop touch-up artists.

Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been. - Mark Twain

what does a flawless face indicate?

Monday, November 06, 2006

wanna see something funny?

me...trying to throw a football.

even, up close, trying to throw a football. face when trying to throw a football.

ex-lax anyone?

just discovered the photos from last year's Laskey family reunion in ann arbor, michigan. the entire clan toured the U of M stadium, we all tossed the football about, and this was my pathetic attempt. my cartwheels were much better, but of course nobody took a picture of that extraordinary feat of acrobatics. hmph.

dysfunctional cocktails

went to see my friend do stand-up comedy last night at a gay bar called Therapy.

a cocktail on the drink menu:

Bacardi Silver, Sugar-Free Red Bull, a Splenda Rim

hurl. they really should change the name to THE BULIMIC.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

it's not just for kiddies anymore.

this woman, Liz Hickok, has done an entire series of San Francisco landscapes in Jell-O.

i love her.

i wonder if anyone would be just as impressed with the "landscapes" in my fridge. hm. impressed probably isn't the word they would use.

Friday, October 27, 2006

getting in touch with my masculine side

i looked at a picture of myself last night, and i thought:

wow. i look like a man.

now, through a couple of instant message exchanges, my friend e convinced me that this is decidedly not so. she had just purchased herself a pair of self-described "BEAUTIFUL ASS" jeans (her capitals) from Bloomingdale's for a small fortune, so she was feeling very feminine and powerful and i-am-woman-hear-me-roar-ish.


she wrote back.


after some contemplation, i decided that what i see as masculine are my father's eyebrows. i have them. they're well-shaped though slightly Luciferian. they peak. most of the hairs are well-tamed, although occasionally, if i haven't been keeping up with the pruning, one will shoot out from its bed and point defensively at my companion.

no, she doesn't wax. she has sensitive skin. do you have a problem with that?

they're not mannish, they're just strong. with my noble hook nose, i suppose i'd look pretty stupid with two petite little apostrophes for eyebrows. mine are more like brackets. eh...i'm actually sort of happy to have them. they give me excellent expression abilities and they catch snowflakes.

if only i could develop such loving tolerance for the moustache that reveals its dark side when i've run out of Jolen Creme Bleach.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

if you order the pic, they don't come w/ the title smacked on it.
i imagine that's too keep people (like me) from stealing the image for their own uses.

had an incredibly beautiful weekend with my friend r. she was in from louisville, kentucky for her 30th birthday. yup - the same one we had a surprise party for last week. she already had plans to be here, so here she came!

saturday we lunched at The Coffee Pot and the wandered in union square. we came upon this guy's polaroid transfers. we all instantly fell in love with his diaphanous prints that are innocent and naughty all at once. hope you do too.

note to self: invest in a pair of rainbow tights and whole lotta gumballs.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

check her boobs.


it's October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it isn't just about sporting pretty pink ribbons on your lapel. make your mammogram/breast ultrasound appointments, ladies, and make sure your loved ones make theirs.

hold on. have to step up on my soapbox.


the average woman with no family history, should start getting annual mammograms at the age of 40. if you have a family history, it'll probably be earlier, but your doctor will help you figure that out (for me, it was 10 years before the age my mother was when she was diagnosed i.e. my mom was 38 at diagnosis, therefore, they started making a sandwich of my breasts between two cold metal plates at the age of 28. fun!)

every year, i get a mammogram, followed by a breast ultrasound six months later. why? if you're young, your breast tissue is usually too dense for a mammogram to reveal anything; an ultrasound is supposed to be better at detecting blips in young, pert ta-tas like yours and yours truly.

anyway, i made all of my phone calls on Monday. in the next month or so, i have appointments:

1. to see a breast surgeon specialist.

and no, not the guy you met at the bar last week. that card was printed at Kinko's, silly girl.

2. to see a genetic counselor.

do i, or do i not want to find out if i have the breast cancer gene? at 31, i know i'm not prepared at this point in my life to have a radical mastectomy, but determining my genetic risk level will help my doctors come up with the most proactive screening program which, hopefully, will lead to early detection if i do get this motherfucking disease. anyway, the counselor is gonna help me figure that out. should be a a total blast. wanna meet for drinks after?

3. to get a mammogram.

did i say breast sandwich?

4. to get a breast ultrasound.

it's the same ultrasound they do on pregnant women, but this one's for your breasts. they use some cold slimey substance and more cold metal plates. *snaps* for cold metal plates!

oh, but for all the bellyachin', i've got to do it, i know. it just so very much puts me in touch with my mortality, and it really is so much easier to prattle about in our daily lives as if we'll live forever, isn't it? i will not, of course, whether it's breast cancer that takes me, or whether i slip away in my "sleep" at the ripe old age of 95 (my aforementioned breasts being felt up by my very handsome and much younger trophy husband).

oh, goddammit, another reminder. life. fullest. blah di blah di blahhhhhh.

best to wear the sparkly shoes, eat dessert and go skinny dipping now.

ya know, while my boobs still float.


and then, providence! this email from my friend, c, received this afternoon:
so this waiter, after bringing us our drinks on saturday afternoon, proceeds to tell us that he spent a few years in a mental institution after his wife died of breast cancer in his arms. very sad, of course -- she lost both breasts and almost beat it, but didn't. so we're all somber. and then he tells me to check myself every month, which is borderline uncool, and then he turns to my boyfriend and says, to the astonishment of the other diners, that he needs to make sure to "check her boobs" (mine) all the time, because that's how they found the lumps in his wife's breasts -- HE found them. i didn't know whether to laugh or crawl under the table. this poor guy. BOOBS?
hey, early detection, no matter how it's done, is key.

my nephew can fly.

see, when you lean forward like this, it feels more like actual flying.
almost quite literally, a chip off the old block.

sorry for the baby pics...i couldn't resist.

Monday, October 16, 2006

dirt cake + dancin'

r, in artsy fartsy silhouette

i went to nashville this weekend for a surprise birthday party for my old college friend, r. she's a petite thing with curly blonde hair and a laugh that will make you laugh even if you're not in on the joke. i've often found myself reduced to paroxsyms of giggles at the sound of her peals from across the restaurant/bar/beauty salon. her guffaw nudges awake some dormant cachinnation within me, and everyone else within a 12 mile radius. seriously, listen hard and i think you'll be able to hear her in louisville.

it was an absolutely fabulous weekend, planned to perfection by her two cousins, m. and n., who are the quintessential southern hostesses. i still can't quite believe people like these girls exist, and that they did all this work for FREE. r is a lucky girl, and very well-loved.

the surprise

friday night was the big surprise. we all dined at Cabana, a lovely restaurant with the best damn french fries i've ever noshed...served with cheddar-gorgonzola-horseradish dipping sauce. i had the salmon with asparagus (because i'm a dumb girl), but if i had to do it over again, i would have gotten the Lobster and Brie Macaroni and Cheese served in a martini glass. i stole a few nibbles from my neighbors, and yes, it was as good as you think it might be.

when we got home that night (how did we get home?), n. had prepared a dessert whose recipe can be found in every community cookbook worth its salt - Dirt Cake. creamy loveliness layered with crushed oreos. yummerama! i did an impromptu cheerleading dance in gratitude.

n. was sweet enough to write down the recipe for me on her personalized recipe card that i will now share with you:

From the Kitchen of N. B.

Dirt Cake
1 large package of Oreos, crunched
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 stick oleo (that's Southern for butter or margarine)
1 cup powdered sugar
12 oz. Cool Whip
3 cups milk
2 small vanilla instant pudding mixes

Mix cream cheese, oleo, and sugar in a bowl. Mix Cool Whip, milk and pudding in another bowl. Mix the ingredients of both bowls together. Layer mixture with Oreos. Finish with a layer of Oreos. V. cute served ina flower pot!

saturday morning, we rolled out of bed and headed over
to Lyle's School of Hair Design for manis.

later in the afternoon, off to m's house for a backyard barbecue
complete with peach sweet tea and a birthday cake made by r' s Grandma.

m's hubby is from Texas, and a self-proclaimed "nerd for the grill."

then, out on the town in a limo with Quentin, our driver,
who wore a beret and loved our mix CDs.
first stop, Sambuca. a very chi chi bar with women in long sequinned gowns, and martinis so strong i'm guessing the bartender just waved the bottle of vermouth over the glass.

met a really nice guy named "Bob" who let me rub his belly for luck.

bob and i are soulmates, i think.

then, on to Decades, an 80's bar in downtown N'ville, right across the street from Boots 'n' More (where i hear they have a 3 for one special). i have no pictures for that one. sorry folks, i was busy dancing.

but here are the shoes i wore. imagine them drenched in beer and dancing to "Come On Eileen."

there's no place like Nashville.

oh, what a weekend. but now, back to regularly scheduled programming.




Sunday, October 08, 2006

chicken-on-a-stick + babies-in-stilettos

okay, so they weren't quite this bad, but frighteningly close.

i'm in mississippi this weekend, judging the Mississippi State Fair Talent Competition.

so far, i have 3 questions:

1. when did i become a "ma'am?"

as in,

yes ma'am the coffee is complimentary.
oh, god.

2. when did fried chicken-on-a-stick, fried onions, fried corn-on-the-cob, and fried pickles become a suitable dinner?

don't get me wrong, i loved every deep-fried bit of it, although i do think i'll still be digesting it a week from now.

3. when did it become appropriate for 13-year old girls to wear what i will henceforth refer to as "porn shoes?" glittery, clear lucite 3 1/2 inch high heels that they teeter about in while singing "Before He Cheats" (and what, pray tell, do you know about that?) go into any porn store in NYC, and you will see the shoes that i speak of. hey, i'm all for sexual adventurousness and stilettos, but i'm also 31. not 13. i couldn't even wear pantyhose until i was 14, and i still look like a retard in heels. i realize that i should allow for the fact that i'm in PageantLand, but all these gussied-up babies (and they are babies) in push-up bras and stilettos make me a little sad.

at 14, i was still sneaking up into the attic to play with Barbie. these girls are dressing like her, and their parents are footing the bill.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

the power of positive drunk dialing/emailing

nothing quite like waking up to an anonymous voicemail message left at 1 in the morning. a deep voice that has seen waaaay to much cigarette smoke and Jack Daniels grumbles:

Check your email.


hm. brevity is the soul of wit, The Bard once said. the same, one could say, applies to drunk dialing...keep it short, keep it simple, and if absolutely necessary, follow up with a platonically pseudo-amorous email.

this, found in my inbox this morning in response to an email i'd sent to a couple of friends from high school about recent size ate developments...(most authentic if read with a backcountry Southern accent, and if you can get your hands on a Budweiser and a bag of boiled peanuts, all the better.)

I am a heterosexual male who is a model of perfect health. You may remember me. My name is E.H. I am so glad to talk to someone who can truly comprehend the perfect male. Please don't let the fact that I am drunk diminish this message. My wife and I are so proud of you and everything that you stand for. I am seeking a holistic solution that incorporates Red Bull and Mountain Dew for breakfast and double cheeseburgers into my very demanding regimen. I must maintain an unlimited energy supply for my wife's insatiable needs. As you know both of us, I am eagerly awaiting your cosmopolitan "New York" advice. Anyway, you have no idea how much we love you and sit on the edge of our seats for your fame to come so that we may stop working and our celebrity managing career begin. Don't ever change.

i don't care if he was drunk. made me feel better, and this is going in the scrapbook.

Monday, October 02, 2006

aunt joAnne

a pencil sketch done by Aunt JoAnne from a photograph of herself at age 2

i always intended to get to know her better. i always intended to ask her questions about what my mother was like as a kid sister. i always intended to visit her artist's studio out in California. i always intended to record the story of how she, an earthy, liberal artist with paint-stained fingertips, met and fell in love with my uncle Mac, a quiet scientist who would go on to become renowned for his work in the field of superconductivity.

oh, the road to hell and all that tripe...

my aunt JoAnne Horsfall Beasley died on saturday night at 9:34 pm PST. sudden and sad, and i never got to watch her paint. i found out yesterday morning, awakened from a hard slumber by the cell phone on my bedside table.

after all of the phone calls were made and the shock diffused, i went to a friend's art gallery reception in Manhattan. in homage to Aunt JoAnne, i put on my most "artistic" outfit - a black kimono-style dress with an Oriental print dancing across the bodice and skirt, and a pair of dangly red-glass chandelier earrings (Aunt JoAnne was always known for dressing colorfully and "inefficiently." meaning, i guess, that unlike the sensible women in the family, she didn't buy loads of neutral separates that matched each other. she wore "outfits" - singular ensembles that exploded in color and texture and flow. now that i think about it, she dressed an awful lot like her paintings).

i'd planned on going anyway, but considering the circumstances, it seemed even more appropriate that i spend the afternoon in an old art club, surrounded by hundreds of canvases and idiosyncratic artists. i wonder how many afternoons Aunt JoAnne spent like that? hob-nobbing with her co-artistes, sipping white wine while mulling over the exhibit, fighting valiantly (toothpick as sword) for that last cube of cheese on the platter.

sigh. life is short, and yet it seems like 67 years should be enough. pish. it's not.

she never stopped learning, always adjusting and tinkering with her means and medium of creation. watercolor, pastel, photography. just a few weeks ago, she'd sent me a link to her new work in digital imagery. my favorite - one of a camellia and a pussywillow branch:

i haven't cried yet. maybe i will, maybe i won't. (i probably will).

the there a lesson here?

well, margaux, how about instead of spending your life intending to...


intentions make rather paltry paintings.