Wednesday, May 31, 2006

i'm only funny when not trying.

now, if they'd all done this, i would have an idea...

a co-worker said to me at work today...
"have you ever had any secret admirers?"

"well, i'm certain i must have had plenty, but they never told me."
yeah. this is called LIVING IN A FANTASY WORLD. i've established residency there. come visit. no sales tax.


"this is an American unicorn which explains why it has two horns and they're painted to match the tile in its bathroom."

i don't know if you all are familiar with Brian Andreas's art and poetry...but you should be. whenever i need to send a birthday e-card or just need a little pick-me-up, i go here. they're silly, they're profound, and some are downright tearjerkin'. i can read his stuff over and over again, and it never gets old. hope someone feels that way about me someday.

here's just a sample of a few of his poems:

She said she usually cried at least once each day not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful & life was so short.
I used to wait for a sign, she said, before I did anything. Then one night I had a dream & an angel in black tights came to me & said, you can start any time now, & then I asked is this a sign? & the angel started laughing & I woke up. Now, I think the whole world is filled with signs, but if there's no laughter, I know they're not for me.
I used to think traveling to exotic places would be fun, but I have a little more experience now & it’s only fun if it doesn’t wreck your sleep.
I asked her what she planned to do with her life & she said she was way beyond that point already. I'm just happy I remember to be there when it happens, she said.
Of course I'm not happy, she said to me, but I've got a degree in psychology so at least I can explain why.
One Halloween, my sister made a magic wand & she went around giving wishes to all my friends, but when she got glitter on all the candy they yelled at her & she went home crying & later on my mom made me share my candy with her & she was so happy she flung glitter all over & gave me an extra wish I know didn't work because I still have a sister who loves shiny stuff.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

i love my friends.

...but you do have an unsightly hair growing out of the mole on your face. please pluck.

a voicemail rec'd today at noon upon exiting the sweltering subway:

hey, it's b. just calling to say, "Hi." i was thinking of you because it's so hot, and i know you're probably miserable. i just wanted to let you know that you are not fat.

love you, and call me later if you want. i'm around. running errands, watching the food channel.

Monday, May 29, 2006

the best princesses have messy hair (and tater tots for lunch)

contrast is cruel. sitting in an office under a labyrinth of air vents and fluorescent lights after a weekend spent idling under a canopy of trees in Central Park, sunlight piercing through the emerald folds of Summer's new party dress is just plain torture with a capital Mean.


let's focus on the positive!

one of the best things about this weekend was a call i rec'd from my old friend r.s.c. she was calling to check in to see if i'd heard anything about another high school pal who'd just given birth to her first baby on saturday at 3 a.m. - samuel joseph.

yes, mom and baby and daddy are splendid. sigh.

we gabbed as old friends are wont to do; as if i'd seen her a couple of days ago and not the 6 months it actually has been. we discussed some pretty deep stuff within the half hour we were on the phone. snap! we just go there. our fathers (that coulda gone on for days, Verizon doesn't own enough minutes). not having enough time in the day to really just enjoy Life. motherhood. i expressed my utter awe at the fact that she was a mom to two goh-geous, loving kids (who were giggling with glee in the background as we spoke). i still just don't "get" how people do it. she quelled my fears of imperfection somewhat when she said:

oh, if my walls could talk.

she then told me that she still thinks about my show (which she came to NYC to see back in november) and that she can no longer do her 4-year old little girl's hair anymore:

or at least not the way i used to. i used to be ruthless - pulling and tugging and getting her hair to look 'perfect.' now, i just sort of do what i can and say, 'you're just beautiful the way that you are, and it doesn't really matter how it looks!' i also let her make more decisions about what she wears. i even let her wear her princess outfits to the mall.

goodness that made my day.

i'm left it acceptable for a 31-year old to wear her princess outfit to the mall? i mean, really. how else do i expect the Prince to recognize me?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

pardon my love for poetry

venus in white cotton underpants
(and no, this is not me)

i know some of you would rather, oh, i dunno...spend an hour or two with me mid-PMS breakdown with no ibuprofen or chocolate in sight than read the stuff, but this poem struck a chord with me last week while riding into work on the subway. all about the extraordinary in the ordinary...plow through if you can...there's a lovely nugget at the end that tastes like happy (which is remarkably similar to the flavor of a purple SweetTart).


Often an easterly churns
Emerald feathered ferns
Calling to mind Aunt Rae's decrepit
Framed fan as it
Must have flickered in its heyday.
Black-eyed Susans rim blueberry. Display,
However, is all on the outside. Let me describe the utter
Simplicity of our housekeeping. The water
Stutters fits and starts in both sinks, remaining
Dependably pure ice; veining
The ceiling, a convention of leaks
Makes host of our home to any and all weather. Everything
Floor, shutters, the door. Still,
We have the stupendously adequate scenery to keep our morale
Afloat. And even Margaret's taking mouseholes in the molding
Fairly well in stride. But O my friend, I'm holding
Back epiphany. Last night,
More acutely than for any first time, her white
Forearms, bared in ruth-
less battle with the dinner, pierced me; I saw
Venus among the clamshells, raw
Botticelli: I have known no happiness so based in truth.*

- Louise GlΓΌck

*bolds are mine.

Monday, May 22, 2006

a minor explosion + a movie

my cleanse died an unsightly death on friday night.

met my friend r for drinks and dinner. what i ate was not on the cleanse. i justified my meal - a veggie burger with french fries - by telling myself that it was all plant-based (excepting the giant puddle of blue cheese on top of the burger), and the 1.5 martinis i drank were water, i told myself.




my stomach could not be fooled.

excuse me, you feed me nothing but raw vegetables and fruit all day long, then you expect me to just up and deal with this? just so you know, i'm gonna keep you up all night, and that little road trip you're planning on taking tomorrow to South Orange, New Jersey is going to rawther terrifying for you b/c i just might explode at any moment with absolutely no warning other than a swift kick of nausea just before i blow.

that'll teach me.


on saturday night, i stayed in and watched movies. the 40-year old virgin - snorting laughter, people, snorting, raucous laughter - and a charming little fluff of a movie - last holiday with queen latifah. she plays a quiet frump who lives very...safely. she loves to cook extravagant feasts for others, but will only eat Lean Cuisine for dinner. she has an enormous crush on a boy, but can hardly speak to him. (god, this sounds so painfully familiar). anywhoo...she finds out she has just a few weeks to live and...oh, you know the story. it is what it is what it is, folks, but it is sweet, and it's absolutely refreshing to see a woman (and an African-American one no less) who is not a size 2 starring in a Hollywood movie as a smart, intelligent, desirable woman...not the maid or snarky sidekick. and, she gets the cute boy (LL Cool J) in the end!

gerard depardieu is in the movie as well. he's so charming and so very french. sigh. he has the best line in the movie. he says to queen latifah's character (and i paraphrase):

GD: you and me, we know the secret to life.

QL: oh yeah, and what is that?

GD: butter.

Friday, May 19, 2006

day 3 with no coffee

and i still haven't killed anyone or fallen asleep in a puddle of drool on my desk.

part of a "cleanse" that i'm doing. of course, i've amended my cleanse to include a margarita and quesadilla for dinner on wednesday night and an egg roll with my steamed broccoli and tofu with brown rice last night, but the first part of the day has been very cleansing - no wheat, no dairy, no sugar, no caffeine. i think i'm falling off the wagon in the evenings because i'm not eating enough throughout the day, so i come home ravenous and desperate for some lipids.

so, margaux, eat more during the day please.

it's an interesting experiment for me to do a cleanse. to not view it as a diet, but as self-care, takes some major psychological tinkering.

as in...

i'm not having ice cream not because i can't, but because i'm taking really good care of myself and cleansing my system.

as opposed to...

you cannot have ice cream because you are already a fat tub of lard and ice cream will only make you lardierrrr, little miss piggy. oink, oink.

interesting to note that my kind voice is in first person, and my defeating voice is like an admonishing, abusive parent. hmmmmm...

i suppose one could say that i shouldn't even bother doing the cleanse if i'm not doing in perfectly, but whatever...i'm practicing. i'm still not sure my body and mind can grasp the fact that this is not deprivation for weight loss, but restraint for health. i'm not sure the starved little girl inside trusts me enough to believe that i will feed her normally again; that vomit-flavored "greens drinks," dry salads and soups with giant slithery strands of kombu seaweed will not be forever. so, if that means allowing her a bowl of Lucky Charms in the evenings at the tail end of a food-virtuous day, so be it.

self-care isn't always the color of kale.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

motherless heathen casserole

now i know all of you non-motherless folks are gonna get all depressed and feel sorry for me when i post this, but that's really not the point. the point in posting this is to show how us motherless heathens (i'm kidding, i'm kidding) manage in our own trailblazing way - whether it be in raising a child, whipping together a brunch casserole or making a life. (besides, it's a damn fine casserole recipe and worth posting in its own right.)

this evening, got an email from a friend who lost her mom while we were in college:
Hey M -
I am accepting a position as playgroup coordinator in our MOMS group and they are having a new members brunch on Friday - I have to bring an item - any suggestions/recipes? Remember - I am cooking impaired so it would have to be pretty simple!!!

I actually enjoyed a mother's day for the first time in a long while - sad and happy at the same time. sure miss her - wish I could get some damn advice sometimes! :)...
from me:
hey love...

i'm so glad to hear that you had a good mother's day this year! i absolutely adored the photos you sent of the baby this afternoon - i was giggling out loud at work. he is just the damn cutest child, andi can't decide who he looks most like - you or your hubby.

so weird...this was one of the hard ones for me. i haven't had much of a problem with them in the past - they usually just whiz on by and i wake up a couple of days later and go, "oh! mother's day. guess i shoulda been sad." not so this year. i was blue. not horribly so, but just sad. i think it definitely has something to do w/ me getting closer to the age my mom was when she died. i'm closer now to that age than i am to the age i was when she died. i dunno. it's weird. i also had my period, so that never helps w/ maintaining sanity.

i get what you mean about needing advice! i SO want to call my mom all of the time, and ask her advice...about anything and menstrual cycle, my career, guys, the cups equivalent of a pound of flour. that sorta thing. it just sux. period. i can't imagine what it must be like to have a child and not have a mom to call. i do think about that. thing is, j, i know that you are amazing mom just as you are. you're mom's probably up there going, "sheesh. she's doing a great job. i couldn't give her any advice anywhoo."

so. a brunch item. yes. i have a great recipe. it's from some ancient copy of southern living. it's a sausage and grits casserole, and it is simple and DEEEEEEEEELISH. i'll attach it in word.

i love you, dearheart, and you all look so very happy, and i am so very happy to see it.


Southern Living Sausage and Grits

2 cups water
½ cup quick cooking grits
4 cups (10 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 pounds of hot & spicy sausage, cooked and crumbled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil water. Stir in grits and return to a boil. Cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Combine grits and cheese until cheese melts. Combine all other ingredients except for sausage. Add a small amount of the grits to the egg mixture and stir. Do this over and over until all combined. Add sausage. Pour into lightly greased 12” x 8” dish. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes.

You can prepare the dish and refrigerate overnight. If you do so, let stand for 15 minutes, and then bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes.

and i quote

in an email to me this afternoon from my friend, g, commenting on my recent moodiness:
...You're just super sensitive. Almost as if you were autistic. hahaha.
i should be offended, but all i can do is laugh and wonder if she




disclaimer: autism is not funny. i know this. neither is cancer, and i certainly found myself laughing when i heard that Julia Sweeney, when both she and her brother had cancer and were living together, would answer the phone, "House of Cancer!"

laugh or die, folks, laugh or die...i choose laugh.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

a different kind of m & m

aunt flo, yo.

it being mother's day, it seems appropriate that i woke up this morning to discover that Aunt Flo had arrived in all of her scarlet glory. seems to explain the recent crying jags as well. blame it on the moooooooon. my friend, r, tells me that last night was a full moon, so that means i'm on a "good cycle." whatever that means. a good cycle. hm. i still have cramps, i just downed a whole box of Whoppers in a dark movie theater, i feel and look pregnant, and want to cry constantly, but at least i am on a "good cycle."

rejoice, people! my uterus is in harmony with the universe!

so, then of course, today is mother's day.

(cue Beethoven's Fifth.)

so that coupled with the whole menstruation madness has me more than a wee put it mildly.

i've been trying to take really good care of myself today.

i woke up late and strolled to the bagel shop. stopped into the drugstore to purchase "feminine supplies" (to quote my stepmother) and in memoriam of my mom, Andes Mints (big treats for when guests came).

browsed the yellow roses selection at the deli, thinking i might buy some in homage to mom's favorite shade, but decided economical Jane wouldn't have paid $20 for a bouquet of brown-edged roses. so, in a more fitting homage to mom, i didn't buy them.

spent the morning watching Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire in Funny Face (mom fostered my love for musicals. i'd dance around in the living room for hours in just pink tights and a t-shirt listening to Oklahoma! and Sound of Music.)

went to brunch and a movie with the Urban Family in midtown. laughed so hard i snorted.

came home, wept a wee bit, and will soon go to my meditation class so i can learn to just be with my weepy, crampy, i'm 31, but still-want-my-mommy-ness.

wonder what it might be like to grow up?

heavens, i hope i never quite know.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

making a joyful movement from 11 to 3

just a quick post b/c i's exhausted...but in a good way. you know that post-beach tired. you're freshly washed, a little sunburnt, you still find little pearls of sand underneath your nails, but so happy that you have spent yourself in such a way? that's me. i am spent and it




i went to the Self Magazine Workout in the Park today from 11 to 3 p.m. my pal C organized the day for us. i wasn't sure what to expect. lots of free samples of shit i would never use but would keep for eons in anticipation of that house full of guests that would never come? yes. an estrofest on steroids - a bevy of workout-obsessed women scrambling for the first row? yes. an either miserably hot day or a miserably rainy day? yes.

oh, me of little faith.

it was a blast. a BLAST i tell you. the weather was perfetta, there were loads of awesome dance/exercise classes throughout the day including the ones i took part in -

Hip Hop Bhangra - my absolute favorite!

Capoeira - i got to do cartwheels!

Ballroom Blitz - the jitterbug, the merengue, the fox trot - on amphetamines.

Crumping and Clowning - did you see the movie, Rize? never have i felt so very white, but ohhh fun! (note to self: must shake ass more often. quite invigorating.)

and, to close out the day...

Cardio Striptease - puurrrrrrr.

there were also yoga + pilates classes, massage booths and yes, loads and loads of free samples that i did my best to refuse, but free stuff is FREE STUFF. they were also giving free makeovers over at the Clarins counter, but who wants makeup caked on when ya tryin' to crump, yo?

i was just there to mooooooooove, and moooooooove i did.

my one peeve - there was no plain water available. a few of the sponsors were Propel Fitness Water, Crystal Light and Fresca, all of which are sweetened with some sort of artificial sweetener. the chipper emcee with a perfectly coiffed flippy bob kept telling us to "hydrate, ladies, please. please don't forget to load up on the Propel Fitness Water, Crystal Light and Fresca that our sponsors have so kindly donated to us." 'tis a we are spending a day dedicated to fitness while simultaneously sucking down carcinogenic bubbly by the gallon.


yes, yes, yes. i know what you're thinking - it was really a marketing nightmare meant to drum up magazine subscriptions for self and gym memberships for Crunch, but hey! they got what they wanted, and i got what i wanted. in my search for "joyful movement," i think i found at least 3 or 4 that i'd like to do again. all of the classes kicked my ass and really got my heart going, but i didn't realize it b/c i was having so much damn fun. that's what i want exercise to be for me; an activity that makes me happy to be in this body - as is. there were women (and a few very brave men) of all shapes and sizes and ages there today shakin' what their mama gave 'em. and that's so fittin', it being mother's day tomorrow 'n' all.

Friday, May 12, 2006 sweet the smell

i stopped by sephora today on my lunch break. retail therapy doesn't work. i know this, but it seems to work for a 1/2 hour or so, and sometimes, seems to is enough. (why do you think people stay in unsatisfying relationships for as long as they do? b/c he seems to be the right guy/girl.) today, i needed some new body wash. i sniffed through all the fruity, springy ones - melon daquiri, lemonade, strawberry milkshake. nah. not this year. i needed something a little more refined. a little less Bubble Yum. i saw it on display across the room. a pale, pale pink bottle. i ambled over. i popped the cap. i sniffed. a soft, soap and water scent that reminded me of childhood summer baths and white cotton nightgowns. in a simple times roman font on the front of the bottle it said:


if ever i needed that, i certainly need it now. i am, at this point in my life, lumbering. knocking things over, crying at bars, spilling any liquid in my messily.

so, i bought a little grace.

available, ladies and gentlemen, for $22 at the times square sephora.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

sir lancelot turns 39

happy belated birthday to my brother, lance.

the barrel-chested 6'5" Gentle Giant

king of Costco and Publix

lover of economy-size protein powder

enthusiastic fisherman who won't eat fish

most thoughtful how-did-you-know-i-needed-that? gift-giver

always-remembers-my-birthday brother who never pinned me to the ground and dangled spit loogies over my face or farted on my pillow

amazing husband and father who takes touching, heartwarming pictures like this of his son because, of course, you won't forget his cherubic face. it's the pudgy hands and feet discovering sand you'll beg to remember:

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

MY founding father.

Q. Who made the first ice cream cone?

A. The first commercially made ice cream in the U.S. was
sold by a Mr. Hall in New York City in 1786. The first
ice cream soda was made by Robert Green of Philadelphia
in 1874 by adding ice cream to plain soda water. The
first ice cream cone appeared at the 1904 Louisiana
Purchase Exposition in St. Louis thanks to Charles E.

Friday, May 05, 2006

she's still a betty...

a grandma's nightmare

gramma isakson's birthday again. 88 years fabulous. you can read last year's post here.

i spoke with gram today.

she's going over to her friend's for dinner tonight. dinner that i am certain will be preceded by the requisite cocktail and little cut glass dish of mixed nuts. i will always associate my gramma with the jingle of ice cubes in a highball glass; the bitter, sizzly pop of tonic dancing with lime and gin; my delicious, salty fingertips post-Planter's can dive (she stole all the cashews); and, of course, the 5 o'clock news.

she's spending the day just as she wants to; "putzing" is what she said. which means, in Betty-speak, that she's probably cleaning the whole damn condo from top to bottom. her entire decor is white or some version thereof: cream, eggshell, pearl, alabaster, ivory; therefore requiring constant care. this screams NIGHTMARE to me, but i think Betty gets much satisfaction from keeping a pristine home. i like cooking in it, i just don't like cleaning it. she does not leave dishes in the sink or wet clothes in the washer overnight. she wipes down her bathroom daily.

surely, i must be adopted.

her cleanliness it not without its dark side:

i distinctly remember her making me stand smack-dab center of her snowy-tiled kitchen before i took a sip of Kool-Aid. i couldn't even sit at the table. i had to stand there. how can a kid enjoy Kool-Aid standing in exile in the middle of a kitchen? Kool-Aid is meant to be enjoyed on a beanbag, 2 inches in front of a television blaring bad cartoons that reinforce negative gender and ethnic stereotypes. i guess she wanted to give me a wide breadth lest i spontaneously develop epilepsy at the age of 10 and toss the bug juice into the air turning her arctic wonderland into the scene of a polar bear slaughter.

i was humiliated and very angry, but...she has a home that is a haven, where order prevails and i do always look forward to my time there even if, at 31, she'd still prefer that i not eat my ice cream on the couch.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

bragging rights

yeah...this has nothing to do with food, but whatever. gotta post about my amazing artist of an aunt - joanne horsfall beasley. she has an exhibit coming up on may 13-14 in redwood city, california.

i always wanted to be an artist like her. i used to send her my pictures in hopes that she'd call my mother in a dither screaming "PRODIGY! PRODIGY! THIS CHILD IS A PRODIGY! SHE'S GONNA MAKE YOU MILLIONS!"

needless to say, never happened. i am a perfectly capable artist, but i am not gifted as such. i, ever hopeful, did try to sell my "artwork" on the street corner once when i was about 6. once again, i was certain that my genius would be discovered my some curator passing through the little village of milan, michigan. i sold one picture to my babysitter's boyfriend, david. he drove up in his turquoise Pontiac Firebird, permed curls bobbing in the wind and bought one of my paintings for a whole dollar. sigh. the kids selling lemonade down the street fared far better.

ah well...i am my own kind of artist, i suppose.

(it's very possible that i've posted about her already, and i find my memory is slipping...that's okay...i get to experience the good stuff for the first time 2 or 3 times!)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

every woman has an eating disorder

my friend's new blog. she's writing a book and she needs your brilliant comments!

9 new roomies!

the ladies have moved's so nice not to sleep alone anymore...

Monday, May 01, 2006

happy may day, y'all! if i were a more festive person, i'd be wearing a daisy chain and prancing around barefoot. but alas, i work in an office. so, in homage to may day, i wear pink.

as a kid growing up in milan, we used may 1st as an excuse to pillage our neighborhood's gardens, make little bouquets and leave them at people's doorsteps - a sort of Robin Hood of Flora.

wonder if Mrs. Bird ever realized those bleeding hearts in the bouquet she gushed over were actually from her garden...