Archive for September, 2010



I was reading the New York Times after a particularly long day and I encountered a Versace ad that I wanted to post — 2 vacant-eyed women, apparently starving. Lacking even the strength to hold their mouths closed.

Alas, the ad is not to be found online, and I’m afraid if I try to scan it it won’t show up well, as it is in black and white.

(October 10: found it!):

I did find myself on a trip through the strangely-thematic surreal. Let me share some of the landmarks along the way.

Firstly, we have women disguising the fact that they are naked by hiding behind their voluminous handbags:

I think her handbag may weigh more than she does; she also looks as if she may be inside the handbag; then again, I may be wrong.

There also seems to be a theme where we are apparently supposed to be noticing the woman’s shoe as she is stepping into her clothing. This photo spread kills the proverbial two birds, by having her hide one of her (naked) legs behind her purse while stepping into her dress with the other leg. And look! she’s managed to accomplish her task, and is now fully clothed in the picture on the right. Good for her.

Now I don’t know about how models do it, but I tend to put my shoes on last, and have not usually picked up my purse until after the belt is on. Maybe it’s just me.

Then we have the group shots.

I’m not even going to presume what the women on the left are doing, but the one in the middle looks like she’s trying to work in her workout during the shoot, (poor lunging form, btw), Stephanie has longer legs than I am tall, and Claudia really needs to pee. Maybe we could take 5?

Now how about the men.

My son plays a game with pictures of his band on facebook called “what is ____ looking at?” Maybe there’s a giant spider on the floor or something. But do any of us know any men who would do this willingly? I guess they’re pretty well paid, but does that make them “prostitutes”? I can’t really figure out what market Versace is trying to reach with this one, but I guess that’s their marketing department’s problem.

Nothing wrong with this one; at least not as far as I can tell, although I’m not sure what we’re supposed to make of the hands in underwear/handcuffs. Hmmm. . .

Quite fine.

So what are we supposed to make of this?

This just makes me want to cry.

Men get to be strong, muscular, virile; women are wisps, hiding behind our handbags, not allowed to go to the bathroom.



Not Fat!!!

It’s getting a little colder around here, so I was pulling some “regular” (meaning full-length) pants out of my closet this morning to get dressed for work. They’re all too small. Now some of you may remember my “fat pants” post from last spring — the problem is those were all capris and shorts for the summer; despite my 7-week running program in July and August (until school started and I had to get up at 6 a.m. to do it and it was still pitch black outside) I haven’t lost any weight since.


I’m disgusted with myself. I want to be a size 8, I’m not even always a size 10. I look in the mirror and see fat. (The average woman my age is a size 14, but that doesn’t matter, because I don’t really want to be “my age” either. I still feel like I’m 35, just a hell of a lot smarter. Can’t I still LOOK 35, too?)


I write my husband an email. (He’s already gone for the day – he gets up at 4 a.m. on Tuesdays so he can spend an hour and a half on the ice chasing a little black disc around and trying to hit it with a stick while trying not to get run over by other guys with sticks. He does it on Fridays too. I think this may indicate some kind of mental imbalance, but it keeps him happy and he has a fantastic ass. Hmmm. His mother reads this. . . .ANYwhoo. . .)

I’m asking him if he will help me. Namely: stop buying me potato chips, don’t offer me any ice cream, don’t pour me a 2nd glass of wine with dinner (notice I’m not cutting out wine entirely; I may be fat, but I’m not unreasonable), keep the “sauce” separate from the pasta so I can put the “sauce” on 4 noodles, etc. I tell him this despite the fact that, while he is perfectly happy with what I weigh, he wants me to be happy with what I weigh as well. I tell him that I want to be his hot sexy wife not a matronly housefrau in a . . . and that’s it. I can’t think of the word. I write “dashiki” but I know that’s not right, and when I find on Google that it’s a tunic-top of African influence worn by men, I know I need to look further. I try to think of a way to google “word for dress that fat women wear” but I just get a bunch of pictures of super skinny models and a few really large women in bathing suits. (The little mean voice says “at least I’m not that fat.”)  I add “housecoat” to the end of the sentence, but it doesn’t have that poetic ring I’m looking for. So I persist. And I encounter this:

Wow. These women are beautiful. Now granted, my face doesn’t look anything like any of theirs, but maybe my body does — (the little mean voice points out that I might even be smaller than a few of them) — and look — they’re beautiful. They’re voluptuous and curvy and have gorgeous skin, and they’re obviously comfortable with their bodies because they’re all draped all over each other like that.

Now when I copied this off of the website I found it from I noticed that it was labeled “Glamour_plus-size-models” and that bothers me a little because they’re not “Plus size” — they’re normal size. But anyway. . .


I’ve decided to stop eating potato chips, and no more blue cheese dressing on my pretzel crisps, and definitely less pasta and bread and potatoes. I’ve also decided to try to stop being so hard on myself. And I think I might end up buying at least a couple pairs of pants.


A day for introspection

Had an unusual amount of time to myself this weekend, and found that I was thinking about a few things on a kind of loop. Hope you don’t mind if I share them with you.

A student of mine at the college is dating a former student of mine. He, the former student, spent the couple years I worked with him estranged from his parents. He had begun to reconcile things with them, and was beginning to rebuild their relationship when his dad died suddenly of a massive heart attack. This was a year ago; his dad was 49. Last week she, the current student, called to cancel her lesson; good friends of theirs had lost their dad — he died of an aneurysm in his sleep. He was 49. I’m 45, my husband is 52. We’ve only been together for a few years, and wish we had a lifetime. I guess whatever we have left would be a “lifetime,” but we’d like at least 30 — years, that is. These stories frighten me.

I spent most of yesterday cleaning the house. Really good cleaning — bathroom, dusting, sweeping, mopping, cleaning the glass surfaces, doing all the laundry, etc. etc. Two observations. 1.  I really like a clean house, but I don’t particularly enjoy doing it. This sucks, as I am also morally opposed to paying someone else to clean up after me.  If anyone can see a solution, I’m willing to consider it. 2.  There are too many people in this house losing too much of their hair. I’m surprised we have any on our heads at all.

I sat on the front porch at the end of the day and listened to the bugs buzz. The moon has been full and beautiful the past few days. It hung there like a plate, hazy behind the clouds. It was terribly windy on Friday and one of my huge and overgrown oak trees fell across the road. Luckily no one was driving past at the time, nor was there anyone on the bike path. I heard the crunch and splinter as it fell, followed by a surprisingly muffled THUD; I knew what it was before I even looked. Despite the complete absence of any danger or injury my hands shook for about 10 minutes afterward. I looked down at the huge trunk lying along the driveway, watched the people from down the road come and collect branches and firewood from across the street, thought again about how close to the line we all are.

This is my yard. It’s a beautiful place most of the time. (Except when it’s windy — I guess it’s still beautiful, but your concerns for your safety seem to trump any appreciation of the scenery.)



This commercial just came on: Symbicort to treat your asthma symptoms.

Warning: “Taking Symbicort may increase your risk of dying from asthma-related symptoms.”



Here We Aren’t, So Quickly, by Jonathan Safran Foer

Just read this while brushing my teeth. It gave me goose bumps. I don’t know why. (July, 2010)

Okay, here I am 2 months later. I’ve been thinking about this story on and off since I first read it; even read it aloud, to mixed reviews, at a dinner party one night last month.

First of all, I think it’s ingenious how he sums up a relationship, life (in 2 pages), parenthood(in 3 sentences [“He suddenly drew, suddenly spoke, suddenly wrote, suddenly reasoned. One night I couldn’t help him with his math. He got married.”]), all in variations of “I was always. . . I was never. . . You were always. . . You were never. . .” sentences.

For instance, the first paragraph: “I was not good at drawing faces. I was just joking most of the time. I was not decisive in changing rooms or anywhere. I was so late because I was looking for flowers. I was just going through a tunnel whenever my mother called. I was not able to make toast without the radio. I was not able to tell if compliments were backhanded. I was not as tired as I said.”

The critics at the dinner party thought that they had never been happy. I thought they, the critics that is, were missing the point. They had been happy, some of the time, and unhappy, some of the time, just like the rest of us. What is most astounding to me is how this author, of the ripe old age of 33, seems to understand what it means to be 40, and 50, and 70; what it means to feel and know what you’re feeling; what it means to know someone, even yourself.

Some excerpts:

You were never willing to think of my habits as charming.

I couldn’t explain the cycles of the moon without pen and paper, or with.

I was almost always at home, but I was not always at home at home.

I was always in need of just one good dress shirt, or just one something that I never had.

You were too injured by things that happened in the distant past for anything to be effortless in the present.

You broke everyone’s heart until you suddenly couldn’t.

I was often not reading the book that I was holding.

They kept producing new things that we didn’t need that we needed. I needed your approval more than anything.

And the world of marriage, and our own self doubts:

I should have forgiven you for all that wasn’t your fault.


Salt of the Earth

Ate a naked burrito at Qdoba for dinner. It’s “Healthy Mexican Food” right? How can I go wrong?

Have drank (drunk?) at least 36 oz. of water since I got home. Wondered why, so went to the nutritional calculator on their website.

Nutritional Facts

Amount per Serving:
Calories 515 Calories From Fat 220g

Fat Total 25g
Saturated Fat 11.5g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 175MG
Sodium 1110MG
Potassium 980MG
Total Carbohydrate 28g
Dietary Fiber 14g
Sugar 2g
Protein 43g

Vitamin A 48% DV Vitamin C 18% DV
Calcium 34% DV Iron 16% DV

25 grams of fat? 11.5 of saturated fat? 1110 mg of sodium?

Now I know. This can’t happen again. Sheesh.


Time for the Truth

We can’t afford to roll our eyes in frustration and limit our rants to preaching to the choir. The truth must be out, and we must out it. The Tea Party and hard-core Republicans want to “take back America,” and are attempting to do so by exploiting the worst in MFA through lies and insinuation. And from whom? The people who are holding the financial and mortgage industries accountable? Or the people who want to make sure that you can’t be denied health insurance because you have a preexisting condition? (Hell, if you’re alive, chances are you have a preexisting condition. Maybe you just haven’t had to change jobs since it was discovered. Heaven help you if you do.)

We can’t afford to play nice and avoid having difficult conversations with people who can’t bother to be informed before running off at the mouth. And we have to stop protecting the rights of the privileged and the wealthy in the hopes that one day we might be one of them. If you’re middle class now, you’re probably going to be middle class until the day you die. The way the economy looks, you’re probably looking at the first generation where your children are NOT going to be better off than you were. What are you protecting exactly? Their right to avoid inheritances taxes on the $17,000 in cash and twice-mortgaged house you leave behind?

According to Wikipedia, “. . .in 2004, the wealthiest 25% of US households owned 87% . . .of the country’s wealth, while the bottom quartile held no net wealth at all. The middle 50% of the country held 13% . . . of the total household net wealth. . .

In addition to unequal wealth distribution, it is also difficult for individuals in the lower income distributions to gain economic mobility which inhibits their ability to accumulate wealth. . .The Panel Study of Income Dynamics shows how stratification is becoming worse and worse since 1984. The lowest percentile has become worse, and the highest percentile has become wealthier. The fifth percentile has dropped further into negative net worth, while the 90th percentile has gained over four hundred points within the last twenty one years.

Yeah, let’s protect them.

Meanwhile, let’s also forget the principles on which this country is founded: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness; freedom of expression, religion, opportunity.

They’ve got one thing right: I don’t think it says anything in there anywhere about the truth.

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