9/30/09

Dear Carbs: The Natives are Restless


Dear Carbs:

You are determined for me to come crawling back to you, aren't you? This is why Americans are obese; you won't let go. You refuse to respect the end of a relationship. You're like chocolate butter cream frosting clinging to my arteries. You are chocolate butter cream frosting clinging to my arteries.

I see that you've decided to play hard ball. Convincing my youngest daughter to go on strike until she gets sugar was a bit of genius. "No Hugs, No Sugar," that's the rallying cry around here these days. But psyche on you! The rallying cry used to be, "You're a bad mommy," so I'm thinking this is an improvement.

Oh, and don't think that lasagna at the swim team banquet changes anything. It was a moment of weakness, that's all. Goodbye. End of story.

I am on to you like white on rice so watch your back.

9/28/09

Goddess of the Week: Uke-Mochi

Bibimbop  비빔밥 Reads HaikuImage by moriza via Flickr

Oh, goddess of food,
Deliver me from chicken
Unless stuffed with cheese.

A haiku for this week's goddess: Uke-Mochi, the Japanese goddess of food. If she can't help us, we're doomed.

Here's the story: One day the storm god Susano-Wo drops by Uke-Mochi's house totally uninvited. He's all, "Hey, Uke-Mochi, What's for dinner."

Yeah. Right. Total doofus. But what's she going to do? Kick him out? She's the goddess of food. This is her immortal life. The problem is, she's got nothing in her house. She's hasn't been to the market in days. Her refrigerator has soy sauce and a half-eaten can of sardines. Still, she's a goddess, so she can improvise. She says, "Uhhhh...leftovers." Then she pulls porridge from her nose, California rolls from her mouth, and rice from her ass.

Unfortunately, in addition to being a freeloading doofus, Susano-Wo was also one of those guys who always checks the labels to see where his food is from. He was totally disgusted, despite the fact that everything he was served was locally grown, so he killed her.

The dead Uke-Mochi, however, was all "Thanks a lot bozo. Eat this." Her whole body transformed into a feast for the people of Japan. Rice grew out of her eyes, millet from her ears, red beans from her nose, soy beans from her butt, and wheat from her genitals. Her death allowed the Japanese to thrive, although dining with such an unworthy companion was definitely no picnic for her.

Channel this goddess: When your unworthy dining companions complain -- again -- about your cooking. This is one time you can really mean it when you tell them to stick it up their asses. You can also channel Uke-Mochi when unexpected guests drop by, although might I recommend take out? It's just much easier.

Allison: This one is for you, Haiku and all.

Need a goddess: That's why I'm here. Tell me your need and I'll see what I can find.
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9/25/09

Wise Women Friday: Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel in her early years.Image via Wikipedia

Words of wisdom from Coco Chanel (1883-1971), the brilliant French fashion designer:

Youth is something very new:
twenty years ago no one mentioned it.

My dear Coco, times have changed. Twenty years ago everyone did talk about youth. I remember because I was young then and everything revolved around me. Twenty years ago I was 24, newly married, and just starting graduate school. Like all the other 24 year olds I knew, I knew that I was on my way to ruling the world.

Hmmmm. I'm not exactly sure what happened there. I may have taken the wrong freeway, which is always a possibility in LA, especially for the directionally-challenged, of which I am.

Coco Chanel, however, did rule the world, or at least her little part of it. Did you know she was a poor foundling who grew up in an orphanage? I read it in Kenneth Turan's review of the new biopic about Chanel, Coco, starring that adorable Audrey Tautou, who seems to have taken the right freeway, but maybe there are fewer of them in France.
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9/23/09

The road to becoming a crazy dog lady: A sad, sad tale


I love my children, and my husband is swell, but have I told you about my dog?

My dog gives me no grief. My dog doesn't complain about my cooking. My dog loves her kibble. EVERY DAY! TWICE A DAY!

When I say "Let's go for a walk," she doesn't say, "It's hot," or "It's too far," or "I hate you." She leaps for her leash and clasps it firmly in her mouth. She wags her tail, and we walk.

My dog is Gifted and Talented. In her agility class she can jump through a tire, leap over hurdles, run across a plank and through a tunnel, go through a dark, nylon draped chute, and wait five seconds on a pause table. When she is done, everyone in the class says, "She's so good!" "She's so fast!" "She's so sweet and calm." Her teacher does not give me a sympathetic look every time I walk by.

My dog has a secret shame. She eats cat poop, but that just keeps her humble.


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9/21/09

Goddesses of the Week: Eileithyia and Leto

Leto, Artemis and Aphrodite, from Parthenon ea...Image via Wikipedia

This one is for Lisa, who, if she hasn't given birth already is probably just about to.

First thing: Breathe.
Second thing: Hold tight to your partner.
Three: In between contractions send a call out to Eileithyia, Greek goddess of childbirth and labor.

You want Eileithyia on your side because she can speed up your labor or delay it. You're going to have to trust me here. I had my first daughter in two and half hours and my second in about forty minutes so I know what I am talking about.

If you are unwittingly carrying Zeus's child, however, go ahead and get that epidural. Things might take a while. When the Titan goddess Leto was pregnant with Artemis and Apollo, Zeus's wife Hera pursued Leto to the ends of the earth. Poor Leto finally found a place to hide on the floating, and hence unplottable, island of Delos. When Hera couldn't find Leto, she did the next best thing: she kept Eileithyia from coming to Leto's aid by pulling out about 1,000 pictures of her last trip to Crete and forcing Eileithyia to see every last one of them.

Finally, the messenger goddess Iris came. "Dude! You're totally needed," she told Eileithyia and Eileithyia made her escape. The minute Eileithyia landed in Delos, Leto was ready to deliver.

Now, goddesses are kind of like doctors. Just like your pediatrician takes over once the baby is born, you'll want to channel a different goddess once your baby is safely delivered. Once you here that piercing "Waaaahhhhh," send a new call out to Leto herself. She is a goddess of motherhood and a protectress of the young, and, having raised two over-achievers herself, she knows all the things you need to do to make sure your kids get into top colleges. (Think unusual talents that impress college recruiters: Her son Apollo, for example, invented music and controlled the sun.)

Channel these goddesses: Believe me, you'll know when you need them. (Sending you good thoughts, Lisa. Best wishes and take care.)

Need a goddess: That's why I'm here. Tell me your need and I'll see what I can do.
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9/18/09

Wise Women Friday: Agatha Christie

Agatha ChristieAgatha Christie via last.fm

Words of wisdom from the prolific mystery writer Agatha Christie (1891-1976):

Is there ever any particular spot
where on can put one's finger and say,
"It all began that day, at such time
and such a place, with such an incident."

It all began that December afternoon, when I pulled up to Debbie's house in Glendale, and she said, "Don't freak out, but something happened, and we called 911, and your daughter's in the hospital."

When did it happen for you? When did everything change?
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9/17/09

Dear Carbs: You Callow Donut

Krispy Kreme doughnuts being made at the Krisp...Image via Wikipedia

Dear Carbs:

I think you know what this is about. I saw you at Trader Joe's yesterday. There you were, chilling with the cinnamon roles, flirting with that cheap-looking girl in the white tank top. She stared long and hard at you, the lust in her eyes shining brighter than her day-glo blue eye shadow. She picked you up, put you in her cart, put you back on the shelf, walked a few steps and then pirouetted around, stretched out her arm and grabbed you good and tight.

I know I was the one who broke things off between us, so you might not think I have any right to say this, but I'm saying it anyway. You are one callow donut. You are are all glazed and beautiful on the outside, but on the inside you are as sensitive and deep as the little air pockets that puff you up.

Two weeks! Fourteen days! I have mourned for you! I have been reduced to snacking on SUNFLOWER SEEDS! For dessert I'm eating CELERY! Last night I had a "spicy pork burger" with no fricking bun!

And you...you flaccid ball of dough, you are running off with tank-top girl and her disco eyes. Like I never even mattered. Like I meant nothing to you.

I bet that slut is licking your sweet icing right now.

FINE. Fine. Be that way. I don't need you. I have my new BFF "carb watchers" no-sugar added ice cream to keep me warm. So there! You can just rot in hell for all I care.

God, I miss you, you big jerk.
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9/14/09

Goddess of the Week: Morrigan

The Hounds of the MorriganImage via Wikipedia

Love and beauty are all good and fine, but sometimes you want to go a little goth. When that happens, the goddess for you is Morrigan, the Celtic goddess of battle, strife and fertility.

When Cuchulainn fought Queen Medb's army, Morrigan was so entranced by the Ulster hero's great hair and his sexy derring-do that she offered him her love. Like many a hero before him, unfortunately, Cuchulainn did not know a good thing when he saw it and he rebuffed Morrigan, thinking her some common trollop. Then, just to make sure she got the point, he went and stabbed her. But that's heroes for you. Give a guy a dimpled chin and a way with a sword and he thinks he owns the world.

What could Morrigan do? She a had reputation as a kick ass goddess to protect! She had to seal his fate. And his fate was death.

Cuchulainn goes down to a ford in the river where he finds this old washer woman. She says to him, "I'm washing Cuchulainn's battle clothes." Turns out, a washer woman at a ford is a total symbol of imminent death! And everybody even knows that Morrigan assumes the figure of a washer woman at a ford when she chooses who will die in battle. So if a washer woman at a ford says she's washing your clothes, you're totally doomed.

Cuchulainn, however, is clueless. He's all, "Oh, well, thanks. Make sure you get the mud out." Which is making me think that while Cuchulainn may have known his way around a sword, he was using his head more as a boulder than a quick-thinking stratagem tool.

So Cuchulainn goes to battle. And he's fighting and killing and maiming, and he's doing all the things he loves, and he's feeling really good about things, when some warrior guy impales him. Morrigan, who has transfigured herself into a crow, which she often did, and has been watching the whole scene, lands on Cuchulainn's shoulder. She's giving him the evil crow eye, telling him how he totally blew it, and he's dying and moaning and gurgling up blood, and he sees this crow -- and he still doesn't know who the hell it is. He still doesn't know that he lost his chance to win -- to live -- the moment he rejected Morrigan. Cause all is fair in love and war, and if you're a warrior and you don't even recognize your own goddess, you totally don't deserve her protection.

Channel this goddess: When it's no more Mr. Nice Guy time, when people are always expecting you to step in and fight their battles and they give you nothing in return, when you need to find your inner tough girl and you need to kick some butt. Or when it's time for laundry!

Mandie: Here is your goddess. Hope you approve.

Need a goddess: Tell me your need or even a goddess you'd like featured. I can't wait to hear from you.


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9/11/09

Wise Women Friday: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Private collectionImage via Wikipedia

Words of wisdom from the American writer Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896-1953):

The test of beauty is whether
it can survive close knowledge.

Hmmmmmm. Speaking as the girl who once acquired the nickname "Plumpbelly," I think I have earned the right to say that this sounds a bit like a plain-girl's hope for justice in a cruel, lip-stick smeared world.

The Greek gods had never heard of Venus before she walked naked out of the sea, but she was so beautiful they figured she must be divine. They whisked her away to Olympus. The storytellers will tell you the Vesta, goddess of the hearth, immediately gave her throne to Venus and went and sat by the fire, where she preferred to be anyway. Personally, I think Vesta saw the writing on the wall: when it comes to women, beauty trumps.

True story: in seventh-grade science, me and my plump belly and my trussle-head hair sat in front of two girls: Eve and Ellen. Eve was your basic seventh-grade-boy fantasy. She had boobs. But she also had a flat waist and a pretty face and good hair, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Ellen was tiny. No boobs. But she had clear skin and good hair and blah, blah, blah, you get the picture.

What was it about these girls? They didn't talk much, so far as I could tell. They did not seem to have any special sparkle or wit, but people obsessed over them. They fawned over them; they watched them.

Those girls terrified me. They were like the Bomb, volatile forces capable of leaving a deadly fallout. One word, one look, and you were broken or made. But I wonder now if they ever even broke anyone or if they ever even wanted to? All I know is that I stayed as far away from Eve and Ellen as I possibly could, and, of course, I pretty much knew that I better go sit by the fire anyway because that's where my tribe congregated, away from the thrones, away from the goddesses.

These days, I have many friends who are beautiful, just beautiful. And I'm still surprised every time they descend from their thrones and come and talk to me. I don't say this because I seek some sort of flattery or reassurance, so please do not flatter or reassure me. I say this because beautiful people still sort of scare me, even at close knowledge.


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9/8/09

Goddess of the Week: Venus

w:Botticelli's The Birth of VenusImage via Wikipedia

This from Posey: "Which goddess, in your opinion, has the most courage and is a strong mother."

Well, Posey, this one took some thinking. Goddesses are, by definition, courageous. You don't get to be omnipotent by running at the first sight of trouble or freezing like a deer in the headlights and waiting to get bowled over. I'm an expert at both so you'll have to trust me on this. Likewise, mama goddesses are tough cookies. You would not want to mess with them or their children. You wouldn't last long.
Still, a choice must be made, and I choose Venus, the Roman goddess of love.

I know what you are thinking. Venus? That floozy? That airy beauty rising from a fricking clamshell? What could I possibly be thinking.

Let me tell you. In a world of war and starvation and suffering and fires and swine flus and countless big and little disappointments, it takes courage to live a life of joy. And that's what Venus does, she lives a life of joy and tells you that you can too. When Zeus made her marry the smith god Hapheastus, a god she was really not suited to at all, although she did like the bling he made her, she did not plop down on her throne and live a life of martyrdom. No. She found ways to have fun. She fooled around, but so did all the gods and most of the goddesses, except for Hera (totally miserable jealous cow) and virginal Artemis and Athena (both of whom defined themselves in terms of male values like martial strength and intellectual cunning. Translation: boring, boring, boring).

Other deities were all "Oh, let me show you the size of my thunderbolt" and "Oh, look how many villages I can destroy with my awesome control over the weather. " But who among them had fun? Who among them refused to give up on joy, on love, on beauty, on the possibility that life can be something more than a wet and muddy ride through discomfort, pain, and suffering? Venus.

Venus gives you permission to pull your head out of the sand and the smoky clouds and the dirt, or whatever gloomy place you happen to find yourself and see the beauty that remains. She gives you permission to walk forward knowing that, sure, good times end, but bad times end too. Somewhere, ahead of you, there is an arrow with your name on it, and it will bring you love, and it will show you beauty, and you will have joy. Maybe these things are sometimes fleeting, but who the hell cares. That's the crocus in winter.

You could, of course, find this small solace, especially when things seem bad. But that's why holding fast to joy and taking responsibility for your own happiness takes courage. And that's why Venus is the most courageous of all the gods and goddesses.

As for the strong mother part, well, that is very easy. The Romans believed that Venus was their mother. They believed that her son Aeneus was the founder of Rome. A Trojan, she helped him escape the pillaging of Troy by the Athenians and led him through a tumultuous journey to the Italian peninsula. She protected him even in death, receiving permission from Zeus to make him a god. Even then, she always looked out after the Roman people, which is why they called her Venus Genetrix, Venus the mother.

Channel Venus: When things look bleak. Claim joy. Claim love. Claim happiness. No one else can do that for you. So take them. Also, when the perils of motherhood seem too steep. Motherhood wasn't easy for Venus; why should it be easy for you. Strength in motherhood comes from finding strength in yourself and the courage to believe that one day your children will be independent and living on their own.

Posey: Whaddya think?

Need a goddess: Let me find you one! Leave me comment telling me what you need. I'll see what I can do.
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9/2/09

Dear Carbs

This is a photograph of some :en:Boudin Bakery...Image via Wikipedia

Dear Carbs:

Don't take this the wrong way. You're great. You are doughy and sweet and sometimes frothy and bubbly. Ummm. I love you. You make me nice and full and you always have a way of making me dream a little bigger. That's why this next part is so hard.

The thing is...I'm breaking up with you . It's not that I've fallen in love with another food group. For Godsake no! Don't listen to any of that gossip Mr. Protein is spreading. I could care less about protein. Protein. Pfff. What's protein but a big ol' slab of something chewy.

The thing is...we've just become co-dependent, and I see now that you're bring me down. We're just not right for each other. You are luscious and delicious. I am 44 and my waist is getting thicker. And it's not just that. If it was just about my waist it would be fine. What the hell do I care about my waist when there is chocolate cake to be had? Nothing! I love chocolate cake!

The real deal breaker, the real heartbreaker, is the kids. Yes. I'm doing this for the kids. You're a bad influence on them. Ok? I'm going to be tough now because that is the only way you will listen! You make them crave you and worship you and then you send them spiraling into sugar-induced lows, fits of grumpiness and distractedness. Don't you dare tell me the scientific research is inconclusive! I talked to the damn dietician! Ok! She said ixnay on the ugarsay! So there!

I can see you are not taking this well. I understand. Do you think it's easy for me? I'm going to give you some time to sleep on this, and then we'll talk later. When we've both calmed down.

In the meantime, I want you to meet my new best friend: Mr. Endive. He's not as sexy as you, I know, but he's good for me, damn it! Good for Me!

P.S. I will always love you.

Margaret

P.S.S Maybe we can do lunch sometime. When the kids are at school. Our little secret. Damn. I just can't quit you.
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