Archive for July, 2008

French Woods/Facebook Finds

Humiliating though it may be, I’ve only just discovered the joys of procrastinating with Facebook. Oh, I know all about procrastinating with Stumble Upon, or Snood, or obsessively checking my email. But this Facebook thing – well, it’s brough time-wasting to a whole new level. Plus, it’s made me realize that everybody I’ve ever known knows somebody I know. Really. Six degrees of eat-no-bacon! Jewish geography hits the internet!

I have found SO MANY people that I haven’t seen, thought of, or heard about in DECADES.

And now that I’ve found them…..well, I’m not quite sure what to do.

There is definitely a SERIOUSLY HUGE OMG factor.  Especially the camp people.  I discovered that there is a Facebook group for French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts Alums from the 1970’s.  Whoa.  Yes, it’s been THAT long.  And yet there are quite a few of us still waxing poetic about our camp days. What does that say about us?  That we’re the theatrical equivalent of HS Jocks who can’t let go of the big game?  “Remember back in ’76 when I played Mary Poppins?  The crowd wasn’t expecting such a performance, but I had them from the get-go!”  You can almost see the scotch in my hand and smell the cheap perfume in the air.

Or maybe it’s just plain old nostalgia.  For me, it has been, all joking aside, kind of thrilling to hear from people I haven’t seen for more than 25 years.  People with whom I spent every summer bonding with as we put on show after show.  Camp was the only place I was in the “popular crowd,” and man, did it feel good.  If we’d been allowed to pick a lunch table, I would have been with the big shots.  Being able to sing was like being on the cheerleading squad: instant cred.

But I’m kind of worried — what if we can’t get past “how’ve you been for all these years I never once thought of you or you of me?”  What if the OMG factor is all there is?  Will it spoil those memories if I meet these people today and the magic is gone? 

I don’t know — but I think I’m gonna have to find out.  The “Middle Aged French Woods Reunion Party,” or the “If you’re old enough to have worn tube tops Party”  or maybe just the “Damn it was Fun back Then” party. 

Yeah, I’d go to that.

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July 30, 2008 at 10:17 pm Leave a comment

Sexpot Barbie

Remember back when the most upsetting things about Barbie© were:

a. Were she a real, live person, her proportions would have meant she were anorectic and incapable of standing up.

b. When you were playing with her, you couldn’t make her stand up

and

c. She had better clothes than you did.

Well, seems like Barbie©has entered into new and to some, more upsetting territory, sexpot territory. Yes, she of the Dream House, the long legs and the nipple-less breasts will soon be sporting fishnets, black leather boots, and a latex-y looking bustier. Ken had better refill his Viagara for Dolls prescription. I mean, neither of them is so young anymore, (Barbie is pushing 50!) and frankly, were it not for all the plastic, she wouldn’t be able to carry an outfit like that off at all.

Some people are shocked by the new S&M styled Barbie©. (In truth, she’s Barbie as Black Canary from DC Comics) But I think she’s just doing what she’s been doing all along. She’s clearly got an eating disorder, so she’s used to pain. Her mammoth breasts (in proportion to the rest of her) have always given her kind of a porn-star look, and let’s face it, what with all the outfits, she’s no stranger to roll play.

In fact, Barbie has been pushing the envelope for years. First, there are those infamously unrealistic proportions, which set up generations of girls for bad body image, then, her never-legalized but enduring relationship with Ken — (who does she think she is, Orpah?), her inability to hold down a job (I mean, flight attendant, doctor, nurse, ballerina — and that’s only in 1975), and finally, her infamous declaration “Math Class is Tough” which set off a firestorm of protest from irate feminists around the globe.

Puh-leaze! Being outraged when Barbie says something damaging to girls is like being shocked when Geroge Bush does something beneficial to oil companies. It’s what they do, people.

So I say – let Barbie be Barbie. She’s always rolled with the times. And ours is a highly sexualized, pregnant at 16 child-star, naked on the cover of Vanity Fair pop-star kind of time. Maybe after she’s done with her little “exploration” she’ll be ready for a new de-sexualized look: Butch Barbie maybe, or Post-Op Trannie Barbie. Hey, Mattel, are you listening? The possibilities are endless.

I’ve never had a Barbie, even as a child, and I don’t plan on buying Sexpot Barbie (not her real name) for my daughter…why introduce her to sexualized plastic beauty before she’s in the double digits? (Oh wait, she’s seen High School Musical…too late!)

But I don’t find this Barbie any more shocking than the others. What would be a shocker is if they came out with Middle Aged Barbie, with sagging breasts made out of rubber instead of hard plastic, varicose veins from wearing heels all those years, age spots from her Malibu days, and a foreclosure notice on her Dream House. That would surprise me. And that might be the only Barbie I’d ever buy.

July 18, 2008 at 10:23 pm 1 comment

Roots: A mini-series in my middle part

Not Really My Hair

Not Really My Hair

At the moment, I’m looking a little Kunte Kinte. Which is to say, my roots are showing. Not my ethnic roots. Those are always readily apparent, what with the cliche nose and the frizzy hair. I mean my hair. My brunette is showing. And I am none too happy about it.

There are a few problems with my Alex Haley issue: first, I am in The Hamptons for the summer, while my “hair guy,” Crieghton, is in NYC. Second, I will be in NYC tomorrow, but Creighton (so fabulous, he only goes by the single moniker) will be doing the cover of Out Magazine and so cannot tend to my tresses. And third, every time I have to get my hair dyed, it costs too much and takes too long.

Seriously, three hours of my life disappears (along with my roots) every time I head to the hairdressers. And I’m also parting with WAY more money than I’d like to admit. All in the pursuit of….well, I don’t really know.

Looking good? Looking blond? Recapturing my childhood, when I was truly blond with lovely streaks? And if the latter, at what age does long Sarah Jessica Parker hair start looking ridiculous? Forty-five? Forty-seven? Take a look at Dyan Cannon— however old she is – she missed the cut-off. (more…)

July 16, 2008 at 9:57 pm Leave a comment

So I Don’t Like Your Kid. So Sue Me.

When my kids were two or so, we took a class at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. There was one little girl in the class, a beautiful blond, about the same age as my twins. She had a lovely smile, a cute little laugh, and I couldn’t stand her. I didn’t even know why. I’m not proud of this. But there you have it.

See, we’re supposed to like all kids. Think they’re special, or cute, or funny. Like babies. Who hasn’t heard the dictum: all babies are cute? Puh-lease. All babies are not cute. Some babies look like a cherry tomato after it’s been in the fridge too long: wrinkled, red, and ready to burst with something that probably won’t look or smell too good.

Kids are the same way. I’m here to tell the truth: there are kids – little kids – that I don’t like. They’re bratty, or pushy, or too whiny. They’re bossy, they don’t share. They just rub me the wrong way. Do I think this makes me an exemplary parent? Of course not. Can I help it? Not a chance. To read more about what a terrible person I am, click here.

July 16, 2008 at 1:56 pm 3 comments

Back Attack

Last Fall I had the most excruciating experience ever: a herniated disk.

You might wonder where I plan on finding the humor in that. What might I find funny about being in so much pain that I would given my left…well, I’m a lefty, so maybe my right arm to make it stop? What laughs could I possibly get out of being a 42 year old woman with the aches and pains of a 90 year-old, out of shape, overweight, former hormone taking power lifter?

Well, I can’t find anything amusing about it. Not funny. There’s nothing like back pain to make you feel old. I went for a run (ok a jog. ok a plod) on Saturday, and now, I’m feeling about 192. My lower back has been invaded by pain-inducing aliens who are screaming “You’re too old to go jogging! You’re too old to go jogging! Have you seen your thighs? Give it up already!”

The worse thing is, nothing seems to help. I’ve tried acupuncture. I’d rather stick needles in my….oh, wait, that’s what they did and IT DID NOTHING. (In fairness to my practitioner, she did say before we began that she had her doubts.) I went to a chiropractor who wrapped me in ice packs while he administered tiny electric shocks. All I needed was Nurse Ratchett to complete the scene. I tried prescription strength pain killers. All they did was make me loopy AND in pain. I tried massage. (Nothing says relaxation like a Korean woman barking orders at you IN KOREAN while you are naked and in pain.) I tried ice and heat. Heat and ice. Hot showers, jacuzzis. Sitting for long periods. Walking through the pain. Ignoring the pain a la James Sarno. (it is NOT all in my head. It’s in my BACK)

The only thing that worked was three epidurals of steroids and lidacaine. Relief.

I don’t really want to do that again any time soon. Something tells me that making a habit of shooting up even mild doses of that stuff with any regularity might not be the best idea.

So I’m doing restorative yoga. Not the “look at how strong I am/how flexible I am/what an overachiever I am even when I’m engaged in a totally non-competitive physical activity” yoga so popular among the skeletal chic crowd. But Iyengar Yoga. All about form, all about breath, all about such teeny tiny details that we sometimes spend fifteen minutes on mountain pose. You know what mountain pose is? Standing up.

Oddly enough, it seems to help.

Hey, whatever it takes.

July 14, 2008 at 9:40 pm Leave a comment

Nature Calls…and Calls….and Calls….

By accident of birth, I am lucky enough to be spending the summer in an Arcadian home in the Hamptons. The view is gorgeous, the gardens lush, my kids can swim and go boating; it’s so perfect it’s ludicrous. So why is it that all I can do is hear the theme from the classic seventies TV show “Greenacres” in my head?

I know I’m dating myself, but I’m feeling a little Eva Gabor. I haven’t gone so far as to put on a boa or anything, but I do seem to have developed a vaguely slavic accent and a penchant for flow-y hot-pink house dresses. Plus I’ve started to say Dahling. For those of you too young to have any idea what I’m talking about, Eva Gabor and Eddie Albert starred in Green Acres, a classic seventies sitcom about a quintessential city woman who marries a farm-loving millionaire who wisks her away from New York City and makes her live in an upstate farm. Hilarity ensues.

Now, I love nature and all, but, like the Gabor sisters, I’m a city-girl at heart. As my friend, the hilarious and talented writer/performer David Rakoff said in one of his essays (and if’ I’m bungling this, sorry, David. I’m in the Y%*#$ country, and your book is in the city) – well, as he said: in New York City “you want greenery? order the spinach salad.”

Click here to read about my run-ins with mother-nature.

July 13, 2008 at 11:03 pm Leave a comment

Spanx Me, Please!

If I see one more woman who looks teeny tiny from the back and then turns around and turns out to be, like, 19 months pregnant, I’m going to scream. How are these pregnant women all looking so teeny, and I’m looking permanently four months along?

So, though I long for VelaShape treatments, I’ve decided to take less drastic (and less expensive) measures, and go get some more Spanx. I’m not going to lie to you — I’ve worn Spanx before — I’ve even blogged about it before. (and OK, some of this post is adapted from that one.) But I’ve decided, Spanx are not just for special occaisions. Spanx are for all the times I want to look firm and sucked in.

In other words. Spanx are for all the time.

Spanx, for the uninitiated, are the latest craze in shapewear for women — or as they used to be called, girdles. I’ve tried various “hold down the fort” underpinnings before, and while many of them worked, it was at a price. Most of them left me gasping for air and covered with angry red gashes. Spanx, are completely wearable. Mostly comfortable. (sometimes the waistband rolls down a little), and totally, completely unsexy. Word to the wise: If you’re ever wearing them on a date, stick a spare pair of sexy Hanky Panky thong underwear you can slip on if it looks like you might be gettin’ lucky.

But I don’t need sexy: I’ve been married for over ten years!! If my husband knows that sex is in the offing, I could be wearing a hair-shirt and knee socks and my husband would be all over me. Sexy shmexy. I just want to look good NOT naked.

When I got my first pair of Spanx I took them into my closet — or as I like to think of it, the testament to my enduring optimism: everything’s in there from a size six I haven’t fit into in years, to a dress I bought simply SURE I’d diet into it (two years ago) — Spanx in hand – or in pants, as the case may be – and tried on some of those old things I never thought I’d fit into. Well, clingy dresses hung smoothly over my stomach, skinny jeans didn’t strangle my thighs, I”m telling you – these things work!

But up until now, I’ve treated them the same way I do my wedding-China: stashed neatly in the closet, too hallowed for every day use. But there ain’t nothing sacred about my paunch. I’m turning Spanx into a daily habit. And I’m not going to feel guilty about it. I haven’t had a boob job, or a tummy tuck, no brow-lift, no Botox. (And as much as I’d like it, no Vela Shape.) I’m not going to quibble over a pair of underwear.

Because all I need, all I really need, is a good Spanx-ing.

July 12, 2008 at 12:11 pm 5 comments

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