Saturday, June 16, 2007
But in composing my "Five Little Luxuries" list, the number one thing that popped into my head was Time. More specifically, time to myself, to read, to work in the garden, to write, to have brunch with my girlfriends. And that's what I don't have enough of. I wonder if I could trade clothes for babysitting somehow?
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
1 lb wild-caught Copper River Salmon fillet (this is only available for 3 months each year, so get it now!)
Cedar Plank Copper River Salmon Fillet
Cedar plank (available from cooking supply or gourmet stores; you can order from Williams Sonoma but these are bit pricey)
Lawry's Seasoned Salt
Juice of 1 lemon
Pat of butter
2 T capers with juice
Immerse the cedar plank in water and soak for 2-3 hours. Remove from water, let excess water drain. Rinse salmon fillet and pat dry, place on cedar plank. Coat top of fillet with a light application of olive oil (I use a Misto sprayer), then sprinkle with the seasoned salt.
Place cedar plank on BBQ grill over medium heat, cover, and cook 12-15 minutes or until thickest part of fish is warm (don't overcook!).
While fish is cooking, melt butter in small saucepan, add lemon juice and capers. Keep warm until fish is done, pour over top.
Friday, June 8, 2007
Then we ordered the chef’s tasting menu (the actual name for it was a Japanese
phrase meaning “I trust you”).
Read the whole thing. Nobody can write about food (or blame the Patriarchy) as gorgeously as Twisty.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
There comes a day when we look in the mirror, see the turkey neck, and admit to ourselves that the Pretty Train has left the station. It pulled out unnoticed while we were busy fumbling with our baggage.
I'll admit to being a vain and shallow creature at times; I started this blog to give voice to that part of my personality. But I come by it honestly, having been raised in an appearance-obssessed family where it was drilled into us girls that our fortunes in life hinged mostly on our appearance (attracting a good husband), that thin = pretty, and that being fat was an indicator of a flawed character (weak/undisciplined/greedy).
But I never was one of the pretty girls. My mother thought long hair looked "stringy" so mine was always cut in a pixie or dutch girl (how I longed for braids!). Until the last few years, my weight was an up-and-down drama, and although I would proclaim myself "plain" (or even "ugly" when the mean reds got hold of me), I entertained the fantasy that beauty would be mine if I could only lose enough weight. Reality didn't make much of a dent. When I could manage to starve myself down to thinness, my face looked long and haggard. My hair was still thin and stringy. My body rather than being willowy, was still short with linebacker shoulders. It was easier being fat because then I could keep the fantasy alive.
And the fantasy is that being pretty will make everything else in my life fall into place. Work and relationships will be easy, money will never be a problem, and my life will be one long walk on the red carpet in a vintage Dior dress with flashbulbs flashing. (Geneen Roth describes this brilliantly in her books.) It doesn't matter a) that the rational part of my mind knows this is pure and utter bullshit and b) that I've been busy all this time having a pretty great life. The fantasy is a powerful one that we're hammered with daily from friends, family, and especially the media.
So when I'm not obsessing about my weight, or what to wear, or finding exactly the right lip gloss, I'm freaking out about my hair. Right now my hair is what you see over to the right. For many years, it was very short and red, and I've been itching to go back to that. (After having grown my hair out a few times in my adult life, I've decided that Mom was right about this one.) But when I started adding blonde highlights, people started complimenting me and telling me I looked younger, and it's a drug, I tell ya! Because our culture has a kneejerk "blonde = attractive" Pavlovian-dog-drool response, I've also found myself receiving better treatment from sales clerks and male work associates, which seems to increase with the number of highlights my kooky stylist adds. It's been well documented that people who are perceived as attractive are also judged as being more intelligent, more successful, better adjusted, and having better smelling B.O. That little, fleeting sense of conventional attractiveness, it's not an easy thing to give up when I've assigned so much meaning and significance to it, and experienced so little of it.
And yet, I find I'm still not comfortable with cookie cutter attractiveness (like the "after" in an Oprah makeover) or in my case, trying to achieve a conventional type of beauty. The people who I tend to admire are the ones who swim upstream, who have their own style, the ones who don't give a rat's ass about trying to look young or beautiful, but use their physical being to express who they are. Now that's something to aspire to, and something that time cannot steal.
Edited to add: I don't mean to imply that older women or fat women can't be attractive. When I talk about "pretty," I'm referring to the current media standards of beauty.
Saturday, June 2, 2007
In an earlier post I lamented the demise of Forth & Towne. While they certainly had their share of clunkers, they also were one of the few stores I've ever found that regularly had chic, stylish and affordable clothes for nous femmes over 40. While they rarely had pants in short lengths, they did carry boatloads of cute jackets in the current cropped, 3/4 sleeve styles and I'm glad I bought a few when I could. Because now that F&T is gone (well, they're still open for another two weeks but the store near me is down to the chaff) it's back to wandering the retail wasteland.
Most of the current fashion available in my price range* is targeted toward younger women, and either designed for women who can still get away with no bra...
Or is better suited for a toddler than a grown woman...
Or if it's targeted toward women my age, it's either...
Too "earth mother goddess-y"......
Or just too damn Orange County Republican.
Too Fat For Fashion has a great post from a few days back called The Age Old Question, and asks why, if there are so many fashion-savvy women of the baby boomer generation with money to spend, are designers seemingly fleeing from designs suitable for anyone over 25, or larger than a size 6.
The industry's continued obsession with youth can be alienating for anyone who
doesn't want to spend their days wearing baby doll dresses, smock shirts or
any of the other trends that seem to be ripped straight out a preteen's
She also links to this great NYT article that explores the same conundrum.
Juvenility has mobbed us. Even if a woman has a clear idea about what looks
right on her body and for her age and personality, it's hard to avoid the window
displays of baby-doll and trapeze dresses; the T-shirt bars of ruffled cotton,
airbrushed cotton and shrunken cotton; the girlish necklaces and charms; and all
the companion editorial in magazines, with the frosted pinks and the long, long
hair with little curls.
Sure, there are women my age who try to keep up with every current trend and wear whatever Mary Kate and Ashley are wearing that week. Go to Saks in Beverly Hills on a weekday afternoon and you'll see the 50-ish celebutanute wannabees. Usually they're also emaciated, botoxed, tanned, collagen-lipped and somewhat freakish looking. I don't want to dress like my Grandma did at my age (lots of navy blue and polka dots), but dammit, can't we have some fashion with a little dignity? Some decent tailoring? No wonder so many women my age have given up and live in velour track suits.
So yoo hoo, retailers out there, you're missing the boat! Just because we're sprouting some gray hairs and a few more pounds doesn't mean we want to try to recapture our teenage years (or looks). We don't want to dress like our younger selves, we want clothing that brings out the best in who we are today. We work, we may still have kids at home, we have active lives, we have a sense of style and disposable income. Why are we being left in the fashion dust???
*I don't often spend over $100 for any single piece of clothing.