Monthly Archives: January 2017

Jerkish

 

“Humanly impoverished” is one of the ways novelist Philip Roth describes Donald Trump in an email to Judith Thurman for a New Yorker article. Further, per Roth, Trump is:

“…ignorant of government, of history, of science, of philosophy, of art, incapable of expressing or recognizing subtlety or nuance, destitute of all decency, and wielding a vocabulary of seventy-seven words that is better called Jerkish than English.”

I’ve always admired Roth but, at the same time, felt excluded from Roth’s world, even as a reader: I’m too fond of resolution, kindness and civility. I react to him in the same way I react to overly (in my estimation) sardonic, sarcastic, cerebral but dark-world-view-professing people in my IRL. Why? I don’t know. I’m not the sunniest of all sunbeams. Perhaps it’s a lack of confidence in my own intellect. Insecurity, let’s say, the root cause of so much human conflict.

All that said, I’ll put “The Plot Against America”on my reading list.

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Philip Roth

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Badass Babes

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More from the Sister Support file, from the former editor of Seventeen, Ann Shoket. I reserve judgment except to say: I need a side hustle. What does this mean, where do I find one and whom, exactly, am I hustling?

 

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For everywoman who refuses to be invisible…

 

alyson-walsh-3-2014_04_25_pure_aw_13_shot_13_139-copy-2There’s Alyson Walsh’s blog “That’s Not My Age.” I mean look at her! She’s beautiful and cool and British. And she recently posted this photo of Lauren Hutton. I’m following her (anywhere).

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Lauren Hutton for Bottega Veneta

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Makeup Free Movement, as reported by blogger Atypical60

Catherine gets real about “no makeup,” better called “some makeup” and also “lots of makeup.”

Source: Makeup Free Movement? Nope. I’m of the Make Me Up Movement!!!

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10 things to love about winter

  1. At Home Coziness

During the mois noirs, I feel no compunction to “get aside and enjoy the beautiful day.” And it’s absolutely fine when days spent indoors turn into …

  1. Early nights

I get into bed by 9 most weeknights and am perfectly OK with that. It’s dark outside and has been for hours. It’s warmer in bed and, right now, the Australian Open is played at weird Aussie hours.

  1. The Australian Open
  1. The color burgundy

And I’d throw into the sartorial pile: velvet, suede and (fake) fur.

  1. Pink mornings

Of varying hues. Just now, at 8 a.m., we are a pale pink with a little orange and cranberry along the horizon.

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Greenwich Harbor, from the train window

  1. Days getting longer

This as opposed to the slow shaving off of daylight as summer slips away, darkness coming a minute earlier every evening.

  1. Fires in the fireplace

And wood smoke against a dark sky. And the smell of it in the air.

  1. A pot of chili on the stove

Go ahead, crumble in some cornbread.

  1. A bowl of oatmeal
  1. A glass of red wine

You knew that was coming. A ruby in the glass, the rasp of tannin on your tongue, followed by its slow swirling heat through your veins. You will be mine tonight, you scarlet vixen you.

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Bottoms up

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It’s over

I scoffed at the Drynuary guy who granted himself an early dismissal hall pass from his alchohol-free January. But then last night, watching the Australian Open on Lucy’s couch, she offered me a glass of wine. And I accepted. So the cleanse is over, a little early and, I’m guessing, a lot shy on results. What did I accomplish? Twenty days of no drinking and mostly no gluten, processed foods and animal products. A break from unchecked consumptions; brakes on a diet gone bonkers. But weight loss? I don’t think so. This morning that wine — which didn’t taste as good as I thought it would — made my head fuzzy. Stepping out into the gray and bracing January morning, I felt slowed, bloated, desperate for coffee.

Bigger news: Obama’s administration is over, too. Washington is looking gray as well, with a wash of red over the Inauguration crowd — all those “Make America Great Again” hats casting a bloody glow. I’d post a photo, but I can’t bear looking at it.

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Dementia speaks

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Proud Mary

Here’s are some of the things Mary, my mother-in-law, said to me while I sat beside her in the rehab center:

I think I’m going to have a feel a big feel

Would it be wrong if I just walked out

OK but don’t get in the garbage

No he’s not at all .. 

Every time I see one dressed as a Bar… I can’t believe it

Do you want me to tell you about Capelina?

Would you like to take this one?

She is churching, Marjean, churching

Her bossy, Proud Mary (as I’ve always thought of her) manner of speaking is the same: full-throated, declarative, emphatic. And the sentences start off as something you want to listen to. But then they quickly lose their meaning. Is she searching for words she can’t find? Does she finish the thoughts in her head? Does she imagine she is speaking to someone else, someone who is actually conversing back, which would explain the pauses, the redirection, the listening-look she has on her face.

He has the cobell

He has the coball

What are you saying

That won’t work

He’s always last

O.K., don’t worry about it

I rarely ever see him

Do you have everything, anything

It’s the hideon. He’s the hideon

What else to say about Proud Mary? Never remarried after a mid-life divorce, Mary sold used cars, holding her own against an all-male sales crew. She had that deep, loud voice; a full-bodied figure, at once mannish and womanly; fiery red hair. She was an at-home mom who could have been a professional actress but settled for grabbing all the good roles in Milwaukee’s community theater productions. She could be sharply critical; was quick to anger. She mixed margaritas, disco-danced at parties. “Susie Homemaker, she was not,” my husband, who had a complicated relationship with her, says.

The thing is, Mary’s still alive. Somewhere within her wasted body mind and dementia-fogged brain, Proud Mary’s still in there. But, oh the indignities she suffers! Oh the (to me) horrors of her memory care unit at the assisted-living facility! I say “to me” because it’s unclear whether she feels anything (frustration? embarrassment?) when the nurse’s aid changes her adult diaper or spoons pudding into her mouth. And now I’m back to thoughts on end-of-life and good death, more of which is here.

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This is What 68 Looks Like

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Linda Rodin: Girl-Crush-Worthy

I don’t know Linda Rodin, except for what I’ve read on Goop. The profile is as breathless and overstated as you’d expect from a pro-woman web site. To clarify, the sites and their intentions are good, but the boss-lady profiles tend to bog down in superlatives. Here’s the first sentence, awkward in its girl crush: “There’s lit-from-within in the “glow” sense, and there’s lit-from-within from the standpoint of visibly, joyfully vibrating with energy …

Etcetera.

The thing is, Linda Rodin just seems cool and natural and a little chary in her responses to questions about her slim build and good skin. “Everybody sees these pictures of me retouched. I don’t look like that! People say, you look so great, but I mean, we’re not having lunch together, that’s not how I really look,” she says.

Here’s how she looks:

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Linda Rodin, age 68

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Linda Rodin: Sleeping Beauty

Rodin has a skincare line called Olio Lusso, from which I have a tiny bottle of skin oil. If it would help me look like her at 68 and, most especially, be that cool, I’d buy it by the barrel, along with a tube of lipstick called Billie on Her Bike, because the name’s so, so good.

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BILLIE ON THE BIKE Inspired by Linda’s mother Beatrice, aka “Billie,” this violet berry is the shade she wore to ride her bicycle, work in the garden or to do just about everything.

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Cleanse, Day 18

If I am honest, this cleanse’s only real rigor is around alcohol. I’ve had coffee (and milk in it) every morning, a little couscous (gluten), some tortilla chips (processed food) and, last night, chicken tika with nan. Not a lot of any of this over the course of 18 days but not the strict adherence  I once thought was the magic behind the cleanse — the results being 5 pounds lost, better sleep, clarity of mind.

So, then, results for a relaxed (for me) exclusion diet? Abstaining from alcohol is the key to better sleep, better moods and clearer thinking. I eat more (and better) food, when I don’t have to accommodate the calories in wine, so I have better energy. Wine makes me sleepy, which means I struggle to stay awake in the evening, getting in bed at 9:30, only to wake up at 2 or 3. Poor sleep means fatigue during the day, which affects my moods — the week feels like a slog, I can’t find pleasure in it, I just want to crawl into bed with Netflix. Wine can also make for what I think of as matchstick moods — irritability, impatience, anger. Much more can be written about this (hello passive voice! I’m on to you!) but not right now.

The above sounds so logical and so self-evident that a reasonable person would skip the stupid cleanse and stop drinking wine on weeknights or most weeknights. More on this too: being a reasonable person. 

As for weight loss, I’ve been reading more about set-point weight and the body’s old survival-mode insistence on regaining lost pounds. From “Why You Can’t Lose Weight On A Diet” (May 6, 2016 by Sandra Aamodt, author of “Why Diets Make Us Fat: The Unintended Consequences of Our Obsession With Weight Loss.”)

Metabolic suppression is one of several powerful tools that the brain uses to keep the body within a certain weight range, called the set point. The range, which varies from person to person, is determined by genes and life experience. When dieters’ weight drops below it, they not only burn fewer calories but also produce more hunger-inducing hormones and find eating more rewarding.

The net-net is precisely what I’ve found: it’s easier to lose weight than it is to keep it off. Post weight loss, even extreme measures will be rewarded by regaining those pounds: exercising daily (me), counting calories with an app (me), cleansing (me). The only question is how quickly you’ll put it back on. I lost 20 pounds and, after two years, have regained 10. Can I be a reasonable person and just accept that?

 

 

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This is what 84 looks like

Carmen Dell Orefice is billed by this Fortune article as the world’s oldest working model (Baddie Winkle might have something to say about that). Her looks are confectionary: flossy platinum hair, doll-like features, painted-on lips and a complexion like wedding cake icing. Nearly 100% artifice, at least in her modeling photos, which is all we ever see.

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Carmen Dell Orefice, age 85

She’s looked exactly like this for decades — same gravity-defying white hair, same placidly arrogant expression. But as a young model she was an extremely interesting-looking beauty, an Italian girl, which is to say ethnic for that time.

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Carmen Dell Orefice

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