Archive | Past Matters

Riot Grrrl, Meet Space Crone

I spent the early morning rewatching “Kids” for work while separating the contents of my bureau into three categories: Keep, Give Away, Cut Up. It was the third category that conferred the most pleasure. Hacking into clothing that’s failed to live up to its promise always feels so liberating, as if I’ve refused to toe a cruddy line. This morning I made a lacy vest out of a blouse with fussy sleeves, jaunty ankle-grazers out of sagging yoga pants, and a “Flashdance” T out of an oppressive neckline. It all looks a little rough, no doubt about it–my only tool was a pair of a kitchen shears–but those items had it coming. Besides, no matter how many times I wax my brows, you can never take the ’90s out of the girl. I’ll always be more punk rock than polished, just now I call it dowager chic.

Sweet Relief, Sour Aftertaste

Yesterday marked my sixth week without white flour or sweeteners of any sort. I’d act triumphant except I’m still having a hard time without those crutches. When people talk about addictions, they’re usually referring to booze or drugs, maybe gambling or sex. But just because my monkeys are gentle, unavailable men and white sugar doesn’t make them any less lethal—-only less overt. Addictions by definition are corrosive.

I’d known for a while that I had to eliminate sweets and what we used to call “junk food.” The pounds were creeping on, as were wide swings in blood sugar and moods. Like with all addicts, the old doses weren’t doing the trick anymore. I’d begun chewing Bubble Yum in between fixes, and white sugar had changed my palate so drastically that I couldn’t even taste anything else. Case in point: I considered fruit a mockery of the hit I craved. Continue Reading →

Rain and Rubies

You know you’re a writer at heart when you’re relieved it’s raining. I’d have complained to the high heavens had it snowed but a sunshiney Saturday would have made me feel just as bad, if also foolish. All I want to do is curl up with another Helena Rubenstein biography and write a section of the larger project gathering dust on my desk. If my city were still the Audrey Hepburn movie it’s been all week long (radiant smiles, radiant sun), I’d have felt too much pressure to carpe diem to actually carpe diem as I wished. Now if I venture out at all, it’ll be to catch that Helena exhibit one more time before it leaves the Jewish Museum March 22. Purples and reds; Polish rubies and art deco ivories; a rainbow of self-portraits and silks. What better weapons to stow in the imagination’s arsenal? Anyway, I am the scion of another enterprising Polish Ruby (my great-grandmother Masha Rubenfire ruled boudoirs rather than vanity tables), and I like to think she and Helena live in the same tree, impatiently shaking fruit at we grown children stumbling through this world without them. Tucking that bounty into my skirts is the only properly grateful thing to do.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy