Friday, April 29, 2005

Grrrls of (and in) an Uncertain Age

Last night, I couldn't take my eyes off the red Mary Janes in the window of Alamo Shoes. Nor could I believe the cute things were made by Earth Shoes. Imagine; comfort *and* style. I fixated on them for a bit, and then I showed Jack the way to the next sushi bar (Suddenly, Andersonville has become Sushi Central; suffice to say that despite being in a former Middle Eastern restaurant , Sushi Luxe is more hipster- and vegetarian friendly with its flatscreen TV's embedded in the bathroom mirrors and sushi-chefs-who-look-and-act-like-DJ's; the tofu tempura maki was unusually satisfying, as was the tangy goma-tofu appetizer. Jack's saketini was not so memorable. Nor did I like much the adjacent table of wimmen engaging in a loud clumsy game of chopstick mumblety-peg; in fact I wanted them to take a permanent time out (so to speak).....Tanoshi, up the street, was badly-lit -- ie, bright -- and full of regulars who all seemed to know each other and the owner, Chef Mike, who presided behind the bar. Tanoshi means happiness and this place was lively and joyous. But the trendiest Asian Joint of All is Jinju, across the street from Sushi Luxe. It boasts unthreatening Korean food, superdimbop lighting, a full bar and hoardes of hipsters).

Today Editor Q. and I went for veggie Indian buffet at Arya Bhavan . When I picked her up I noticed she was wearing The Shoes. In red. She'd just gotten them and she loved them. And they looked *good*. At the restaurant we ran into another Kriya-trained yoga teacher, Z. She wasn't wearing them, but she'd just gotten a pair, too. Both had found them at Alamo, where I got a great price on my Dansko Mary Janes in '03. Now I too *must* have them....especially in the wake of my previous non-attachment failures. When it rains it snores....

But my point. Kirti, the restaurant owner, noticed that my year-and-a-half-old grey roots are finally starting to blend in with my too-red hennaed ends (this is due to my first investment ever in an expensive, shaggy haircut... expensive to me being over $30). Q. mentioned she was inspired by my attempt to go natural, and had started to grow out hers. But she was starting to lose confidence (after looking at my 40 in 04 pictures from last year, where I look like I walked under some falling plaster, I can see why). Then we looked at Q., who has a beautiful mane of silvery-grey hair. She told about her decision to grow it out (actually her regular hairdresser had gone AWOL and the woman who agreed to take over -- another yogi -- refused to dye it). C. said she cried after going grey. No wonder; instead of growing it out she went supershort, and then had it cut AGAIN, as soon as the grey was long enough to hold its own. (I did something similar in 1991, after dying my hair black for years and experiencing a color removal disaster that left me with a patchwork of fall colors a la Excene Cervenka circa '79; I cried, too, and worried I looked like a m-a-n, and wore skirts and scooped collars for the next three years). This grey hair talk over Gujarati chai led to a discussion of invisiblity of Women of a Certain Age (both women are older than I), and how when it happens you (apparently) freak out because no one is looking at you (Can I just say how revolted I was two weeks ago, when the Sunday NYT called 43-year-old Jennifer Jason Leigh "a woman of a certain age." Male writer of course). Apparently there is even an exact moment when you notice this invisibility. Q. was 50 and walking down the street with a young obese woman when she noticed her companion was getting all the looks. Anyway the upside is that you can then *get away with things*. You know, because people don't notice you. At some point you apparently stop caring, too, and start to say and do what you want. It's a refreshingly intriguing concept, and takes some of the wind out of the utterly oppressive societal notion that women past menopause have no value (no one really says this per se, but that's the message driven home constantly; no-fucky, no-worthy). Also at that point the people (men) who spend time with you do so for one reason only; they want to. Or something like that. ...

Now, I wonder if, when I go into Alamo to get the hip old lady shoes -- in red, of course -- the salesmen will still notice me (they're all men, in short-sleeve white shirts and ties, and they're *all* over A Certain Age). At this point, my hair's over 50 percent grey. But I suspect they'll have to pay attention. After all, they work on commission.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Here are the first few lines of a piece I'm working on:

"There are two types of people:

Those who have time to 'hang out.'

And those of us who hate them."


The Amazing Race is on tonight. They are still in India, in Jaipur. Among other things, contestants have had to locate a certain chai stall, put the chai on a cart, push the cart until they could find a specific government buliding, and serve one tea at a time (in the old fashioned clay cups) to a list of functionaries who are spread here, there, and everywhere, and whose job seems to consist of waiting for the next chai (well, whose isn't, really). It was the perfect challenge for India. Last week the "older couple" was making their way to the end of that day's race via auto-rickshaw (the man, Meredith, is usually pretty easygoing but had a *spectacular* Larry David moment at one point -- at which we all took a drink as we watched it over and over again). Anyway a couple of boys turned around and waved to them, then put their arms around each other. "Ooooo-ooo-oooo," sang Kvetchen. "I think our friends are gaaaay-ay!"

While we're on the subject of TV -- Henry scored the new Family Guy episode (a week ahead of the rest of 'Merica; it premieres next Sunday). I'm here to tell you it is as scathing and shocking and guffaw-inducing as ever, if not moreso. Fox: the folks who give you right-wing talk shows and two of the best sit-coms in TV history (the other being the Simpsons of course). Filthy whores.

We also caught an episode of What Not to Wear, in which Susanna (as usual) finds herself busily kneading a woman's knockers, or tits as they call them there (whenever they say "tits" or "nits" or feel someone up, you must take a drink). She was in the midst of a full-frontal squeeze when Trini (the "thin one") circled her and then, much like a cat (and just as quick) her right arm flew out and slapped the woman's left breast. It happened so fast we almost missed it. It was indeed the same movement my cat does when I walk by and he's annoyed and takes a swipe at me, and I'm not sure if he really did it and walk by again just to see if I was right in thinking he had. And thanks to TiVo we were able to watch Trini paw the woman a dozen times before the wine ran out / laughter died down.


Today some neighbour took it upon themself to move my clothes from the washer to the dryer. Normally the practice is to leave them where they are or put the clothes *on* the dryer. Which is a good thing, since most of my too-young-for-me outfits need to be drip-dried. But not these neighbours. They put my clothes *IN* the dryer. ON HIGH. And now I am the owner of two Barbie-sized vintage white long-sleeve t-shirts which I can no longer wear (Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, circa 1996, and Boss Hog's 2000 "Whiteout" tour, if you must know). And the nabes are the recipients of a snippy little note.

So much for non-attachment.

Friday, April 22, 2005


The sages say that the only things we can control are our emotions / the fluctuations of the mind / our reactions to things that happen to us.

Having tried and tried and tried this and failed and failed and failed, I cannot agree.

But I have found that one thing most of us can control -- those without children, anyway -- is the amount of clutter in our house.

I've become convinced that the amount of mess in our habitat is greater than or equal to that in our mind, and that it's impossible to clear the latter when the former is disorganized.

Unfortunately mine is a minefield right now; even my virtual desktop is in very real disarray.

So much for chaos-control.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


Each time you hear "Pontiff" take a drink

Dive under the covers and take a shot whenever you hear "Conclave"

Sing a Beatles song (from start to finish) for every "John Paul II"

Light up whenever they talk about the white smoke.

Torch something when it's black.

Don something red for every mention of "Cardinal" (two items if it's plural). When you run out of clothes, switch to slathering yourself with red-tinged food and drink. No bathing til the smoke turns white.

Remove a piece of clothing for each "Fresco."

Read the back of a different cereal box for every mention of The Da Vinci Code.

Fall on your face every time NPR's Sylvia Poggioli files a report.

Fall on your sword if it's a rerun.

Hook up sans birth control each time Vatican II is invoked.

Stop in the middle if you hear "Wooden Balls."

Slap someone silly 16 times for each "Sistene." (If no one's around, pop in the "Sixteen Candles" DVD).

Defecate each time you hear a pundit pontificate.

Wander the streets like an Alzheimer's patient when they say "Rome."

Return home when the bells start to ring.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


A trip to the doctor for what I thought was Pinkeye last week revealed that no, the reason I kept trying to scratch out both mine eyes had nothing to do with Pinkeye and everything to do with allergies. She then told me I've been walking around with an upper respiratory infection and prescribed amoxicillin. And some eye drops. As the pharmacist was ringing me up she asked (again) if I had insurance and reminded me that I could not return medication once it was purchased. Then she asked if I knew that the eye drops cost $95. I said no and held onto the counter. (Did I mention that I felt really, really sick and just spent 40 minutes shopping while I waited for my 'scrip, which was sposed to have been filled within 20? And that the Edgewater Jewel at noontime on a Thursday is the Land of Thousand Gimps, all of whom seem to be bent on knocking their shopping cart into yours?). As I stood there and sweated I realized I had spent more than that on the cat's last vet visit. But when I found out there *was* no generic version I said, "Take it off. I'll call the doctor." After much back-and-forth with the doctor and yet another pharmacist, i was able to -- hours later -- pick up some $15 drops (name brand!) that have worked many wonders on my eyes. Too bad the amoxicillin is giving me stomachaches. (<----man, that word looks *funny*), diarrhea, headache and exhaustion (or was that due to the 14 classes and trip to Madison last week?). I am convinced it's pseudomembranous colitis. From

"...Antibiotics can alter the normal bacteria flora of the colon and permit overgrowth of C. difficile, a bacteria responsible for pseudomembranous colitis. Patients who develop pseudomembranous colitis as a result of antibiotic treatment can experience diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and sometimes even shock."

But the migraine and nausea this morning -- I was *sure* I was going to vomit during all those forward bends -- did not stop me from practicing. Nope. Not me.

Sunday, April 03, 2005


Friday I taught three in a row and then headed over to Enelle's house, where I sprayed brown gook on my grey roots and installed the fake boobs, and we shot the missing "Tom From 'Nam" scene from the sit-com. Suffice to say it made us roll on the floor. But now of course I'm depressed that we're done shooting, and I'm no longer "talent" but some 40-year old awaiting her next role and/or Gap ad.

I saw the fillum Mughal E Azam yesterday -- amazing, you must go (even though I know you won't) -- and even talked to the theater manager about getting screening copies of fillums before they hit the big screen, so that one can review them. Apparently it's impossible, although it *is* often possible to find bootleg copies of yet-to-be-released fillums on Devon Avenue. That's where I went yesterday after getting a late e-mail asking me to do a capsule review of the 2003 Bollywood action blockbuster The Hero: Love Story of a Spy. It's screening April 13 at the University of Chicago's DOC Films as part of its Wednesday night Bollywood series ( The DVD was only $10 at Mansoor Video.

In addition to getting the movie review in by 10 (seems like 9) tomorrow, I'm compiling a list of Chicago performance venues for some new travel guide (due tomorrow) and working on the May media column (the local public radio station is planning to spin off an all-music station next year; yet somehow the music will include expensive NPR talk shows such as Morning Edition). That was due Friday. I'm also cleaning up a review of Kari Tomashik's recent High Energy Yoga (an offshoot of Iyengar created by the late Roger Eischens) workshop, which I turned in Friday. And writing a sample club review for said travel guide (due tomorrow). And compiling a list for Chicago mag's upcoming Best Of Chicago issue (due ASAP so I don't get scooped). If you have any ideas, send 'em on.

At least I got the taxes to the accountant on Thursday.... which was the last day of March. That's a new land speed record for me.

And I'm finishing up Wendy ( McClure's brilliant memoir "I'm Not the New Me" (for a profile) and in the middle of watching The Hero... which isn't at all painful although it features one of my favourite Bollywood action conceits: Hero flying slow-mo through the air, pistols in both fists, shooting (and hitting!) a slew of Bad Men (usually Muslim terrorists) who are trying to kill the Chaste Girl. Oh yeah, and I teach at noon (seems like 11) today and again at 8 (seems like 7) tomorrow morn.

Today is the eighth anniversary of my mother's death. I am still driving her car.* Barely.

Time to do yoga. Now.

The question is, when will I find time to feed the birds today (yearly ritual in honor of La Madre)?

And when will there be time to watch last week's episode of The Shield?

Broken/sprained, very painful, bright purple toe (middle left)


*'91 Geo Prizm that's needin' some pimpin'