evany's extended cake mix
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Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007 | link
This is what happens at Marvany Towers when it rains and rains and Marco stays home from work with me and there are still far too many cupcakes in the freezer.
For those of you who don't yet have plans lined up for Thursday, and who have $5 sizzling away in their pockets, and who find themselves in the mood for some sleep talk, it turns out that I'll be powerpointing it up alongside the fine likes of Gary Rudoren, Eric Hoffman, Salvador Plascencia, Chinaka Hodge, and Wells Tower in "A Night of Instant Calm," part of the Noisepop Film Festival. After the readings comes a screening of choice Wholphins: "Selections include, but are not limited to: 'Squid: Born Like Stars,' in which a scientist has six hours to try and prove his theory that squid are good mothers, with sounds by Colleen; 'Nice Day,' the cheapest and perhaps funniest music video ever made; 'Patton/Byrne' (Patton Oswalt stares, David Byrne sings); and a crying competition: Nine contestants. Whistle blows. First tear to hit the table wins."
Perhaps you have seen this commercial for the Zimmer Gender Knee, "The knee women are talking about.(TM)" And there I was, thinking that all the whispers, winks, and sighs were inspired by MY knee! Such a blow. Though I'm still pretty sure my sprightly esophagus is the reason for all the anonymous flowers and honks in the street I've been getting. (And oh how I want a "The esophagus women are talking about.(TM)" tee!)
This week Annie and I went and gobbled artichoke things and wine and mountains of spaghetti at Emmy's, and then we went back to her beautiful house (she has a painted forest in her bathroom!) and had more wine and too many Cadbury Mini Eggs, and we talked about bangs and fringes, kerning and leading, and abdominal surgeries. And oh, I had such a lovely time! And then I swapped one of my books for one of her amazing paintings, and it makes me so very happy!
As Annie pointed out, it looks kind of like it sprang from a box of fancy chocolates:
Marco is very pleased, and Marbles loves it, too:
In other news, another one of my Desperate Housewives recaps is now alive. Highlights include:
"Zana's hair, it should be noted, looks resplendently nuts, with artful curls flipping up everywhere like he spent the morning in hot curlers. Hey Zana? Rachel from Friends called, and even she thinks you your hair is stuck in second gear. And it isn't its day, or week, or month, or even its year."
"Why oh why is Carlos confronting Zana in the bathroom? Oh, so that way he can get an eyeful of Zana's gigantic cockadoodle. Once again, I am compelled to compare Desperate Housewives unfavorably to Rescue Me, which also featured a men's-room confrontation, but on the (alas far superior) FX show, the argument ended with one of the men peeing all over his brother's pants. Which is like a metaphor for men's territoriality, except that it's literal."
"Huh, the Susan I know would have been on that ring box like white on a wedding dress."
Tune in to the full Benatards video archive for glimpses of Caroleen in WWI flight gear, Sunny singing lead, and Marco in a tight, tight tank!
A couple weekends back I got a great deal on Southwest and flew down to LA for my friend Megan's housewarming party (her loft is insanely gorgeous, with brick walls and tons of light and space, wow). The trip perfectly coincided with an art opening for one of my favorite web people, Lisa Congdon, which was held at the Reform School, a store I've long wanted to poke into.
So even though it was the scheduling was a tad hectic -- Megan's party started right at eight and the opening started at seven, giving me only the briefest window in which to navigate to the Reform School (in Megan's ridiculously sporty convertible Audi thing), ogle everything, and then dash back to Megan's -- I scrambled my way over there, managing to get turned around only once or maybe four times along the way.
Now, as a small subplot to all this, I'd tried to get Pam to hit the opening with me, but she couldn't go because she had to go buy a ball gown for this black-tie event (she wound up coming to Megan's party instead, which was such a delightful clash of my worlds, delightful and booze-soaked). By the way, that's my new favorite excuse for bowing out of any invite: Unfortunately I shall not be able to accept your kind invitation as I'll be otherwise ensconced in a ball gown shopping spree. Anyway, so as I was heading off to the opening, my Sidekick rattled with a text from "AB": "Are you going to Lisa Congdon's show tonight? YOU MUST CALL ME!" AB. AB? Who do I know by the initials AB who also knows I'm headed to this opening? Huh. So I called the number, and the one and only Anna Beth answers; she's busy making cupcakes in Louisiana, and thus can't make Lisa Congdon's opening, but would I be so kind as to buy one of Lisa's pieces for her? You know, which ever one looks the nicest? (A little more background: She'd asked Pam to go on her behalf, and Pam, amused by the strange coincidence of two of her out-of-town friends trying to get her to go to this thing, gave her my number, much to AB's confusion, seeing as I'm supposed to be in Oakland, etc.)
Cut to me, at the crowded, crowded opening, on the phone with the hilarious AB, whispering descriptions -- I was painfully aware of being the frantic Los Angeles asshole on the cellphone -- of all the different pieces as AB tried to match each one to the small photos on Lisa's site. "There's the painted 'Regret' platter thing," I hissed, "and a small wood block wrapped with butcher's twine? With like...antique sort of photos of I think Asian people on it?" All the while, the list of available items was dwindling as more and more "sold" stickers got stuck next to item after item. "Oh my god! AB, people are buying everything! Fast! Faster! PICK ONE!" And then in the middle of all that, Megan beeped through, in a panic over needing a bottle of cooking oil (for her mind-meltingly great parmesan beignets, holy shit). So quick, quick I bought a piece for AB (one of the gorgeous little collage blocks), and whoops, I also got myself a little something (see below), and then I scrambled over to pay my (deep, so deep) respects to Lisa, whom I've never met before. But Lisa was already talking to another one of her fans, so I hovered off to the side as unobtrusively as I could manage, but then yet another fan swooped into the respectful two-second cushion I'd left open. So finally I just dove in, and what witty opener did I wow her with? "I HAVE TO GO BUY COOKING OIL!" And then I followed up that insane greeting with a bunch of bumbling half-gushes -- "such a big fan" and "everything...so lovely" and "the walls...pretty!" -- all while pumping her hand feverishly.
And then, sweaty and mortified, I raced off and bought cooking oil at the weirdest 99-cent store ever.
It's a fine Thursday eve that starts with champagne, cupcakes, and a brand new baby named Hank Mason and ends with a cover of Hell is for Children so rousing, you pull a smiler muscle.
I turn to give Megan the "star nod," but before I can get my head tilted and my eyes bulging and my jaw clenched in that ventriloquist lock, she screams, "Justin!" and makes a beeline right at him.
Me, cringing, inside: OH my god, Megan. You have gone and done it! The Los Angeles classic: mistaking someone famous for someone you know, the worst! Mortifying! Fifteen hundred small deaths!
That Guy from Grey's Anatomy and also The Wedding Planner: "MEGAN! Wow, how are you?" He gives Megan a hug. (It is revealed later that they were back-in-the-day friends in New York, who knew?)
Me, gigantically puzzled, inside: Oh. Wait.
That Guy from Grey's Anatomy and also The Wedding Planner, to me: "Hi, I'm Justin. Hey, I like your necklace."
Me, cowering and staring, agape and agog, dying and thrilled, MOVIE STAR! MOVIE STAR!: "Hi."
Once, while driving through the city with my mother, she spotted a store catering to the needs of bears and bear lovers (Bear Supply? Grin and Bear It? Right to Bear Arms?), and she craned her neck excitedly, trying to note the address. "A bear store! Where are we? I want to come back later when I have more time to SHOP!" (My mother has a lovely stuffed, Steiff-style bear family, with its own rugged farm house, a little pot-bellied stove, pies made out of bottle caps, a pinecone Christmas tree, etc., which she sets up on a shelf over the holidays.) Me: "Oh, mom. I don't think it's that kind of bear store. It's more like a...sexy bear store."
WHAT: The Benatards (a one-night-only rock and roll battlefield, featuring members of The Fivehundreds, Waycross, and Dirty Power)
See you there! I'll be the one standing next to Jill, who's flown in just to bear witness.
A few months ago, I randomly discovered a piece of "twice-chewed beaverwood" on eBay (I'll leave it up to you and your despicable imagination to come up with the search terms I used to get there, because now I actually can't remember how I did it).
Obviously I was ultra intrigued by something, anything called "twice-chewed beaverwood," so I clicked in to learn more. But there wasn't more. That was it! Just a foot-long piece of wood, neatly gnawed by actual beavers at either end. A plain old log! And yet...wouldn't it look nice up there on the mantle? You know, if ever I owned a mantle? And the price was so right: only $2! Sadly, the shipping was over $20, and ultimately I couldn't see my way clear to spending twenty-something dollars on what was essentially just a block of wood, albeit fondled by beavers. Allegedly.
So I let the auction go, and went humming about my way. But Marco! He mentioned my discovery to some guys at work, and apparently one of them, a hunter, scoffed and said the forests of California are CRAMMED with twice-chewed beaverwood. So Marco asked him to bring a piece back for me. You know, for Valentine's Day? And that's exactly what he did:
It's totally insane (Marco was laughing and laughing as he dragged it into the house): crumbly and muddy and HUGE...almost five feet long (forget putting it on the mantle, it IS a mantle), but there it is. My very my own piece of twice-chewed beaverwood!
Thank you, Marco! You sure are one awesome Valentine.
If ever I publish a series of self-help books (and if you've spent much time reading this site, you know that's exactly where things are headed), this is the photo I'm going to put on the cover:
And here's what the title will be: If a Dog, a Cat, and the Meanest Turtle That Ever Was can Share a Patch of Sunlight, Why Can't You [X], Where X=Dress Age-appropriately? Or Learn Where to Stand? Or Dance Like Everybody's Watching?
I'm going to be signing books and doing Sleep pose readings this coming Thursday (February 8), from 6 to 9pm, at everyone's favorite Minnie Wilde on 21st at Valencia! It would be so lovely to have you there, patting my pattables -- this being my first solo appearance, I'm now suddenly nervous in an entirely new, solo way. And if the idea of me, jittering and babbling and almost surely awash in one drink too many, isn't enough get you to let those dogs out, there will also be cupcakes and champagne and a 39% discount on all of Minnie Wilde's Fall things. It's what Thursdays evenings were made for!
Also: Maybe it's just me, but it sure seems like a SIGNED copy of The Secret Language of Sleep: A Couple's Guide to the Thirty-Nine Positions would make a stirring Valentine's Day gift, right?
In the midst of all the many funfun activities that got crammed into these past two days -- dancing to Rock Lobster and Baggy Trousers at the Riptide (a nice town bar -- with old, soft dogs and a fireplace -- where my lovely friend Michael now has a fortnightly DJ engagement), dog-walking with Caroleen and Birdy in Pacifica, watching Marco practice up for the big Benatards show (February 15 at the Eagle!), rocking it cake-style for my stepmother's 60th birthday, ham-and-egg sandwich eating at Bartolo's, Target browsing, a Monk marathon + What Not To Wear marathon shuffle -- Marco and I also caught four-second glimpses of these thrilling sights:
* An awkward dad-man -- wearing a helmet and elbow-, wrist-, and knee-pads -- rollerblading, in teetering lurches and staggers, right on up a freeway offramp.
* A white, early-80s-style boxy American car ghost-floating down the 580 at 2am, no headlights, with some metal object dragging underneath the chassis, spraying sparks in every direction like an apocalyptic sparkler. With the words "Fast Boy" sprayscrawled along the side in huge, red cursive.
Such a good weekend!
Once again, my lovely social barometer friend has offered me (and Jill) a generous sum in exchange for blogging forth about something that is already very much in my thoughts. The topic? My sad, sad aging skin. More specifically, my sad, sad aging skin and the many things I now do -- as someone in the clutches of this sagging demographic of 35-45 -- to try and save it.
So, okay. I actually didn't become truly conscious of my wrinkles until maybe a year ago. I'm sure that they've been there for much longer than that, but thanks to the awesome adult acne that has plagued me since my twenties, I've long ago fallen into the habit of taking off my glasses whenever I find myself within the vicinity of a mirror. The one great side effect of terrible vision is that it acts like a built-in Photoshop filter, blurring and smoothing out the blotches and bumps. I'll even put makeup on in that semi-blind state, only putting on my glasses at the last possible second to make sure I haven't colored too far outside the lines. But then one day, while struggling to get my insane hair to stay down, I spotted a sprongy grey hair, levitating there above my head. Then I leaned in for a closer look and discovered that there were plenty more where that came from. And OH! Something about that clichéd, thirty-something hunt for grey hairs shattered the fragile denial that my poor vision and I had built, and I just went for it. I leaned right in and took a close look at my face. And there were the wrinkles: the crow's feet, the depressing crime-dog crease down the sides of my nose, the furrowed quote between my eyes, all of it. But worse, much much worse: the crazy age spots all over my cheeks and forehead. And don't forget the acne!
Known as "melasma," this sprinkling of ugly weird brown spots is apparently the bi-product of years of Pill living combined with not nearly enough sunblock. That, or bad genes. Or being old. Or swearing? Maybe my foul mouth is to blame? It isn't really clear what causes it. Also totally unclear is how to fix it.
I went to the dermatologist (the one who helped me with my terrible rash), and he prescribed hydroquinone, which is supposed to bleach the spots away. I used that for a few months, but it didn't seem to do anything. Plus the cream was brown and gross, and you were supposed to apply it twice a day, which meant I had to put it on in the morning and then head out into public, looking like a giant self-tanning mistake, wearing a crazy, huge hat (because that's the other thing, hydroquinone causes a terrible sun sensitivity).
So I gave up the hydroquinone and bought some MaMa Lotion ($44.50 for 1.6 ounces at Skincare RX), which is this burning, acidic "gel-lotion" that is supposed to take care of melasma and wrinkles and acne -- my personal trifecta! The problem is, its active ingredient is mandelic acid, which comes from almonds, which cause Marco's mouth and throat to swell up. And after about a month, I got tired of coming to bed and saying, "Don't kiss me, I have almond face!" I also got tired of the sizzling, itching pain of the acid burning my face off each and every night. The endless peeling, flaking skin was also a bummer -- there's really no way to cover that up. It did make my skin feel a little smoother, but the melasma and acne were still all systems go.
In a fit of melasma miasma, I did a search for "melasma" online and found this insane discussion group, and discovered -- after hours and hours of reading painful stories from people who have spent thousands of dollars on lasers and intensive treatments and endless peels and tinctures, only to have the splotches return within a year -- that really there's no good cure for the problem. My fellow melasma sufferers had tried the MaMa lotion, too, and it didn't fix anything. The hydroquinone was also an almost universal bust (in fact, many people reported that the hydroquinone made things much, much worse). Really the only thing you can do is try not to allow the condition get any worse, which means wearing tons and tons of sunblock, each and every day. Which is what we should have all been doing all along, anyway. Ah, if only Past Evany knew what Present Evany knows now, she would be slathering on that Sea & Ski around the clock. And not, say, pouring baby oil all over her pale, Nordic skin. Oh, Past Evany, how smart you weren't.
Freed by the understanding of the fact that I can essentially do nothing about the melasma, I recently embarked on the Cosmetics Restriction Diet, a plan that very much appeals to my intrinsic laziness.
So nowadays, I don't do much more than clean my skin with the a mellow cleanser (I've been alternating between Bella Pelle's Gentle Wash Cleanser and Keihl's Foaming Non-Detergent Washable Cleanser, depending on where I happen to be standing -- one bottle being in the shower, the other above the sink) and lather on a ton of sunblock (my favorite is Neutrogena's Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer, which I recently found in a 45). And moisturizer: once or twice a week, basically whenever I remember, I slather on Eucerin Q10 Anti-wrinkle Sensitive Skin Creme (my dermatologist recommended it and it really does leave me feeling dewy and hopeful, especially in the neck region -- ever since reading Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck, I've become uncomfortably aware of the temporal, treacherous nature of my neck skin, so much so that I really do rue even reading that dumb book). And for the acne, I've just started using "Stridex Benzoyl Peroxide Powder Pads," which I recently learned are the same thing as ProActiv's spendy Unblemish Treat Acne Medicated Lotion. And the breakouts seem to be easing up! Except my neck. My neck is suddenly awash in sea of hot, red subterranean zit action. How cruel is it that I have wrinkles AND acne? It really is unfair. Wasn't there supposed to be a free-skate break, a sexual prime time between zitty teenhood and my wrinkled decline, when my skin was actually, finally clear, golden, and glowing? Knowing me, the halcyon fresh-skin era lasted all of four hours, four hours that fell right in the middle of some dark night in 1998, and I slept through the whole thing.
A sampling of small things that have happened since last we spoke:
* I worked 20 hours in one 24-hour period. And that was directly following an ugly 12-hour day of recapping, So, after much typing and very little sleep (maybe three hours?), I headed off to the big dog show at the Palace of the Cows (by way of Tartine, where Laura and I waited in an unbearably long line that was so very worth the payoff: sticky, chewy, cinnamon-orange morning buns and gigantor lattes, pow!). But because I was hardly awake enough to dress myself (when I arrived at Laura's house, she pointed out that my zipper was wide open), I forgot to bring my camera. No endless dog pics! Such a disappointment. So all I can do for you is paint this little word picture: three black-and-white cow-spotted great danes perched atop matching cow-spotted pillows, all lined up on a matching cow-spotted ledge.
* And then yesterday I worked-worked-worked, with only a brief pause to drop $135 on sweet items from the sure-to-sell-out "Proenza Schouler for Target" collection, which isn't officially out yet, but which is for some reason being secretly, sneakily sold on Amazon, huh?
* And then at 5:30 Marco and I screeched down to San Jose, where we witnessed the Stars beat the Sharks nice and up close. Marco is a fan of both teams, so it was a very conflicted time. For me, too: Should I get the blue cotton candy or the giant cookie ice cream sandwich? (Answer: BOTH.) My favorite part: When a bloody fight broke out on the ice, and the sound people blared "We Will Rock You," as in, "You got blood on your face, ya big disgrace, kicking your can all over the place." Also great: The Sharks fans booing whenever the word "star" came up in the national anthem. It was all just so very thorough.