Month: March 2015

Why I Spend Hours Watching an Eagle’s Nest

I would hate having a camera pointed at me around the clock, no more so than when I was pregnant. There were some decidedly sweaty, puffy and crabby moments that no one needed to witness save for my unfortunate husband. But lately, I’ve been transfixed by one mama-to-be who is blissfully oblivious to my spying eyes. Along with thousands of other online peeping Toms, I’m addicted to watching live streaming video — broadcast 24/7 — from an eagle camera in northwestern Pennsylvania. Mounted high beside the nest in a scraggly tree, the camera captures the comings and goings (but mostly sitting) of a pair of bald eagles. Mom is larger and more powerful than her much younger mate (you go, girl!). The two take turns protecting and warming the pair of eggs she laid back in February, which are scheduled to hatch as I type. That momentous occurrence will no doubt herald season two of this hit reality show, and I suspect even more viewers will tune in once the eaglets arrive. [Editor’s note: They’re …

We’re Hungry For: Deviled Eggs

You have extra hard boiled eggs right about now, I can tell. Let’s make a delicious snack. Helen Jane’s Deviled Eggs Ingredients 6 hard boiled eggs 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 slices bacon 1 tablespoon minced parsley Directions 1. Cut the 4 slices of bacon into tiny, bacon bit sized pieces and brown in a pan. When cooked through and crispy, drain on paper towels. Taste three bacon bits because you deserve it. 2. Peel hard boiled eggs and slice them the long way, narrow top to bottom. 3. Pop the yellow yolks into a medium bowl and mash firmly until the consistency of damp yellow sulphury sand. Add mayonnaise, mustard and salt and stir through. 4. Also to your bowl, add 3/4 of your bacon bits and 3/4 of your minced parsley. Stir through. 5. Put mixture into a large plastic bag and snip off a corner, piping the mixture back into the empty holes of the hard boiled egg where the yolks used to be. 6. Sprinkle …

Why Didn’t I Question 28 Years of Birth Control?

For much of freshman year, my fear of getting pregnant waged a battle with my fear of getting caught by my mother with birth control pills in my purse. I was a kid who had always played by the rules. In the Catholic household where I was growing up, secretly taking the Pill was beyond unacceptable. So what if I was living at college, hours away from home? Somehow, some way, I was sure she’d just know. And yet I knew that getting pregnant would be even worse in my parents’ eyes: Not only would God know what I was up to, but the neighbors would find out, too. That sealed it for me. After months of obsessing (and falling for the guy who would eventually become my ex-husband), I finally asked one of my roommates to drive me to her doctor’s office. I took my first Pill on our ride back to our dorm. I felt it catch in my dry, nervous throat. I read every word of medical fine print that came with …

5 Very Different Books About Eggs

Eggs, those delicious sources of protein, are also packed with symbolism and meaning. A book list based on the idea of “egg” could include titles about pregnancy, birth, infertility, new beginnings, chickens and so much more. Instead of selecting one theme, this list includes books from five different genres: Memoir, science fiction, mystery, cooking and even children’s literature. The Egg and I: Life on a Wilderness Chicken Ranch by Betty MacDonald Ms. MacDonald had a farm — and no, it wasn’t that kind of “chicken ranch!” From 1927 to 1931, Betty MacDonald and her husband ran (or attempted to run) a chicken farm on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. While dated, the book (also a 1946 movie starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray) is still very funny — especially if you’re trying to raise urban chickens in your Park Slope backyard. Bluebeard’s Egg and Other Stories by Margaret Atwood These Margaret Atwood-penned short stories are a departure from the author’s more well-known pieces such as The Handmaid’s Tale. They’re quieter than much of her other work, and based on folktales …

The 7-Year Prick: Chinese Medicine on Age & Fertility

Here are a few ways that classical Chinese medicine describes a women’s aging process once we get to, oh, about mid-century: “Our rich essence wanes.” “Our volume of precious fluids diminishes.” But one of the starkest might have been from my favorite Chinese medicine teacher in grad school: “Once you’re 49, your eggs are cooked.” Cooked! The class laughed. To be clear, this teacher lived through the Cultural Revolution. She was a medical doctor and acupuncturist/ herbalist in pre-revolutionary China, and had to start all over when she came to the States, ultimately becoming an amazing acupuncturist and revered teacher of Chinese medicine. She had a full head of white hair and wore stretch pants unabashedly. [pullquote]Every wrinkle is earned, each gray hair has a tale to tell.[/pullquote] And she did not mince words. Back in my 30s I was among those amused in class. Now, in 2015, as I experience my own personal wanings and diminishings, it seems a bit harsh. I became a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist almost 13 years ago, my specialty is women’s …

Margit’s Note: Crack It Open

“The incredible, edible egg.” That’s just one of many ‘70s commercial jingles affixed to my memory bank. In fact, this ad for the American Egg Board was remade in the ‘80s, in the ‘90s, by some guy in a jingle contest and now Kevin Bacon is a spokesperson? “Nobody knows eggs better than Bacon.” (Really? Really.) But it’s true. An egg is a delicious scramble, the essence of fertility, frozen for later, dyed and collected in baskets of plastic green grass, and smells awful when rotten. For women, the egg is mythologized as our ultimate potential — the question of that potential dogs us from an early age, following us well past viability. Whether we want it to or not. Now, in our early-mid-late-whatevers, we’re watching a disappearing act. On a related note, society — and social media — is still shocked by the site of a woman’s reproductive mojo, as evidenced last week by Rupi Kaur’s photo. The Toronto-based poet took a picture of herself with a spot of blood and leakage, and posted …

Sunflowers for Merrie: Choosing an Afterlife Avatar

It was Merrie’s birthday last week, her 56th, if she had lived to celebrate it. Merrie was … oh it’s impossible to say who Merrie was to me: one of my oldest and closest friends doesn’t quite do it. Nor do any of these: the willowy blonde architecture student who wore red clogs; the mother of two beautiful boys of whom she was insanely proud; a woman who had the most strikingly singular personal style, who didn’t turn it off even for our Wednesday trips to Yale for her chemo treatments. I was a freelance writer during Merrie’s last year of life and was free to drive her to the hospital for a year’s worth of Wednesdays. She wouldn’t be ready when I arrived, so I’d sit at the edge of her bed and watch her chose an outfit, trying to stave off my anxiety about being late — she’d lose her slot if I didn’t get her there on time. Merrie, for all her wondrousness, was late for most things, including the potentially life-saving …

Playing Dress-Up: Forget Fashion Rules, This is Me

Spencer was the most glamorous person I’d ever seen. The first time I met him, he was in five-inch heels and a pencil skirt, his curly brown hair dancing around the crown of his head. His makeup was minimal, like he put in effort, but knew he was already working with a better-than-solid foundation. I was walking through the atrium on our college campus when I first spotted him. He was sitting alone at a table, reading, sipping a drink, and even doing that in an impossibly pretty way. Because I am who I am, I sat down beside him and said, “I’m sorry to bother you, but I think you’re beautiful.” He blinked his bright blue eyes several times before revealing his equally bright teeth to bless me with a smile. “Thank you,” he said. We bonded over our mutual inclination to burst into song, appreciation for good off-campus food and enduring love for Dr. Maya Angelou. Despite my initial observation, it quickly became clear Spencer didn’t see himself as particularly attractive. He considered …

Sarah’s Spring Beauty Clean Up

It never fails— spring rolls around, and I’m instantly sucked into mega beauty refresh mode faster than you can say “matte coral lipstick.” There’s nothing more happy-making than clearing the fuzzy wool remnants from my closet and giving most of the deep plums and berries in my beauty cabinet a rest. And up until a few years ago, my seasonal refreshes were strictly related to things like color and texture, but now I go a little deeper. You see, I’ve taken huge strides to rid my bathroom cabinet of anything that is unsafe for my skin, which is, ahem, a huge undertaking. Let’s just say that I’ve become very up close and personal with A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients and the EWG’s Skin Deep website. I never thought I’d know so much about Methylisothiazolinone and Polyethylene Glycol in my life, and sadly, the United States isn’t so keen on ingredient regulation, considering it hasn’t passed a federal law to regulate the ingredients in personal care products since 1938. (Yeah, when women’s daily ensembles looked like this. Its, …

Become a Bloom? Yes I Said Yes I Will Yes

The decision to change your last name when getting married is fraught for many women — especially feminists. Strangely for me, a woman who has been comfortable with the feminist label since I was a young girl, changing my name was a no-brainer. My reasons for choosing the name-change route are personal and have as much to do with my husband’s last name, Bloom, as they do with the institution of marriage. First, some history. I was born in America to immigrant parents who never expected to stay here. The plan was four years of university for my father, then a few years of work. Nothing more than that. But life happened and we stayed. Naturally, since they’re Israeli they gave me a Hebrew first name. I mean, why wouldn’t they? It’s their first language and was mine as well. As luck would have it my last name was a mouthful. But one that is both culturally and historically significant. The name is Ashkenazi. Take it from me, Naama Ashkenazi is not an easy name …

A Green Thumb: Tips From a Gardening Virgin

Did you ever plant radish seeds in Dixie cups back in grade school? Then set the cups on a sunny windowsill until the seedlings emerged? Oh, the excitement of seeing the sprouts push their tiny green heads up through the soil followed by the disappointment of watching those scraggly stems wither and die a few days later. That pretty much summed up my experience with vegetable gardening until just a few summers ago, when my husband and I decided to take a hoe to a patch of grass at our upstate house and try our hands at growing our own. Gardening seems so simple: You plant, you tend, you harvest. But my early experience as a grade-schooler taught me at least one thing about raising veggies: It’s not as easy as it looks. There are endless considerations that can make or break a garden, such as soil composition, weather, irrigation and critters. Just as influential and potentially defeating are human factors, like one spouse haranguing the other to weed, weed, weed! Or said spouse’s insistence …

Margit’s Note: Tending My Own Garden

I have a pretty little cactus in my office that’s kinda hard to kill. I only have to water it, like, every six weeks. So usually, if I remember, I pour a little of my bottled water around its pebbles and admire its bright yellow bloom. And it lives! Somehow, despite my fair attention, it blooms like a prickly star. I’ve never been much of a gardener. Even though I married a man named Gardner — go figure. My parents are the flowerbed heads of the family — a horticulture super fan (mom) and landscape architect (dad). They’d bond over rose bushes and clematis while their three kids, enlisted to weed, would roll our eyes, preferring a cruise through Plymouth Meeting Mall or a game on Odyssey (you know, that early video game console sued by Atari for their Pac-Man rip-off game, “K.C. Munchkin?” No? Ok). We were inside kids. Or maybe I was. Now in their 40s, my sister and brother do garden a bit (and/or their spouses do). Yet I’m still happier “wasting” hours …

Why I Will Never Pull an All-Nighter

Procrastination is almost always presented as a negative act, a problem to be tamed, a character flaw to be furtively confessed. As someone who never does tomorrow what I can finish today, I’d like to present a different view. I have harbored secret admiration for procrastinators my whole life, because they’re comfortable rolling with last-minute changes and short deadlines in a way I fear I never will be. I was the kind of student in high school who received her assignments, immediately broke them into smaller, manageable tasks, then dutifully counted backwards from the due date to record each one on my desk calendar with a blue Bic pen. At a time when my social life and hair were unenviable (the latter thanks to ‘80s spiral perms and Aquanet,) I craved the feeling of control and calm that came with seeing exactly what would be expected of me each day, checking each completed task off the list. [pullquote]Adolescence could feel like wading chest-high through peaty sludge, but at least my homework was always complete, and …

The Real Trick Is to Ask a Friend for Help

It was early 1993, in my last few months of college, and my plan to become a Famous Actress Who Would Change the World With Her Talent was knocking it out of the park. I had just returned from a thrilling trip to New York City, where I’d auditioned for and won a spot at my first choice graduate school. I had also managed to score the lead in my first paid acting gig. In Omaha. Now all I had to do was graduate a few weeks early and get myself to Nebraska in time for the first rehearsal. I talked to my professors and made up an accelerated schedule to graduate. It would be fast and furious, and I would miss all the celebrations with my friends, but I would be rewarded; my mom bought me a used car from a family friend, and I would road trip it to Omaha. Artists road trip you know, and I was an artist. One problem: I didn’t have a driver’s license. [pullquote] I don’t trust people …

4 Books on Productivity You Shouldn’t Put Off Reading

It’s a wonder that these lines are appearing on the screen in front of you now and not next week. But since no procrastination was employed in the production of this column, you will be able to learn about a few of the best books to help you stamp out all kinds procrastination. (Wait, where is that list? Oh, phew. A couple of other tasks got in the way…) The Power of Habit may be the most important book to recommend for getting past your unproductive habit of procrastinating. Author Charles Duhigg examines the routine and often unconscious behaviors that rule so many of us through amusing anecdotes and science-based research. He offers productive techniques to help you break bad habits, restructure your life and meet your goals. If your goal is to procrastinate more, well, even Duhigg can’t fix that. In 2002, Steven Pressfield wrote The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle, and changed many a writer’s life: He identified how outward ambitions get in the way of creative discipline. The key? …

Can a Procrastinating Mom Change Her Procrastinating Son?

Some nights, I’d hear him puttering around in his room. Maybe he’d drop the tennis ball he was tossing up in the air and it would bounce across his bedroom floor. Or I’d realize he was poking around on Spotify, playing a fragment of one pop song, then a fragment of another. He’d only stop when I’d call out: “Are you really finishing your homework?” Silence. Then a highly unconvincing “Yes!” would fill the air. “You’ve got to stop wasting time,” I’d say in my most grown-up voice. “It’s almost bedtime and you’re still doing homework. The only person that hurts is you. You know you won’t want to get up for school tomorrow if you don’t get some sleep tonight. You said an hour ago you were tired. Just get your work done.” Just get your work done. I sounded so sure of myself. If he could have seen me on a hidden camera, he would have discovered that I was wandering around on Facebook, scrolling endlessly, pointlessly, through quippy comments and cat photos, pausing only …

My System: “The Daily Mirror”

Who: Rachel Simon, novelist, memoirist and speaker. System: Communicate daily to-do list tasks via sticky notes left on the bathroom mirror. How does it work? “If there’s something I need to remember, I write it on a yellow sticky note and put it on the bathroom mirror so I have to see it. ‘Mail check on Wednesday’; ‘Review my Powerpoint.’ I wrote a sticky note this morning that said ‘Call Margit.’ “ Well, I’m glad you did. So how does this system work with your husband? “My husband is also creative (he’s an architect) and we’re secluded in separate studios for good part of day. Our house often has the feel of an artist colony. So this way we’re able to have those household conversations you need to have, like ‘would you reread blog post I wrote?’ Or ‘when are you going to work on broken toilet?’ Or even, ‘remind me to tell you about conversation I had with my father.’ “ Does he respond? “Sometimes the way he’ll respond is that he’ll write something right on the yellow …

Margit’s Note: A Beautiful, Wandering Mind

As I write this, it’s Tuesday, 12:34 pm and we launch in a few hours. I’ve just returned from a weekend at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas and after loads of inspiring chats, Shiner Boch beers, and breakfast burritos, I’m a bit spent. So what better time to write the editor’s note than LAST MINUTE? I need a little panic in my soul to find my mojo, and typically do my best work right before deadline. Or maybe, I just typically work right before deadline. Because when down to the wire, there’s no way out: no time to take a nap, turn on the TV, work on other projects (a productive way to procrastinate!), take an Instagram of my cowboy boots, read that Atlantic article, sign up for that new Meerkat thingy, get a coffee, chat with my officemate, Meerkat our chat… And maybe more importantly, no time to listen to all the voices in my head that say, “So you think you’re a writer? Hahahahaha…” It’s clock ticking, voices off, just write the …

Night Owl: On Keeping a Teenager’s Schedule in This Grown-Up Life

JULIET: Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day: It was the nightingale, and not the lark, That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear; Nightly she sings on yonder pomegranate-tree: Believe me, my love, it was the nightingale. ROMEO: It was the lark, the herald of the morn, No nightingale: look, love, what envious streaks Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east: Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops. I must be gone and live, or stay and die. Act III, Scene V is one of the loveliest parts of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: For one thing, the teen lovers are awakening after their first and only night as a married couple, after their sexy secret wedding in Friar Laurence’s cell. For another, they make arguing about whether or not it’s time to get up sound desperately romantic. It’s romantic to sleep in, everyone! Or so I argue, anyway. I’ve been a night owl for 36 years and counting. [pullquote]I try to float …

Why Healing Touch is Better Than a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

When I tell someone I have a healing touch practitioner, I still have the impulse to apologize — to feel some misplaced, new age shame for saying my magnetic energy fields need realignment, or even to speak of having them at all. It’s silly. You’d think that after 30-odd years at the spiritual salad bar — self-help books, yoga, rosaries, meditation and finally the path of sobriety — that I’d just come out with whatever I’m doing now to keep myself in check with no concern about the possible woo-woo factor. I send my dog to day care, for God’s sake. What kind of shame about my life choices can I possibly have left? A little, it’s true. Deep inside of this post-millennial searcher is the voice of the Greatest Generation that helped to raise me, that says — with love — that a grilled cheese sandwich, a beer and maybe a movie will fix what ails me, so stop my bitching. But that’s been proven disastrously wrong. So I’ve learned that when the magnetic …

Silencing Your Screaming Mimi: 4 Ways to Quiet Your Inner Critic

Recently, I had a massage with a therapist I’d never met before. After I arranged myself facedown on her table, Denise (who is thankfully a petite woman) climbed aboard, sitting atop my backside with her knees digging into my glutes. Denise read my reaction, which was silence, as permission to push deeper, shifting her weight from side to side to accentuate the pressure on each cheek. “Wow,” she said. “You have a high pain threshold. Most people scream when I do this.” Later, she worked on my neck, shoulders and spine, then pressed her fingers into the top of my skull. It was then that she apparently determined that I was screaming…on the inside. “Hmmm,” she murmured thoughtfully. “You might want to think about stopping all the yelling you’ve got going on inside your body.” Did Denise possess some sort of X-ray hearing? Because while her assessment might seem nutty, she was exactly right: Denise had run smack into my inner banshee who was, as usual, roaring at the top of her lungs. [pullquote]Mimi is …

I Hated Running… Until I Didn’t

Channel your inner Sophia Petrillo and picture this: Lincoln, Nebraska, 1989. A bookish middle schooler, flat of chest and round of belly, spends her summer secretly devouring The Clan of the Cave Bear novels and trying desperately to manipulate the TV antenna into delivering grainy episodes of General Hospital. Swimming? Only if someone offered a ride to the pool. Biking? Just to the gas station for 25-cent Little Debbie zebra cakes. Weepy anticipating of autumn, and school, and being picked last in gym class? Daily. Twenty-five years later, I remain an unlikely spokesperson for running. I should note that, mentally, I’m Flo-Jo. I fire off more emails before 9 a.m. than most people do all day, and as I feed my infant son intermittently throughout the night, my brain sprints around an invisible track, by turns solving global crises and menu planning for my family of picky eaters. [pullquote]I discovered the unlikely psychological alchemy of energy created by energy expenditure. The more I ran, the more energy I had for running[/pullquote] However, in the words …

Songs We Worked Out To in the ’80s (If We Worked Out At All)

Back in the 1980s, working out wasn’t inextricably linked to music, the way it is today. There weren’t Zumba songs or “Jock Jams.” We didn’t listen to playlists oriented by BPMs. We didn’t have a handy, clippable iPod touch. Yes, we had our Sony Walkmans, but I had nightmares of trying to “jog” with that thing affixed to nylon shorts and watch it crash to the ground. While the ’80s saw the advent of aerobics, and Jane, and Olivia, of course, we did our jumping jacks to whatever music was bouncy. I remember taking a “dance fitness” class in 8th grade and my young teacher playing the Moody Blues “Tuesday Afternoon,” which we thought was the coolest thing ever, if completely inappropriate for Jazzercise. So we conducted a purely unscientific poll of friends, asking people what music they worked out to back then, and found a wide range of tunes — from the obvious to the obscure. We say, whatever moves you. Good For:  Aerobics 1.0  “Can You Feel It” — The Jacksons Everyone remembers the …

Worst in Class: Attempting the New Workout “Beastanetics”

I have never been remotely sporty. The only Olympic event I watch with any regularity is figure skating, and the sole game my softball team ever won was the one I missed. When we ran long-distance in high school, one of my stoner friends and I discovered a shortcut that gave us time to smoke half a joint in the woods and still amble out in time to meet the rest of the class as they were winding down their jog. I hesitate to say it because it’s such a cliché, but it’s true; I was always picked last for teams in school. However, this wasn’t particularly scarring for me because I didn’t want to there in the first place. Not surprisingly, as I’ve gotten older and fatter, my athleticism has deteriorated even further. Muscles I never even knew I possessed now hurt and even worse, my joints scream in revolt if I jump or run too vigorously. I take the same supplements they give Labrador Retrievers for bum hips. Yet, unlike in high school, …

Margit’s Note: Sun Salutation

Is that? Could it be? I squint at the light streaming through my window. Nope. Not true. I don’t believe you, Outside. Here on the East Coast, we’ve been pummeled and frozen for months by the snow. I’ve barely left the apartment. I’ve worn — and only worn — the same pair of slush-splattered snow boots for six weeks running. During a two-full-days-trapped-inside stint, my food source devolved into a fridge scavenger hunt for leftover takeout rice reanimated with a little hot sauce. So I remain, a slug. But this sun… could it be? I slide out of bed, press play on the coffee and fall onto the couch for a five-minute Candy Crush break (I know). I could go back to sleep, but I have to leave for a meeting in an hour. My husband waves goodbye and before I can shuffle to my first cup, the door bell rings. Huh? I’m not expecting any packages. A cheery voice pipes through the intercom. “It’s Kimberly!” SHIT. My yoga teacher. I’d completely forgotten she was …

What in the Ham Sandwich?! We Made a Kimmy Schmidt Shop

Yes, the shop. What in the ham sandwich?! Some of us around here had such anticipation for the new Tina Fey Netflix series The Unbreakable of Kimmy Schmidt, we set our alarms for its premiere today. So in honor of the new, bound-to-be-side-splittingly-funny series, and the binge we’re about to go on this weekend, we created a little boutique, just for Kimmy. Filled with candy colors, a backpack (to replace the one she — TINY SPOILER ALERT — loses) and more, we know there are some goodies this former Indiana mole woman will love. Here are just a few from our KIMMY! boutique on GREAT.LY:     Happy Yellow Sun Mug, $39 The perfect morning accompaniment to Kimbird’s plucky yellow cardigan. Each piece is handmade, so your order will look like the one in the photo with its own touch of uniqueness. Made with a sturdy, white stoneware clay. Dishwasher safe and lead-free.     Kawaii Sweet Marshmallow Earrings, $16 Sweet pastel colors earrings for girls who likes sweets. Earrings made from polymer clay.   The Bedford, $75 …

Talk TueNight: Dishing on Food, Sex and Being a Grown-Ass Woman [Photos]

Nearly 50 intrepid TueNight fans trekked through blizzard-like conditions (okay, a little snow) last Tuesday night to join us for our very first #TalkTueNight storytelling event. Stacy Morrison, Ashley Ford, Tamar Anitai and Heather Barmore read their fabulous posts from our Desire issue. Our fearless leader, Margit, also interviewed Alex Jamieson, the best-selling author of Women, Food, and Desire. This all went down at 61 Local on Bergen Street in Brooklyn.   Our venue, 61 Local, has amazing food, cheese and we kinda went crazy for the beef jerky.     We mingled with friends old and new before we got started with the readings.     We snuck up on Tamar Anitai prepping for her reading. She read parts one and two of her 30 Day attempt to divest from sugar. And she brought the house down. “I found myself in sweats (some errant pieces of burrito rice dotting my lap, natch), hate-watching Donnie Loves Jenny on A&E, when I fell down a hole of fuck-this-I’m-a-grown-woman-I-can-do-whatever-I-want just like Beyoncé and ate a frozen coconut bar that’d been in my freezer since …

The New Drug to Increase Women’s Libido is No Viagra

Polar Vortexes aside, February was a steamy month for us gals. On Valentine’s Day the silver screen turned Fifty Shades of Grey, debuting a movie that’s been called Mommy Porn, a genre seemingly purpose-built for women who’ve come to associate feeling “hot and bothered” with spending too much time baking, steam-cleaning carpets or trooping around Disney World with cranky kids. Three days later, Sprout Pharmaceuticals announced it had resubmitted for FDA approval a drug designed to increase sexual desire in women who suffer from what’s called Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder or HSDD. (1) If the third time’s a charm and the FDA approves it, Flibanserin will be the first drug of its kind, hitting the market some 17 years after Viagra debuted in 1998. (2) There’s just so much in this last sentence that it’s worthwhile taking a moment to — at the risk of sounding modish — unpack it. [pullquote]If you frequently resort to any of these dodges because you can’t muster the lust for sex — and not because, say, you’re super pissed because …

Butter

Since spending six months abroad in Madrid, I often follow the Spanish method of enjoying breakfast. Instead of scrambled eggs and bacon, I dive right into thinly sliced jamón Ibérico on freshly toasted bread and chunks of cheese. I continue to fall hard for manchego, large croissants slathered with butter and a dollop of a fruity jam. It brings memories of a host mother who spoke very little English but knew food to be the universal language. “Quieres un sandwich, Heather?” she asked as I rushed to get out the door. I would take her up on the offer of tortilla Española on soft bread. She put butter on that, too, and offered it up with a grin. *** I share this anecdote as a way to show you how far I’ve come. You see, I used to be afraid of butter. Being asked whether or not I would like butter for a roll, or on mashed potatoes, caused a panic. I would hear the word “butter” and my chest would tighten. My face would …