Jul 24 2010

Creatures & Music.

What creature do you most relate to?

Sitting outside Lovejoy Bakers a few months back, a friend and I chatted with a young couple sharing the community table. Somehow we got to what I call  “parlor games.”  Based on our selection of just three favorite creatures and the three traits that made us favor each, my friend could tell us how we saw ourselves, how others saw us and how we really were.  It was amazingly accurate.  If you are interested, write for the formula.

As favorites I picked dogs, dolphins and giraffes.  But me myself?  Think I was born in the year of the dog but I am a bird.  A reader told me so today (see comments in Good Questions).  I am not a yard dog, to be sure, but a bird.  Go ahead with, “Yeah, a loony bird!”  I say it with pride since I cannot claim being much of song bird and only occasionally dress up Peacock style; Portland is pretty casual.

The bird song on my iPod is Skylark sung by K D Lang for the 1997 soundtrack of Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil.  Melts my heart every time with a bitter sweetness of longing and hope and a strong sense of soaring, seeking.  Kinda of what I’ve been doing across the Oregon countryside in recent days. And man, what a bad ass horn solo!  http://www.220.ro/videoclipuri/KD-Lang-Skylark/rP5PONiVNM/  Once you have followed that link, you gotta listen to Kevin Stacey singing That Old Magic, too.  Same movie soundtrack.

Before Sony pocket size tape players in the early 1980′s, we could only imagine breezing through life with the perfect music score playing as our picture perfect  life  unfolded in Hollywood style.  Music is pretty powerful, wouldn’t you agree? How long could you go without it? How many times has it set or worse, ruined a mood?

“No one going through a breakup should listen to any music other than instrumentals,”  I remarked to a dear friend last summer after the  iTunes shuffle mode on my Mac nearly made a wreak of my work day.  She laughed, and agreed.  I should have extended the recommendation to ” instrumentals for which NO WORDS were ever written.”  There are a zillion songs that speak to our heart, our experiences.  I am beginning to wonder if music – all genres – isn’t the most powerful art form.  It certainly speaks to our daily life experience.

They’re Writing Songs Of Love ..but not for me drove me to the powder room during a Tulsa concert last year.  Yesterday Bill Joel’s hit, “I Am An Innocent Man” caught my attention in the car; I was riveted to the words.  Was Billy Joel out there, waiting for me? In 1983 how could he know what I was going to experience in 2009-10 and have the right words to sing?   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xmKBf8QWsA

During my last visit to Tulsa  I wrote on facebook of my intent to visit the roof of the Mayo Hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma for my evening ritual of sky gazing (birds cannot be caged for too long).  In the back of my mind a lyric surfaced…”up on the roof…”  I couldn’t place it but soon friends were sending links (The best:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zbasjy2_IY8) One song and before I knew it I was lost in the music of the 1970′s (a giant step toward the future, for me, by the way!).  Later in the conversation thread a forgotten group surfaced and another even older song spoke to me:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSVfLNCW4Fs&a=54af4yShH-4&playnext_from=ML

And what a bonus – the group I had forgotten was Australian (like me mum!)

Follow the links, Take a few minutes to think about music.  As the song says…Come on, wake up!  Life is a joy. Fill it with music and welcome all the feelings it brings.

Always, Trix


Jul 20 2010

Sangria.

Thursday he would have been 88 years old.

“I’ll return to Tulsa early enough in July so we can celebrate mums’ 89th and your 88th together (as we often did).  And I tell you what, I’ll figure out how to make homemade Sangria for you,” I said to my dad during our last time together.

“I’d like that,” he said.  His voice was soft but his eyes clear and focused, as anticipation  gently swept over his gaunt face.  My dad and I:  We like our wine, perhaps a bit too much.  We like a party.

Why had I waited 10 years to make the offer?  During a visit to Sydney in late 2000 my cousin Michael’s charming wife Dora surprised my father with homemade Sangria on Christmas day.  The feast was at the home of my Uncle Ron and Auntie Dawn’s.  After stuffing ourselves we posed for photos by the pool wearing shorts, Christmas cracker paper holiday crowns topping our heads.  The trip was a gift from my parents to my sister and me and our families. I hadn’t been to Australia since 1985. The gift was more than generous, it was life changing.

Tonight in Portland I arrived at R. damore, a new art gallery in the Pearl owned by photographer & portrait artist Robin Damore.  Author Wendy Burden was talking about her book, Dead End Gene Pool.  Serving refreshments was a beautiful, engaging, Latin woman, just the type woman my Pop would have flirted with – shamelessly!  She put ice in a stemmed glass and poured a Sangria Roja for me.   When he drank red wine, much to the horror of all around him, Bob (JR, Pops…my dad) always asked for ice, unless he could help himself to some.  “About 3 cubes,” he’d tell me.  Around the table eyes would roll.  Winos can be such snobs!   Hosts, proud of their wine selections, sometimes seemed insulted.  Bob’s pleasure was never diminished by their attitudes.   He asked for and got what he wanted; there is a lesson in that, I think.

The sangria I enjoyed will soon appear in Portland gourmet grocery stories such as Zupan and City Market.  It’s maker, Maria Corbinos  is a woman who came to Portland to earn an MBA.  In no time her friends quickly encouraged her to bottle the sangria she made to share at gatherings. Her personality and business accumen earned her an Angel Award and is bringing her product to launch shortly. (Visit http://www.mividasangria.com/index.htm) As I listened to her story, I shared mine.

At the end of the evening I walked home with a bottle of Mi Vida Sangria Roja – a gift from Maria.  I also had three new business cards in my pocket belonging to new friends I planned to call later this month, after returning from Tulsa.  As I walked home, my father’s spirit filled my heart and lightened my step.  True, we won’t dine at Andina’s, the Peruvian restaurant I told Poppy was a must when he came to see my new home. The trip is one he didn’t make.  But my dad is here, he’s wherever there is goodness and a sense of adventure…  An absence of expectations but a hope for something special. That is his legacy. That is what I will play forward.

Always, Jabberwalkie (my dad’s nickname for me)

Medaris, Jesse Robert (Bob) of Tulsa passed away June 14th, 2010.  He was born July 22nd, 1922 in Denver, Colorado to Jesse Roy and Loretta Mae (Wolfe) Medaris.  He attended Hawthorne Grade School in Englewood, Colorado and graduated from Englewood High School in 1940.  In September 1941 he enrolled in Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.  World War II interrupted his engineering undergraduate work.  He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps for three years, reaching the rank of First Lieutenant as a navigator with the 13th Air Force in the South Pacific.  He was proud to have seen many of the islands in that theatre: New Caledonia, Guadalcanal, New Britain, New Guinea, the Halmahera and most of the Philippines.  After the war he completed his studies at Mines, graduating as a petroleum engineer in 1949. While at Mines, he was a member of Tau Beta Pi, Sigma Gamma Epsilon and Blue Key.

In May 1947 he married Dorothy Patricia (Pat) Shelley, whom he met in February 1945 on Bondi Beach while on military leave in Sydney, Australia. Marriage followed a nine-day, whirlwind romance and two years of long-distance correspondence by mail. The couple had two daughters, Shelley Anne Ricks and Tracey Elizabeth Norvell. Three grandchildren survive Mr. Medaris: Michael Andrew Ricks, Corrine Elizabeth Mueller and Clay Alexander Norvell. Also, great-grandson Andrew Paul Mueller and brother Francis Medaris.  His brother Charles Medaris and sister Ruth Medaris predeceased him.

Immediately following graduation from Mines, Phillips Petroleum Company in Eureka, Kansas and then Venezuela employed Mr. Medaris.  In 1954 he began a 15-year career with affiliates of Standard Oil of New Jersey (Exxon) in Venezuela, Libya and Indonesia. Outside professional assignments, the Medaris family also lived in Palo Alto, CA, Sydney, Australia and Houston, TX.  Mr. Medaris’ second career as Manager of the Studies Department for Crest Engineering led the family to Tulsa, OK.  His work with Crest took him to Nigeria, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, Siberia, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, the North Sea, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Canada and other oil and gas-producing areas. When Crest Engineering relocated to Houston in 1985, Mr. Medaris remained in Tulsa, serving as Vice President of Crown Tech, Inc.  In 1987 he joined Fluor Daniels Williams Brothers as a consultant until his retirement in late 1993.

Mr. Medaris learned many languages during his travels. He was a quiet man with a quick, contagious laugh.  Somewhat a rebel and never a follower, he was well respected and tremendously admired by colleagues.  His gentle spirit made him an instant favorite with children and pets, and his love of life and travel gave him countless friends worldwide. He enjoyed golf, ice skating and worked tirelessly in the garden. During the past seven years he kept the residents at Inverness Village well supplied with the jokes and stories he collected from magazines and newspapers. His blue eyes always sparkled with life and mischief. His favorite song was “ Begin the Beguine,” but the ones his children and grandchildren will most remember are those he sang at bedtime: “You Are My Sunshine,” “Oh! Suzanna,” and “Red River Valley.”  While some might mourn the loss of this most lovely, gentle, caring, kind soul, who was also extremely bright, funny and handsome, his response would be this poem he especially liked:

I AM NOT THERE

Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft star that shines at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.

I am not there; I did not die.

Author Unknown


Jul 19 2010

Before we dress.

Before we move on to dressing and countless other things, let’s linger just a moment longer on some bare facts relating to art and food, both shared in response to Insatiable (July 2010).

Two readers sent items to post. Steve offered up his recipe for Naked Pasta and Bud visited The Pearl Gallery (Tulsa, OK) installation of Nudity & Whimsy.

Bud sent along Floral Chakras by Allie Jensen. (below)** as well as writing, “…(describing owner Doug Edwards’ work hanging on the wall behind Flower Child by Clayton Keyes -see photo left) as I recall, his work reflects the ropes that bind women, relative to what the ‘perfect body’ is supposed to be among other issues.  Fascinating!” **

As for food… Beef may be “what’s for dinner” but it and the other white meat pale next to Naked Pasta!

Steve writes, “I got my inspiration for this dish from my favorite chef, Jamie Oliver. It’s been tweaked for my own personal taste and is easily modified to work for anybody. I start with my favorites; mushrooms, fresh garlic and green olives. Then it’s simply a cruise through the produce section of your local grocery store, where I normally pick up squash and/or zucchini and maybe some peppers and fresh parsley.”

Cook your pasta (I prefer angel hair) as you normally would and set aside.
Add a tablespoon of butter and a bit of olive oil to a pan and turn on the heat.
Chop/slice your veggies as thick or thin as you like. Thicker seems to work better so that after you sauté the veggies for awhile, they don’t turn to mush.
Add veggies to your pan and cook until your preferred degree of “doneness.”
Be sure to add the garlic. I like to use a garlic press for most of the garlic, but last night adding some sliced garlic seemed to work well too. I’d use 4-5 cloves

This dish seems to be best with a bit of spice to it, so I like adding red pepper flakes, but a fresh hot pepper would be best.

Once your veggies are finished cooking, add your pasta to the pan and give the mixture a good toss. If it seems a bit dry, add more olive oil.  Serve immediately and top with fresh chopped parsley and fresh Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Now let’s mix it up a wee bit more (mixology and the Teardrop lounge) and then get dressed.

As always, Trix


Jul 11 2010

Insatiable

Insatiable.  What better wine to pair with “Naked Pasta?’  I quickly sent a text and photo to both “chef” and “date” – two friends in Tulsa rustling up veggies, salmon and pasta.   Caught in iPhone photo-taking mode by the Safeway wine sommelier, I tossed a bottle in my cart and pushed on.  The Chardonnay is currently “cellared” in my flat waiting for the right moment – kind of like me 25 years ago.  I was a 26-year old virgin waiting for “the one.” Once uncorked I had the abandon of a genie released from a bottle.    I was exclusive but insatiable!

Released a second time on the dating scene, a quarter of a century later, I wondered what to expect and how I’d react. How had time and experience possibly changed me? I knew enough to know I had set sail wanting it all but how would I steer my ship on the journey. Would I drift, would I seek safe harbors, would my itinerary include varied ports of call?

Questions expanded to include: What did men and women,  after years of marriage, think and expect? Were there still double standards for the genders?  Did mature adults “hook up” like today’s teens?  Was there license or a pattern of using someone  “casually” to buffer the ache of the initial bottomless hurt of a ended, long-term relationship? Could well-adjusted adults enjoy unexpected couplings without fear of such casual sex branding them with “a fear of intimacy?” Had sexless* or loveless marriages created pent up desire?  Were men and women “wired” differently? In my age group, was there an expectation of “serial monogamy ” or attitude of free-for-all exploration? Was a new biological clock ticking?

Nudes & Whimsy thru July 29th at Pearl Gallery Tulsa.

What criteria did a tender-hearted, romantic woman who the first time around waited for “the one,” use now to navigate dating at 51?

As I pondered, I listened to peers further along in the journey.  They had much to say. One discovery surprised me.  I guess some things never change; intelligent people are having unprotected sex.  To quote one of my favorite Arkansas sages, “I tell my kids when you are with someone, you are with everyone that person has ever been with.”  I raised a son who knows better than to take such risks.  On this front the brain should be captaining the ship through relationships.

As for the rest, there are as many “right” answers as individuals.  I personally still lean toward mind, heart and body working in harmony and not conflict.  I still want it all.  I thought I had it a second time as I found myself in a head-first free fall a year ago.  Turned out there was no water in the pool and even my optimism smarted from the impact but I learned I could fall again – much more than I imagined possible before the experience.  A year later I am further away from “married”, no longer madly in love and starting to date. A few experiences tell me I haven’t changed and I don’t want to rush or be rushed.  This time is an opportunity.  As I muddle through I know I will make some great male friends I’ll grow to love and if I’m lucky, when I least expect it, I’ll fall a third time.  Hopefully it will be the charm because if I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned I am programmed to desire and thrive with someone very special in my life. I may never marry again but in the days ahead my life won’t be just about work and staying home alone unless, like last night, a night in with a Papa Murphy’s pizza, wine and a tear-jerker episode of “Glee” fits the bill most perfectly for recharging my spirit so when I do answer those match.com emails I give each my best.

Just in:  Lots of fascinating fact and thought-provoking theory in this New Yorker article.  http://nymag.com/relationships/sex/47055/ I just found linked to a Times article a reader sent me. *Quantified in article!

Also – visit The Pearl Gallery! 1201 East 3rd St. Tulsa, OK 74120 918.588.1500
Hours: Tues.- Fri. 11-5 www.pearlgallerytulsa.com

As always, Tracey