Aug 21 2010

Shaving.

August 20, 2010

SKIN TO SKIN. That is the lyric that bounced around my head in the shower tonight.  I think it was Harry Belafonte accompanied by a sultry female vocalist … it was definitely something very sensual and it got me thinking…

How often are women expected to shave?

In this blog I’ve opened myself up to the bone (therapy) and desire (insatiable). So it is fitting we talk of SKIN and I want to know… not via email, but on this blog wall/ comment section because we just might liberate women:  How often are women expected to shave? Every opinion counts!

For men, “unshaven” for years has seemed the look – ranging from something well past what my dad knew as “5 o’clock shadow,” to unkept, untrimmed, bushy beards.  For women did a similar liberation happen?  Can I skip shaving legs and underarms everyday? Did I miss the memo, as I so often do?

Fact is my mother has asked, “Why do you shave everyday?”  I remind her hair growth varies between 51 and 89 years of age, to say nothing of society expectations and wardrobe.  I still wear dresses, especially in the summer. Many older women have liberated themselves and wear pants ( Katherine Hepburn deserves a mention; she definitely had a hand in making pants fashionable for women).  It makes a difference to one’s shaving routine.

My razor is orange and it vibrates, or it did.  Guess I need to find out what size battery it takes.  In the meantime I snagged a Groupon special for 3 very affordable laser hair removal sessions.  Stay tuned!

Always, Trix

The song! http://www.lyricsdownload.com/harry-belafonte-skin-to-skin-lyrics.html


Aug 17 2010

Trying therapy.

August 17, 2010

There is a point of over thinking, over analyzing.  A point at which you trip yourself up too many times because you are walking forward with your eyes cast backwards.  Or you stay glued to a spot weighing the options instead of just picking one and then another and another until something works right.  Nonetheless, I’ve decided to invest in weekly therapy.  To afford it I have given up two things that keep me relatively sane: a housekeeper and fresh flowers from Sammy’s.

Early in my college career I was an urban studies major.  I would later take a fiscally responsible direction and switch to accounting the middle of my junior year so I could pay the rent when I graduated.  While studying city development, though, I was immersed in sociology and physiology classes.  Putting together the puzzle pieces fascinated me but I started college at age 16.  The concepts were fairly abstract to me.  What life experience did I have under my belt to make real sense of complex causes and reactions? It was much later that first-hand experience with autism and menopause would better explain human biochemical functions than any textbook. And there is nothing like real world experience with a sociopath or unscrupulous businessman to open your eyes to differences in human beings.

Throughout the following decades as people spoke of therapy I would wonder what it would be like to learn more about myself from an objective resource, someone to keep me honest, to lend perspective and knowledge.   All the while I wondered, “Would therapy be like so many quizzes you take, you know, the ones that are fairly worthless because you can guess what the “right” answer is and therefore easily manipulate the conclusion?”  Dissecting my psyche remained an idle curiosity as long as I led a charmed life, which I did.

Why do therapy now?  When a family member recently became somewhat unspooled and hurled hurtful things in my direction I saw the writing on the wall: my uncharmed life was establishing itself with more than a single sequence of “three bad things.” I was in for many multiples of three bad things.   I dialed in for a life raft!

Also I hate being depressed. It is absolutely draining.  There are so many things I’d rather do with my time.  Blue has never been one of my favorite colors. Never.  As muddled as I might be, I know sustaining a steady diet of anxiety, sadness and grief will not make me a more compassionate person nor make me more accepting of my mistakes. I have hit the point of diminishing returns with this venture. I cannot think of anything positive that will come of continuing to spiral downward.  It is past time to slip back into the girl that would sustain a giddy feeling for days and spread the cheer around to others.  She didn’t have a crystal ball but she thought the future held wonder, opportunity and hope and her spirit was infectious.  She’s been gone for so long I don’t know if I’ll get her back but every once in awhile I see a glimpse of her or hear the lilt of her singsong voice. Logic keeps chasing her away. Logic tells me I may not have another good shot at someone special to share life with and financial means to always keep a roof over my head – the things that sustained her through trials big and small in the past.

I may be approaching a few months of therapy with a pretty tall order but I’ve got one of my dad’s cloth handkerchiefs tucked up my sleeve and I won’t know until I give it a go. It’s a kind of balancing act.  While I’m learning some new skill sets during my workday, I am equally determined to pick up some life coping techniques on my Tuesday lunch hours.


Aug 15 2010

Dog Days of Summer.

August 14, 2010

It’s hot.  The dog days of summer when Sirius joins the sun in the sky have arrived, creating sultry temps and casting an eerie quiet over the neighborhood during the time of day you can almost hear the sidewalk sizzle.   The dogs uncharacteristically pant and on each shortened walk, pull me toward every neighborhood water bowl to be found.  In a dog friendly town, there are many; Leo insisted we stop outside the Pilates’ studio, then the bank, the bakery, the clothing boutique.

The heat has me thinking again of garden hoses, or more accurately the absence of one.  For only the second summer in my adult life I don’t own a hose.   This time last summer I had a 10-foot Ace Hardware hose hooked up on the balcony.  On sunny, hot days I’d dress in a swimsuit and happily set about watering the trees, bushes, flowers, pavement and myself before happily collapsing, refreshed and relaxed for a cocktail or meal prepared by Joel.  I gave that hose to the couple who now occupies the flat because my newer flat doesn’t have an outdoor spicket. My current patio plants must be maintained with a watering can.   It’s green and made of rubber, a gift from The Plant Lady, Gay Hendricks.

Watering plants each day now seems more a chore than a summer ritual.  I know, it’s all about attitude. I’ve debated filling the watering can and dousing myself with its contents, saving just a bit to sip from the spout but it seems a wanting substitute for a real garden hose on a hot summer day.

I don’t have to think hard to remember dragging a hose across the lawn or the courtyard, using my thumb to shape and direct a rainbow-producing cascade of water over thirsty plants in a sun-baked yard or spraying an unsuspecting poolside sun worshiper. And no Alpine spring water in a plastic bottle I have ever had compares with the cool, refreshing nectar of water from a garden hose on a dog day summer afternoon.

As long as there are summer days there will always be such simple pleasures.  I try to make  the most of them during this time of transition when losses can still overshadow days.  Each moment of pure joy cancels out a moment of sadness and at least an hour or two of indifference.

Hoses may be gone from my life but there is still Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Money Ice Cream in a waffle cone.  Catch ya later, grator!

Stay cool. Trix


Aug 14 2010

Closer than you think.

Think about the drive to work today, or the drive home.  With or without a mobile phone in use, how often were your thoughts somewhere else?

We often cruise familiar turf preoccupied with thoughts outside the present moment and space.   Could it be we are similarly programmed to look elsewhere for things that perhaps are right under our nose?

Take hiking and coffee. The airplanes are full this time of year with travelers headed to Oregon to enjoy the state’s trails and java shops.  Since moving to Portland I’ve even taken up hiking. It bares a strong resemblance to what I once called walking, but the scenery is different and I do it regularly with friends – something I never did in Tulsa.  “In Tulsa,” I have explained, “the harsh weather keeps us inside socializing over food and wine.” In Portland I feel like a kid again, playing outside with chums.

I Goggled hiking Tulsa and got 322,000 results.  I Goggled coffee houses Tulsa and got 45,800 (substituting Portland for Tulsa yields 2,140,000 and 290,000 results respectively.)

Clearly I could have hiked in Tulsa everyday of the over 30 years I lived there. And despite 107 degree weather this month, I did – twice! Not with the same companion both times but that’s beside the point.  Come October, I am confident both will consider joining me again.  Both my August outings acquainted me with Turkey Mountain on the west side of the Arkansas River.  I’d only been there once before though I still own a house just three miles west on 71st Street.  With a heat index of 115 degrees, you may wish clothing was optional but the tree canopies protect you from the sun; bottled water combats the heat.  And (thanks Julie!) I learned a simple way to navigate this unfamiliar urban wilderness: consistently climbing up hill not only provides a better workout but makes later finding the parking lot and your car as simple as walking (excuse me, hiking) downhill. In Portland’s Washington Park, my strategy is simply to follow whoever is ahead of me and keep tabs on my off-leash Whippets.

When it comes to coffee, my approach is equally simple.  I usually get my daily dose brewed at home in one of those noisy “by the cup” machines that will wake the dead in the morning but yet go relatively unnoticed by chatty dinner guests many hours later in the day. Though I live in Portland, where Starbucks coffee beans are roasted, I buy Topeca Coffee in Tulsa and cart it home in my suitcase.  (Each and every time I open my suitcase to find an airport security inspection notice. I can only figure I am suspected of using coffee beans to throw off the hounds sniffing for other substances.)

I buy Topeca coffee as much for the story, as the taste.  Topeka was founded by John Gaberino and his wife Maria, a woman from El Salvador whose family has owned and operated a coffee plantation for six generations.  I remember years ago when John used to serve up samples of the coffee for Petty’s shoppers.  When the coffee market hit one of its lowest points, the Gaberinos and Maria’s relatives had determined the best way to continue the business for another six generations was to take the product from the field to the consumer, a process they dubbed “seed to cup.” This last trip to Tulsa I finally met Maria. It’s an easy task to find her in their relatively new cafe downtown.

When the Mayo Hotel in downtown Tulsa reopened after 30 years -sporting a $50 million plus renovation, Topeca Coffee opened a cafe on the ground floor.  It’s an inviting spot with glass table tops resting on trays of coffee beans, comfy leather sofas and over-sized photo portraits of plantation employees, like Miguel, who works on the patios. As the portrait label reads, “Topeca uses a traditional method of sun-drying fresh beans on large patios.  Beans must be raked and turned often to ensure all moisture is gone.” In Tulsa, beans from El Salvador are roasted on site daily and freshly brewed coffee is served with an assortment of pastries and sandwiches. I’ve read the Starbucks story; I don’t get the same feeling from it as I do talking to Maria or John.

The next time you are yearning to explore or wishing for a change of scenery, try looking at home with fresh eyes.

Always, Trix

My finds:

http://www.topecacoffee.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkey_Mountain_(Oklahoma)

www.washingtonparkpdx.org/map.htm


Aug 10 2010

Dogs & neighbors

I awoke today to find cards slid under the front door of my flat.  Each addressed to Leo or to Leo and Tracey.

Leo is my five-year old Whippet. He was viciously attacked by a Pit mix in the Fields, an off-leash dog park two blocks from our home in Portland’s Pearl District.

Dogs, like children, jump start the process of getting to know your neighbors.  In my experience, dogs  even more so than children.  Children, after all, are heavily booked with after-school activities – keeping parents on the run to places outside the neighborhood whereas dogs provide occasions to walk the neighborhood, conversing with those you meet on the street.  At least in an urban environment it works this way.  Without a fenced backyard, one walks with one’s dog(s) and a proper supply of doggie do bags. If you are at all social, you easily have two or three exchanges per walk, of which there are 4 to 5 a day.  Do the math…walking a dog can be your entire social life and an enviable one at that!

Sunday night while Leo was in surgery at Dove Lewis, I felt alone in my adopted city and longed for the yard around our former house in Oklahoma – a safe haven where Leo could chase birds and squirrels and his only brushes were with broken tree limbs.  But Leo is a city dog now and he has made his mark in his urban setting…perhaps more than me, The Whippet Lady, companion of Leo and his sister Bliss.

Leo will literally stop dead on the sidewalk if a passerby fails to acknowledge him.  There’s not an ounce of ego involved.  In every instance Leo has made eye contact, lifted his nose, raised his ears…he expects (and, I think, deserves) a return greeting.   I tug at his leash when the offender, a snob, has passed.  He quickly returns to his mission of greeting those ahead on the path.  I love this dog.  He has taught me so much.

It has long been observed that dogs and owners resemble each other.  I used to joke that I got Whippets in the hope I’d become lean, sleek and graceful – like Leo and Bliss.  Now I hope they will keep me sensitive, forgiving, accepting and trusting despite what comes on a Sunday in the park.

Always, Trix


Aug 7 2010

A reflection between junk & funk.

“She’s started dressing differently.”

Dress composed by Kristin Olson-Huddle using records, dufle bag, bed skirt, cassette tape.

I hadn’t noticed.  I was preoccupied, struggling to understand a wife married to Richard Gere being grossly unhappy.  The movie was Unfaithful (link below).     My movie companion went on to say, “She’s dressing more like a French woman.”  Ah!  A woman in love and feeling attractive equals French, not American, style.

Tell me what you think!  Do women dress for men? Do they dress for other women?  Or – do they dress consistent with their self image and / or mood? And do the French women have a certain Savoir faire?

A reader sent me a NY Times article.  I read it on the run, getting enough of the jest to be  disturbed.  Pause to imagine a middle aged woman with a home office confronted with what to wear to a business conference when her professional clothing wardrobe had been neglected for years.   As I recall she took us on her shopping experience before concluding  “who cares what potato sack this aging gal wears? I am no longer noticed.”

“Pooh,”  I thought.  Last summer dating rekindled my interest in dressing. Walking (the one exercise form French embrace, other than sex) in Portland had freed me of 17 menopausal pounds.  That dip also changed things and propelled me back to more fitted clothes, higher heels and girly stuff over a strictly functional wardrobe.  The biggest change in my style, however, was in my gait.   I got that swing back! Heels or not, I walked taller.

ReBrewed. Dress of used coffee filters collected by designer Adrienne Duckrow.

I seek a style that is comfortable with a little something to stand apart in a crowd. There is a line given to Maria Callas in Terrance McNally’s play Master Class that even my son at age six understood (he bestowed the advise on a NYC waiter during after-theatre dining).  “You don’t have a look.  Get one!”

Returning to PDX (Portland airport) at midnight recently I happened upon an exhibit called Junk to Funk.  I easily could have been happy wearing all but the window blind dress.  When wearing high heels it is nice to be able to take a load off your feet periodically and that dress wasn’t gonna let me though it did a great job of hiding ample hips!

This week, put on your Sunday clothes and stride down the street.  It’s a great feeling!

Always, Trix

Dress made of window mini blinds. Junk to Funk PDX exhibit.

http://www.filmsandtv.com/movies/dianelane.php#n37

http://blogs.fashionclub.com/my_weblog/2010/04/recycled-fashion-show-at-portland-airport-junk-to-funk.html