May 30 2011

Conflicted.

Yesterday I pulled 49 books (mostly hardbacks) from my belongings and donated them to a nonprofit.  I’ve done it dozens and dozens of times.  And just as many times I have sworn to get a library card and vowed to read more books.  You, too?

I did pretty much give up TV over a year ago with this goal somewhat in mind.  Business reading and facebook, however, quickly filled the freed hours. And today where I am?   Undeniably drawn to two books, reviewed in The Week. One The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman and the other The Subtle Body:  The Story of Yoga in America by Stefanie Syman.

It is a holiday.  The library is most likely closed but not Amazon.com and Powell Bookstore (the largest privately-held bookstore in the country and just minutes walk away). I could use the walk and fresh air.  Then again, maybe a better choice might be to stash the review away for another year and start the running program I’ve been thinking about this weekend or suggest both books to more compulsive book buyers or …

I am a conflicted human being. Choices, though, are sure nice to have, don’t you think?

Make the best of what you pick! Trix


May 23 2011

Perspective 101

A crowd was gathered.  He had a captive audience.

“I mean, come on.  How many tornadoes or hurricanes is it going to take for those people to learn they should not be living where they live?” said the man in line at an airport in northern California, near the Pacific Ocean, near a fault line or two.   He must have been just passing through town. Nearby TV monitors were reporting a hospital badly damaged and the death toll already at 89 in Joplin, Missouri after a Sunday tornado.

The man didn’t single out Missouri; Mississippi was next up as he continued speaking from his soap box with the voice of authority about  undesirable locations to set up home.  I had already been in touch with friends near Joplin.  I moved to another part of the gate area while the A group boarded the Southwest flight.

“Yo, bro!  My bitch is in jail and I’m getting on a plane.  I need you to wire $1500 to the lawyer.  I’ll pay you back tonight.  I got the money.  I need you to do this.  I promised her she wouldn’t have to stay there again.”

A B47 boarding pass earned me a front row seat to learning more about the woman in lock up as the man went through his list of flush, generous friends, talking more hurriedly on the phone, urgency mounting as we got closer to the plane door, and then to picking a seat.   He was pretty young, tattooed and casually dressed.  I wondered what he did for a living to easy swing a 4-digit get-out-of-jail card and be traveling on a weekday afternoon.  I picked a middle seat between to run-of-the mill business men playing games on an iPad and iPhone.

Everyday I wrestle with location and finance decisions but relatively speaking, I’m free as a bird.  I was flying back from southern California.  I don’t see it as a place I’d ever live full time but I already have plans to pass through for a day again next month. I find travel delights, entertains and gives me perspective, sometimes (often) in rather unexpected ways.    Two hours later I was on the Trimet during rush hour in Portland.

Expanding your horizons is pretty easy.  Take a day away from facebook where only the good stuff hits the wall and get a more realistic, unedited take on people’s lives. Travel – around the block, to the next city, the next state or country but walk or use mass transportation otherwise  you’ll miss out on a lot – good and bad.  Tourist choose, orchestrating their experience.  Travelers take it all in.

Tell me of your travels!  Trix


May 20 2011

In the closet.

Portland is a city of hoods.  I am not talking about gangs or quaint residential areas but something very practical:  rain gear. For the majority of the year I’d be miserable, instead of fairly unfazed, if not for my tried and true, knee-length, lined, washable (ignore the label), black hooded raincoat.  Carry an umbrella around and people assume you are either a tourist or a Californian.

Ditching an umbrella is even more practical in Oklahoma where stronger winds blow heavier rains sideways.  In the Tulsa Airport I spotted a woman in my very same raincoat.  “Norm Thompson?” I paused to ask.  “Yes!” was the reply.  We’d both shopped online two years earlier – while both living in Portland.   What are the chances?

Raincoats don’t seem to go on sale in the Northwest (I have my cap set for a Mycra Pac full-length, if they do) but they are retired to the closet during the dry season.  I was hanging my faithful companion up this month when I noticed my wedding dress.

Call me curious. I decided to try on the dress I hadn’t worn for almost 23 years to the day.  On our first anniversary I was pregnant and outfitted in a lovely, shimmery tent, but on our second anniversary I switched out the white wedding day pumps for silver evening shoes and headed to a Tulsa Opera spring production, elegantly dressed in a tea-length, strapless gown.  If only bridesmaid dresses in the late 80’s had been so, well, so – practical!

As I slipped into the dress I imagined an extra three pounds of weight would show as much in a dress as under a hooded raincoat.   I was wrong!   Above my waist the two sides of the zipper didn’t have a chance of meeting.  Unless the gravity factor associated with aging and weight gain has reversed itself, I can only reason that my rib cage has expanded over the years to fit the much bigger, fuller, compassionate heart that once belonged to a young woman just opening her heart to love.


May 18 2011

Work of art in progress.

At a certain age you get honest with yourself and decisions become easier.

Never would I stick with wearing a retainer for the rest of my nights.  A month, tops – maybe.  I survived gagging on the dentist’s mold goop only to find out braces alone wouldn’t give me a Hollywood smile.  It worked for our son, born with the same narrow jaw, high smile line…  an off Broadway set of ivories. I resisted asking if it had anything to do with my age.

To improve my looks at 52, I shut my mouth and picked two alternates that didn’t come with more long-term debt.  I am writing about them because you might want to consider one or both or share details with a woman in your life because every woman deserves to feel pretty, something my mom said I’d never be.  “Handsome,” she told me, “people will describe you as handsome.”   Her timing wasn’t great. I was a teenager already enrolled in modeling school to distract me from wondering why I had to be taller than 99.9% of the boys at school.

This time ‘round I grew eyelashes and fingernails – a makeover for about $120 – thanks to Gel Nails and Latisse. And I think I’m am walking taller, too. Afterall, the man who stopped me as I was walking out of a recent production of Chorus Line (ever so quietly humming to myself,”Dance 10, Looks 3″), was pretty right when he said, “Tall IS gorgeous.”

Get yourself to the salon and an ophthalmologist!

http://www.latisse.com/FAQs.aspx?state=12

http://www.nails-guide.com/category/gel-nails/

My favorite: Oasis Foot Spa 1030 Northwest 12th Avenue No. 3, Portland, OR 97209-2838(503) 223-3632


May 17 2011

Shooting star.

From the air, the wake of a motor boat on a lake, thousands of feet below. looks like a shooting star.  Have you noticed?

If you aren’t convinced, next time I’ll try to take a picture, but I bet you can imagine just what I saw.  We romantics see some things other people might miss.

This month I bought a Groupon for a sailboat ride on the Willamette River – more my speed closer to sea level.  Fresh out of college in 1980, I wanted to spend weekends on the water – even if it was a man-made lake.   I figured if I could crew, the invitations would pour in.  Toward that goal, I enrolled in a sailing class.  It was before the oil bust;  some people in Oklahoma had money to burn.  I looked around the classroom the first night and figured out pretty quickly I was the only one who hadn’t just bought a boat – a big boat.  Imagine the cart before the horse.  Their class attendance was pretty spotty, giving me a chance to bond with my instructor Sterling, who was a sun and wind-weathered fellow from the Great Lakes area.  Sterling believed in business cards but he  didn’t believe in motors on sail boats.  On a couple of still summer afternoons I considered swimming back to shore but Sterling had a least 100 stories to tell for each digit or partial digit he was missing due to navigating in violent seas over the years.

The following summer I tried wind surfing.  The instructor was a tall, blonde HUNK.  You heard me; I used the word Hunk.  Shall I say it again?  Charles (??) was the the tall, silent, dreamy blonde type.  I made the mistake of introducing him to my hairdresser one lake trip short of a summer romance possibly blossoming.  We will never know.

I like to imagine Charles (and his younger brother who made off with my copy of Fountainhead, Razor’s Edge and My Brilliant Career) still 24 years old, tan, capable and strong but a bit shy, just as I picture Sterling still alive and sailing new waters.

The hair stylist and I, by the way, are still friends though I’ve not seen her in maybe two years.  She caught the bouquet at my wedding 25 years ago. My young six-year-old niece cried.  I quickly I tossed the flowers again – to her.  Later I danced at her wedding.  Still later , on my sister’s 60th birthday, I danced under August Texas skies with her baby boy.  Now I’m doing a bit of a gig because my niece is expecting her second child.  Christmas will come a bit early this year.

She’s my only niece and if I don’t make it to Voodoo Doughnuts for a care package soon I will never lift my head again!  Since she saw the Portland iconic foodie spot on Food Network she’s been after me to sample and report back.  On the way I may stop at Mia Gelato (for a serving of Mona Lisa) or scoop up a coffee carmel ice cream at Cool Moon on Jamison Square or Chunky Monkey at Ben & Jerry’s on NW 10th (next door to Jones Cupcakes) .

Cravings happen at every age.  We somehow think we need an excuse to give in to them.  Shame.

Don’t miss the boat. Trix


May 15 2011

Fruit loop.

May 15, 2010

This morning I woke up thinking about food.  Everyday starts with breakfast but Sundays are different.  Sundays invite you to make more effort, to put on music, to linger, to read beyond the headlines, to delay turning on the computer – to make a whole English muffin so you don’t have to decide between yummy fig jam or the delicious apple butter produced by a friend’s annual fall weekend collaboration with Missouri friends.

Sunday breakfast is a delicious thing to contemplate, not to the exclusion of brunch. Brunch can be delayed until 1pm.

Last Sunday in Tulsa I had what Joel and I, with a nod to Denny’s and iHop, have dubbed a “Grand Slam.”  I can smell the bacon at the mention of it!   Today I thought I’d revisit a weekday favorite of late 2009 and 2010 (liked it so much I’d tired of it after serving 400 and something): a fruit smoothie.

The kitchen harvest this particular Sunday yielded banana, orange, mango, blueberry, pineapple and peach.  My recipe is “what’s on hand” but it seemed unbalanced today without red berries of some sort.  A trip out the back door to Safeway would have changed the pace ever so slightly, rushing me to enjoy the concoction before yoga class.

Instead I perched on a chair at my three-legged corner table with 6-fruit smoothie, coffee, two muffin halves* and laptop to Goggle “Fruit Loop – Oregon” while enjoying  a wealth of Pandora music on a station named “Instrumental.” **

This is what I found:

http://www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2008/07/the_fruit_loop_of_hood_river.html

http://blog.oregonlive.com/travel_impact/2008/07/FruitLoop.pdf

Ah, Sundays.  There is a reason they come before Mondays.  As for breakfast, it feeds the soul.

*Glenda Keegan got me hooked on Bays English Muffins back in the 80’s. They tasted especially good in her New Orleans St Charles Avenue kitchen because she made a point of stocking them for each of my return trips to visit her daughter.

*I recommend Island Dream (Ohm-G), Evoking Wonder (Bernward Koch), Pictograph Cave (Laura Sullivan)

Enjoy!  Trix


May 14 2011

Common courtesy.

Ever want to muzzle someone?

My phone was pressed to my ear as I talked with a business contact.  I was standing in a dog park with my two Whippets, Leo and Bliss.

Bliss began to bark.  Bliss only barks for the equivalent of the most direr "Code Blue" type instances.  She immediately got my attention.  Her cause for concern: a wolf-looking dog baring down on us in that slow, creepy way.  We were in his sights.

I gathered up and leashed both Whippets. The wolf got closer and his mate, a sleek, black Great Dane, joined in - stalking us.  I looked in the direction of their owner. "Please call your dogs," I called out.

He made a half-hearted effort.  I repeated the request with more urgency in my tone.  Taking flight was no longer an option; the distance between prey and stalker was too narrow.

"I am calling them." was his (lame) response.

"Can you be more assertive? My dogs are frightened," I asked.

A nose distance now from his dogs and increasingly frightened myself, I said, "Get your dogs on a leash NOW!  I am scared."

We visit the park four times a day and have since October 2008.  I didn't know this fellow or his dogs.  The same could be said of the owner and the pit-mix that hospitalized Leo last August.

You know what the jerk said?  "Lady, this is a dog park."

Anything but a gentleman, he may have had the last word but I didn't catch it.  My back was turned after a volley from our camp about common courtesy being common courtesy anywhere.


May 13 2011

Take a look.

May 13th, 2011

As the song goes, “I have always been a woman who arranges things.”

Last Sunday in Tulsa, I moved a sofa bed.  I was very mindful of how it would look and function in the room in a new location but my real goal was to improve my view – from the sofa.  A handful of minutes and a dozen or so feet to the west and my daily outlook was radically changed simply by a more expansive, engaging view – seen from the sofa.

Three months after settling in Portland, I moved for a killer view and more balcony space.  No one would argue that it wasn’t 180 degrees of pure “WOW!” Floor-to-ceiling 11-foot windows 15-stories above the ground in the Pearl District offered sweeping views of the Willamette River, several bridges, mountains in the next state, the downtown skyline… and all the trains, ships, streetcars, planes, cars and pedestrians that crisscross the city regularly.  Rainbows were a regular, magical bonus after frequent showers. I sat for hours on the balcony, mesmerized by sunshine, clouds and countless things that drew my eye, ignited my imagination – even enchanted by birds riding the wind within arm’s length.

Yesterday I paused outside a nearby condominium building with marketing information posted near the entrance. I smiled reading it.  Accustomed to seeing information about square footage of living space, balcony area, I had yet to  read of “more square footage of window space than a typical Pearl District shotgun style studio.”  I was sold!

For years I was, I thought, a savvy business traveler.  I sat in aisle seats on airplanes. Now I will walk to the last row on a plane to snag a window seat. It has many rewards.

“When you fly into Portland, always sit on the left side of the plane,” a Tulsa doctor told me a few years back.  He is both a pilot and a frequent Oregon visitor.  “You’ll see Mt Hood on a clear day,”  he promised.  Indeed you will!

When taking off westward from Tulsa late one afternoon I enjoyed an extended, seemingly endless, very breath-taking sunset.  It was riveting.  Another time a Southwest pilot called passengers’ attention to the Grand Canyon below us.  It brought tears to my eyes. I hadn’t seen the canyon since I was six years old.  It still looks HUGE!

Try this: for a few minutes today lift your gaze from you iPhone.  Be in the moment with what is around you.  Take a look, a long look. I am willing to bet you will see something new and quite wonderful.