Mar 19 2013

Theme Songs

Music is incredibly powerful.

Several years ago I suggested one NOT listen to music with lyrics during a breakup; too many love songs about just that – heartbreak.  Misery doesn’t need a crowd.

Tonight I stumbled upon a song that resonated with me – one that has many times. And tonight a few clicks on YouTube and I found a recording of it that struck me as capturing the raw emotion of the lyrics – wonderful lyrics by Hal David.   The music is by a composer I hadn’t thought of in years but one who wrote the soundtrack to the lives of many my age, Burt Bacharach.

I don’t believe in heaven but I do, and always have, let my heart lead the way.

Take a minute to listen (I hope this link works; truly wonderful recording.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAuoNa5g6i8

Always, T

 


Jan 2 2011

Blue skies.

January 2, 2011

At first the tune was hard to discern over the hum of a crowded dining room equally bursting at the seams with an abundance of winter coats and luggage further muffing sounds.  It wasn’t my imagination; holiday carols were over for 10 months! Michael Buble crooning “Home” (the tale of a frequent traveler), signaled 2011 was approaching. It was New Year’s Eve. I was seated by a fire and an electrical outlet, recharging at Timberline Café in Denver International Airport.

As 2010 ticked down its last hours and minutes, I was traveling a new route to a familiar destination. It was refreshing.

“Why on earth are you flying north?” my mother asked via email. Experimenting with my iPhone, I had used the GPS feature to “check in” on facebook.  My route:  Portland -Spokane -Denver – Tulsa. Economics had trumped playing it safe and winging it over the southern states this time of winter.  Why else would I choose a bigger carbon footprint?

I don’t mind holiday travel.  Do you?  I find the scenery all around is more entertaining. I can take off in rainy season, climb to blue skies and drop into snowy white fields polka dotted by deicer trucks strategically stationed around the tarmac. It’s the closest to time travel I’ve come in my journeys.  Business warriors with vacant looks and cumbersome roller boards are also replaced with gaggles of families.  As I joined the gate-to-gate parade on the ground, I mused, “Boot sales must be recession proof.”  New Uggies dominated in Denver the way cowboy boots rule DFW.  I also caught myself playing a mental game of hopscotch as I passed seated travelers… Hardback, hardback, Kindle, soft cover, Kindle…” I was traveling with all three (and two pairs of boots).  Outward transformations can also occur as one moves away from home, away from routine.  Many parents at nearby tables were still tightly tethered to electronic devises. For some, the laptops and cell phones will retreat to carry-ons by the the time they board cruise ships down south. Conversations will begin with their children as bandwidth narrows. It was already true for a single mom and her daughter to my right.   The little girl had lots to tell the waitress about their itinerary.  Her bright face, unaided by a LED scene, was like a lighthouse beaming in the low-lit dining room.

What was ahead for me in 2011?  What do you picture around the bend?  As I set off for gate 47 my pace quickened.  Soon I’d be flying toward the New Year! I have seen for myself there is plenty of blue sky when you expand your horizons. Let’s do it together!

Here’s to 2011!

Always, Trix



Nov 28 2010

Take a bite out of life.

November 28, 2010

Yesterday I was jamming and juicing on a foggy Saturday in Portland.  Breakfast and music and dancing!

As I tilted my head back for a big sip of plum-colored smoothie (banana, mango, cherry, blueberry, orange, pear and pomegranate seeds) I spied a patch of blue sky outside my window, just past the 13th floor balcony. Had my attitude made it materialize? Does just a gaze in a different direction change the landscape?

The benefactor of my weekend Reggae soundtrack was a man from Africa I met on an American Airlines flight.  He traveled with a heavy, bulging piece of luggage filled with music CDs.   He had to have his music with him at all times, just as I have to have dancing room.  Late one night earlier in the week I had swayed to the music of Omara Portuondo, a popular Cuban vocalist.  When I started I was just shy of the 10,000 steps a day the Japanese (and American Heart Association) suggest for good health.  A rumba here, a bolero there and I was at 10,452 before midnight.

When was the last time you danced?    Why not try it today?  Hope someone IS watching, that you start something delightful.  If you like Buddy Holly (“Maybe Baby”) slip into a hula hoop and call it exercise.   If the weather or your day has zapped you, be still and simply listen to the music.  Try Cleo Laine singing love ballads while you unwind late at night in a softly lit living room, put your laptop near your nightstand and drift off to sleep listening to a new artist on Pandora radio or get dressed up and go downtown for the symphony. No one will notice if you close your eyes in the concert hall to really hear every note of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 10 in F-sharp minor.  I promise you will be energized for a later dance.

Life can be challenging.  Don’t short yourself on fuel. Take it one song at a time.  Try a little finger food before noon or perhaps  a “Grand Slam”… eggs, bacon, baguette (fig jam), coffee, juice … The choices are yours.

Take a BIG bite out of life and chew slowly, thoughtfully until full – then dance!

Always, Trix


Oct 16 2010

Add it up.

October 16, 2010

(Reading this is greatly enhanced listening to music links @ bottom of page – if you can multi-task!)

On days when it seems the good outnumbers the bad – DON’T STOP TO COUNT!

I was diagnosed this week with skin cancer (1), then arthritis (2) and wore my heart on my sleeve, when it might have been better closer to the vest (3). If less-than-wonderful things happen in three’s, would it be okay to ask for wonderful things in groups of 7 or 9, one of my other favorite numbers??  Three is becoming a wee bit of a crowd.

Speaking of numbers.  I took myself out for Chinese in Tulsa.  My fortune cookie read, “Your ability to find the silly in the serious will take you far. Lucky numbers 9, 13, 18, 24, 33, 46.  I went back to snag another cookie.  “Do not mistake temptation for opportunity.  Lucky numbers 18, 23, 32, 34, 39, 41.”  Woo Hoo!  Goal was to find one listing 52 (got a birthday ahead) but the 18th is right around the corner.  I am getting up early 10.18th to enjoy my double dose of luck!

The bad stuff, I figure, is the dues I gotta pay for the good.  Does that add up? My sister years ago, during one of the many times she tried to soothe my heartache or disappointment, insisted being happy all the time would be boring.  No it wouldn’t.  Bored is just not in my vocabulary and a charmed life would not invite it into my emotional 36 expressions. I think it’s a bit like the idea of heaven.  Great spin to put on dying.  Little wonder I gave up mass for Lent decades ago.

On a perfect 10.10.10 day (last Sunday) in a so-so warrior pose (and crescent pose) I was reaching for the stars to bring a bit more heaven to the beach. Stars, the way we envision them, are bright, pointy like things. One I snagged poked a bit of a hole in my tender heart but years earlier in another fun, unexpected, moment – dressed in flats and pants,  stacked up next to some hot babes (dressed differently) and facing an all-male judge panel (cruise ship experience – if you must know) I won the lip syncing contest prancing around to I Will Survive (my son Clay has since recovered from that experience of mom on the dance floor.)

The Trix is still here, dancing and singing and come the 18th, it won’t be just any Monday.  I got a loverly slice of heaven at a great price the last time I stretched.  I am reaching for the moon next time (and warming up at Sunday 9:45 yoga class in the Pearl)!

Look up to the sky tonight.  If you don’t see enough starlight, go where it is darker.  You will find there are more stars up there than you can stay awake to count. That is some kinda wonderful.

Postscript:  Two super people recently sent this info to me – This October has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays, all in one month.  It happens once in 823 years. Add it up!  And then November 1st is my birthday.

xo, Trix

Follow these 5 (!) leads to good things:

Loverly ~My Fair Lady: http://youtu.be/T-2CnRuk6Nk

36 Expressions ~ Funny Girl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRbIjcKB_CY

Yoga ~ http://www.yelp.com/biz/beach-yoga-with-brad-santa-monica

Some kinda wonderful  ~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RijxCw2NZH0

Add it up ~ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=am8qrrZAtP4


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


Apr 15 2010

Culinary scavenger hunt.

April 12, 2010

My last scavenger hunt was 40 years ago. Somehow I rigged the assignment process to ensure my partner was sixth grader Paul Egers.  He was a tall, blonde Dutch boy.   We were as much an item as two can be at 11 and 12 years old.

We lived in Sungei Gerong on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.  Our quaint ex-pat compound had no restaurants, no TV, no shops.  We entertained ourselves in much the same way as our parents, filling hours sharing meals (getting paid to eat frog legs), playing games (remember Twister, multiple solitaire?), listening to music (I swooned over Davy Jones and the Monkeys), reading books (below, above and at our grade level), bargaining with toucans (peddlers), swimming and drifting around the camp on foot or bicycle during the cooler hours of the day.  The Musi River separated us from villages, like Palembang, to the west.  The Stanvac refinery delineated residential blocks from work areas and the jungle stretched out beyond fence borders to the east and north.  Days were simple but full.

I fell back on that kind of resourcefulness Monday night last week in Tulsa and decided to make the evening with a friend a bit of a “culinary” scavenger hunt. We were hunting for something new, something familiar, good service, tasty food, good value…NOT frog legs.

Yelp suggested Tei Kei’s on Utica Avenue for happy hour.  We arrived at six o’clock and were offered our choice of almost any table in the exquisite, multi-million dollar Asian-inspired building.  My companion mumbled something about a not-so-recent food poisoning story that seemed blown out of portion.  I chalked it up to many food establishments hitting a bit of a lull between Easter Sunday and tax day, something I learned representing Polo Grill Restaurant in the 1990′s . “Happy hour prices ended at 6:00,” our waitress declared.  It was 6:05.  We ordered wine, deciding to save our appetites for the next stop.

We pointed the car north toward Trula in the recently reopened Mayo Hotel,   a Tulsa icon that fell to rack and ruin for over 20 years.  In September it opened as a mixed-use downtown destination after $40 million in renovations.  Part hotel, part residential, the stately building at 5th and Cheyenne Avenue hosts a restaurant, Topeca coffee bar, the historic Crystal Ballroom and a new rooftop bar, dining room and outdoor terrace.

The last day the hotel was open in the early 1980’s my parents treated my sister, her family and me to Sunday champagne brunch.  Stepping inside the lobby this week was almost like falling into a rabbit hole.  I could remember that January afternoon as clearly as brunch at Philbrook this past Sunday.  A small group was camped out in the bar, looking happy, but we shared the restaurant with only one other couple. Nonetheless, a waitress who lived nearby assured us, “Things are happening down here.”  The formula for rejuvenating a city’s core is the same town to town.   The risk taker, the visionary, the optimist establishs the order in which it all comes together – residents, retail, entertainment.  Thursday was proof of that when the new Driller stadium opened for its inaugural game to a sold out audience.  Cains Ballroom co-owner Alice Rodgers excitedly captured the community enthusiasm with the tone of her post on facebook, which read, “25,000 people were milling around downtown last night!”

After a salad course (the fried green tomatoes were both visually appealing and filling) we were off to the Chalkboard, an uptown boutique hotel restaurant developer Paul Coury brought back into existence about 11 years ago by enticing John Phillips to return to Tulsa .  Somehow fate smiled on both the Mayo Hotel and the Ambassador Hotel and spared both from the wrecking ball when floods, fires and rodents did their damnedest to accelerate the affects of years of neglect.

At the Chalkboard Restaurant we found fellow diners and many familiar faces.  Three generations of a local family toasted a grandfather’s birthday, couples leaned close, and businessmen plotted and planed, paged through text messages and the like.

For a night cap we traveled slightly south to Vintage 1840, a wine bar on Boston Avenue  for the home-like comfort of an overstuffed antique sofa and nostalgic, recorded music.  From there we followed the allure of live music across the street to Mercury Lounge where the crowd was friendly, the musicians engaging.

As we found on Monday,  life is a banquet.  Sample as much of what your city has to offer as you can and tell me what you find.  Maybe get a group together and each pick a destination.  VooDoo Doughnuts is on my list this week and I anticipate LOTS to share with you about that Portland icon!

Bon appetite and happy hunting, Trix

Check these out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayo_Hotel

http://www.themayohotel.com/

http://www.hotelambassador-tulsa.com/

http://voodoodoughnut.com/


Feb 10 2010

Get out of town.

Get out of town.
2.10.10

Let’s talk about a super diversion when the blues come calling: a spa trip!  Actually, depression is optional. I cannot think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit (fellows, that includes you) from a visit to a resort focused on exercise and pampering. I’ve just returned from my first experience with such a destination. Another first was being on holiday with a girlfriend. Of the 10 women in our group I think I was the only virgin on both counts. No surprise; always been a late bloomer.

First, let me clarify… I was not pampered head to toe (as my envious mum imagined), though I might have been. Instead I logged well over 20,000 steps daily, danced, stretched, swam, rode and listened… to lectures, travel companions, music and that voice inside me that said, “do this more often.”

I admit it. Since starting this blog with the intention of grabbing life, I had fallen head first into “situational depression,” I just didn’t have a two-word tag for it until Judith (my Tulsa roommate) mentioned it recently in conversation. Jud is one of my inspirations, a woman ahead of me on the journey of becoming single after a long marriage.

I Googled the term, AKA “adjustment disorder.” Didn’t need a doctor to confirm it is what has ailed me recently. Check it out: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-adjustment-disorder Good news is it tends to run its course in six months. Summer 2010 is now in my sights and I feel better already.

Back to Red Mountain Spa in St George, Utah. If you can reach Las Vegas, it’s a scenic shuttle ride ($25 each way on the St George Shuttle 800.933.8320) well worth the stretch on Interstate 15 built in the 1970’s at a cost of $1 billion per mile.

We arrived well after dark so the resort – unfamiliar and cloaked in darkness under a cloudy, starless sky – seemed massive. The light of day revealed a charming, intimate collection of buildings the color of the surrounding, stunning sandstone and gardens exquisitely landscaped.

I was slow to change gears. The first day I was quite content to hike in Snow Canyon, show up for meals, spend time struggling with a WiFi connection in the business center (determined to be productive on the work front), participate in a Chi ball class and attend a lecture about the seven chakras. The word “chakra” is Sanskrit for “wheel.” The chakra system was developed in India in the middle ages. I drifted off to sleep that night resolved to tackle my yellow or Solar Plexus Chakra imbalance (Jud – my roomie – tells me I talked “a mile a minute” in my sleep that night).

Toward that end, the next day I hiked further into Snow Canyon, took my first yoga class in nine years, sweated and giggled through a Zumba class (shaking your body to Latin music that leaves you completely drenched and very happy) and managed not to drown in, yes, my first water aerobics class by a fancier name before returning to the outdoor whirlpool to emerge myself up to my ear lodes in warm, bubbling water.

The third day brought yet another experience – riding to the south end of the canyon on horseback. I was hoping my love of animals would give me a leg up; I last remember being introduced to riding at age 8 on holiday in Hawaii. All I really needed was our guide’s introductions: “Tits in the air, upper back arched, lower back relaxed and moving with the same motion as making love.”


Feb 1 2010

Searching

2.1.10
I went searching tonight.
Searching for comfort.
Searching for rhythm.
Looking for the brighter side to life.

For several days I have had a craving for fried chicken and mashed potatoes; buttery corn on the cob would have been the piece de resistance. Even more than a flavorful, fatty meal (I had a show-stopper lamb dish Sunday night at Wild Wood), I desperately needed new music – a powerful mood setter.

The brilliantly performed old torch songs, high-energy soundtracks (yeah, I’ve defied gravity with the witches of Wicked) and free-spirited Reggae classics in my iTunes library were worn out and not fitting the bill in terms of boosting my mood. And the Safeway Deli fried chicken had the aroma and taste of cardboard. All was not lost. I did discover a wonderful 1974 recording by Irene Kral titled “Where is Love.”

Irene Kral died at 46. She was a ballad singer inspired by Carmen McRae ( big chapter in my music library) and made more famous posthumously when Clint Eastwood used her recordings in his 1995 movie, The Bridges of Madison County. Her recording is intimate, passionate and will speak to your heart.

As recently as this summer I told my friend Elizabeth, “Anyone going through a breakup should eliminate love songs and listen only to instrumentals.” But maybe there is some comfort in being reminded we are all vulnerable creatures seeking love.