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

 


Jul 24 2011

Open To Experience.

“Have you looked at the menu? There must be 10 ingredients in each dish,” I said.

I was standing in a crowded, noisy dining room that only allowed for “sound bites” of conversation.

He picked a dish on the menu and began to count.  Scientists can be so literal.

Coffee and pimento-rubbed smoked pork shoulder with pomegranate glaze, Korean rice sticks, lop cheon on mustard green kimchee.  Fingerling potatoes in red miso with Roger Konda’s wild and domesticated mushrooms. Firm tofu with fava beans, leeks and sundried tomatoes with Szechuan peppercorn.

What was easily visible on the menu with the naked eye thankfully proved my hypothesis.

I didn’t have a clue what cheon was and hoped when the time came I could pick out the tofu but first I had to come face to face with the eel. I was attending my first open kitchen. I’d read about open kitchens AKA “pop up restaurants” and on the car ride over to Portland’s southeast side a friend had read aloud the press release about this one at Abby’s.  It was our crash course en route to the event.

In the gathered crowd were four couples I knew but I’d bought a single ticket. When guests and seat assignments are paired at food events it generally means seating all the solo explorers together with or without a stray leftover couple once all the other tables have been filled. I had done nothing to thrust the assignment at the community table with what turned out to be the food and hospitality industry types involved with or studying the production.  I decided my role would be iPhone photographer.

Roger (Konka) turned out to be a rather shy farmer dressed in a Tastykake shirt he’d bought at Good Will. We spoke across the table of the “mowing pigs” he was now raising and the gold mine in truffles. Under a mop of thick dark disheveled hair he had dancing blue eyes in a sun-wrinkled face. My mother would have had something to say about the dirt under his nails.  I thought it made him even more authentic and farmerly.  We both smiled broadly each time a farmers’ market regular came over to fuss over him and share their experiences with buying and cooking the mushrooms he sold.  The florist seated to my right was a retired musical theatre dancer who had left New York, heading west in pursuit of his next career, arriving in Portland two months before the crash of October 2008.  Through many twists in the path he seemed to always land on his feet.  The beverage and spirit educator to my right talked of her 10 years living in Japan and explained her unusual name was really quite common in Israel. When we visit next I will ask her about sake.

By the time I rejoined my Wyatt neighbors for the ride to Teardrop for a nightcap I had made three new friends. It was Saturday.  I had wandered out for dinner on my own the two previous nights.  Friday at a neighborhood outdoor Italian café I experienced being kissed each time the owner talked by my table – cannot say I felt sorry for myself being without a date since I was getting more attention than any other woman in the place. Thursday I had a bird’s eye view for people watching at Irving Street Kitchen while I enjoyed making a meal of just a simple but delicious white corn soup and studying the ink on paper artwork depicting farm animals.

I have said it before but it bares repeating: eat out alone occasionally.  Suck up your courage, let loose of some of your pop bottle money and don’t cook at home. Even if you don’t live alone, and especially if you do, leave the kitchen sink. I promise you it will be more entertaining than most any rerun on TV – certainly any I’ve seen in years.  You may not learn to like tofu (I haven’t) but the port-like flavor of cherry wine may pleasantly surprise you.

Be gracious but particular about the table you are ushered to and above all else, take the time to do more than strictly fill your belly.  Feed your soul, recharge your imagination.  You will live through the execution of such a plan and you’ll do it with a style that will impress the most important person in the room to impress – the one attuned to every detail and nuance of your actions– you.

Bon appetite! Trix


Jul 18 2011

Center stage.

There is nothing worse than being a victim.  The way I see it, it is just easier to dismiss bad behavior, lack of follow through and inconsiderate gestures.  When something less than wonderful happens,  I often jump in to fix it, to reframe it in a positive light or to shoulder responsibility. I move on in a way I don’t when I am the one at fault.

Sociopath who stole from me – he couldn’t help it.  Son’s total jerk of a professor – he’ll improve once he’s a parent himself. Ungrateful friend – I didn’t do it for the payback.  Tiresome pessimists – optimism will prevail.  And the fellow who didn’t hold the door, the elevator – bless his heart, distracted by things more pressing than common courtesy. Boundaries?  Draw lines?  I don’t draw them.  At best I teeter and waffle anywhere near them, but more often cross them without a thought to saying, “Mother, may I?”

Life is getting shorter.

A wise teacher told me we each get to choose who sits in the front row as our life unfolds on stage.

I am learning to gently usher people to the balcony, the lobby – another theatre, in another state.  And I’m pulling the plug on my role as Don Q. Let someone else bat at some of the windmills.

A perfect score, I am learning, means doing more right than wrong. If I say it enough, I may believe it.  If I surround myself with the right friends, I will believe it.

Be gentle with yourself.  Always, Trix


Jan 29 2011

Now or later.

Do you live in “now” or “later?”

Do you wake up in the morning thinking about all the things you have to do before another sunset?  Do you stop regularly to ask yourself, “Where do I want to be in a year, with whom, doing what?” Do you reflect periodically on all the zillions of moments and memories you’ve already experienced?

Do you put as much energy into meeting new people as you do nurturing friendships?  Do you make a regular effort with either?

Do you make a point of learning something new each day?  Do you walk, ride or drive the same route everyday?

What choices do you make – for yourself?  Are you tourist or explorer or homebody?

I have cleaned my flat, bathed the Whippets, done the laundry, closed the door on my office and turned my back on the photo albums, household items and clothes soaked in the December rains that flooded Wyatt underground storage units and still in need of sorting and fixing.

A year ago I left my marriage of 24 years largely for “now.” I thought we’d fallen into a routine of  “When this happens, we’ll …” all the while living a wonderful life but not content enough.  Connected and not.  The half full glass is half empty.

Since last January  I’ve crafted a busy, full life between my two cities – on my own, sometimes feeling very alone.  Sometimes empowered by the possibilities.  Many times feeling doubly blessed.  I have not always been true to my mission. Routines have gobbled up hours, days.

Today, with almost seven hours until I dress for a theatre date, I have a blank canvas before me.  What do I pick to do first?! How much can I fit in?

Portland’s Pearl is my playground! I’ll share what I find!

Enjoy the moments of today, Trix



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



Dec 27 2010

The company of strangers.

December 27th, 2010

“We are going to ride the streetcar! We are parking the car so we can catch up with it.”

On Lovejoy Avenue, just outside Sammy’s Flowers, I was stopped by a little boy colorfully dressed in waterproof clothes.    His sandy-colored dreadlocks swept  his shoulders with each wisp of breeze .  He was either an articulate three-year-old or a petite four-year-old.   He told me more about his plan.  I shared with him my idea of sometime just riding the streetcar until it stopped and seeing where I ended up.  As I watched him walk off with his family for their Sunday adventure,  I thought of my son at that age.  He is 23 now and lives in Tulsa, the city where he was born, the city where I spent all of my adult life until late 2008.

It was Sunday.  For two hours I had been walking a corner of Portland’s Nob Hill Neighborhood and the northern part of the Pearl District. Oddly enough I was thinking about all the ways to get around as I wore through a bit more shoe rubber.  I’d passed boats, cars, buses, streetcars, trains and lots of walkers and cyclists. The public transportation in my neighborhood is a chief reason the Pearl often places in the top five places to retire.  What other things go into deciding where to live?

A bit of goggling and I found sites with questionnaires to help a reader decide where to live.  Factors to consider included work location, cost of living, climate preference, cultural amenities, outdoor scenery, health care access…  I have tallied up pluses and minuses for both Portland and Tulsa.   There isn’t a clear winner.  My marriage brought me to Oregon.  My business client base is still in Tulsa.  I visit Tulsa monthly and still put full-time effort into staying connected to the community.  On Thanksgiving I passed the morning with an iPhone in one hand, a coffee cup in the other – texting and calling over 70 people – many of whom hail from Tulsa.  That Thursday night I dined with Portland friends.

I grew up living on four different continents and an island in Indonesia.  I don’t know that I need to be with someone to feel connected, especially not in this technical age.  Because I work from home, one thing I know I need throughout the day -as much as oxygen and food – is regular brushes with people, opportunities to smile, chances to exercise.  I meet the eyes of each fellow walker, chat with neighbors on the elevator, at the dog park, in the market…I wave as I pass businesses and store fronts to acknowledge the owner of Green Grocery, the designer at Smash Cut, the associate at Umpqua Bank, the concierge at Park Place… I wave back at people on passing trains.  Each walk is energizing.  Each  lifts my spirits in any kind of weather and collectively they’ve helped me shield some (many) pounds!

As I sat waiting for my Mac to boot up to begin writing this entry, I glanced over my left shoulder through my south window.  A neighbor standing in her living room folding linens,  stopped to wave.  Turning back to my screen I looked up and a 12th floor neighbor on his balcony smiled and nodded.

Making your way on your own can be daunting, exciting, scary, overwhelming and confusing – every day!  When you are ready to choose where and how to live, try to embrace it as an opportunity to find a good fit for you.  Listen to one voice – yours.  Make this your time.

And for fun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FE_9CzLCbkY&feature=player_embedded#!

Always, Trix

Trix

http://web02.bestplaces.net/aarp/ls/


Dec 27 2010

Exhale.

December 26, 2010

Most probably wouldn’t listen to a yoga class CD sitting bound in sardine pose on a packed Southwest Airlines flight between Phoenix and Portland during the holiday season.  Big mistake on their part.  Lifesaver for me.

We had pushed back from the gate only to return; mechanical problems – more delays.  I thought of work- tasks piling up while I flew between Tulsa and Portland on my monthly compute.  I thought of the house sitter who would have walked my two Whippets for the last time as I boarded and then gone off to work for eight hours, unaware of my dilemma.  A new version of Home Alone was surely in the making before I would land in PDX.  Bliss eats books when rattled.  And Leo?  Well, he does three-legged dog to make his statement.  As I imagined what was ahead, the two little boys under three years old seated next to me were warming their vocal chords for a grand aria.

Acquiring a yoga CD was my answer to maintaining my new habit of regular exercise while traveling for over a week each month.  Postal delays got the CD to me just in time for my return flight so there I was, plugged in and listening to a yoga class with my seat in its upright position.

The audio instruction began with breathing – deep, calming, audible breaths.  Even with the instructor announcing his name and the class first, a  giggle welled up in me.  I closed my eyes and concentrated on my breathing, which is too often shallow.  As I continued to listen to the CD  I was led at just the right pace by a confident voice walking me through the process of inhaling to “fill the belly” and “exhaling to empty.” Instruction and encouragement were delivered with a minimum of words. Just listening suggested the  pace gave time to work in each pose, gave time to breathe. Standing poses came next.  Still the focus was on breathing. Nothing was rushed.  I knew, for the first time, I had a chance at a home practice – a practice guided by a voice that seemed to be in the room, reminding me to breath first and foremost and giving enough pointers about the poses that I didn’t need a classmate nearby to follow (or mistakenly compete with).

As the teacher spoke of mind traveling, fantastic voyages and returning focus to the practice my three seatmates demanded attention.   The mom allowed me to hold the 1-year old.  I walked the aisle of the airline.  Together  he and I interacted with other passengers unable to resist the wonder in a 18-month’s eyes.  He was a doll! I enjoy traveling.  The last leg of my recent journey was especially nice.

A few minutes of yoga turned a delay around – letting me be in the moment completely, thoughtfully contributing.

Breath! Take it all in. And get yourself a CD!

Trix

www.bradkeimach.com and on facebook at Beach Yoga with Brad.


Nov 30 2010

A kiss.

November 30th, 2010

I froze.  One of the password challenge options was, “The name of the first boy (or girl)  that kissed you.”

How could I forget something like that? Yet, there I was – staring at my Mac, drawing a blank.  I have no trouble remembering the last time I was kissed and most days it doesn’t seem like the two were separated by (gulp) 39 years.  Isn’t it short-term memory that vanishes first?

Now that I was thinking about kissing, a new anxiety welled up inside me.  Would I, do I, remember how?  Would I poke someone’s eye out?  Would I break my nose, chip a tooth?

“It is like riding a bike,” someone said.

No it isn’t.  Riding a bike requires balance.  An unexpected kiss, even an expected one, can throw you quite off balance.  And that’s a good thing that feels pretty similar regardless of age, in my experience.

Maybe the later stages of life really do bare similarities to the first.  Here I am, like I was at almost 13, wondering if I’ll ever be kissed (again).  Not much I can do in the way of practice but perhaps work on the breathing part in yoga class. That should improve my balance  – in standing poses!

Always, Trix


Nov 12 2010

Surviving a poke.

November 12, 2010

9 things out of 10 I usually can do really well.  Those successes put me over the moon (probably not a glam scene but I do a jig around the kitchen that leaves no doubt I am happy with an outcome).  I am as good at fixating on the one thing not exactly stellar.  I’ve had 52 (just) years to hone my single-mindedness.  Trust me – it is powerful stuff.

When one is spinning around from major life changes (and I no longer believe they come in series of 3 but rather groups of 3 weekly), there are many opportunities to convince yourself you are a total screw up.

It can be just as easy, or should be, to celebrate staying in the game, unafraid and open to what chance brings.  When my tender heart takes a poke I remind myself, “good to be feeling something!”

Don’t miss out on life!   It is meant to be shared.

Trix


Nov 10 2010

My guy Tad.

“Tad, as in Tad the Cad on All My Children?” I asked.

“Yeah.”

About the name – pretty sure he’s been asked before by those of us familiar with the soap opera role played by actor Michale Knight. My Portland Tad is a homeless fellow I met him through the Whippets in the Fields.

My friends who know of Tad worry about me and our connection.  They needn’t.

The Fields is a rare undeveloped plot in Portland’s Pearl District that functions as a semi-official off-leash area.  In one particular spot it hosts a treasure chest of smells and discarded items. Most dogs and owners miss it, preferring the grassy fields for games of fetch. Whippets don’t play fetch. Leo gets the ball and then deposits it as far away from the person who flung it out there as possible. During Leo’s first days of living with us he and I indulged in games of Donut Dash in the long hallways of our Tulsa home. Leo would retrieve the greenish, tennis ball material, donut-shaped toy. He’d then quickly zip back towards me but always try to skate past me on the bamboo floors with his catch. I caught him, threw the toy back down the hall. The game continued.

The day I met Tad was a sunny, but slightly cool day. He was wrapped mummy-style in a green blanket on the pavement next to his heavily laden cart. The Whippets couldn’t resist exploring. They sniffed and poked around Tad during each of our first two walks of the day despite my effort to distract and chorale them. By mid-afternoon and our third walk, we found Tad standing, neatly folding his linens. I apologized for my nosey Whippets.

“I’ve found a huge bag of dog food. Would your dogs like some?” Tad asked.

Tad has eaten dog food, cat food, too. He definitely prefers dog food.

“Is it the oiliness of the cat food?” I asked Again, “Yeah.”

I worry often about financial security, especially starting over in my 50′s when many friends are retiring and embarking on fabulous trips I don’t see in my future. Tad didn’t once complain about his situation. He was, indeed, concerned about the disorder of his cart when I took his photo. Now when the weather here turns cold and wet, I text Tad. “Are you somewhere dry, warm?” He sends me a photo of an enclosed parking garage – his cart off to the side.