Oct 18 2010

Dancing Through Monday

October 18th, 2010

Good and Monday in the same sentence?  You bet!  Not really a stretch today to say, “Great Monday!” when describing the 4th, 11th and today (each spent in a different city).

There is a lot of wisdom and good advise in fortune cookie messages.  I think. My last TWO promised the 18th would be lucky. “Expect the best and that is most often what you’ll get.” I carried that fortune in my wallet for YEARS.

At around 6 o’clock I went to the kitchen to get my purse for an OfficeMax supply run.  Hearing music from the corner by the window, I thought I’d left the stereo on.  When I walked closer, I discovered the music was coming from outside - 11 stories down and 2 blocks away.  I RAN to the elevator.

10.18 Dancing in the Streets Watch the video, if you’re in the mood to dance or want to get in the mood.

On my way south to OfficeMax, while there and even on the walk home I found more delights and surprises – JUST as I expected!

Expect Tuesday to be over-the-top!  And share the details with me.  xo, 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


Sep 26 2010

Belonging(s).

REALITY, MEMORIES AND DREAMS OVERLAP. Deb Hillner

The seasons are changing again. In the past week Portland weather has dallied with fall, winter and summer but never quite the freshness of spring, the flirtatious nature of our most fickle time of year.  Instead the mood has been more the ripening, maturing, the rhythm of established and emerging patterns, routines.

Today it’s a rainy, quiet Sunday.  It’s the kind of day you start slowly over breakfast, reading a book or scanning a newspaper.  A burst of energy follows to set the household in order.  The laundry room hums, kitchen counters are scrubbed, a vacuum is given a spin around the house, trash is collected, pillows fluffed, dogs walked.  Then an eye is cast toward the week ahead.

Noon approaches. In the past I would be right where I am today, in my office.  I would be tidying up stacks of reading, invoices, media proposals, art production elements – doing all the things to ensure a running start on Monday morning and the piece of mind to savor an unrushed, lazy, restorative Sunday night.  This time a year ago Joel would have gone to the gym and returned from the market with armloads of vegetables, salty snacks and bottles of wine.  The TV or the CD player would be turned on in the other room and voices would mingle with the sounds of chopping and cooking, the scent of garlic would meander through the flat.  A rich stew would soon be in the pot, simmering for our evening meal.

A glass of wine deposited on my desk would announce the countdown to lunch and a movie – often a classic, sometimes a thrilling new mystery or a light-hearted comedy, if the week had been somewhat draining.

This sentimental journey of mine began today with dusting.  Every object in my home has a story, a memory.   A bit like my father, I early on assumed the role of Norvell family archivist.  Unlike him, I’ve learned to part with photos, cards… redundant or unused clothing and household items.  Still, even in less than half the space of my former Tulsa house, my collection of material items weighs in at TONS, not merely pounds – ask North American Van Lines. The objects are books, tables, art…  Everything is in its place though none of it selected or chosen to decorate but to amuse, to delight, to commemorate.

When Joel moved out and later when he moved back to Tulsa he took only essentials, leaving even his music collection.

I still qualify as a newcomer to Portland.  My belongings have logged nearly two years here, as have the Whippets; I myself only roughly half that time as business takes me to Tulsa monthly.  Here people do not know of my childhood overseas, they do not know of the over 19,000 hours I devoted to volunteer work for Tulsa arts and nonprofits.  They’ve not witnessed my knack for arranging furniture, events, life… To a degree this helps with the practice of “living in the moment” but I am the sum of many moments, of many encounters, many influences.

“It is important when people enter your home they immediately have a sense of who you are,” Joel said when I asked him why we weren’t dividing up household processions when we separated.

On rainy days, and Portland has its share, I smile as I survey the lush evergreens of the west hills beyond my office window, inhale the cooking scents of a mixture of nearby restaurants, enjoy the feel of the breeze blowing in through open windows and doors that are rarely closed because of the temperate climate, and pause to listen to the sounds of a lively, urban neighborhood 11 stories below.

This city that I am growing to cherish lacks but one thing:  the presence of friends who know me simply by the sound of my voice, the color of my eyes and our shared, intangible memories.


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 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


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


Jun 29 2010

Ask me on the third.

“Big plans for the 4th?!”  he asked, with a Cheshire Cat grin.

“Ask me on the 3rd,” I muttered, my mouth full of dental instruments.  It was Monday. I still had my head cold, was getting a silver filling replaced and my Match.com guy was interested – in someone else.  Did I really want to think of my first major holiday alone?   No.

But today is Tuesday.  The table is set for a madcap, potluck dinner with seven dear friends – or at least six. The seventh guest is my co-host for the evening, someone who “friended” me on facebook while he was traveling in Athens last month with his nephew. We are meeting for the first time at 6 o’clock tonight, roughly the same time my overnight guest and her dog Sofi arrive.

He has already written two poems for me. See if you can find me in this one:

Tulsa is where she says she comes from.

Really, she comes from everywhere…

Always, has, always will.

Creating her own sense of place

Each and every whistle stop of her journey…

You’d think she’d settle down by now.

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