Dec 30 2011

Fork in the road.

Do the most significant directional changes in our life come about by design or chance?  By accident, impulse, peer suggestion or careful consideration?  Five years ago, would you have imagined yourself where you are, doing what you are doing and focused on what has your attention today?

What can we truly control and direct and how much do we wish to do of either?

I find myself loosening my hold on the reins, becoming more fluid, choosing now over no and never.  Still seeking a home, a safe harbor for my golden years but increasingly content with an interim nomadic lifestyle and lightening the load of possessions.  Treading more softly and stretching further.

Daydreaming has lost its allure, replaced by exploring – with enthusiasm and the expectation of delightful finds.

Enjoy the freshness of a new year.

Always, Trix


Nov 27 2011

A lot is the same without Carl.

November 27, 2011

Find a few old letters and you’ve got rocket fuel for a trip in a time machine. And you may just like getting to know your younger self.

Three times one recent Sunday I loaded up a bellman’s cart with donations for the Salvation Army and headed for the lobby collection point.  I had scooted a good 100 to 150 pounds out the door before finding a crate of letters saved from the basement flood last December.  I dove in.  I was lost in memories before I had settled comfortably on the carpet.

A quickly scribbled draft of a letter later tidied up and mailed read:

Dear Carl:

Did you ever you make it to LA during mud season?  I keep forgetting to ask. Your lazy summer days in Steamboat are inviting. Are you painting at all?

I am writing from Cleveland – enjoying a break from stockings, hairpins and the Oklahoma heat for cooler, relaxed afternoons playing with my young nephew and niec Today we saw a Chardin exhibit downtown.  I liked his subjects and mood, for the most part, but eventually had my fill of images of dead rabbits nailed to the wall. And I have to say, I still really prefer to see art somewhere other than in a museum. Afterwards we stopped at the Westside Market. THERE I could spend HOURS strolling among the stalls.  Many have been in families for years.  Great faces, stories – so lively!

The trip and staying with family has been a nice break after indulging my appetite for solitude during my first two months living alone.  I am somewhat eager to get back to my place – a high rise flat.  I really like where I live.  My flat is small but the whole north side is one big window. I keep the drapes open to a view of hills and city lights.  Safeway, the library, the river, work – everything but school is within walking distance. Couples I knew in the building before moving in have gone on to buy houses but I meet plenty of new neighbors just coming and going  …

The letter was dated 9.2.1979.

Today the windows in my 11th floor Portland flat frame views of the West Hills and downtown.  A Safeway is next door and I am, again, relatively new to living alone. Neighbors still come and go and I regularly visit the Waterfront to spend time strolling through markets, taking in all the stories, sights, music, people. After years of involvement with the arts, I still view vibrant museums as those flinging open the doors for events with living artists and could-be patrons and I seek out galleries in a new town before paying admission to museums.

The girl who wrote to Carl was less than half my age. At first I felt shamed to have spent 3 decades seemingly going nowhere.  Then it struck me.  Many days I feel 21 again – in a good way.


Nov 25 2011

Bit slow on the pickup.

November 25, 2011

This Thanksgiving I was grateful for an unexpected booty call.

It took me nearly fours hours to recognize it (some very specific dialogue finally tipped me off), a few minutes to consider it and several more hours to find the words for it.

I’m usually faster on the pick up. Also known to misuse and misspell slang, this morning I goggled “booty call.” Per Wikipedia:  A 1997 comedy film with bad boy Jamie Foxx.  I looked further.

Urban Dictionary: A late night summons — often made via telephone — to arrange clandestine sexual liaisons on an ad hoc basis.

Hmm. “Liaisons” rolls off the tongue much the same as does one of my favorite words: “lagniappe,” Southern for “a little something extra.” As for “ad hoc” – first known use in 1659 – it rhymes with Bangkok, bedrock ….  ah, the sonnets and snippets that could come of a tryst!

Sometime around 7 am I drifted off to sleep, satisfied. Though tempted, I’d chosen not to get any but simply enjoy learning that at 53 I’ve still got “IT.”  And my text buddy? He’s probably equally fine and chuckling.  In the wings he had two younger options with more expansive vocabularies, better rested and still eager to hook up.  As is my nature, I believed him.


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


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.


Apr 28 2011

Fire escapes

April 27, 2011

Ever noticed how often fire escapes are the setting of love scenes?

Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Pretty Woman, West Side Story…

Hollywood bit me at an early age. The hope of a passionate scene (on a fire escape) with me cast in the leading lady role has endured for decades.

I live on the 11th floor of a building.  Even Daddy Longlegs ain’t gonna get to me and I like it that way.  For now.

As eager as I was to find Mr Perfect in my 20’s, my brain said, “Not yet! I have things to do. I am not yet the person who will catch that guy’s eye and hold his attention.”

Now I think, “What a catch I am!”

But an alarm sounds in my brain,  “Not yet!”

This is my time.  Many doors have closed but a sparkle remains and up on the roof I only have to wish to make it so.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP8OVzVzR6o

Always, Trix


Apr 13 2011

Bittersweet.

April 12th, 2011

If you are lucky enough to find a second love, be sure not to measure it by the first.

Be surprised… life is anyone’s guess!


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