Jul 16 2012

North Star Golden Ruby Adventures.

Shimmering golden seas spanned the globe.   The last of the afternoon’s sunshine spilled through the nearby window, highlighting the globe slightly, understatedly.  My eye was drawn to it repeatedly.  A story certainly accompanied it.  It occupied a space in a home packed to the brim with such items, each clearly given floor space because of rich memories:  Balinese doors from a family home of decades past, walls of wooden African musical instruments, prestigious community awards stacked many frames deep against the baseboards and mountains of travel books earmarked and filled with scraps of notes protruding from their borders. It was a home filled with mementos of many adventures.  One would spend days exploring and still miss something.

This visit I picked the globe, with ruby red crystals dotting countries, to ask my hostess about. 

“Our kids gave it to us for our 50th anniversary.  The rubies mark each of the countries we’ve visited,” she explained as she gently spun it counter clockwise “Oh!  There are a lot of countries we’ve visited since then,” she exclaimed.

Add the task to a very ambitious to-do list!

I was the guest of a woman who graduated from a Chicago law school in the mid-40’s – 1940s.  Though in love, she at first resisted moving to Oklahoma.  “I wasn’t sure I could live in a segregated community,” said the Chicago native.  Her two female classmates in law school – both young African American women.

Her Tulsa bred suitor cleverly proposed with a challenge. “Marry me and change it!”

It was a marriage that would launch a lifetime of marvel and incredible contributions.  And the globetrotting hasn’t begun to stop!


Jan 2 2012

Tattoos

“Do you have a tattoo?” I asked.

“Of course.  Do you?”

“Of course not!”

“I am going to design one for you.”  he said, very matter-of-fact in his tone. The statement was characteristically spoken in his deep whisper of a voice that had already drawn me to the edge of my seat, leaning forward so as not to miss a word.

I was game, curious to see the design a man familiar, not with me, but cooking and football, would dream up.  Could he also draw?  Did he know I was a Scorpio or see me as a ladybug or some complicated abstract being?

Though I heard from him again, tattoo art never materialized.   Quite honestly I’d forgotten about it until today when I was thinking about butterflies.  A butterfly image would make me smile, as well as serve as a reminder to let things go. A hummingbird would draw a similar sense of awe.

I first sought out a butterfly image on the Internet.  Finding one magnificently transparent, I printed it and tucked in my wallet.   Next to my Southwest VISA it will also remind me not to spend more money further feathering my nest but to fly.

The butterfly was photographed by Eddy Van. Another of his images led me to a blog with another charming reminder of the delightfulness of butterflies. I’ve included the link below.
Always, Trix
PS As I write this a seagull is making wide circles in the air outside my window. He and I are 11 stories above Portland. His flight is as mesmerizing as that of a hawk making lazy circles in the air over Oklahoma.

Oct 24 2011

Touch base with your best friend

Didn’t have a high school sweetheart. Not even a college romance. No teacher really stood out in my educational period.  Mentors for a woman in business in the early 1980′s weren’t plentiful but in 9th grade I met an incredible young woman just around the corner from my parents’ house. Her influence I would count among the top 5 people in my life.

I was always the new kid on the block.  I wasn’t accustomed to welcoming anyone to the neighborhood but I tagged along with the gang of teenagers who lived on Delaware Place and visited the Keegan’s home in early summer 1972.  I met Glenda. Glenda wrote to her daughter Lisa that night, “I’ve met your best friend.”

Indeed when Lisa arrived in Tulsa from a summer trip and we met on August 9th we started a year together in Tulsa as the best of friends.  Lisa moved away August 10th, 1973.  Her father had been transferred back to New Orleans.  Glenda thoughtfully allowed us our “first anniversary of meeting” before heading south.

Since then, for 38 years, we have stayed in touch (am I doing the math right?).  At first we wrote daily, doubling up on Thursdays so Monday’s trip to the mailbox would yield 2 letters to make up for no delivery on Sunday. I visited New Orleans regularly in the early 1980′s and Lisa met my son when he was still in diapers and we were in our first house.  But I’ve never met her daughter, a lovely woman – like her mother – and slightly older than Lisa and I when we first met.

Minutes ago I booked a November trip to see Lisa for the first time in more than a dozen years. Family and business kept us both close to home during the 1990′s; we met once for a lunch in Dallas at the Mansion on Turtle Creek.

I hope the dates will fit her schedule.  The trip is one I’ve delayed far too long.

And you?  Isn’t there someone who should hear from you TODAY?

Always, 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 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 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.


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 13 2011

Baggage.

January 10, 2011

“Is there something in the side pocket you can take out to lighten the bag?”

I avoided eye contact with the fellow asking the question.   He had watched me stuff my lined, hooded raincoat in the zippered compartment. I didn’t want to carry it on the plane, across half the country – the long way.  Nor I was in the mood for someone who lived excruciating by the rules.  Twice a month I weigh in for flights with two bags, often each just under 50 pounds.  Last Monday I arrived with one 52-pound suitcase.

Charming the agent was out of the question.  A fowl mood was lurking just below my uncharacteristic, neutral, quiet, matter-of-fact demeanor.  I was worn down by two days with energy-draining people, the type whose complaining isn’t an occasional venting but a character trait.  I had wasted energy, time and breath with both, arguing the half full glass wasn’t leaking.

Many hours earlier a telephone call had woken me at 5:30 am from a dream of being tossed around in a vast, dark, bottomless ocean.   Two men were near me (in the dream, not in the bed). We were all swimming forward which seemed to me to be further out to sea; no land was visible.  I had paused to tread water, to question our direction (the dream mirroring my waking life isn’t lost on me).

The men had more reason for concern.  We were in shark-infested waters, they explained. We maybe had minutes until all was lost. I challenged this conclusion just as I’d foolishly argued with my weekend naysayers.  Once awake I wondered if the swimmers or the sharks were my two grumpy companions of late.

In the movie Eat Pray Love, Liz Gilbert is nicknamed “Groceries” by someone she meets on her quest.

My nickname might be “baggage.” I am not a pack rat. I regularly edit, delete and prune.  But I have always been a homemaker, even during my heaviest travel years.  An itch to travel, to economize is now rarely more than a thought away.  I have two dogs, heavy furniture and treasured possessions.  Each unique and irreplaceable, like the many people in my life.  I have been trying to travel with all of it, everyday.  It is time to maybe store possessions and distance myself from people that weigh me down and don’t make me happy.

Lugging baggage stops now.   Moving forward is about refueling, less about being grounded.

Suddenly it makes sense. Fifty pounds of baggage is the limit if I want to fly.

Lighten your load!

Always, 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

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.