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 26 2011

In the black.

November 26th, 2011

This is the year I will (probably, pretty likely, almost positively) buy a pair of cowboy boots.

They will most definitely be new for me but THEY will not be new.  Baby, this is a perfect example of when to hit the consignment shops. And men, give it some thought, too.

My consignment shop finds to date include  a black leather jacket, fitted wool jacket with perfect lapels for  broaches, lace up boots that looked like they stepped out of my DJ Lafon painting Remembrance and a vintage evening dress that I can wear  fearlessly to any cocktail party knowing I won’t see myself coming and going.

A good outfit is priceless and timeless. And when you want to experiment with a new look, trim the investment by shopping consignment or the sales rack  so a misfire doesn’t send you back to “safe” purchases forever. It’s up to you if you reveal your sources.  It is fashionable to be a smart shopper and sometimes deliciously satisfying knowing flattery can’t include copying.

Save your money.  Support the local economy and shop without going into the red.


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.


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


Aug 20 2011

Roles changing?

http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1042110–the-decline-of-asian-marriage

This article has many interesting stats.

Does the heart  now play only a very minor role in the decision to marry or not to marry?

Trix


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


Jul 16 2011

Clues.

Some things just stick.

In my early twenties I read an editorial column in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. I had always thought one could learn a lot watching another hunt and gather (AKA shop).  I dropped most of my money back then in establishments offering books, wine and music.   How a nest is feathered can also be most telling but, as the columnist directed, skip the art, the books. I would add: the wine cellar, the closet, the medicine cabinet.  Find an excuse to peek in the box, the icebox!

What is inside that GE, dacor, KitchenAid…Subzero will speak volumes!

Under the glare of bright lights, my fridge was quite chatty this morning.

“She’s drawn to farmers’ markets. Totes a camera and on rare occasion, a shopping bag.”

“Heaven forbid there not be a jar of oh-so-versatile fig jam in the place.”

“Might be getting older but isn’t dairy intolerant -yet.”

“There was more food in here before breakfast today.”

“Will be dining on Peppered Pork Loin, Trader Joe lentils and streamed carrots sometime soon – and leftovers for days.”

“Prioritizes. Freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano is a must but life is to short to cook and peel beets when they can be bought that way.”

“Picks bananas not by the bunch. Safeway is out the back door, afterall.”

“Too green and too cheap to buy bottled water.”

“Should probably be thinking of buying more Washington wine during the 30% off sale because a girlfriend recently pointed out it costs more to cool an empty icebox than one partially stocked. Adding, “Wine counts, shoes don’t”.”

“Will graciously accept a dinner invitation!”

And that is just the CONTENTS talking!  What does your icebox have to say?

Always be exploring and listening but don’t let anyone catch you talking to the orange juice.

Trix


May 30 2011

Conflicted.

Yesterday I pulled 49 books (mostly hardbacks) from my belongings and donated them to a nonprofit.  I’ve done it dozens and dozens of times.  And just as many times I have sworn to get a library card and vowed to read more books.  You, too?

I did pretty much give up TV over a year ago with this goal somewhat in mind.  Business reading and facebook, however, quickly filled the freed hours. And today where I am?   Undeniably drawn to two books, reviewed in The Week. One The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman and the other The Subtle Body:  The Story of Yoga in America by Stefanie Syman.

It is a holiday.  The library is most likely closed but not Amazon.com and Powell Bookstore (the largest privately-held bookstore in the country and just minutes walk away). I could use the walk and fresh air.  Then again, maybe a better choice might be to stash the review away for another year and start the running program I’ve been thinking about this weekend or suggest both books to more compulsive book buyers or …

I am a conflicted human being. Choices, though, are sure nice to have, don’t you think?

Make the best of what you pick! Trix