Monday, July 19, 2010

A Bite of the Apple

There's something about a visit to my beloved Manhattan that sends an adrenalin burst through my body. Tingling my energies. Touching my soul.

It has always been that way. Annual childhood trips to The City from my home in the rolling bluegrass of Kentucky dazzled my imagination. A magical kingdom between two rivers. My Oz.

The pink walls and tables amid tea carts bearing fanciful desserts at Rumplemeyer's across from the park.

Twinkly lights, multi-hued balloon swirls, eggs b chased by Shirley Temples in martini glasses at Tavern on the Green.

The fabulous B's of shopping wonderland: Best and Co., Bendel's, Bergdorf Goodman, Bonwit's!

Skaters wrapped in bright woolen scarves figure-eights over the white ice at Wollman rink, the painted ponies on the carousel, Alice perched high on toadstools watching boats gliding across the man-made pond. Ah ... my Alice statue. Then. Now. Forever my go-to place for solace and the sweet peace of time.

Sophisticated ladies in pencil slim black dresses with fox collars and mink stoles casually draped over their delicate shoulders. Pearls. Dreamlike.

Over the years. My residence for a decade. The venerable Lotos Club my haunt. My home away from home. Impromptu, spontaneous visits planned in the morning for an eight o'clock curtain of a new show. An alto sax mournfully crooning in a blue smoke filled bar underground. My heart races as I cross whichever bridge leading me to this magical island that forever channels my soul. My alternate self. My real self. Where I'd be in a New York moment if only ...

But hey, I am here. My Charlie at work in a glass and steel midtown tower. We'll meet for a regional Cuban supper at Victor's Cafe, mojitos flowing. What could be better?

To the pulsating energy coursing through my Maine-weary veins! Cheers!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Party Like It's 1971

Things happen when I least expect them.


Teensy plastic trinkets wrapped in the crepe paper ribbons of the surprise ball. All for my enjoyment. Proof that I had a friend. Who had a birthday. And a party. And, most importantly, invited me.

The ubiquitous goody bag of 1950s birthday parties. Minute treasures unravelled one at a time. Streams of colorful paper revealing special treats. De rigeur. Our Betty Crocker moms in lock-step. Starched frilly aprons tied perfectly around their 26 inch waists belying childbirth. Pink preludins and martinis.

Flash forward two decades.

Pop culture is whirling frenetically trying to catch up with the mood. Hues of color flashes dimming. Jim Morrison is found dead in bath tub in Paris. Kent State ended the euphoria the year before. Four innocents murdered in cold blood. Their crime? Walking to class. Caught in the cross-fire. America's polarization begins. Flower power and the Woodstock nation's ebullience fades. Sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll slips into a quagmire. The military-industrial complex bullies the world. Tricky Dicky announces a "War on Drugs". It is dusk in the Age of Aquarius.

We have been ridden hard and put away wet. Ambling across that proverbial bridge over troubled waters. Aretha knows best.

It is November 1, 1971. Boston before high tech. Summer of '42 and Love Story romance my imagination. Marvin Gaye urging me to "Get it On". Janis crooning about Bobby McGee. I am primed.

A knock at the door. Placing the spoon on a plate, I wipe my hands on the ever-present dish cloth flung casually over my left shoulder and walk down the winding hallway of my Boston apartment. The one on the second floor a block from Symphony Hall and another from the Fens. The Boston Strangler's turf.

My long chestnut hair drapes gracefully over a billowy pink blouse color coordinated by my Southern self with wide wale cranberry corduroy elephant pants. A gold chain circles my hips. I am barefoot (forever the Kentucky girl). I smell a bit like the spaghetti sauce I am preparing for my ever tardy roommate. Can I pretty please start supper and make sure the wine is chilled. She is hosting a dinner party. I am to be paired with the friend. Probably because we are both Jewish. She wants the handsome one. Both are second year law students.

I open the door. A lightening bolt strikes down. Before me is the most gorgeous man I have ever seen. Our eyes lock. The rest of the night floats into morning as I miss my econ midterm. Oops. This is the handsome one. My roommate is pissed.

Trouble with a capital T.

Tumultuous passion, tender moments. Shared sensibilities. Topsy-turvy. Abandon cast to the wind. In and out of love. Dance like no one is watching. Give until it hurts. Pain is pleasure. N'est-ce pas? Why not?

His demons got the best of us then. Again in 1994. A do-over in 2010?

Careful, girlfriend. Be on guard. Watch out for the sharp bejeweled trinkets. Be skeptical. Remember. Those smooth, satiny pastel ribbons aren't always the confection they seem to be.

But hell, ninety percent of life is showing up. Three just might be the charm. I am a sucker for his gorgeous eyes. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Robin's Egg Blue

My sister Robin is wise. An old soul. Her wisdom spans time. She is a quiet spirit. Contemplative. A natural guide. Instinctive.

Twice she has led me out of the quagmire. Two times.

Not that I wasn't already about to make my moves, but her insights confirmed my beliefs. Easily. Propelled me to take the action necessary to free me from the brambles which were strangling the essence of me, detrimentally.

Twice. The only even prime number. Divisible only by itself and one. Primality. Simplicity. A compositness test. The basis for cryptology. Hidden meanings. With her honed intuition, she nails the issue. Frames it logically, if not a bit emotionally borne from a decade of turmoil.

Perceptive. Not unlike me. My innermost thoughts that propel my journey. Rightly. Or, wrongly. Fueling the direction of my travels. Unhooked from societal demands. Unconventional. Strategic and brave.

A debt of gratitude for once again illuminating my path so that I can remove the danger lurking so closely.

Cheers to my darling baby sissor, for whom I have a deep and loving connection, whose heartstrings are intricately interwoven with mine!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Native American Animal Totem

My darling sister Mary's high school friend, Kim, made my village home a rest over on her drive from the Berkshires in western Massachusetts to enchanting Sutton Island downeast. Kennebunkport is the mid-way point. So it was not only convenient, but provided us an opportunity to visit for a brief moment.

Kim arrived around suppertime ready for a drink so we headed into the 'port for a delectable seafood treat and a cocktail on the wharf frequented by us locals and tourists alike. The night was summer exquisite. Clear and dry. The sky tinged pink as the sea swallowed the sun giving birth to a mother of pearl moon shimmering effervescent. The river sparkled as boats returned to dock. Weary sailors pulling in the sheaths and knotting ropes. A most delightful July evening. Picture perfect by most standards.

Swatting the occasional mosquito, we sipped and chatted about mid-life job searches and the amazing possibilities spreading out in front of us. Fifty-something transitions. Not ready to hit the links or the bridge table. We each were in the process of reinventing our professional selves to give back to the communities while leveraging skills honed over the decades.

Back at my home the ceiling fans whirred breezily wafting the fresh scent of the summer's eve indoors. We talked a bit and then headed in our own directions. I could see why Mary adored Kim. She is independent, talented, resourceful, an adventurous spirit. What fun to peek into their friendship.

We met in my kitchen the following morning. A sweet start to a lovely summer day. Over berries and croissants on my screen porch, she pulled out a deck of Native American medicine cards to interpret those forces motivating my journey and igniting my path.

Kim fanned the cards in front of me as if a magic trick. Choose four, she said. One at a time. East. South. West. North. Plus one for the middle. The sacred mountain card. She placed them on the glass table matching the directional forces of a compass. It all came together.

The Medicine Wheel Spread interprets the life forces and spiritual strengths shaping one's essence from four randomly selected cards. Each is placed according to the location on a compass. The fifth and final card is placed in the middle representing the present.

East card reveals where your spiritual strength lies and indicates the direction your spiritual Path is taking. It can reveal the major challenge in seeking clarity in your present position.

East = Dolphin
Dolphins are messengers between water and sky. They are playful and intelligent. They bring the message of harmony and balance.

Dolphins speak of the breath of life. Dolphin teaches us how to release emotions. To release your tension and emotions and create a total relaxation . Dolphins are linked to creating the solution for the children of earth. A time to communicate with nature. Imitate dolphin and ride on the wave of laughter spreading joy to the world.

South card describes how animal medicine is teaching the child within you or your adult self. It is what you need to trust in yourself and what you need to nurture in your growing self.

South = Turtle
Turtle is the oldest symbol for planet earth, it is the personification of goddess energy, and the eternal mother from which our lives evolve. Turtle is protected by her shell.

In honouring the earth, we are asked by Turtle to be mindful of the cycle of give and take, to give back to the Mother as she has given to us. Like Turtle you also have shields that protect you from hurt, envy, jealousy, and the unconsciousness of others. Turtle teaches you through it's habit patterns how to use protection. You are being asked to honour the creative source within you, to be grounded to the Earth, and to observe your situation with motherly compassion.

West card gives internal solutions to your present life challenge it indicates where your goals need challenge.

West = Raven
Raven is the messenger from spirit world. He represents mystery. Bringer of Magic and Light, Creation and Knowledge

Ravens are known as the "keeper of secrets". Raven flies to us with heightened awareness and greater understanding of our consciousness. It is with this new perception that we begin seeing into the hearts of others and experience their feelings. Raven asks us to experience the transformation it brings within our multidimensional self, and be reunited with the mysteries of the universe so we can expel our inner demons.

North card teaches you how you may spiritually apply and interrogate the lessons of the other directions. The animal medicine of this card is the key to walking in wisdom knowing the teacher within and connecting to the higher self.

North = Horse
Represents strength and freedom. Horse teaches us how to use our power gracefully.

Horse is power. Physical power and unearthly power. Enter into the darkness to find the light you carry, the need of the people. You are a message carrier and the carrier of wisdom. Your power is not given lightly but awarded to those who are willing to carry responsibility in a balanced manner. True power is found in remembering your total journey. True wisdom comes from walking in another person moccasin. Compassion, caring, teaching, loving, sharing your gift, talents and abilities are the gateway to power.

The Sacred Mountain card looks at the present.It indicates how your physical and spiritual realities melded to produce at the present moment

Sacred Mountain = Beaver
The beaver is the doer in the animal kingdom with an amazing ability to build and create. Beavers can help you solve problems by creating solid solutions.

A doer is characterized by industriousness. Incorporates a strong sense of family and home. Leaves itself many alternatives routes of escape, does not paint itself in corners. Possesses the power of working at attaining achievements. Teamwork. Always considering the alternatives, lest we dam the flow of experience in our lives.

In a nutshell, this reading substantiates the me that I have become. A free spirit with a heightened self-knowledge. A doer, with great compassion, wisdom and the ability to spread laughter. I can (and do) retreat into my shell.

Those unconstructed walls need to remain crumbled. The rocks I can navigate. But I am not retreating behind a fortress. Nope. Not ever again. My innocent, playful inner child is on her way out to play.

Cheers to my sweet friend, Kim, and her colorful deck of mystical medicine cards!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

10,000 Square Feet of Old, New and Unique

Here I am again! Five years later. Rummaging through 10,000 square feet of English, Continental and American furniture, paintings, decorative accessories, architectural elements, and garden accessories.

Not as a customer. Nor an antiques dealer. Nope. A lowly part-time salesgirl. Double minimum wage. One of the hired hands. But I adore it. In a hate it kinda way. It is not air conditioned. The owner thinks we are moving experts versed in the art of hurling heavy oak seven foot tall French armoires and double pedestal mahogany English dining room tables into the tightest of spaces. All the while balancing lamps and export china ... and tending the ringing phone, the day trippers 'just looking', providing a measuring tape and extra care when First Lady 41 arrives, logging in new merchandise. Whew. Our Tennessee southern belle proprietor gets her money's worth!

But creating the displays is sublime. A joy. Rearranging the eclectic mix of old and new and sometimes weird ... porcelain figures, model sailing ships, stunning lamps with hand painted shades, vintage resort signage, the most handsome decorative pillows I have ever seen to create an ambiance found in a most comfortable, gracious well-appointed home ... is my forte. My talent.

You see ... "junking" and the subsequent decorating are in my blood. Wound tightly into the braid of my DNA. From Grandmother Rose to my darling Mom, to my cousins, their daughters and even my brother! Fabulous taste runs the spectrum from sumptuous English cottage to the sophisticated urbane interior of a Manhattan co-op. This love, my appreciation and ability to design pleasing spaces, courses naturally through my veins. Generations of a penchant for creating stunning homes with the most welcoming ambiance amidst period antiques, great art and personal treasures gathered from a life well lived ... or on a shoe string.

On a recent trip across the pond I packed a torch (read: flashlight) for an early morning jaunt -wee hours and jetlag be damned - to the busy stalls and live action of the Portobello Road marketplace. Just to see. To experience the excitement of trading fine art and antique treasures unearthed at estate sales or discovered hidden in a remote family castle to raise a bit of cash for the landed gentry. In China last summer I frequented street fairs and scoured boothes for that have-to-have-it momento, an ivory etched snuff bottle replete with dusty sppon hidden in the cap.

Ooops! Time is getting away from me. I need to get myself down to the barn near the coast for another day of tourists and decorators and renters. So if you find yourself in Kennebunkport, Maine pop on in for a visit. I promise you will not be disappointed. Cheers!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cicada Song

Like the Magicicada we emerge every seventeen years or so from deep within our respective lives. Reconnecting after a period of hibernation and personal evolution. Bound together in some spiritual, kinetic manner. Sharing a similar rhythm; and not so impossibly, prior lives. In a not so small sense, we were born again to be together. Forever.

Our mutual cadence is lyrical and melodic. Not interrupted by phrasing and syncopations that bi-bop and scat. The underlying rhapsody returns to the original score. Always. Our mating song coming from many directions at once. United by first love. Surrounded by the billowy gentle innocence of our youth. Souls intertwined. Inexplicably.

Our courtship song, is quiet. Drawing me closer. Lulled, confident and safe. Finally.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sparkling Friends from The Edge of the Prairie

It is a perfect summer day in Maine. Perfect.

The mercury hovers in the mid-70s tinging my unsunscreened skin with a blush of rose. The midday sun shines lemon yellow in a cloudless cerulean sky. Maybe there are a few fluffy white cumulus clouds out there. On the horizon. It's hard to tell. The ocean sparkles incandescent. Zillions of shimmering mirrors capturing the dancing sunlight. Dazzling sequins on the sea goddess's midnight blue gown flowing chiffon graceful as the waves ebb and flow onto the wide sandy beach nearby.

But this is not the best part. Not by a long shot. My dearest friends from the landlocked edge of the prairie arrived yesterday afternoon. For the holiday weekend. Birthday celebrations. Lobster rolls. Lobster bisque. Lobster dinner al fresco.

Today is the crème de la crème ... drum roll ... a quintessential sailing trip down the river, past fishermen gathered on the granite sea walls bordering the channel and out into the wide open seas. Postcard views of large grey weathered shingled cottages, wooden white inns from the turn of the last century with huge lawns sweeping to the shore. The pristine expanse of beach (yes, here in Maine!) dotted with gaily colored umbrellas and hundreds of bathers spread out along the shore. Glorious.

Ah, the Schooner Eleanor, a double masted wooden ship built and captained by the grandson of one of Kennebunk's finest ship builders from the early 1900s. My Charlie was fortunate enough to crew on the schooner a few summers ago. Three, two hour cruises a day. Gilligan in a blue/white striped French sailor sweater, barefoot and sea worthy.

Out into the Atlantic. Up and down the coast. Past Walker's Point and 10,000 lobster buoys marking traps. Local fishermen. Local fare. Supper! A soft ocean breeze lulls us. Salt spray mists our tanning skin. A whale and a few seals pop out of the deep waters to sun themselves. Gulls. Terns. Flying fish.

It doesn't get much better than this!

Happiest of birthdays, Golden Bull! Salut to the red white and blue.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sexy, Sweet and Kind ... Oh My!

I finally heard it. For the first time ever. Words that rocked my soul sending tingles up my spine and a smile deep into my heart. I held the phone away from my ear so I could breathe. Tears of joy.

Sexy and sweet and kind. Oh my. I believe I heard correctly. I do believe. I do believe. His distinctive Boston accent telling me, me (!), what I have waited thirty-five years to hear. That I am attractive and worthy and lovable. Me! Oh my.

One door slams shut. Another opens. Lemony sunshine streams in.

So six months into my journey the thoroughfare on which I am travelling unfolds unabashedly in front of me. Bringing with it the possibility of truly, finally aligning my intellect with my heart. Balance. Leveraging my graceful, generous spirit from those heady early days when my youthful innocence required minimal adjustments. Uncomplicated. Confidence in tact. The sweet naïvité of my youth fast forwarded into the shadows of the Emerald City! Excitedly the yellow brick road, my circuitous path through this sixtieth year beckons. Pointing the way to new discoveries, cherished old friends, enchanted possibilities.

Not solely without a pinch of discomfort. Traversing a slightly uneven landscape can sometimes be difficult on the traveler. Especially when pushing the boundaries. Stepping beyond that secure environment in which I have become complacent. Watch out for the flying monkeys and the fields of red poppies!

To fully reap the richness, extract the last drop of honey, delicately expand my horizon I must bump up against early fears and insecurities. Meet my demons. Experiment with unfamiliar behaviors and untried experiences. Create fresh paradigms. Embrace a changing environment. Shake things up. Surrender a bit of my overly-protected independence.

Yes. It's time. Way overdue. Hey universe, what's in store? The road to Oz lures me from my familiar zone of comfort ... and I'm whistling a diffferent tune!