Thursday, June 28, 2012

if only i'd had a little bit

I am waddling into July, having eaten and drunk my way through the better half of June, all because I am officially a year older. 

Worth every bite. 

I am writing this to thank all of you out there who sent me well wishes for a great day and blessings for another year. 

I want to tell you about my birthday tradition... 

Some people like to open their cards as they arrive in the mail but I don't.  To me, that is rather like peeking before Christmas at your presents when you were a kid.  Instead, if I get a card in the mail or even if it's handed to me in person, I set it aside, to be opened around the midnight hour of my approaching birthday. 

We have a glass-top desk in our living-room and it faces a fairly large window.  Years ago, my mom suggested I off-set it and she was so right.  How different the table would feel if centered in front of that window. 

It takes a centered person to know that, I think. 

It is at this desk that I sit and open my cards.  This June, many had colorful flowers which brought a smile.  Some had glitter!  There was a huge, girlie-girl bow made of black netting on one.  But my favorite I admit, came from my friend Chris who without sight, designed this card on his computer and arranged for it to be sent to me in the mail.  "A birthday kiss from Little Bit" it says.  You see, I've a soft spot for Little Bit.  For Chris too... 

As the day of my birth unfolded, it was made HAPPY by internet messages; greetings sent instantaneously through this revolutionary world I'm just beginning to understand and accept. 

Later, dinner at the new MoMo Italian Kitchen was a very special birthday gift. 

I thank you all for your posted messages, the calls, the cards, the goodies; herbs-and-chocolate-and-wine-oh-my, and the champagne, the hugs, the kisses, the gifts, the celebrations, the toasts, and the dinners.  It was all FAB! 

What's a few pounds in exchange for all that? 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

earth angel

Spoke calls me an earth angel. 

Each time, I shake my head and roll my eyes.  I guess I should own some guilt, surely it's required of real earth angels.  But I don't; I secretly like it.

Can men be earth angels? 

Spoke's so attentive.  He surprises me with flowers and brings me glasses of champagne at the most unexpected times.  He compliments.  He listens; really listens. 

If I need it, he rubs my shoulder blades, the only place I seem to carry stress.  We've always, casually referred to them as my wings.  

My wings!

Spoke worked out an annoying knot deep in my left shoulder blade the other evening.  I thanked him profusely.  He shook his head and rolled his eyes. 

Brushing off the thanks, he said he's always happy to massage his earth angel for he knows her wings get weighed down now and then. 

My heavens!

My heart is bursting and I feel as if I could soar.

Monday, June 11, 2012

my bucket list pales

As I positioned this pail to catch rain where it falls off the roof the hardest, I thought about the bucket list. 

It's a game, this list of thrills one makes when contemplating what they'd like to still do or accomplish before they die. 

The bucket list can be light-hearted and rather fun to consider unless illness or aging present challenges and then one begins to take the game more seriously. 

It seems to me, the bigger our challenges, the smaller our bucket list. 


It would be grand to walk in the sand along some length of Ipanema Beach.  I'd like to look up and see Corcovado and the statue Cristo Redeator before riding to the top of the mountain to gaze down at Rio de Janeriro spread below. 
("And a window that looks out on Corcovado, oh how lovely." 
Lyrics from Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars; Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gene Lees) 

I would like to hear Diana Krall in a very intimate venue, something on the order of The Carlyle Hotel, accompanied by John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, and Anthony Wilson. 

I'd like to spend an afternoon, stretched into dinner and beyond, with Pat Conroy and Frank Stitt at either of Stitt's Birmingham restaurants. 

A week to be convinced of the merits of French champagne would be nice. 

I would like to see a matinee at the Met (Aida, La Boheme, La Traviata, Lucia Di Lammermour, Madama Butterfly, Rigoletto or Tosca) followed by cocktails in a great bar, a long, slow dinner in a classic bistro, and late night drinks (with cigarettes!) in another bistro. 

I'd like to finish and publish my book.  If it provides an alternative to the book club as we know it, well, that would also be so very nice. 

I'm imagining a couple of weeks in autumn, maybe between Thanksgiving and Christmas; weeks abundant with Italian white truffles which I would happily share in many meals. 

How often we talk about it but never seem to do it...  I'd throw a party!  I'd unite family and current friends with old friends including those dear to my parentsThere would be a never-ending antipasti table and wine bar and of course, there would be a quartet I know... 

I want to learn to enjoy the raw oyster bar.


Is it just a game? 

One day I might be sipping expensive French champagne as I admire the glossy pages of my just published book while a pot of water on the cooktop comes to a soft boil for ravioli which will soon be crowned with Italian white truffles... 

I thought about that as I stepped out to water the herbs and flowers with the rainwater collected in this pail. 

In a happy life already made rich by many things, would these be a game changer?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

the days of wine and rosemary

It was one of those nights when all was right with the world.  They aren't orchestrated, they're just ordinary evenings when troubles are set aside for a while and everything seems somehow aligned. 

It was a beautiful evening here in Dallas; mild temps and a clear sky, the moon almost full.  Love seemed to swirl through the air. 

There was my obvious love for the music; listening to the Mark McKenzie Quartet do their monthly thing at D'Vine Wine.  They played Charlie Parker and they played a few of George's original pieces.  Early on they gave us a song you don't hear that often; a wonderfully arranged The Days of Wine and Roses

Love was evident on Jon's face as he showed us photographs of his children and his grandson born just ten weeks ago.  Bill was justly shown lots of love as the evening's guest bassist and Mark is a focus of envy now as he is soon headed to that city bursting with love; Paris!

George was shown lots of love too for it was his birthday!

There are some lines from a poem by Thomas Moore which I like to share with special people on their birthday.  I wrote them on a card to George and had it slipped into the tips jar:

"What though youth gave love and roses,
  age still leaves us friends and wine."

The love of my life took a stretch before the last set and when he returned, he placed on the table, a small sprig of rosemary he'd pinched off from the bush in a planter on the sidewalk. 

It's an intuitive man who knows the scent of the herb will linger through the night and can be as romantic as any vase of roses.

Before we left, with hugs and handshakes and well-wishes, it was Mark who commented on the oddity of wine and roses showing up in both song and poem tonight.  Interesting, the coincidence of it, he suggested. 

I thought about it; who knows?  Was it really by chance or was it orchestrated after all? 

I do know it was... lovely.