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Archive for May, 2008

Friday, May 30

My friends and I have been waiting since February for the Sex & The City movie.  Tonight was opening night!  We bought our tickets two nights ago, as the movie times were all sold out in downtown Portland.  I could only find tickets at Cinetopia, a theater catered to adults 21 and over, with a bar, restaurant, wine room and special events.  Cinetopia is in Vancouver, so it’s a little hike across the Columbia River, separating Oregon from Washington.

I rushed home with excitement after work.  I put on a pair of ‘good’ jeans, a billowy silk BCBG shirt with a plunging neckline, a funky matching smoky topaz necklace, a green puff sleeved jacket from Anthropologie with striping the same color as the smoky taupe shirt, and a great pair of shoes.  Not Manolos, but fabulous enough.  I shined up my hair, added more dramatic make-up and grabbed a gold glitter clutch.  I was ready for the ultimate girl’s night out.

I met Kerry at Ten-01 in the Pearl, imbibing a champagne cocktail at the outdoor cafe seating.  She had her hair down and styled, and was wearing a very stylish black and white wrap dress.  I also ordered the same cocktail – it had Compari and a touch of sugar to enliven the bubbles.  And an orange peel.  We loved this bubbly concoction because it wasn’t sweet.

Our friend, Erica, the sommelier came out to chat.  She sat down and we gabbed about the food and wine industry, her recent trip to France, work stuff.

Soon after, Susan joined us, as well as another friend and colleague, Stephany – a fellow Virginian.  We were celebrating a pre-Sex & the City movie happy hour.  It was a lovely evening out, sunny and warm.  We happy sipped on our cocktails and ordered some food.  Kerry and I shared a half dozen oysters and then I had the duck prosciutto salad with blue cheese and dates.  It was delicious.  I enjoyed it with a glass of Burgundy.

When we finished our pre-movie celebration, we got into Susan’s car, which was conveniently parked across the street, and we headed toward Vancouver.  We didn’t follow the exact directions and took the longer route, which was a little intense because we were behind schedule.  They suggested people arrive at 9:15 p.m. to get seats at 9:30 p.m. for the 10 p.m. show time.  Well, when we got there and picked up the tickets, the theater was already full with the 3 random seats scattered.  Defeated, we left the theater and traded the tickets in for the 10:45 show so that we could sit together.

We checked out the wine bar – it had some really wonderful selections.  Finally, at 10:48 Kerry and I peeled ourselves from the wine bar and found our seats with Susan and two of Kerry’s friends.

The lights dimmed.  The recognizable jazzy theme song blared and all of the women in the audience started to cheer.  It was fabulous!  Sex & the City is our football!  And this movie was the Super Bowl of our favorite team!!

Now, I’m not going to recap the movie.  I will say this – it was luminous, this fab four never looked more fabulous.  And there were some great moments.  I won’t give a full play-by-play recap of the movie.  But, I will give it a review.

And here’s the thing.  I really, really, really wanted to love this movie.  Kerry and I were shunning the NY Times and other critics who dissed the movie. 

But, I gotta say, while just being in the theater with my girlfriends watching this on screen was pretty satisfying enough, the movie left me disappointed.  Now, I know this is fictional.  These women are characters.  It’s a story!  But, having been a true fan of the series, which was so smart and well written on the small screen, earning a plethora of Golden Globes and Emmy’s, among a longer list of shining accolades and awards, the film missed it on so many levels.

For one, there were several deep contradictions.  For example, at one point a heart-broken Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker – do I really need to include that??), is reading Cinderella to Charlotte’s daughter, Lily, and whereupon the ending reads as every little girl and woman knows by heart, “Cinderella marries her prince charming and they live happily ever after.”  Then Carrie looks down at the wide-eyed little girl and says, “you know, that doesn’t really happen in real life.  I just thought you should know that now.”

And yet…Carrie gets her saccharine happily ever after.  After her prince charming had piteously left Carrie at the altar…  wait, it wasn’t even at the altar.  He never even got out of the limo!  I was never convinced Big was the right man for Carrie, with his cruel indecisiveness and stringing-along practice perfected.  Throughout the series, you always knew that Carrie loved Big more than Big loved Carrie.  And my mother always said, “marry a man who loves you a little more than you love him.”  This is very important advice.

After Big’s display of cold feet and run-away-groom absurdity, I thought for sure she was finally rid of the egotistical, commitment-phobe schmuck.  Here, I was hoping she’d run into Aiden all over again!  One can only hope…

I will say that the film is fair to Samantha’s character.  Her storyline was believable and in tandem with her character arch (from the series).  I thought Miranda’s storyline was also fair and true to her character.

Charlotte, on the other hand, who was much more of a complex and interesting character in the series, was reduced to a boring and pregnant wife and mommy.  Her life turned cliche and offered no real impact on the storyline, other than a ridiculous bout of Montezuma’s Revenge in Mexico.  In fact, Charlotte was just another accessory in the film, even diminished by an inanimate object – Carrie’s Vivienne Westwood bridal gown.

Also trite was the assistant Louise, portrayed by American Idol finalist and Dream Girls Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Hudson.  In one scene, over drinks, Carrie offers a sagey line to her young assistant – you date in your 20’s, you learn in your 30’s and you buy drinks in your 40’s.  Not sure if that was any real worthwhile advice.  Again, the writing was not as sharp as in the HBO series.  In any case, Louise claims to have come to New York City for love.  But, this never develops while she’s in New York.  She never goes on dates or meets men – in fact, the only scene where she’s with a man, he’s glancing at her cleavage and she scolds, “there’s nothing in there for you.”  Her character never actually gives New York a chance for finding love.  Except for a random booty call she gets when she and Carrie are sipping on cocktails on the said night.  Rather, she returns home to St. Louis for the holidays and befalls the fate of many desperate women – finding herself back in the arms of an ex.  Sold out in her 20’s!  Where’s the dating???  I suppose Louise will sadly have to miss out on all of that dating in her 20’s, and, worse, learning all of the ever important lessons we single women learn in our 30’s!

I will say that my biggest disappointment was Carrie’s fate.  Half of the movie, more like two-thirds of it, was spent on her mourning the fact that Big ditched her at the altar.  And, yet, over time, perhaps a year, she changes her hair color, hangs out with a suddenly separated Miranda, sharing in their loneliness and bitterness, until she wanders into her emptied penthouse apartment she and Big were to move into as a married couple, to retrieve a precious pair of Manolos, of course, when she…no way!….runs into Big.  They have a crazy passionate suck-face kiss and end up laying down in each other’s arms on the wooden floor of the fabulous apartment and realize how much they really love each other.  He’s on bended knee and gives her the cliched proposal he swore he was against.  Everyone sold out.  Even Big. 

I don’t know.  It just wasn’t satisfying to me.  I was kind of sad.  The film, that once celebrated an iconic character’s free spirit, romantic hope for finding true love, smart, hardworking, independent single woman status was reduced to a cliche finale.   Big’s love for her was never truly convincing.  And icon Carrie Bradshaw deserved a happier, better ending! 

It actually would have been better if she remained in her apartment, single and writing her fabulous column, articles and books.  And still near her fabulous friends, of course.  Proving a point that you don’t have to settle for a man you keep chasing and hoping will love you back.  You don’t have to settle for anyone.  You can, actually, continue to live a satisfying, fabulous life on your own.  The film ends with the fab four celebrating Samantha’s 50th birthday – and we get a glimpse that her life is  the only authentic, true one.  Well, hers and Miranda’s.

The best part of watching the movie, actually, was the opportunity to hang out again with Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha for another two and a half hours.  These were some of the best roles created for women – ever.  Even if the movie fell short.

Their friendship is truly the keystone to the movie and the series.  Women weren’t herding to theaters to see these character’s love lives play out.  Instead, they wanted to hang out with their girlfriends once more, these four women who tell it like it is and support eachother through the good, the bad and the ugly. 

What’s so real and authentic about this program/movie was that it never really lost its footing in the often shallow and materialistic nonsense of Manolos and Jimmy Choos (which is just plain fun, anyhow).  It’s clear that that was just the fluff and fun of the story.  There’s a real depth to these women’s friendships, and that’s what’s most memorable and satisfying. 

In New York, or anywhere else for the matter, love and lovers come and go.  But it’s your girlfriends who stick around for the stuff that spouses and lovers could never realize or understand.  Well, that was why I was so compelled to go see the movie.  It was the ultimate girl’s night out, a date night with my fabulous gal pals – the four on screen and the two sitting next to me.  It was the kind of bonding that makes you realize how lucky you are to have your soul sisters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday, May 29

I had an interesting conversation this evening with a neighbor.  She’s a middle aged woman with short, cropped, wispy blonde hair, and she’s very tall.  She’s super stylish with her funky black framed glasses and chic clothes.  She walks with such confidence. 

This evening I met her on the sidewalk walking her two Jack Russell terriers.  We started chit chatting about Jack Russells, and I mentioned I had a friend in Virginia who raced her little dog as part of the opening events at horse races, including the Gold Cup.  Side note – this made me miss Virginia and the horse races – I used to get a new dress each season with a fabulous hat.  The tailgates were the best part – Virginia ham and biscuits and other southern fare.  Good wine.  And mint juleps!

Anyway, she giggled and said if she was remarried she’d quit her job, live a life of leisure and race her two dogs.

She started walking along in the direction I was going, toward the gym.  Somehow we got onto the topic of dating.  I shared with her the subject of an email I sent to my friends today:

From MSN.COM:

Yup.  The last one.  Following all of that other pleasant stuff.  The last one.  Read it??

The issue surfaced last year after a study by researchers at Harvard and Yale indicated that women 40 years old and older had only 1 chance in 100 of marrying.

So what does that mean when you are 39 (1 in 99 chances); 38 (1 in 98 chances); 37 (1 in 97 chances); 36 (1 in 96 chances); 35 (1 in 95 chances)?

By the time you drop down to age 30, the odds are more in your favor – 1 chance in 50 of marrying.  And at 25, it’s like 1 chance in 10.

Is this fair?

My neighbor and I laughed about this.  It’s both funny and frightening, depending how you look at it.  She told me she had been married twice and that the longer she stays single, at 54, the less likely she is to ever marry again.  She felt that explained the ratio about women 40 and older.  She said it wasn’t a bad thing.  She indicated that most women realize how much they love their lives, their careers, freedoms to do what they want, that they don’t need a spouse to make a happy life a reality.  She had lots to say about not being married and told me I was probably better off for it.

I don’t know.  Perhaps I still have that romantic idea about two people in love taking care of one another until the very end.  How much of it is fantasy and how much of that is something real (and not contrived because of a need to believe in it)?  The movie The Notebook is the ultimate fantasy about love, and most Americans fail to have a love story where there’s truly mutual love and respect.  Respect being the important word.

I go back and forth on this.  And it’s relatively easy.  I haven’t met anyone I’d want to spend my life with, so I’m not really in a position to say whether or not I want to get married.  Right?  Otherwise my basis for wanting to get married is one based on pre-conceived notions and fantasy, not on a real relationship with a major commitment.  Little girls are brought up to want their prince charming and happy ending.  And we relentlessly judge eachother based on whether or not we have achieved that socially expected happy ending. 

Now, this all doesn’t mean that I don’t want to find someone to share my life with.  It’s strange, but the draw to having a relationship is often financial.  It’s easier to share all those bills with someone else than do it alone.  And simply having a roommate doesn’t meet that.  This is not to say that people need to leach off of one another.  I simply mean that it’s easier to split all things down the middle than to do it all alone.

It’s much more difficult to do it all on your own.  I get exhausted trying to take care of myself.  And yet, I’m doing it.  It’s very fulfilling to be independent.  I am not one of those women who needs a partner or spouse to survive.  But, it would certainly make life a lot easier.  I think that is often the draw for many women, and perhaps some men, more so than love, respect or commitment.  Those things are important, but I don’t think they drive or incent people to rush down any kind of aisle!  I think you almost have to look at marriage like a business deal today.

Anyway, my neighbor told me that she found out from her neighbors that her husband would cross dress and walk around the neighborhood like a woman.  It was news to her.  She never knew or had any clue.  He never told her.  He hid it from her.  She told me no matter how much you may think you know someone – you never really do.  She lamented that there are no guarantees.   It’s a gamble to give your heart to someone else.

I realize that may sound negative.  But, there’s much more to this woman than bitterness.  In fact, she told me about how she stayed with her cross-dressing ex when he was dying from cancer, taking care of him even though they were no longer together.  And she shared with me how glad she was that they made ammends before he died.  Meantime, her father was dying of cancer, as well as a co-worker with whom she had been at odds with for years at the office; then, one day she knew she needed to help her.  And through the experience of being with her during the most difficult and poignant time of this woman’s life, they grew very close.  She stood by them all, helped them all.  And was so generous in how she shared her truths.  She told me that as a woman, next to giving birth, standing by loved ones at the time of death was the most sacred thing she had experienced.  And bloody depressing.  But purposeful beyond any other job or obligation.  She talked about the role of women in ancient cultures, and how they were the ones responsible for bringing life into this world, as well as for preparing the dead for their great departure from this world. 

She’s an interesting, sage of a woman.  She told me to come say hello sometime.  As our path then diverged, she continued walking her little barking dogs around the other side of the neighborhood and I darted uphill to the gym with two new magazines in my arms.

The same link I found on women marrying at 40 also mentioned if women 40 and older really wanted to marry, they’d defy the ratio; but for the women 40 and older who were still undecided about marriage, well, they more accurately reflected the ratio of 1 in 100 getting married.

As I began my workout I thought hard about this.  And I haven’t really changed my position on love and marriage.  The fact is, I only want to marry if I find someone who I want to share my life with.  I don’t want to marry just because I want to marry, a misfortune that befalls so many women.  The decision to marry is so much more than fulfilling an expected role or running to someone else to take care of you.  That would more often than not mean settling and not getting the best partner necessary for a happy life.  And that’s just not an option for me.  It’s always about the person and the dynamics of your relationship – are you better off living together in a long-term committed relationship, do you want children, do you want to marry, or is it better to live separately but in a long-term committed relationship?  There’s no wrong answer or wrong choice, just the one that best suits your relationship and your intentions.

I guess I have to take my chances on finding the right person and accept that if I don’t, I am satisfied with my choice.  And if I do find him, perhaps I’ll have hit the jackpot.  So, maybe that statistic for women 40 and over is fair in that ratio of 1 in 100 not marrying.  Perhaps it’s kind of like hitting the jackpot.
 

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Wednesday, May 28

It’s really weird.  I’ve been waking up so groggy, probably not getting enough sleep.  Another thing I need to work on.

I had a very productive day at work and managed to get ahead with a project I have been working on for awhile.  I haven’t been sure about how I wanted to post reviews onto our website,  I think it’s still a work in progress.  But, at least the reviews are up for now.  I want to make this as useful and user friendly as possible. 

I had a nice cup of organic Matcha powder green tea.  And then a fresh, organic romaine salad I tossed with raddishes, sweet yellow and orange peppers, yellow tomatos and red onion.  I had cherries for dessert.  It felt good to eat so healthy.  While I love my typical gluten-free canned soup lunch, eating fresh fruits and vegetables is, of course, the better choice.

After work, I needed to get gas.  I felt like I just headed to the gas station.  That’s because I refuse to pay more than $25 at the pump, which, as we all painfully know, isn’t going to get me that far.  I keep hoping the price will go down so that the next time I put $25 in, well, it’ll be more fuel!  I keep getting my thunder stolen, the prices keep rising.

I stopped by my place to feed the cats and refreshed my make-up, then headed toward downtown.  I hit an enormous amount of crazy traffic.  I thought to myself – what is this?  Seattle?  That makes me cringe to think about more people moving here.  I saw a handful of California plates and worried about more Californians going through the worst housing and gas crisis, forcing an exodus to the cheaper neighboring state.  Where’s the border control?? 

I have been trying to get my parents to return to Oregon ever since I moved out here in 2004.  My dad is from Eugene and I think it’s long overdue for him to come back home.  My parents really liked Ashland.  Perhaps they can buy a house down there and then my dad can work for the state to do routine border control.  I could just see it.  My dad in a uniform (he’s a retired LTC, this is not a stretch) sitting in a tower with his beloved Italian Beretta shot gun in his grasp.  Keeping watch for illegal CAL-aliens.  I’m kidding, of course.  Kind of.  Of course I am!!!

I treasure the open spaces here.  I treasure the small town feel of this city.  I loathe the idea of these things getting spoiled by urban sprawl.  When will these people learn that it rains a lot, it’s gray all of the time and makes Willamettites, especially Portlanders, pissy???  Not so green and perfect now, huh?

I got a little lost this evening.  I printed directions to Grand Central Bowling and found myself up near NE 33rd, when I needed to be down by 7th and Morrison.  It’s a long story how I got pulled in the wrong direction, and because traffic was so horrible, I couldn’t maneuver myself off the dreaded path I was on.  I finally made my way to Sandy Blvd. and arrived at Grand Central at around 6 p.m.  I missed the puck off and the first period.  This was beyond sub-optimal.

The Redwings didn’t fare much better.  The Penguins beat them in game three of the Stanley Cup finals in Pittsburgh.  So, Redwings are up 2 games to 1.  They need to win on Saturday.

Grand Central is a generous and trendy space, it’s not your typical sports pub or bowling alley.  There’s a swank decor with clean wooden floors and lots of open space.  There are several large flat screens on each side of the bar.  Upstairs, where we sat, the large bar also has large flat screens on each side.  There are comfy lounge areas with leather sofas and a fireplace, as well as billiards tables.  It’s definitely a place worth returning to for a change of pace.  I’d love to hit the bowling lanes.

I got home just after 8:00 p.m.  I didn’t get a workout in and did 200 crunches to make myself feel better.  But, even before I started my first set, I wasn’t feeling great.  My stomach hurt.  When I finished the two sets, I made a cup of Yogi ginger tea, a natural soother for upset stomach. 

I checked emails and was thrilled to hear from a potential writer’s group.  This is the group that I learned about from the director of the Writer’s Dojo.  I think this is the final destination on the road of book edits before I get the book published.  I felt really good about this.  I have been starving for this kind of community.

I had the television on and caught the second half of Men In Trees.  Sadly, I heared this program has been cancelled.  I am disappointed.  It had bounced around from different evenings and time slots, which, in addition to this winter’s writer’s strike, only made it difficult to keep a solid fan base.  Such is life.  Sometimes our favorite fixes must come to an end.

 

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Tuesday, May 27

I woke up very groggy this morning.  I was still somewhat congested and almost felt like I had a cold.  I stretched then went downstairs and had a bowl of gluten-free cereal.  I got ready for work and moved like molasses.

I went to the property management office to work out an issue I’m having with the manager.  To make a long story short, I’m being asked to pay a certain sum of money without any explanation of what that sum is for – and was left with a notice on my door that was basically a threat for legal action and possible eviction.  The sum is just $45!  And the property manager doesn’t know what it’s for.  I’m smelling a scam.  When I arrived in the office I was told she was busy running a report.  After ten minutes of waiting, I decided to leave so that I could get to work.  I left a message this evening asking the manager to simply leave me a message telling me what the balance was for, and that I’d then write a check.  Oh, it’s a silly matter.  But I am being firm.  I refuse to be taken advantage of.

In the afternoon, Chris from Upper Deck emailed about a change of location for game three of the Stanley Cup – Grand Central Bowling on Morrison. 

After work my friends and I called and texted to figure out what we were going to do for the Sex & the City premiere on Friday.  All of the theaters in Portland were sold out!  After going to the gym for a 30 minute bike workout and a stop by the Safeway for a few groceries, I called Cinetopia in Vancouver and ordered our tickets.  It should be a fun event!

It’s interesting to me that these two venues, Grand Central and Cinetopia, are upscale versions of the old entertainment classics.

I steamed a nice, large artichoke and ate a light organic Caesar salad with yellow tomatos, red onion, red sweet pepper and Amy’s organic Caesar dressing. 

After I ate, I read a little and worked on some poetry.  I am trying to get inspired.  And I am getting better acquained with the works of local writers, including William Stafford.  Ending my night with poetry was like…poetry.

 

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Monday, May 26

First, I must acknowledge that it’s Memorial Day.  I spent some time this morning reflecting on those who had lost life during war.  I am grateful for our troops’ dedication and heroism when it comes to protecting and defending our country and our ideals.  I am proud to be the daugther of a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Army.  My dad served in Viet Nam and is a hero in my book – I am lucky that he made it back.  So, my thoughts and prayers are today with those who make the ultimate sacrifice to serve and protect.

I woke up with very painfully congested sinuses accompanied by a runny nose.  I had to take a Claritan-D.  I decided to go downstairs and before I’d do anything else, I did 10 yoga sun salutations which eased up the tension in my shoulders.  I exaggerated the positions to maximize the stretching and strength training.

I made an Italian style organic brown one-egg omelet with Italian cheeses, pinenuts, basil and tomato.  I toasted a piece of brown rice bread. 

I then got to work.  I washed the floors, vacuumed upstairs and downstairs, including the stairs, scrubbed the bathrooms, the kitchen and then dusted.  After, as if that wasn’t enough of a workout for one day, I went to the gym and jogged for 45 minutes.

When I got back I took an aromatherapy shower with rosemary, mint and sage.  I quickly dressed and then headed over to Claudia’s Sports Bar on 30th and Hawthorne for the Red Wings vs. Penguins game two of the Stanley Cup finals.  I met Shirley, two of her friends and Chris, from Upper Deck.  It was a shut-out game, Red Wings 3-0.

After, I went home and felt pretty bad from the cigarette smoke in Claudia’s.  I didn’t realize how sensitive I was.  I was very congested.  And my throat burned.  I tried to meditate so the congestion wouldn’t be so bad, a practice that I find helps, but not clears the problem.

I worked on my writing and then groomed my cats.  It was my intention to do soothing things that would keep my stress down and my congestion controlled.  I have been tense about my finances, as I am taking on some writing opportunities that aren’t free.  But, I believe this is a necessary step toward my literary goals.  This feeds me with great hope and happiness. 

 

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Sunday, May 25

Three day weekends are wonderful but sometimes spin me a little.  Especially when you work on Saturday.  When you’re not used to working 6 days a week, you get a little thrown.  At least, I do.

Of course the one nice day of the weekend was the day I had to work.  I’m a little bitter about that, but such is life, really.  Not to say that life is all disappointments, but, mostly so – the trick is to learn to try to still be glad in the midst of so many disappointments.  Then, when the good moments and things emerge from the pools of disappointments, well, we are supposed to appreciate them all the more.  Still, it sucks that I was stuck indoors on Saturday.

Anyway.  I wasn’t motivated to leave the house today.  I kept my pajamas on all day.  And sometimes you really need days like that.  It was dark, cloudy, rainy and crappy out.  So, I cooked a brown organic egg over easy and placed it over a gluten-free biscuit with a large piece of fresh, organic basil.  I had a glass of organic orange juice. 

I stripped the bed and sorted my laundy, put the first load in, then went back downstairs to make a cup of Elixir Buddha creativity tea.  I lit some candles, put in a Peter Gabriel CD and got to work on some writing.  I was asked by a colleague to write a story about Celiac disease and wine.  I found a couple of reports that suggested glutinous agents are used in the clarification process, and some barrels are hinged with a flour-water paste that contains gluten.  The debate is whether or not the levels of gluten from these processes put those with Celiac disease at risk.  Most of the studies suggest the levels are so low that it wouldn’t impart any real risk.  In general, those suffering from Celiac disease should get in the habit of calling food and beverage producers to ask the important questions.  I, myself, haven’t reacted to wine yet.  But it’s always good to be aware of the potential  cross contaminations.

After I finished writing my first draft, I went upstairs to check the laundry and to make my bed.  I then turned on the television and the movie The Cider House Rules had just started.  It’s a moving adaption of John Irving’s novel about a compassionate young man, Homer Wells (Tobey Maguire), raised in an orphanage and trained to be a doctor there by Dr. Wilbur Larch (Michael Caine), decides to leave to see the world.  Anyway, it’s a wonderful story, Tobey Maguire is delightful and I more than once got teary-eyed.

While I finished folding laundry and getting through all of the loads, I worked on some poetry and organized some other writing.  After some gluten-free lasagna, the 1996 made-for-tv movie In Cold Blood , based on Truman Capote’s incredible narrative non-fiction masterpiece, came on.  It starred Anthony Edwards as Dick Hickock, Erik Roberts as Perry Smith, and Sam Neill as Agent Alvin Dewey.  It didn’t compare to the 1960’s classic original starring Robert Blake.  And, as far as I’m concerned, Capote, which earned Philip Seymour Hoffman an Oscar, is the most riveting take on this historical massacre.

When the movie was over, an infomercial came on for a 1970’s/1980’s classic soft rock collection.  I started making lists of some of the songs I liked and created a new playlist.  Some of the songs were cheesy, some were serious classics, but in general, most of them brought back memories.  Titles included:  Show Me the Way (Peter Frampton); Waiting for a Girl Like You (Foreigner); These Dreams (Heart); Into the Night (Benny Mardones); A Horse with No Name (America); Longer (Dan Fogelberg); How Long (Ace); I Go Crazy (Paul Davis); Somebody’s Baby (Jackson Browne), and so on.  I knew many of the songs but not the artists – go figure!  I made a note to forward this list to my sister and my cousin, Kathryn.  Many of these songs made me think of our childhood together.

It was already after midnight when a PBS progam came on about travelling through Scotland.  I was mesmerized.  It’s now on my list of places to visit.  A highlight was a story about a woman who takes a small paddle boat out to an island on some loch and plays her fiddle for the seals, overjoyed when familiar heads emerge from the water’s surface showing glossy, big eyes and whiskers.  This inspired me – I thought about writing a story about an old widow on the Oregon coast during the 1950’s who lost her husband in the Great War, and played her fiddle for the sealions at Coos Bay.  I’ll have to develop that one.

This quiet weekend in inspired a lot of writing, so, something good emerged from a disappointing day of unpleasant weather.

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Saturday, May 24

I woke up to a beautiful, sunny day.  It was supposed to be raining.  It was going to be a good day.

I got to the winery and helped set up for our event.  I went outside and cut some flowering chive, lavender and other wild flowers to make two arrangements for two wine stations that were needing a special touch.  We had steady traffic all day.  I poured our desset wine that was paired with a gorgeous cookie rolled into a cone filled with amarone mascarpone cheese and topped with thin almond slices.  It looked heavenly – of course I couldn’t try it because it was made with wheat.  Good thing – I probably would have cleared the tray!  It was fun to chat with guests about our wines and to explain how we make our dessert wine.

After work, I went to the new Urban Wineworks location on NE Broadway.  We began celebrating Claudia’s 39th birthday with margaritas and wine.  I had a pomegranate margarita.  Our friend, Jeremy, brought his two dogs – one being a standard poodle-golden retriever mix.  I loved this dog!  He looked like a standar with his black, curly hair, but he was thicker, with hug paws.  So darn cute.

We all then went to Autentica for dinner.  On our way over, a thunder/lightning storm blew in.  It was wonderful!  I often miss the electrical storms back east.  Kerry and I basked in the excitement of a sky lighting up and the rolling crackles of thunder. 

At Autentica, instead of putting out corn chips and salsa, they brought out baskets of small, hot corn tortillas and an array of interesting salsas.  We ordered guacamole and one of Autentica’s staples – the queso fundido con chorizo sevido con tortillas, a Oaxacan melting cheese and chorizo served with corn tortillas.  It was very tasty.

I ordered a glass of Argentine Tempranillo by Mapema, one of my favorite brands.  Meantime, the lights flickered on and off a few times from the storm – a dramatic effect to the cozy, romantic ambiance of this small yet quaint restaurant space.  No black-out, thank God!

For my main course, I had the camarones al autentico mojo de ajo – deep sea Mexican prawns cooked with garlic sauce and served with rice and lemon, which came with an amazing green salad with white cabbage, greens and cilantro and lime vinaigrette.  It was an incredible dinner.

Next, we drove over to Alberta Street and went to Binks, a cool bar/tavern.  Kerry and I got our chops busted for ordering tea – she had a Stash licorice tea and I had a Teaism Chai Tea.  I was not in the mood to drink and it got considerably cooler out.

All night we had engaging conversation with some very cool people, including a really nice couple that sat at the end of the dinner table with Kerry and me.  It was one of those nights with good energy, good people.  One of the discussions we had was about men and women in relationships.  I made a point that men and women really weren’t really all that different.  That women weren’t as mysterious and complex as men think they are, and vice versa.  That whole “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” suggestion is crap, when it comes to what men and women really want.  It’s quite simple, really.  There are three things that both men and women really want in a relationship:  first, they want to be loved; second, they want to be respected; and third, they want to be heard.  That idea seemed to resonnate with the group.

At Binks, a bunch of great songs came soaring in from the jukebox, including Just Like Heaven, by the Cure, to which we all sang out lound.  Lots of laughs and smiles.  It was a good Portland night.

By the time I drove home, the thunder had faded out, the lightening had stopped, the rain had passed.  It was later than I had intended to stay out, but it didn’t matter.  I had some prospects on the horizon.

 

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