Sunday, October 10, 2010

If only

As another year hastens to a close, I find myself still sinking into the couch, still hoping for health, still pondering the big question: life, the universe and everything. Since I'm not feeling particularly melancholic tonight, but rather easy (thank you codeine cough syrup with a green tea and honey chaser) and inspired (thank you Tony Bordain, my favorite loquacious, traveling lush). So, I'm not interested in deep meaning, but rather a list - clean and simple.

Following is a list, in no particular order of that which I truly long to do at some point in the short time I'm allotted:

Sommelier Certification
The love of wine requires no explanation. However, this particular pursuit might lead to a command of regional distinctions between each blessed grape, getting to use words like terroire without attracting dirty looks, and perhaps most importantly, increased consumer confidence when facing the interminable pursuit for the perfect $5 bottle of Pinot Noir.

Falconer License
After 7 years of study and hard work, I could either be an MD or a falconer. Other than my quiet love of birds and increasing desire to hunt, I find myself longing to beckon a falcon with a slab of sweaty raw meat in my grip for an entirely different reason: they're so goddamn beautiful. The Peregrine Falcon with its be-speckled chest tufted proudly in the waning sun as it clenches and releases my leather glove, lovingly clawing me with its fierce talons... this is a moment I must know.

Publish a Book
Okay, I'll settle for finishing a book. I'm not particular about the genre. I just want to stare down the blank white page that has intimidated me for as long as I can remember, and with a decisive stroke write, "The End."

Study at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris
It's my intention to grow as a cook with each new meal. This is one of the few pleasures that isn't tainted with the nagging necessity to turn talent into a career. I know that kitchen work isn't my cup of tea. However, I also know that food isn't quite done with me yet. We have a love affair that can only be truly consummated in Paris.

Act in Musical Theatre
Though my theatrical resume begins with "chorus member in Annie" at the age of 12 and ends with "chorus member in the Music Man" at the age of 14, my love for musicals remains fierce and true. I'm not looking for a lead on Broadway. But, perhaps a supporting, yet striking role in a humble but dedicated public theatre. You know: Mrs. Hannigan, Rizzo, um... Adelaide.

See Europe
Perhaps the most vague and ambitious aspiration on the list, and yet such is Europe to me. Other than some stolen glances out of the sky high windows of Charles de Gaul, my exposure to that fair continent comes only through Jane Austen, Albert Camus, Mmes. Bronte, and an ever expanding list of foreign cinema. I refuse to let Ethan Hawke's dialogue with that blonde Frenchie on a train through their youth act as the only mediator between me and Venice, Nice, London, St. Petersburg, Barcelona, Dublin, and of course, Paris.

That'll do for now. There are, of course, many more. I have sighed all my sighs for the evening. My insatiable longing for the richness of a romantic life is quite exhausting. Although, I have just this moment remembered one more...

Drink Peyote on a Reservation
I want to have a vision quest. I want to find my soul's mate in an animal. I want to have my hair braided by a gray streaked elder with leathery, pruning fingers. I want to taste freedom and breathe color.

Oh yeah... and I want to Own a Horse of my very own.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


when the strain of too damn much erupts
my clammy palms stretch the skin at my temples
reeling back the piercing ache that threatens to overtake me.
can a brain swell from the stress of unfinished business?
like keeping pressure on a wound, all slippery and pulsing,
my hands constrict and push, fumbling desperately at a broken dam;
a life awash in worry, wasting away in the wonder of what should have been,
too preoccupied to entertain the what if.
hope is a commodity too valuable for the angst of regret.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's the Birthday of Ernest Hemingway

It's the birthday of Ernest Hemingway, (books by this author) born in Oak Park, Illinois (1899). He was just 22 when he moved to Paris with his wife, Hadley, having taken a job as a foreign correspondent for the Toronto Daily Star. Even though he was making decent money, he liked the idea of living like a bohemian, so they moved into an apartment in the Latin Quarter, in a neighborhood full of drunks, beggars, and street musicians. Rent was 250 francs a month, or about $18, which left them plenty of money to travel around Europe when they wanted to.

He rented himself a room in a hotel, and every morning, after breakfast, he would walk to his writing room and work. He said: "I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, 'Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.'" One of those sentences read, "I have stood on the crowded back platform of a seven o'clock … bus as it lurched along the wet lamp lit street while men who were going home to supper never looked up from their newspapers as we passed Notre Dame grey and dripping in the rain." ~ courtesy of the Writer's Almanac.

It's also the birthday of Candace Ruth Morris. Born to Bruce and Mary Whitney amid the desert air of Southern California in 1978, their youngest. In her youth she was often taken to spontaneous singing with a boldness that stemmed from her ardent desire for a true expression of love from her father and yet a sense that she was alone in the world and therefore couldn't possibly embarrass herself. At 24, she married Joel Hansen Morris, the son of a country pastor from Washington state whom she met at a rural Bible College in Northern California. Though she was initially fraught from wooing him, he would soon recompense this romantic redress with a lifelong tenderness and passion that would restore the young woman's heart bit by bit and evermore.

Perhaps it was the shameless consumption of Syliva Plath or the classical literary training that would inevitably find it's way to the page, but regardless of its origin, one day the world was given "Musings of a Melancholic." Within its web pages, Candace created a blog of soulish beauty. Whether she is featuring her brilliant photography, praising her husband (aka. The Saint), or recounting the painful, yet profound steps of a woman who manages to care deeply for others without losing herself, through this blog the world is granted passage into daily life through the mesmerizing turquoise of her watery eyes.

From there we found "Booklings" (a foreshadowing of the Bookish Wine Bar we are promised), "Pretty, Please" (An altar to coveting aestheticism) and "Secret Snob" (The shameless confessions of a faux-hemeian with a trained palate). Her words are a compass, a weather vane, the wooden mermaid carved into the hull of an ancient vessel retaining the remnants of a sea-stained teal paint all the more beautiful for the patina it has earned from each passing voyage.

Much is still to come from Candace Morris. She has tried her hand at waitressing, teaching high school English, executive assistance, and even home-making. Motherhood, I am sure, is soon to come. One thing is for sure, however, in whatever path she takes, her words will endure. To the world, she will be the sage that awes and edifies them. To me, she will be nothing more or less than the dearest friend I have ever known.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hollow Chocolate Bunny

There it is,
The kingpin of the Easter basket.
Those happy hyperbolized eyes,
The pastel suspenders and that toothy grin.
It's floating in a sea of mommy-loves-me Easter grass,
Which is made of some mysterious and unnaturally green material.

Once you peel that metallic pink and green wrapper
Into little strips as you delicately move around
Its fragile ears and little bunny toes
Making sure to keep it all in one piece
You sit back from your wicker treasure chest
And admire the work of your deft fingers.

Soon, your body temperature begins to melt the chocolate,
So you bring your thumb, now marked with brown goo
Up to your welcoming, parted lips.
It occurs to you that this bunny does not have long to live
In such a warm and hostile environment.
So, you bite the ear.

I'm sure there's a chocolate bunny factory secret
As to why the ear is the most solid part of the bunny,
Which is probably we always start there.
It also seems less cruel, I mean
Who goes for the foot first?
To dive right into the torso is serial killer material.

But, the ear is a farce.
You go a little further and take on the head
Opening your mouth wide for this big, chocolaty bite,
And then, crumble, fumble, spill and stain.
Chocolate pieces fall everywhere and all you're left with
Is a mediocre mouthful of waxy preservatives.

Determined that Harvey won't let you down,
I'm not sure why I think they're all named Harvey,
You start to lick up the pieces in your hand
And then, head into the shoulder.
The back of your throat starts to tickle
With the mounting levels of sugar your ingesting.

Is this worth it?
Your hand is now brown and Harvey is bending.
The once splendid creature inviting you into childhood
Is now a big brown mess that you can't put down.
After all, there isn't a foil piece big enough.
You start to survey the other tasty treats that await you.

So, you get up chuck Harvey on a paper towel in the kitchen,
Promising to come back for him later.
Soon you forget your Easter hero
With malted mini-eggs, marshmallow eggs, Cadbury eggs, jelly beans,
And Peeps, although I prefer my Peeps the next day,
A little stale.

As for Harvey, he disappears sometime during your sugar coma.
Perhaps mom decided to throw him out,
Maybe your little brother finished him off,
Or maybe he just couldn't take it anymore
And hobbled off with his stubby feet and one remaining arm
Still neatly nestled in his pocket.

I'm a chocolate bunny.
I look appealing, you might even come to me first,
But as my colors fade and my confidence melts
All that's left is a facade of strength
When in fact, I couldn't lift the box I came in
Without it crushing my fragile, hollow frame.

Monday, March 8, 2010

So Close

Have you ever come so close to a meaningful epiphany and then held your breath as you felt it slip away. It's so simple. So subtle. Just a click in time-space where all things seem to settle into their right places. Connected. Special. Eternal. But, like the little speck in your eye that creates a lighted dot in your vision, as you attempt to focus on it, it moves away. So, begins this little game. You try to trick the speck of light. You look away, but secretly use your peripheral to study the speck. However, in the end, temptation wins out. The light flits away again mockishly.

I sat at the edge of my bed today, surrounded by sorted piles of laundry: darks, lights and whites. Stranger Than Fiction played in the background. And then, completely by chance, illumination descended. The meaning of life. My purpose on this earth. The next step required for achieving the fulfillment of all my deepest aspirations. All I need to do is... I held my breath. I opened my soul to fully receive the message. I gazed directly into the face of my fate. And, just like that, it was gone.

Down and down I spiraled, hurtled back among the unknowing masses clammering amid the dark chaos of life. Waiting. Stepping into nothingness. Left with only my doubts and the lingering suspicion that my near-life experience was merely a jolt of informed persuasion brought about by a movie about literature. So swayed am I by the tone and plot of great film, I often fancy myself belonging to the story. My tone and language conform to that of the movie and this hypnotic process can last for a few hours or even the length of the day. What can I say? I'm a romantic. Hungry for inspiration. And still, no closer to knowing what to do next.

So, all I can do is this.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

bedridden quiz night



shakespearean lass?
lady macbeth

austen character?
elizabeth bennett

literary character?
catherine barkley

political figure?
hillary rodham-clinton

historical figure?
catherine the great

greek goddess?

movie star?
katherine hepburn

so, i suppose the only question is, when does my life begin to look like theirs?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

top 100 movies of all time

In 2007 the American Film Institute released the 10th revision of the LIST of the top 100 films of all time. Of those 100, I've seen 58. Somewhat impressive, I suppose, considering that the earliest film is from 1916. However, I can't help but feel minorly negligent in regard to the other 42.

So, other than updating my Netflix queue, I thought I might write small reviews both on the films I've seen and the new additions, according to the time I have, the order in which they arrive and the lifespan of my interest in this project.

I will however, review the one's I've seen from the top down. I might rewatch a few of the films I've seen in order to refresh my memory and/or get a more mature perspective on the ones I've not visited for some time.

This especially pertains to the numero uno on everyone's list - Citizen Cane. I confess, the only impression I can conjure is of an avant gard black and white with Orson Welles roaring behind those hush puppy eyes. Nothing of its infamy lingers. So, I think it deserves another go.

Which means we skip right down to #2 - The Godfather.

The Essentials:

Based on a novel of the same name by Mario Puzo
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton, & Robert Duvall

With some films, so much has been said of them, the challenge is to provide a unique impression. I suppose that will be the case with most of these illustrious masterpieces. I remember my mom telling me how beautiful Marlon Brando once was, which seemed a bit of a stretch. Well, until I saw On the Waterfront, a film we'll visit as it has also rated the list.

What strikes me most about this film is its elegance. The family, the perserverance, the murder and even the betrayal all carry a certain savoir faire, that made us all want to be mafiosos or at least their wives. It's probably the most quoted film.

"If you had come to me in friendship, then this scum that ruined your daughter would be suffering this very day."

"Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."

And, of course...

"I'm gonna make him an offer he can't refuse."

Who doesn't want to be in the family? They take care of their own and anyone who comes between them, well they take care of them too. As for the performances, Brando is deliciously sure of himself with ice water in his veins. Pacino is naive, romantic and the stranger in a strange land that introduces us to this foreign mob world. Caan is the badass we've always known him to be, fierce and full of rage. Duvall is the level headed lawyer that looks the other way until it's time to father kids. A symphony of talent offering up the most convincing portrayal of what we all want a life in the "family" to be.

I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already know about a movie you've probably seen as much as I have. I do know some trivia, however. For instance, I know that Marlon Brando accomplished his notorious jowelled slur by stuffing gauze in the pockets of his cheeks. I also know that James Caan was originally cast as Michael, until the newbie, Al Pacino came on the scene. But, what we all know is that crime never looked so good. In fact, how can you really call it crime?

After all, it's just a family business...

Sonny to Michael: Hey, whataya gonna do, nice college boy, eh? Didn't want to get mixed up in the Family business, huh? Now you wanna gun down a police captain. Why? Because he slapped ya in the face a little bit? Hah? What do you think this is the Army, where you shoot 'em a mile away? You've gotta get up close like this and bada-bing. you blow their brains all over your nice Ivy League suit. C'mere... [Sonny kisses Michael's head]

a quiet announcement

As I'm not inclined to conjure up more competition, this is my very quiet announcement that my darling friend, poet and artist is hosting a giveaway for a delighhtful piece displaying a friendly chikadee.

So, do visit her site, do fall under the spell of her work as we all have, and do not hope to win - for that piece is mine!

Umber Dover

May the best Gomes win...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

more memory lane

Well, I know what you must be thinking, but no, it wasn't Halloween. We were actually dressed up for a 50's party for my Aunt Roxi, who was, of course, turning 50. You might ask why then am I all done up in 60's regalia. God only knows. perhaps I was simply looking for an excuse to wear those ridiculous earrings.

My brother, on the other hand, looks dashing as ever. What you can't see due to the tragically unfortunate erosion on the photo, is the pack of Pall-Mall's rolled up in his white t-shirt sleeve.

As to my mother - yes, she's gorgeous, yes she's sexy as hell, and yes, that outfit is crocheted! by my grandmother! what you can't see in this pic is that those aren't just any crocheted pants - those are crocheted hot-pants!


Kathy, a family friend

Here's a little blurb from my mom as she reminisces about a dear friend of hers that touched all of our lives. She's writing this for a memory book entry, which Kathy's husband is putting together of all her old friends. I thought you might like a little peak into my magnificent mother and some happy times in my childhood.


Kathy and I started out on a pretty bumpy road. I was one of her customers, she actually called me Dragon-Lady, with good reason, but, nevertheless, she was very persistent in trying to get my business. Which, needless to say, irritated the hell out of me. Finally one day I was in a pinch and needed her services quickly. I called her up and told her it was the bottom of the ninth inning, two outs, tie score and she was “up”. She came through for me with such professionalism and grace, she not only got my business, but won my heart as a friend.

We would spend many years together having our “ladies night out,” sharing the stories of the week, gossiping and a lot of laughing. We would drink wine and smoke. The problem was, we smoked different cigarettes, she menthol and me non-menthol, so if one of us ran out, we had to call it a night because we would not smoke each others. Yuck!

We spent some wonderful time with my children – watching Joshua (8) throw popcorn up in the air and catch it in his mouth. Dressing Jessica (10) up in fancy clothes and fur coats regaled in full make up. We took pictures that were amazing and could have been published. Unfortunately, her father was not as thrilled and destroyed them all. And you wonder why we are no longer married.

One weekend, my birthday weekend to be exact, in 1991 we went to a women’s church retreat and had a wonderful time of reflection and bonding. We would sit on the bluff, drink our wine, smoke our cigarettes and discuss the lessons of the day. We made a decision at that time to quit smoking.

That next Monday, we met at Fisherman’s Wharf, shared a split of champagne and smoked our last cigarette together. Then we decided to leave a lasting impression, we would each smoke one anothers cigarette so it would leave an awful memory. When we were finished, we broke our remaining cigarettes in half and threw them into the bay. We finished our champagne, gave each other a big huge and continued on to work. This is what true friendship is really about. We supported each other at every turn. Encouraged each other every chance we got. But alas, it was bigger than the both of us and didn’t last long. But the story is sweet.

Soon after that she left for Florida and I went to the airport with her. We had a glass of wine in the Red Carpet room and stayed fairly silent through most of the visit which was not like us at all. We both realized that it was the end of a closeness that neither one of us had ever known. You think that it will just continue even after you are separated, but we both knew it would change. I hugged her goodbye as she boarded the plane and cried the whole way home.

Kathy often spoke of how she so wanted to have children. I knew it would happen and I also knew she would be the best mother there ever was. She and Jeff have withstood the test of time and have raised two wonderful children, whom I know will make an impact on our society. I have enjoyed the annual Christmas photo which brings me up to date on how they are all doing.

God Bless you Kathy as you slowly move into “50” with such grace and fluidity that you can hardly tell you have arrived. Even though we don’t keep in touch as often as we both would like, always know that you are in my prayers and thoughts and when I am feeling a little low, my mind returns to our little restaurant in San Mateo where we spent so much time in laughter. You have made a lasting impression on my life, as you have many others, and I love you for that. You will always be my very BESTEST friend forever and a day.



(Kathy's nickname for my mom, Denise)