Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Smell the sea and feel the sky, let your soul and spirit fly

I’m a believer*, you guys.  I believe in lots of ways, in lots of things.  I believe in universal energies.  I believe in manifestation.  I believe in God.  I believe in karma.  I believe in angels and Mother Mary's grace**.  I believe in rules and history and consistency.  I believe in faith. I believe in retribution.  I believe in love.  I believe in destiny and the divine.  I believe in purpose.  I’m a Catholic. I’m a mystic.  I’m a cynic. I’m a spiritual soul.  I think that truly evolved people*** cobble together their own personal spiritual dynasty from various cloth-scraps of faith, and what gets you out of bed every morning is your own personal formula.  I’m a believer.  Dig?
Anyway****, I’m fortunate (blessed!) enough to be involved with a spirited, angel-filled group of soul sisters and we’ve spent these last several months drinking tea (OK! Fine!  And sometimes champagne...but only for birthdays.  Or stress.  Jeez.) and delving through Caroline Myss’s Sacred Contract—the agreements our little souls make way up there(!) before we’re even born to learn certain lessons and work with certain people--identifying our own personal archetypes and really trying to understand the core+energy+spirit+mind+body***** connection.  It’s fascinating stuff, internet.  There are twelve houses with twelve archetypes and each one has a personal significance to various aspects of your life, with corresponding connections to illness, wellness, health, physical and emotional well-being.  Some resonate with the light attributes of each archetype more, some with the shadowy side.  And every archetype has been a huge lesson for me.  Though none so far as jarring and track-stopping as where we’re at now: the 10th House.
Ahhh, the 10th House!  It’s the house that deals with your highest potential.  Your Highest Potential, internet!  Your highest calling.  Dharma rather than karma. The most difficult marathon of life is realizing your highest potential.  Care to know what archetype falls in to my 10th House?   Too bad*****, because I’m about to tell you anyway!
Hedonist. It’s the Hedonist.  There’s even a little blurby blurb about it! Like to hear it? Here it goes:

This Archetype has an appetite for the pleasurable, beautiful aspects of life, from good food and wine to sensuality. As scientific research has shown, pleasure can improve our health and extend our lives and needs to be part of a balanced life. Indulging the self is central to the psyche of this archetype. That the Hedonist is generally thought of as someone who pursues extremes of self-indulgence is more a reflection of our Puritan heritage than of the archetype itself. In positive terms, it inspires creative energy in the psyche to embrace the "good" things in life. It also challenges in a positive way the collective archetypal fear of being seduced and losing control in the physical world. The shadow Hedonist may manifest as pursuing pleasure without regard for other people or one's own good health.

The search for ecstasy parallels the search for spiritual transformation, a truth that is apparent in the dual identity of the famous Greek icon of pleasure-seeking, Dionysus. Besides being a god of wine and fertility (later adopted by the Romans as Bacchus), Dionysus also represents the goal of religions and spirituality.

Otherwise referenced as Bon Vivant, Chef, Gourmand, Gourmet, Sybarite/Mystic. Reflected in cinema like Babbette's Feast; Like Water for Chocolate; Big Night; Dangerous Liaisons. Reflected in literature like: Tom Jones by Henry Fielding; The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera; Les Liaisons Dangereuses by P. Choderlos DeLaclos.
I mean, can you even, you guys?!  There are loads of lessons here…a myriad of meaning and message.  But you know what this truly says to me?
Well, if you say so, Universe!

*Not in, like, a Hey! Hey! We're The Monkees kind of way.  Davey Jones kind of reminds me of the super creepy lipstick wearer guy who has the concerning relationship with his miniature dog on “Million Dollar Listing” if you wanted to know.
**When really, more grace ultimately lies with Joseph, right?  A pregnant virgin?  Try to explain that to your fiance, internet.

***Not to suggest that I’m evolved, per se…so snooty!  I am and always will be a work in progress.
****This is where I’ma start to get woo-woo, y’all!
*****Shake your chakras!
*******Hurray and hallelujah!!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

You make me smile with my heart

I ain’t afraid to admit it, you guys.  I dingdang love Valentine’s Day! L-O-V-E LOVE! 

 I do!  It’s true! 

My first Valentine of 2011!
I always have* and always will.  All you naysayers and haters can chit your chat all talking about how it’s a made-up, Hallmark, consumer-driven holiday, while shaking your loveless, angry little fists at The Man or whatever.  Say what you want…guess who doesn’t care.  (Me, you guys.  I do not care.)  I choose to believe there’s something to the Roman’s St. Valentine and Goddess of Love Venus, to the Greek’s Eros and Aphrodite, to Cupid, to love and to romance.  I love when things get swathed in red and pink.  I love seeing people buying bunches of pretty flowers**.  I love the tacky, heart-shaped decorations.  I love the boxed little valentines.  I love the conversation hearts*** with their “Be Mine!” and “Pucker Up!” business.  And you KNOW I love me a heart-shaped truffle.  I love heart shaped cookies.  I love how people go bonkers with the special romantic dinners, special Valentine’s menus, special sexy dates and special libido-inducing aphrodisiac snacks.  I love the sappy movies and the sad songs about lost love.  I love the chocolate! 
I mean, of all of the things to be peeved about in this crazy life how can you not get behind a sentiment that just really encourages you to feel loved and give love to people?  In times like these when we’re relentlessly pelted with bad news, our world sure could use all of the love it can get it’s grubby mitts on.   More is never enough, in my opinion.  So why not take the time to tell people you love—your pals, your lover(s)****, your kids, your pal’s kids, your crazy ass family, my crazy ass family, your neighbor, your barista, whoever makes your little heart happy—that you appreciate and love them?  Why not, I say!  Is there anything more adorable than a chubby little cherub dressed in a diaper shooting love arrows at you?  No, there sure isn’t!*****  I feel like everyone gets just a little bit softer, a little bit warmer and a little bit more smiley on Valentine’s Day. 

So, Happy (almost) Valentine’s Day, internet!  Wishing for you lots of juicy smooches, strong squeezes, beautiful bubbles, sweet nothings, sweet treats and gorgeous, glorious LOVE!

*Even when my Grandma died DEAD on Valentine’s Day, 1987 I still rallied to make a Candygram and strut around in my red sweater from The Limited.  RIP Nonna!
**Honestly though with the no-brainer red roses?  Really, Cassanova? Not necessary.
***I don’t eat them though because they’re totally gross.  Wait!  Unless they’re the SweetTarts ones!  Yeah!  Those are so stinkin’ good!  Those I will read AND eat.  FYI.
****I’m not here to judge.
*****I mean, unless Cupid really truly isn’t a sweet little fat angel and is really a creepy, weird bloated midget.  If that’s the case, I reserve the right to change my mind.
******No, that most certainly is not what you think it is.  What's the matter with you, internet?!  Jeez.

Monday, February 7, 2011

It's a cinch that the bum is under the thumb of some little broad

I’m totally that kind of dame, internet.  It’s true.   The sort of broad that likes all things bold: my Scotch, my steak, my martini, my words, my glasses of red, my convictions and my men.  I love things that have something to say, that make me think and will always prefer to hear from people who have a well thought-out and researched opinion about life, food, politics--whatever floats your proverbial boat (DIRTY!)—even (and especially!*) if it differs from mine.  I have never been a fan of the mamby-pamby.  If there’s passion evident in something?  I’m like a moth to a dingdang flame, y’all.  Believe it.
I think one of the greatest joys in life is a dirty martini (extra cold, extra olives!), a salty, seared filet (finished with a leeeeetle pat of good butter), a red leather booth in a dark restaurant and a passionate conversation.  Further, if it’s storming outside, past 10PM, there’s some kind of blue cheese iceburg wedge with crispy bacon, a delicious potato situation, brussells sprouts, chocolate and port, the music is heavy with strings and horns, and I have a flawless, dark red manicure?  I’m pretty sure that’s what it’ll be like in Heaven**.  It’s like I want to live in a mobster movie…in the ‘50’s.  Fun!  (Do I need a thigh flask to smuggle in my hooch?!  Maybe so!) Leave the gun, take the cannoli!

That Buddha is sworn to secrecy...
 I feel the same way about a dinner party.  An eclectic group with lots to say, a beautiful table, a swoonable menu, strong pours, lots of bubbles and candlelight?  There's not much better.  Those are times and memories I cherish and adore.   I’ve been waxing poetic about how I’ve been fortunate enough to have had many, special nights like that, and I feel so lucky to be the kind of gal who has so many other people in her life that consider them great pleasures, too.  I’m like a magnet for like-minded hedonists and consider it a true blessing.  The people I hold dearest come together at a table in this life in times of both celebration and defeat.  Come sit next to me for a Cheers and Cin Cin!  Or if we just need to figure out what happens next.

What are your great pleasures?
* I do so love me a drunken some of you know.
**What happens if Heaven is actually a Ruth’s Chris?  Good enough…I’m not opposed to a high-end chain, you guys.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Peel me a grape

Have you ever been to a concert with me, internet?  If you have, then you know that I am bound to tear up at least once*.  If you haven’t , then you should know that music makes me cry.  It doesn’t matter who it is…I have shed a tear for every genre because songs make me happy, sad, wistful, gleeful, nostalgic, giddy.  I run the gamut.  I’m a sentimental fool!  And a big old sucker for memories of music. 

I come from stock that always had the tunes on full blast when there was serious business going on in the kitchen, so music and food go hand in hand for me:  “Volare” will always remind me of making red sauce with my Nonna.  “Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves” reminds me of peeling shrimp for Christmas Eve dinner with my Mom.  “Just the Way You Are” reminds me of veal cutlets at my Auntie Rose’s.  “Jump” is ribs with Uncle Bob and Auntie Debbie.  “Hypnotize” is grilling steaks on a crazy mini hibatchi with Augie III.  "Let it Snow" is Christmas cookies with Auntie Donna.  Jamie Cullum’s “All at Sea” and Ryan Adams’s version of  “Wonderwall” remind me of dark days and being in my teensy kitchen in the Shore baking my way through The Best Recipe and running sweet treats to my neighbors for taste testing.  I have me a big old cooking-time playlist (titled Cookie!  should you steal my iPod and want to see for yourself.  But please don’t.) that I hit when I’m on a tear in the kitchen.  It’s pretty jazz and standards heavy and I love it.  Let’s see what little ditties pop up on a random shuffle, shall we?!  We’ll do the first 20…this will be riveting!

·          “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You” - Colin Hay
   Do you guys know Colin Hay?  He’s the Men at Work guy!  This song KILLS me!
·         “The Very Thought of You" - Wynton Marsalis
·          “Peel Me a Grape” - Diana Krall
   One of my all time favorites.  Ever.
·         “Fastlove” - George Michael
  I will love him always, no matter how many bathrooms he gets busted in or cars he falls asleep in.  What?!  Maybe he’s just tired!  Don’t judge.
·         “Thousand Kisses Deep” - Chris Botti
·         “Like Rock & Roll and Radio” - Ray Lamontagne
  LOOOOAAAAARRRDDDD this jam stops me in my tracks every damn time.
·         “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” - John Mayer
  I know everyone hates him right now, but this is still one of my favorites.
·         “Business Time” - Flight of the Conchords
   Ah ha ha ha ha ha!!!!
·         “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” - Dean Martin
·         “I Get a Kick Out of You” - Frank Sinatra
  Come on!
·          “I’ll Be Your River” - Cyndi Lauper
   This is her best song…ever.  Well, tied with her cover of “I Drove All Night”
·         “Solsbury Hill” - Peter Gabriel
·         “Today” - Josh Radin
  So sweet. So, so sweet!
·         “Better Be Home Soon” - Crowded House
·         “High & Dry” - Jamie Cullum
·         “Volare” - Gypsy Kings
  Typical.  I’m surprised only one came up and that no Buena Vista Social Club did.
·         “Daydreamin’” - Lupe Fiasco f/Jill Scott
  I fell asleep among the flowers…
·         “Rodeo Clown” - G.Love & Special Sauce
  The live version with Jack Johnson!
·         “Fallen” - Lauren Wood
  You should fly me to San Francisco for dinner and the opera in rented jewels, you guys.
·         “Besame Mucho” - Andrea Bocelli
  Oh, someone’s gonna get beso’d alright.

What do you sweet cupcakes knock around in the kitchen to?

*Seriously.  Sometimes it's because a song is so moving or sometimes it's because I'm just so excited to be having THAT experience RIGHT THAT MINUTE with the people I'm with.  This happens a lot at The Greek Theatre with my Auntie Debbie.  And cheap white wine.  WE ARE FUN!